An entry in the Crocodile Prize
PNG Government Award for Short Stories
KINGI Mura woke up after noon. He remembered where he was, and he reached out to take his bottle of whisky.
He took one drop and the whisky warmed him and cleared the drowsiness from the hangover in his head.
He had ‘closed the bar’ at the Watering Hole in the early hours of morning, but he didn’t know how he managed to get home. That part still remained a mystery, even now.
He did not get up from the floor where he was lying. Instead he rolled over and looked outside. The afternoon heat was unbearable and he had nowhere to go.
The house was big, but there was no one else. In his heydays he had lots of friends. Not now. Not since the conman had stolen all his money, and his business went down to the dogs.
Now he was broke and all his friends left him. He only had his whisky to keep him company. Yes. There used to be Jeanette, Linda, Angie, Betty, and those other beauties. And John, Jake, Clay, Bony, and those others who stuck around him like flies to a dunghill.
Now they were no more. Only whisky and an empty house.
He had some money left though. Enough to re-start again, but it seems to him that he just gave up. What he had built over eight years of hard work has been destroyed in a short time. With it also went his will.
He rolled over again and laid his hands on the pillow and rested his chin on his hands.
Just then he noticed the ants. The small black ants that live inside cracks in the concrete and feed on waste food and dead insects.
They looked like a tiny black train, except with them there was no engine and carriage-end. They were moving to and fro, in a straight line from a hole in the cement steps. A group of about five or six ants were carrying a big moth across the floor.
He watched fascinated. They were small and their weight put together would only be about two hundred times less than the moth. Yet, through their persistence and hard work, they were carrying the moth at a slow and steady pace.
Kingi got a stick and put it across their path. They went over it. Next he put his whisky bottle. They went around it. Then he got a empty carton and put it right in their path after making certain that no ant got hurt.
At first the ants climbed the box and on reaching the open top, they realized that they had to go down, across, up again, and down again. So after what seemed a brief conference, the ants turned back with their load.
On reaching the floor, they went around the box until they reached their road again. Then they continued on their journey as if nothing had happened.
These ants did not give up! Kingi thought. They found ways to cross each obstacle.
Give up! Kingi sat up. These tiny insects were trying to show him something. And here he was, acting as if the whole world was coming to an end. He must also not give up.
He got up, had shower and went to the bank to see how much he had left and if possible to get a bank loan. To start over again.
That was 10 years ago.
Today, Kingi Mura is a multi-millionaire whose interests range from real estate and tourism to agriculture and transport. He is an earnest philanthropist and sits on the board of many charity organizations.
Every day, you read about him in the business section of magazines and newspapers. The company emblem, The Black Ants, with a picture of an ant carrying an heavy load is seen nearly every day, in newspapers, cars, shops, almost everywhere.