James sighed, scooping the last spoon of garri into his mouth. "Thank God for life and food, even though this one no sweet." Sigh. He could question no one. Having trekked the better part of the day going for interviews; ten interviews now and he had been asked to 'drop'.
If Obum had not called him to that building site to carry blocks, he would not have had any money.
"Yes?" What did Ezik want now?
"You get food?"
"Make God punish you there. Me and you who suppose get food? You wey dey work."
Sigh. "Baba my boss never pay" Ezik pushed his curtains apart.
"Ask the evil man for me."
"Sorry" James wiped the plate with his finger. "I just swallow my cassaflex"
"You bad o. What of the interview you go?"
"No body call me, I tell you say I pay the secretary one thousand?"
Ezik slapped his back laughing. "Your own good, me I paid twenty for that oil company work things."
"Oya, go "
James turned away from him to his vibrating phone. "Idiot- no talk. Hello?"
"James it's me. I am using auntie's phone."
"I am not asking you to come to my house. There is a job, high pay, my aunty just told me."
"Can you come?"
"That one na question? Where?"
"I'll drive you, dress sharp. Put suit and tie."
"Thank you" He jumped pushing Ezik "Go go"
"God abeg give James money as him dey comot o"
"You are a gradate?"
"Eh nko. What difference does it make?"
"You can read bank statement?"
Mfon perched on the man's table smiling.
"Boss, he is my course mate. He is good, very brilliant. Aunty and I cannot lie now."
"It is true, but I have told Cecilia that this job should go to a member of my ward."
"He is from your ward sir."
"Ehn? Oti oh? From my ward? Ward 6?
"Yes sir." James nodded fast.
"Good. Good. Good."
James waited for chief Amos to ask more questions.
"Start work tomorrow."
He stood to shake the man. "Thank you, Sir. God bless."
"It's okay. Prepare a condo-something letter for commissioner Linus. His mother just died. The stupid man must be impressed, I need him on my side during primaries."
"When you go downstairs ask for Moses - He will give you some money for transport."
"Thank you sir" James was already liking Amos. He would have to do some reading up on the man. This kind of a politician would be beneficiary to Nigerians, he was not stingy or an eat alone person.
Fingering the letter of appointment, a smile breaking out on his face, James thanked his stars. For personal assistant duties the man would pay him five hundred thousand Naira per month. He would buy his mother a fine lace material, with a pair of shoes. He could also now afford to pay for Andrew's school and rent a new house. Praise God.
"Are you James?"
A bald head man pulled four crisp one thousand Naira notes.
"Thank you sir"
"Come in early tomorrow."
"He will." A voice piped on behind him. It was Mfon.
"Let us go " pulling him along.
"Mfon, thank you."
She smiled. "I do not want your thank you."
"Am I too ugly? Marry me - No, but I just got you a job."
"You are sleeping with the man.?"
"No. He is dating my aunty Cecilia now. She was his former assistant."
"But I saw pictures in his office is that his daughter?"
"That's the wifey"
"James abeg. He has a wife and a Miss you know."
"A side chick?"
"Whatever. Will you at least come and eat at my place?"
Brows-lifted-James chuckled. "Eat? No." This one thought he was a mumu abi? He knows her plans from eat it will enter sleep.
"I need to prepare for work."
"You will beg me. Keep playing hard to get."
"Sir - sir." James ran after his boss. "Sir - Five million? You just called five million back there at the church. That was not part of the speech."
"Sir - I want to remind you that -"
"That what? Don't remind me anything. I know my bank account statement."
"Yes sir - it's in the red sir."
"Sorry sir - I"
"Did you see James how the church cheered? Danced? Shouted?"
"The pastor almost finished two bottles of anointing oil on my head."
"But sir - "
"No sir me - The speech was good and boring. Nobody wants to hear a speech. Dem go chop am?"
"I had to spice it up. In Nigeria you target the effect. See, when my party feels that I have many supporters they will support me."
His boss chuckled in response moving past the driver to enter the open car. "It is not as if I Amos will pay. Where do I even get the money from? Party nomination form alone is seven million. I will not settle people?"
James jerked back as the car hit a pothole.
"James close your mouth. Is it the first time you hit potholes?"
He swallowed. "Sorry sir. U eh-"
When the governor six years ago awarded the contract of this road to me, you see problems came from all over. But like I told the church people once I am your governor - I will do this road with overhead bridge."
James nodded, his thoughts running wild.
"This olodo people only have to pray that I win the elections from primaries."
"But if you lie sir how will they - vote for you."
"Lie? Who will tell them I lied?" He looked away. "The pastor James, I am sure is praying and binding that I win. After I win, what is five million?"
James looked at the older man as he rubbed his put belly through the agbada, legs stretched in the car.
"You are a soft person o James"
He looked down at his shoes not knowing if he should laugh or cry. Was that a compliment?
"Your hear me James? You cannot make it in Nigerian politics."
James shrugged. The man should be in jail for not delivering on a government project but here he was advising him and running for governorship.
"We need money o James."
"Money! You will have to collect a government loan for business"
"Sir, it is for business that-"
"Am I not a business?"
"Sir this is wrong. I."
"Shut up." Amos had had it up to his neck. What exactly was wrong with the boy? He could not have him soft or...
"When we get to the office write a sack letter."
"Okay sir - addressed to who?"
"Yourself idiot! You think you know more than me abi?"
Amos looked out of the window of the moving car
"Buy pure water" A child ran with the car.
"Buy pure water" the child called again, catarrh ran down his nose and his tongue ran out to lick it off.
"You are sacked - James." He repeated looking away from the child, one he had once been.
Now he had to prepare the ground for his children. It was important.
"You have not paid me."
"Paid you what? Only one week on the job" Amos turned to James, the boy looked away.
Abasiama Udom is a writer and poet. She is a student of Education with interests in human nature, politics and the after life. She writes from Akwa Ibom, Nigeria.
The winner of November – December 2019's book giveaway is Felix.
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