POSTED 09/17/2018 15:27
"Aaaaaaagh!" I yawned with my mouth wide open.
This was indeed a yawn of a poor man. Rich men do not yawn that way. Baba Basila doesn't yawn at all. He only opens his mouth that wide when he's shouting on Yetunde or when he's about swallowing his well-molded and dipped- into-egusi soup semovita.
Last night was an epic battle between hunger and I. Sleep just decided to sit on the green fence to watch me struggle with hunger. The fight all ended in stalemate.
"Hmm... Thank God," I heaved a sigh of relief.
At least I survived the night. I stood up from the edge of the bed, trudged wearily to where my radio was to turn it on. Perhaps I could hear job vacancy being announced.
'E go beta, e go beta, na im mek igbo man dey Lagos.'
This I Sabi You Sabi 81.0 F.M never ceased to amaze me. Last year they emerged the best pidgin radio station of the year. Tuning to Metric 104.1 F.M was the least I could think of. I wasn't ready to listen to any funeral announcement. So I had to try Excel 100.79 F.M. All I heard was Saraki's defection from APC to PDP.
'This people with outdated news enh,' I mumbled.
Nothing really got me intrigued, so I had to turn it off 'na job I dey find', I hissed.
When I was nine, I used to hear things like 'vacancy, vacancy, vacancy...' blaring from our father's old radio. But when I grew, the voice had suddenly ceased. All I now hear is, 'EFCC probes former governor of Ekiti', 'Boko Haram invades Bornu', 'Adams warns Eve'. Maybe the lady had died or maybe those vacancies were occupied before I could grow. I roamed about the streets with a self-employed job of writing application letters.
Queens nursery school was the seventeenth place I submitted my application without being called for the teaching job which seemed common. Writing an application letter to work for the latest mall in town was a leap in the dark since I never had five thousand naira to attach to the letter as required by the management.
Peter had asked me to meet him in the morning that he had something important to tell me. What he had to tell me wasn't my need for the morning, food was. I knew I couldn't go to Peter's house and return the same. My belle must be filled with fish and bread-food. When I got there, after knocking the door for some minutes, I discovered he and his girlfriend, Simiola were having a worship session with their bodies. Looking at Simiola, her figures, curves and elegance alone would force you into believing that her body was indeed the temple of the most high. I sat outside and patiently waited for Peter till he was through. After a long session of worship, Peter ushered me in, served me food, which I never hesitated eating before we went into talking.
'Guy o, I get job for you,' Peter assured. 'But you have to meet my boss'.
As a desperate and hungry looking graduate that I was, I was ready to do whatever it took to be a salary earner. Meeting Peter's boss, Mr. Silvanus, there I was told the conditions before being employed to work as a secretary in the company. The conditions were like blood in the mouth – hard to swallow, hard to spit. I forced myself into swallowing the blood by accepting the conditions, at least I wasn't asked to kill anyone. No man helps without earning something in return.
That was how I became a salary earner. I no longer begged Karen for a cup of rice every morning, I no longer begged Elijah for bread every evening, no more was I found seated in bet9ja watching movies and old matches from morning to dusk. I footed Juliet's bills; I met her needs as a fiancée, I became useful to mama who was dying of hunger in the village, but I was dying. I died to survive every day.
Juliet's surprise visit wasn't ordinary to me. That was the first time since four years her presence grew such uneasiness in me. As I sat in the living room, she came out from the bedroom with something in her hand.
'Honey, who's the owner of this diaper? And what is it doing in your house?' she asked with curiosity boldly written on her face.
Trying to puzzle out myself with lies, she brought out my phone with an SMS displayed on the screen which read
MY BOSS: Baby you're the best. I can't wait to shag you again till we both scream in gleeful climax. Meet me at Sesco Hotel tonight. I love you.
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