Who’s got a sickle on them?

“Has anyone got a knife?” Slimline shouted. I looked at him like he was out of his mind. We were 5km into the run, on the edge of some paddy fields, on the outskirts of Kathmandu, and he wants to know if anyone bothered to carry a knife with them.

The Sickle in Cruel's hand and the shoe, shaking in fear.

I shook my head. Everyone else just ignored him. It was a silly question to ask.

But Slimline was concerned (note Slimline’s not his real name but one bestowed upon him by the hash). Cruel (again not real name) badly needed a knife. They were both looking intently into the shoe that Cruel was holding in one hand. Something inside it badly needed cutting and for that, he required a knife.

I wasn’t surprised that something was wrong with his shoe. Cruel had bought the cheap trainers that most porters wear when transporting goods and tourists’ rucksacks along Nepal’s network of trails. They cost around 300 Rupees (or 3 Euros) a pair. No wonder there something was wrong with his cheap, nasty shoes as he attempted to run for 90 minutes in them.

Everyone helping out with the shoe operation, including the Nepali sickle owner.

But then, lo and behold, a knife appeared from nowhere. Not an ordinary knife, but a sickle, just like Asterix and Obelix used to have. Not surprisingly, the knife didn’t come from one of our running group. It came from a local Nepali man who was on his merry way to the fields.

Within seconds, Cruel and Slimline had the sickle in the shoe, trying to yank out whatever was causing Cruel all that pain. The Nepali guy looked on intently, wondering if he should stick his own hand in there and help them out too.

The black piece of rubber that was hurting Cruel.

After five minutes of straining and frowning, Cruel eventually smiled. He put the shoe back on the ground, slid his foot in and handed the man back his knife. The operation had been a success. A tiny piece of black rubber was what had caused all the kafuffle. The man tucked his sickle away and walked towards his crops. And we continued our run on to Bungamati with Cruel now pain-free.

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