Earlier at his office in Alotau, Tomwaya had obtained from the passenger for his own business records scant details on what village he was traveling to, how much that would cost, the type of transport appropriate for the trip – except, of course, asking for more information on the client’s employment, location of job, spouse, dependents, next of kin if any, and so on. He simply said fill in this form, sir, and the girls will complete the rest of the details later. He was more concerned with the thought that he would be earning some good money that day. Aside from that, he resolved not to allow any one of his employees handle his brand new and coveted double-cab four-wheel drive in transporting the passenger from Port Moresby, except himself.
At breakfast a few hours before that his wife, Nathalie, had warned him of whom he chose to transport across the rough terrain from Alotau to the Raba Raba district, including the dreaded Cape Vogel area. Hadn’t he noticed, she warned him that morning when he told her where he would be driving to that day, they had to let Pomio Queen remain at anchor out at the bay for two hours while the police went through each passenger’s baggage checking for drugs, evidence of arms smuggling, black market liquor and so on. There were rumors going on as well that people from Baniara within Cape Vogel itself were now sporting strange connections with certain religious sects throughout the country, hadn’t he heard? He should be more careful whom he was dealing with. And anyhow, she concluded, you can’t trust these Baniaras. The Governor of the Milne Bay Province is from Baniara, mind you.
Now, as Tomwaya looked at his passenger slumbering away beside him, it occurred to him that his wife could have been speaking sense after all. Did he know his client’s name? All he did was ask the city traveler to fill in the required forms “and leave the rest to the girls” without taking the trouble to check what was written there. The “girls” in this case meant Nathalie and her nieces at the office who did the rest of book-keeping for him. Now he just did not know who his passenger was, least of all memorize his name if he had to.
Read the revised version of this chapter here The Anuki Country Press.