The next morning he was up at 5. He had a lot to do. He felt energised.
Having already informed his regular clients that he would be out of action indefinitely, Kahn felt a kind of freedom he had never experienced. He drove his ute to the city thinking of all the things he needed to buy. Not being a regular customer to any of the stores in Christchurch, it came as a surprise that cities don’t generally start trading until 9 a.m.; it was still before 7. Disappointed but not broken Kahn decided to do what any good son should and pay his mother a visit. She was still in bed. She was quickly up though, when she saw who it was coming to visit. She was full of questions about life in the country; he was equally full of responses about how wonderful it was. She inquired into his immediate plans; he told her he was doing some odd jobs around the home. She put on the jug for a fourth time; he checked his watch and announced it was time to leave.
He went first to an outlet called the Waterdome and bought a length of plastic guttering, a 1000 litre cylindrical water tank and through some shrewd bargaining, had them throw in the rainwater purification system at half retail price. He drove on to Ground Clearance, a well known landscaping supply chain in the area, where he purchased half a cubic metre of potting mix, the same quantity of compost then watched as the loader driver poured both loads into his Hilux’s well-side deck, showing extreme care to not touch the paintwork with his bucket; the driver then watched him as, with no regard for grace or style, Kahn tossed on four long railway sleepers. After that he headed for his final destination, a simple plant shop located in the back of an independent hardware store. Here he bought broccoli, lettuce, and beetroot seedlings, along with a sachet of dressed carrot seed.
He was all loaded up and ready to head back out to the country, and it wasn’t even time for morning smoko.
Tea breaks notwithstanding, he jumped in his ute and bidding the city farewell, drove home with the widest of grins plastered to his face; around an hour later indicated right off the Main West and drove sedately down Walkers road. He carried on a short distance past the entrance of his driveway and stopped, then with one eye on the left wing mirror and one eye on the rear vision mirror inside the cab, reversed into his residence. He backed up for the length of his driveway, drew alongside the conservatory then, checking between the two wing mirrors, ducked between it and the garage. Here he unloaded his haul, pushing off first the water tank, purification system and guttering, followed by the four sleepers, where he then used his rake to pull off the soil and compost. After parking the Hilux in the garage Kahn grabbed some additional tools and began construction. First using a measuring tape to find the length of the sleepers, he transferred this approximate square to the ground using a trowel to make a mark at each corner, then grabbed his favourite spade and began digging out the sods of turf. Half an hour of this in the hot November sun caused the perspiration to flow; he ran inside and brought back out a few bottles filled with un-chlorinated Waddington water then resumed digging. An hour after that he had twenty-five grassy sods alongside a sizable mound of Mid Canterbury dirt, as well as an almighty hole in the ground. He then laid the railway sleepers around the edge of his hole – a reasonably accurate fit – to make a square. It was at this point that Kahn did take that tea break. When he came back out ten minutes later, he was pleased with progress. He had a hole measuring roughly 1200 by 1200 across by 200 millimetres deep, shrouded with the rustic appeal of four railway sleepers. Good. He found a water outlet around on the eastern side of the house, attached a hose, rolled it out the entire northern length of the house and started slowly filling his hole with water. Next he started mixing, with his shovel turning over the piles of potting mix, compost, and real dirt. Another hour passed. His hole was full of water. Now he started to shovel this special mix back into the hole. Halfway from full Kahn jumped in and started jogging, splashing around, packing down his special mix. When he was satisfied that it held no air he applied more water then shovelled in the rest of the mix, packing it using the same technique. His estimates had been about right; the garden’s level came to just under the top of the sleepers. Next he planted out his seedlings, gave them a good douse of water, cleaned up his tools and went inside to watch the news.
Alas, even the effects of such an amazing day couldn’t shield Kahn from the utter horror he felt as he witnessed the leading story.
“A breaking story on Three News tonight, the nation of North Korea appears to have been forced, under strict martial law.
“North Korean dictatorship has announced today, in an effort, sources imagine, to avoid the plight of imminent lawlessness, abiding any form of authority, other than, the North Korean armed forces, is to be considered not upholding true North Korean law, and therefore, should not, cannot, and will not, be tolerated.
“The implications, of such a movement, especially taking into account the belligerent reputation, of said military, are many.
“Ordinarily, of course, a nation’s armed forces in control, of its law system, could be only a good thing, but in North Korea, according to UN consensus, this is indeed a step, in the wrong direction.
“Reports have just eventuated, that China, also one of the world’s top five military powers, despite sharing similar views to their neighbours to the east and whom, has always been seen as a mortal enemy, of North Korea, have just revealed, that they are now to be considered, allies.
“This revelation sets a tremendously worrying precedent, not only, for the people of North Korea, and in fact, the entire Asian continent, but for the greater modern world as threats of violence, have indeed been made, towards the rest of the world as North Korea, seem to be harbouring a grudge, with a tenacity of which, any rational mind could surely see, even the most petty of children would soon become tired.
“By coupling with Chinese forces, the North Korean army, and please bear with me as reports are still flooding in … Here it is, the North Korean army, is currently, a larger, a stronger military force, than anything … Imaginable, and, well, just like a toppled pot of fondue on a white tablecloth, this reporter simply can’t see how, this situation, is not going to get very out of hand, very quickly.
“This has been Jules Peach, reporting live from Pyongyang, North Korea.”
Unbelievable. He felt such loathing, such abhorrence for that evil General, Kodos Wanton. It sounded as though he was unstoppable, sounded as if things were only going to get worse, leading Kahn to contemplate: how safe would New Zealand be if Wanton decided to declare a worldwide battle?
Screw it. I’m getting out. I can’t do this anymore. They are everywhere. I can’t think for their infernal bloody chattering. But the problem is that now I’m trapped down here. There’s no escape even if I wanted one and I do, want one. No way. Getting out now would be suicide. Or a kamikaze run. Now there’s a thought.