BLACK HORSE: DIMINISHED PERMANENT FUND EARNINGS
Then I saw Standard & Poors (or was it Moody's?--I know not what either even is) lower the state's credit rating (I know not what that is, either), and I heard a consulting economist from Stanford predict with doom in a widely-circulated white paper: "We must look to new sources of revenue!" So I looked, and behold, many clean-shaven, serious-looking white men in suits, bearing 16 oz. Americanos, and a stock portfolio was given unto them, and they went out investing and to invest.
This horse's black color represents the ever-diminishing gallons of crude oil, every last drop of which must be squeezed from Prudhoe Bay's deepest bedrock. Scholars have interpreted this horse as the emergence of a proposed natural gas pipeline and something about ACES. Also TAPS and NGS and other acronyms about which the average Sourdough Q. Skookum on the street hath not a clue. It is said that after the PFD goes away, so too will the collective morale of the state's populace; and also excellent PFD sales from Alaska Airlines and Wal-Mart on high-def flat screen TVs.
GRAY HORSE: SNAIN
When a glaciology professor at UAS broke open a core sample and said that the Mendenhall Glacier is no seriously melting for real now, and Obama came to visit and said we were all very much screwed, I heard the ski area managers cry, "FUUUUUUUUUCK!" And upon rivers unfrozen (that had by this time in years past already been frozen) fell a cursed "wintry mix" of snow and rain. I looked, and it was decreed: "Winter is now about as reliable as what springs forth from Don Young's mouth and the Mariners' performance in the post-season."
The rider of the second horse is said to represent that thing that everyone wants to pretend isn't really happening known as "climate change" or in some circles, "global warming," or in still other circles, "a natural anomaly." The horse is a deep charcoal gray, said to reflect both the color of the "wintry mix" that accompanies increased winter temperatures and the malaise that yuppies feel at the thought of another wasted season pass at their local ski area.
GREEN HORSE: LEGAL MARIJUANA
When the people voted "YES" on Ballot Measure 2, I heard stoners everywhere rejoice and say "Come, behold my quasi-legal and highly profitable business, the steep taxation of which will surely lead to riches beyond our wildest dreams!" And I heard a voice coming from deep within the belly of a three foot bong say, "Look to yonder states Colorado and Washington. Things are going great there and the feds are seriously totally cool with it. I'm talking less than $300 for an ounce and some tinctures and edibles. Keep out of reach of children. And you shall not go astray. True story."
The third horseman rides a green horse, said to represent Cannibis Sativa, the plant that is hyped to be the biggest cash-crop Alaska has seen since giant prize-winning kohlrabis in the Mat-Su Valley. Some scholars have also interpreted the green horse to symbolize the enormous stash of Benjamins which, much like Pablo Escobar's Columbian cocaine fortune, must be hidden under the proverbial mattress of everyone who trafficks in a sketchy new industry upon which all hopes for wealth and safe, predictable, high-quality buzzes are pinned.
PINK HORSE: DISAPPOINTING KING SALMON RUN
When the Chinook failed to return as predicted, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying "Come." I looked, and behold, many inscrutable regulations from the Department of Fish and Game. Also something about a fish wheel, and lots of people not getting their subsistence quotas for the winter, sport fishers losing money at their lucrative lodges, commercial fishers fighting with the sport fishers, and everyone generally being extremely pissed off.
The fourth and final pink horse is the personification of crappy fishing, which to everyone in the state for various reasons is deeply distressing. Its commission is to kill all of the young jack salmon while they are still in the ocean. Its appearance portends the Board of Fish trying to figure this shit out by means of openings and closures in various fisheries, and to make appear in renewed abundance king salmon which for reasons unknown (but perhaps ocean acidification) are perishing before they can return to their spawning grounds and become salmon jerky or a delicious fish taco with spicy mango salsa at Humpy's.