The deadly procession

By Michael Geketa

An entry in the Award for Short Stories

It was Friday 6th of April 2019. My wife had just instructed me, “go and come back quickly.”

From Gordon International School where she taught, I began to walk to Boroko Foodworld Supermarket.

I took a breather midway by sitting under the canopy of fig-trees that lined the main road which looked like giant umbrellas.

The sun was directly above when a man walked pass. “Hi, friend, your time please?” I asked him kindly.

“1300hrs!” He continued, “Sorry Sir its 1pm,” as he apologised for using a military jargon.

“I m a soldier-instructor at Goldie Barracks,” he introduced himself and walked on.

I thanked him knowing that the Army Training Depot was kilometres outside of Port Moresby city.

Before me was a drain and the road was at my back. It was one of the main waterways in Port Moresby city. Rain waters are carried downstream, then enters the nearby river system and further into the Coral Sea.

The movements on the flowing water suddenly inspired me. The water coloured by the spilling sewerages and factory wastes did not bother me. My eyes and mind were glued to the endless flow of assorted plastics and containers that glided pass.

One by one, two by two, three by three and at times in huge piles like in a military procession. I took some shots using my mobile phone when a voice interrupted.

“Hey, bro! Something wrong?” A man asked.

“We are in great danger! Can’t you see?” I responded, pointing to the floating garbage.

“What’s wrong with them?” He shrugged.

“They are going to war.” I told him.

He stood somewhat confused and full of ridicule.

“Climate change, environmental damage and coral bleaching are direct or indirect impacts of this war,” I explained.

“Look again at the drain water!” I summoned. “What can you see?”

It took him a while then he responded, “flowing water.”

“Is it clean?”

“No, it’s black, mucky and full of debris.” He answered asking, “why is it like this?”

“Human activities driven by greed and ignorance with less care for the environment.” I explained, as two more passers-by joined in the conversation.

“Rubbish going to war?” They asked with laughter.

“No, plastics and containers are not ordinary trashes.” I reminded them as we watched the march-pass.

“These junks will eventually end up in the sea.” I caught their attention. “This is how the war will be fought.”

“Sea animals including turtles and fish will be suffocated once they are entangled by these artificial soldiers. Without air and mobility, death is eminent.”

“Got it?” I was pleased they understood. “In short, all life that depend on the sea will perish.”

“This war is not a fluke one.” They echoed assuredly.

“Right. A result of an ethical setback in human behaviour,” I expounded.

“As long as capitalism is dignified, greed becomes a norm and the world does nothing about it, we are doomed.” I connected.

We shared a quiet moment digesting our discussion before we continued on our journeys.

“The onus starts with you. Dispose of plastics and containers in bins!” I reminded them as I walked to the BSP ATM stationed at the supermarket.

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