“Hey, Aussie, how are you going to celebrate the Fourth?”

“I’m going to war.”

“To war with whom, Auss?”

“With Canada, of course.”

“Canada? Canada is just a hop, skip, and a jump away from us, Aussie. Why?”

“Because of the smoke they’ve been sending us all this time. It’s their sneaky way of weakening us, making us all blind wimps.”

“That’s the stupidest thing I ever heard.”

“Going to war with China over covid was even stupider.”

“Which is why we didn’t do it, Auss.”

“But this is far worse than covid. This affects me! Here, put this on the blog.”

“What are you giving me, Aussie?”

Aussie’s Declaration of War on Canada. I created it between coughs last night: To All Those Who Love This Country. Are you coughing more than ever? Trouble breathing? Pawing around your eyes only it’s not a tick? Sleeping more than 20 hours a day? Are you getting more and more anxious even though you’re taking meds and sleep on an anti-anxiety bed? Worst of all, have you lost your appetite? This July Fourth, be a patriot. Grab your false teeth and march on Canada. Their fires are making us blind, crazy, and infertile.”

“Aussie, you were spayed, that’s why you have no pups.”

“Their fires discombobulate and confuse us. The sky is always white and hazy, I can’t see any mountains.”

“That’s probably because we don’t have mountains in the Pioneer Valley, Auss.”

“It’s enough to get completely disoriented. When I start thinking that Henry’s hot you know, you just know, that something’s wrong.”

“You may have a point there, Aussie.”

“Me, hot for a chihuahua! It’s the fire in my brain. Of course, if Henry came up to Canada and we threw him into the fire you know what we’d get, right?”

“A hot dog, Aussie. Terrible.”

“Hee! Hee! Hee! Canadian fires are destroying our way of life.”


“Nobody’s working hard anymore.”

“It’s summer, almost the Fourth of July.”

“Everybody’s complaining.”

“That is our way of life, Aussie.”

“I had to go to the hospital twice.”

“Because of porcupines, Aussie, not because of Canada. Going after a porcupine is a pretty dumb thing to do.”

“That’s only because of the smoke. It’s killing my brain!”

“Aussie, we can’t declare war so easily on another country.”

“Why not? It’s the American way. Think of all the tanks, cruise missiles, nuclear weapons, and military jets that are just sitting there, not getting used, rusting away. F-15 bombers, F-25 bombers, F-12,375 bombers—all turning into junk. You know what they say: Move it or lose it. I say we move it to Canada and teach them a lesson.”

“What lesson is that, Aussie? Fight climate change?”

“Of course not.”

“Take the gas guzzlers off the road? Switch to solar and wind? Turn off the air-conditioners? I don’t think we can lecture anyone about that.”

“The lesson should be: Careful how you light a match. And if you have to barbecue in the woods, invite me.”

“They say it’s the weather. Lots of lightning strikes in hot weather, and everything burns. Warmer than usual temperatures punctuated by severe storms. Aussie, you know what I learn from the smoke coming from Canada? That we’re all interdependent. Someone cooks short ribs in Newfoundland and we get the smoke.”

“Why couldn’t we get the short ribs?”

“Now where are you going, Auss?”

“To the basement. Fetching my camo jacket from hunting season. That way I can go undercover.”

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