Archive for the ‘FICTION’ Category

UNTITLED…FOR NOW

Posted: March 2, 2017 in FICTION

I awoke to the grinding sound of the generating set of my neighbor downstairs who could not stand the heat of the night and so ran the machine all through the night. It was the twenty eight day of total black out with no hopes of near future relief. The people from IE Power had claimed there was a major problem with the 33kv Feeder, supplying our street as well as other adjoining streets within the sprawling Estate.
I picked my phone from the top of the drawer paneled to the side of my bed and powered it on and at the same time, letting out a loud yarn from the side of my mouth. I quickly checked the online dailies for any eye catching news but found nothing exciting enough to make me want to waste a few data. “Nigeria will come out of the recession stronger” “Few lessons to be learnt from the Nigeria recession” “the president is dead” ” the president is sick” were some of the headlines on the news websites. I put off the data on my phone and stayed in bed, my eyes wandering to the old fashioned window louvre in my bedroom and there they were: the tiny witches that had sucked my blood the night before, randomly perched across the window net. I went for them determined it would be the last of me they ever had.I positioned myself at the window and clinically began taking them out one after the other; the mosquitoes sensing an ambush,tried frantically to evade being the next casualty but i was determined to do them all in. one by one, i smeared them against the window net and the ones among them that resolved not to die by the window and made to fly back into the room did not miss my thunderous claps.At the end of it all, i proudly looked at my crimson palms and then the back of my right finger also bearing a cocktail of remnants of the witches as well as their blood and dust. i nodded in satisfaction and headed for the hand wash basin in the bathroom lobby to rid my hands off their remains.
I needed another job badly, having been laid off at the bank where I’d been eking out a living for the past six years. The bank blamed it on the recession. It’s been four months now and only a few days to the fifth, yet the story is the same. The terminal benefits paid to me had since shrunk to a few hundreds of thousands. My Landlord had become unusually excited over the past days whenever he saw me driving in or even walking down the stairs, on my way out. He’d greet me with calculated, deliberate effort: “Tunji how are you?” ” your face is scarce oh!”
In a month time, he’d be expecting to receive an alert as usual for a year’s rent of the miserable two bedroom apartment he’d hired out to me. The vacancy adverts in the newspapers were all looking for “Product Development Executives” in insurance companies,another name for “marketers.” Few marketers I’d seen working for Insurance companies were often poorly dressed with neck ties as wide as a cutlass and white shirts that could easily pass for a shade of gray plus they looked scrawny too. I’d sworn that if that was the last job on earth, I’d rather become a teacher at the Montessori school a few blocks away at least the number of teachers driving their personal cars gave a hint at the pay package.
I reluctantly dragged myself from the bed to the walk way where I had kept my running shoes and changed to a tee Shirt hung on the wall and slipped my feet into the shoes. I had made morning jogging a routine since my lay off to keep my mental state in check and to ward off depression and anxiety. I plugged in my my ear pods and walked slowly down the stairs, adjusting the pods with one hand and shuffling through my music library with the other. I unlocked the gate and shut it after me and began jogging down the road. The early morning sun could be seen piercing through the last defenses of the dark skies. Few vehicles sped past me with their headlamps on for better visibility in their bid to beat the usual heavy traffic. I smiled for once that morning and was thankful I wasn’t among the lot “at least I have control over my life” I thought “for now”.
As I climbed the stairs leading to my flat, my phone rang and I knew who it would be – Anita my fiancĂ©. “Hello Anny” I said
“Hi dear” she cooed ” still out jogging?” “Nah! Heading back up stairs to shower” I replied “at you desk already, yea?” “Yea, I have a presentation to make to the board members for 10am”
I could hear the sound of shuffled papers and a few other hushed tones in the background. ” I wish you all the best” I finally said
“thanks” she hesitated and then added ” I’ll come over tomorrow after work”
Anny and I had known each other three years earlier,through a mutual friend, Deji who was a former colleague at the bank. She is with a leading Telecommunications company in the country with a fantastic pay package. Ordinarily, she was way out of my league but My debonair charm worked the magic. Being the Chief Compliance Officer of her company she regularly met with the executive management as well as the board to update them on the position of the company in matters of regulatory affairs. We first became friends, sending text messages back and forth, and then graduated to occasional eating out after work and seeing a movie or two on weekends. We soon started visiting each other and before long, spending some “pleasant” time in each other’s bed.
I showered and prepared myself a light breakfast which I devoured within minutes and then went out to the balcony where my small sized generator was located. i turned on the ignition and the machine roared to life; i went in and switched the change – over lever for power supply.
I settled in the couch to watch my favorite program on the local station. Before long, I had drifted to sleep only to be jolted back to reality by the vibration of my phone notifying me of an incoming email. I made to sleep again but the sound of the Music from the TV was more of a disturbance than soothing. I reached for the remote and powered it off but sleep had vanished. I cursed my phone as I picked it up to check the time: past eleven O’ clock. I then checked the message and alas! it was from the immigrations department of the US embassy. I quickly clicked on it and it read:
“Your application has been considered and you have been selected for permanent settlement in the US. You will be contacted for further assistance in the coming weeks. Congratulations!”
It was as if tones of shackles had just been taken off me. I couldn’t believe my luck! I immediately dialed Anny’s number but ended it before it could connect. I dialed Johnson’s number who had encouraged me to apply and had also applied. He didn’t pick. I dialed again, no answer still. I opened the mail again and there it is, staring me in the face!
I dialed Johnson’s line again and at the first ring, he picked “what’s up?” He’d asked in his usual baritone voice “Guy! It seems I might be relocating to the States soon oh!” My eyes glistening with excitement
“Really?” He sounded surprised and shocked.
“For real. Check your mail and call me back ASAP”
“Will do.”
I hung up and began thinking of a new future. A reformed future where things work – good roads, constant power, good pay and education for my unborn children… I decided to call Anny. She picked and could be heard dishing out instructions to somebody “Hey babe” she sounded stressed
“Guess what?”
“What?” She seemed uninterested
“America calls!” I managed to say with all the enthusiasm in me, ignoring the mood.
“Wow!” She sounded genuinely excited for the first time.
“We should celebrate this!”
“Hmm” I cleared my throat ” that can wait until after I’ve been contacted and all documentation have been completed ”
“I don’t care. You owe me dinner tonight…” She paused for a moment and added “deal or no deal?”
“I’ll see about that”
“Deal that is?” She probed further
“Deal but come along with a bottle of wine”
Giggling she ended the call with “I’ll see about that”

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