Note: Not historically accurate. The Mi’kmaq were the first settlers of Nova Scotia. The Trogs are a fictional people. Sort of.

Somewhere in ancient Nova Scotia. A person comes riding over a hill on a bicycle and approaches a Trog struggling to get a wagon out of a quagmire on a dirt road.

CIEFE: Ola, mi amigo!


CIEFE: Oh, you speak English? I said “hello.” My name is Ciefe what is your name?

CRANK: Uh, my name Crank. What your name again?

CIEFE: Ciefe, it’s like if you pronounce the letters C, F, and A, but with an emphasis on the F.


CIEFE: Sort of. You just need to emphasize the F, see-EFF-ay, like that.


CIEFE: Close enough. So, you seem to be having some difficulty. Can I help you?

CRANK: Yeah, my wagon stuck.

CIEFE: I see that. It’s very muddy here and the road is in terrible shape.

CRANK: Yeah, square wheels. [Points at the wheels, and then at the road which is full of pockmarks]. They hurt road.

CIEFE: Square wheels! You mean you haven’t switched to round wheels yet?

CRANK: No, we like square ones. It hilly here and things don’t roll away when you have square wheels.

Along comes another Trog, who makes a friendly grunt toward Crank but casts a suspicious eye at Ciefe.

GRONK: Crank, who this?

CRANK: He CFA. He come from over mountain. Talk funny, not like us.

GRONK: Look at wheels. Funny round wheels and only two.

The two Trogs share a hearty laugh as if Gronk has delivered the ultimate zinger.

CIEFE: What? Have you two have never seen a bicycle?


CIEFE: A bicycle. Some people just call them bikes, you might find the shorter version easier to remember.

GRONK: That not a wagon!? You can’t ride that on road. Road for wagons, not bikes. You want ride bike, build bike road.

CIEFE: We do have bike roads where I live, do you have any here?

CRANK: No, no bike roads, that cost money. We poor.

CIEFE: I see. How much do you spend repairing all the damage caused by square wheels?

GRONK: Lots, but that paid for by wagon tax.

CIEFE: Wagon tax? What’s that.

CRANK: Tax we pay to use wagons on road.

CIEFE: Oh, so you do pay for the repairs to the road?

GRONK: No, I said wagon tax pay for it.

CIEFE: But you pay the wagon tax?


CIEFE: And the wagon tax pays for repairs to the road caused by the square wheels?


CIEFE: So, you do pay for the repairs, you just do it indirectly.

CRANK: I told you, we not pay for repairs.

CIEFE: OK, calm down. Look, don’t you think it would be smarter to switch to round wheels though?


CIEFE: Well, they would cause less damage to your roads.

CRANK: But then wagon would roll away. It too hilly here. I told you that.

CIEFE: Yes, you mentioned that, but you could put a brake on them. I can show you how.

GRONK: Hey! Why you want to break our wagons?

CIEFE: No, I don’t want to break them, I want to put a brake on them.

CRANK: What difference?

CIEFE: If I break them, they won’t work. If I put a brake on them, it will stop them from rolling away.

GRONK: Ha-ha-ha-ha! How you do that? Flatten hills? You not strong enough for that.

Crank joins in again as the two delight in peals of laughter.

CRANK: Gronk, you funny guy. Hey, CFA, why you not laugh? Gronk made good joke.

CIEFE: It wasn’t that funny.

GRONK: Hey, CFA! If you don’t like my jokes, go back where you come from.

CIEFE: Oh, but I’m going to university here, and I’ve fallen in love with this place. I’m planning to stay after I graduate and apply some of the new ideas I’ve learned in my program.

CRANK: We not need new ideas. We just need less rain so square wheels don’t get stuck in mud so easy.

CIEFE: You’ll be waiting a long time for that, amigo. I suggest you try some new ideas, just explore the world a bit, and see what’s working elsewhere.

GRONK: That not mean they work here.

CIEFE: Why wouldn’t they?

CRANK: It very rainy. Salty fog. Leaders say new ideas get rusty.

CIEFE: That’s loco. If they get rusty, it’s only because they don’t get used. Hasta luego, gringos.

Halifax Magazine