1, 2, 3 Disappear: Part 1

Twice it had happened that morning, and Mrs. Phillips was losing her patience.  She had called this boy almost five times, before he finally answered.  Dotun had only worked for a week, and she was already counting down to the day when she would kick him out of her house.  Yes, she had a date picked.

One has to be ready for such things, if every single house help you’ve hired in the last six months has left under less-than-pleasant circumstances.  That was Mrs. Phillips’ experience and she was ready for Dotun.  He was already displaying what she termed the “warning signs,” and strongly believed that to be forewarned was to be forearmed

According to her limited, though varied experience, the warning signs of a house help who was going to leave included the following: spending extended hours running errands and doing chores that normally took less than 30 minutes, breaking expensive china plates, stealing food and anything else that was not glued to the floors of the house, and most importantly, a sour attitude.

The sour attitude was the part Mrs. Phillips could not deal with as it was usually prefaced by feet dragging and ended with mumbling under the breath.  The rest of the signs were dealt with immediately using threats.

The most popular threat, which was uttered in loud tones in Yoruba, accompanied by much finger-shaking, and menacing looks, was “If you break another plate, I will use it to draw tribal marks on your face.”  Mrs. Phillips had never resorted to actually mutilating any of her house helps, but with Dotun’s behavior, she was veering dangerously close to putting her words into action.  She had never had any house help who was so stubborn.  But then, Dotun was her first house boy.

It might be worth noting that Dotun had just turned 11 when he was brought to come and live with Mrs. Phillips.  The woman was nearing 60, and lived alone, her husband having passed away the year before.  Her children – she had three – were all grown up and did not live anywhere near Lagos.  They all lived in Abuja, the federal capital city.

The suggestion to get a house help came from her daughter, Sayo, who visited her mother every month, and was worried that seeing her mother once a month was not enough to make sure she was properly cared for.  This was barely two months after their father passed away.

After discussing the idea with her siblings, for Sayo was the eldest, they agreed that their mother needed to have someone living with her who would take care of the household chores and also keep her company if needed.  Mrs. Phillips was a quiet person, and her husband’s death had made her even more reserved.  She welcomed the idea because she also saw that the enforced solitude she faced was not going to benefit her.  That was when the hunt for the perfect companion, or shall we say, house help, began.

Aside from Dotun, six house helps had worked for Mrs. Phillips in the preceding months, and they were all girls.  Except for Mama Joy, who was certainly not a girl.  She was a woman.  The size of her hips, which made a good case for eating fewer carbohydrates, suggested that it had been at least two decades, and five children, since Mama Joy was referred to as a girl. Or a maiden.  She was Number 6.  But it is best to start with Number 1.

Number 1 was Gloria.  She was a very attractive, fair-skinned girl of 16, who had no qualms about doing laundry.  In fact, that was her forte.  Mrs. Phillips could swear that she had never seen her whites cleaner than when Gloria washed the filth out of them.  However, Mrs. Phillips was a good Christian woman, and she did not swear.  Aloud.  Gloria was far from perfect though.  She had two major weaknesses, which accounted for her short stay: cooking and men.

Gloria was a poor cook and as the days passed by, her employer developed a genuine fear of being poisoned.  Not deliberately, of course.  But whether by accident or premeditation, Mrs. Phillips had no intention of dying from food cooked in her own house, let alone by a teenager.

Gloria’s other weakness was men.  At odd hours of the day, there would be knocks on the door from strangers, and when her Madam asked who was at the door, Gloria’s reply was usually “Oh, someone asking for directions, ma” or “The man wey dey live for that white house down the street, ma” or even one time “Na these Jehovah witness people, ma.”

Wondering why her house had suddenly become the port of call for all these strangers who happened to be men, Mrs. Phillips set out to uncover the truth behind these unwelcome visits.

Alas! Before Mrs. Phillips had a chance to investigate, what she feared the most came to pass.  Gloria came to her one night, with tears streaming down her pretty face, and confessed to her Madam that she was pregnant.  A shocked Madam asked her who was responsible, and she uttered the name Dauda.

 – to be continued –



41 thoughts on “1, 2, 3 Disappear: Part 1” by Sharon Salu (@SharonWrites)

  1. Nice intro… I will be reading this.

    1. @amy78 : Thanks for following along. Glad you liked the first part.

  2. You have a good story here Sharon. I will be following this.

    1. Nice story Sharon.

      1. @namdi : Thanks a lot!

    2. @olajumoke : Thanks for the kind words and for following this series too.

  3. “Chai, Gloria!”
    Lol, i’m already enjoying Mrs. Phillips. Sounds like all these tedious helps have forced her out of her reservedness.
    Love the title, the presentation, the everything.
    Can’t wait for part 2. :)

    1. @kwiksie : I’m telling you! Some experiences are life-changing at any age. That was what happened to Mrs. Phillips.

      Glad you enjoyed it o. Thanks for the compliments too!

  4. I can relate. Watching out for next one.

    1. @funpen : I’m glad you could relate. Thanks for reading!

  5. Ha, the marvels of house helps… this tale will surely be interesting. I’m on it.

    1. @Theo : Marvels, abi? Drama-free househelps are rare.

      Thanks for reading!

  6. Nice story, but your sentences dont flow as smoothly as they should, especially in the second paragraph.

    1. @kaycee : Thanks. I’ll pay attention to the corrections you pointed out.

  7. You write pretty well and this is definitely going to be a good read. I can see a good story brewing. Keep ’em coming! :)

    1. @Rachel_Williams : Thanks for the compliments. :D
      I’ll keep ’em coming like you said.

  8. Nice!!! Looking forward to subsequent posts.

    1. @kingobozy : Thanks o! Stay tuned …

  9. The Mrs Phillips at the beginning sounds different from the one her children wanted a companion for. But I guess 7 househelps in 6 months will do that to one. Looking forward to the next…

    1. @Myne : What can I say? That experience changed her profoundly. Thanks for reading and following!

  10. Dauda alone?lol…
    Nice write up

    1. @aniefiokitong : Looool! Na only Dauda o … that we know of. *cough cough*

      Thanks for reading!

  11. Hmm….

    Why do I suspect this story is based on actual events that happened?
    Maybe its because of the way you gave a realistic depth to your characters…

    1. @Afronuts : Believe it or not, it’s fictional. I’m glad you found it realistic. Makes me think I’m doing something right.

      Thanks for reading. :)

  12. Leggo,Mrs Philps loving her character already

    1. @OlabisiFeyisayofunmi : *smiles* I like her character. She has no idea what is coming next.

      Thanks for reading. :)

  13. The flow is catchy, but I may have to read part2 to really catch the Vibe you’re intent on passing to ur audience(us).

    1. @transformer : Alright, Tony. Hope you caught the vibe by Part 2 sha. Thanks for reading. :)

  14. Hmmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!!! House helps tale. It is almost as difficult as finding a life partner. They don’t come perfect.

    1. @oremeyi : Wow! I love the way you said it. And it’s true. They don’t come perfect, and it is not easy to live with a complete stranger.

      Thanks for reading o!

  15. on to the next one.loving this

    1. @oxymoron93 : Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for following along!

  16. speechless, kind of wordless………..

    1. @innoalifa : Lol! Keep reading … The words will come back to you! :)

      1. @SharonWrites, the words are kind of coming back now lolzzzzz. Your writing is really really good…couldn’t stop reading.

        1. @innoalifa : Lol! I’m glad to hear the words came back. Thanks for the kind words and for commenting on this series. I appreciate your support. :-)

  17. Oya na….leggo. Can’t stop laughing.

    1. @menoveg : Well, I’m glad you found it entertaining. Thanks for reading! :D

  18. Pretty funny. I found myself smiling a lot.

    1. @h0n3ydr0p5 : Your comment made me smile too. :-) I’m glad you enjoyed the story.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  19. Welldone again. Is the part 2 out?

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