Tim Walker’s Novel 7

He spent much of that morning on the telephone to his parents, gleaning information through his father, becoming irritated with his mother. He was twenty-one years’ old, yet she treated him as if he were eighteen less than that; Kahn understood she only had his best interests and overall well-being at heart but sometimes, she drove him utterly insane. After the phone marathon he moved into his conservatory to consider what he knew. Despite cloud cover taking out the sun the heat inside the little glass room was intense. Kahn gazed out at his vegetable garden and tried to forget about scornful Koreans and threats of war, and just tried to enjoy his place in the world. The air was so fresh; God, he loved it out here. He opened the small sliding door on the west side of the glass enclosure and stepped onto his green – not yellow like some in the city but vibrant green – lawn. Turning to the right he smoothed a patch of soil in his garden which had been ripped up by birds looking for insects, checked that all the seedlings were flourishing, realised that the area the birds had cultivated was in fact his row of carrot seed, cursed their thrashing beaks, and just as the night before, took a stroll around the property. It was becoming something of a habit, he thought mirthfully, appreciating that as habits went, he could do a lot worse. As he walked Kahn pondered the potential for paid work in this area: he supposed that if he advertised in a local paper the chances of picking up some odd landscaping jobs shouldn’t have been too narrow but for now, with just under 10k remaining in his bank, the issue was far from urgent – although how long would ten thousand dollars last with regular outgoings such as mortgage, rates, electricity and phone bills? He had no idea. He was new to this game.

That night he wasn’t sure he wanted to see the six o’clock news report, nevertheless the TV went on, as usual, at 5.58. After enduring advertisements for a few vacuous American sitcoms, the ominous music signifying the News programme began. Kahn found himself wrestling with a mild case of nervousness, until he saw the melancholic expression of the typically impassive lead anchor, where a mild case of nerves became fully fledged anxiety.

“On Three News tonight, our main story relates to the North Korean attempt, at global domination, and colonisation.

“We cross live now to member of the UN Security Council, Carol Hives, good evening, Carol..?”

“Yes Michael, good evening.”

“Now, Carol, I’m sure I am not the only person who wants to know … Simply … Can North Korea, do this?”

“Yes, that’s a very good question, Michael, and you’re right, you won’t be the only one wanting to know this … The answer, from a legal standpoint anyway, is, no, they can’t.”

“Right, Carol, thank you, so, can you maybe shed some light, on, firstly, why, they are doing this, and, secondly, how, are they getting away with it?”

“Well, Michael, the why, comes down to a matter of necessity, do they need the vast expanse of land, for which they are asking? And the answer, after taking into account current, and potential, population, et cetera, is a resounding, no … And I think, or should I say, the UN thinks, this high level of agitation, we are seeing, from North Korea, goes far past any necessities, goes past any logical reasoning, no Michael, this was most definitely, a vengeance-fuelled attack, although vengeance for what, we are, as yet, in the dark.”

“OK, and the how, Carol?”

“And as for the how, well, let me tell you, Michael, they are not getting away with it, not legally, at least…”

“Alright, so if not legally, how about practically?”

“Well, that’s the interesting thing, Michael, after two monumental world wars, throughout history, it would now seem, that the world, or at least, the world leaders, have more or less, learned their lesson, which is to say, the entire world, appear so terrified of embarking on another world war, that even for those typically belligerent nations, Iraq, Russia et cetera, common sense does seem to be prevailing and thus, they are holding back any physical retaliation.”

“And Carol, you believe this uncharacteristic non-belligerence is, in the hopes of, sparing the world, from another war?”

“That is the UN’s belief, yes.”

“Also Carol, if I could quote you, you mentioned earlier that North Korea are ‘not getting away with it, not legally at least’…

“And I maintain that … Korean leaders will soon be standing trial for wartime atrocities against -”

“But from what I hear, Carol, they’ve already launched, an air attack on Washington DC, and are still, in the process of, making demands, so please tell me, Carol, how is this to be considered, ‘not getting away with it’?”

“Yes, fair question, Michael, but let me assure you, we are not taking this unprovoked attack on the world’s, most powerful nation, lightly.”

“Alright, Carol, and what, if anything, are the United States, doing about this, ‘unprovoked attack’?”

“Well, given the calibre, and volatile nature, of this skirmish, they have been advised to refrain from any potential retaliation, for fear that to return fire on North Korea, who, for the record, Michael, have since been formally credited for the attack, would be as good as throwing down a declaration of war – of world war, for that matter, which, as previously mentioned, is something everybody, is keen to avoid.”

“’World war’, though Carol, isn’t that jumping the gun, so to speak?”

“I don’t think so, Michael, not when one looks at global feeling towards, North Korea.”

“So, just how strong is, North Korea’s military?”

“Right, they were recently, officially, assessed as being the fourth largest in the world, but of course, as we have all heard, have since collaborated with the Chinese military, who were also said to be among the top, five, big guns, but even before this amalgamation of powers, it was discovered, that North Korea had amassed far greater numbers, thanks to a largely indiscriminate conscription programme, than we previously had knowledge of, and therefore, through sheer numbers alone, may have already ranked somewhere in the top two … But it really is hard to say, Michael.”

“But you are confident, Carol, that with the Chinese military merger, they are definitely, number one?”

“I don’t know if I would consider a nation’s military strength, reason to hand about rankings of ‘number one’ and so forth, but yes, Michael, they are now, without a doubt, the world’s greatest military power.”

“That was Carol Hives, of the UN Security Council, with her, somewhat disturbing, views on the recent North Korean conflict – thank you Carol.”

“Thank you Michael, goodnight.”


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