By Praise George
“That woman just drove out of the compound. How did that happen?”Yemi asked.
“I don’t know,” Kalu said.
“What did you do to her car?” She asked.
“I deflated the tires.” Kalu said.
“You did what? Deflated the tires? Oh my God!” Yemi hit the door of her wardrobe. “Why don’t you listen to me? I asked you to do a simple thing and you mess it up.”
“But I did what you asked me to do,” Kalu said.
“No you didn’t.” She shoved her face in front of the confused trader. “I asked you to demobilize her car. D-E-M-O-B-I-L-I-Z-E. Make sure it doesn’t move from where it was parked.” The maid explained. “Sometimes you can be so dumb,” she slapped him on the shoulder. “Now you have ruined my plan. I wanted my madam to come and catch that wicked woman here.”
“From where did you learn all these big words?”Kalu asked. “I thought you said you didn’t attend university.”
“Well, I lied. How else would I get this kind of opportunity if I told them I have a degree in mass communication. Look at where I live on the island, with my own room, free of charge. They practically pay me for doing nothing,” the maid boasted.
Kalu looked at the maid as if she had lost her mind. “You have a degree and you are a maid?”
Yemi sat in front of the mirror and reached into her bag. “Of course I have a degree. It is a third class, from a backward university, but nonetheless a degree.” She applied some lipstick. “
He looked at the maid as if he was seeing her for the very first time.”If you have a degree, why don’t you get a good job so that we can live a better life?”
Yemi turned to Kalu and he shrank back from her stare. “So that we can live a better life? You and who? Now get this straight. There is no ‘we’. Have you introduced me to your family? Have you even introduced me to your master at Alaba market? When you are ready for marriage, it may be too late for you.” She turned away from him and continued to apply her make up.
“You know how hard I try. I swear to you, when I get my own shop I will take you to my family.”Kalu said.
What is wrong with being a maid for a rich woman?”
Yemi finished applying her make up. “I am going into the house to make some breakfast for Mr Philips. I am sure that wicked Ngozi didn’t give him any food before rushing out of the house this morning as if an evil spirit was pursuing her. Mr Philips shouldn’t go to church hungry.” She turned around for Kalu. “How do I look?”
Kalu hesitated.”You look good.” There was jealousy in his eyes.”Do you have to serve him breakfast looking like that?”
“This is my job. Do I come to your office to tell you what to do?” She turned away from him, adjusted her dress before the mirror and wore black slippers.
“Wait for me. I will be back in about an hour.” She applied some perfume.
“I want to go for morning mass,”Kalu protested. “If I don’t leave now I will be late.”
“I said wait! Mischeew!” She hissed, picked up the bag containing the money and walked out of the room.
Kalu’s eyes followed the bag as it left the room.
“Everything is happening so fast. I don’t know what to do anymore.” Gbenga hung his head like a boxer who had suffered a major defeat.
His friend Segun Adeniyi, sat opposite him in his living room.
“What is going on?” Segun asked.
“Something happened between me and my…my maid some months ago,” Gbenga began. “But yesterday my wife found out about it. It has caused me so much trouble.”
Segun’s face was expressionless as he listened to his friend.
“You know Ngozi Uzor, my wife’s friend?”
“She has been after me for a long time and I resisted her. But yesterday when things got out of hand, she was there to…comfort me.”
Segun sat forward in his chair. “You and Ngozi? Are you kidding me?”
Gbenga finished narrating his story.
“Where is your wife?”
“I don’t know where she is.” Gbenga confessed.
“That is not good at all. Go and find your wife and bring her back home. She belongs with you. Why did you allow her to leave?”
“Ngozi told me to let her go.”
Segun thought for a moment. “From the top of my head I can tell you right now that Ngozi has a hand in all of this.”
“How can you tell?” Gbenga asked.
“Ngozi shouldn’t have let your wife leave the way she did. If she doesn’t have a hidden agenda, she would have settled the matter between you and your wife.”
“There is something else.” Gbenga told him about his financial dealings with Ngozi.
“You took money from that woman? Why on earth did you do that?”
“I was in a hard place. I lost money in some investments. If I told Shade she would have been furious. Ngozi was willing to help and she was discreet about it.”
“How much did she loan you?” Segun asked.
Gbenga looked up at the ceiling as if seeking some divine intervention. “She loaned me $150,000 in total.”
“Have you lost your mind?” Segun asked.
“I have paid back a large sum. I have two more payments to make and I will be free of that debt.”
Yemi came into the living room. The men stopped talking and looked at her.
“Good morning sir. Would you like some breakfast for you and your friend?”
Gbenga looked at Segun and he nodded.
“Yes, Yemi. That would be nice. Serve it on the dining table when you are done.”
Segun’s eyes followed the maid until she disappeared into the kitchen, then he turned to his friend. “Who was that, your wife’s relative?”
“That’s my maid,” Gbenga said.
“Fweeeeee!” Segun whistled softly. “THAT is your maid? Man, you really are in trouble.”
Yemi smiled to herself as she brought out the vegetables from the fridge.
She saw the way Gbenga’s friend had looked at her. He was practically salivating on his shirt. She was certain that if they had been alone he would have made a pass at her. That was a good sign. Now she had Gbenga’s friend on her side. Nobody was going to throw her out of this house without a fight, she thought.
She entered the pantry, climbed a stool and took a big cookbook from the top shelf. She opened the book to the page on ‘exotic breakfasts’ and set it on the table beside the vegetables.
“These men will have the best breakfast they’ve ever had in their lives,” she began to dice the onions, “Even if it kills them,” she said and laughed to herself.