Thursday morning, traffic was free-flowing. It left you feeling clairvoyant. You had taken it as a sign of something unusual waiting to happen. It probably had something to do with the call, you concluded.
You let your eyes roam the entire reception area of Capital Projects’ Head office. You had been there only a few minutes, yet you had fallen in love with its ambience already.
You gawped at the receptionist. She was indeed beautiful. You particularly loved the radiance in her smile. The charming smile that dazzled everyone who walked in. The imposing size of the reception area also had you speculating about what the office itself looked like. Impressed by the first impression you had, you nodded in satisfaction.
A busty woman walked past and you were awakened by the whiff of exotic fragrance that followed her. She was gorgeously dressed, but she did not strike you like the receptionist. You renewed your resolve to patiently wait till you were called in.
You were the seventh applicant or so, on the waiting list, but the receptionist suddenly signalled you to go in. You went ahead, feeling lucky, adjusting your bowtie; praying silently you wouldn’t be mistaken for a messenger. All the messengers wore bowties, the same shade as yours. If only you knew, you would have hearkened to your heart when it told you to pick the blue tie. You dismissed your fears as soon as you could and walked right through the mahogany door of the office just as you had been directed by the receptionist.
The busty lady who walked past you at the reception a moment ago addressed you. You were taken aback by her flirtatious welcome.
“You are Mr. Tunji Cole, aren’t you?
“Yes Ma”, you affirmed as your heart thumped heavily against your chest.
She cocked her head to the left allowing her artificial mane of hair fall seductively. Then she browsed through your credentials.
“Will you please drop the Ma? I’m Beatrice, simple… Ms Beatrice Bali.”
“I’ll do Ma.” You stuttered as you addressed her the same way all over again.
“OK. I’ll let that pass now. Meanwhile I have gone through your application and to be quite frank, it’s really nothing to write home about…”
“A third class Architecture degree will not exactly fetch you a job on this clime. I’m sure you know that already, Don’t you?”
You nodded your response like a subservient eunuch.
“But then I have a juicy proposition for you.”
Then like a bombshell, she hit you,
“I need you to take care of me while I do same for you”
You felt a mild tremor shake the roomy office.
“The moment I saw you at the reception, I couldn’t take my mind off you so I requested that you be shown in. You appeared to be unaware of my presence back there. To be honest, I was totally swept off by your charm.”
Her words seared through your senses like red hot iron.
She continued still,
“I don’t pretend in situations like this. You have features any woman would want her son to possess. I promise to turn your life around and change it forever, if you oblige me. Anything you want, you’ll have.”
You stared at her in disbelief. This couldn’t be happening, you thought. But the more you tried to deny it, the more you realised how real it all was.
Why would a woman, a total stranger beg you to have her?
The questions kept pouring in.
It was not the first time you had a woman hitting on you. The last time it happened, it was a haggard, hungry-looking lady who winked at you at the club. She licked her fingers, twisted her braids in them and then went back to licking. But you had met her brazen approach with a subtle but even more brazen reply. You had told her in your usual strong voice,
“Lady, where I come from, strangers don’t just barge into other people’s farms and start ploughing. They do business first either by taking over completely or entering a temporary leasing arrangement. You can wink all you want, but at least, you won’t force me. I won’t be ploughing this farm of yours, sorry.”
It was easier back then. The lady in question looked so sick that you thought she would infect you, the first chance she had. It was however different with the plump, money-spinning Ms Bali offering you a way out of the doldrums. She went on to tell you Capital Projects was her idea from the start, and that she had many more business interests. She also mentioned that she was the daughter of Gen. Isah Bali. You almost passed out when she did.
“The same General Bali?” You asked.
The retired General was one of the most Influential ex-service chiefs in the country. You couldn’t phantom how you suddenly had money, power and influence staring at you lustfully.
You thought of Mama, Aunty Bola and your elder siblings. You realised how much you needed to reward the loads of sacrifices they made for you. Beatrice’s offer, you understood, provided the perfect vehicle to achieve that.
Your mind switched in a jiffy as you remembered Beatrice’s huge swinging buttocks. The pair of large round buttocks you noticed as they swung past you at the reception. They definitely gave the word humongous a whole new meaning, but you were sure you could handle them.
Only one thing was left now. It had to do with the divine call you had a few days back. The truth was somehow beginning to poke its head out of the hole you had it buried. You recalled how you desperately needed to deceive yourself into thinking you had a call from God. Deep in your heart, you knew that starting a Christian ministry was not as capital intensive as the other businesses you could think up. You were already a good speaker and charming motivator. All you needed was the allure and theatrics of an established minister. One in the mould of Bishop T.D. Jakes. You had spent time studying his tapes carefully. After all, his style was already catching on like wildfire among modern day peddlers of the gospel. But even his charisma wasn’t a guarantee to success, you knew. You recognised there would be only two possible outcomes from your prospective venture. That you either succeeded like some of those young pastors having large herds of followers and plenty of airtime on television, or you ended up like Chukwuma, your preacher friend who hopped on buses to make pleas for freewill offerings. You had felt pushed to the wall and so you had been willing to take the risk.
And two days ago, your proclivity to the fake call drew even closer. You had been consumed by hunger. And so you heard the strange voice that was never there. The extraordinary voice calling your name was all a figment of your highly imaginative mind.
“God, I’m truly sorry I tried to deceive myself into thinking I had your call.” You repented silently.
“But I don’t want to miss out on this life-changing opportunity. I know entering into this kind of relationship is not the right thing to do, but I just can’t let go. I hereby make this solemn pledge to give you a fifth part of everything I make from her. Please God, that’s like double of what I should really be paying”, you tried desperately to cut a bargain.