Well, he had to beg now. Nothing new. After asking a few total strangers for help, concocting an elaborate story of how his expensive leather wallet with all his cash… “Can you believe it, my brother! 50,000 Naira gone like that! Plus my ATM cards, not one, not two…three for God’s sake!”… Plus his new Android phone that was nestling in his pocket. He lied that his car was at the mechanic’s and that it had broken down this morning. They sympathized with him in their utter shock, that he should just accept that this was his bad day and that happened once in a while.
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“God will punish these barawos! How much do you need, my brother?” the elderly man among them asked with concern.
“I just need 300 Naira to get to the mechanic and grab my car. So please, if you can help me, God will bless you infinitely.”
It took four people to contribute the said amount. They prayed for him and bid him good luck on his way.
Finally on the bus, and safely away from his gullible and generous helpers, Ishola laughed. What outrageous story! What car? What money? What Android phone? All he had to manage was this little, almost lifeless phone. But that was the only way he could get help, he said to himself. The people of this country were just something else. You approach them without effectively affecting their sympathy and they’ll see you as a good-for-nothing lazy human being, with no job and nothing to do but to go around begging strangers for money. And if not for his expensive look, he’d never had pulled it off. He was so glad he had some little change to buy some groundnuts and bananas on the roadside. When he finally got home to his one-room shabby-looking apartment, his roommate, Elton, wasted no time in pouncing on him.
“Ishola, sharperly remove all the cloth make I return them quickly, biko. Oga Samson just dey call my number since morning say where the cloth he give me make I wash and the shoes wey he say make I polish. You know that man, he fit just reduce my salary because of small mistake!”
Ishola hurriedly took the clothes and shoes off. Sadly, they had to be returned.
“I beg tell me say you don land the job, na!” Elton said excitedly, “with that your first class wey you carry from university and that your flu-flu English.”
“You mean fluent English. They didn’t give me the job…”
By the time Ishola had finished his story, Elton had hissed like fifty times and retorted a hundred swear words. He couldn’t understand why things should be so hard after a proper degree and years of good education. What was the use of all that then? Soon enough, Ishola was left alone in the apartment, deeply depressed. He wondered when next he’d get another job opportunity and if he’d be lucky again to dress properly. It was all just so demoralizing, the way the country system worked. This was his fourth interview after three years of passing out in flying colours from the state university. He’d had so much hope. He’d worked so hard. He was beginning to understand why some people would go into online scamming, theft and prostitution. The situation was really dire. Nothing was looking promising anymore. He laid down on his worn out mattress that was placed on the floor and removed his T-shirt. The weather was unbearably hot. There was no electric fan in the room. In short, there was no electricity to start with. Electricity in this part of the world was an August visitor. What would he do with his life now? Well, one thing he was too proud to do was make money dishonestly. His grandmother’s ghost will rise up out of the dust and slap the nonsense out of him. She had broke her back to make sure he got a good education, to bring him up as a decent man. He would make her proud. He conjured up the belief that he’d get a better job opportunity soon, one without the stench of nepotism, or favoritism, or terrorism… Or any other bad kind of “ism”.
He lifted his seriously battered phone to his face and started to dail Mary’s number when it came vividly and suddenly to him that she was from Niger-Delta…
READ ALSO: 9JA STORY- Aisha, my favorite nurse (Part 2)
“Hello… Mary on the line… ” Her gentle sweet voice came on accompanying a tightness of pleasure around Ishola’s chest, and the vague feeling that there must be butterflies in his belly… And also, that all too familiar feeling down below…
So what if they were from different tribes… Who cared!
NEXT STORY COMES 7PM NOV 04
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