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  • Writer's pictureNikko Norte

On the run …

If I had known I was going to get this sick, then ... then what? But man, I feel miserable, and the worst part of it is that I can’t tell anyone, not even Heidi, who chooses this moment to askingly raise our Stanley thermos. ‘No thanks,’ I mutter, and I notice one of Heidi’s eyebrows rise. Coarsely ground Nicaraguan coffee beans over which I carefully poured water I boiled next to our van on our gas burner only a few hours ago. ‘Maybe,’ Heidi volunteers with a nod of her head, her tone too neutral, ‘maybe you should find a place back there, less movement.’

I break out in cold sweat as I stagger to the center of the Stena Britannica and lie down on a couch. But Heidi was right; the ship’s movements are less pronounced here. The last few weeks have been hectic, I realize, and … ‘Still not in the mood for coffee?’ I hear Heidi ask. Confused, I open my eyes. ‘How long eh...’

‘It's seven o'clock, Dutch time. The sea is calm now. I think we sail under the luff of England. Moos is all right; I just checked on her.’ I sit up. The world behind the window I look through is black. The smell of coffee when Heidi unscrews the cap of our thermos. I feel better, and when I mumble, ‘Under the lee,’ my voice, luckily, is luckily drowned out by a message over the PA-system. Something about territorial waters. In amazement, I watch members of the Stena staff take off the facial masks they wear. Smart virus, that coronavirus! It follows a different strategy per country to force us on our knees, which justifies different measures per country to protect us from certain, untimely death, and eh… not entirely true. Corona measures deliberately differ per country to pave the way for governments to sign a treaty that will grant all decision-making power during a next pandemic to the WHO, an organization financed and therefor controlled by people who hold on to a dubious agenda, cherish controversial ideas, and see the value of their equity portfolio rise with every wrong decision the WHO makes.

Some ten years ago, hardly anyone willing to die of the swine flu, the WHO changed the definition of the word pandemic. More people died the last two years from that change of definition than people died of corona, and the WHO proved to not be the organization to rely on during the outbreak of a virus. And those simple truths, I realize, will unlikely ever be uncovered by members if the Stena staff because the mainstream media are largely owned by the same people who control the WHO, and the media still crying independence rely on news agencies such as Reuters, which are financially kept afloat by those same people who … Nicaraguan coffee! I raise my mug and wink at Heidi, who has spent the last few days acquiring the documents we needed to board this ship as I explored the black market for negative corona test results, discovered that the black market for positive corona test results is an even bigger market, and caught myself thinking that a black market for corona vaccines would have made more sense ...

But I eh… I am fed up with the harassment of unvaccinated people, and my empathy is waning with people who take it as their due to accept science-deprived corona-related arguments from governments and from organizations such as the WHO. People who have themselves – and their children – vaccinated against corona because it is socially desirable or to travel to a holiday destination abroad, who refuse to hold lying politicians accountable, and who refuse to glance over the shoulders of the mainstream media at the growing stack of data and studies that prove every step in the fight against corona thus far to have been a misstep.

Like so many people, Heidi and I survived four corona waves without a cough. We never wore a facial mask, steered clear of disinfecting hand gel, and didn't bother with an increase in social distance – but would, should we have coughed one day, have given vulnerable people a wide birth. Politicians, including the president of the USA and the Dutch Minister of Health, promised us that we would die last winter, being unvaccinated. Not a cough. And yet, to be allowed to for example travel to Britain without too much bother, we either take a vaccine that destroys our immune system and does not protect us against corona – against which we don’t need protection – or we somehow prove our constitution to be so weak that we have contracted a corona infection at least once over the course of the last few months. Not a cough.

Heidi pours more coffee, and with a nod, she forces me to look out of the window. Lights pierce through the blackness. Green and red lights on buoys and ships. The few white lights I see probably streetlights on a bank of the Stour. Or is it the Orwell? Great Britain! A new life – in case we get past Customs & Excise in the harbor of Harwich. Great Britain, where the average age of death is 79 years while the average age of death for people dying of corona is 82.5 years, where government data show that vaccinated people run significantly greater corona-related risks than unvaccinated people do, where Nigel Farage still waits for an answer after he asked the footballer’s association to reveal the vaccination status of the 187 professional football players who came down with heart trouble in recent months, and where the British Journal of Medicine published a study demonstrating that the corona pandemic claimed eighteen million deaths worldwide of which six million were corona victims …

Good study. One of the over fifteen hundred studies I collected during my search for one scientific argument to take a vaccine against corona. The handful of mainstream media that paid attention to the study claimed, no substantiation offered, that we likely deal with about twelve million unregistered corona victims. Not so likely. Developing countries benefit from whipping up corona figures, and in Western countries the chances are slim that someone dies of corona without a recognizable, corona-related, clinical history. In addition, governments have agreed with the WHO that anyone who tests corona positive on the day of her or his death is a corona victim, not the victim of, say, the traffic accident that preceded that death. The videos in which politicians naively admit to that agreement with the WHO have been removed from most popular video platforms – owned by? – but anyone interested finds them nonetheless. Data from again the British government show that at least 25 percent of registered corona victims in England and Scotland died with corona, not of corona. And then, of course, there is the mystery of the disappeared influenza, which, had it not disappeared, would have been responsible for about ten percent of the alleged number of corona victims.

My pondering held me hostage until a message over the PA-system guided us to our van, which I now bring to a halt next to a Customs & Excise container. Through her lowered window and through the designated hole in the window of the container, Heidi hands our passports to a customs officer. After scanning our passports, he gets up and walks out of the container and around our van to my side of it. I push the button to lower my window, and until Heidi, with a sigh, turns the ignition key, the customs officer and I awkwardly stare at each other.

‘Business or pleasure, young mister Norte?’

‘Neither, guv'nor,’ I politely reply. ‘We eh… we are refugees.’

‘Refugees …’ the customs officer mutters to then louder say, ‘Austrian car, Dutch passports. Which country is it you're fleeing from?’

‘We lived in Austria and flee the vaccine mandates there.’

‘Visa, work, housing …?’

‘Many organized refugees these days?’

As the customs officer strides toward an office, Heidi asks me whether it was truly necessary to be an idiot. Somewhat offended, I explain that our Dutch passports guarantee a search for drugs in our van and trailer, both loaded with boxes containing household goods, clothes, and whatever more no one would ever bring on a pleasure trip. ‘How would you have explained that?’

‘Next year,’ the customs officer discloses after returning to my window, ‘I’ll retire.’

‘You do ...’ I answer, trying to figure out where this twist will land us.

‘I do. But I would gladly have forfeited my pension if I had been forced to take that jab.’

‘Good man ...’

‘Now listen, funny couple. Get yourselves organized and say pleasure any next time you enter this country without a visa.’

‘And what about that search for drugs?’ Heidi asks as we drive on. I nod in the direction of a brightly illuminated hall in which customs officers have gathered around a rusty van. As slowly as we drive into the hall, we drive out of it at the opposite side, and until I turn into a country road after about half an hour, we drive through the dark night in silence.

Next to the van, we stand in between meadows or crop fields. It's cold. The gas burner whirrs. Moos the German shepherd hunts rabbits. Carefully, I pour boiling water over coarsely ground Nicaraguan coffee beans in the filter on the rim of our thermos. When the water has sifted through, I screw the cap on the thermos, wait till the gas burner has cooled, and pack up as Heidi whistles softly upon which Moos emerges from the darkness and jumps into her cage in the van. According to the TomTom, we have another hour to go to the destination Heidi has chosen while preparing our flight. As we head north, in between hedgerows, cautiously sticking to the left side of the barely traveled road, some of the anxiety that has been building up those last few months seems to dissolve. We drink the coffee Heidi pours and sing along with my ‘70s hits.

I am a passenger …

And I ride, and I ride

We'll see the stars that shine so bright

And everything looks good tonight

La…la…la…la, la, la, la…

When the TomTom indicates we’re nearing the campsite we are heading for, I feel Heidi’s anxiety revive. She made all kinds of arrangements with the campsite’s, and now, I know, she doubts herself. The campsite is located in a village near Cambridge, adjacent to the main road passing through it. When I get out of the van, after we have turned into a driveway and have come to a halt in front of a gate, I notice it’s raining softly. On a console, I enter the code Heidi has given me. An orange flashing light jumps to life, and the gate rolls aside.

Between fruit trees on an otherwise empty field behind a farm, we disconnect our trailer, and in the light of the Petzl on Heidi's head, we adjust its four swiveling jacks to level it. I open the door of the trailer, open the doors of the cargo area of our van, watch Moos disappear into the darkness, and haul a first box through the now pouring rain to a shed in which, Heidi arranged, we can store our earthly possessions until we move on in life. Wet boxes and bags pile up in the shed, and when Heidi walk our bikes into it, I think of top athletes and their recent heart problems. The sparse mainstream media that pay attention to the phenomenon agree that heart problems are a rare side effect of the corona vaccines and forget that top athletes are rare ...

Empty van, empty trailer. We needed the trailer empty because it actually is a caravan. Rain hammers on its roof. Heidi fills the reservoir of our diesel stove, Marilyn Monroe's face above her on the television screen. Before we convert the couch on which I sit into a bed, Heidi wants to watch a part of a Netflix Marilyn Monroe documentary. Fine with me. We have left the EU behind. From this wooden box on wheels, we will build a new life. Pensively, I shake my head at a smiley I drew with a finger on a fogged window while in my mind I hear Marilyn Monroe say wise people know their limits; smart people know they have none. Then, Moos' snoring leads my mind to Mark Twain who once remarked it's not the size of the dog in the fight; it's the size of the fight in the dog. Man, I'm tired, dog tired; that's all. Before the month is due, we will be legally living in a house in the UK, and … tires screech. A dull bang. Moos wakes up with a start. I put on my wet hiking boots, order Heidi to find and call an emergency number, and sprint into the rainy night.

The fence is a simple obstacle, but when I land on the other side of it, a sharp pain in my ankle reminds me of breaking it some months ago in Austria while landing under my paraglider. Once on the main road, I hear myself mumble, ‘Not again,’ and I feel as sick as I felt this afternoon. A delivery van stands at right angles on the road, a Mini Cooper, mint colored in the glow of a streetlight, has crashed through the wooden fence around the campsite. Glass, car parts, and parts of the fence scattered on the road. I see fire and smell burnt flesh without there being a fire, see blood without there being any blood, see brain tissue hanging out of a skull and torn limbs. Former Yugoslavia, Africa, Afghanistan. The last time I tried to resuscitate a man after an accident, I pressed my hands right through his chest. That chest, I later learned, was shattered when the man in front of me, who breathed his last only seconds earlier, was flung from his car and onto the tarmac.

Fighting my emotions, I check both cars for occupants. None. I shift on the hazard lights and turn my attention to a woman sitting next to the delivery van on the road, her head in her hands. She is responsive and assures me she is unharmed. I lift her to her feet, guide her to the sidewalk, and run to a young man ambling confusedly down the street. He as well seems unharmed. Out of the corner of my eye, I notice Heidi run into the main road. She’s on the phone. ‘Ambulance?’ she yells. ‘Police only,’ I yell back.

In the rain and in between the drivers of the cars that just collided, I sit on a sidewalk, my arm around the shoulders of the young man, who softly cries. Heidi has found the warning triangles in both cars. She has placed them on the road and now drags car parts and parts of the fence to the opposite sidewalk. Quite some eh… quite some houses around us. Cozy lit living rooms. No one outdoors. In two gardens, I notice a Ukrainian flag on a mast, and in my mind I sing: Bla…bla…bla…bla, bla, bla, bla…


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