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  • Writer's pictureNikko Norte

Stealing Arnold Schwarzenegger …

Stretching my still half asleep body, shivering with cold, I hear Moos softly whine. In the doorway of the caravan Heidi and I built last summer, she sits on the bed, which we have not yet turned into a couch. Please, help me out, I know Moos' whining means, so I walk to the caravan, frozen grass, white in the light of the moon, crackling under my feet, and lift our brave German shepherd to the ground. Already busy with all kinds of dog things, Moos fleetingly licks me in the face to thank me – I think – before she picks up a squirrel’s trail and disappears into the woods.

Six o'clock in the morning. Man, it's cold. Probably because he once remarked that six hours of sleep is enough for those who want to succeed in life, I think of Arnold Schwarzenegger. And if six hours is not enough, he added, then sleep faster. Good old Arnold. In a previous life, I stole a cardboard billboard with his image from a cinema in Rotterdam, in the Netherlands.

Arnold Schwarzenegger on a motorcycle, a blinking, red light in one of his eyes. As if we had been hired to do so, a friend and I walked out of that cinema with Arnold between us. Arnold and I hid in an alleyway as my friend fetched his Renault 4. Arnold didn't fit in the Renault, so we put him on the roof. My friend, through his window, held on to Arnold with his left hand while steering the Renault with his right. Through the opposite window, I held on to Arnold with my right hand, operating the Renault’s gear selector with my left. Blue emergency lights behind us just as the wind got a grip on Arnold. The police officers who halted us collected the parts of Arnold, scattered across the road, put them in the back of the Renault, and let us drive on with a warning for driving too slow.

Not the behavior of law-abiding citizens, we realized even back then, but a week earlier, in the cinema from which we stole Arnold, we experienced an injustice that justified our wrongdoing. A group of youngsters disrupted the movie we were watching, being noisy, throwing beer bottles through the auditorium, threatening other moviegoers, opening switchblades, name it. We had removed the group from the cinema, and instead of thanking us, cinema employees called the police to file a complaint against us.

Water for coffee! On a healing broken ankle, I limp to the facilities of the campsite in south of the Netherlands of which we occupy a secluded corner. Moos emerges from the forest. Playfully, she bites a hand that feeds her. In the distance, I discern an illuminated Christmas decoration behind the window of the campsite’s reception. I eh… I think I’m certain that Santa will surprise me with a Nespresso machine, which reminds me that Santa doesn't yet know what he will surprise Heidi with as the Netherlands celebrate a futile lockdown, shops closed. Santa has to buy Heidi's presents online. Now, Santa knows the basics of online shopping, but he is clueless when it comes to electronic payments, and … cold water runs over my hand. I fill a second canteen with water, and on the way back to our caravan, dawn not yet announcing itself, I think of the hunt for Christmas trees, which for years made one of the highlights of my Christmas holidays.

Five days in a row, my alarm clock went off at four o’clock in the morning. I put on two pairs of socks, kept my pajamas on under my pants and sweater, and sneaked down the stairs of my childhood home. Rubber boots on, jacket on, gloves on, and out through the back door. My friend Robbie was awake after the first stone I threw against his window, and before dawn had fully broken, we had, in our Rotterdam neighborhood, collected all the Christmas trees people had thrown from the balconies of their flats or shoved into their gardens the previous evening. We dragged those trees to the emptied sheds behind our houses, and to avoid trouble with gangs from other neighborhoods, we carefully made all traces of our nighttime labor disappear.

And although we didn’t cover less ground on our rubber boots, the catch was always poor the first night after Christmas – that lasts two days in the Netherlands. But that changed as the final day of the year drew closer. Strings of Christmas trees, tied together with ropes, we dragged across fields and through streets, and on New Year's Eve, at midnight, our neighbors gathered around our Christmas tree bonfire at the intersection next to our houses.

But Robbie’s and my zeal had a downside. After our first Christmas tree adventure, seven years of age, first day of school after the Christmas holidays, I recounted in class how Robbie and I collected more than a hundred Christmas trees for a bonfire. Our teacher mockingly looked at me and said, ‘I don't think your parents would allow you to burn Christmas trees. And more than a hundred trees? Don't make me laugh.’ My father, I wanted to cry out, had masterminded the operation, but I swallowed my words and looked at Dick, who lived next door to us and had set off his fireworks at our bonfire – Robbie a class higher. Dick looked away, the class howled as the teacher shook her head, and long before I met Heraclitus, I learned that the truth stands little chance when it is incredible.

In our caravan, Heidi has turned the bed into a couch, I notice when Moos opens the door with her snout before she places her front legs on the caravan floor and whines please, help me in. I lift her hind-legs into the caravan and climb into it myself. Moos gobbles her food, the diesel stove works magic, and the Netflix logo has already appeared on our television. I boil water for coffee, mix berries, dried fruit, kernels, nuts, and seeds into a caveman breakfast, and think about yesterday’s conversation with the friend who once assisted me in stealing Arnold Schwarzenegger from a cinema – which is probably the real reason I just thought of Arnold Schwarzenegger. According to my friend, I couldn't have read the Pfizer papers I referred to during our conversation. If such papers existed, investigative journalists from quality newspapers would have delved into them.

I eh… I saw investigative journalists from quality newspapers at work in Afghanistan during the time Dutch soldiers served there, I reminded myself last night, staring at the ceiling of our caravan for the better part of my six hours of sleep. In their articles, they dutifully reported what press information officers told them to report, and quite some Afghan people would still be alive today if Dutch investigative journalists in Afghanistan had done some delving …

The son of an Austrian police officer becoming the world’s greatest bodybuilder, a movie star, and governor of an American state. Two seven-year-old boys collecting over a hundred Christmas trees for a bonfire on New Year's Eve. Incredible truths! Another incredible truth is that ninety percent of all media worldwide belong to a group of about ten media giants. In turn, those ten media giants are owned by the same few conglomerates that own the pharmaceutical companies that produce our corona vaccines.

And yet another incredible truth is that the owners of the few conglomerates that own most media worldwide and most pharmaceuticals, among things, in collaboration with too many governments, are exploiting the outbreak of a virus that barely affects healthy people to get to a new world order, to build back better. Via vaccines, which most of us don't need and which’ side effects are more fearsome for most of us than corona, to a COVID pass, and via economic chaos to digital money. Once we have embraced digital money to get out of the chaos, a traceable, biometric ID, doubling as a wallet, will replace the COVID pass, and our bodies become part of the internet of things. A social credit system will be forced upon us, agreeable Christmas days will be something of the past, and ... oh man. If only we gave up confidence in journalists – and scientists – who don't even dare to playfully bite the hand that feeds them and invested some time in our own research …

From a medical point of view, Omicron marks the beginning of the end of the corona crisis, which would not have been a crisis if governments had stood up against those who force a barely hidden, hidden agenda upon us. Omicron spreads rapidly but hardly makes its victims ill, thus being the best vaccine against corona. Independent scientists are shouting it from rooftops. Literally, because no investigative journalist dares to delve into their claims, and because those scientists, according to our social media – owned by …? – spread misleading medical information, which, pre-COVID, would have prompted investigative journalists to delve into the reasons those scientists could possibly have to suddenly spread misleading medical information, halfway or at the end of often glorious careers. Anyone investing some time in research will find the usually substantiated information independent scientists shout from rooftops.

And after having researched some rooftop scientists, thus having uncovered some incredible truths about corona, there might be some time left to research an institution called the WEF, an institution funded by the few conglomerates that wish to build back better. It won’t take long to come to realize that the noble causes the WEF pursues are but a smokescreen, and it won’t take long to conclude that no government should collaborate with the WEF without being transparent about it; some ideas of the WEF and its founder could easily be called extreme. Man, only a bit of research leads us to stop fearing what isn’t worth our fear and helps us realize that the only way out of this mess is to redefine the word law-abiding, like the WHO – funded by …? – redefined the word pandemic some ten years ago.

The only constant in our lives is change, according to Heraclitus. I eh… I love change, but the change that is being forced upon us under the guise of a fight against corona doesn’t appeal to me. I judge the methods that are being used to force that change upon us criminal, and ... ‘You keep standing there, in front of the television?’ Heidi asks. I pick up my caveman breakfast – good vaccine against corona – trip over Moos, hurting my ankle though saving my breakfast, ponder a second on who once remarked that evil people only achieve their goals when good people look away, and decide that I, for one, don't want to be a Dick ...


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