“Congratulations. You’ve gotten yourself a job.”
These words rolled like balls of foofoo slick with okro soup from the tobacco stained lips of the madam.
She smiled, showing yellow teeth.
“This will be rewarding for both of us. I’m sure.”
That was three days ago.
Now Temiloluwa, or Temi as what’s left of the friends she once had would call her, is ready for her third day at the job.
It’s quite easy. Waitressing. You meet the customers. You take their orders. You relay it to the kitchen. You collect the meals on a tray and serve.
Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
Its a big restaurant, gigantic even, this place called Madam K’s. There’s a signboard outside that claims the restaurant would cater to one’s every hunger. Its a very odd phrase, but having seen it for three days straight, Temi has learned to ignore it. The food here is sold at exorbitant prices, but the steady stream of customers don’t seem to mind. Mostly big men and madams come to eat here. They don’t mind dropping five thousand naira for a plate of food. It’s nothing to them.
There’s a door, opposite the kitchen that is dark and seems hardly used.
As she is about to turn a corner, a robust looking customer beckons. He looks like an Alhaji. Since she is being paid to, she answers.
“I want… ” she can’t make out the words. He repeats himself and she strains to hear him. Still no success.
“Sir?” She leans over to hear him better. And then the customer sneaks his hand and grabs a handful of her breasts. She pulls back, surprised, hurt and disgusted all at once.
“Stop that sir!”
“What do you mean?” The Alhaji retorts. He is angry with her for saying no. This confuses Temi. Its her body. Isn’t it?
Nkechi, one of the other waitresses rushes over to placate the “big man”
“Sorry sir. She is new here sir”
“And so? Someone should have explained the ways things are being done over here to her.”
“…the way things are done…”
Now the mini skirts, makeup and coy attitudes of the other waitresses make sense to her. Finally. The truth of what they really sell make her sick to her stomach.
Nkechi apologizes profusely. Then she rubs the Alhaji all over his chest. He calms down. She walks off to the room and winks at the man before entering.
“Psssst! New girl! New girl!!! Madam wants to see you.”
Soon Temi is standing in front of her madam.
“Why did you react that way? What is your problem? Do you want to chase Alhaji Aliyu away?”
“Ma. I can’t do this. I can’t sell…”
“THEN LEAVE MY RESTAURANT!!! ”
Temi turns out and runs. Out of the restaurant, and into the driving rain.
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