Friday, March 26, 2010

How to end piracy off Somalia

I have just simultaneously solved the problems of piracy off Somalia and carjacking in Nairobi. I give you Protection Rackets!

Back in the day, criminals would at least have the decency to allow you the chance to pay them off before trashing your deli with a baseball bat and garotting you with a strand of undercooked spaghetti. I think it is time to return to such old-fashioned values.

Starting Monday, because I didn't sleep well last night and am a bit tired, I am going to marshall all the Somali pirates under my command.

The deal is simple: I will be chief pirate, with a hat that's way too large and elaborate for my head (a bit like this one, only bigger), a dog called Raffles that I have trained to smell out treachery among my minions and a cutlass I sharpen on knife block clamped between the teeth of the severed head of the lead singer from Coldplay.

Shipping companies will pay me protection money and I will share it with my gang, obviously minus a big slice for myself, which I will use to fund even more elaborate hats until the day I get too adventurous and my neck snaps like a twig under the weight of my most-daring creation yet.

The annual fee will be less than the cost of hiring private armed guards and the increased cost of insurance. Ships will be unmolested, so the companies will be happy. My gang and I won't even have to get out of bed in the morning to collect our wages, never mind go out onto the ocean in a tiny boat, running the risk of being shot, arrested, knocked over by a big wave or accidentally sailing off the edge of the world. So we'll be happy.

Any freelance pirates who try to hijack ships will be pulled to the bottom of the sea by an enraged giant octopus, one of an army I will train to roam the sea enforcing my will. Ships whose owners do not pay the annual fee will be dealt with similarly.

Even the journalists will be happy, because they won't have to write the same bloody pirate story almost every single day of their lives for all eternity, as they do now.

Once this is running smoothly, I will branch out to Nairobi, where pale expats scuttle from mall to mall, windows tightly wound up, in deadly fear of any black man that approaches their car. ("Is that a carjacker, Astrid?" "No, I think it's just a hawker, but call the diplomatic police to come and shoot him anyway!")

All carjackers will be invited to join my gang. Any motorist who pays the protection fee will get a scale model of my giant and elaborate pirate hat to perch atop their bonnet. This will render them immune to carjacking. Everybody else is still fair game. Any cop that shoots one of my carjackers will be dragged to the bottom of the ocean by an enraged...hang on, that doesn't work on land. I'll just bribe them not to shoot my employees.

Once I've had a nap, I plan to also come up with innovative solutions for other long-term problems, such as the Israel-Palestine conflict, international terrorism and Amy Winehouse's smack habit.

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