ESCAPE

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EPISODE ONE

I lay on a small bed in my room facing the ceiling, and my hands folded on top of my chest in a worried manner. I had just graduated from the University and was looking for a job. Despite the fact that I came out with a second class upper in Business Management, I found it hard to find a job. People say it was because of the recession in the country. Yet in the so-called recession, people were still travelling abroad, buying expensive cars and telephones, going on holiday trips with their families and looking well-fed.

Not long, my small Nokia telephone rang. I rushed to the phone hoping to hear good news. I had informed my friend, Laide earlier that I was looking for a job, and that anything paid, but legitimate, will be fine by me. Thankfully, it was her on the phone. I quickly answered the call.

“Hello Laide… What’s up?”

“Timi, I found a job o. But you have to turn up for the interview tomorrow by 3 p.m,” Laide howled on the phone. I grimaced at her natural loud voice, but I had to endure since I wanted to hear what the job was really about.

“Wow that is fantastic. If I may ask, what is the job about?”

“It is an ushering job that is to be done in Abuja. I heard they will pay a large amount of money. This is a great opportunity for you. At least, you can get small money from the job, which you can use to start up a business of your own.”

“Thanks, Laide. Where will the interview hold, please?” I probed to get more information.

She reeled out the interview for me and also the number of the manager of the ushering agency. I quickly wrote the number down on a piece of paper. I thanked her for the information, and cut the call. I lay back on my bed, but this time, with my arms folded under my head in a reassuring manner, glad that there was hope. I slept off dreaming that I got the job, and would travel to Abuja.

 

EPISODE TWO

The next day, I went to the place for the interview. It was at a conference room in a fast food joint. There were many interviewees there. We all went in when our names were called for individual interviews.

At the end, only seven of us were selected- five ladies and two guys. They assembled us at the conference room to speak to us. The person who addressed us was a good looking woman, tall and light- skinned, in black stilettos, black trouser and pink shirt. Her make-up was on fleek. She walked with style and poise. Her English was polished. I admired her and wished I could behave like her. I had to check myself and mind the way I spoke or acted around her.

“Good evening, ladies and Gentlemen,” She greeted us.

“Good evening ma,” the seven of us responded at once.

“I want to thank you all for honoring to turn up for the interview. You all were selected because you have the special qualities we look for in an usher. I am Bella by the way. Feel free to ask any question that is bothering your mind,” Bella said, sitting back on the high chair at the conference table.

“Please ma, where are we doing the ushering job and for what occasion?” A tall, slim, dark girl asked.

Bella offered her a polite smile before responding:

“The job is in Abuja. It is the presidential banquet. There will be men in high places in the country that will be present there- commissioners, governors, ministers, name it all. Do you have any other question?”

A dark, handsome guy raised his hand for a question. Bella motioned him to say his mind.

“How are we to travelling to Abuja? Some of us don’t have the money to transport ourselves from Lagos to Abuja. How do we go about it?”

Again, Bella smiled again.

“Don’t worry about that. That is already covered by the ushering agency. We are going to pay for you bus tickets to Abuja. You will all go there three days before the event, and will also be lodging in a hotel, that is already paid by us. The event is just next week,” she paused and looked at each and every one of us, before facing the guy who had just asked the question. “I hope I have answered your question?” He nodded his head, and Bella offered him that her smile again. “I hope there are no other questions?” she stressed, and anyone who paid close attention could notice that she was getting tired of answering our questions.

Unfortunately, a tall, fair girl with big boobs raised her hand. A look of irritation flashed on Bella’s face, but she covered it up immediately, smiling at the girl. This time, the smile really looked deceptive.

“What is it again?” Bella asked impatiently, staring at her wristwatch.

“Sorry to ask ma, but I will like to know how much the pay will be?”

“Once you reach Abuja, you will be paid in advance before the event. Then, after the event, you will be paid the rest. I think it is between N50,000-N70,000. The actual amount will be communicated to you all later.” Bella replied, standing up from her seat, indicating that she was ready to close the meeting and go. “Thank you ladies and gentlemen, once again, for honoring our invitation, looking forward to working with you all soon. Have a lovely day.” With that, she carried the thick, brown manila envelope and her Gucci handbag, and walked briskly out of the conference room.

We all stayed behind to introduce ourselves. After all, if we were all going to work together, we had to know who our fellow colleagues were. Minutes later, the fast food security came in and sent us out of the conference room, telling us that the money that was paid for the session has expired, and that we should leave for another group to have their meeting there.

We all picked our handbags and cross bags and left the conference hall, waving to each other with promises to meet in the upcoming week.

TO BE CONTINUED