My Job Or My Boss’ Wife, Which Do I Choose? (3)

0
31

I suddenly didn’t know how to effectively greet a lady and a woman sitting together especially when it was obvious the lady was the receptionist apparently in the employ of the woman. Was ‘Good Morning’ okay for both? How would ‘Good morning Madam’ sound before a woman and a young girl? 

“You came to apply?” 

The woman asked, mercifully. 

“Hand over your application to the girl” 

‘Thank you ma’, I said, indeed grateful that she effectively undermined the need for formalities. 

The receptionist stretched out her hand to collect my envelope but her gaze was so derisive. I was tempted to simply turn back 

and go. She was in her mid twenties, the girl, but she was obviously full of air. Did she look at me hatefully because of my timidity or because of my conspicuous poverty? I was probably 20 years older and what did this kid in an air-conditioned office know about life and pains? I handed over the envelope of application. 

“Where do you live, young man?” The woman asked as the girl was uninterested collecting my envelope, 

I looked at her, she was drifting through the pages of a newspaper; yet looking at me with what I considered more than a passing interest. After the cold gaze of the snobbish receptionist, a glint in the eyes of an elderly woman was easy to notice. She was probably 50 or slightly less. But the superfluous make up, a sleeveless gown rolled too high up her thighs as she sat back on the side cushion, added to a snare-like smile to suggest the vanity of a much younger one! 

Was this the boss of the house or was she the boss’ wife? Was she the employer or part of it? “l live at Agbado Crossing’. I answered, almost plaintively. I needed all sympathy I could get 

”All the way from Agbado Crossing!” she exclaimed. But there was still a smile. I chose to simply cork my head to one side in 

a gesture of helplessness. 

“Can you live with us … that is, if you pass all tests and we decide to employ you, would you be able to live within the compound? 

How would you react to such a scenario? 

Famished and almost dying, help appears in the horizon and implores you to accept her! You would be almost ashamed of your own luck. I held myself back from answering with jubilant songs of praises. “It would be wonderful, Madam. A favor indeed, Ma, I saw that confusing glint reappear again in her eyes. I hoped I knew why the girl behind the desk appraised me with disdain while the big woman before me glinted. 

“Give me his application Gloria.” 

My enemy from behind the desk handed over my envelope to the woman with something like a bow. I took note of the servitude with sadistic glee. 

“1 am Mrs. Obiefule”, Madam said as she tore open and extracted my handwritten request for a driving job. 

“My Oga is a politician and a businessman and runs around a lot. If you qualify, I can go ahead and employ you. Whenever Oga is available, he will ratify the appointment. 

All the while she talked; she glanced through my application but with scant interest. I had a strange feeling I was already qualified in the eyes of this woman. The qualifying qualities however; were obviously outside of the scribbled words and testimonials in the envelope. I kept quiet. When the gods worked for you, you let them finish the work.

Etirn Obong, your name?” 

“Yes, Madam, as reflected in the papers. I am from the South South.” I was obviously coasting home to an easy employment and could sound a bit informal. 

“It’s been a long time since your last employment. 

Do you still keep an updated license?” I showed my driving license, very valid. 

“Every now and then I carry people’s cars home for them. I have subsisted on such short employment, ma. 

Madam looked at me very seriously for the first time, staring from my face, slowly down to my slip-on half-shoes. 

Then back to my face, after stopping briefly at my middle. I was putting on a black striped trousers which I made sure I ironed well before wearing. The belt that held my shirt in was old but the buckle locked well. 

Did Madam linger in “between to pity the aged belt or to imagine unholier things? She made things more curious when she abruptly smiled again and the glint came onto the pupils again. 

“File the papers, Gloria:’ She handed over the envelope back to the receptionist. 

“Then give me the keys to the Peugeot. Sit down, Etim. When the keys come, we drive around a bit, okay?” 

“It’s okay Madam: I agreed and sat down respectfully. 

Gloria looked at her boss briefly with a slack jaw, then back at me. This time the initial disdain had melted into a mixture of envy and disapproval and helplessness. Then she left to obey the orders. 

Mrs. Obiefule dropped the daily she pretended to read and stood up to stretch and yawn. 

Madam was a giant and reminded me immediately of an old building that is dutifully maintained. As she stretched 

morsels of talcum powder dropped from her opening armpits. Her midriff was too flat to be real and the sharp edge of her waist line confirmed the presence of a first rate girdle underneath. Her yawn was theatrical and too organized for a yawn. I refrained from the irresponsible urge to wonder whether Mrs. Obiefule suffered from lack of sex or from too much love for it! 

Gloria brought a bunch of keys. 

“Collect the keys, Etim, let’s shove around!” 

I collected the keys and followed Madam out to the garage, not knowing which one to wonder at the speed at which this woman related to me or her attempt at cat-walking in front of me? 

She explained the security lock of the 504, breathing down on my head. My four-feet-two-inches was effectively dwarfed by her six feet superstructure. When I opened the back door for her, Madam explained it was a test-drive and she would sit with me in front.

We drove down through the Nigerian Police College in Ikeja, down to Adeniyi Jones and off to Allen. At Oregun bye pass, Mrs. Obiefule touched my shoulder and brought on the snare-smile. 

“Considering your height, Etim,” she began. 

“You drove so well. I thought you wouldn’t see well;’ 

1 laughed, ‘Madam, I can see from the depths of a beetle or a citroen!” 

“You will drive for us Etim”, Mrs Oblefule said. 

“You take jokes. I will like your spirit. “She touched my shoulder again. 

All this happened a year ago. I knew that first day of automatic employment that Madam was employing me not just for my 

love for humor. Her eyes all the while glinted for something else I hoped would not be ever put into words. Today, however, 

it has become the only issue I contend with. 

First, even though Mr. Obiefule ratified my employment, Madam kept me in the boys’ quarter for herself alone. I drove her around in the Peugeot and another Camry. 

All these months, I have avoided all overtures from her to commit adultery. Last month it became a confrontation. 

I found myself ordered to the parking lot of a hotel in Oworonsoki where she had claimed to have come for a business transaction. 

Curiously the time was 10 in the night. She asked me to come inside the hotel with her. 

“Please may I stay behind Madam? I will be okay in the car” 

“Look, Etim,” Madam finally lost her cool. 

“I employed you single handedly in this job and for one year all I get is holier than thou principles! If you don’t change and become a good boy sooner, you will be replaced. I am used to getting what I want, is that clear?” 

I looked down on my keys as she stormed off into the hotel lobby. I need this job and the accommodation that comes with it. But I do not wish to lower my stand against the amorous onslaught of  Mrs. Obiefule. What should I do?

 …To Be Continued