Count your Hustles…

Shey you know hard it gets sometimes as a student. “Ose igberaga” (proud week) laidis, you av blow all your pocket money taking pictures and buying everything in sight. You call home, and your parents say “my fren’ don’t call this number again. Who gave you my number, by the way?” So you conclude you are an adopted shide. Meanwhile, your business mind is reminding you that you only need one out of the two kidneys you have, so na to dey find buyer for the second one lo ku. You drop the idea because you are afraid of surgery. So, you look rrandarrand for what to sell, and somehow, you remember you have a body that won’t hold water, fine face and Fulani nose… And dasow I was able to make some money on weekends o.

My friend, Modupe (God rest her soul) got me some ushering jobs, and then sis Adeyemi Adejoke Arosoye and some other agencies laidat. So, I’d go for interviews with all my fine fine pictures that Mr Phillip in Amina Hall epp me and snap and edit the life. Beht as mama no come get height nah, I had to make up for the deficiency with “some 16 or so inches” heels. With plenty smiles, good manners, connection and luck on my side, I was called for my first job.

After five hours on “16 or so inches.” Blood in your eyes. Pain in your brains. Mary on the right side of your face, Kay on the left. And just before your femur and tendons rupture, they’ll call you to comman eat food because “as an usher, you can’t eat while on duty, you know. Souvenirs is not your portion. Is only eyes you will use and see it, it must never be found on you…” Mr Dayo had briefed us so I know my job. My own is to give the guest my “Cheshire” smile and walk them to their seats. VIPs that is, mama can’t be wasting her warmth nah.

His assistant (one girl laidat that I use to feel like a giant beside without my “16 or so inches” on o) too will be bullying us in her borrowed accent. But because I can’t fight, God blessed me with eyes. Eyes that can make you weep without dropping a tear myself. Eyes that can say a thousand words without opening my mouth. Eyes that can draw blood without lifting a finger… One glance in my direction laidis, mama will receive brain. We later became friends sha. My Modupe got me another job laidat and I took a friend, Dammy along. We had an exam at noon that Saturday (Diploma days) so we went for the job, and returned just in time for our paper and back to the event because it was at Multipurpose Hall. But by the time we returned, event was already over. They said the client’s (bride’s mother) bag was stolen, so Dammy and I could only get N2500 a piece (at all at all na im bad pass). I heard Adebukola Adenekan and co were paid much later sef.

But of all the friends I made, Bunmi is someone I won’t forget in a hurry. Bunmi is the only usher I know that’ll sample every meal served in the event, now carry go house again. Red wine. Juice. Small chops. Cake. Ofada. Souvenirs o… Ahhhnn ahhhnnn mama, try and be fearing God nah. For where??? Bunmi break every rule. Me, omo jeje, I will be packing live flawa upandan after the event and gwan dash one stupid somebody laidat that still break my heart in the end. But Bunmi, she kept conquering her territory go. How can someone have mind like that? I wondered. But laipe laijina, Bunmi had a follower. The follower was me. So, we launched an onslaught on the food. We called it a “chopping spree…” Me and my friend. And me that am a fast learner before.

E get wan dessert laidat, they use to call his name “Red Forest” somtin somtin, wo a sha ti je sha (in broda Kola’s voice). We ate o, Bunmi and I. Four events after, my neck is becoming thick. Waist line is expanding. Stomok is bulging. Cheeks is puffy. Voice is changing… My mummy say “murasi, sogbo… ojo to ma sack e mbo” (contunu, your sack letter is colleting fresh air).

Where was I again o???%#&$-#+$&#-#+#. Ohhhh yes… Mr Dayo…. So that fateful event, I carry souvenir to gwan share as usual, but no one warned me that the guests were “STRAIGHT OUTTA CAVE.” Wo, you’d have thought it was life support I was sharing fa. See iyalele tearing bra, tearing pant, risking life and limbs just to collet chopping board, grater, jotter or even common packer. While they were charging at me, I thought to mysef, “shey you know dazow people use to die. You that you’re trying to figure how to balance your life on “16 or so inches,” see a herd of female homo sapiens in their breeding years charging towards you, with “eyes blazing like faya”, brezz swinging hither thither; blowing anything standing in their way away…” Survival instinct told me I could escape the stampede if I take off on time, you know. But my legs wouldn’t budge.

It was Maami’s voice (God rest her soul) that jolted me: “shey is usher your parents send you to school to usher? If your enemy now comman die now, they will gwan meet the enemy of your parents and say “eskiss ma, eskiss sa, the enemy of your daughter died while sharing souvenirs.” So that the enemy of your parents now be weeping, okwia? Sa asala fun emi re, afiraaaaa!!!” And as obedient shide consyn, dasow I dropped the souvenir like it’s hot for them o and run for my dia laiv. Haaaaa, come and see hustling. Mr Dayo ntie was livid, because I didn’t do my job well. Scratch that, because I didn’t die while at it. Now comma say they will not pay my enemy her blood-earned 5k. “Haaa!!! shall I empty handed go? Shall I meet my parents so?” I implored, but mercy said “NO!!! Lailai” actually.

“Mercy” was Bunmi, she bullied my money out of Mr Dayo, down to the last kobo. Bunmi was my hero.

Post Author: Arinola Ogunniyi

I tell simple everyday stories we take for granted in ways you wouldn't have imagined them. From dated stories, myths, reviews, "street-lores" to topical issues, these mind bending series will leave you begging for more. And if you trip over my sentence structures, it's part of the experience. You can call me the Last Story Bender. I mastered the rules of language to break them.

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