“Who is your father?”
The manager of Energy Global Oil Company hurled a bare-faced question at me in a manner so degrading that mentioning my father’s name seemed to be a joke.
My father is Mazi Ekwutosinachukwu Obiora. He was a librarian who worked with the University of Benin for thirty years before his retirement. And yes, he was honest, he was hard working, he trained his three children up to University level.
But what is integrity in a world that measures value in relation to your wealth? What is honesty in a world where politicians amass public wealth?
“Yes, sir, I am the son of a nobody.” I replied, my legs trembling where I stood.
My eyes glued to his. He was a burly man. His left hand was tapping his shiny mahogany table. His eyeglass perched on his nose as he glanced through my CV. His forehead creased in a deep frown.
“Sorry, we dont need your services here, Mr Joseph Obiora.” the man said with an air of finality.
Pain gripped my chest. This interview would become the fifth job opportunity I would miss because I had no big name to back me up. Pain logged in my heart.
Why was father honest? I know a number of his colleagues that did some shady deals and today have long escaped the clutches of penury. If my father loved poverty, thats for him. Such can never apply to me. I fought to contain my raging emotions as I reached for my CV and with all the courage I could muster, I walked to the door, fighting not to break down in tears.
My hand reached for the knob when the manager’s voice rang behind me.
“Do you really want this job, young man?” He asked, his eyes looking into mine as he walked towards me.
While standing, he looked much younger, like in his late 30’s. His white shirt was well starched. His navy blue tie matched his blue pair of trousers. I looked at him, my ears almost failing me.
“I beg your pardon, Sir.” I whispered.
“I asked if you really want this job” he said, confirming my earlier assumptions.
Hope lit in my eyes as my palms began to sweat. This is a job with a salary scale of N250,000 monthly.
“Yes! Yes! Of…of course, sir, I truly want it. I will be extremely happy if I can be given this opportunity!” I replied, my face beaming like the sun.
“What can you do for us?” He asked, his eyes raking me from head to toe as though checking my strength and stamina.
“Sir, I am extremely hard working. I have a wonderful team spirit. I am a fast learner. I can work under pressure too… Sir…”
As I spoke, he loosened his tie and laid it on the table. His shirt came next; one button after another until the shirt was flying free from his body. He yanked it off and flung it to the leather seat beside him. His hand reached for his belt strap.
“What can you do for us…for me?” He asked again, every word stressed. His eyes twinkled in seduction as he unbuckled the belt and released his swollen shaft.
I staggered, crashing into the bookshelf on the left.
My heart drummed in my ears. My words froze on my lips. My eyes blinked rapidly to alter this reality but the reality was there, gazing at me like a box of Christmas gift surrounded by cobras.
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Written by Chioma Ngaikedi.