“Don’t call us; we’ll call you…”
I had become so accustomed to that particular line, I could actually tell when they were about to say it, and as always with those statements, I would pick up the folder containing my resume and other documents, give a surface smile, and leave.
I walked out of the office, onto the street, looked up and sighed, at least this day couldn’t get any worse, I said, trying to console myself, but like I indicated, it was just an attempt, the sky became cloudy and almost immediately, it started to rain. Now the rain didn’t bother me, what bothered me was the fact that I couldn’t find any shelter, there was just none in sight, I ran back to the office I just left, hit the gate repeatedly, but no one opened up. For heaven sakes, I just left here, I thought to myself, and I could have sworn I walked past a petrol station on my way there, but alas I either couldn’t find it because it got up and walked away, or my mind was beginning to play tricks on me!
I walked in the rain for about 10 minutes, just cursing my luck, how could this day get any worse than it already was? Well don’t worry, it didn’t. I walked up to a small kiosk and asked the owner if I could take shelter until the rain subsided, I was already soaked to the bone, and I really didn’t see what the point of shelter was anyway, but for the sake of protocol, we are taught that once caught in rain, you simply find shelter, and far be it from me to go against the teachings of ‘wise’ ones. Anyway, the kiosk owner agreed, and just a few seconds later, wouldn’t you know it, the rain stopped just as abruptly as it had started. Are you kidding me?”, I said to myself, looking up at the sky, you are just mean. There, I said it, the kiosk owner stared at me like I was missing a few nuts, but, hey, I really didn’t care what anyone thought about me anymore, I was a broke-out-of-work graduate, soaked to the bone, and probably soon to be homeless too, so think what you want, of course all this went on in my head, while I smiled at the kiosk owner and told him thanks, and went on my merry way.
I walked quite a distance before getting a bus heading my way, and no, buses weren’t scarce, I had just the exact amount of bus fare to get me home but that was if I took a bus from a certain bus-stop, and that’s why I walked such a distance.
I got a bus, alighted at my bus-stop and walked down the street, the street I had come to call my “area”, not a really bad place to live – good people, nice views, great chicks, sorry I mean women, and yes, I still thought of women, what did you expect, that with all my woes I’d suddenly swear off them? Anyway, back to my story, I got to the compound where I lived, and to my surprise, there was actually electricity supply, well things are looking up I said to myself, at least electricity supply always helped perk up my mood.
I walked into my self-contained apartment, and quickly took off my shirt, I switched on the bulb just to be sure there was electricity, and yes, there was. I took off my trousers and picked up my towel, trying to dry myself off. Satisfied I was dry enough to evade any electric shock, I proceeded to put on the television set, and I wish I hadn’t done that, a tiny spark, and poof! My television set was history, Damn I muttered to myself, I guess my bad luck was still in effect, I sat on my mattress with my face in my hands, staring into nothing and cursing everything else, I sat like that for a few minutes until sleep came, you know, the type of sleep that helps time move along faster and helps ease your pain and suffering.
I woke up later that evening hungry, or should I say, hunger woke me up, and not in a subtle manner, I was punched in the nuts, and I jumped. Immediately started searching my tiny apartment for any semblance of food, I knew there wasn’t any, but then I was hoping my luck would have changed by now, but who was I kidding? I found no food, the power had gone out, I had no candles, and so yes, my luck was still crappy.
I wasn’t going to starve was I? So, I got up, put on my shorts like a man on a mission, well, a mission to put on my best act for the old woman who fried “akara” (bean cakes) down my street . I noticed she enjoyed my company, and if I indulged her conversations long enough, I would order some and promise to pay the next morning, with the same lie: “I left my wallet at home”, but in truth my wallet had abandoned me weeks ago, I mean who wouldn’t abandon me? The wallet hardly saw any cash anymore, and maybe unlike me, it just needed a purpose. In a nutshell, I just couldn’t find it, and I didn’t bother searching.
I stepped out of the house on my mission, walking casually as if taking a stroll, while my stomach growled and at a point, I felt my stomach was about to punch my brain. I kept walking casually and I while I did, I put my hands in my back pocket trying hard to act casual, suddenly I felt a piece of paper, what was this ? I asked and I immediately brought it out, Eureka, my brain screamed, it was a squeezed and badly battered one thousand naira note (N1000). What were the odds? Just like that, my walking steps changed, I began to strut, and looked people in the eye. I walked up to the old lady frying the akara, and placed my order; I knew there was no way in hell she would have change for what I just ordered, but she was going to give it to me anyway. Seeing the currency I had, she damn well knew I was good for it, so yes, it was a win-win situation for me.
I picked up my order, and was about to strut my stuff once again, when I car pulled up behind me and I heard a familiar voice, “impish thoughts”, that was my nickname back in university, and no one had called me that in a long time, and only one person called me that, with so much “ownership”. I turned around, and I was right, “We can’t all have pure thoughts” was always my reply. It was Gbenga, my very close buddy back in the day, he quickly parked his car, which was a Mercedes G-Wagon, for your information, and jumped out of the car. “Damn it’s good to see you bro”, he yelled, and hugged me.
“Slow down bro, you get 14years for stuff like this “I joked; he caught the joke immediately and we both laughed. “You haven’t changed a bit”, he said to me, and from the look in his eyes he was genuinely happy to see me.
Gbenga ushered me into his car and we drove off, I told him I lived just down the street, so he offered to give me a ride, and during that short drive, we talked about a lot of things, and don’t worry, I won’t bore you with the details. I didn’t hide my predicament from him, after all what was the point in faking the funk, when obviously Gbenga could be of immense help to me if he chose to, and wouldn’t you know it, he chose to.
“Tony you were and are still one of my best buds, and your friendship really meant a lot to me while we were in school, so guess what, am going to return the favour, I am going to give you a job, no questions asked’ Well, I was finally confident enough to say my luck was beginning to change without getting too cocky enough to jinx it. “I really don’t know what to say” I replied. “Well don’t say nothing bro, just show up at my office on Monday’’, he handed me his card, which only had his name, and office address on it, I took it without question and thanked him for the offer, and I promised to be at his office first thing Monday morning, bright eyed and bushy tailed, and with bells on, if he asked.
I picked up my akara order, and I was about to alight from the vehicle, when Gbenga handed me a wad of five hundred naira (N500) notes, ‘’consider this an advance on your first salary’’, he said with a wink, and before I could say thanks, he drove off.
I stood, stunned for a second, I tried to see if I could hit my head on the fence to see if I would wake up, but I figured if this was a dream, I was going to savor each moment. I walked into the house, and immediately I opened the door, the electricity was restored, I smiled and looked up, maybe you don’t suck so much after all, I said to myself.
It took a few moments for me to take in everything that had just happened, I dropped my akara order on the bed, and eagerly counted the money I had been given, “20k!” I screamed. I picked up the plastic bag that contained the akara I had just bought, looked inside, smiled at myself and threw the plastic bag into my tiny waste bin.
Screw akara tonight, Tony is eating out, and with that I floated out the house and slammed my door.
WATCH OUR FOR PART 2
Written By Arome Ameh (The Priest)