We sat down on the oval and unwrapped our greasy crap from its waxed paper. Vanessa started smoking, holding her burger and one hand, a cigarette in the other. The sun had begun setting over the engineering block, throwing great black and orange poles over the campus, and the emergent dusk summoned a small, chilly breeze. Ness stared off into the distance, concentrating on the nicotene and the fats mingling mingling in her blood. A sports team doing laps jogged past, trying their best not to regard our delicious filth. We sat there for a while, watching the athletes warm down, pack up their things and then leave altogether. It became cold very quickly, but we sat on and I stole a couple of Ness's smokes.

"Dave says they're having problems up north," Ness mindlessly flashed the torch built into her lighter, illuminating the grass. I swore I was able to see the ants under the growth. "Apparently they're winding everything down."

Embers near my mouth, Vanessa could see I was furrowing my brow.

"He says almost all the bauxite's gone. Iron's starting to get harder to find, too."

"But there's shitloads of iron and bauxite up there."

"That's what he thought. All the deposits are getting further and further away from the rails, way out into the desert. It's cheaper for the Chinese to mine everything themselves, no-one's interested in making roads that go nowhere."

"But none of this is in the news."

Ness erupted into a raspy smoker's laugh, "could you imagine if it was?"