John painfully endured the final few minutes of the flight before he could relieve himself from the awful smell permeating the tiny cabin. He bore the discomfort of the melee from the back, the awful smell, and the constant cleaning that, thank God, Marta was attending to. Throughout attempting to maintain his composure, John noticed the stripped out area of the mountain top. Funny, there didn’t seem to be any activity last time. From eight-hundred feet, John could see some of the inhabitants moving about, perhaps cleaning up.
“There’re your buddies,” John said sarcastically.
“What was that?” Marta asked.
“Those guys.” John banked the plane to the left, forcing Marta to lean on his arm as she looked out of his window at the miners’ camp. “It looks like business as usual down there.”
“Those idiots are doing nothing but destroying the environment and everything that I have worked for,” Marta said tersely. “I know I sound cruel, but they are criminals. I wouldn’t normally hang out with vermin who may endanger my life, so I see no reason to put myself in possible danger associating with them.”
“I’m sorry you’re having a hard time with them. Hopefully we can do something about their harassing your village.” John felt anger welling inside at the idea of someone messing with Marta.
“Add to that polluting the water, stealing game, illegal trapping, the list is endless. I told Jason to let the authorities know, but I guess they are slow at reacting. Especially with all the political violence the military and police have to deal with,” said Marta.
“I’ll see what I can do about getting this problem solved with the authorities. I may be able to practice some of my linguistic skill the school taught me,” said John.
“I’m sure you will do just fine.”
“Terima Kasih,” John thanked her in Indonesian. “Anyway, these guys could be here illegally. If you think about it, we are probably the only ones flying around. We have a job to do and the funds to get it done. The military mission probably can’t support air surveillance.”
“You don’t have to tell me. I was here right after the new government was established. They were and still are having a problem with red tape and the bureaucracy of visas and passports, just for starters.” Marta sighed. “The boys in the back are the future.” She smiled at them and was relieved to see that Digul had lost some of his green tint.
Jeffrey W. Bennett, ISP is an author of non-fiction books, novels and periodicals.