Kachi grabbed the sheets from her hand and opened the door to go out. He had just taken few steps when he ran into his uncle who was coming in.
Kachi: “shit! That was a very narrow escape”, he thought, breathing a sigh of relief.
Uncle Izu was surprised to see Kachi coming down with his bed sheet over him. He had never seen him come down in boxers before and so he couldn’t help but ask.
Uncle Izu: “What are you doing in your sheets downstairs? I have never seen you like this before”, he asked.
Kachi: “ah, I….erm…I was actually on my way out when your wife came in to remind me that I should move out of the house. I ran out to use the telephone in the sitting room to call you to help me plead with her and to give me more time.” He lied.
Uncle Izu: “Oh, Uriel is at it again, don’t worry, let me talk to her”, he made to go to the bedroom he shared with his wife but Kachi stopped him.
Kachi: “she is still in my room.” He said.
Uriel: “oh okay.”
He was about going into the room when he his wife opened the door and came out.
Uncle Izu: “Oh, you are here, I was just about coming in to plead with you to give Kachi more time to get a job before you send him out of the house. I understand that you have been very patient with him and he really appreciates that” he said after giving her a peck on the forehead.
His wife smiled to his surprise.
Uriel: “Kachi can actually stay here for as long as he wants. You know I wanted to send him out today but a voice told me not to because his staying here with us is going to be to our own advantage so let him stay for as long as he wants.” She smiled mischievously.
Uncle Izu: “are you serious about this?” he asked noting with joy the change in his wife’s attitude towards his nephew.
Uriel: “Of course I am”, she replied.
Kachi was dumbfounded; he couldn’t believe that things could easily change for his own good this way.
Kachi: “But ma, you came into my room, I mean the guest room to remind me to leave since today is the 7th day” he asked, curious as to the change.
Uriel: “That was before the voice told me about the advantages of you staying in with us. You relax, okay, your uncle’s house is your house, that’s how you say it in Nigerian parlance, I suppose”, she said in her thick American accent, smiled at her husband and walked away leaving the two men staring at each other.
Uncle Izu: “Whoa! You are lucky man, I haven’t seen my wife speak this courteously to anyone in recent times. Well, let’s go to the garden and get down to business”
Kachi: “business? What business uncle?” he couldn’t help but wonder what his uncle had up his sleeves.
“Come along with me to the garden”, uncle Izu said and Kachi obeyed.
As soon as they got to the garden, uncle Izu took Kachi’s hands and shook it.
Uncle Izu: “Congratulations, man. You have a job. All you need do is come along with me for the interview tomorrow and then you have it”, he beamed with pride.
Kachi’s joy knew no bounds. He turned around and smiled. The he began to laugh hysterically such that uncle Izu thought that he was running out of his mind.
Uncle Izu: “Enough of the laughter, man. Say something”
Kachi: “I don’t know what to say; too much good news in just one day. First it was your wife who gave me one of the best news that I have ever heard in my life by telling me I could live in this house for as long as I want and then now you are giving me another good news by telling me that you have secured a job for me. Onyekachi now has a job in America, a dollar paying job. This news is too good, I am afraid I will get heart attack today. Thank you, uncle. You have done so much for me, God bless you.” He hugged his uncle.
Uncle Izu: “I hope you will like the job? Like I said, what you do does not matter, all that matters is that you are earning money legitimately”, he said still in his embrace.
Kachi: “What sort of a job is it?” he asked still holding on to his uncle as if the success of the job depended on how tight he held on to him.
Uncle Izu: “The vacancy is in a morgue, you will work there as a mortuary attendant, taking care of dead bodies. The most attractive thing about this job is the salary attached to it, you get fat envelope containing plenty dollar every week” he beamed with pride.
“Chineke me!” Kachi screamed and slipped out of his uncle’s embrace.
Kachi: “uncle, you want me to go and work in a mortuary? That means that I will be washing corpse and getting them ready for burial?” he asked with horror embellished in the two distress veins that appeared on his face.
Uncle Izu: “What is wrong with that, so long as the pay is good?” he snapped in annoyance.
Kachi: “We are talking about dead bodies here, uncle” he replied, his face, a picture of disgust.
Uncle Izu: “And so? Were they not humans before they died? You, won’t you die and become a corpse some day? Who will live in this world forever?” he asked with irritation.
Kachi: “Uncle!” he remarked.
Uncle Izu: “I really do not understand you, young man. Are you saying that you are better than those who are doing the job?”
Kachi: “Tufia, uncle. Arlu, I can never do such a thing. I am a freeborn child in my father’s village, I cannot take on a job that is meant for slaves. Mba nu!” he spat out.
Uncle Izu: “Then be prepared to go back to Nigeria where you came from. What were you thinking? That you will come here and get a white collar job where you will sit in a big office with air conditioning? You think living in America as a migrant with no professional qualification is that easy? Do you know what people do here to survive and get dollars to send back home? In fact, I think it is time I tell you my story. Come have a seat.”
Kachi obeyed and uncle Izu went down memory lane telling his story.
Uncle Izu: “I got to America a year after my National Youth Service Corps that was after I had won the American visa lottery that was very popular back then. The visa was for one year and I was very optimistic that I would get a good job in one year and then apply for an extension and work permit. My colleagues and I who won the visa together scanned all the streets of America daily in search of a job all to no avail. It got so bad that the soles of our shoes came off as a result of trekking. We were staying in the residence of the company that organised the American visa lottery. At that time, the company was facing serious economic crises and feeding us became a big problem. We would go days without food and we couldn’t go scavenging for food for fear of being caught and labelled criminals. Few weeks to the expiration of our visa, I met Uriel who fell head over heels in love with me. She made us marry so that I could secure papers to stay behind and work. There is no type of work I didn’t do, I worked as a gardener, a labourer in an American owned steel making factory where I almost died because of the health hazards that we were exposed to. I worked in eateries as a washman and waiter; I worked as an environmental cleaner who swept the streets of America for stipends every month. Do you know where I work right now? I work as a cook in a wealthy man’s house. And guess what, I had also worked as a mortuary attendant before, the first house I built back home was from the money I got working as a mortuary attendant. I would get paid, take out a little for my feeding and maintenance and then send the rest to my brother for the building and for the upkeep of other family members who were looking up to me. They didn’t care about what I did to get the money, what they would have been concerned about is if I didn’t get money to send to them. You are lucky that my wife now likes you, with her influence, you can get all the papers you need to work without the police harassing you, that way you can get enough money and go back and marry your Chioma instead of marrying an American woman who would dictate to you how to live your life. The choice is yours” He got up and walked away, leaving Kachi lost in thoughts.
Question: Hmmn, should kachi accept the offer? What is wrong with working as a mortuary attendant?
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