The Perils of Possum Point is a work of fiction. Any resemblance between persons, organisations or events described here and actual persons, organisations or events is purely unintentional.

The Pit

At the offices of Giganticorp, grand supplier of resources and maker of all things enormous and subtle and small, a decision came down to start a gravel quarry at Possum Pont Not that Possum Point bad superior gravel, though the gravel was of reasonable quality. Rather, it was a matter of the land being offered, and the local Council being little inclined to offer resistance, since relations with the Possum Point constituency had become strained through the recent demolition of the village hail.

"Well," said Sir Hunphry McGinnis, "I do think we can just slip the old gravel pit in, and those bozos at Possum Point will hardly know the difference. Until the pit is dug and the trucks come rumbling down, that is."

"...and the quarry turns to a stagnant pond, drains into their gardens, and the dust kills off all the trees," laughed his sidekick Rodney, who has been entered into this story simply to inspire your rage. Rodney had a cackling sort of laugh, and a continual sneer.

Word had gotten out to the people of Possum Point, however. To their credit, it was not through the tight veil of confidentiality and deceit that marked Giganticorp’s usual methods, but, rather, through the idle gloating of the landowner who had offered the mining rights.

"Gonna make a forchune, and I don’ live here anymore, so you folks can all get schtuffed," he was heard to mumble into a partially upright stubbie.

Of course, Trevor Magill had been in the pub, overheard, and passed the information to Mavis Gromlin, who told Jason, and so forth. A protest meeting was quickly organised, with members of the Council invited.

Turnout was heavy, and the Council did, indeed, send along a junior administrative secretary.

"Well, they need to get a Resource Consent, which they haven’t yet applied for," said the secretary. "But we have been talking to them, and they are applying for one.. well, actually, for two, a short one and a long one. The short one doesn’t need any input from residents, because it is limited to, well, one or two small holes. The long one is for 25 years, and would be rather a large pit."

Jason raised his hand. "Uh" he began. "Why two?"

"Bloody hell," interjected Trevor, "In the short one, they’ll rip up the ground, spoil property values, kill the trees and poison the birds. There won’t be anyone around to object to Consent number two."

"Too right," said Ned. "Hell no, we won’t go."

The meeting broke up after it was decided to protest at the Council building in Rangiora.

Everyone met in front of the Council building waving banners which read "The Pit Kills," "Save Our Beach," and "Down with Giganticorp." The demonstration was brief, and a Council representative finally came out and addressed them.

"Have patience," she said. "There is nothing that you can do. The application has not yet been made, and, besides, it will probably have to just go through. It’s all in the rules, you know."

She dodged quickly back inside. After some loitering, the protestors began to disperse.

Ned was quite disappointed. Somehow, it just didn’t seem to be enough. Not enough signs. Not enough cameras. Certainly, not enough noise. He thought of rallying the group, but knowing little about these things, he could not really think what to do. So everyone went home.

Ned did have a little experience with protests. Actually, he had sort of been involved in one a long time ago in Canada. He had joined his friend George on the May Day march in Montreal, and George bad brought along Lisa--a girl from the Azores Islands who worked with him. They were employed at a mental hospital and their union was in the march. Ned was a student and just tagged along mainly to gain Lisa’s attention.

Being English speakers in a mainly French demonstration, they had all picked up discarded signs along the way that said things like "Killez Les Anglais." The three of them proceeded along the way, more or less chanting along with the chanters, without any idea as to what it meant, raising fists and so forth. Cameras clicked and video purred as they moved toward the podium, being right there in front. Here, they stopped. The speakers ranted. Lots of attention seemed to be focused on the trio. Ned finally looked behind him. Stretched across the whole area was the banner of the Quebec Communist Party, and behind that was an ocean of red flags.

The CIA had, of course, put this all on file. An ex CIA operative who just happened to be living in Rangiora, recognized Ned purely by accident when the photo of the protest made the front page of the local paper. He had just been going through some of the mementos of his career, which included a photograph of the march in Montreal, which he had saved because it contained a picture of a good looking young woman who appeared to be from somewhere like the Azores. He saw Ned in the background. As an American student at a Communist demonstration in Canada during the Cold War, Ned was clearly mingling with the local populace and making trouble. This looked ominous. He made an immediate phone call.

"An international agitator has appeared at a demonstration against Giganticorp here," he informed his

The CIA went into action in Washington, digging up all of their files on (Giganticorp, and examining its connections, finances, associations, organisations, leadership, and so forth.

When Giganticorp discovered that it was being investigated for unknown purposes, it conducted its own enquiry, but could only establish that it had something to do with Possum Point. Since Possum Point was but a minuscule part of its operation, and nothing was yet agreed upon or signed, the company simply withdrew.

"Grand Victory for Residents," proclaimed the papers.

"Just doing my job," said the Council representative who would ordinarily have rubber stamped the Resource Consent without asking questions.

"This just shows that we listen to the community," said (Iiiganticorp’s representative. "We are a company that cares."

Ned returned to fixing up his garden, repairing the pipes and conduits, and replacing the fish. But, on occasion now, he did get the impression...fleeting, out of the corner of his eye...that someone was watching him.

 Copyright 2000 Brian J. Dooley