PULL OVER (Episode 3)
I went seriously under the weather, but now I am back! Enjoy…
There was improper circulation of fuel, which caused fuel scarcity. The scarcity caused Lagosians to wake up as early as 4 AM to queue for fuel. It was only past seven in the morning and the traffic on the road had tripled as citizens were trying to park on the center of the road just to join a queue of any suspicious fueling station. The thoughtless display of some Lagosians; jumping queues that were not moving in the first place added to the normal early morning traffic and bustle of Lagos.
No one respected the law and anyone in uniform because everyone was affected. Some people were lamenting that this was the worst government ever as the president was prone to traveling to various countries to sign treaties and plans without checking in to see the needs of the people. Others even went to the point of saying the budget for the president and his entourage for one trip was enough to solve major problems and crisis, but all this were just talks, no one was doing anything about anything, they were only looking for how to get their share.
The current fuel crisis made every road or street with fueling stations with suspicious fuel tanks sources of concern for commuters. Public buses were not left out of the drama as they had also increased the price of every destination by a hundred naira. All this was what I, Ehizoya Ainabe, was thinking as I was stuck in the slow-moving Lagos traffic.
The buzz of my phone brought me back to my surroundings and the suddenness of the vibration made me scramble into my D&G office bag for the object. I unlocked the screen, pulled down the notification bar and saw it was an instant message from Manir and I quickly responded.
Slept well? 7:07 AM
You can say that cos you’ve not seen me yet 7:08 AM
I did 7:09 AM
I smiled into my phone as I subconsciously adjusted for the new passenger who less than a minute ago was relentlessly begging the conductor reduce her fare from one hundred and fifty naira to one hundred naira. The bus conductors this morning had greedy eyes because most of them purchase fuel from the black markets around. For this conductor to agree to her plea, then he was obviously new to the job or his fuel source was stupidly cheap.
Manir is typing a message…
The bus moved from the bus stop with a lurch that got me swaying. Living in Lagos and going by public transport could make you a steady seaman or in my case, sea-woman. I don’t know if the buses were selected and placed on the road based on how bad and rickety they were. I am yet to enter a bus that would not make squeaky noises or tilt from side to side.
Don’t doubt my judgment, if I say you are, you are. Ok? 7:12 AM
Lol. Yes, boss. 7:13 AM
I am replying him too fast, but I don’t care. Manir and I have been social media friends for over four years. I’ve gotten past that stage of making him wait for my responses. I don’t have to play the if he delays in replying you by two minutes, multiply by two and delay in replying no matter how interesting the topic was. I could call him my bestie, but Chiluba was already that, lol, or not. Let me rephrase that, Chiluba is the female bestie while he is the male bestie. However, compared to Chiluba, he is just a figment of my imagination.
It all started with one trend on Twitter that I had responded to, and he too had replied my tweet and from there, he slid into my direct message and we continued chatting. One thing led to another and we exchanged Facebook usernames, as I was reluctant to give him my phone number. We kicked it off from there as well. He liked all my pictures and when it was time for me to do the same, he had limited pictures, which were actually cute but not as clear or much as mine. He told me that he was not photogenic hence, him posting pictures would not do him justice.
We never got around to exchanging phone numbers and it was perfect that way.
From missing him when he wasn’t online or on a full business schedule, to him missing me when I was writing exams or out of subscription our bond started growing stronger. We got chatting when I was in my finals during my first degree in the University and our friendship went through my second degree, which I was opportune to carry out in the UK because of the Commonwealth scholarship I got.
We have talked on everything from childhood, politics, relationship, sex, marriage, goals, career and at some point, it felt like we were in a relationship. I wished we were. We were just phone buddies to each other. When he went on dates he told me, when he meets new girls or has questions about the woman race, he turned to me and I did the same. I had given up on us dating, if ever and was enjoying our bond. I enjoy our current relationship as it is void of drama.
Where are you? Prepping for work? 7:19 AM
All attempts to hookup or hangout have always foiled – I was having a test or an interview or he was out of town. Right now, the latest excuse is that I need to focus on my new and challenging job. I love the idea of seeing him, but I don’t want to ruin what we have built. Imagine meeting someone whom you share intimate details of your relationships with – family, friends, romance, and work.
Yes, ahh… my job.
My job for the past five weeks involved organizing my boss’ meetings, birthday reminders, taking dictation and minutes, getting information from others for him, in short, the best way to put it is to say, to get to my boss, like the main boss of all other bosses, you have to get through me.
Prior to my latest position, which they fashionably call Personal Assistant, I was an intern and my hyperactivity got noticed by the top boss, you can imagine? I didn’t even know why but I would call it a miracle because my two months at Andero Limited were getting boring and predictable. With this new post, my life was on the edge, it is fun! Well, considering the fact that I haven’t been asked to cook for him on her job description.
“Conductor change o,” I called succinctly in my not-so-cool pidgin English to the bus conductor. They have this habit of intentionally forgetting to give passengers their change and I have fallen victims a lot of times. Today though, even though I am bothered by my lateness and chatting with my man crush, I plan not to forget my seven hundred naira change.
My phone buzzed in my hands.
In the office, already settled 7:22 AM
Waoh, so early
Sure your eyes are clear and opened? 7:23 AM
Nawti you 7:24 AM
Told the secretary here to get me coffee. Had to be in on time, my uncle needed me to handle some stuffs for him. 7:25 AM
Oh, how the mighty has fallen. Lol 7:25 AM
y do you say that? 7:26 AM
Tot you worked for yourself. 7:26 AM
I do. 7:26 AM
Although I have my own stuff, it’s still under his company kinda… we have to keep abreast of each other’s work.
It’s a little complicated though. 7:27 AM
Ready for work? 7:30 AM
On the road, already and it looks like it is going to rain. I hope I beat it. 7:30 AM
It was as though I called the rain down after I hit send. Now I am stuck in a slow Lagos moving traffic, with rain preparing to beat me once I alight the once-irritatingly-hot-bus that is now warm and comfy. Thank God my office building is by the road, not too far from the bus stop. The only problem is that I normally resume by 9 am but two days before, my boss who is currently on a trip sent me an email me to prepare a document for a client coming in at 7:30 am today. Let’s do the maths of when I would be into work with all that is happening.
And it has started raining. I seriously need to get a car. 7:32 AM
All in good time.
Thought you resumed by 9 am. Hope your boss isn’t working your ass out with this position. 7:37 AM
I’m actually enjoying it. 7:38 AM
“Adeniji!!!” The bus conductor piped. His voice was quite funny considering that his counterparts had thick thuggish voices.
“Owa ooo” I called as I quickly typed and sent ‘TTYL’ to Manir.
“My change please,” I said politely as I tried alighting as graceful as possible from the eighteen-seater bus with two people blocking my exit while trying to snatch my change from the conductor who was reluctant to let it go – hah, better luck next time man.
I gracefully got down without falling headfirst into the road as other people out on the road and late for work were trying to board the bus even without knowing the destination. Anything to get out of the rain I was gracefully entering into.
I really need a car. I know a lot of twenty-four years old in Nigeria own cars, just not me yet.
Thanks for reading, I’ll love to hear from you. Please, please comment…vote and share with others…. thank youuuu…
TANGLE Episode 26
Tangle episode 26
‘Helen is this really you?’Jeffery asked.
‘Am sorry for leaving you guys’ Helen said solemnly.
‘Why did you change your mind?’ Malik asked.
‘Because I need some money to take care of my mom. She tried her best to raise me with the little she has, so I think it’s time I pay her back but I can’t do that by selling fish. I need real money, please guys help me out’ she begged.
‘But you insulted me on phone just now’ Malik said.
‘Me?’ Helen asked surprisingly. She ransacked her pocket and bag in search of her mobile phone but she couldn’t find it.
‘Oh, I left my phone at home. It must have been aunty Sikira who talked to you. She was infuriated when I told her I was leaving’ Helen said.
‘Thank God you are back, girl but before you can start working with us officially you have to talk to our boss’ Jeffery said.
The chairman called at exactly seven pm and they all sat down beside the TV.
‘Good evening sir’ they greeted.
‘Evening my loyal employee, I can see the new lady is here’ the image on the screen said.
‘Yes sir, her name is Adebimpe but we call her Helen’ Malik announced.
‘Am very much happy to be part of your workers’ sir’ Helen said.
‘Ok but you must work hard to earn my reward. Guys let’s talk about our next business.
This operation is simple but delicate. A guy will arrive at the airport in Lagos by 2 p.m tomorrow, he will be carrying several luggage but I need you to get me one thing from him, his bread’ the chairman paused.
‘Bread?’ Jeffery asked to be sure he heard right.
‘Yes bread, Helen you will help them distract his attention, I heard this guy has an eye for good looking girls. Guys please make this a clean job, steal the bread and replace it with another. He mustn’t know you stole from him.
‘Okay sir, but once we have the bread what do we do with it?’ Malik asked.
‘I will call you 7 p.m tomorrow to give you further instruction. Guys, please do this job perfectly, I won’t tolerate any mistake. Good night’ the Chairman vanished from the screen.
More information about the man they were to rob including his picture was sent to them via email.
Written by Oluwafunminiyi Komolafe
TANGLE Episode 25
Tangle episode 25
He knew it was his only friend knocking so he rose up and made for the door.
‘What’s happening Jeff?’ he asked after opening the door and seeing his friend at the doorstep.
‘The Chairman wants to speak with you’ Jeffery announced.
Hearing this, Malik was stunned. He hasn’t been able to decide what to say to him concerning the issue of this girl yet.
‘Tell him I went out, I will call him later’ he replied.
‘He is on a video call and I already told him you are in your room’ Jeff said.
‘Okay I will be with him in a few seconds’ he said and Jeff went away.
With his heart pounding, he followed his friend to the sitting room.
On the screen of their flat screen television is the image of a man whose face was displayed in shadow.
The two guys sat before the T.V
‘Good afternoon sir’ they both chorused.
‘Hello my boys, how are you doing’ the image on the screen greeted.
‘We are fine sir’.
‘We have a huge work to do. Malik, I haven’t seen what I told you to send and where is that your new employee? I will like to have a word with her’ The Chairman asked.
Malik was dumbfounded he never thought he could request to see her.
‘She —, Hemmmm’ Malik gibbered in fear.
‘Sorry sir she isn’t around presently, she is in her house’ Jeffery intervened.
Malik cursed his friend for stepping in.
‘Okay, how do I see her ‘cause she has an important role to play in this next operation?’ the chairman said.
‘We will call her here this evening so you can speak with her, and about her biodata, Malik suggested we do a thorough investigation on her so we hired a private investigator to work on it. The result will be out tomorrow’ Jeffery quickly spoke before his friend could say anything.
‘That is a brilliant idea, just make sure I get the data tomorrow and I will call you 7 p.m today make sure she is around. I can’t give out the detail of the operation if you all are not present. Good day,’ Chairman said.
‘Good day sir’ they chorused again and the image vanished from the screen.
‘Thanks so much for saving my ass Jeff’ Malik said.
‘I saved both our asses, now how do we get her here before 7 p.m?’ Jeff asked.
‘Let me call her mobile phone number’ Malik picked up his phone and dialed her number.
‘Hello Helen, how are you?’ Malik greeted on the phone.
‘Who is this?’ The voice on phone asked.
‘This is Malik please come over here now we have a serious issue to discuss’ Malik said.
‘Malik or what do you call yourself, you think you can order me around because you have money? Look, I have already erased you people from my life, I suggest you do the same and don’t ever call my number again’ the call ended.
Malik was taken aback by what he heard, he checked the number to be sure he didn’t dial a wrong number but it was Helen’s number indeed.
‘Is she coming now?’ Jeff asked.
‘No, she insulted me saying I should never call her again’ Malik explained.
‘This girl doesn’t know what she is into. Let’s go over to her house’
‘That won’t work, this is half-past five and the journey to her area is about three hour’s journey, we won’t be able to pick chairman’s call at seven’.
‘So what will you suggest we do now?’ Jeffery asked
‘I haven’t got any idea’ Malik answered.
They both started thinking of what to do.
Suddenly the door opened and someone stepped into the house with a traveling bag. They were both surprised to see Helen standing before them.
Written by Oluwafunminiyi Komolafe
TANGLE Episode 24
Tangle episode 24
Malik weighed both suggestions and concluded that the second one made more sense.
He assured himself that Helen would stay with them, with this he slept off.
The morning soon came and Malik found himself over anxious to see Helen but she didn’t come early. It was well past noon while both guys were playing poker that they saw her came into the house. Before Malik could say anything to her she burst into tears and ran into the room.
The emotional guy Malik was stunned by what just happened.
‘Why would she not even greet them? Did something happen to her mom?’ Malik thought.
Jeff, as usual, wasn’t moved a bit by this; instead, he focused on the game he was playing.
‘Jeff, what do you think happened to her?’ Malik asked.
‘How would I? I got no idea and besides its none of my business’, Jeff answered.
‘How could you talk like that? I got to go see her’ Malik said but before he could stand up, Helen came back in.
Malik was astounded by what she was holding. It was a traveling bag he presumed to contain all her things.
‘Guys, words will not be enough for me to show my appreciation to you. Without knowing me or where I came from, you took me in and accepted me into your home. I would have loved to continue living with you but I have to take care of my poor mom. Sorry guys I have to go’ she confessed with tears gushing down her pretty face.
Malik was too sober to say anything in reply. Helen was making her way for the door when she suddenly felt a hand held her back.
‘Please don’t go’ Malik said holding her wrist but she broke free and left the house.
Malik almost burst into tears as he watched Helen leaving the house.
‘So now that your girl decided to leave us, what do you plan on telling Chairman’ Jeffery asked.
‘I don’t know yet’ Malik answered.
‘You don’t know? Why don’t you tell him all about her so he can take care of her’ Jeffery suggested?
‘What do you mean Jeff? Do you mean the chairman should send his boys to kill her?’ Malik asked.
‘Yes, she has become a leakage which must be sealed’ Jeff answered.
‘Why are you this heartless Jeffery? Don’t you have a human feeling at all?’
‘Oh am heartless? Do you know what the Chairman will do to us once our information leaks out from your jewel? He will order our assassination to cover his track, that’s what he always does. Are you willing to risk our life for hers?’ Jeff asked angrily.
Without answering the question, Malik went into his room.
Two hours later Malik was in his room smoking and drinking heavily. The habit Helen’s presence had denied him, he now resulted in it as a means of reducing the pressure on his shoulder. His friend was right about all he said but he couldn’t bear the thought of losing Helen. How is he now going to do it?’ He thought.
Series of knocks sounded on the door. He knew it was his only friend knocking so he rose up and made for the door.
Written by Oluwafunminiyi Komolafe