Clare and Kiribati

by
April 2021, no. 430

Clare and Kiribati

by
April 2021, no. 430

On Clare’s Skype the beach mixed every coral colour: the sheen,
saw George, transforming their soft bedroom in her mother’s
Mt Druitt house to a Micronesian dusk. But this South Tarawa
Beach was much too empty. They had waited for the Afghani man,
Farjaad, now for hours, but the boat that Clare had hired
for her old friend Aunty to smuggle him from Nauru was off air.
She said, ‘Maybe the Americans stepped in and snaffled him
already, before Australia traded him to them. If that’s so, he may
have actually known something he suggested about what did
happen to Ayatollah Mike in Afghanistan.’ George said ‘My best
information from a Langley bloke in his cups is that Mike’s
plane crash was a straight retaliation by Iran for the Soleimani
assassination, but that no one knows if Mike still runs the anti-
Iranian section, is in hiding, retired, plucked off home, or dead.’
She said, ‘Well, Farjaad said he knew. He is a nice boy, anyway,
and it would be a shame if they Guantanamo him. Aunty said
she liked him right away.’ ‘At this stage,’ said George, ‘they might
Guantanamo Aunty.’ The beach, built on coral with a crisp palm clump
and clinging rusty garbage, remained empty. He was just as anxious as Clare.
He said, ‘By now, could the Chinese be involved? Their pact with Kiribati
to dredge the land up against global warning, finance local welfare
there in the archipelago not extract cheap labour, like Australia,
was the reason Australia stopped Micronesia heading the Pacific
Forum, so the five countries left it.’ ‘Including Guam,’ said Clare: ‘really
odd, but the Americans must have gone along with the betrayal, even
though it was the American Ambassador from Guam who lost his job.
I’d hate to be an American Ambassador. They get shivved as much
as the spies.’ ‘It’s a type of operant conditioning,’ suggested George:
‘They think the uncertainty makes them loyal.’ But where was Farjaad?
The fragile beach was empty. George said, ‘Also the new Kiribati leader
won’t recognise Taiwan.’ She was juggling three sources on her phone.
‘They don’t know where he is,’ she sounded afraid. But George said,
‘That interference might be Aunty’s boat.’ Indeed, the Skype shook
and splintered in archipelagos of stars. When it was steady,
The beach contained the Afghani youth and Aunty. Clare was angry
with relief: ‘I was too worried. Where were you?’ ‘We had to explain,’
explained Farjaad, ‘but it’s okay now. I’m going to China.’ And Aunty
said, ‘You can pay me in Bitcoin. Anyway, I’m going home.’ Even when
the Skype was off and Clare and George relaxed slowly together
the whole room still dusked with Kiribati’s coral sky.

You May Also Like

Leave a comment

If you are an ABR subscriber, you will need to sign in to post a comment.

If you have forgotten your sign in details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to ABR Comments. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.