Thursday, June 20, 2013

A new phase

The sun beat me harder than it ever had in my entire life, even while I was at the village, I hardly ever stayed under the sun for this long. As I walked from pillar to post with my tattered bag and worn out slippers, I couldn’t help but pity myself. ‘Me Senorita! Chai! Lagos no do you well oo…’ I murmured to myself. Hunger had just ravaged my intestines and as I was about to cross the road, the umpteenth time, my eyes were drawn to a poster. The words were written in bold letters and even though I squinted under the sun’s harsh stare, I could hardly pronounce what was written on the poster. Turning quickly to a Good Samaritan nearby who was busy munching a mouth watering hot corn, I ask.
“Sister abeg…na wetin dem write for hia.” I said, pointing to the poster.
“Nanny for hire…” The girl said, her mouth never straying from the corn.
“Nanny! Wetin  dat one come mean?”
“Pesin wey dey take kia of pikin…”
“Ohhh….okay… I fit do am na.”
“Why you never apply?”
“I…err…na now my eye draw reach am..”
“Okay…call the number wey dem write for the poster or go find the address.”
“Ehnn…I no get fone, even sef, I no get small money wey go carry me go the address.”
“Na number 10 Sanusi close, e no far na… you go take leg waka go front, de corner for second bending, den de bend for last turn, na for dia you go see the street.”
“God bless you…you don try for me.” I say as I hastily hoist my well-worn bag over my shoulders and leave for the place.
The place was farther than I had thought, the more I walked, the hungrier I became and the crave for garri and groundnut was too hard to ignore. I reached the house and knocked at the gate, a dog barked somewhere close and I cringed in fear. ‘what if these people were no better than the Don and his men?” I asked myself. The gateman materialized from his post and walked up to me.
“We no get food to give today, come tomorrow.” He said nonchalantly.
“Food? I no come for food, na work carry me come.”
“Work? You no be beggar?” He asked.
I looked at him then mentally assessed myself, he was right, I looked nothing less than a beggar, my slippers were dark with mud and the mud stains clung to my feet like second skin. I could perceive my foul breath from miles away, my eyes were red rimmed and my clothes smelt like something dead and rotten.
“Why you call me beggar? Na ya papa be beggar!” I hurl insults at him.
“See pesin wey dey yan yawa for my papa head…abeg sharrap, wetin you dey find?”
“You deaf? I wan work…”
“Which kain work you dey find?”
“I wan do nanny…”
The gateman’s laughter couldn’t have upset me more.
“You…nanny…hehehe…wonders shall never cease… dorty woman like you, see as you wan dorty pesin pikin.”
The words I would have hurled back at him hung in my mouth as soon as a woman emerged from within.
“Madam…abeg I wan apply for nanny.” I say to the woman who had walked close to the gate.
The woman looked at me puzzled.
“You?” She asked me looking baffled.
“Yes ma! I fit carry pikin well, I fit back dem, even baff dem join.”
“No sane parent will let your kind near their child especially in your state. Where are you from? Did you just escape an asylum?.”
“Sane? Asyliii? Wetin be dat? Madam I wan work…”
“Sorry dear, this is not the place for you.”
I fell to my kneels in tears and begged desparately.
“Madam, look me well, I be hard worker, abeg I wan be nanny. I be no dorty before, na Janet chase me commot from her house for two days now. I never chop, I never even baff… na for front of shop I dey sleep.”
The woman seemed to look at me in compassion and took pity on me.
“It’s okay…I am only taking you in because we are short on staff right now and we have had a lot of women asking for maids and nannies for their children.”
“God bless you ma…you no go see poverty lai lai.”
“You must however take your bath and change your clothes…don’t you understand how to speak good English?”
“No be English I dey speak so?”
“No…didn’t you go to school?” The woman inquired further
“Madam, I never see wia dem dey use school work to take kia of pikin. My mama no see school for her life but na she teach me everything wey I know…” I reply.
The woman shook her head in disbelief and ushered me in as she decided to take me in, I followed her into a small office which housed to computers and two men. I sat down and from the look on their faces, they obviously thought I stunk. I looked at my slippers and shook my head in despair, this was not what I had bargained for.
The woman, who I later learnt was Iyabo, told one of the men to buy me a soap and sponge and when he returned with the items, I was led into a bathroom at the back of the house where I had my bath. The bathroom was by far, better than any other I had been privileged to bath in. the soap smelt so good, I almost ate the bar and the water seemed so refreshing and I could swear that I had never felt this refreshed in my entire life.
As soon as I had had my bath and changed into the clothes from my bag, I stepped out into the office and sat down in my former position. I had hardly sat when a woman walked in with her husband and their baby, they seemed to be in a hurry and desperately in need of a nanny for their child. There and then, Iyabo signed a contract releasing me to them.
I arrived at the couple’s house one hour later and I must say I was quite impressed with their home. I had no idea of the job of a nanny but I needed a place to stay and food to eat, so I couldn't complain more besides I was to be a live- in nanny with a monthly salary of ten thousand naira alongside feeding. I couldn't be more grateful, that night, as I slept I knew deep down that I couldn’t have found a better home.
My new household was conducive, my employers were not poor and they had all the basic necessities they ever wanted. I was well fed and after taking care of their fifteen month old son, all I did was sleep, sleep and sleep some more. I couldn't help laying curses on Janet whenever thoughts of her flashed across my mind. I had not yet had male admirers as I was still surveying the area but I knew the right man will tag along at his own right time.
Two weeks later my madam travelled and I was faced with biggest dilemma of my life, my Oga did something that I never imagined possible. It was a Tuesday afternoon and I had just dropped off their baby at the daycare, I returned to the house to see my Oga's car parked unusually in the compound.
"Wetin happen na?" I ask myself. 
I hurry into the house in haste and shock couldn't have registered on my face as I saw my Oga standing in the sitting room in his birthday suit...he was stark naked. My mouth opened in shock as I stared at the gorgeousness of the male specimen before me. He didn't see me because his back was turned to me and he was taking out a bottle of wine from the mini bar. Excitement couldn't have had me more prepared, my Oga wanted me, he had planned to be with me as soon as his wife traveled, those were my thoughts. Quickly taking a cue, I smiled to myself as I quickly shed my clothes; if Oga was ready to tangle, who was I to resist such temptation? This man was richer than all the other men who were privileged to have crossed my path, as far as I am concerned, I am ready to do the grabbing.
I had just stripped down to my underwear when I heard a gasp behind me, I turned abruptly to stare into the baffled face of a lady who was obviously not my madam. I screamed in shock and turned to stare at my Oga who had also turned to look at me in surprise.
"Who is this girl?" The lady asked.
" baby's nanny." My Oga looked at me in sheer disgust.
"Are you having an affair with your nanny.?" The lady asked looking very hurt.
"No baby...I'm not...never! I can't sleep with this dirty girl." He said.
"Then what is she doing here, half naked?" The lady asked with hands on her hips.
"I don't understand what the dirty pig is doing here either." Oga continued.
I bit my tongue, 'me, Senorita! Dorty, this man never see shit!" I thought to myself.
"Will you get out of my sight? I wonder what you are doing in your underwear." Oga barked at me.
"Ah be you cause am? I see you as you don pull cloth so, I come tink say, you ready for action." i say quite bodly.
"Get out of my sight this instant and I don't need to warn that not a word of this should get to my wife. Can you imagine this thing?" Oga said angrily.
"I told you that we should get a hotel, I am not comfortable staying in your matrimonial home." The lady said.
As I stared at the couple, I mutter under my breath.
" This big fish wey I catch so wan take kurukere dodge comot for my eye, lai lai. Which gial fine pass Senorita for Lasgidi? No body! I go show dem say, Okro sweet pass Ogbono...dem wan try?"

Thursday, June 13, 2013

De end of de road, de beginning of a journey!


I slept outside last night and even as the rains poured and droplets left the ceiling of the parched corridor of the house I once shared with Janet, I felt my life sway before my eyes. After I had led everyone to believing that I had a fat bank account, I was beaten and shunned by those who had become my friends. Janet, my only hope, had sent me out of her house and threw my bags outside, I had become, officially homeless.
Dawn came creeping slowly and quietly and even as I made to rise to my feet and once again attempt to knock at the door to Janet’s room, I felt the shudder of cold as a small paint bucket of urine was poured on me by Sisi Gbemi, the nosiest tenant of our compound.
“You no dey see?” I turn to ask.
“Na here be ya palour?” She retorts.
“Why you pour piss for my body na? Wich kain nonsense be dis one?”
“See dis ashewo, after de mouth wey you make yesterday ehn… you still fit talk.” She continued.
“Na wia dat one take comot sleep for ya eye.”
“Oloshi…oloriburuku…you tief money come dey pose…Oshofree!”
Onochie the landlord’s wayward son walked out of the room he shared with his family members and sauntered up to meet me.
“Baby moi…na who dey disturb you so?” He asked, touching his chin with his left hand as he spoke to me.
“Wetin carry you come here…ehn Onochie? I don tell you before say, make you no dey call me baby again. I no be ya grade.” I snap in anger.
“See dis gial wey I wan help sef…idiot!” Onochie spat.
I hiss loudly and continue knocking at Janet’s door.
“Why you wan helep am?  Abegi…we no need her kind for dis house again….shebi Janet don troway ya property….dey goooo!!!” Sisi Gbemi hooted at me.
I ignore them bang hard on Janet’s door.
“Janet! Janet! Abeg…if you troway me from house, who go carry me na? Abeg no vex, I no know say de money wey I carry na fake….” I cry loudly.
I hear no sound from the room within as everywhere remain still and calm except for the mummurs of Onochie, Sisi Gbemi and a few other neighbours who had made a circle round me.
“Me sef think say…she don comot tey tey….dis gial no dey hear word.” Said one of the neighbours.
“Wetin she do sef? I hear say, she carry fake dollars….”
“Ehnnn dis one no be cold water ooo…my brother na corporal and if im catch dis kain pesin…na Kirikiri straight no back turn.”

“Abeg make wee helep am carry her bag troway am for road…see as her load dey block road for here.” Said Sisi Gbemi, picking up on of my small bags.
“Drop am kia kia…na wia dis one take be ya consign? I go wound pesin ooo.” I warn.
“Come wound me na…abi u never see Mike Tyson for Naija before?” Sis Gbemi warned.
“Janet! Jane! I take God beg you na….” I plead.
The door opens and Janet emerges, stretching and yawning, she stared at me spitefully and I could never forget the hatred I saw in her eyes. I asked myself quietly…’wetin I do?’
“You never comot?” She asks.
I fall on my kneels and cry hard.
“No! This na de only place wey I kno…Janet, abeg.”
“Ehenn…wen you dey jump from pilliar to post… you no know say e get time when fowl dey run from rain.”
“I take God beg you…you be my only hope… Ahhh! Senorita! See wetin you don carry load for head.”
“Vex wan kill me!” Janet said as she looked at the neighbours. ‘Imagine dis shit! This gial wey I carry come from village… I give am shelter, cloth, food….everything, I give to am. Just yesterday, im see dollars begin dey behave like goat… she no even say, oya my sister janet, take dis money join body. Instead she turn mee to househelp, I wan slap myself when I remember how I serve am yesterday. Oya begin pay me all de money wey I wey I don spend ontop ya body.”
“I take God beg you…janet! I promise say…if you let me enter house again… I go surprise you. I go work so tey…body go dey pepper me. I go make money for you… I no come lagos for play.”
The neighbours shook their heads and hissed audibly.
“Seno…dis na de end of the road for you. If na me dey for ya shoes now… I go kukuma carry my load reach motor park wey dey go village. Lagos no be for ya type.” Janet continued.
I fall on the floor in a helpless heap and beat myself with my hands.
“Senorita! Yeh! Lagos oooo!” I wail.
“Come carry her load comot…drag am comot for my papa compound!” Onochie shouts while he gestures to some boys standing around to drag me out of the compound.
They carry my struggling self out of the only place I call home in the city of Lagos and dump me outside the gate.
“Onochie! Ono…dis na wickedness…na because I no gree for you?” I wail.
“Your body no go even sweet as I want sef…abeg carry ya wahala run go village.” Onochie spits.
My bags were thrown on the road while I rolled on the dust in tears, passersby only looked on and shook their heads while my so-called neighbours and the only person I called sister whom I knew in Lagos, shut the compound gate against me.
Sighing audibly and crying loudly I shout….
“Senorita! You never see anything for Lagos ooo…. Ya own don kpai!” 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

One Chance!

“Seno….na you be dis? Wia you go na?” Asked Janet, my roommate.
“Modeling.” I replied, falling on the cushion in an exhausted heap.
I had just returned from the hotel where the Don and Bongus had held me hostage for the past twelve hours. Getting home was not easy as I had to literally beg a tomato van driver to drop me at the closest bustop to my house. I had trekked for hours.
“Na wa ooo… I fear say 419 don carry you. I go dat place wia you tell me say  una dey do modeling. I no see ant for dia sef.”
“You mean am?” I say closing my eyes and feigning sleep.
“Yes ke…” Janet continued but noticing my eyes were closing she nugged me and said; “ You wan sleep for cushion? Abeg lie down for floor jare…”
My eyes popped open instantly.
“Wetin be ya own? Na sake of say I dey crash for ya house ooo…if not, I go give you word dis night!” I shout.
“Ehn…senorita! You don grow wings abi? Na because of modeling?” Janet asks in surprise while placing her hands on her waist.
Ignore her totally as I close my eyes still lounging on her cushion. I could hear Janet’s labored breathing, she only breathed fast whenever she was angry and I knew that I had perked up the beast in her. Honestly, I was tired of being treated like a slave in her house, it wasn’t as though I wasn’t used to sleeping on the floor but I felt that I was bigger than that. I wanted to be respected and with the money I had tucked into my brassiere as soon as I left the hotel room, I knew I was covered.
“Tomorrow…you must comot for dis house kia kia… I no fit dey receive any kain insult from beggar like you. We no fit get two captains forr one ship.” Hissed Janet.
The word beggar got me mad, I jumped up from my sleeping position and ran towards Janet in frenzy. She was prepared for my attack, we rolled over in a big fight as pots, cups, plates, spoons and different worn-out furniture fell on us and scrapped our sides. Janet pinched me on my buttocks and I bit her on her breast. We fought for long before disentangling ourselves. My blouse was ripped and my bra was exposed alongside my breasts and the money I had placed inside. Janet spaghetti strapped top was also torn and left dangling to the side and even as we stared at eachother, I could see her eyes pop wide as she saw my chest area.
“No wonder! Ahhh…na dollars make you dey shine eye for me abi?” Janet asked in shock.
“Which kain? Na you get am?” I chortled angrily.
“Seno! Wia you from carry am come?”
“Idiot like you…come carry na…all ya maltreatment go stop by fire by force!” I shouted loudly as I brought out the money from my bra and licking my fingers, I begin to count dem.”
“Seno darling, Seno sweetie… abeg no vex for me. Come lie down for my bed ejo…” She pleaded.
“I no need to lie down anymore…as you can see… I don land money. Tomorrow, I go pack comot for here…who need ya wahala sef?”
Janet fell on her kneel and begged desperately.
“Abeg… I take God beg you… na my sister you be so. Abi you don forget?”
“Hmmm… u be dey take me for granted abi... dis na my time to shine… no yawa.”
Janet nodded vigorously as I dished out my commands;
“From now on, na wetin I command you go dey do for dis house. Number one, na me go dey sleep for bed, two… when I call ya name, ya answer go be Ma… number three….”
As I continued, I felt the surge of power fill my body; I remembered having this same feeling when the Don and his boys dashed out in fright at the hotel room earlier today.
The next morning, I was treated like a Queen. Janet prepared breakfast of yam and fried eggs while I lay lounging in bed, refusing to have a bath because of my hidden treasure nestled inside my bra. I dreamt of the house I would buy and the clothes I would shop for and joy burst through my heart. Janet kept cleaning, sweeping and dusting the small room we shared. I later got tired of lying idly on the bed and rose, preparing to go to the bathroom for my bath but there was a hitch. I couldn't leave my fortune alone in the house with Janet, I didn’t trust her one bit. Janet had just brought in my breakfast when I ordered her to leave the room.
“Why na? Wetin I do you dis time?” Janet asked in a pained voice.
“Who you be? You wan craze? Abi you want make I park comot for this house?” I shout.
“Abeg… no vex, na slip for tongue…” Janet said begging.
“Your own don dey too much ooo… I wan lock my money for inside house and I no fit baff well if you dey inside house with the money..”
“Ahhh…oya…lock am, I go sit for outside.” Said a subdued Janet.
I carefully removed the money again from my bra and counted it, Janet salivated as she watched me touch the crisp notes. I too, couldn't believe that I had become rich over night. Folding the money carefully, I order Janet to close her eyes while I hide the money.
“Seno…haba…shebi you go lock door? How I go fit touch the money when I no dey inside room.”
“You be proper thief…close ya eyes now or I go wooze you sound slap!”
Janet closed her eyes while I tucked the money under the mattress and satisfied that she hadn’t seen where I hid it, I walk towards her and roughly push her towards the door. We step outside the room and I lock the door firmly behind us. I had just slipped the key inside my wrapper when I heard my name.

I didn’t bother turning around, I knew who it was.
“Who be rat?” I shouted back.
“See dis babe ooo… na Frederiko.” Said Frederiko as he walked up to meet me.
“Who you dey call dis babe?” I say, turning around to face him squarely.
“Ahhh…wetin dey do you?”
“Na ya mama dey craze.” I insulted.
Frederiko’s eyes widened in shock, at that moment, Larry and Shade were stepping out of their room in a matching attire, it seem as if they were going for a wedding. They too, stopped to stare at me. Some other neighbours, had come out of their rooms itching for news.
“Na me you dey insult so?” Frederiko asked, stunned.
“You be useless man. I no wan see you again…lai lai.” I spit out.
“Ehen…dis girl don shack ooo….shebi na me… a whole Frederiko, you dey yan yawa. God forbid!”
“Na ya papa forbid you…Mugu!” I lash out at him.
“Abi you wan hear slap? This no be the Senorita wey I know. So na how you wan pay me back abi… I no be Larry ooo wey you dump like banana.”
“Gerrout of my sight!” I shout.
“Oya…give me my one thousand naira…” Frederiko shouted, creating a scene.
“See dis Ode! My money no dey in naira again…na for dollars.” I boast.
Everyone standing around me gasped, except Janet who knew my claims were true. Suddenly, they burst out laughing, Shade laughed hard till she fell on the floor and tears rolled down her eyes.
“Una wan try? Una dey doubt me? Janet…tell dem wetin you see…give dem gist.” I say to Janet.
“No be lie ooo…Seno don turn model, she just try am once and the money wey she carry come ehn, e full one bag and na so so dollars.”
“Talk true…” Said Frederiko.
“The money dey inside house….if you like ehn… I go show you..”
“Sharrap….show wetin. Na you get the money?” I say to Janet.
“No ma!” Janet replied hastily.
Shade stood up from thee ground and stared at us in wwonder.
“Janet…na true you talk? Senorita don hammer so?” Shade asked.
“Na true my sister… you know me na. Na sake of say she bring money ooo…for dat reason ehn, I dey loyal till death do part.” Janet supplied.
“Waoow….this is good baby!” Shouted Frederiko as he lifted me up in his arms.
“Abeg abeg…carry me come down! I no want ya dorty hand for my body.” I shout in anger.
“Sweety…shebi you know say na me be ya first love for dis Lagos.” Said Larry walking up to meet me.
“You dey mad? I go scatter ya teeth for hia now if you talk dat tin again.”Warned Frederiko as he faced Larry.
“Wife thief! Ole! Na you steal my Senorita.” Accused Larry.
“You wan die? If you wan die ehn, call her name again.”
“Senorita!” Shouted Larry.

The two men grabbed eachother in a fight, I ignored them and walked towards the bathroom with the neighbours on my heels and Janet ahead of them, she held my bathing bucket in her hand.
I reached the bathroom and entered while the neighbours and Janet waited patiently for me to finish having my bath. I stepped out ten minutes later to see that my onlookers had increased, I handed the bucket to Janet and she clumsily let it slip from her hand to the floor. In rage I slapped her hard on the face.
“You wan break my bucket?”
“No ma…abeg no vex.”
“I swear, I go demote you ooo.” I warn.
“Aunty Senorita… I fit do Janet work wella…” Said Shade who had stepped up to me.
“Who dis wan be? Na animal or ghost? Abeg carry ya small yash comot for my front.” I say.
I walk to my door step to still see Larry and Frederiko, fighting frantically. Ignoring them, I open the door to my room and enter, closing it firmly behind me and leaving Janet, my lovers and onlookers, outside.
Thrity minutes later, I emerge in my blue top and red flowered trousers which Larry bought for me from Ore. The spectators were still waiting where I had left them, the only difference was, Larry and Frederiko had stopped fighting. Fumbling through my brassiere, I bring out the dollars to the awe of the gradually growing onlookers and count them again. Placing it back into my bra, the umpteenth time, I walk away from them and sit at the entrance of the compound, bringing out the cash again and recounting. My onlookers had once again, followed me outside.
“Aunty Senorita…shebi you go call Mallam Nuru…he dey change money ooo.” Said Shade.
“I no wan change am.” I reply.
“If you no change am… you no go fit use am do any tin. This na big money and you need to change am, infact, open account sef.”
“Wia the Mallam Nuru.” I ask.
“Sekia…abeg go call am for the other compound.” Said Shade to one of our neighbours.
Sekia dashed off, while I kept counting my money and drawing attention from people on the street. Our compound had no gate, so it was easy to see what was going on. Frederiko and Larry stood beside me, their eyes were puffed and their cheeks bruised, Larry seemed to have sprained his knee because he was limping badly. In a few minutes, Mallam Nuru arrived with a friend of his.
“Mallam…abeg we want make you help us change money.” Said Shade.
“Shut up! Na you get am?” I shouted.
“Sorry ooo…no vex.” Shade pleaded.
“How much you wan change?” The Mallam asked.
“I no know how much I hold…” I replied.
“Bring am make I see am.” Said the Mallam.
“Lai lai…” I refuse, shaking my head from side to side.
“If you no bring am, how I go change am na?” The Mallam asks.
I reluctantly delve into my bra for the money and hesitantly hand it over to Mallam Nuru.
“Ahh….na who give you dis money?” Mallam Nuru asks.
“Na for wia dat one take consign you na?” I retort.
He gives the money to his companion who laughs and stares at me absurdly.
“Auntie…this money na original fake dollars!” His companion says.
I look at them in confusion, my neighbours gasp in shock.
“Wetin…wetin una dey talk?” I whisper.
“Dis na counterfeit and even law talk say, anybody wey dem find with dis kain money go sleep for jail….” Said Mallam Nuru.
I open my mouth but no sound comes out…suddenly I feel a huge slap land on my back, then another and a few other blows… I hear Janet, Shade, Larry and Frederiko rain abuses at me. 
“Good for nothing! Idiot! Mumu! Waka-about, Na God go punish you!.....”
They keep beating me while the neighbours walk out on us, Mallam Nuru and his friend, drop the fake money beside me and walk away while I receive the beating of my life. Deep down I wail at my failure at being a model and hurl insults at the Don and his men.  Quietly, I  say to myself;
“Senorita…na so you enter one chance?”