Mr Khan rolled from one end of the bed in his hotel room from one end to the other chewing his mouth and biting his tongue, making some incoherent speeches. He mumbled, struggling under the duvet and kicking the wall as though he was fighting taekwondo. He yanked the duvet off his half naked body after he discovered he was the only one in the room.
“Where is this girl?” he asked rhetorically as he sat up in bed, searching the bed side table for his gold wrist watch.
He jumped out of bed when his eyes flashed across the half open brief case by the bed side.
Mr Khan: “I am doomed. This girl has duped me” He complained as he squatted by the brief case trying to count the money. He quickly dressed up, forced his spotless fleshy calves into his trousers as he raced to the hotel reception.
Mr Khan: “hello receptionist
Receptionist: “good day Mr Khan
Mr Khan: “keep the good first. I will know if it is good soon or not. Do you see any lady come out from my room, any time today?”
Receptionist: Mr Khan, I did not see any lady here. I mind my business
Mr Khan: “are you not a receptionist? Are you not supposed to take records of people that come check into your hotel and check out?’
Receptionist: “fine Mr Khan, we do. But the lady did not check in here, you did.
Mr Khan held his forehead with his palm as he heard this and turned around with his eyes red hot. He kept mute as the receptionist replied him.
Mr Khan: “okay, can I see your manager, perhaps I could get the CCTV footage of when she left the hotel premises.
Receptionist: “Mr Khan, I am afraid this still will not help the situation, even if you see the footage, it will only show that she left the hotel premises. But why not call her instead.” She said, pointing to the phone he held in his hand.
Mr Khan: “I have dialled her number countless times, it is not valid.
Receptionist: “I am sorry, there is nothing I can do to help.
Mercy called her sister again demanding money from her to manage their mother’s illness.
Mercy: “good afternoon sister
Matilda: “how far Mercy. How mama dey do now?” she asked, looking slightly worried.
Mercy: “sister, na still the same thing o. mama no well at all. We need more money sef
Matilda: “Which money una need again, no be which day I send money give una?
Mercy: “that money na hospital bill we use am pay o. nothing dey house to chop and mama need buy drug. Na why I call you be that. e get one injection wey doctor be prescribe and na 20k e go cost, so na why I call you be that sister.
Matilda: “see, I never see work o. make una no dey think sey I don dey pluck money for tree, the one wey I send give una which day, na Wendy give me the money, and you know sey I no wan choke the girl with own responsibility, so, as I dey so I no get money” she said, raising her palms up
Mercy: ‘sister, abeg make una find how you go take borrow the money, mama sickness just dey worse day by day. She no well at all, and she fit die as she dey so, if we no quick find the money go buy the medicine” the line went off
Matilda looked blankly as the window panes of her room, biting her lower lip and figting the tears that formed its way onto her cheeks. She wiped her face with her back palm laid in bed, staring at the ceiling as she wept sore.
Few minutes after the call…
Matilda called Aisha as she had been instructed to do, hoping to get a good job through her and live a superfluous life just like her friend, Wendy and ultimately to pay her sick mother’s medical bill. She had dreamed of how she would go for American visa application or UK if the former did not work out as planned from the money she would make from her job and travel to the western world.
“This is a starting point and not my final bust stop” she would say this every morning during her quiet time.
Matilda: “hello” She spoke as soon as she heard a voice form the other end.
Aisha: “hello, with whom am I speaking?”
Matilda: “this is Matilda
Aisha: “oh, good. I have been expecting your call. Mariama called told you about me. Can we see today?”
Matilda: “like right now?” she asked, feeling so elated as her pupil dilated.
Aisha: “yes, right away. I need to fix you up right now. Besides, I have a flight to catch this evening, so it will be at your peril if you delay our meeting.
Matilda: “okay, I am on my way right now. Where can I see you?”
Aisha: “I am in Senegambia right now, at Paradise suites. Just call me when you get there.
Matilda: “okay. I will be on my way.
Aisha: “good. Make sure you dress well. I shall be expecting you. See you soon.
Matilda: “thanks so much” She hung the call. She flung the cupboard door open as she searched through the hung clothes looking for the appropriate outfit for the job interview. “wait sef, I no even know where Senegambia dey, talk less of Paradise suites. How I wan take locate the place now,. Whetin I go do ? whetin I go do” She bi her index finger, looking downwards as she paced her room, supporting her waist with the other hand. “Okay, good, I will call the cab man” she snapped her fingers. “But wait o, will that not take time?” oh God, show me what to do, oh Lord. Or should I…”
She heard a knock on her door. She mumbled as she went to open.
Matilda: “Oh, good. You always come at the right time, when I need you the most” She pulled Bukayo into her room.
Bukayo: “hmmmm, it looks like someone has a date” she teased as she sighted heap of clothes scattered on the bed.
Matilda: “hmmm, which date? Na date I come Gambia come do? Abeg leave that one
Bukayo: “if you don’t have a date, why s your bed now your wardrobe?”
Matilda: “See, I have a job interview this afternoon. I just got a call from the lady. So, she asked me to come to Senegambia for interview
Bukayo: “wow. That nice. But I don’t think there is any company on Senegambia, except for hotels, or are you going for a hotel job interview?” she asked, raising her chin upwards.
Matilda: “see, I don’t know. Let me get there first. But the issue is I don’t know how to get to the place”
Bukayo: “where exactly are you going in Senegambia?”
Matilda: “the lady said, kingdom suites or something” she replied, scratching the synthetic weave on her head.
Bukayo: “I doubt there is any hotel called kingdom there, or did you mean Paradise?”
Matilda: “exactly! You got it. Paradise suites. That is the place. But, how can I get there from here?”
Bukayo: “you will have to trek down to Shybena junction and get a taxi from there. It isi not far. Just the junction after the army cemetery by Emporium. You will be at your destination in less than ten minutes.
Matilda: “okay, thanks so much.
Bukayo: “you are welcome”. She replied casually, assessing Matilda from head to toe as she dressed up.
Matilda: “Hello. Ms Aisha, I am at the hotel premises.
Aisha: “Okay, come to the lounge close to the pool side.
Matilda walked towards the small gate that leads to the pool side in the hotel premise. She wondered the kind of job interview that would be conducted in a hotel pool side. She walked gently watching her steps on the wet floor. She stopped at a table under a beach canopy.
Matilda: “hello. Are you Ms Aisha?” She asked a lady in a pair of black skinny jeans, puffing into the air with a dark shades after she had looked around and saw no lady that could possibly be the Aisha she had thought would be some religious fanatic, covered from head to toe under a hijab.
Aisha: “as you can see” She replied, spreading her arms apart. You are Matilda right?” she asked, as she puffed again, shaking off the ash in a ceramic ashtray on the table. “Okay, you can have your seat?” she pointed to the white plastic chair across the table.
Matilda: “thanks” she thanked her, looking downwards and cursing whatever could have brought her to such a place, as she wondered the kind of job shade was to be offered.
Aisha: “okay, as I had told you earlier, I have a flight to catch this evening, so, let me just hook you up straight away. You can follow me” she said as she stood up heading towards the hotel reception, while Matilda followed her.
Matilda: “hmmm, today na today. From one person to the other. This one na smoker who knows whether na marijuana or cocaine addict I dey go inside go see. It is well with my soul” she exhaled briskly, making the sign of Christ’s crucifix on herself as she climbed the stairs behind Aisha.
Aisha: “hello” she knocked on the door of one of the rooms on the aisle and a black skinned man in her late fifties opened the door. “Eh Alhaji, how is the afternoon?”
Alahaji: “the day is fine my dear. Come on in” he ushered them in. “what can I offer you ladies?” He asked, sticking his tongue out, as if the mouth was too small to contain it.
Aisha: “I am well Alhaji. I have been downstairs all day, enjoying myself. So, thanks for the offer.
Alhaji: “what about my lady here?” He asked, pointing to Matilda, as he brought out a bottle of French champagne from the fridge.
Matilda: “I am okay sir”
Alhaji: “Oh don’t be shy girl. Feel free.
Aisha: “okay, Alhaji, here is Matilda, the girl I talked to you about. She is such a lovely lady. Trust me you will enjoy her service. She will give you all that you request.
Alhaji: “oh, I trust you Aisha. You will never bring me a second hand fellow.
Matilda sat at the edge of the sofa wondering the kind of job she was to be offered. As she looked from the man’s small sized pot belly sitting well on his fleshy thighs.
Aisha: “I think it is high time I left. So, Matilda, feel free with Alhaji.” She said and left the room.
Alhaji: “hello my dear. I am Bakry. Bakry Kinteh” He introduced himself as he drew Matilda closer to himself on the bed.
Matilda: “let me remain here sir. I am okay.
Alhaji Kinteh: “come on, you are no kid. What is your name again by the way?”
Matilda: “Matilda Okeke”
Alhaji: “wow! You are a Nigerian, of Igbo descent?” He asked, opening his mouth wide.
Matilda: “yes” she answered wondering how the man knew her tribe from her last name.
Alhaji Kinteh: “You are wondering how I know your descent from your name right?
Matilda: “yes”. She smiled, nodding her head.
Alhaji: “I did my university education in Nigeria, in University of Nigeria, Nsukka. So, I now a lot about the Igbo people of Nigeria. I used to travel to other neigbouring regions then with my friends, john Okafor, Martins Akunne, Uche Aghanya, many of them like that” He said, reminiscing on the past as Matilda smiled and thought of a good beginning from a good “Samaritan”. “Oh what a small world. Feel free with me dear. You are safe. Just give me what I want at the appropriate time, and you shall enjoy me.
Matilda: “okay sir.” She smiled feeling relaxed.
Alhaji: “okay, so can we switch to action?” He asked, untying the cape of his trouser.
Matilda looked at him in bewilderment as he untied his trouser, sticking out his tongue and making flirtatious moves towards her.
Alhaji: “I hope you have been told my style?”
Matilda: “style?” she asked, looking puzzled
Alhaji: “okay, let me tell you if you have not been told. I don’t fuck vagina. I hardly derive pleasure from it. In face I don’t derive pleasure form it at all. I fuck anus” he stressed the “f” word as though his life depended on it. “Don’t worry, I pay well. One thousand US dollar, plus a trip to Dubai.
Matilda looked round the room, wondering if she was sure of what she had just heard or probably she was having some olfactory hallucination. Sweat ran through her spine. She looked at her arms, engulfed in goose bumps. She remembered back home, her sick mother her fiancé whom she had quarreled with before she embarked on her journey to where she had no idea of what lied ahead of her. Millions of thoughts ran across her mind as sat still in the bed…
Question: Aren’t Alhaji’s offer and perks bait, or would Matilda yield to the test of time?
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