This week marked a turning point in Toronto civic affairs when, in a rare public statement, rats abandoning a sinking ship sought to distance themselves from the pundits and politicians who have been attempting to put space between themselves and Mayor Rob Ford.
“We want to make it clear,” said a rat close to the ship-leaving initiative, “that our capacity to support a vessel that has lost its mast, rudder and much of its hull, and for which a somewhat dubious and frequently veering course had been set, is severely limited: We’re rats. We have no hands and are very small.
“Our ability to man failing pumps, organize repairs or convincingly defend any aspect of our former home on, say, Newstalk 1010 is limited. And, man, it’s wet in there. Excuse me.”
On Monday, a judge ruled that Mr. Ford violated the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act when he spoke at and participated in a vote determining whether he should be required to pay back $3,150 he raised for the high-school football team he coaches.
This was money he solicited, in violation of rules, with letters on official letterhead, to organizations that had lobbied the city.
The judge imposed the only sentence allowed by law: Mr. Ford’s removal from office. This marked a major yet strangely almost unremarkable occurrence in the mayor’s brief but comically eventful term in office.
A certain evasiveness is detectable in former Ford loyalists, and various metaphors have been bandied about.
“What you must understand,” said Rat, an analyst for the Rattus Rattus Institute for Naval Desertion, “is that at our core we’re a voracious horde of filthy rodents. When we boarded, I think it was understood we were here to chew through ropes, eat supplies and generally make a nuisance of ourselves. Frankly, I cannot see how our rather predictable abandonment of this somewhat misbegotten enterprise can make the current situation worse.
“Right now, we’re using our energy to gnaw on wires and foul the remaining drinking water,” Rat elaborated, pulling his tail from the rising pool behind him. “We in the medium-sized, long-tailed, seafaring rodent community resent any implication that our situation vis-à-vis this hastily organized maritime evacuation is analogous with previously Ford-aligned journalists or politicians’ efforts to protect their credibility by saying, ‘Ford who? Wasn’t he the guy with the train?’”
Nearby the organized rat exodus, a school of sharks took a break from ominously circling the desperately flailing ship to address their own concerns.
“Certain phrases on the political blogs disturb us,” said Shark, a mako shark from the ocean. “The distinction that needs to be made here is that we’re a species of large, hungry fish who harbour absolutely no political ambitions. What we’re planning on doing is swimming ’round and ’round this boat, theatrically displaying our dorsal fins, until an unfortunate sailor lands in the water. At that point, we’ll simply attack said sailor and eat him, thus fulfilling our biological imperative.
“Not one of us is planning to swim quietly away to our tranquil ward until an election is called before bursting back onto the scene in all our glory, if you get what I’m saying.”
Vultures could not be reached for comment, but the Animal Similes Union confirms that a complaint has been filed against City Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti, who on Monday broke ranks with Mr. Ford by publicly announcing that, in response to messages from voters, he had resigned from the executive committee.
“The words ‘I signed onto an agenda, not onto personalities,’ as spoken by the chair of the planning committee, Councillor Peter Milczyn, on the subject of the mayor’s future, aren’t ones my people are comfortable with,” said Weasel, speaking on behalf of weasels everywhere.
When asked about Mr. Ford’s remarks that decried the judge’s verdict as part of a left-wing conspiracy, Bull, a bull in china shop, would say only, “Look, I’m an uncastrated male bovine animal and I indiscriminately smash things. Things that are china in boutiques. And so, yes, I suppose I share what Mr. Justice Charles Hackland called Rob Ford’s ‘dismissive and confrontational attitude,’ but I wasn’t elected to this china shop by decent people who were expecting something different.
“No one said, ‘I like this affable bull. He’d be a welcome addition to a china shop.’ So I’ve no obligation to anyone but myself, and I certainly don’t relentlessly play the victim. … Hey, look! A teapot!”
Some insist that even if Mr. Ford’s appeal fails and he is removed from office, voters will reward him for all these difficulties in any ensuing by-election, granting him more time to govern an exhausted Toronto.
“Actually, that’s a myth,” said Lemming, a spokeslemming for the Association for the Advancement of Lemmings, in response to comments made regarding this conjecture. “We’re actually skilled Arctic and sub-Arctic navigators.”
“Yeah, the people of Toronto need to learn to draw the line somewhere,” said lambs headed gleefully off to the slaughter.