Pssst! Buddy! Can you spare a dollop?

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by admin on December 1, 2010

I’d like to make a prediction.

Gasluggers!

Yes, that’s right: Gasluggers.

First we had bootleggers. Then we had drug dealers. Soon we’ll have Gasluggers – the latest people to turn a quick buck by providing a needed substance to a demanding public.

Don’t believe me? Look about. The gas station at Harky’s in Chelsea is gone. The gas bar at Gleneagle is ancient history. The pumps where Les Fougeres restaurant now stands are only a memory. The gas pumps at Grant’s Garage in Wakefield are no more, the old Hamilton Motors location in the village also the way of the dodo. Just this fall two sets of pumps in Masham shut off forever. The only holdout in Old Chelsea is the Parkway General store. Ryan’s Garage at Alcove is still pumping furiously and further up the line are a couple of stations.

But the pattern is clear. Gas stations are just not worth the effort it takes to maintain them. Soon there will probably be no stations from Hull to Maniwaki.

And that’s where the Gasluggers will come into their own here and eventually everywhere outside populated areas. I can hear it now. “Psssst! Buddy! Got any gas to spare? I can pay top dollar for the good octane.”

And that’s what we can expect in the future. Automobiles rendez-vousing in the dark. Whispered conversations. The sound of money changing hands and gas being poured into empty tanks from clandestine vans. Vans dressed up to look like the standard soccer-mom vehicle, but in reality hollowed out with windows darkened to hide the enormous 500-gallon tank inside.

Think I’m kidding? Ask yourself if you haven’t thought of keeping a spare five gallons (oops, 40 litres) stashed in your garage for that inevitable day when the needle shows empty and the nearest supplier is 16 kilometres away. I know I have.

So, here’s my prediction. Bootleggers of liquor during Prohibition got filthy rich. Drug dealers are getting filthy rich every day. Sometime soon it will be the turn of the Gaslugger.

I can see them now, cruising the back roads in their gas vans, slowing at every stalled car along the highway. Negotiating a score with some suburban housewife coming back from a romantic assignation deep in the Gatineau Hills and so preoccupied she

failed to notice the needle drop to the far side of empty. Or teenagers, whose miserly $10 bucks worth of Esso didn’t last long while the family car was parked with the motor idling during vehicular socializing. And let’s spare a tear for the old goat whose stubbornness about not listening to his wife left him stranded far from home.

All are food for the Gasluggers. And, since history proves vice pays, better go van shopping. Remember the Bronfmans? The family started in Saskatchewan with one car and a driver. The driver got to keep the car if he delivered the booze to thirsty Americans across the border.

If he got caught, the cost was the price of the car. If he made it, he did it again and again. The Bronfmans got richer and richer. Today

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they are so rich they no longer live in Canada. (Remember a few years ago when the family moved $4 billion to the U.S. and the obliging Liberal government looked the other way instead of collecting taxes due).

A hell of a way to emigrate. You might want to try it.