It was going to be either by fire or by force or he wouldn’t
leave the Sonjas Hotel. Nosa sat at the front steps of the hotel entrance and
waited impatiently, he really needed his salary. He had spent last night on an
empty stomach and he refused to continue to live in abject poverty when his
money was lodged up in the hands of greedy people.

“I need my money!” He said, more to himself than anyone as
he stared at his battered slippers on his very rough-looking feet.
He had sat there for about thirty minutes when one of the
staff called him in saying, “Oga will see you now.”
Nosa walked into the hotel interior with the confidence of a
man who knew what he wanted. He reached the door to the manager’s office and
not bothering to knock, he stepped inside.
“Mr. Nosa…” The manager acknowledged as soon as he saw him
walk in.
“Good morning sir.” Nosa greeted dispassionately.
“I see that you have been owed salaries for six whole
months…”
“Don’t talk like someone that doesn’t know what’s been going
on in this hotel. I and some other staff are being owed salaries.”
“You went against the company rules and regulations, Mr.
Nosa, thus we are sorry but we can’t pay you the six months’ salary. We are
going to pay you just two months salary.”
“What? What does that mean?” Nosa asked incredulously.
“In your contract, it states that on no account should
members of staff organize or participate in a protest and you, Mr. Nosa have
led and also participated in several protests and even a strike actions against
our reputable hotel.”
“What are you talking about? Do you mean I shouldn’t protest
when my salaries have not been paid?” Nosa asked.
“It’s in the constitution that any staff who protests should
get a huge salary slash for dragging the reputation of our great hotel to the
mud.”
“Serious! Oga are you mad?”
“Are you insulting me?” The manager asked in anger.
“Pay me my money now or else…”
“Calm down Mr. Nosa, we will pay you your money today but
the truth is, you signed a contract at the beginning of the job.”
Nosa stared at the man in shock, he wanted to protest but
then again, there really was no need. Since the manager had said he signed the
contract, then, he’d better take the money they offered and leave. He needed to
pack his things from the small house he used to share with his friend before
his friend luckily got a better job and moved out, leaving him alone in the
house with an almost expired rent. Nosa’s first stop was his village where he
would spend about two weeks deciding where to go and what to do with his life.
“Can I have the money now?” He asked.
“Sure…I’ll get the paper work started.” The manager said in
satisfaction.
As Nosa left the hotel premises that morning, he felt a bit
relieved with the cash sum of forty thousand naira, the salary for two months
in his pocket. The manager of the hotel laughed as he watched him leave from
the balcony of the second floor, there was no such thing as a contract.
******
Soluzo was planning for her wedding and honestly, she felt
stressed. She looked at her phone and sighed at the many messages she hadn’t
read. All her friends wanted to know how the preparations were coming, the
bridesmaids wanted to know when they were to come together for the fittings and
her future-mother-in- law was on her neck as she wanted to be involved in some
of the plans. Soluzo stretched her arms and stood up lazily like a cat, she
moved her head from side to side in a silent neck exercise and yawned. She
needed sleep or she might faint on her wedding day. The worst thing was, her
parents weren’t based in Lagos and the wedding was taking place in Lagos, so
her mom wasn’t on hand to help her sort out things, she had to do all the sorting
by herself with help most times from her aunt who had advised her earlier to
hire the services of a wedding planner which Soluzo found unnecessarily
expensive. Now, she wished she had hired one, maybe one with affordable rates
because she was stressing herself too much, and coupled with the wedding plans
she still had to work her shifts at the Palmers Medical center and suddenly she
wished she could ask for three months leave.
Soluzo stayed with her aunt’s family in Lagos and even
though she loved her aunt’s family like hers, she wished she was surrounded by
her siblings and parents at this time of her life. She was about to go to the
kitchen to make a light lunch for herself when her phone rang, it was Odili,
her fiancé.
“Hey babe…I’m at the gate.” Odili said through the receiver.
“Oooohhh…is Adamu not at the gate?” Soluzo asked, thinking
of the ordeal of walking to the gate to open it for him and the ache in her
bones.
“I have been horning for the past five minutes…” Odili said.
“Okay…I’m coming…” Soluzo said and forgetting her kitchen
plans she headed to the door and outside the house.
She reached the gate and opened it, letting Odili drive in
with his car, after which she closed the gate firmly and scanned around for any
signs of Adamu, the gateman. She walked towards Odili’s car to greet him as he
alighted quickly from the vehicle.
“Hey baby…” Odili greeted.
“How are you?” Soluzo asked.
“You look tired…” Odili said in a mock frown.
“I am tired ooo…I didn’t know this is how wedding plans
are…haba!”
“Don’t worry…it’s just in two weeks.” Odili assured her.
“How come you men don’t get to do the whole job ehn?”
“Shebi I told you that we should do a morning Mass wedding
and you refused. You were saying things like, ‘I am the first child of my
family, my parents wedding was the talk of the town, what will my friends
say?’”
Soluzo punched him playfully on the arm.
“So, if I leave you…you’ll go and do morning Mass wedding
for your first and only wife abi?”
“Those that do morning Mass weddings are they marrying their
second wife? I don’t know what it is with you women and elaborate weddings.
Look at you, looking all tired and fragile….because you are planning a big
wedding affair.”
“Mtchewww…what is all these talk na? If you came here to
talk rubbish please go to your house…” Soluzo warned already sounding upset.
Odili laughed and pulled her close in a hug.
“I’m sorry…okay…how can I help?”
“Now, that’s better. Let’s start with the invitation card
printer, do you know he hasn’t sent me the last batch of invitation cards? I
hope your grooms’ men are wearing the colour code for the day? Don’t forget to
book for the wedding cars and please do not wear that colour of socks you
bought last week…” Soluzo went on and on.
Odili smiled as he listened while they both walked into the
house together.

To be continued on Sunday…
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