Welcome to the M@gazette’s newest column. Up until now, we’ve left the serious journalism in our Gazette to the Manitoulin Recorder, but with this article all that is about to change.
Despite being so busy in the past few months, the staff of The M@Gazette has been working hard on several undercover operations here on Manitoulin Island. We’re finally ready to report on one of the most tragic stories this reporter has ever come across.
It all started back in the summer with an anonymous phone call to M@nitoulink World HQ. Apparently, local veterinarians were trying to keep a small outbreak of Poumon Orangeade among the local beaver population a secret. This reporter was given the locale of on old sugar shack somewhere south of Squirrel Town on Hwy 6. I followed the lead and soon came to what appeared to be an abandoned, rundown shack. At first I didn’t think it was inhabited, but an odd slapping noise attracted my attention� “Slap Slap Slap” “SlapSlapSlap” “Slap Slap Slap”� The S.O.S. was obvious as I raced towards the shack kicking in the door to discover a rudimentary medical facility.
There was an odd combination of smells in the air– Medicine, Wet Fur and Carrots? I quickly scanned the room to see several sickly looking beavers laying on old army cots, drip IVs taped to their small, fur-covered arms. I tended to them as best as my simple first aid training would allow. I would have called in emergency veterinary services from the North Shore, but as anyone travelling the lower section of Hwy 6 knows, cell phone use down there is spotty at best. Before I raced back to the M@ Gazette News Van to get help, I did notice one unusual thing. The drip IVs were labeled “Anti-Carotene”. Could that have accounted for the strange carrot smell in the air?
By the time the E.V.s from the North Shore arrived, the shack was abandoned. No sign of its sickly inhabitants or any other evidence remained.
My only lead exhausted, I came back to M@nitoulink World HQ to do some research using the power of the Internet to look up the medical uses of Anti-Carotene. It took quite a bit of research to turn up information on this supposedly experimental drug. It turned out to be a mineral derived supplement that had possible applications in treating Poumon Orangeade. So, there was an outbreak of Poumon Orangeade, otherwise known as the dreaded “Orange Lung” on Manitouin Island. This information came from an online medical database put together by Pleebs and Mickler Associates Drug Company. Any further research into this database was suddenly met with abject failure, as has been any attempt to re-access this information.
Attempts by this office to contact the local Veterinary community on Manitoulin Island failed outright. Then I recalled a Veterinary Student that I had gone to university with. It took a few days to track her down, but when I did I asked her for the scoop on Orange Lung. It turns out that it’s a little known disease, and up until my report to her she never heard of it in any species besides rabbits. According the her, they were still trying to find out what causes it. I was about to thank her for her help when it hit me. If Anti-Carotene is a mineral derivative then why did that shack smell of Carrots? She didn’t have an answer, but I finally had a lead!
The Island is well known for growing some of the finest carrots in the world, was there a connection between these carrots and the sick beavers? I talked to several carrot farmers on the island, but they seemed somewhat evasive. Finally one broke the silence, the weight of a silent burden heavy on his heart, and revealed the sinister truth. He is currently in the witness protection program as he fears retributions from the Dark Mistress of el Carotte Pequeno Cartel.
He glanced down at his hands, gnarled from decades of carrot farming, and then turned his gaze back to mine and began to speak. “Most people didn’t even notice the transition that has gone on in the world of baby carrots in the past few years. In the old days, you’d go to the grocery store and buy a package of baby carrots that were actually baby carrots, picked when the carrots were about a month old.
“But then, slowly, a new sort of “baby” carrot began to sneak on to the market. These weren’t baby carrots at all. They were large, overgrown carrots that had been whittled down until they resembled baby carrots. As I said, most people didn’t even notice the difference, let alone stop to think about where all these counterfeit baby carrots were coming from.
“At first they were made in automatic carrot lathes, but that turned out to be too expensive for these fake carrot pushers to afford. The entire scheme behind faux baby carrots was to save as much money as possible. So el Carotte Pequeno Cartel struck up a cunning plan. Apparently they were quite familiar with the amazing gnawing capabilities of Beavers. So they set out the Kidnap young Beavers from Manitoulin Island and force them to work day and night gnawing large, overgrown carrots into their bogus baby carrots.”
Most people on the Island consider beavers to be pests, so no one noticed when a few started to go missing. The carrot farmer refused to give me anymore information, besides the location of one of their forced labor camps and a cryptic clue as to who headed el Carotte Pequeno Cartel. He said, “Think garment industry scandal.”
I called in a favour with CSIS and arranged to be the only reporter on the scene when they raided the labour camp hidden in the Slash. I can hardly describe the scene. Young Beaver after Young Beaver were chained to stainless steel tables, forced to gnaw carrot after carrot. Further research on the rescued beavers has indeed showed that the Poumon Orangeade evident in the beavers’ systems was caused by the carrot dust and residue so thick in the air of the camp.
All the guards taken into custody in the raid have refused to talk up to this point. It seems that fear runs deep in el Carotte Pequeno Cartel. CSIS has turned up several interesting connections between el Cartel and Pleebs and Mickle Associates, however, which would explain where all the experimental drugs came from. Is it possible that they were somehow funding the Labor Camp in an attempt to get guinea pigs for their experimental drug treatments? I’ll be sure to keep you informed as the investigation continues. My friend at CSIS tells me that they’re closing in on el Cartel. I even have inside knowledge of the suspected Dark Mistress behind el Cartel. Let’s just say that she’s “Perky” as far as the public eye is concerned and is prone to singing on cruise ships.
Most of the rescued beavers are still in serious condition tonight and who knows how many may still be in slavery in other parts of the world which are famous for their carrots?
Many of you may be wondering what you, the common netizen, may do to help. Well, if you were this reporter, I’d take a serious look the next time I went to the store to purchase baby carrots. Are they really worth the price?
– Dylon Whyte