One day he will rise from the squalor

The pleasure of his woman’s body no more
He’ll seek comfort from cold black metal
With his finger on the trigger
One day, this landowner’s child will be called a rebel
All because Daddy left him nothing when he was young
Beasts of metal ravaged his home when he was a baby
They tore down the giants that made him wonder in awe
The rivers are sick and the birds sing no more
The fish have left for distant streams
Daddy’s passion for pleasure died with him long time ago
What’s money when you don’t have a home?
One day, this landless landowner’s son will be called a rebel
‘Tis inevitable that he will arise driven by anger
At the slant eyed stranger who raped the ancient virgins
He’ll seek justice in lawlessness for rage will be his god


Thank you   Beijing
Basamuk’s gonna be a city. 
I want  it to  be just like Shanghai.

Thank you  Bejing
Madang’s got a new building. 
A wondrous sight it must be from the governor’s office. 
Thank you  Beijing
For  excellent waste disposal methods  on the Basamuk  coast. 
Why didn’t we think of that earlier.
Thank you  Beijing
For the money you’re giving for 10 new canneries. 
Please make them just like RD Tuna.
Thank you Beijing
For all those people you send to run our hauskais. 
You’ve solved our skills shortage problem. 

EPIDEMIC 2060 (Short story)

He approached the tall white building – a group of apartments. It was probably the only one in Lae where the noise from the traffic didn’t get to you. Well … not totally. Traffic these days was a never-ending low pitched hum if you lived here. At least it was better than other parts of the city where screeching tyres and blaring horns were all a part of life. He remembered his previous residence in the town area. He never left his windows open at night. And when morning came the glass on the windows would always be coated with soot from exhausts of the hundreds of diesel and petrol vehicles.
As he came out of his car he wiped off the remaining traces of the five minutes of rain which fell when he was at the hospital.
PNG had always been way behind when it came to environmental issues. In the late 90s when environmental groups around the world were intensifying their efforts to curb the export and the destruction of rain forests, it had brought three different responses from Papua New Guineans nationwide. The ordinary people in urban areas had laughed at the television images of the dedicated men and women who stood in front of bulldozers to prevent them taking the last remaining trees from rain forest in the West New Britain and the Oro province. And while the foolish, money-hungry landowners did virtually all they could do to prevent the ‘greenies’ from entering their land, the wealthy elite of the PNG society were buying shares from joint venture landowner companies.
Landowners had never realized that the elite, through their ties with a few multinational timber giants had literally fed off their land. Before the country’s economic collapse, a strong kina and numerous logging projects had meant handsome royalties for the landowners. It had also meant more overseas trips for the government ministers and bureaucrats, including their numerous family members, all at the expense of the country.
Dr Omat entered the elevator from the underground car park and pressed the button for the 21st floor. He felt the gravitational push on his head and shoulders as the elevator slowly glided to its destination. He slowly glided to its destination. He gazed out of the elevator window out of habit. There was nothing to see except a smog-covered city with tall dull buildings. Was this what his grandfathers had imagined when they said they wanted change? Development at the expense of the environment. Development without considering the consequences on his generation. He had read in history books about the concept of ‘eco tourism. It was brilliant concept where economic development ran parallel to environment preservation. But with the depleting resource of rain forests in the world, the few surviving eco tourist resorts and the government were unable to control the hordes of tourists seeking relief from the stresses of first world life.
Without proper regulations in place, rare and endangered species located on the forest floor were trampled on until there were none left for regeneration. Environmental effects also took their toll. Global warming eventually killed off the remaining tropical rain forests and caused the disappearance of low lying atolls in Bougainville and Manus.
His thoughts were interrupted when the elevator jerked to a stop on the 21st floor. It was unusual. Normally the repairman would be here to fix such minor problems. He stepped out and walked down the corridor to his apartment door.
“Open,” he said as he watched the two halves of the voice activated door slide open. The technological advancements like this door never ceased to amaze him. Towards the middle of the 21st century, science had progressed in leaps and bounds. So too had man’s lust to be supreme over nature.
He laid his briefcase on the low coffee table and stopped to closely examine the cactus growing in a pot on the table. These days plants were not taken free form their natural habitats. They were bought from greenhouses run by corporate logging giants who had diversified into horticulture since the total destruction of rain forests. He was born and raised in Lae. So had his father. His grandfather’s generation was the last to be born in what they had, affectionately called ‘the village’. He had also heard of how the people lived in harmony with the nature – letting the land replenish itself without human interference. His grandfather had also told him of the days when they had fun gathering edible ferns and shellfish by the rivers. At the start of the century, his grandfather was one of those who stood up against the politically-backed multinational logging companies as they threatened to destroy what he held dear. He and the rest of his clan where relocated to a reservation where he died. He had been torn by defeat and weary of the lifelong environmental battle.
Dr Omat sat on the couch and gazed at the cactus. His heart was heavy as he mourned for this once beautiful country. He could almost see the images of his grandfather with an illegally bought asult rifle held across his chest as he stood in front of the massive bulldozer. He was defending his land, his bush, his life.
He could see the frantic tree kangaroo attempting a futile leap to the next tree as ruthless men armed with chain saws felled its home. He could see the dead fish on the rivers and the pig turning and snapping wildly to defend its young from advancing loggers. He felt the pain of the bullet lodged on its side as it watched helplessly while men slaughtered its young for sport.
His father had laid coughing on his hospital bed and urging him to preserve whatever piece of land he had left as a reminder of the former beauty. His father had died a few hours later. It had been a long, five-year struggle with the respiratory disease. He was now a doctor and a good one. It was the result of the anger at not being able to save his father. People who had the power to cause changes in the past had failed to do so. Driven by selfish desires, they had allowed problems to happen until it was too late to stop. One consequence was the mass destruction of the environment without reforestation. Many a politician in the end of the last century had said the 21st century would be a period of rebirth and fresh new ideas. This century was the period of ‘fresh new ideas’ alright. Fresh new ideas on how to correct the numerous, irreversible blunders of the so called ‘good decision makers’ of the last century. It was hopeless. Never had they tried to effectively correct the mistakes of their predecessors of the early 80s and 90s. In fact it was understood that whoever entered politics in those days lost his heart for the people as he was sucked into the whirlpool of corruption. Anti-corruption activities had called “the disease”. It was contagious they said. Like tendrils of a parasitic vine, corruption had spread from the heads of government to the bureaucratic circles. When it eventually took root among the lowly public servants and the community, there was no distinction between a corrupt and an uncorrupt deal. The whole system then – and even now – was a total abuse of democracy and people’s trust.
A series of rapid beeps from his mobile phone interrupted his thoughts and he reached into his pocket for it. “Hello?” he said as he looked out the window.
“Good evening, Mel”, said the regretful voice of Andre Schubert, the volunteer doctor on duty. “Sorry to disturb you but we’ve got 15 cases of respiratory probems I won’t be able to handle them alone.”
“I’ll be on my way in five minutes,” he replied without hesitation and folded the mouthpiece.
PNG was still repaying the debts of the previous government’s since independence 85 years ago. First, it was repayment with money, then resources. And now it was being repaid with lives. The government’s health system was on its knees and the crippling situation now meant the government was unable to purchase the latest serum able counter the new strains of the HIV. On his last visit, the health minister had promised to fast track a European aid package of 10 million dollars. But Melchior, as the hospital’s chief executive had learned not to put too much trust in a government that was struggling to maintain its four remaining hospitals in Port Moresby, Goroka, Rabaul and Lae.
He recalled his day at the hospital. People were still flooding in by the thousands suffering from respiratory diseases and unknown strains of influenza. With almost 50 percent of the country HIV positive, such curable diseases became even deadlier for the sufferer. Almost all of these people who came to the hospital lived in settlements. They were from a mixture of backgrounds, which included former public servants still awaiting their end of service entitlements and bankrupt business persons. But the majority had been laid off their jobs when the companies their worked for left following predictions of PNG’s economic collapse.
He was feeling light headed as the elevator descended to the car park. When it halted, he stepped out and headed for his car. He got in and drove out of the car park. It was 7.45 pm he noted as he drove along the streets lined with beggars and prostitutes. The number of beggars had increased dramatically in the last 50 years since the turn of the century. Prostitution had also increased since its legalization 30 years ago. The city itself had over 200 brothels.
Government policy makers had thought it would limit the problems of starvation among the unemployed. It was another bad decision. The AIDS problem had evolved from a potential disaster in the late 90s into a catastrophe by 2020. He recalled how doctors had discovered the first reported cases of AIDS in 1987. Their repeated warnings had fallen on deaf ears. Politicians had not really paid attention to the need for hard-hitting awareness campaigns in schools on sexually transmitted diseases. Yet in this century, PNG’s sexual attitudes still had not changed. In fact it was worse. With the many family break-ups, the moral fiber of society had eroded to a point where only strands of it were being supported by the few. Sexual promiscuity was rife with teenagers as young as 15 acting as pimps in schools. He was sickened by the trend. Attempts by the government to curb the problem had proven hopeless. Still there were thousands of children whose parents had died of AIDS. Thousands more had no other source of income except child pornography and prostitution. The government’s reaction to set up homes for the orphaned children came too late and was unable to cater fully for the increasing number of children.
He drove into the car park, and entered the emergency ward nodding a ‘good evening’ at the nurse at the reception as he hurried to meet Dr Schubert. He knew this call was going to last until the morning. He found Dr Schubert‘s tall figure stooping over a patient who was wheezing violently. Dr Schubert walked over to him as he approached.
“He has serious trouble with both his lungs,” he said. Dr Schubert was a man of few words who had a way of using the simplest words for complicated situations. Melchior helped set up the equipment and then went to attend to the other patients. With sunken cheeks, they eyed him intently as he walked in between their beds. These were men, women and children of what was once a green, resource-rich country. A wide-eyed child clung tightly to her sick mother’s wrist as she lay on the hospital bed. Her records indicated she had HIV. Melchior’s eyes clouded with tears as he looked at the little girl who seemed so sure the doctor would cure her mother. There were so many like her who would become orphans by morning and he, “the good doctor” as many called him, would be unable to prevent it. It had never really occurred to the power hungry prime ministers of the past that the after effects of decisions made in self interest were like those of a nuclear blast. In the past, such decisions caused the deaths of hundreds, but now millions more were suffering.
By the time he had finished with the last of the patients at the ward. His eyes were heavy as he pulled off his surgical gloves and washed his hands in the washroom. He stared at his face in the mirror. His 36-year old self felt 20 years older. His eyes and cheeks were sunken like the patients he had just attended to. He knew that without a cure readily available he too did not have long to live.


Prostitution…Poverty…  and business…

The moist sea breeze struck him in the  face like a warm damp blanket as he hurriedly walked towards the gates of the wharf.  “Come on hurry up!” he called to the three women  who dawdled behind him. “I haven’t had a good drink in three days.”
                Whenever a ship docked, it mean lots of ready cash and alcohol would be available as long as he had  quality woman available for the foreign sailors   on board. The  ship had docked a few hours earlier. But Pius wanted to wait for the cover of  darkness  before he opened up for business.
                He was confronted many times by local  leaders  and once by the parish priest. It was illegal, they told him. They also threatened to take him to the police.   The community leader was a problem until  a few months ago when he   bought two cartons of  the amber liquid to his  house. Irresistible,  it was. Soon they were chatting  like   brothers.   The parish priest  who visited him  said  his businesses was a violation of human dignity.  Pius had heard that a thousand times before.   But  women came to him because they needed help and he provided  employment.  Besides they made more in a week than the average, “honest” Papua New Guinean made in a fortnight.  He eased his pace as the three women caught up  with him.  Two of the women were 19-year old students   on school holidays  while the other was a single mother of two struggling to pay for her children’s school fees. Pius knew the two  younger women would be in high demand.
                “I’ve got the buyers, you’ve got the product” he once said . Many of those who came to him   from all sorts of backgrounds – broken families, neglected children, teenage students  and the occasional full-time worker looking  for some extra cash.  They halted under the shadow of a coconut tree  as Pius watched for the changing of the guard.   For the two students,  it would be their third time doing this. 
                Pius strained his eyes to see who was on duty. He knew the guards by name. Like the Community leader,  they got their cut as well. A  six or a carton when business was good.  He glanced at  a shiny Rolex on his wrist. 10:56pm it read.  “Wait here,” he told the three women as he made his way towards the guard house.  He moved stealthily  along the shadows. He had acquired a reputation for doing that. He approached the guardhouse and tapped lightly on the window sil.
                “Oooooi! Peeeuuus!  How are you this wonderful night?”  Makis the young security guard  greeted him with a grin that seemed to cover his face.   “Plenty people asking, bro…  We been lookin’ for you.”
                Pius smiled and took a deep breath.  His popularity had soared since he began 8 months ago.   He had quite a few regular customers  from the ships that docked  here.   There was nothing like a sex starved sailor.
                “How many for tonight” he asked.
                “Four… I think… I don’t know. The captain too.  He’s a good man. Malay  or  Chinaman ya. He wants  the same kind… you save… young and fresh,” said Makis idly flipping through the log book.  
                “Pius stepped into the shadows again and quickly calculated how much he would make that night.  Two hundred  fifty or three  for the two students and probably   another two hundred for  the other.  He’d be Six hundred kina richer maybe more. 
                “Hey Peeeeuuus! Here come two of your customers  now.” Makis called out.  Pius saw a burly   man accompanied by another of medium height. They stood  chatting with  Makis as Pius  turned towards them.  These guys came with their wallets bursting at the seams. He’s probably be able to squeeze a few bonus payments tonight. He knew from experience that, from a drunk sailor, he could make a month’s earnings in a day.  But these two were too sober.
                “The bro here,” said  Makis stabbing a  finger into  the big fellow’s jutting belly and laughing quite loudly, “says he wants a  fresh one.  He’s too lazy to work.” 
                Pius  grinned and said: “The other one?  Him too?” The other guy nodded. Pius turned to the burly mate and eyed him closely.  “How much are you paying?”
                “150 too small.  300.”
                “Aaaah!” The burly mate raised his hands in disgust. Last time we no get what we want. 250 tasol na… how ‘about this  we give you too…” And the other guy opened a bag and pulled out two large bottles of Indonesian  whisky.
                “Ok…Ok… 200 each  na Whisky.”
The big man laughed heartily and shook hands with  Pius.  He stood by and watched as the two men opened their wallets and pulled out  a few fifties and  tens.  Things were looking pretty good for Pius tonight.  The crew members handed over the money to  Pius and  then reached for the whisky  bottle. Pius  stuffed the notes into his pocket and took  the two bottles.
                He turned to the two younger women. “You two go first for one night only.”
                “When will you pay us,” one of them asked. “I’m not going home until I get paid.”
                “Saaaarap! Just go and give these sorry asses a good time \and you get paid, ok? My reputation is at stake here.”
                He walked to the shadows and watched as they giggled with the two guys.  He was always out of the way when the goods were delivered and he had the cash in hand.
                “Come on,” he said to the other woman. “Let’s try the hotel.” She had remained quiet for most of the night except in the company of the two students. “I know where your customers will be.”
                Her name was Lina. Pius heard from stories that her husband had left her for another and her relatives were not too keen on taking her in.  She previously worked alone before she was introduced to Pius. The fact that she was desperate with two children to support made her an ideal employee. He knew people like her never complained about how much they were paid as long as they had enough for their next meal.  He made sure he gave them just enough so they kept coming back to him.
                The breeze died down and Pius felt a slight drizzle on his face.  He didn’t want them to get wet before they found a customer. The bright orange lights of the hotel flooded through the tree-lined road.  The parking lot was filled with an array of vehicles from executive four wheel drives to the beat up family sedan.  He could hear the boisterous drunks up ahead and the irregular beeping of poker machines.  He knew there would be a dozen government workers and company officials who would prefer to sleep tonight with women other than their wives.
                The hotel gate was open. A lone security guard, dressed in an oversized pair of trousers and a worn out cap, patrolled the area. This was another easily corruptible security guard, Micah. He was a former cop dismissed after almost beating a suspect to death.
                “Pius, what brings you to this place?” said Micah who was not really keen on having others seeing him talking to a know pimp. “Don’t you have a home to go to?”
                Pius ignored the questions. Micah used to be a regular customer when he was in the force. He never came anymore. I guess he no longer had any spending money, Pius mused to himself.
                “I have to go inside,” Pius said hurriedly. “Listen mate; take your shit business elsewhere. This isn’t the place for it and besides, you can’t go in. you’re barefooted and wet.”
                “What business?” said Pius, trying to deny his purpose for being there. “I’m a changed man, Micah. I go to church every Sunday. I read my bible and right now I’m trying to find a fellow Christian Brother in there.”
                “Is that so… Why couldn’t you just stay at home with your wife and let others do that for you? And who is this one you are with now?” Micah asked, eyeing him and Lina suspiciously.
                “Shhh, okay, you win. Here take this and shut your bloody mouth,” Pius said quickly pulling out a whiskey bottle and handing it to Micah. He really could be a pain in the neck when he wanted to.
                Chuckling, Micah took the whisky bottle and with a  wide grin  whispered to Pius: “The Lord works in mysterious ways.” So much for the ‘going to church and reading the bible line.’ People simple knew he too well.
                Lina drew close to Makis as they entered the dimly-lit dance room. The music was playing at extremely loud volume and the air hung heavy with thick smell of cigarette smoke. No one seemed to notice them as they entered the club. Although this was supposed to be a dance there was hardly anyone on the floor to save a few staggering drunks who danced to a beat of their own. Looking across the room he could see a group of executives from the foreign logging company operating in the area. They were good regular customers, who never really argued about the price he asked. Pius saw it as a way of getting back the timber royalties cheated from the local people. Upon noticing him, one of them nudged the personnel manager who then signaled for Pius to join them.
                “Wait here,” said leaving Lina by the door. Pius picked h                is way through the maze of tables and people. Being called over this soon was a good sign.
                “Have you got any for us?” one of the men asked in heavily accented Tok Pisin as he ordered a beer for Pius.
                “I might have, if the price is right.”
                “And if no one wants to trade, what you going to do with the left over goods? Take them home and put them on the shelf?”
                All the men at the table laughed at the remark. Pius also laughed despite the fact that he saw nothing funny in it. This was serious business. His means of survival. His business operation had gone well so far all accept a minor hiccup a few weeks ago when one of the girls insisted that a customer wear a condom. She came back with a black eye and Pius subsequently ‘terminated her employment’.
                “Listen, for 150 I’ll let you have her,” Pius said pointing to Lina who was sitting at a table near the door. “No disappointments like last time. This one will do whatever you want.”
                In a space of about ten minutes, Pius had gulped four bottles of beer. He was into his fifth before he saw the company accountant sliding three brand new K50 notes before him. His hands were itching to pick up the money but he restrained himself.
                “This for one hour?” he asked as he settled his half empty beer on the table.
                “No, for the night,” said the accountant looking at Pius in the dim light.
                “Give me six more bottles and you can have her for the night, Pius face was expressionless as he was unashamedly insistent. The accountant cursed beneath his breath and then ordered six bottles of beer. Pius downed the last half of his beer and bowing mockingly to the four men he made his way toward Lina at the far end of the room.
                “Come on. Go to the table over there, they’ve already paid for you,” he said as he pulled her to her feet and directed her to the table where the company people were sitting. He stood and watched to make sure she didn’t stray. Another complaint was enough to turn away other potentially high-paying customers. Opening his bad of previously obtained loot he added to it the six bottles of beer. Not a bad night – three bottles of whiskey and over K500.
                After leaving the hotel he sat down under a coconut tree on the beach front and opened a beer. He needed a break.
                The tide had gone down when he awoke in the early hours of the morning. Although the sea was calm, his thoughts were like the untamed sea raging within him. He too was no different to his own ‘employees’. Never had he really given time to those thoughts. This was one particular reason why he hated calm spots like this. They always brought him to his senses. He had a wife and daughter to support. A daughter born a few weeks before he was sacked from his job as a labourer with a government department. Picking himself up he staggered toward the road.
                The sun was just over the horizon when he climbed groggily onto the verandah of his settlement house. He was just about to drop off to sleep when a vehicle pulled up. The blue Landcruiser was unmistakable. Police. He was now wide awake. He could make a run for it but where would he go to. He watched as two uniformed officers came toward him. What followed was totally unexpected. The back door of the cruiser opened and Agnes, his wife, came out with their baby daughter. He opened his mouth to speak but Agnes quickly cut in.
                “I found out Pius!” she called out to him. “All those late nights and the money. You should be ashamed of yourself. I know about those women you’ve been selling.”
                Pius stood still as the two officers cuffed him and guided him into the cruiser. He should have known he would be busted eventually.
                But he never thought his own wife would turn him in.


This  was inspired by Joe Satriani’s – “Always with me, Always with you.”  Depends on how you want to intepret it. Suicide. Accident. Regret. Has a rather eerie feminine feel to it.

We fought over nothing that day
I said what I meant not to say

I hated you so for being you
I said I wanted something new

I cried and you said: ‘twas alright
You said you’d go away that night

The years have gone since that night passed
Still I wish that day wasn’t your last

I’d give my life to live that day
For we fought over nothing that day

I’d heed my heart’s call not my head
I’d forget you for all you may have said

I’d go back to the day you went away
I’d speak from the heart so you’d stay

I still walk with you in my dreams
Your hand I hold near crystal streams

But morning comes and I awake
But these days I lie in bed at daybreak

All I have are memories in a sack
And I still pray to God give you back


Joel Kenimbus is a self-made millionaire who made his fortune from  the buai.  At the height of his power, his empire collapses after small holder farmers turn against him and his heart fails. 

From the 50th floor of the Kenimbus tower, Joel Kenimbus’s apple shaped silhouette  paced from one end of his large spacious office to the other.  His plump hands were clasped tightly behind his back   as he chewed and puffed impatiently on the fat Cuban cigar that protruded from his rather thick lips.  He passed his desk the hundredth time and glanced momentarily at the silver plaque mounted on a frame.  “TO KENIMUS HOLDINGS IN RECOGNITION FOR EXCEPTIONAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE BUSINESS SECTOR. DECEMBER 16, 2030. It became the first of many awards he had collected since he opened up for business 20 years ago.   It was now was now 2050 and he was still going strong.  The ground below seemed like a thousand miles away. The cars dawdled along the network of roads like hundreds of worker ants.  Squatter settlements  covered the hillsides  like a wide brown blanket spotted with tiny pieces of shiny sheet metal roofing. They were here to stay. As long as they were around, business was going to be good for they were the biggest wholesale  buyers and retailers. As long as they were around businesses was going to be good.

                Twenty years ago  he was a nobody. A failed businessman  chucked out t=of the system after being declared bankrupt.   He took to his village and began planting    trees.  His initial 40 trees was what gave rise to  what was now a multi million kina  buai based manufacturing   empire.  He was now trading as far as India and  China.    In the last 10 years he had moved towards an 80 percent monopolization of the buai industry  after buying off almost all the smallholder businesses. His wealth had grown and so had the size of his clothes.    There was just one small problem. The smallholder farmers he had failed to buy  out.   There were few these days but they still proved t be a hard nut to crack.  They were selling high grade  Buai for less  and had, in the last 10 years, established a niche market for buai based alcohol.  Kenimbus wanted that sector of the market as well.  They were a pain in the neck more so a pain in the butt because he could not sit down until he had them sorted out.  Then he thought to himself: Maybe he had to wait until their children inherited the land.  Perhaps then  he would  some chance of convincing them.  But by then he’s be dead too.  He paced passed his desk once more  and looked out the window. A series of  rapid beeps on his phone interrupted him and  a LCD screen on his desk flashed on. 
                “Mr. Kenimbus, Sir… there is a delegation  from the BVA…
                “The what?” Kenimbus yelled at the young woman on the screen.
                “Uuuuum… The BVA , Sir…  Buai Vendor’s  Association… you had them on for 11:30 today.”
                “aaaaaah…   not those black-toothed, red-lipped bums again” he muttered to himself.
“ …here to see about Buai commissions…”
                “Send them in then! He boomed.
                Although he his company was the biggest buai producer in the country,  he never chewed it himself.   He likened himself  to a  Colombian  drug lord who enslaved millions  with his  product yet didn’t used use it himself.  If there was money to be made, he was glad he was the one making it. 
                There was a sharp knock on the door and it opened hesitantly. A man of medium build  entered accompanied by  two other men and a woman whose cheeks bulged with  a mouthful of buai.  Upon seeing Kenimbuis’ relentless stare,  she quickly spat the red semi-liquid into a plastic bag and stuffed it into her bilum.  Disgusting. Kenimbus thought to himself.   
                “Yes? What can I do for you, Mr. Joe?” Kenimus  looked impatiently at the leader of the delegation . He knew he was the president of the BVA  but he never bothered to learn his second name.
                “We come to talk to you ‘bout buai   komisin yu give us. Is too small.”
                “What do you mean ‘Is too small’?  Kenimbus boomed again from  behind his desk. “I don’t understand you people you sign a contract and then you come back and say  you’re not happy! Can’t you ever be content?”
                “Five percent is too small… we want bigger  komisin.” Mr. Joe’s confidence was draining fast.
                “Yes. Yes You’ve told me that already. Tell me something new!”
                Mr. Joe shuffled his feet on the carpeted floor  then looked at Kenimbus. “We want half.  50 percent.”
                “Fif…Fif…Bloody fifty percent,” Kenimbus exclaimed. His double chin vibrating. “… and you expect me to give  you that?!”
                “That or we go on strike,” said Mr. Joe who seemed to have   regained a portion of his lost confidence. “BVA has the number.  We go on strike and we join with all smallholders.”
As sudden as their threat, the BVA executives stood up and walked to the door.
                “You’re  going to come back to me. All of you on your hands and knees, you know!” Kenimbus yelled after them.   Unemployment is a big problem  you can be sure there will be  hundreds of people willing to take up a five percent commission.”
                Without casting a backward glance, the BVA president cast his hand in an uncaring gesture before disappearing in the corridor.
                Kenimbus leaned heavily into his  chair. He was  going to lose money.  He knew it.  He waited until the party had gone into the elevator before pressing a button that switched on a small LCD monitor on his desk.
                “Miss Boring, could you come in here for a moment?”
                “Certainly Sir.” Peering from the screen, the Secretary  replied in  a cheeky schoolgirl like manner.   Seconds later a pretty young personal assistant   entered. Kenimbus scanned here from head to toe. The employment agency certainly had good taste.   She was the third personal assistant  employed in a space of two months.
                “Sir?” Ms. Boring inquired after noticing that his eyes had stopped just below her neckline. 
                “Um… Oh.. ahem… yes. What was I saying?”
                “You haven’t even started yet,” Ms. Boring yawned.
                “Oh yes.” Kenimus said remembering. “Get in touch with David from   Public Affairs.  Tell him I want online ads  and ads on newspapers and all the major  radio and TV networks.   We want 500 buai sellers. 
                “We can’t have any more of those rats! Oh… and make sure… tell him… make absolutely certain that they are not members of the BVA.”
                Kenimbus cast a long thoughtful glance at his desk.  “That is all. Ms…um…Ms…” Kenimbus  said moving his pointer in a circular motion trying to remember.
                “Boring…”    The young woman yawned again  idly fiddling with   a pen in her hand.
                “Yes…Ms. Boring. That is all. How silly of me. How  could I forget  such a sexy… I mean such a pretty face.”
                Kenimbus looked thoughtfully  again at his desk then raised his eyes only as  Ms. Boring walked out the door. “I really must  have her for lunch… I mean invite her for lunch.”
                He resumed pacing his office. Puffing and chewing mercilessly on an even fatter Cuban cigar. He had to come up with a backup plan just in case the  ads for the 500 buai sellers didn’t  yield the desired results.  He couldn’t just give away 50 percent of earnings.   Ten percent perhaps. Those blasted  smallholders.  A series of beeps  and the flash  of  the screen   interrupted his thoughts once more.
                “What is it, Ms. Mourning?  …um.. Ms. Boring.”  Kenimbus stared at  his personal assistant on the screen. He was feeling quite irritated.
                “We’ve got BVA representatives from all other 19 province calling in support of the president. All our lines are beeping and I don’t know what to do.” A frantic Ms. Boring wailed.  “I’m being stressed and stress isn’t good for me. It’ll give me wrinkles.”
                By now Ms. Boring was sobbing almost uncontrollably. Kenimus  screwed up his face disgusted.  Why did they ever hire  people like that.   He switched off the screen and reached for his  mobile phone.  “Public Affairs!” He yelled into the mouthpiece. “Get David to send somebody up here right away  to man the reception and  also get David to tell that somebody to bring a box of tissues for Ms. Wailing.”
                “…And get the PR people to start working on this right now before the press get wind of this shit!”
                He ended the call and flung  the remnant of his  cigar into a plastic wastepaper basket  where it settled  shouldering into  the crumpled pieces of paper.   Just as he made for the elevator door, a  woman in her  late 20s appeared carrying a tissue box.
                “Aaah. Just in time. I was  about to sack the whole  Public Affairs  section.   Ms. Boring still had her hands buried in her hands sobbing.  “Oh please give her the tissue box before we’ll need Noah’s Ark in here.”  Kenimbus appeared satisfied as he headed back to his office.   But just as he entered the door, the  new woman called  out to him:”Um… Sir… workers from all 20 plantations have walked off their jobs some are reported to be… cutting down  buai trees.”
“WHAAAT?!  Kenimbus  stomped back to the reception area.  As sudden as his outburst  he clutched his chest  as his knees buckled  beneath his  apple shaped upper body.
                “Mr. Kenimbus!” the woman screamed  and rushed towards him.
                “Get…David…Call.. a meeting…”     The pain was even worse that his last  attack. “Call the hospital get an ambul…”  The white of his eyes rolled upward and his apple bulk collapsed in a heap  on the floor.
Minutes later, he opened his eyes  to a doctor flashing a pen torch  on his eyeball.  From a few meters he could barely see the woman from the office talking to the  another doctor.  “I don’t think  we should tell him about the fire… He heard the doctor say to her.
                “What fire?!” He yelled from the  hospital bed. “What fire?” 
                The woman looked quite  undecided but eventually said: “ the Whole building, Sir… the  whole building… it started from your office.”
That evening,  Mr. Joe sat sipping a cup of tea at his Gerehu  home when something on the news caught his attention. 
                “…the multimillionaire died after midday today and in a cruel twist  the headquarters of   his Buai empire  was  totally destroyed  prior to the to the tycoon’s death. Police are investigating the cause of the fire. Mr. Kenimbus leaves behind seven children from three different marriages and a business empire worth in excess of 900 million kina.


In the innocence of childhood
I saw  pictures
Of fathers and children
Much like me and my dad
Of women with bilums
Like grandma and mum
Why do they flee
When the land is theirs?
In the innocence of childhood
I saw  dark haired  strangers
In photos  all in green
Bearing tools of war
With a man just like
My uncle Jimmy
Laying dead at  their feet
Why did they shoot him dead
When the land is his?
In the innocence of  childhood
I listened to ‘Black Brothers’
And big men talk   about  the West
The  land and  it’s troubles
 “They kill our people”
I heard them say
They should be free
If we are  free
Why aren’t they?
Now with the childhood past 
I understand the pain
The   burning villages
A man shot on his land
I rage within at pictures
Of  those who are  killed
Women like my mum
And men like my dad
Boys like my brothers
Now with childhood past
I understand
Why they  fought  and died
I understand
Why men who looked
So much like uncle Jimmy
Fought the strangers
With  bows and arrows
He fought for his land
He fought for his family\