Our story started off with “Lessons From The Future” and “A Hole In The Kite“
While browsing a jobsite one evening, MEO stumbled on an advert about an opening in his dream company. His eyes lit up as he read and re-read the ad, convincing himself he was qualified to apply. Though he couldn’t find one reason not to apply, he was weighed down by the sheer thought of the many other companies he had applied to – with nothing to show for it. He began to mull over the benefits of working for such a company as words subconsciously trickled down his lips “God please, please, ………. help me this time”. He had been in such a position countless time before; if only the result would differ this time. Was it that heaven hadn’t been too impressed with him? Would the tides turn if he changed his ways? If only God would help him this time, he was ready to turn over a new leaf! It’s not strange in such desperate moments to confess all forms of sins – committed and otherwise! As such, MEO decided it was finally time to let go of whatever he adjudged to have denied him “divine aid”. He was tired of being a laughing-stock; heaven just had to hear him this time.
With landing the job as primary priority, he took a mental note of the things that really mattered – and, drinking wasn’t on it; neither was partying. In short, he was going to cut down on all “social outings”; anything that could shut out divine help was dispensable. He didn’t care what anyone said; hope had blinded him to pleasure! His free time was now split between praying, studying and planning for the future – and, just like clock-work, things began to fall into place. A squeaky voice in his head had called the decision to apply “too optimistic” – but he had gone ahead, all the same. This was one golden chance he had no plan of passing up. The plan was going to give the interview-panel all he had. In fact, he was going to impress them so much that even if they felt he wasn’t experienced enough for that post, they’d be obliged to find him another!
Moments after answering the last of a long chain of questions, as a smile of satisfaction began to spread across his face, the head-panelist casually said “young man, you have given a very good account of yourself. We will deliberate on what we’ve heard from you and the others and see if there’s any need to get back to you“. To say he was deflated would be putting it too mildly; he was devastated. What the heck! Was that the best his preparation could earn? If this opportunity slipped him by, he was more or less condemned to eternal mockery! Did life choose this golden moment to mock him for past sins? MEO kept stroking his forehead – as if to stop the surge of questions that plagued his mind – as he made his way out of the company premises. By the time he got home, he had the looks of a man in the fifth quarter of depression! The struggle to get a bus and the surly conductor did very little to help his condition.
There was really nothing better to do, so he spent the next few days holed up in his apartment. A job was now way more than a ‘want’; it had become a ‘need’. Two months at that job and the world would never have known for how long he was without one! His ire for endless SMS adverts from service providers had grown over time – but idleness just made it worse. He was very close to breaking point by the time his message-tone went off again. “Another one?”. MEO really wanted to smash the phone against the wall – but he just couldn’t find the strength. He hadn’t eaten anything for a whole day – and his body was beginning to feel it. As he reached over to delete the message, he realized it was from the company he had interviewed with. He immediately knew it was a consolation. If they could call him for the first interview, by what rationale was a text appropriate for the second? How wrong he was! He had been invited for a second! Ecstasy, delirium and frenzy spilled over as he leapt from his bed to punch the door. The pain he would later come to feel in his knuckles still couldn’t be compared to the joy that engulfed him. A third interview followed close in tow, then the fourth, and finally MEO got the job. The seconds after the announcement would go down in history as his happiest! Finally, a job. Then again, it wasn’t just a job; it was his dream job!
How could he resist the temptation to celebrate with the one friend he had made within the company in the course of his many visits? However, what he thought was going to be a night of “intellectual” chatting, punctuated with some goat-meat pepper-soup turned out to be a full-scale gig. “Oh well, it’s just for tonight. There’s a time to rejoice; even God knows that’, he thought, emptying the bottles and soup-bowls before him. As he was soon to discover, his new buddy was never the guy for petty hangouts. The dude just seemed to know all of the city’s hotspots; hip casinos and low-key shot-joints were well within his reach. He was so conversant with the brew dispensers that he was often hailed as “the consumer of all Mecca’s banned liquor“. By appearance, Conrad was the perfect gentleman – and his uncharacteristic proficiency with work further endeared him to MEO. If the new-comer needed anything done, he could just pass it on to his pal’s desk – and it was sorted. MEO still couldn’t reconcile how such a “social dragon” could be so dexterous with work. So, at first, he was as hesitant as he was cautious – but in time, he became “more flexible”; requiring very little coaxing to follow in Conrad’s ways. Conrad would always say “tomorrow can worry for itself. Live now, bruv”. That was – more or less – all the convincing MEO needed to “have a proper drink” or take a woman for the night.
Some time passed and MEO was doing great at his new job – and with his new friendship. He now had a huge apartment, a sleek official car and a long chain of women to himself. Life couldn’t be more fun! In fact, things were so great at work that in just a few years, he had risen high enough to be made the head project manager of their new construction project. He had also been given the unusual privilege of hand-picking his assistant – and Conrad was the automatic choice. The duo had worked and played together – and, more work was not going to separate them. To everyone’s utter amazement, the work appeared to move faster with them at the helm. They hadn’t expected the guys to devote some of their off-duty time to the project – but that’s exactly what happened. He and Conrad would just spare a moment before the booze to tidy up loose ends – or if they weren’t around each other, sent texts and followed up with calls. That, more-or-less became like an unwritten code. Even mid-way through Conrad’s leave, the work showed no signs of letting up.
MEO was wrapping up the week’s work one Friday when his phone rang. He had not got any text from his pal; so as soon as he saw “Connie” on the phone-screen, he just knew it could never be about work.
“MEO meow! The cat wey dey scare dogs. How are things, bruv?”
“Mr full nitro. How parole?”, MEO asked back.
“Meeen, I dey on top. Ol boy, these our rhymes too much. We suppose drop album”, Conrad said, in a typical rap-slur.
“Make I quickly own up, me no get onus. All my babes just dey act porous – and I no fit sing chorus. Abi you get bonus?”, MEO ‘sang’ back, flinging his free arm to the rhythm.
MEO had amassed a long chain of women but “more” was easily his favourite game. And, no one knew this better than Conrad, who was always on hand to provide a new link.
“Bruv, make I take onus for that your bonus chorus. Seriously oh, Jehovah Shamma don make you hammer. I dey Atrium, and …..”
MEO cut him off as emphatically as he could. “Sorry, access denied! I no dey come atrium. How many times you wan make I tell you? Tonight’s cancelled; Sheila dey show”.
Conrad was, however, determined to prove a point.
“Mschew! Guy, cut me some slack. I know a hopeless cause when I see one. Plus, why I go dey ‘input’ for this kain time? You once showed me a babe’s picture – the one in your wallet; remember? Yetunde or something? I saw her ………..”
“Toop! Toop!! Toop”, The line went dead.
MEO could scarcely control the flow of words from his mouth. “Mad goat” – knowing his pal hung up on purpose. Even if there were a law against calling back, he was going to break it; he just had to. It wasn’t just any girl in question; it was Yetunde, the girl that made him wish time-machines were real! As he quickly reached for his N900, a few questions besieged his mind in no defined pattern. Had Yetunde moved back into the country after her degree? After such exposure, did he really stand a chance with her? What if Conrad only saw her from afar and didn’t even talk to her? He could never have imagined that ‘Mr full nitro’ would walk right up to the total stranger, introduce himself as his life-long pal and get the all-important number!
The “U dey there?” from the other end of the line jolted MEO back to life. He had been day dreaming – but Conrad wasn’t to know. The flair-guy had a sick talent for making people sweat over their most passionate desires. So, MEO lied.
“Sorry, I no fit talk before; bossman dey pass. Homeboy, I’m sorry. I know I’m know a ram. I’m also sorry you couldn’t be any taller. In short, Connie, I apologize for whatever has pissed you off from birth. Please, just tell me: was it really she you saw? Is she finer? Did you get a bloody number? Did she …..?”
“Sharrap there jor”, came the voice from the other end. “So you can beg? Ehn! Because of ordinary woman! Anyways, she’s much cuter than in the pic – and she asked after you. She even …. Guy! Hello”. Conrad got startled by the crashing sounds he heard from MEO’s end. Apparently, his pal had kicked out at the paper bin in a reckless moment of uncontrolled joy.
“She asked of me? How did she say …”
“MEO, you’re beginning to gross me out oh! Relax for your gist now. 0-8-0-9-8-5-1-2-3-9-3. She sai…”
“Connieeee. Enough! Forget the rest. You are the best thing that has happened to me since my naming! All your “input” [their codeword for alcohol] tomorrow is on me”.
Conrad, though, wasn’t going to let his pal off without a final dose of sarcasm.
“When you’re done with this adventure, we should get down to some serious talk. Ehen, before I forget, Sheila nko?”
“Connie, you dey mad! Go die jor”
“He he he. Nice one. Later”, Conrad chuckled; choosing rather to see the love in his pal’s harsh words.
MEO was still too ecstatic to notice the sort of mess his office was in. He hurriedly packed up his laptop and ran off in a frenzy; doing the stairs in multiples. Halfway home, with numerous traffic infractions behind him, he suddenly realized he wasn’t going to meet Yetunde in his house – all he had was her number! It hadn’t even occurred to him before he ran out of the office. “I be senior moomoo oh”, he muttered as he reached into his jacket-pocket for his phone. Dashboard-cradle, trouser-pockets, then as far as his hands could reach beneath the driver’s seat of his official Peugeot 406, and still no phone! “Yay, my phone, my phone”, he stuttered as he slammed on the brakes and veered into the service lane. An army of voices shouting “wayray”, “e-diot-e” and the likes told him how close he was to getting run over by a bus. He couldn’t be bothered, though; not while his phone was missing. He just hissed as he parked to comb-out his car – thoroughly! He was approaching boiling point when it suddenly hit him: he must have left it on his desk at the office. A furious message of sulphur-smoke and tire-marks was left behind as he completed the U-turn. Luckily for him, the phone was right on his desk. Of course, convincing himself that the stress had taken the lustre from his voice, he didn’t make the call on his way back home. “Lemme relax at home for a bit”, he told himself – totally forgetting he was expecting someone.
Shortly after Sheila’s arrival, she would soon be on her way out. It was obvious that MEO’s “I had a really bad day” excuse wasn’t the whole story. At that point, there was only room for one in his head – Yetunde! It was rather late by the time MEO returned from dropping her off, so he put off calling ‘Yates’ till the following day. In the interim, something had to help kill time. He called the box of cookies and a bottle of cherry-flavoured Vodka into action, while turning on his PS3.
By noon the next day, his heart felt the warmth of a thousand summer beaches as he finally spoke with Yetunde. It was obvious he still loved her and, though she wasn’t giving too much away, he could taste the feelings in her voice. She was scheduled to visit some relatives later that day and, as such, the earliest they could meet up was on Sunday. That was – to him – a fair deal.
After the call, MEO could feel his head spinning. He felt like Saturn, surrounded by the seven rings – and he knew it wasn’t the alcohol! He began to imagine what his meeting with Yetunde would be like. His current life had it all: money, clout, a booming career and women – but what he really wanted was a woman. If the meeting could just go as he planned, it would be the beginning of a perfect life for him, – for them! As he thought about it, he suddenly remembered he still owed himself a bath. More importantly, Connie had mentioned some “serious talk”, so he picked his phone and invited his buddy over.
Things get to a head in “Last Man, First Aid“. Stay close!