At War With Myself


I am a “soldier” of Boko Harem?

That being the case, the “me” of this Earth must not think that killing civilians in popular tourist destinations is wrong. Apparently that’s something “I” just finished masterminding.

Because I am widely suspected of plotting this crime that killed 286 people, 14 dogs and five cats, I’m being hunted by one of Boko Harem’s staunchest enemies. I’ve been on the run ever since awakening on this other Earth.

Armies of the disenfranchised wage untenable wars.

I’m moving through the jungle at a good pace, heading for the water where there are many places to hide out and fish for days if necessary. One vine after another to hack through. Bugs everywhere. Big bugs. And I suspect that those slithering vines over there are snakes.

I think about how this happened to “me.” I never would have believed that I could be recruited into a militant organization, much less murder people. The story of this other me lies in this brain somewhere. But I’m too keyed up as a fugitive to achieve that meditation.

What I do intuit is that this is Africa and the continent teems with competition for the capture of oil reserves, the poaching of rhino horns, elephant tusks and tiger skins, and the bloodthirsty collection of diamonds, with proceeds benefiting militias of the disaffected exploiting the legions of the poorest. I am probably one of them.

Why not just let this crusading avenger, this Raja Kamerdikaan, catch me and relax? After all, aren’t odds great that tomorrow I’ll “be” somewhere else anyway? Sure. But Raja is going to kill me. Dying has not yet ever proven to be “fun.” It doesn’t even help to know it’s temporary. Every instinct in my bones resists the threat of death no matter how many deaths I experience. I’d far rather go to sleep tonight and wake up tomorrow somewhere else.

Not that the “somewhere else” will necessarily be an improvement. I might end up with my Neanderthal wife again.

It was like traveling back in Time. 

Time. People like to treat it like a noun. But is Time a person, a place, a thing or an idea? No. Time certainly isn’t a person or place, and it isn’t even a thing. Oh it is? Well, where is it? No, the clock doesn’t count – ironically.

Is Time an idea? No, it’s not just an idea. It’s real. But it doesn’t exist in the past or in a future. We all experience it. The truth is, Time is not a noun. Time is a verb.

Time is action. Without action there is no Time. Action is Time.

Why do I ponder Time? My experiences have left me skeptical about the possibilities of the fantasy of Time travel. Can you travel an action? No, that wasn’t another “time”…

And why did I make the fatal mistake of slowing down? I see that bastard coming.

Sometimes I think too much.

I dash low through tangles that give me away but there’s nowhere else to go. He’s going to kill me but I can’t blame him. I’m the head of a weaponized gang that declared war on civilized comforts while ruling barbaric sanctuaries, aided by the proliferation of guns, grenades, gases and abandoned military equipment. This is the land of little armies, much like the England of old, a realm of divided, ill-defined kingdoms jockeying for dominance and prominence.

And I know this crusader. That memory is fresh. Born in Bumba, a small river port with no electricity or running water in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Raja learned the secrets of the River Congo growing up an honest fisherman’s son.

Educated in Ethiopia’s Addis Ababa, Raja went to work as a young lawyer on behalf of developers in need of cost-cutting loopholes for projects underway in the capital of the Amhara Region, Bahir Dar.

Their dangerous practices of using cheap, unworthy materials was associated with many questionable underground activities, none of which sat well with the honest fisherman’s son.

When forced to defend them, he felt sickened.

Knowing that many of his generation feels disgusted at the reckless urbanization of these ancient lands and the exploitation of manipulated locals, Raja leads them in the establishment of a secret village 35 kilometers downstream of Bahir Dar in the jungle near Blue Nile Falls.

Those of the secret village work in Bahir Dar by day as doctors, lawyers, carpenters and craftsmen, but return to Raja’s Village each night plotting to protect innocent people from the encroaching juggernaut across the continent. Many of these were murdered in my plot.

In short order Raja disarms me, subdues me, takes me to a cliff where he grabs a vine in one hand while clasping me firmly with his other arm. Raja Kamerdikaan’s struggle with this Boko Harem assassin ends above Blue Nile Falls.

“You are so busy causing trouble that you have not visited our beautiful waterfalls,” Raja manages to say as we swing out over the falls.

“Here you are -!” he announces, kicking me off the rope.

“No! I -! Uh…!”

Raja smiles down at my doomed, descending, flailing form, swinging back to shore. 

“You are welcome.”