“Where have you been in the past one week?” Martins demanded as he opened the door for Deji who removed his shirt as soon as he came in and slung it over his shoulder. Martins was also bare-chested. The weather was hot and as usual, there was no light.
“Anything to eat? I’m hungry,” he stated as he walked to where the pots were and began to open them.
“Nothing o! Na left over of yesterday rice wey I cook me sef chop when I come back from work.”
Deji turned up his nose in disgust as he saw the dirty plates and empty pots. “Guy, wetin happen? These things dey smell mehn! You no fit wash am?”
“Wash wetin? Wey the time. You know when I dey comot for this house? And when I come back, I don too tire,” he said, glad it was a weekend. Asides from the fact that he could take a breather from work, he was also looking forward to a date he had. Well, he wouldn’t call it a date, more a business appointment but it didn’t matter. He was…
“Garri dey make I drink?” Deji asked, cutting into his train of thought.
“For where? Nothing for this house o!”
“Omo mehn na serious hunger be this o! And see as person dey sweat!” he grumbled as he used his shirt to wipe himself clean. He turned it into a fan and began to blow himself.
“Why you no chop from where you dey come from? Stella no get food for house?” Stella was Deji’s current girlfriend. She had a hair salon and freely handed over some of the money she made to him. Martins couldn’t fathom why a woman who worked so hard could stick to a man who lazed about and did nothing.
Deji waved his hand in dismissal as he changed the topic. “How far with your new work now? How is it going?”
“After one week, I’m getting used to it but the first day wasn’t easy.”
“”First days at new jobs are never easy”
“Hun-hun! This one different. He just be like say…”
A loud knock on the door interrupted him. They both stare at each other, frowning.
“Who is that?” Deji called out
“Na me! Make una come out o!” The person at the door responded. The voice belonged to the caretaker of the building.
“Wetin happen now?!” Martins grumbled as Deji went to open the door. The sound of other people’s generator filled the air.
“Oga caretaker, good evening, Wetin happen?” Deji asked as the door swung open.
“Abeg make una come front yard, meeting dey”
“This night?” Martins asked from behind Deji.
“Na Latin I speak?” he responded as he walked to the next door to knock.
Deji turned to look at Martins who hissed. He walked back into the room to pick a shirt from the hanger and shuffle into his slippers. “I wonder what the issue is now,” he complained as he made his way out. Deji followed him.
On getting to the front yard, they saw other neighbors already present.
“Una know wetin he wan talk?” Fidelis was asking.
“E no go pass increase in rent,” Temisan announced.
“”House rent again?” Martins stated chagrined.
“How many times they wan increase rent. They don increase am two times already,” Rotimi grumbled.
“E-ehn? Na today? They no send us o!” Chris stated.
“If they increase am, I no dey pay kobo. My husband don travel When he come back, make dem tell am but say make I pay that rent, mba!” Mama Nkiru shook her head as she began to shake a leg where she sat on the pavement as if she was ready to take down the caretaker if he wasn’t careful. Considering she had a knack for trouble, he wouldn’t put it past her.
Shortly, the caretaker arrived with Baba Ruka, satisfying their curiosity. “E don come to my notice say some of una no dey abide by the rules and regulations of this house. No be by force o! If you no fit follow the rules, pack comot. Another person dey wey go collect am and wey no go give me headache.” He paused for effect as he looked at each of them. “Another thing wey I hear be say una dey fight on top water”
“Hian!” Who be the aproco?” Temisan asked no one in particular. Mama Nkiru eyeballs her, her nose turned up in disdain.
“No be today water no dey. If una like, make una fight, kill una sef, Make una just no spoil anything for this house. Una dey hear me so.” Nobody responded since they knew he didn’t expect them to. “Then, NEPA bill don come. Na N2, 500 each person dey pay.”
Everyone began to speak at the same time, complaining.
“Which light I dey use?”
“Make NEPA cut the light, I no dey pay anything!”
“When dem bring the light wey dem dey give us that kain bill?”
“Abeg how much dey the bill abi you no calculate am well”
“E don do!” The caretaker boomed and everyone kept quiet. “Na like N18, 000 bill dem bring and una be seven people.”
“Seven people like how? No be ten rooms dey this house?” Temisan pointed out.
“Three rooms dey empty,” the caretaker replied.
“How that one kon take be my business?” Chris stated, obviously upset. “Na me say make you no collect NEPA money from their hand when dem dey comot?”
“Na your business as long as you wan stay for this house.”
“The problem me I get na why all of us must pay the same thing!” Rotimi interjected. “Wetin dey my room? Some people get freezer, fridge, TV, home theatre, everything for their room. Why those people no pay N5000 and you share the rest among all of us?”
“For wetin?” Baba Ruka exclaimed since he was in that category.
‘Help me ask am o!”Mama Nkiru rejoined, already on her feet.
“Na same thing everybody go pay!” Baba Ruka stated firmly.
“Lai-lai!” Chris stated. “No be the same light everybody dey use. I no dey pay any yeye N2500.”
“If e dey pepper you for body, go buy your own things put for house now!” Mama Nkiru glared at him.
‘’Na you sabi!”
“Hey! Hey! E don do. I no wan know who use light pass anybody, I don talk my own. Pay N2, 500 otherwise, I go disconnect you. Good night!”
The caretaker walked away as they all began to argue. Deji and Martins stood aside, observing.
“Omo mehn! This no be the life o!”
“So you know. Eventually I’m going to have to sack this landlord.”
Deji turned to him, giving him a curious look. “What are you talking about?”
The BROUHAHA continues next week…
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