TITLE: Knowing Kathmandu
GENRE: Action/Lit Fict
Ryan, former medical-aid smuggler, currently working in Kathmandu as a journalist, is caught in the crossfire of Nepal’s civil war. Here he phones his old smuggling partner, Lance, in London:
“Lance, it’s Ryan. I just left K.” Their tag for Kathmandu.
“About f*****’ time,” Lance said.
“I have to lay low. Apparently, I’ve angered Tashi [note: a Maoist kingpin].”
“Tashi? Tell him to piss off.” A pause. “Tell him I said so.”
Ryan had no intention of telling Tashi anything.
“Whose horse are you riding?” Lance asked.
He didn’t reply.
“Bloody hell, what are you up to?”
Best reveal the truth. “I joined a small group, with Chho and Pema. Autonomous, centrist. Currently working in silence.”
“God help us. More feats of secret chivalry.”
Ryan appreciated Lance’s position. In his eyes, Ryan was a loose cannon. He’d embraced politics again when he’d promised to give it up. If he were honest with himself, he’d gotten involved for his rejuvenation as well as Nepal’s. “I suppose you could say that.”
“F*****’ hell. You suppose? And I suppose you’re living large while Lancy-boy has lost his way, submerged his spirit. You going to tell me that the trick to growing up is to keep your idealism after you lose your innocence?”
Ryan felt immensely tired. “No.”
Lance sighed. “Alright. Look, you’re a good man, resolute, a heart like a lion. Think I’m going to let you off the hook for that? Well, take this to heart. Everyone should be a socialist when they’re twenty. If you’re still one when you’re forty, you’re a fool. You’ve got a few months.”