His contemplation required little further thought as the very next morning, having risen again at 5 a.m. with just one task in mind – putting up guttering along the western face of his garage and installing the rainwater tank in the hope of catching any remaining spring rain – he received a phone call from one concerned mother.
“Kahn, baby, sorry for calling so early, I -”
“You consider 7 a.m. early now? I’m already half done for the day.”
“Well,” she laughed, “it’s earlier than phone etiquette dictates one should be conducting a phone call.”
“So, what are you – conducting, or dictating?”
“Well, funnily enough, my clever little boy, that was the reason I wanted to speak to you … You probably haven’t heard – your father told me – but Korea is apparently having a bit of a tiff with some other parts of the world -”
“It’s North Korea, and it’s a little more than a tiff, Mum.”
“Oh, so you have heard.”
“I do watch the news.”
“Oh, well I was, I suppose, worried, for you -”
“Why are you worried, Mum?”
“Oh, it’s just that, well, after your, disagreement with that horrible, Kevin fellow, I thought you might be feeling, I don’t know, down, on yourself..?”
“Mum, the Kevin incident was ages ago, it’s behind me … But if you are worried that I might feel some kind of misguided obligation to pick up tools and join allegiances with the North Korean army, simply because on the surface I’m of North Korean heritage, no, I was not, going to do that.”
“Oh, how nice … That wasn’t really my worry though … I was more concerned that because you are of North Korean heritage, you -”
“On the surface only, and no, I would never join those loathsome cretins in a million years.”
“Well, not by choice, no, but did you hear they’re conscripting anyone from Korea?”
“So you think, what, they might pop over to good old N-Z and start reclaiming their many immigrants?”
“Well, I wouldn’t put it past them…”
“Yeah, and after hearing the kinds of stunts their General’s been pulling, I wouldn’t be that quick to give them a ‘most improved’ award either.”
“Yes, well, Kahn, as you would have seen firsthand, improving on outright cruelty, can go either way.”
“Actually, Mum, I prefer not to acknowledge those early memories – far as I’m concerned, that isn’t me in those flashbacks.”
“I know, and that’s an admirable way to look at it, baby, but it doesn’t change the fact…”
“The fact that what?” Kahn pressed, “That no matter how much I believe that I’m a true Kiwi with absolutely no ties whatsoever to the land in which I grew up, I will always have the appearance of a Korean, therefore always be Korean?”
“Something like that, dear.”
“Honestly Mum, I would rather die than join their forces … And if they ever came for me I reckon that’s just what I would do – I’d fight those commie bastards to the death.”
That night he was ready and waiting at 6p.m. for The News to come on.
“Tonight on Three News we have further reports out of North Korea as the country prepares to go to war.
“Sources have it that North Korea’s entire male population, between the ages of fourteen and sixty-five, are ready and willing to engage in combat, for the North Korean cause.
“While their motives are indeed, unclear, popular projections are that, due to an ever-increasing, North Korean population coupled with a comparatively diminutive land mass, the country’s main objective, is expansion, this however, does not fit with earlier reports of colonisation, leaving the reason for North Korea’s movements, ultimately, as yet, undecided.
“Regardless, the affects of the two thousand five, North Korean Horror Story, are still raw in the hearts and minds of many across the world, and indeed, worldwide hatred towards the North Korean military, is high and with this in account, which is to say, perhaps pre-empting military action from abroad, is their goal, maybe finding a reason for this sudden and grandiose display of belligerence, is not, after all, such a far cry.
“In related news, the US today released a statement, saying that it was not willing to stand idly by, while another country, causes such upheaval and unrest around the world, boldly promising to take action, should action, first be, taken by the hands, of, North Korea.
“Further to this, is the question of New Zealand’s, potential involvement in such a, war, if, that is in fact, what international, leaders, are calling it.
“This has been Jules Peach, with a Three News update, reporting live from Pyongyang, North Korea, where, believe me, the tension is palpable.”
Well, I can’t get out. It wouldn’t even be a productive kamikaze run because the bastards’d shoot me on sight. Besides, I don’t have any decent weaponry anyway. There’s just so many of them now, I wouldn’t have a hope. It’s no good even at night because they’re all shining their torches around so the place is lit up like its Christmas outside. Screw this. I’m lonely, I don’t care what you say, I miss my Mum and Dad. I don’t even know if they’re still alive – and if they’re dead I guess I miss them more. And by christ I’m hungry for some red meat.