I was still at the top of the
fence and despite the commotion on both sides of the fence, I shut my eyes
tight. ‘Why I nor be witch ehn? I for fly comot from hia shio!’ I said to myself over and over again.
“It is over! Come down from
that fence and stop drawing attention to yourself.” Madame shouted from the
other side.
I opened one eye slightly and
peeked at her, she looked ruffled, her hands were on her hips while she tapped
one foot impatiently. Suddenly I saw movements as two of the guards had brought
a ladder which they placed on the wall beside me. I almost wailed in despair,
if they got their hands on me, I will be finished.
“Climb up quickly and bring her
down. Hopefully she hasn’t drawn too much attention. As soon as you bring her
down, have the gateman call off the dogs.” Madame ordered.
I was weak, the guards climbed
the ladder and as though I weighed nothing more than a sack of rubbish, they
brought me down from the fence.
****
“Madame I swear! I nor go
disappoint you lai lai.” I swore as I licked my fingers which I had used in
touching the dust on the floor.
“You this thrash! Will you keep
quiet while I issue my orders?” Madame hissed at me and looking at Chi, she
said, “I am sending her with you because I really have no choice. Twenty girls
have been asked of me for the Abuja parole, some other girls have gone to my
strip club, while the remaining are in training for the trip to Spain. I really
have no other girls to send than you two. The men are very wealthy business men
and I came highly recommended, I really wish I had someone else to send with
you instead of this useless Senorita girl.” Madame grumbled.
“Don’t worry ma, I won’t
disappoint you, I’ll watch her carefully and make sure she doesn’t do anything
stupid.” Chi said.
“Remember to tell them that
she’s our newest recruit and if they express fears over her naiveté, please
tell them that she has been well trained to give them all they ask. If only we
spent the afternoon training her for escapades instead of chasing her round the
compound like headless chickens.” Madame complained and hissed.
I curtsied. 
Immediately they
brought me down from the fence, I became meek. I apologized, begged
and pleaded with Madame, I even told her that I was possessed and that I came
to Lagos to be rid of my troublesome spirit. The ladies in the house eyed me
angrily and most hated me because they felt that I was the cause of Fola’s
exile. I had been dragged into the house and even slapped and when Madame
threatened that I must take the oath, I shivered in fear. Then, like magic,
something miraculous happened. Madame was interrupted by a phone call that a
party of men needed atleast five of her girls. Madame was devastated because
they had offered her huge sums of money to provide girls but her girls weren’t
enough. With Fola out of the picture and the rest tied up in one activity or
the other, it was just Chi that was left. So I was chosen to join Chi who
loathed me. I was lectured and given a short tutorial of what to expect, how to
walk and how to talk. They actually gave up on me when it got to the speech aspect because I was so bad with English that even some of the guards cringed
when I pronounced some words.
“When I say, meet my friend and
mate, Senorita, she has recently joined us from an equally large establishment.
She’s sure to take care of your needs. You should smile and keep silent.” Chi
instructed me with gritted teeth as soon as we left Madame’s sight. “It’s a
pleasure meeting you,  Senorita, they’ll say and your response should be, the pleasure is
all mine. Please repeat after me.” Chi demanded.
“Okay…when dem talk say, how do
I do, I go come yarn…de plishure is rall my.” I replied.
“Are you crazy? Do you think
this is a joke? This is a big contract and several establishments would kill to
be in our position. Do not spoil this runs. Repeat after me, the pleasure is all mine.”
Chi screamed at me.
I blinked, I was already used
to the screaming but the way her eyes popped from its sockets made it seem like
she was about to have a seizure.
“De plishure…is…all…my.” I repeated.
This time I received a dirty
slap. One of the ladies who had just stepped out from one of the rooms spoke to
Chi.
“You go wound that girl
ooo…shio! Don’t be surprised if you see our competing establishment girls at
the function. Do you want to go there with a girl with slap marks? Be careful
o, besides Madame won’t be happy if she sees this.”
“Anita, this girl pisses me
off, she has no taste, no class or scruples yet she has to go for a big
function with me.”
“But she’s a looker! Even
though she’s bush can you deny the fact that she’s so pretty? That’s what the
men want.” Anita said.
I smiled at Anita’s reply and
said “Thiank you Anita.”
“Will you shut up?” Chi and
Anita said to me at once. I glued my mouth shut.       
“Don’t worry, Madame will get
rid of her in no time. The issue is, we aren’t as many as we used to be and getting quality girls to join the trade is difficult. I could remember when my
eldest sister joined Madame’s establishment, when I used to pay her a visit, I
was usually overwhelmed at the number of women and ladies that filled this place. There were usually no extra rooms but now, each girl can have a room to
herself. It’s because many women have opened establishments so, girls now
choose the ones they want to join and most girls prefer doing their work on
their own.” Anita said.
Chi sighed and turned back to
me while Anita left the corridor where we stood.
“Repeat each word after me.”
Chi said.
“Reee..pea ish wor afta me.” I
replied.
Chi screamed in frustration and
stormed out of the corridor, leaving me all alone, staring at her retreating back while wondering what I’ve done wrong.
*****
I stared at myself in the
mirror in shock. This was the first time I was ever seeing myself looking so
beautiful in my life. The make-up artist finished up and I almost opened my
mouth in wonder and shock.
“Soo…na me be dis? Senorita…de pesin wey dey look you for mirror, shebi na you or na anoda pesin?” I asked out loud.
The make-up artist stared at me
and chuckled quietly. The door opened and Chi walked in, looking amazing in a
red trouser and top which I later learnt was called a jumpsuit.
“Is she done with her make-up?”
Chi asked the make-up artiste.
“Yes she is. But…” The make-up
artiste started.
“But what?” Chi asked.
“Are you really going to take
this girl along with you? I mean…she’s so…primitive…” The make-up artiste
blurted.
“Seriously, I wish there was
some other option but…” Chi sighed.
The make-up artiste shook her head and
left the room.
“Can you imagine? Even the
make-up lady knows you are bush! Did you hear what she called you? Primitive!
Do you know what that means? It means that you are archaic. But why am I wasting
my breath? You don’t even understand anything.” Chi raved.
I kept mum and stared at her
while she rained abuses on me. When she was tired, she went to the wardrobe and
brought out a short dress, a pair of very high heeled shoes and under-wear.
After helping me into the dress and shoes, I stood and watched her assess me.
“Aunty Chi…I nor understand de kain step wey I wear for leg so…” I said.
Chi ignored me and spoke.
“You look very presentable, if
only you spoke better and behaved better, you’ll be one of the most sought for
girls in this establishment.” Said Chi, after a while, she spoke again. “Alright,
we are ready to go, we’ll practice the words one more time and we can leave. So
repeat after me, the pleasure is all mine.” She said, making sure she said it
slowly.
“The plishure is all mine.” I
replied.
“That’s much better, let’s go.”
She said.
We turned to go and suddenly I felt the ground quake beneath my feet, it was the ‘staircase’ that Chi had given me to wear. I have never worn the sort before and I could almost swear that an earthquake was taking place with my every step. Eager to please an already pissed off Chi, I took two steps forward and fell to the ground in a useless heap.

                                                            

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