Saint John — In a last-minute news conference this morning, Saint John Mayor Don Darling made the surprising announcement that the city will be entering a permanent orange phase as part of New Brunswick’s pandemic recovery plan.
Darling, looking dejected, kicked a couple of tin cans out of the way before he went to the podium outside of the Park Plaza Motel on the city’s east side.
“We’ve been trying to grow Saint John’s population since the 1980s,” said Darling. “And do you know what? It hasn’t worked! We’ve been ignoring the writing on the wall: people don’t like it here. It’s stinky. It’s dirty. And it’s friggin’ foggy all summer long. Saint Awesome, my arse.”
Taking a swig out of a bottle in an unmarked brown bag, Darling continued: “It’s taken a pandemic to make us realize our true status in this province: we ARE the orange zone. Nobody wants to be within two metres of us. Hell, they don’t want to be within 100 kilometres of us! So, do you know what? I’m making it permanent! Stay home, stay out, and just let us rest in peace. Eventually, we will just get subsumed by Quispamsis and Rothesay and then THEY can take care of US for a change!”
The announcement has sparked outrage among some of Saint John’s young hipsters, who claim the city was just of the cusp of greatness when the pandemic hit.
“I’m really surprised that the mayor is using the pandemic to pull the plug on the city,” said Sephora Buttham, after taking a long contemplative sip of her flat white espresso. “With enough filters, the city is super Instagrammable. All those brick buildings! Nobody ‘from away’ needs to know that there’s a dude shooting heroin on the next corner.”
Not everyone we contacted shared this point of view, however. Many people we encountered supported the mayor’s decision to literally close shop in the city; after all, many businesses are already boarded up. However, they wondered why specific details for moving forward didn’t seem to be included in Mayor Darling’s plan.
“What does ‘permanent orange’ really mean anyway?” asked city pensioner Frank Busby, who crawled out of his carboard shelter on Prince William Street to answer our questions.
When we contacted Mayor Darling by phone for further clarification, his assistant said that he was on a Zoom call with the former mayor of Chernobyl, who has dealt with these types of situations before.
“Details will be rolled out, in the coming months,” said the assistant. “But for now, the mayor encourages everyone within the zone to self-isolate and continue to consume as much Moose Green as they can. The city was built with Moosehead and with it, we will all meet our eventual fate.”