As the skies over the Yukon darken with an incipient winter, the political skies are darkening with an even more dire and inescapable onset: a Yukon territorial election. All of a sudden, the N.D.P. is going through the motions of talking to people; the Yukon Party is going through the motions of listening to people; and the Liberals going through the motions of pretending they are something other than a golf club foursome.

"Yukon elections are a lot like when you've done too much drinkin' and not enough eatin'," says one Yukon political expert and Capital Hotel patron. "You get them dry heaves, and you just want to throw up and die, but you can't do either, so you gotta weather it out and wait for things to get back to normal."

This time, though, there is a new horse in the political race -- or, rather, a whole herd of horses, all of them dead. They are the candidates nominated by the Dead Horse Party of the Yukon Territory (the D.H.P.). While they may not be the front runners at the moment, the founders of the party believe they will win the day in the home stretch.

"The fact of the matter is, people are sick to death of all the existing political parties in this territory," says the Dead Horse Party President, who asked us not to release his name because he can never remember it anyway, having been kicked in the head by a horse when he was very young.

"Yukoners are looking for fresh options. And, okay, so maybe our candidates aren't exactly fresh -- some of them are probably gonna be downright skunky come election day -- but you gotta admit, they mark a new approach to political life in this territory. For one thing, they're the only candidates who aren't full of horseshit, 'cause they voided all of that just before they kicked off. And they could provide the glue we need to hold this territory together while everybody else is trying to tear it apart."

The party plans an aggressive door-to-door election campaign. It's not going to be easy, the President admits.

"Our canvassing people are probably gonna get pretty worn out, flogging them dead horses from door to door. But we think it's important for people to get to take the measure of the candidate right at the doorstep. 'Course, in our case, you gotta take the candidate's measure in hands to the withers, but the basic principle remains the same."

Though campaign funds are limited, the Dead Horse Party believes that its slate of candidates is strong enough to win over the electorate and perhaps win every seat in the Assembly.

"After all," says the Party President, "we got the only bunch of prospective M.L.A.s who have a genuine excuse for being so goddamn brain-dead."

An apparently definite Out-Of-Towner attempted a daring but ill-advised late-night armed robbery in Whitehorse's Tim Horton's Doughnut shop just this week. He came to a lead-ridden and bloody finale at the business end of the muzzles of the entire Whitehorse R.C.M.P. Detachment's .357's.

"We have no definite proof that this man was an American," says R.C.M.P. spokesperson Jeremy ("Jam Centre") Jerome.

"The bullet-shattered remains of the suspect's body were extremely hard to interpret, and are presently undergoing forensic examination in Vancouver.

"But those of us officers who have been here for more than a month or two find it all but impossible to believe that any local individual could have been in possession of a .45 magnum Colt revolver while at the same time not being in possession of the basic knowledge that you really don't fart around with the law in Tim Horton's at 3:30 a.m. here in Whitehorse, where the whole Detachment is routinely deployed in strength.

"We had to call in the Fire Department to hose out the gore," complains the local Tim Horton's franchise manager. "I mean, really, the guy was hardly moving after all those cops emptied their chambers for the first time. Was it really necessary for them to reload and empty them out again?"

"The R.C.M.P. response was measured and reasonable," says Staff Sergeant Tim ("Timbits") McCane. The suspect was still in the process of thrashing when the R.C.M. Police present at the time opened up with their second volley."

"Our officers may, in the heat of the moment, have over-reacted to the perceived threat," the Staff Sergeant admits. "But you must remember that our people were extremely hyperglycemic at the time, and their perceptions may have been distorted by all that sugar and black coffee.

The investigation continues into the identity of the deceased, though findings recently faxed to the Whitehorse Detachment Office have confirmed that there is only a very small probability that the assailant may have been Tagish Elvis.

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