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A day in Facilitator’s life


An entry in The Crocodile Prize

FACILITATOR LOOKED at the time on his cell phone and hastened his pace. He was late for the meeting.

He was sweating profusely. Sweat was dripping from his ears and nose, and he felt it in his eyes too. His handkerchief was already drenched but he used it anyway.

He was close now and looking up he could just make out a familiar figure at the Buai market. A few more steps and he looked up again. Their eyes met, and for a moment the stares were intense and he felt out of place. He approached the figure and greeted him.

“What took you so long?” Opisman demanded. “I’ve waited an hour already,” he groaned.

Facilitator quickly explained that he woke up late and when he arrived at the bus-stop, there was a huge crowd fighting for seats in the busses. He hurried to the next bus-stop only to be disappointed. Then he caught a taxi-cab, which broke down on the way and he had to complete his journey on foot after living through a near miss.

Opisman hissed, and asked impatiently. “Did you come with the goods?”

Facilitator grinned cheekily and without another word walked to a buai vendor, picked up a betel nut, mustard and lime and started chewing.

Opisman didn’t like it. He felt disrespected.

“Facilitator is not educated like me! Why would he treat me like this?” he managed to say between closed teeth.

Opisman wanted to leave but stayed. Thoughts ran through his mind and he knew it was the right thing to do.

He watched Facilitator return chewing and puffing on a loose cigarette. Then apologised for being naïve and they started talking.

“It’s alright. I’d like to catch my breath before we start,” Facilitator responded.

Facilitator reached into his small dirty bag and pulled out a yellow A4 envelope. He passed it over to Opisman who took it firmly without worrying if anyone at the market was watching.

“Those are the papers for the claim. You know what to do,” Facilitator chuckled.

“How about my ….?” Opisman hesitated.

“Meet us at Pokieshaus, our usual hideout in the afternoon. We’ll have a few beers and a game or two of pokies”, Facilitator responded with smile.

Opisman went to work satisfied. He knew his wallet would be adorned with fine colours. It would bulge out from his back pocket and make him feel good and confident. He imagined flashing a few notes at the beautiful bartender he fancied last time at Pokieshaus. He’d buy a few things for the house and use the rest until his payday.

“Hello!” Opisman spoke into his cell phone expectantly.

“Are you coming or not?” his phone’s speaker barked.

He looked at his watch. “It’s only two o’ clock”, he almost whispered.

“We are all here having fun. I’ve just completed building the third SP white-can pyramid and I am the only one staring at these pyramids,” Facilitator growled into the phone.

Opisman immediately rolled into action. With one hand clutching his phone to his ear, his other hand pressed the ‘Shutdown’ button of his desktop computer. Then pulled a few drawers out, shuffled papers, pushed them back, and walked out while smiling into the phone.

He arrived just in time to see Facilitator pull down the top most white-can from the third pyramid.

“Don’t start on it yet!” Facilitator heard a voice called from behind. He turned and saw a smiling Opisman. After a long jovial handshake and a few exchanges of playful obscenities, he took a chair and accepted a white-can offered by Facilitator.

Opisman gulped a mouthful, then another and another. The can was empty. His thirst was ebbing, and it felt good. After rather loud burp, he eyed Facilitator with watery eyes.

“Where are they?” Opisman asked.

Facilitator got off his chair and walked over to a corner. A head turned and then a hand moved. He saw something handed over to Facilitator. His heart heaved and he smiled to himself as Facilitator walked back to him.

Back at the table Facilitator gave Opisman a parcel. It was thick and felt good in his hand. He pushed it into his front left pocket and ensured it settled well in. Then spoke to Facilitator in a slightly excited tone. He tried to hide his elated heart but Facilitator saw it in his eyes. It was gleaming at him.

“Let us drink and make merry tonight,” Facilitator declared.

After long and excited conversations into the night, Opisman stood up to leave. He was pissed and found it difficult to stand up straight. He reached into his pocket and touched the parcel. It felt smaller. His mind couldn’t think straight. Only flashes quickly reminded him giving away some cash to that beautiful bartender, buying beer for people he never met before and sponsoring a couple of pokies games for Facilitator.

Facilitator assisted him out. When Opisman left in a taxi-cab, he returned to the table and continued with the leftovers. He had made a few extra bucks today. His family would have food for a few more days while he waits to strike another deal.


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Pae Awaparu

Well thought-out description of the corruption that erodes away the very fabric of our beautiful country.

Actually people at the buai market saw the transaction and knew for sure that the Facilitator is claiming for the job he has not delivered, but did not have the courage to speak up, which encourages the Facilitator and the Opisman to continue with their deals.

Esther Hau

Wow, I've never read anything like this. It's a very good short story which tells of the way the so-called 'Opisman' and 'Facilitator' steal from the people of PNG. Amazing story and well written.


Jeff - This short story is amazing and it's very descriptive of the plight of corruption in PNG.

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