Martins and Aisha were looking forward to the final trimester of the pregnancy with heightened expectations. It was going to be a boy yet again, and this time around they were resolute to get their acts right. The memories of Olaoluwa was still fresh in their minds, and anyone who tried to take this baby from them will have to end their lives first.
It had been hell for Mr. Okafor since he came back to the country. He wasn’t enjoying his stay as much as he had envisaged. He had come home to rest, instead he had been subjected to one form of problem to another, from the new set of tenants and objects in his residential rental property. He finally agreed to get a fairly use 2009 Toyota matrix car for Runo as replacement for the one damaged, when her roof top gave in to the torment of a fatal rainstorm that besieged many parts of Lagos months earlier. It had taken a lot of convincing on the path of Martins to get the landlord to yield in to Runo’s demands, to the point the landlord began to suspect Martins had a thing for her.
Managing a residential rental property wasn’t child’s play, In fact it was one hell of a task for Mr.Okafor. The middle-aged man must be wondering how Martins pulled it through before his departure. However, what he failed to realise was that Martins had maintained a particular status quo that ensured that only credible tenants were admitted into the property. Martins was not just a property manager, he was a close confidant of most of the tenants there at that time. The inherent interpersonal skills that made him thrive in his career was evident in his relationship with his tenants. Little wonder Runo ran to him whenever she had personal shit that troubled her.
Runo and Mr. Obong were the only good tenants left of the lot Martins admitted. The likes of Uju, Nneka, Sylvanus and Jamiu were newbies who no sane landlord would have admitted into his property at first glance. Mr. Okafor knew better now, and he was ready to do all within his arsenal to put Martins back in charge, even if it meant increasing his salary. He had started out by buying a car for Runo, and he was certain news of that feat would reach Martins soon. 48 hours after the purchase, he felt it was time to put a call through to him.
Martins was in bed with his wife when his phone rang. He stole a glance at the screen of his phone from the left corner of both eyes where it laid beside him . “What does he want now?
Aisha took her eyes off the book she was reading to focus her attention on her husband “Who is it darling?”
“”Oga Landlord oh!”
She raised her upper region against the frontal support of the bed, just to have a good view at the screen of the smart phone. “Mr.Okafor?”
“Yeah” Martins frowned at the phone like the gadget was making lewd advances at his wife
“”Haba! Pick his call now!
“It’s gonna be the same old tales jare”
“At least hear what he has to say” At this point the call had ended.
Well, I’ve missed this call. Let’s hope he calls again” Martins had not stopped talking when his phone rang yet again, but he was still reluctant to answer the call.
“Baby I thought you agreed to pick the call if he calls a second time.” Aisha voiced out in disapprovingly
“No, I didn’t agree to pick his call. I was hoping he would call back”
“…And why will you be hoping he calls back if you have no plan of picking his call. Baby, we need this extra bucks now that we are expecting a baby.”
“What makes you think he’s calling to make a job offer?”
“There’s only one way to find out!”Aisha leaned over her husband, then stretched her hand towards the bedside table where the phone was positioned. “Honey, what are you doing?” Martins is taken aback.
Helping my husband to answer his call, since he has suddenly turned handicapped. Aisha had placed a finger on the green dial button on the smart phone before Martins could stop her, and immediately, Mr.Okafor’s troubled voice resonated through the room, because she had placed the call on speaker.
“Oga Martins’please I need you now more than ever. I take full responsibility for all that transpired between us. I believe we can work things out.” The middle aged man spoke like an athelete who had just finished a sprint involving Usain Bolt. ” Yehhhh!” Mr.Okafor howled form the other end of the receiver. But what Martins heard at his end of the phone were the cries of a boy who had dipped his hand into his mama’s pot of boiling meat.
“Slow down sir! What is the problem? Are you okay?” Martins finally found his voice.
Runo, who had been tending to Mr.Okafor’s swollen head snatched the phone from her landlord.” Oga Martins, he’s not okay oh! I am massaging his swollen head with the towel I immersed in hot water”
“Yes, its me.”
“You are tending to his swollen head?”
“One of the unruly tenants in our compound through a big pebble at him’oh”
Martins was awestruck! However, he had made a fatal mistake by calling out the lady’s name. A momentary glimpse at his wife, and it was evident that a storm was brewing in her. “Martins, is that the bitch?” Aisha inquired.
“I beg your pardon?” Runo had heard that clearly and it instantly gave her a headache.
“Erm…Runo, ignore that. Please, let me talk to Oga Landlord,”Martins attempted to distract her
“No, I can’t pretend not to hear that. Did your wife just call me a bitch?”Runo was going ballistics and Aisha wasn’t faring any better,”Martins end that call now!”
“But Aisha…I.” Martins stuttered as Aisha forcefully grabbed the phone from him to end the call.
“Baby did you have to do that?”
“You are not going back there ever again, just forget about it. Hope you don’t have that husband snatcher’s contact on your phone anymore?”
“You deleted it remember?”
“Yes I did, but how am I sure you haven’t saved it again.”
“Do I follow you around? Who knows if you guys have one secret place where you meet to indulge in your illicit affair”
“Aisha you don’t seem to amaze me with your unfounded accusations. An outsider that overhears this discussion now will think you married a cheating husband, yet I have never as much as kissed another woman since we got married.”
“Oh please tell it to the marines. That bitch calls you up when we are at the heat of the moment; when girls her age should be in bed, yet you want me to believe you guys had nothing together?”
“Babe, how many times do I have to tell you she only calls to make one complaint or the other. She is a tenant in the property I was managing, what do you expect?”
“Abegii! Is she the only tenant that was admitted into the property abi why are you acting like you don’t know girls of these days. No be Lagos you grow up? Lagos babes wey their eyes they chook. Them no they see successful man waka pass. Whether the man wear ring or not, every man who drives a fancy car is a potential boyfriend. Look, Mr. Man you are not taking that job.”
“Forget what I said, I don’t trust you with that girl.”
Martins rose from the bed. He nestled to a corner of the room, his fingers grazing through the hairs on his head. “Hmm…yet I wasn’t going to pick that call. You answered the call yourself oh! Now I’m not to trust anymore. Aisha what will you have me do?”
Aisha gets up from the bed, phone in hand as she starts to leave the room.
“Where are you going with my phone.”
Off to the kitchen to prepare dinner.
“I see…But how will my phone be of any use in the kitchen”
“Oh, so much use that you can’t begin to imagine. I need to go through your contacts. I have to make certain you didn’t save that whore’s number with a different name.”
“Are you kidding me! Aisha! As it come to that? You really don’t trust me. Why the insecurity? This doesn’t seem to be about Runo anymore.”
Aisha stopped for a moment. She turned to Martins wearing a smile on her face. “On a second thought! You may have to call Mr.Okafor when I’m done with your phone.”
“What for again?”
“You are going to take whatever offer he has for you.” Aisha was now standing directly in front of her husband. She placed a hand on his shoulders
“You want me to go back to manage the same property where my supposed mistress lives?”
“Yes! But your first major task has to be evicting the bitch from the property”
“Jees! Aisha are you for real? Now, this is funny” Martins couldn’t believe what he just heard his wife suggest. It wasn’t even a suggestion. It was a command. “Wifey, I don’t have the power to do that”
“Oh yes you do! You are the property manager dear. I’m sure Mr.Okafor won’t mind.”
“But that will be a breach of the Lagos tenancy law”
Oh please, no one takes that shitty law seriously. Be killing yourself with English there, I’m sure the bitch would be too dumb to even know such exists”Aisha curled her hands around her husband, “Boo-boo, give her back the remainder of her rent, then give her some days to move out of the property, only then will I believe there’s nothing going on between the both of you. I wonder why she’s even living alone. She’s too young for that kind of life. That bitch can’t be more than 23 years, right?” Martins doesn’t answer the question.
“Whatever, off to the kitchen. You can join me there when you find your voice” Aisha took quick light steps out of the room, leaving Martins to watch on in bemusement.
“Deji once told me that the slowest way to die is by marrying a woman that seizes the slightest opportunity to nag, I never believed that statement till this day,” his thoughts lingered as he slid into bed.
“Martins!!!” Aisha bellowed from the kitchen, bringing Martins out of his misery into a more hopeless fate.
” Martins!” She called out again, “So you are going to leave a pregnant woman all alone in the kitchen!”
“This was the beginning of the end,”he thought. For the sake of baby, he had decided to resign to his fate.
Oga Martins & His Kettle of Fishes continues next week…