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Stella was in a sour mood, she dropped her bag on her desk
and sat down resting her forehead on the edge of her work table.
“For
she’s a jolly good fellow, for she’s a jolly good fellow, for she’s a jolly
good fellow…that nobody can deny!”
Her colleagues sang.
She raised up her head from her table and regarded them with
a smile.

“You guys are pathetic! I can’t believe you remembered.” She
said.
Her colleague and gist-partner Rhoda hurried up to her and
pulled her to her feet.
“Happy
birthday to you…happy birthday to you…happy birthday dear Stella…happy
birthday to you…hip hip hip…hurray!”
They all sang.
“Thank you so much guys…thank you…you guys have made my
day…” She smiled as she hugged her colleagues one after the other.
“Here’s your birthday card darling, expect your cake soon
enough.” Rhoda said as she hugged her and handed her a very big card.
“Thank you guys so much…thank you.” She continued to say.
Her colleagues dispersed to their desks and Rhoda remained
at her desk.
“How far? Dis one wey ya eyes dey red like wetin you put
pepper for inside.” Rhoda chided.
“Abeg free me my sister…I got home at eleven thirty pm
last night and as soon as I lay down to sleep, morning came.” Stella said.
“Na wah ooo…na so the work reach?” Rhoda asked.
“You know that I’m on a special project with the GM and since we started the project, I haven’t been leaving the office early. I’m due for promotion na…I can’t be falling my
hand biko.” Stella said.
“Hmmmm…the new hot and hunky GM?”
“Abegi jo…I get hot and hunky husband for house.” Stella
said.
“Na who e ep? Abeg forget that lazy man jare and face bigger
prospects.” Rhoda said. “I see the way the GM looks at you, he likes you…a lot.”
“I am married.”
“Married ke? To a man or a child?” Rhoda pressed.
“Please, today is my birthday and I deserve to be happy.”
Stella said.
As though on cue, an office messenger walked up to Stella
and handed her a parcel and a bouquet of flowers. Stella’s eyes widened as she
stared at the parcel.
“Who is it from?” She asked.
“It was delivered to me downstairs.” The messenger said.
Stella was thrilled, she took the parcel and flowers in
glee.
“Come on, open it! Stop being an mgbeke jare.”
“This our office people can sha do aproko…let’s go to the
toilet.” Stella giggled.
She dropped the flowers on her desk and taking the parcel,
she hurried over to the toilet with Rhoda in tow. They entered the female
toilet and shut the door from inside.
“Open it!” Rhoda almost screamed.
Stella carefully removed the wrap and a box lay within. She
opened the box and gasped.
“It’s a Rolex!” Rhoda screamed.
“What? A Ro…what?” Stella echoed.
“Who’s it from?” Rhoda asked, snatching the small envelope
which was attached to the parcel and opening it. A slim wad of one hundred
dollar bills fell to the ground and a note followed suit.
“My good Jesus!” Rhoda exclaimed as she picked up the money and showed it to
her friend.
Stella bent to pick up the note and read aloud while Rhoda counted the money.
“Thank you for being such a hard worker and a very gorgeous
lady. Happy birthday to you from GM.”
“I am going to faint! Stella…he gave you a Rolex and a
thousand dollars.” Rhoda said.
Stella stared at the gift and shook her head in disbelief.
“When the CEO announced that he’d be joining us, I heard the
rumour that his family is stupendously rich. I hear that they own half of Lagos
state.” Rhoda stressed.
Stella stared at her friend and the gift in her hands.
“I can’t possibly accept this.” Stella said.
“You are a moron, a buffoon, a stupid woman! How can you
refuse such a gift?” Rhoda asked angrily.
“Because I am married and it is wrong.”
“Wrong bawo! Your husband is a failure! Please move on…I
can’t believe you are still in love with a man who reeks of poverty.”
“I don’t really love him anymore but duty binds me to him.”
“F**k duty! Please accept the gift and start an affair with Mr.
Hot and Fabulous. Travel the world with a First class seating and live your
full potential.”
Stella looked at Rhoda and sighed.
“The GM is so nice to me. He had his driver drop me off at the
house last night after taking me out to a Chinese restaurant for dinner.”
Stella said.
“You see, you even like him! Why do you want to keep
suffering? Don’t you know that other women have the hots for him?”
Stella looked at the gifts in her hand and said.
“I could buy myself that new phone I’ve always wanted with
this money…plus a few other things I fancy…”
“That’s my girl! Forget that useless husband of yours and
one day, when you hammer, you’ll carry your little girl and leave his squalor
for good.” Rhoda said.
Stella nodded, she was already tired of poverty.
************
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Madu prepared his daughter for school, she was already
running late and the school bus driver was honing loudly.
“We are coming!” Kamsi shouted.
“He can’t hear you.” Her father said.
She giggled.
“He’s always grumpy…” She said.
“Everyone is always grumpy especially when they are tired.”
Her father said.
“You are never grumpy daddy, and you are tired when you come
home from work.” She said.
Madu stared at his daughter and wondered how she became so
smart, she was barely five but could finish sentences like an eight year old.
“Daddy works so hard my love.” He said, giving her a peck on
the nose.
She giggled.
“Your beard is too tickly daddy…”
“Ho ho ho…tickly enough to eat you and gobble you up!” He
said playfully, deepening his voice.”
The both laughed and played while the horn resounded louder.
“Mummy’s birthday is today, did you remember?”
“Yes I did, I wished her a happy birthday before she left for work today.” He said.
“Was she happy?”
“Of course she was.”
“I forgot to wish her a happy birthday.” She said in a quiet tone of voice.
“That’s not true, she left before you woke up so, you couldn’t wish her a happy birthday because you were asleep. Don’t worry, you wish her a happy birthday when she returns from work this evening.”
“I hope she comes home early.” She said.
“I have packed up bread and butter for you for lunch, there’s
also an apple in your lunch box.” Her father said, quickly changing the subject.
“Thank you daddy, you are the bestest in the whole world.”
She said.
He held onto her small palm and led her outside the house,
making sure to shut the door behind them. They walked the short distance to the
gate and soon, Kamsi was inside the bus. Madu waved to her and the school bus
drove off. He stared at the bus as it disappeared down the road.
“Good Morning, Mr. Madu.” A female voice greeted.
He turned to see who was addressing him and smiled when he
saw Bianca, his neighbour’s wife.
“Kamsi has gone to school?” She asked.
“Yes…that’s her school bus.” He pointed at the bus
disappearing down the road.
“My son starts school in the new term and because of my job
at the hair dressing salon, I don’t think I can be able to take him to school
early in the morning and bring him home when school is over. I would like to
enrol him in your daughter’s school, how much is the school fees?”
Madu blinked, he quietly said.
“Tuition is about thirty-five thousand naira per term and
school bus is Fifteen thousand naira.”
“Wow! That’s a whooping fifty thousand.” She said.
“Yes…” He stammered.
“You are trying ooo…that is a lot of money….” Bianca
continued.
“Yes it is…but my wife makes the payment…most of the
time.” He said trying to save face, as he added most of the time. The truth is,
the only addition he had ever added to his daughter’s school fees was fifteen thousand
naira, a sum he handed over to his wife at the beginning of every school term.”
“May God bless your wife ooo…she’s really a good wife. A
lot of women will not help out.” Bianca said.
“Yes, she’s God sent.” Madu said.
“Fifty thousand naira! How will my husband raise that kind
of money eh?” Bianca said.
“I have to go inside now, I’m err.. quite late for work.” He
said.
“Oh okay. Do you still work with that soap making company?”
She asked.
“Yes.” He said.
“How much do you sell a pack of soap.”
“A pack has twelve and it goes for nine hundred
naira…wholesale price.”
“Haba…I’ve seen the soap sell for less….please I can
only afford eight hundred and fifty naira.” She said.
Madu hesitated at first but figured that he had two hundred
cartons to sell for the month and he hadn’t done so well since he was given the
cartons. What’s fifty naira? He said to himself, besides, he could sell below
cost price and use his money to make up for it as failure to sell at least eight
percent of the goods meant half salary for the month.
“When do you want it?” He asked.
“Can I have it now?”
“Sure…” He said as he walked over to his house and she
followed him inside.
He disappeared into the room and came out to the sitting room with a pack of
twelve soap bars. He was surprised to see that Bianca was standing in his small
sitting room with her blouse unbuttoned to her navel while her breasts were
strained against the fabric of her bra.
“What is going on?” He asked.
She walked up to him.
“You are so hot…I envy your wife a whole lot.”
“What are you doing? Will you stop this?” He demanded.
“Be a man ….let’s do this quickly and it could be our
little secret.” She whispered.
“Will you leave my house? Get out now!” He shouted.
Bianca hastily buttoned up her blouse and gave him a bitter
stare.
“You just lost one customer.” She said as she stormed out of
his house.

Madu couldn’t believe that his neighbour’s wife had offered herself
to him in his house, he shook his head in disbelief and walked back into the
room with the pack of soap in his hand. He emerged later with three cartons of
soap which he held firmly under his arm. He left the house and locked the door,
walking hastily to Iya Segun’s kiosk to quickly eat breakfast.
He had just eight hours to go about his sales business before he returned
home. He wasn’t going to the company today instead, he was going to meet his
clients and introduce the new soaps that his company had made. He had samples
to give out to them and he hoped that they’d like them. Madu always made it
back home on or before four pm every evening because his daughter’s school bus
dropped her off at four thirty.
As soon as Iya Segun dropped the plate of hot beans before him and the loaf of bread, Madu forgot his troubles and dug in.
To be continued…..

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Hummm Rhoda is not a good friey, madu is a good man and his daughter loves him. This story is going to be very interesting.

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