The devaluation of commodities.

“What commodity do you deal in?”

“Data.”

“That’s a sustainable trade for you.”

He stood at the edge of the lake as a casual observer, watching a toddler create ripples by throwing stale crusts at the ducks. The movement startled a flock of geese nearby who took off into the air in a V-formation, squawking loudly as they did so.

In this day and age, commodities were expendable; their importance defined according to global requirements. The Industrial Revolution had spawned a rapid increase in the desire for oil, and catapulted Saudi Arabia to the forefront of the petroleum kingdom. Yet a gradual gravitation towards alternate sources of energy meant that oil no longer was the desirable commodity it had been a century ago.

In light of the unpredictability of the market, his trade was sustainable, indeed.

The owner of the kosher stall across the lake pulled down the metal grille with a clang, and wiped her sweat-streaked face with a rag. Her husband had passed away last year, and she managed the stall single-handedly with an iron resolve. Small microcosms within a macroscopic landscape. That was how he liked it. A balmy breeze drifted across the lake, ruffling the ducks’ feathers and bringing with it the intrusive combination of cigarette smoke and exhaust fumes.

He swatted a fly with a rolled up copy of The Australian and it fell away with a satisfying thump. His eyes were drawn to the front page of the paper.

Malaysia hit by Worst Flooding in Decades.

It was fascinating how the Earth was capable of housing extremes of weather; but for him, raging bushfire, obliterating cyclones and unstoppable monsoons were all just words restricted to the confines of journalistic endeavour.

It was unfortunate how his relatives held onto commodities which depreciated at an alarming rate.

The atmosphere last summer had been coloured by dull undertones of distaste. His aunts and uncles were gathered around the communal dining table, upon which a photo of his fiancée lay. After a prolonged period of hesitation an aunt finally burst out, ‘you can’t marry Khadija! She’s too dark!’

The ads displayed on TV were insufferably plagued by a permanent colour impediment, where every ad was characterized by an unnatural white glow. He was not surprised to see his aunt’s cupboards lined with whitening creams, like an invasive army with dubious aims. He was doubtful of their effectiveness and reasoned that instead of fulfilling their intended purpose, they had gradually whitewashed his relatives’ intellect into oblivion.

The sun had begun to set as he strolled past two businessmen engaged in worried discussion; gesticulating pointedly. He caught the words ‘market monopolization,’ and ‘decreasing net exports.’

He smiled to himself as he bent down to unlock his bicycle and cycled away. His commodity of choice was sustainable, indeed.

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