PORT MORESBY – “Soluhoto, tell you father that his phone is ringing.”
“Dada, mum says your phone is ringing,” Soluhoto called from under the house where she was looking for insects while watching me weed the aupa garden.
“Go, bring it down. You can see me in the garden. Who was it?”
“It was Uncle John, he asked that you return his call,” she yelled down from the steps.
The house went silent and I waited for my phone. Ten minutes later my daughter brought it down.
“Sol, where is the phone.”
“You got some FB friends who are active now!”
“What!” The hairs on the back of my nape stood on their ends.
“How did you open up my phone? Where did you get the password?”
“Eeh, I watched you key in your password. It opened up the phone and I was on my Facebook page.”
“And why did you open up my Facebook page then?” I asked in a harsh voice. I was annoyed.
She said nothing and stood in front of me with the phone and a bemused smile.
I now had goose pimples popping up in short order all over my hands and a wave of sweat forced its way across my quivering head.
It was those Facebook friends over-reaching, some salacious.
Recently I’d been sweeting up some of them with nothings and had taken to keeping a guard over my phone’s password.
Usually I didn’t have passwords on my phone and computers or, if I did, simple ones like the letters of my names.
This had changed recently. I was now FB active and had gone to passwording, some very difficult. I was getting FB messages you would not want a child to see. I did not want Soluhoto inhabiting my phone and computer.
I threatened to chaff her ears.
She was just getting to her FB page but there was nothing wrong with that, was it?
Before I started using passwords, she could get onto it and she knew it was okay back then.
She could access her FB and she was good for me reading her page. She was sure the same arrangement was in place even with the passwords and phone.
It was the wicked smirk and the glint in the corners of her eyes that worried me.
Me trying to chaff her for opening my phone with a password she was not supposed to know, I think that bit bruised her ego.
The child did not say anything. She quietly gave me the phone but I saw a sneer and her eyes, though watery, had a sheen and sparkle.
I was in a head spin. Just yesterday did I not get messages that included attached porn? That I had mistakenly opened up in a haus kai?
I tried to remember if I blocked those who sent me porn - there were two I remembered blocking.
When I left the phone this morning, there was no more of that but I’d been in the garden for nearly two hours. That is a long, long time in this social media era. Oh dear, oh dear, dear-dear me.
Soluhoto went back to the house. Then, at the bottom of the steps, she called out.
“Da, when your FB friend say she wants to dolly you, what is she saying?”
The gust of air that came with that word forced me flat on the ground. It knocked me out.
She put that stress on the word – dolly .… no, lolly. Dammit, darn her, the neighbours heard that too or am I imagining that…. dolly … no, lolly.
I looked through the gap in the fence. My neighbours were in small talk at their patapata. They had smirks on their faces. Did the smirks include this breaking news?
Dolly … no, lolly … searching by a lauto! Ha! Some lauto!
“Soluhoto! What did you say just then?”
It was that voice from the kitchen that had me more worried.
I looked for an exit from the garden.
I imagined myself going up to the house.
I envisaged that behind the door, like the bilong that lauto of a long time ago, Grass Roots, Agnes, she was going to be standing there, waiting in ambush with the oft used sospen.
For Ma, it was going to be her best shot at getting back at me for the 101 things that often times I did wrong to her and she had been holding her breath, waiting for her chance.
Em nau. I can hear her grinding her teeth and tightening her grip on the handle of the sospen.
Do I think she is one of those dumb ones? Do I wish she is one that does not understand the synonym for a blow work out?
Boy oh boy. First thing first. I flip through my FB messages.
One. There are several requests for flex credits.
Two. This headshot of a woman with a man’s name wanting to do a dlolly workout on me and she/he was down the street waiting for me. Shoot!
I need only to acknowledge the message but that is not what it was meant to be. Was it? Already it was World War Three in the planning.
I needed to find short answers in quick order.
Three. Darn, there is even a nude of one from Madang. Shoot! Can she send me that? I am a virtual stranger. Oh shoot!
Did Soluhoto see this? What is she telling Ma right now?
Oh, sweat me a river….
Some of these women of FB are really confused.
No, someone like me (a lauto) must be really confused to befriend these women.
But now it is that sospen that is waiting in the house. I am x-ing them now.
aupa - vegetable
dlolly - combination of the words dolly and lolly (for this story)
em nau - there now (that’s it)
Grass Roots - A cartoon character of the 1970s and 1980s created by Bob Brown
haus kai - place selling cooked food
lauto – elderly person (slang)
Madang - A province with main town of the same name
meri bilong - wife of
patapata - bed of planks outside the house, usually with a shelter or under a tree
sospen - saucepan, pot with handle sticking out the side