“Madam, I fit help you o. I know say, this thing Oga dey do no good. No be say e no love you well, well; e just be say as money dey too much, he love to do am with these small, small girls. Me fit they stay with you o; dey make you happy.”
These words were like thunderbolt to Mrs. Ukwu. She was so infuriated that the first impulsive reaction was to tell her driver to stop the car and go home; that he was sacked. But she needed to get to where she was going urgently. Besides, she has not driven for a long, long time. She has not renewed her driver’s licence for years. She therefore pretended she did not hear him. But her heartbeat has become audible, even to passers-by and her fury has instigated sweat in the well air-conditioned Landcruiser Prado SUV.
She was well-clad in evening wear of long dress that was delivered to her a few days ago from Paris. Her size was never common because she was big. Her voluptuous breasts stir curiosity that even her oldest son, Ikemefuna who just turned 13 often wondered what was on her Mum’s chest. Did he actually suck those things when he was born?
Her diamond pendant, sequinned with emerald and gold encrusted shoes epitomise so much wealth; then her Chanel handbag that was also ordered from Paris exudes so much money. Sitted at the backseat of the latest SUV and chauffeur-driven, she began to think what might have made her driver, Akpan talk to her the way he did. Where did he get the courage? He is now looking down on her because he knows what her husband, Chief Ukwu is doing. It is a tradition that drivers don’t talk about what they see while serving their masters. What gave him this boldness?
Yes, she actually had not had sex for years. But she does not border with those things any more. She has five children for her husband-three boys and two beautiful girls. These are source of happiness for her, especially as each of them, even the youngest who would turn five next week, is doing well in school. She knows that Chief respects her a lot … and loves her too. She gets everything she requests for. Besides, her own business is booming. She runs one of the best eateries in town and money is never the problem. The SUV she was driving in was a birthday gift from Chief.
But sometimes she misses those good old days. The romantic days of yore; when chief doted on her and she was the pillar of his gravity. There was no much money then; but they were very happy. Then Uncle Kenneth gave chief the first big contract from the Ministry of Works…and things changed!
She made up her mind to report Akpan to Chief immediately she got home and sack him.
Cordelier Ukwu did not behave herself at the party. She did not take very little wine and ate little cake as she used to do; rather, she abandoned the Champaign that was generously served at the party. Her friend Bose gave her one sweet wine, Ruby and she loved it. But her head could not carry it well. She was swinging when she called Akpan to position her car in front of Oriental Hotel and when boarded the car she felt disruptions in her stomach.
By the time Akpan weaved through the traffic jam that characterise Saturday evening at Ozumba Mbadiwe and headed towards Ikeja GRA, she could no more stand the disruptions in her stomach.
“Akpan, can you stop here. I am getting sick”
“Madam, here is dangerous o. Make I drive you straight to hospital”
Akpan has served the Ukwu family for 10 years.
Akpan sensed danger when he saw her Madam through the rear mirror. Her head was bent down, she seemed to be gasping for breath and she seemed to be in great pain. He quickly drove to the police station after Apangbon and stopped the car besides the entrance; opened her Madam’s door and gently lifted her head. She vomited on him. The acrid smell of the waste hit him hard. The camaraderie air was gone, together with the bourgeoisie aura and all that climate that go with riches. Madam was just a mere fat slob who now looked like a fish seller in her ceremonial clothes.
Akpan took time and cleaned her up. She was now fully sobered. She was made sick by Ruby. So she knew what Akpan was doing. And once she vomited, she started getting herself back. She was grateful to Akpan. Chief must not hear of this. Akpan must not tell anyone. The plan to sack him was deferred!