It was going to be either by fire or by force or he wouldn’t leave the Sonjas Hotel, Nosa resolved. He 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 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 moved to another state, 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 in all honesty, 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. Her traditional wedding was also coming up and thankfully, her mother had that covered. 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 phone.
“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 honing 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 had no idea that wedding planning was this stressful…haba!”
“Do you know what? Why don’t we elope and get married in Las Vegas.” Odili said with a mischievous twinkle in his eyes.
She nudged him hard in the ribs and he laughed.
“How come you men don’t get to do the whole job ehn?” She whined.
“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, you want a morning Mass wedding for your first and only wife abi?”
“Are those who have morning Mass weddings marrying their second wives? I don’t know what it is with you women and elaborate weddings. Look at you, looking all tired and overwhelmed….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.

 

Ecclesiastes 4:9: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?”
To be continued…

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