Monthly Archives: September 2016

A dream of being stolen from

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I was worried someone was purloining my money straight from my bank.

There were other episodes to it such as being in Araby. I saw the beige walls of a building. The place was a labyrinth. I had been in another country as well maybe Russia. Dangerous men were around.

I was able to recall it this morning but the revery has vanished. I am perplexed and regretful that I did not make jottings about the dream before the memory evaporated.

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How to save energy.

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Few reasonable people doubt that global warming is occurring. It is highly likely that this is at least partly anthropogenic. But even if it is not reducing our usage of fossil fuels is sagacious. Fossil fuels will at least then last longer. Moreover, fossil fuels are certainly pollutants.

Here are some propositions as to how we cane reduce our use of hydrocarbons. These come in no particular sequence.

Enact a law forbidding companies and families from keeping the lights on in buildings which are not in use. At night I often pass shops and offices with lights on. This is burning energy uselessly. Companies do it to advertise their wares. If they did not do so they would put themselves at a disadvantage viz-a-vis their competitors therefore the practise must be prohibited. If people leave their lights on when they are out they should be fined. One lightbulb can be overlooked but a whole house of lights switched on cannot. Not just lights but electricity generally. The refrigerator cannot be exempted for a reason to blatant to require elucidation.

We need to move to trains more than planes. With magnetic levitation this is viable. Mag Lev trains can go something like 400 miles per hour. Planes often go about 500 mph. Trains are in some ways a better option speed wise since boarding and disembarking is much quicker. There is no lengthy taxi to a runway. Planes take ages to land and landing spots are tight. Trains have no difficulty getting their slot at the station. Trains can slow down to stop in a mile or so – mag levs will take longer. Trains go from city centre to city centre. Airports tend to be miles out of town. If anything goes wrong on a plane it is at 30 000 feet usually. If an aeroplane crashes this usually kills the passengers. Trains are not at altitude. If a train comes of the rails it usually does not kill many passengers.

We need to tax cars more especially the bigger ones. I know that heavier cars are taxed more due to fuel consumption but this is still not enough.

Some people are moronic enough to show off by having needlessly large vehicles. This damages the planet. We need to change the attitude that having a bulky car is admirable,.

We ought to promote the notion that using public transport is commendable. The Duchess of Westminster said that any man over 30 on a bus is a failure.  This is certainly not so. There is nothing contemptible about using public transport. It is commendable. It shows care for the planet. Many people use buses for other reasons but this could be one reason for taking a bus.

We need to use more renewables. We can run buses on  used cooking oil.

We should have driverless buses, trains and cars. People sometimes go too fast because they wish to attract attention, they are reckless, they are in a hurry or they are too emotional. This causes crashes. It also uses too much fuel. People have to break too hard and that causes traffic jams and tailbacks. Robots will not do this. Computer driven vehicles will be more fuel efficient.

We need to use solar power more. A law should mandate solar panels on all buildings within a certain time frame – maybe 20 years. Governments could fund it. There could be gradually increasing taxes on all buildings without such panels. Taxes could be reduced on buildings with such solar panels. The same applies to wind turbines

We need to shift the tax burden from clean energy to dirty energy. The polluter must pay. Make clean energy tax free if possible.

We need far more wind farms and ”ducks” to use wave energy. Research into such energy should be funded. There are hydrogen powered cars and water powered cars.

Solar powered vehicles and ships are possible. A solar powered plane has already circumnavigated the globe. It was slow but a new vehicle always is.

We need more cycle lanes, rentable bikes and places to lock them up. This is also good for health. It reduces noise pollution.

We need more points to charge electric cars. They tend to be smaller and take up less space.\

We should challenge the chauvinistic attitude that a prius is effeminate. It can be feminine or masculine it does not matter. This car is socially responsible. Poisoning the planet is not manly. It is worthy of scorn.

We need thermal insulation of buildings in cold climates.

In hot countries architecture should enable natural cooling. People should also be allowed to dress for the climate even in offices so too much AC is not used.

Smaller houses also help – less space to cool or heat

Working from home reduces transport usage. Business trips and meetings can be reduced.

Taxing flights more will help. The revenue can be used to subsidise railways.

Excellent public transport obviates the need for cars to a large extent. Singapore makes owning a car very pricey and it provides superlatively good public transport instead.

I am a hypocrite and fly a lot. What would make me change my ways? Making it painfully expensive would lead me to reduce my flying drastically. That is the only way to do it. It has got to hurt financially. Appealing to goodwill and public spirit is insufficient to drive change.

People should have fewer children. No one should have more than one child. This will radically cut pressure on the Earth’s finite resources.

Eoin the Tutor.

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Eoin had had a tearful breakup with Senka. The termination had sickened him. It was not his doing. He had asked her not too. But he had to be honest with himself: at some level it was a relief. But the tragedy was for the best. It was hard to take. It came in the wake of an awful row at work.

That grey January he returned from his parents’ place in Ireland. It had been a so-so Christmas. Not too cold:  10 degrees on Christmas Day. As they had gone for a walk in the woods by the castle on Christmas Day a dog had ran into Eoin’s leg and hurt him. Being in the bosom of his family had been welcome for once. Usually there were heated arguments. But he had been through such grief that he was glad to be around them. His father had often been a tower of strength when times were tough. He had not breathed a word of his travails to his family. They had not heard of Senka or Eoin being jobless.

He flew back to London. He took a taxi home. The Algerian cabby was a garrulous type. Eoin thought of getting himself a driving licence and working as an illegal cabbie. What  on earth could Eoin do? There was no use in trying to get back into his previous line of work. He had tested that to destruction. He was not cut out for it. The stress mad him grind his teeth. Ironically Eoin had gone into it because he did not want to do an office job. But much of teaching was an office job. He had been so irate at the end of the day he wanted to strangle someone. There were decent pupils but many were rats. It only took one arsehole to ruin his day. He was driven mad by the pointless paper chase.

Eoin was paying a high rent. His studio flat above a Pakistani restaurant was very central. He had ample savings. He took the bus down to Kingston and tutored his Oriental pupils. He made a tidy amount from that. They were the most industrious and obedient pupils he had known. They were also the dullest. There was a bit of work between Christmas and New Year.

New Year’s Eve he caught the train to his sister’s place in Berkshire. Which choo choo to get? None went to her actual station for ages. There was one to Reading but that was not close enough. Finally he got one. He had been due to babysit the children but he was late. Lucinda and Ivan were off to a party and they had to take their children with them. They would be back later to go to a neighbour’s party.  It was a hefty 20 quid by taxi to their house deep in the countryside.

They had arranged it by phone. He got there and the house was unlocked as agreed. He sat there and there was a knock on the door. As he had been told Lisa came around. She was a 16 year old neighbour.

He opened the door to Lisa. It was the first time he had met her. She was tallish and slim. She had light brown hair. He made sure he stood as far away as he could when he shook her hand. He invited her into the very large drawing room. and sat her down on the sofa opposite his. He liked there to be a good 3 metres between him and her. He remembered all the child protection guidelines. Try not to be alone in a room with a minor. Never be alone in a building with a minor. Eoin turned on the charm. He knew how to be welcoming and affable when it came to adolescents. He asked her all about her riding hobby. She lived down the road and they had horses. He asked her about her accomplishments as an equestrienne. She was off to some public school next year and Eoin cooed about that. In reality he was not in the least impressed but he knew better than to tell the truth.

Later his sister and her husband came back with the children. Eoin cracked jokes with them all.

Eoin, his sister and Ivan then headed to the party down the road. It was at Lisa’s parents place.

There was a young blonde there. She was very tasty indeed – cradling her baby who was not one year old. She wore a tight grey press and nude stilettoes. Her skin was pale and barely madeup. She was very desirable but her personality was meek. Beside her was her chubby boyfriend. Incongruously he sported a tailcoat with his rugby shirt and denims. His thick black hair was geled back. He wore horn rimmed glasses and his flesh was rubicund. He chatted and chortled at a stentorian volume. Many people would have called him a dick. His name was Barnaby. Eoin started chatting to Barnaby. He turned out to be much more likable than he at first appeared. He was frank about being dim. He was a second hand car salesman. He and Eoin bitched about over regulation being the bane of their lives. Turns out that his girlfriend’s baby was not his – the baby was sired by the woman’s previous boyfriend.

There was an Aussie guy there. Eoin had a good chin wag with this middle aged chap. The Australian said he might return to Oz sometime – ”there’s a beach with my name on it if I want it”. The Antipodean was married to a Britisher of German parents. This plump faced plainy had resolutely refused to learn German from her parents. Eoin thought that contemmptible.

There was a a slender middle aged little Englishman in a tweed suit. We shall call him Geoffrey. Even if that is not his name it might as well be.  His mid brown hair matched his suit. He acted a generation older than he was. Geoffrey spoke French to his wife who looked to be 30 at most. His wife wore a white dress with a black belt and black high heels. Her raven locks hung down past her shoulders. She was svelte and her face was very striking. SHe was demeure and Eoin had the hots for her. He spoke in French to her. She was taken aback. The conversation revealed that she was Swiss. It came to light that they had a baby named Alexei. They name the child this since it was the only name they could hit upon that was the same in both languages in pronunciation, spelling and gender.

Geoffrey was also in the auto industry. He railed against the lassitude of his Italian colleagues. He despaired and wondered how anything was done there.

In one conversation he overheard his sister saying that a child but a huge strain on even the strongest marriage. Eoin blanched at that. Imagine if he had a child coming with someone he did not know.

Next day Eoin went to the cinema with his sister and sprogs. Then he was dropped the station and went home. He had spent a little too much over the festive season.

School was not beginning for a few days yet. He tutored a Chinese girl a bit.

Eoin felt sick at himself for the termination of his offspring. He said there was no sense in self recrimination. He was not very horny.

He went to the doctor about his leg. The doctor told him not to walk so far. He also said he wanted the snip. The doctor was very reluctant saying he may want children in future. Eoin was insistent. He was not going through the nightmare he had just experienced all over again. The doctor point blank refused. It was wrong of the physician to impose his views on Eoin like this. Eoin requested a different GP. He was given a female GP. She listened respectfully and pointed out that this was irreversible. Eoin said he was not stupid and knew that. He had pondered this extremely carefully. The doctor signed her approval. Odd how easy a termination was to obtain but how much of a rigmarole there was for a vasectomy. He coughed up his 400 quid and had his date set. He went for the op and never looked back. He could stick it anywhere he wanted now without consequences.

He had a few hours work a week with a Bangladeshi in Surbiton. He tutored this dyslexic boy. As Eoin had tonnes of time but little dosh he walked as much as he could.

He walked from Acton to Raynes Park sometimes.

Term began and he had less work. In the weekdays this were depressing. There was too much free time. He would get up late and leave the flat after schools had began. He did not wish to be recognised.

He tried sperm donation. He volunteered for medical experiments.

he went on gumtree. Saw all sorts of jobs. Baggage handler in Schipohl. Should he go for that? He inquired about working on the tube. They were laying people off. There was the Max test. What if Max saw him do it?

He regularly lunched with Kyrle who was also out of work.

He did a few days of sandwich delivery.

Eoin had booked a holiday for February to Grenada. He had done that when times were good back in October. In the end he cancelled it and got most of the money back.

Eoin went to Oxford and did a few hours for Mr Greene. Eoin also taught for Mulberry Bush. Now well paid and very bureaucratic but any work was welcome.

What could he do? He had fucked up the Master’s. It would take years to get into a profession. He had not the dosh.

He told himself to thank his lucky stars. It could have ended far, far worse. He had to be grateful for a roof over his head

He did some tutoring in Southall too. He was breaking even. He walked to work through the snow. He would leave the house hours before he needed to be somewhere – walk all the way. Spend time in a public library if needs be. He even applied to be a headmaster in Pakistan. It seemed comical but those people were such crashing snobs they might even take him due to his education. In the end they did not reply.

It came to March and exam season was beginning. His work picked up. He was busy most nights and all weekened. He was raking it in.

Then he contacted an agency called Bonner. Bonner was run by a Wykehamist. He went to meet Bonner. Bonner had the manners and appearance of a failed funeral director. But Bonner did have a huge business.

Eoin had changed his CV and got friends to give false references. Eoin had bent and stretched dates. Things looked a lot more acceptable.

Eoin was coining it all through April, May and June. He knew that summer school work was plentiful in July and August. Eoin did not take a holiday. He had had enough of travel. He needed to make money not to travel. He had had too much free time when he was without work. It was mostly cash in hand he got. The life of a freelance tutor in London was most agreeable.

In the mornings he volunteered for the Tory Party.

In July he went for a trial with Russian family in London. They were on holidays in Spain. They found Eoin most acceptable. He instantly clicked with their 12 year old son. After a week he went back to London. The word came that he had the contract. That August they took him with them to Sochi.

In September they returned to London. That is when he became a tutor for them. Bonner got their cut. He had Bonner pay him cash.

The family lived in Primrose Hill. He  was there every evening and all weekend. It was  a superb lifestule.

When the lease was up on his room he went to rent a place in Camden Town – closer to work.

He managed to get himself made a Conservative candidate for the council. He was glad to be in Camden – away from his enemies.

May the next year he was elected to the council. It brought him a steady income. He could only attend the committees that met in the mornings.

Life was looking up. He started doing standup comedy on the few weekday evenings he was free. Sometimes he had worked but was able to get to the gig after 9 pm.

Then he met a doctor named Jenny. They started a relationship. Jenny had a congenital heart condition making it impossible for her to have children. Eoin had no wish to have kids so they were a perfect match.  She already had a 2 bedroom flat in Camden.

That September tutoring was slow. He bit the bullet for an intensive driving course. He passed.

Eoin got himself on the Tory candidate’s list. He had to fight a seat in Newcastle first. It was rock solid Labour.

The next time he was selected for an either way seat in the West Midlands. He narrowly lost. Finally he was selected for a safe seat in the Home Counties.

Labour is going nowhere – fast.

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The British Labour Party is in a flat spin. It is hard to recall that only 6 years ago this party was in government. 10 years ago its dominance seemed almost unchallengeable.

Jeremy Corbyn was handsomely re-elected as this blog forecast. He saw off the challenge from Owen Smith handily. But 39% for an unknown was still creditable for Smith. One must bear in mind that SMith had all the big beasts on his side and fervent media backing.

Comrade Corbyn preached reconciliation during his acceptance speech. His desire to kiss and make up was at odds with the attitude of his most vociferous supporters. Many of them are baying for the blood of right wing Labour people. The ambience of this campaign was vindictive in the extreme. Corbyn’s theme tune has been back to the 80s. The acrimony prevalent in the UK Labour Party is redolent of the worst days of the Foot leadership.

Jeremy Corbyn is like Michael Foot but without the oratorical panache or the intellect. He is an outsider. He is like the messiah of an ultra left sect. He has no traction amongst middle Britain. He fails to observe so many niceties of politics. One could call him a man of principle. But he jettisoned some principles to which he had adhered for decades. He had been against the European Economic Community which was much less integrated than the EU. When it came to Brexit he campaigned for Remain but his heart was not in it. This is a large part of the reason Remain lost. He refuses to meet his own voters half way. Most Labour voters went for Leave. Corbyn refuses to reduce immigration even a tiny bit.

Corbyn has been a lifelong opponent of nuclear arms. He maintained a unilateral disarmament stance. Now he has vacillated on that issue. So much for him being a committed anti nuclear campaigner. He would not go the whole way and say that the United Kingdom should retain nuclear arms either. There is nothing to be gained from this illogical fudge.

For years he wanted to expel Northern Ireland from the UK despite the wishes of its population and the pledges of successive British Governments. He wanted to surrender to republican ultra-nationalist sectarian violence. He would have foisted Northern Ireland on a Republic of Ireland that was barely solvent and would have been utterly unable to campaign the loyalist terrorist campaign that would have ensued. Northern Ireland was the only place in the world in which a resident was not permitted to join the Labour Party. Thankfully Labour has ended this disgraceful discrimination. Corbyn has not sought to end this acceptance of equality.

The mood is so blood red that even Owen Smith felt obliged to say during the campaign ”I am just as radical as Corbyn”. This struck a very disingenuous note.

Labour is in a flat spin. No sooner was Corbyn re-elected than a row erupted between him and party moderates. There is a fissure in the party between his groupies and most MPs. This row is going to go on and on and on. Right wingers plan to subject the bearded one to the death of a thousand cuts. They are already plotting to subject him to another leadership challenge next year. Third time lucky? This bid to oust him has been a calamity for Labour. First of all he has retained his paramountcy. Second of all there was months of bad publicity. Third of all it was a huge waste of money which is in short supply.

Labour is going around and around in circles. They are so  busy tearing strips out of each other than they have little time to attack the Conservatives. Policies aside, Corbyn does not seem to be Prime Minister material. He lacks the gravitas, the experience and even the wardrobe. For years he was seen as an outcast by other Labour politicians. He was a thorn in the side of every leader. He formed a party of his own. He was a contrarian and self-indulgent. If he had his way Iraq would still be occupying Kuwait and why not conquering the rest of the Gulf.

Some moderate Labour MPs will throw their hands up in despair. No doubt many of them will step down at the next election. Corbyn will have a chance to have his enthusiastic young supporters elected to Parliament.

Labour faces attacks on all fronts. The Liberal Democrats were at rock bottom at the last election. They can go no lower. They will claw back a few per centage points of the popular vote and a few constituencies too. UKIP may well have already reached their high tide mark but they remain a significant threat to Labour especially on the east coast of England. UKIP will not take seats but they may deprive Labour of seats by taking away enough Labour votes to let the Tories in. The Conservative Party is dominant. They have a very credible leader. She is just the right age and she is personable. She has no deadly enemies. Most things in the country are moving in the right direction. The SNP’s grasp on Scotland shows little sign of slackening. It all adds up to a damning indictment of Labour. Austerity continues. There are zero hour contracts, a junior doctor’s strike and the economy has slowed. Labour should be doing much better than this as an opposition party during mid term.

Although some people are fiercely loyal to Corbyn he has little appeal to floating voters. He comes across as abnormal and deranged. Even his beard puts of apolitical people. He has no ministerial experience whatsoever or even as an opposition spokesman. He owns a house so therefore is not a true socialist.

The right wingers wanted to wear Corbyn down. They might strike is lucky next time. On the other hand he may start to try de selecting moderate MPs. Surely Labour is within its rights to do this. He has been elected by the mass membership and registered supporters twice. He has more of a democratic mandate than any other Labour head honcho before.

When Blair was leader Corbyn was his constant critic. People defended his right to dissent. But he was undermining the leader. Why should right wingers not be afforded this same right to excoriate the leader? They are branded traitors. This is rich coming from Corbyn’s partisans. J Corbyn was the most rebellious Labour MP fo all time. He called for annual leadership contests in 2003. Now he has got them. This row shows no sign of abating. The Conservatives are going to rule without effective opposition. A bitterly divided Labour Party enabled the Tories to govern throughout the 80s. Only when Labour rediscovers moderation and credibility will it stand a serious chance of returning to Downing Street.

Smash and grab. The Palace

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SMASH AND GRAB

THE PALACE.

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Philipps sat in his APC a mile from the palace gate. There were three armoured personnel carriers and a black limousine. They were well off the main road – concealed by bushes.

Philipps waited anxiously by the radio.

A signal crackled in ”Watt to commander – Watt to commander”. It was Nicholas Watt’s voice.

”Commander receiving. Over” said Philipps avidly.

”Mission accomplished. Target is down. Repeat;Target is down. Over”

”Excellent! Well done. Over” he said jubilant. Philipps was beginning to think the coupsters would not be runners up after all.

”Just one thing sir. There was resistance.’ ‘, said Watt guiltily.”Repeat. There was resistance. Had to shoot someone. So we are compromised. Over”

”You had to shoot someone? No problem. How long ago was this? Over”

”Five minutes. Repeat five minutes. Over”

”Five minutes. That’s fine. We were going to go ahead in another five whether we heard from you or not. As surprise is compromised we will go ahead right now. Go ahead with the rest of the plan. Over and out.”

”Roger. Out.”

Watt had thought it better not to tell Philipps that he had killed a woman. He would let him think it was a man. Watt knew Philipps had a strong moral scruple against killing women.

Philipps then go on the radio. ”Beach party. Beach party. This is commander. Go ahead now. Radio target has been eliminated. Radio target has been eliminated. Go head now.”

”Receiving. This is beach party. Roger that. Going ahead with mission now. Repeat. I will go ahead with mission now.” said Jonathon Wynn a mile away on a dinghy. He could see a few lights on by the door of the presidential palace. Just occasionally he saw moonlight glint off a rifle or a soldier light a cigarette.

Wynn sat in his wet suit on a dinghy 200 metres off shore. Beside Jonathon Wynn was a comrade also in a wetsuit but only to go ashore if Wynn failed. He nodded at Jonathon. Wynn put his mask on and then rolled over backwards and slowly lowered himself into into the sea, striving to make as little noise as possible. He was an excellent frogman. His powerful thighs propelled his fat frame through the dark water. He had to wear plenty of lead around his waist. He was as lardy and buoyant as a seal.

In a minute Wynn was swimming up the lagoon and up the rill that came past the gate house.

The water was only 2 metres deep but no one would expect a frogman to be swimming up the stream in the middle of the night.

Wynn stopped under the tiny footbridge as the plan dictated. He removed his mask and air tank. He took off his flippers and left them under the bridge. Wearing his surf boots he gingerly climbed up the muddy bank of the almost stagnant stream.

Wynn could see the gate 100 metres away. Two guards stood inside the gate – staring at the stairs and chatting idly.  A bright light above them illuminated them nicely.

Wynn got onto the grass and crept within 50 metres. Then he removed his gun with silencer from his wetsuit.

Wynn took aim at the plumper fellow. He waited till he was sure. He breathed once then fired. The bullet struck the man in the chest. The soldier grunted quietly. He put his right hand to clutch the wound. His comrade through the other fellow was joking.

Wynn shifted his sights onto the unwounded soldier. He carefully took aim. He then squeezed the trigger. A bullet pranged off the bar of the gate. Miss. Wynn had not breathed before firing.

The sentry knew something was wrong. He had heard the bullet ricochet off the metal gate. He went a few steps to his comrade who was now sitting down and breathing only with difficulty.

Jonathon Wynn took aim anew. He saw his target stooped over trying to stem the bleeding from his comrade’s chest. Wynn took pains to zero in on the centre of his target’s mass. It was the middle of the back. He breathed out and then pulled the trigger. He saw he hit a bit above where he aimed – but it was still a bullet in the upper back. The man growled and knelt down. Neither man was dead.

Wynn risked standing up. He aimed carefully at the second man. He saw his target steady himself and turn in Wynn’s direction. The soldier was getting his rifle off his shoulder. But being wounded it was hard to do so.

Wynn had better shoot before his enemy did. Now his enemy was facing him but could not make Wynn out. If the Bornoese simply started shooting it would alert his comrades.

Wynn aimed for the chest. He exhaled and fired. This time he hit the man bang on. His enemy fell back. Then the man’s soul took wing.

There was still one man leaning against the fence – his breathing was laboured from his wound but he was not dying soon. His face was contemplative.

Wynn walked briskly over. He was within 10 metres when his enemy saw him. They even made eye contact. The soldier went for his rifle but he was losing blood fast; his respiration was desultory. He was unable to steady his weapon.

Wynn took aim with both hands  – aiming for the man’s head. His enemy then put up his hands and waved them across each other to say – ”don’t”. He raised them a little in token of surrender.

Wynn did not hesitate. He pulled the trigger. Fuck! Missed again. The man became frantic and tried to gasp a plea. This time Wynn aimed true and pulled the trigger. A bullet struck the soldier in the forehead and the man fell dead.

Wynn then hurriedly opened the gate. He Took his walkie talkie out and radioed Philipps.

”Beach party to commander – beach party to commander. Mission accomplished. Mission accomplished. Over.”

Philipps received the news with delight. ”Commander receiving. Well done. Is the gate open. Repeat. Is the gate open? Over”

”Roger. Gate is open. Repeat. Gate is open. I shot both dead first time. Over”, he said with some embellishment.

”Beach party. You are a beauty. We will be there in 2 minutes. Over and out.”

”Out ” said Wynn. A beauty? Wynn was the most hideous man alive. Not just in the physical sense. Philipps was thinking perhaps he had been right not to let Wynn cool his heels in a filthy Moroccan prison.

Philipps got on his radio and ordered his vehicles to move. In fact the APC in front had a man with binoculars watching the gate a mile away. He had seen the men fall and the gate open.

The convoy drove at 20 miles an hour along the road – not so fast as to raise any more suspicion than 4 vehicles would driving in the middle of the night in a country with very few cars. The convoy purred up to the gates – finding them wide ajar as Wynn had promised.

The men in the limousine saw Wynn in his frogman suit waving merrily. There was a black chauffeur in a grey chauffeur’s uniform complete with cap. Beside him sat Sani in a blue pinstriped suit.In the back seat was a chubby middle aged black man.  Sani flashed a very genuine smile and gave Wynn a thumbs up as the car cruised by. Wynn noticed a small Nigerian Flag affixed to the bonnet of the limo. The three APCs followed. Sani tried to suppress his butterfly stomach. Kona was a martyr to constipation – the CIA had told him that. That gave Sani levity. Kona was literally an anal retentive. But would the mercurial Kona be in bed? He was early to bed but might he be up – on the can? Sani would have no qualms about executing Kona as he was on Thomas Crapper’s invention.

The house was a mile from the gate. It was a dark grey stone two storey building in a Scottish baronial style. There was a portico at the front complete with Grecian columns. It had the Greek ratio for beauty 8;3. There were two large windows above the porticoed area, four to the left and two to the right. The door was not in the middle of the front elevation but the building was square. The men had all studied plans of the building assiduously.

The two sentries at the front of the presidential palace were puzzled to see the lights of four vehicles coming towards them in the middle of the night. They wore combats and they got their khalashnikovs at the ready.

”What is this?” said one.

”I don’t know. Gate should have phoned us to say someone was coming.” he guffawed.

”An attack?”

There was a little ambient light.

”Come on the gate would not let them in. Looks like our own APCs.”

The limousine slowed down and halted under the portico and right in front of the main door. The chauffeur got out.

One of the sentries clocked the flag on the bonnet. ”Ah Nigerian ambassador. But at this hour?” The chauffeur nodded when he heard the sentry speak. The chauffeur went to the rear door and opened it.

A hefty middle aged black man in a charcoal grey pin striped suit  and highly polished Church’s handmade shoes stepped out. It was Laertes who was feeling nervy.

”I am Dinmuhammad Bakr – Nigerian ambassador. I am sorry to disturb you at this house of the night but I have an urgent message for the president.”  The soi-disant ambassador Laertes looked drawn and anxious.       ” We were stopped by the army and they insisted on escorting us” said the ‘ambassador’ pointing to the APCs behind them.

”Why didn’t you call?” asked one sentry indignantly, gurning his face in suspicion. The man had cartoon dimples. The other soldier was younger but taller. It seemed like the older fellow was still showing him the ropes. The younger man was malodorous. Seemed like the older chap wanted to throw his weight around even with an ambassador.

”The message is so secret that I dare not communicate by phone. The wrong people might be listening. There is a plot afoot. I must warn President Kona in person”, said Laertes in faux ambassadorial tones. Laertes was worried  – these men were a cohort of Kona’s best. They were nobodies fools. Would they not spot his anxiety ? But then that would tend to confirm his story – he was tipping Kona off about a coup and not launching one.

”Ok. We’ll take you in to see the officer of the watch. Maybe he decide you can wake up the president.”, he said in poor diction. Laertes’ charisma was working. These commies tended to operate on passing the buck. They feared responsibility. Everything would be passed up the chain of command.

Sani also got out of the car – he had been in the passenger seat. He too wore a Saville Row suit – his was blue pinstriped.

”My intelligence officer – he too must speak to the president” said the Laertes playing the diplomat.

”Ok, ok” said one of the sentries. They opened the wooden door with glass panels at the top. It lead into a marble hall with black and white chequered tiles. At the far end of the hall was a huge full length unduly flattering oil painting of Kona complete with presidential sash and the order of Lenin around his neck. Comical that this man called himself a socialist – thought Sani. It was framed by gilt wood. So conceited.  An artist in America had benefitted from Kona’s patronage on that one. Despite being a communist Kona would not stint on quality. Soviet artists did not cut the mustard. Kona’s demand for oil paintings of his family was known to be prolific and blowing a whole in the budget.

Both soldiers stepped in ahead of the men they were guarding. The so-called ambassador Laertes winked at Sani. They both took out handguns with silencers and shoved  them into the backs of the soldiers. Sani whispered, ”Don’t say a word. Just walk up the stairs.” Sani just hoped Kona was slumbering.

Both soldiers stiffened. They realised they had been conned. Sani moved his gun to press it into the occiputal prominence of his hostage. ”Just keep walking slowly. I am going to put this down at your back. Remember you mess around you die.” His hostage nodded silently and perspired rapidly. The man in front of Sani blushed. Sani was bemused by the reaction. To be terrified – that made sense. Imagine feeling embarrassed at a time like this. It was a defect in the man’s character that made him think of pride when he was about to die. That would be Sani Wiwa’s abiding memory of the night.

There was a staircase straight ahead of them – it spiralled broadly and two could easily walk abreast.

Sani and Laertes forced their men to walk on. As they turned the spiral of the staircase they saw two more sentries in combats and cradling khalashnikoves at the stop of the stairs outside a large white wooden door. Sani knew from intel that this was Kona’s bedroom.

The two sentries outside the bedroom looked suspicious. ”What is this?” one of them said almost aggressively.

Laertes decided to gabble the story lest the hostages warn their comrades.

”I am Ambassador Bakr of Nigeria. I have an urgent message for the president. I could not call. The president’s enemies might be listening. There is a conspiracy against him. I must speak to President Kona right now.”

The sentries outside the bedroom door lowered their guard a little. A plot against Kona was all too credible. Sani and his comrade were on the stairs only 5 metres from Kona’s door and those two sentries. Neither sentry had his gun pointed at the plotters.

Then Sani put his gun up beside the head of his hostage and aimed it at one of the sentries by Kona’s door.

Sani fired and missed. Fired again and his man just below the left collar bone. Sani fired again and hit the man in the stomach. The man groaned and made to raise his khalashnikov.

Laertes put his gun beside his hostages head and fired at the other sentry by Kona’s door. He missed his man. He fired again and again was wide. The sentry raised his khalashnikov but could not zero in on his target  – he feared hitting his comrade, a human shield. Laertes fired again and hit his man an inch below the heart. Another bullet his the sentry in the forehead and he fell back against the wall before slumping down.

Sani had then aimed carefully at the sentry he had already wounded – he grouped two in the middle of the upper chest – his man fell backwards.

Laertes then put his gun to the back of his hostage’s head and dispatched him.

Sani too put his gun to his hostage’s temple and pulled the trigger the soldier fell dead – some of his blood splattering onto Sani.

”Thank God that’s done” said Sani. His pulse was racing. ”I had only one bullet left” he said pulling a clip of ammunition from his jacket pocket and hastily reloading.

”Don’t know how we pulled it off” said the Laertes- he too was breathing heavily, in disbelief that they had made it this far. He was emboldened by their success.

Just then Kona’s door was flung open. Out strode Kona in a white silk dressing gown. He was 6’3” and slim. He was an egghead in both senses. His bald dome had a little hair around the back and sides. Kona’s aspect was severe and melancholic. He sniffed with sinus problems. His metallic voice hissed with indignation.

”What in the hell is this ruckus?” demanded the president. He glared at Sani and the ambassador and then looked down to see the four corpses.

Kona blanched and turned on his heel to run back into his bedroom.

Sani and his Laertes sprang forward – they raced up the last three steps and the last couple of metres of corridor to the bedroom door.

Kona slammed the door behind him. They barged it open before Kona could lock it.

Kona ran back to the far side of the room. To the right was a king sized bed. In it was a naked young blonde. She sat up in bed and screamed for all she was worth.

Kona stood petrified. ”No. I can give you money” he beseeched them. Sani had finally reloaded and straightened his arm. He aimed his gun at Kona from 5 metres range and did not hesitate. He opened fire – four bullets all into Kona’s chest. Kona fell back smashing his head against the window behind him. His blood poured out onto the floorboards.

 

The fresh faced, pale skinned blonde with fabulous C cup tits remained transfixed but her shrieking did not abate. Sperm leaked from her nether regions. She was irresistibly attractive. Sani had a weakness for girls but knew this was no time to gawp at her. Her gossamer nightie lay on the floor by the bed.

Sani walked closer and stood right over Kona  who was just about breathing. To make doubly sure Sani grasped his gun with both hands put two bullets into Kona’s forehead from point blank range. Blood spattered onto Sani’s taut hands.

”I want to shoot him too” said the Laertes grinning.

”Don’t waste ammo – we don’t have time for you to reload” said Sani.

As Sani said that they heard boots come running down the corridor. Sani’s men also piled into through the open front door.

Kona’s men had heard the yelling. A volley of khalashnikov fire was heard in the corridor outside. By the language being shouted Sani could tell the scrap was going his way.

Sani knew he and his pal could not outgun khalashnikov’s – that was why Sani’s backup was coming in to exfiltrate him. They would sit tight until Sani’s men came into the bedroom.

One of Kona’s soldiers rushed into the bedroom with his assault rifle poised – he fired a wild burst at Sani. Sani took two in the chest as he fired a missing shot.

Laertes then gave the soldier three bullets in the head. The man fell with a thud and his bright blood flooded the floor.

Sani fell to the floor and got up. ”God that hurts. Thank God for the bullet proof vest”. He noticed an extravagant army uniform of Kona’s complete with gold braid hanging in an open wardrobe. Not shutting the wardrobe door? What a disregard for conventional housekeeping.

There were more exchanges of fire in the front hall and on the stairs. They heard vehicles rushing

Just then Timms and Perkins burst into the room.

”Come on let’s go” shouted Perkins.

”We take the girl?” said Timms.

”Leave the girl” shouted Sani and they dashed out down the stairs. They raced through the hall. The young woman was left in the blood spattered bedroom was too terrified to cry.

Perkins and Timms picked up Kona’s corpse and carried it with them. As they raced out of the palace they overheard an officer stiffly  rebuking his men somewhere. He would rather bawl at his soldiers then have them attack the assassins?

Two of Kona’s men lay dead and one more moaning with wounds. Sani tried to step over the rivulets of blood. He thought – why am I doing that? At a time like this to try to keep his shoes clean! Beside them lay Peter Birch – his face frozen. He had been shot several times in the throat. But still more of Kona’s harpies must be wounded and skulking off – Sani told himself.

Sani and the others did not have time to contemplate their loss. Perkins and Timms flung Kona’s body into the back of the APC. They  piled into the APC.

”Did we get relatives?” said Sani to Perkins.

”Yes, Fell’s guys got Kona’s wife and daughter.”

”Excellent!” said Sani.


As soon as the firing had started Perkins had led 8 men in through the front door. They had to get Sani out and if possible take Mrs Kona and any of her children hostage. Mrs Kona and one of her daughters had been grabbed, handcuffed and bundled into an APC.

At that same moment one APC had sped around to the rear of the building. That was where the guard room was. Off duty sentries slept in a dormitory beside the rear door of the building.  The APC’s machine gun had hosed down their windows. The glass all smashed the Sani’s men threw in a few hand grenades for good measure. Of the 20 men in the dormitory 5 died and 10 were wounded. Only 5 were unscathed.

The vehicles raced off towards the airport. The hearties were chuckling and whooping – flushed with victory. Sani was beginning to love the idea of being a man of action. From an aesthete to a buccaneer – quite a change he mused.

As the vehicles tore down the road Perkins asked Sani, ”who was that white chick in bed with Kona?”

”She is Geraldine Barker. Her father is the only English doctor practising here. He is a man of outstanding ability in treating tropical diseases.  Geraldine was at boarding school in England. A couple of years ago she came back here for her school holidays. She was 17 and Kona took a shine to her. He told Dr Barker your daughter will be my mistress and you will be my personal physician on a handsome salary. And if you don’t accept I am going to prefer charges against you of medical negligence, molesting patients, prescribing the wrong drugs, embezzlement you name it.”

”So Barker accepted then.”

”Yeah he did. It was that or life in prison.”

”Sacrificed his own daughter.”

”Well Kona would have taken her anyway even if he put Dr Baker in gaol.”

”he treat her ok?”

”Yes he does. He does not beat her up or anything. They have a one year old daughter. Mrs Kona is not too pleased about it of course. I mean he does not flaunt Geraldine and but everyone knows she lives in the palace. Mrs Kona is still first lady at all state occasions. I think he is tired of her. The old girl’s ovaries have probably packed up. Since she has gone sterile I think Kona called it a day in the bedroom department  – with his missus I mean.”

Laertes was looking glum. The finality of what he had done was sinking in. The death of Fell had been a setback  but it could have been much worse. They could have been crushed by now.

Sani would not quite believe he had done it. Surely the part that required most finesse. And lived to tell the tale. If they had opened fire too soon Kona would have got away. If they had hesitated at the crucial moment he would have got away. Sani was a political man. He had pulled his weight militarily. It was not such a crazy undertaking after all. Might even succeed. Had succeeded. Kona was dead. Even if they were beaten Kona was not coming back. People told Sani that his advocacy knocked people down but now he had done something he thought impossible. Really knocked people down!

Never let people in uninvited – first rule of security. How had that gone unheeded wondered Philipps. This might be easier than he had imagined. Ought to get Kona’s body to a morgue before it starts to stink – he thought. In tropical heat that would be a few hours at best.

===============

 

 

Vale Shimon Peres.

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It seems bizarre but only last night I was thinking of his name. I had cracked a joke about ”Shimon says” as a game. I was ruminating on his Spanish or Portuguese surname.

I awoke this morning to hear that the man had croaked.

He moved to Palestine as a child. He was a legal immigrant. I do not blame him for wanting to found Israel. It was to be a safe haven for those of his faith. Jews had been well integrated in Germany in the late 19th century and there were no discriminatory laws. Within 40 years they were being slain in huge numbers. The argument ran that Hebrews could never feel safe in any other land. A country which fully accepted them might suddenly turn against them. Founding Israel would be good so long as it was done in a manner that was fair to the Palestinians. Maybe that was impossible.

Shimon helped to plan as dastardly attack on British and American forces in Sinai in 1954. In fact this crime did not go ahead.

As foreign minister he lied to the world claiming that Israel would not introduce nuclear weapons to the Middle East. He knew fine well that his country already had done. He was Prime Minister and President during the illegal occupation of Palestine. Many, many Palestinian civilians were killed. He was commander in chief of the armed forces. He did not order civilians to be killed in many cases. It kept happening and he did very little about it. He authorised illegal land grabs. This exacerbated the conflict. He committed many acts of terrible injustice. His political foes were even worse. His Palestinian enemies also committed crimes and sometimes killed Israeli civilians on purpose.

Peres was not the most bellicose of Israeli politicians. He made some efforts to achieve peace. Overall he was a wicked man and the world is better off without him.