[Story]: THE RICH, THE POOR, THE MISERABLE LOVE (Episode 3) TrendyVoice

10 September 2016

[Story]: THE RICH, THE POOR, THE MISERABLE LOVE (Episode 3)






ENJOY the CONTINUATION! You'd soo much enjoy this EPISODE. Really INTRIGUING!!!
 

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Being careful is a requirement to survive the chess of danger, but being slow doesn’t equate to being careful, neither does being fast, being dynamic is. And dynamism, gentlemen, I’ve suspected is the secret behind the success of the successful men. Successful men are not generally said to be fast or slow but rather smart, and that smartness is attributed to dynamism, forget it, not luck.

I stood there, sweating more profusely than I’ve ever been that day. There the devil was, smiling into the land I wished to cultivate, exploiting my weakness. And behind me was a man as built as The Rock but as short as an imp, probably writing some gibberish into his ridiculous notes with a furrowed forehead and serious face, most likely attending to parents or alone, drafting my sack letter in some office behind few blocks away. I was indeed between the devil and the deep blue sea. And I was wondering, should I storm to Mr. Phillips and rip him apart or should I just scurry to Big Victor and face my trial?

It was 2 o’clock already and the sun was still as hellish as it promised to be. I was supposed to be praying but, well, God have mercy. I wished I could behead Philips and bask in his blood but, I had to secure my job first, or perhaps collect my letter.
“Okay, thank you, I’ve heard,” I told the boy and he went away.

I glanced at the love doves one last time and made my way towards Big Victor’s office. Instead of my handkerchief drying my face, it was only wiping it; it was a drowned thing itself.

I halted to knock when I got to his door, and when I finally knocked, his deep voice, “Come in” vibrated in the room and there I found myself, before him, closed the door gently behind me. A woman sat opposite him with her daughter, one of our students by her side, on a separate seat. He still hadn’t looked up. I stretched out my neck a bit to see what he was writing; a letter! It was a letter! My sack letter at last! But wait, if it was a sack letter, would it be so lengthy? What proprietor writes such extensive sack letters? Okay then, I stood akimbo, trying not to appear afraid even though I was. My greeting of the parent before him was brief.

As his hairy fingers continued to tango on that sheet of paper, my mind wandered off to the field, with Phillips probably seated in the Cadillac now, kissing the girl and not feeling guilty about it. He would probably joke about a guy who came to talk to her in the hallway, that the guy was just a comedian and she should not mind—
“—when you got here, hum?” I heard Big Victor asked but I was somewhere else.
“Sir?” I didn’t know he was even talking.
“When I interviewed you here few months ago, what did I tell you?” he asked again.

I leaned backward. “Huh,” no response to give. This was a bad talk. I was convinced I was cooked, big time.
“Hum?”
“I—I, huh…”, how was I supposed to remember what he said when he interviewed me?
“I told you that I employed you alone, not alongside a friend, and therefore, you should deliver your best without the negative influence of any other teacher. You came separately and separately you shall go, eh?”
“Yes sir, yes.”

He dropped the pen now and sat back, looking up at me and whirling majestically in his seat.
“Take,” he extended the paper at me.
The end! I took it confidently with shaking hands.

“I will not regret much over this, when next I get employed at another place, I’ll be careful,” I was telling myself in the mind. I looked down at the letter and spotted the heading, it read: LETTER OF ACCEPTANCE. No! Letter of Acceptance? What does that mean? I began to read. A school had challenged our school to a quiz competition and this letter was written to declare that we were coming for the quiz. I looked at the address, one Greensprings School in Lekki. And the letter was to be signed by…
“Yes, Mr. Adebayo, you’re the School Registrar now, sign the letter.”

What the fuck?! I couldn’t breathe. You’re the School Registrar now or what did he just say? The parent before him turned her head towards me and smiled.
“Oh this is the person they call Mr. Adebayo!”
“Yes, that’s him.”
“My daughter talks about him a lot. Congrats, Mr. Adebayo.” She extended her hand and I shook it gently, still digesting this new joke.
“But sir, I—I—just… I just came here. The post could be too lofty for a tenderfoot."
“You could say that, yes, but your qualification reveals you’re the only one here who is most fitful for that role. NCE, then B.Sc Edu, you’re a professional educationist and I’d love to put the contents of your résumé to test. Didn’t you say you were the president back at school?”
“Yes—yes I was. I was the Faculty president.”
“Good then, sign the letter now. You’re no tenderfoot. You’ll move to the Registrar’s office today, and by the time we go on break for mid-term, you would have been well familiarized with your branded responsibilities."

I moved forward to his table and signed the letter. M. B. Adebayo, the Registrar, letter C, and then the twaddle that follows it. That kind of sounds cool! Wasn’t he going to complain about leaving the meeting? I realized, there was no big deal in briefly leaving the meeting, at least, not so odious that I’ll have to get a sack letter for it. I was only exaggerating it.

“I employed you separately,” he said in a smiling face now, “I shall put you in positions as I deem fit, separately. So, as the Registrar, hope you know you’re not to be found lurking in the corridors while meetings are in progress.”

At last! He said it!

“Of course sir, I’m sorry about that sir.”
He turned to the parent before him and I slowly backed out, realizing I was no more needed in the room. I started thinking about what being a Registrar in such a big school could mean. In charge of admissions, examinations both internal and external, general academic matters and so on, second to nobody but the Principal himself, a man so proud he spoke with nobody; unfortunately for him, we’d be equals.

Right at the porch to the proprietor’s office, I bumped into Mary, Big Victor’s daughter who was in SS2. She was a brilliant girl and third most brilliant student in the whole school. She was fair and funny and dimpled on the cheeks. Only one thing removed her from the league of girls I would call my tastes, her size. She was a girl you would simply call fat or massive. She was too fat for her own good, her chest not so showing the nature of her boobs but her buttocks were like a four-lane express roads, too wide for a gentleman’s vehicle.

“Congrats, the Registrar,” she said, “thanks to me.” She shook my hand and scratched my palm in the action.

I watched her roll into her dad’s office like a drum of crude oil as I stood dumbfounded there. I remembered back in secondary school when we liked a girl and wanted to tell her that we did, we would scratch her palm while we shook her hand and winked simultaneously and she would understand. Was that related in meaning somehow? I hoped not.

Anyone would describe Mary as beautiful but well, fat too, and I didn’t like fat girls. She had dimples, nice voice and nice dentition, but the meat on her, if it was cooked on Christmas, a whole neighborhood would be so satisfactorily fed that they wouldn’t need to eat again for another two days. By the way, what did she mean by thanks to her? Thanks to her?

I took the first step, looked back at the closed door and heard her laughter inside. I faced my way and walked away, slowly. What was this girl doing with me? As usual, Mr. Philips showed up in my face.

I’ve been looking for you,” he hastily said without caring about the befuddled expression on my face.
I looked at him and felt repulsive, traitorous bastard!

“I saw you,” I threw it in his face.
“You—” he shut his mouth soon after he opened it.
“Yes, I saw you with the girl. I saw you with my two eyes. You were holding her hands. You were the one helping me before, and then you went behind my back. Don’t worry, just let me pass.”

He frowned a bit, looked expressionless, turned away briefly then turned back and started to laugh. He guffawed so deeply his eyes became reddened. Then he tried to speak but the laughter wouldn’t allow him, then tears began to fall from his eyes and it went on and on until he suddenly overcame the mirth and said,
“Mr. Adebayo, you remind me of myself seven years ago, you’re so… okay—okay now, just let me be bland, it’s not what you think. When I saw that she was leaving and you’ve not been… well, successful at the thing, I went to her and delivered a note you wrote to her which reads—”
“I didn’t write any note.”
“Be patient, I know. I wrote it for you. It read, when next we see, I’ll be bolder and finally tell you how beautiful you are and how much I adore you, simple. She read it and asked who wrote it. Then I mentioned your name and guess what? Guess what!”
“What?”
“She already knew your name. She said you’ve spoiled her sister with grammar. She mentioned some words she said her sister said she picked from your assembly speeches. That she found you interesting. But the holding of hands, well, you can’t make people like her listen to you unless you portray yourself as one of them, fearless and not very respectful. I didn’t snatch her from you, ah—ah, I’m not that kind of guy. Guess what.”
“What?”
“She released her phone number to you. This is it.”

He gave me a card, it was a complementary card but it was at its back that the phone number was written, plus a name, Toro.”
“Toro?”
“Yes, Toro, that’s her name. So, you should applaud me now."

Seriously, I was such a character that day as I threw myself at Mr. Phillips and hugged him so tightly he had to push me back, laughing.
“Thank—you—thank—you—thank—you,” I continued to say.
“There the number is. You better don’t fuck this up.”
“Teach me how not to fuck up please,” said I excitedly.

He stood proudly now. “Well, about that,” he said. “We’ll start with your hair. You can’t look like this beside her. You’ll have to cut a style.”
“But I’m kinda bald, I can’t cut a style.”
“Leave that to my barber. What’s the name of the body spray you wear?”
“Perfume? I don’t use any perfs.”
“I’ll prescribe one for you. And your… I’m sorry to say this but your dressing is a bit unfashionable. We’ll have to do something about that. You have to wear wristwatches and chains too as from now on, you can’t look like a Deeper Life pastor and go after this kind of girl, trust me, okay?”
“Okay, I understand.”
“Now, when will you call her?”
“I don’t know. When should I?”
“Hmmm… maybe—”
“By the way, you didn’t ask where I was coming from when you met me.”
“Where were you coming from?”
“Big Victor’s office.”
“Ehn! What were you doing there? Hope there was no problem.”
“No, he just told me I’m the new Registrar.”
“Registrar? Registrar as how?”
“Registrar of this School.”
“You mean, the Registrar, member of the Management?”
“Yes.”

Silence…

“No, that’s not possible. You?”
The way he pronounced that “you” made me look like the most unworthy person in the world and it made me feel inferior.
“You just came to this school. There are people who have been here for years. You just came!”
“I said that to him too.”
“And what did he say?”
“He said… he said, hmmm… I don’t even remember what he said but I do remember that he said I should move to the Registrar’s office today.”
“You have Masters?”
“No, I’ve not even started.”
“What do you now think?”
“I don’t know. What should I think?”
“The issue is just that people don’t last long in that office. The teachers compete to get there. Even go spiritual sometimes. The last Registrar was set up with a female student. It didn’t appear so but I knew the truth. He did not last three months there before Big Victor sacked him, and he was not a new staff like you are, he was sacked! I wonder what would happen if they learnt about you. People don’t like you much already because of the way you dress. Honestly, it’s unfair. It shouldn’t be you.”

For that to have come out of his mouth, my hands went down. It shouldn’t be me?
“But I didn’t choose to be Registrar. I told him so.”

Silence…

He turned away, paced about briefly, and then came back to my face.
“It’s not going to be easy, Mr. Adebayo, if this is true. You’ll fight a big war. But I’ll support you, okay? After all, it’ll be cool to be a Registrar’s friend. Don’t be afraid, we can do it. Let’s go and talk somewhere.”

I wanted to tell him about Mary but I held it back; it didn’t seem right. I felt like I didn’t need to tell anyone yet, especially him. We walked down the path to go and find a place to talk.

Soon, we settled down somewhere under a tree, what was left of the parents could still be seen from that position.

“I might have exaggerated the delicateness of a Registrar position in this school due to the conflicts I’ve witnessed begun over it in the past,” he began. “But it’s still not a place where you feel fulfilled, especially you. It’s a place where you watch your back endlessly.”
“How did people usually get there in the past? Did they contest elections or something?”
“No, they proved to be active in the school. Look at today for example, the aspirants were running about to impress Big Victor. I doubt they’re aware that they’ve lost the seat to you already. I just don’t see why Big Victor could have chosen you.”

I didn’t want to say because I was the only certified educationist or that Mary reinforced it, according to her.

"But what’s so great about the office that they so aggressively race for it?”
“Ah, you have direct access to parents and Big Victor. You admit students. You coordinate the general academic affairs of the school. You don’t teach again, and even if you will, you’ll only be paired with a teacher. Your salary will increase, most importantly. In short, you become a very important staff, subservient to nobody but Big Victor himself. You’re a force to reckon with now, my friend.” First time he would call me his friend. “Tomorrow is Saturday. We’ll go to a store as early as possible before you meet Toro in the evening.”
“I’m meeting Toro tomorrow?”
“Yes.”
“I didn’t know you already arranged that!”
“No, I didn’t. You’ll call her now and ask her out yourself. If she agrees, you’ll choose tomorrow. Call her right away. We need to know what’s next.”

As much as I was beginning to like Phillips, I was not feeling free in his presence. The guy was what you would call a big boy and I had to conduct myself like I was not a total bullshit that I really was. I already held the phone and the card side by side, what I would tell her, I had no idea. But since asking Phillip would make me look totally out of it, I didn’t ask. I dialed the number.

“Are you sure I’m supposed to be calling her so soon?”
“The earlier the better Mr. Adebayo, call her right away and tell her you’d like to meet her. Weren’t you the one who said strike while the iron is hot once on the assembly?”

Everybody referencing to what I said on the assembly. I didn’t know I had so many fans. The phone was ringing at the other end.

“Hello.”
I knew that voice, serene but thorough.
“Hello… Hi,”

Silence…

“Helloooo!”
“Hi, this is Mr. Adebayo, Mr. Phillips gave me—”
“No—no, don’t say that,” Mr. Phillips almost screamed. Both his hands on his mouth; he was almost on his knees.

Damn it, I was sweating again.

“I was busy with the heres and theres of the school today, so I sent my friend to you, Adebayo is on the line.”
“Yeah, he told me,” she said.

Thank God she didn’t ask which Adebayo, she must have been expecting the call.

“I—I…” No—no—no, I mustn’t stutter this time. I breathed hard and exhaled hard, then, spoke on. “I feel naturally compelled to request you to dinner with me. Judging by your face right now, I think you would like a Saturday, tomorrow perhaps?”

Mr. Phillips was anxiously watching my lips, wringing his hands together as if he was awaiting his examination result.

“Tomorrow?” she asked quite jadedly.
“Unless of course good restaurants don’t open on Saturdays.”
“No, that’s not it,” she tittered and that, my friends, was a great relief. “Okay, do you have a place in mind?”
“But that would be ungentlemanly. I want you to choose the place.”
“Okay, let me think, Maroccaine… no. Saffron Spice, Victoria Island, hum?”
“Perfect. So, time?”
“I don’t know.”

Phillips was signaling to me to say I’ll call.

“I’ll call you tomorrow then,” said I, in complaisance.
“Okay.”
“Okay, take care, Toro.” That was all. I was never as nervous even when I wrote my WAEC.
“You nearly blew it. What’s wrong with you?”
“But I didn’t blow it, did I?”
“No, you didn’t, but you could’ve done better than that. I think there are some dos and don’ts you need to know about taking a lady of her status to dinner. Where did she choose?”
“One Saffron Spice something, Victoria Island.”
“Saffron Spice Restaurants and Bar? It’s in Silverbird galleria along Ahmadu Bello way. Ah, that’s too bad.”
“Why?”
“That place is expensive.”
“Like how much will I spend?”
“At least, almost a month salary if you cut your coat according to your cloth.”
“Like fifty?”
“Yes, like fifty.”
“I’ll withdraw then.”
“You won’t need to, they won’t take cash. You’ll use your Naira MasterCard. And, you’ll need to go by a car.”

Fifty thousand Naira quickly flashed in my mind like an advertisement poster and I thought over it again. 50k! Ah, I was in trouble, big time!

“Why do I need a car? I don’t have one.”
“You can’t take a commercial bus to that place man. I could get you a nice car if you can drive.”
“I can drive but I can’t go to Victoria Island on my own. I don’t know the way. And besides that, I don’t have a driver’s license.”
“Pitiably, you will go by a commercial transport then.”
“Better o.”
“Tomorrow morning, we’ll go out. But today after closing hours, I’ll need to prep you. You’ll need to pay attention to her and say expensive things in your conversation. She’s a seller of her heart, you’re a buyer. You have to show her you’re the perfect man to do business with.”
“Business?”
“Oh, come on, I meant, the perfect man for…”
“I understand.”
“You better be. Let’s suspend it. There’s much you need to learn.”
“Thank you, my friend.”
He smiled proudly. “Don’t mention it, my Registrar.”

When I got to my table at the staff room, it was already empty. And the staffs who have obviously been arguing rather unusually loud before I came in all went quiet wherever individual was the moment I stepped inside, eyes fixed on me. My walk from the door to my table and back to the door was the longest walk in my life. It seemed they would suddenly close in on me like some wretched zombies. I reckon they have known about the Registrar thing; they must have asked the students why they were moving my things. Haba, this was really a great deal. Instead of congratulations, they were just looking at me. Even Aunt Arike who was my closest crony among them, occasionally bringing coolers of rice for me did not utter a word. They looked at me as if I was some strange alien from Planet Saturn. I soon escaped their biting eyes and ran for dear life. I wasn’t afraid of them though. My excitement over my booked date had overshadowed their terrorization.

When I got to my new office, I stood at a single spot and began to digest the exquisiteness of the décor. I felt smaller than the office. I felt that truly, it was not fair to put me here. The wooden part of the office smelt of nature. The curtains were there, neat and dancing gently to the inaudible music of the wind. The floor was perfectly tiled. I didn’t know much about tiles but these tiles didn’t look cheap. The table which was to be mine was large and there were folders and files on top of it, including my things from the staff room. To the wall, the sides and back of the table were the shelves filled with books whose genres I could not tell yet. There was a chandelier atop where I stood and some overhead lights glimmered. A plasma TV, I spotted a DSTV remote control on the table; a refrigerator and sorts of items. The frame of the Nigerian president, Lagos State governor and the School principal was right above the shelf behind the table. There was another frame of a man I didn’t know, next to the Principal’s, I moved closer to look.

“That’s Mr. Francis, former Registrar,” said someone at the door. “Your picture will replace his by next week.”

I whirled around to find Mary with a beaming face, hands clasped together.

“He was messing with students immodestly, so we sent him away.”

That “we” she used seemed somehow self-declaring.

“You didn’t meet him here; he was gone before you came. He was proud, that’s what cooked his sack letter. Mr. Adebayo, by the way, where do you find your inspiration from?”

I wasn’t sure I understood the question. I was rather amazed by the way this student was talking to me. She was in a damn uniform; and I was a teacher!

“Inspiration?” I tried to sound unbothered.

“Yes, the way you teach. The way you speak when you teach and especially when you’re on duty and you’re to address the assembly, your grammar, your oratory, what really inspires you?”
“Huh… Ugh… I don’t know, really. I speak like that naturally, not inspired. Anyway,” I smiled, “I’m just getting to know that I speak particularly different.”
“You do. Now this is the time you ask where I derive my own inspiration from.”

I hate the “from” she’s adding to those expressions!

“Where?” I simply complied.

“I derive my inspiration from you, Mr. Adebayo. You’re so… natural. Everything about you is natural, unpretentious, genuine, unexpurgated, that’s one of your words,” she giggled, “unexpurgated. You’re so very interesting. I wish I have more inspirations from you, now that my nominee is the appointee. My dad does hold my advice very valuable. You’ll soon see. I could even help you become the Principal if you want to.”
“I don’t want to,” I almost shouted.
“You can’t say that yet. You just got here. People seem to always develop thirst for more when they get here. You’ll soon want more, starting from wanting me.”
“Excuse me?”

She walked closer to me, closer than any student had ever been bold to be. Then she placed her fat right hand on the left side of my chest and her other hand wrapped around my neck.

“And from now on,” she whispered. “You’ll do as I wish, Adebayo. Hum? Don’t think much, I’m not a virgin, and you’ll enjoy me very much, we’ll enjoy each other. Reduce your gazes at me in the school, listen to my instructions and you’ll do just fine. I forgot to ask you, do you find me attractive?”

Ah, JAMB question. I was so in trouble!
I nodded hesitantly, don’t blame me, Phillips was not there to tell me what to do.

“I love you, and please tell me what’s on your mind too, at least, so that we’ll know how long you’ll stay in this office.”

Ah, mogbe! I looked around, Mary? Ever since I’ve known this girl, I’ve never thought she could play a role as villainous as this. Was this a prank or a test of some kind? Or was it some expensive joke? She even called me Adebayo without a Mister. Was she trying to tell me that she made me the Registrar and could remove me anytime? How much Big Victor had spoilt this kid! She couldn’t have been more than sixteen for God’s sake!

“Watch what you say, Adebayo. Whatever you say will determine your status in this school from now on. I love you.”
“I love you too,” said I, finding that as the easiest escape. Don’t judge me yet, you wouldn’t enter that office and not want your picture to replace Mr. Francis’s.

She smiled and kissed me deeply on the lips, LIVE. Then she walked out and I stood there like a dummy auxiliary verb, dumbfounded and mystified at the same time, thinking I might have failed a test or perhaps, signed my letter of appointment. Big Victor found me in that confused position and he stood a bit, and then smiled.

“You found this quite unexpected, didn’t you? Every Registrar before you reacted the same way. I got the office furnished by employing some Italian artists. It’s hard not to feel like you feel now. Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it.”

I was beckoned to my rightful seat.

“It’s your office now, don’t be ridiculous,” he said.

I walked around the table spontaneously and sat, it felt good, and so the mêlée began.

....to be Continued!


Written by: Lord eBay (and his romantic adventures, 2016)
Twitter: @eBayism
Facebook: http://facebook.com/lescothafrica
Email: dearlordebay@gmail.com

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