The next place I stopped was Hobst, Ontario, the well-known “City of a Thousand Lemurs”. Apart from its tedious and somewhat-racist lemurs, Hobst is known as being the home of at least twelve videogame concerns, and the International mecca of technologique.
Hobst’s most famous resident is, perhaps, Bimbletum Games, makers of the popular Hamcraft, Minecrepe, and World of Hamcrepe game franchises. “We here like to think of ourselves using modest terms like ‘visionary’ and ‘fly’,” says Steve Bimbletum, the owner. “The insane devotion our fans harbor towards getting the best numbers means that they’ll pay us literally any dollar amount until their numbers are good. Then we can just make new categories of numbers, and they’ll pay all over again.” This strategy has made Bimbletum one of the world’s richest companies, and their skyscraper dominates the Hobst skyline. “I can’t see where my ducks is ’cause the shadow,” said one resident, who didn’t know her name.
Companies like Bimbletum drive the Hobst economy, but the old guard of lemur trainers and handlers has been loathe to adjust to the change. “I remember when this was a lemur town,” said handler R. R. Beauregarde. “You’d graduate high school, go to the provincial college, get your degree in lemur sciences, and come right back home. This was a good place, with good lemur values.” Others echo his sentiment; general feeling among the lemur-related population is that Hobst’s new status as Canada’s “repetitive social game Mecca” has damaged the town’s character in ways that aren’t obvious to the newcomers.
Steve Bimbletum disagrees. “You used to hear a lot of lemur-this, and lemur-that, but it’s mostly faded away. I think everybody knows that the lemur habits of this town were not sustainable, especially after what notable lemur Mr. Tickles did to the Japanese Foreign Minister that one time. It’s big a long time since a lemur has sat on the city council.”
Whether the new computer mysterons or the old guard of lemur fanciers are correct, it’s clear that Hobst is changing. But one thing that doesn’t change is the city’s traditional love of 100 meter-long hot dogs. The unwieldy confections are produced in a 104 meter-long factory, the well-regarded Stevenson’s Giant Wangs LLC. “We can produce up to 48 hot dogs an hour,” said owner and grandson of the founder Richo Stevenson. “People here seem to love to serve ’em at every occasion, even if the participants can only eat a meter or two. Having a 100 meter-long hot dog is telling the world that you have defeated your enemies, and reign supreme in their domiciles. You can’t buy that sort of prestige, except from us or Bebop Privatized Militaries Corp.”
The Stevenson’s Giant Wangs factory is well-known in the region for using an average of 17,000 GRT of animal products and by-products a day, helping cut Canada’s waste meat production by 85%. “This sort of stuff — deer anuses, bear eyes, hooves, oink-boxes — this all used to go to waste feeding underprivileged kids in New Congo or wherever,” Richo Stevenson said. “Now we just use it on the giant hot dogs. That’s a proper use of a defense allocation if I’ve ever heard of one.”
Animal rights activists, the only actual by-product of the Stevenson’s factory, are also a notable presence in Hobst. “We recognize that a lot of what goes into the 100 meter-long hot dogs aren’t animals, at least not technically,” tubelcaine wrangler, horse special ed. teacher, and activist Unicrow Ramirez told me, “but there’s still more than a few animals in those things. We would prefer that wasn’t the case. That’s why we do these self-immolations here.” Unicrow’s replacement, Bandana Probis, agreed. “If even one animal has to die to make a 100 meter-long hot dog, that’s not great. I’m super-not in favor of that.”
The factory shows no signs of being in danger from these hairy interlopers, as the city’s leaders recently enacted an ordinance that makes the 100 meter-long hot dog the official food of Hobst; indeed, it is now a crime to serve any other kind of food within city limits. Consequently, I cannot recommend Hobst’s fine dining. The sheer size that its restaurants must be to accommodate these hot dogs limits ambience somewhat, and the waiter’s beverage suggestion — “how about a pop in the mouth”, he said — was unhelpful. Hobst is a city with many identities; lemurs, repetitive nonsense games, impractical dining, it has it all. But they are not in harmony, and dealing with it all seems to have made Hobstonians irregular, and ill-prepared to consider alternatives to their chosen faction. I don’t begrudge Hobst its nuances, but I assure the casual traveler of Canadia that Hobst is too much of a grouchy pain in the ass to be worth any bother.