I dinnor use to put my mouth inside something that dinnor concern me. They have break my hand before when I was an Onyeoma CY.
The office generator have been going crazy for a while now. Once on, it struggles an hour, sputters and goes off by itself. At first, we pampered it with oil, more fuel, less service time, yet it refused to bulge like a spited lover.
Today, NEPA showed us their true colors, they refused to bring the light, leaving us at the mercy of our tired and angry generator. I took the pain of rubbing its body, hoping it would feel the warmth of my hand and yield to us till the light returned. I think my touch made it angrier. HOW DARE THIS HUMAN RUB MY SKIN!!!
It refused to come on at all, totally refused to even cough or shake. We were left with no choice than to hurry the generator mechanic who had been postponing to come since we started to call him.
The director was already frustrated. He dialed the man’s number on his phone, put it on loudspeaker and handed it to me to make the call.
“Ello!” the man screamed.
“Hello, sir. Please, I’m calling you from….”
“Eh. I know. I get this number. Wetin happen?”
“Please come and check the generator for us. It won’t come up and we can’t work. We can’t wait till afternoon, please.”
“Una go pay me?”
“Ah, yes sir. Why won’t we pay you?”
“Eh, I know why I dey ask sha, cause sometimes your oga no dey gree release money.”
I looked at the Manger and he whispered that I tell the man to come because we’ll pay him. I did not know of the previous transactions with the mechanic so I did as asked.
“Are you sure? Cause I dey come from far.”
I assured him, “yes sir. Please come now now.”
The man appeared some minutes later, sweaty. He looked to be in his early fifties. His brown singlet hung to his brown skin and I imagined him as a young man showing off chiseled body. He immediately bent to look at the generator. When he stood he said, “go tell your oga to give me N5,000. My transport dey inside am.”
I went in to give the feedback while the mechanic sucked in fuel and spit out and rubbed oil and changed plugs. The manager had asked me to tell him to come into his office when he finished. When he was done, he turned on the generator and it came on smoothly. I told him he would walk with me to the Manager’s office.
We entered the office and I stood waiting for the transaction to be completed. The manager asked the man what he did and changed in the generator. The mechanic looked at me and frowned. DID I NOT TELL YOU HOW MUCH?
He answered the Manager still. The manager nodded gently all through the mechanic’s explanation. He allowed him finish without interruption, put hand in his pocket and took out N500 denomination. He handed it to the mechanic. The mechanic eyed the notes briefly before he collected it and separated the notes, they were five in total, N2500. He held the notes by the tips and flung it in the Manager’s face.
“This money no complete, Oga. Na N5000 I tell am. Abi no be so?” he looked at me as he asked the question.
I swallowed and looked in between the two men, avoiding the gazes from both of them.
“Oga, the money no complete, abeg. Complete am make I dey go.”
“I should give you N5000 for changing the plug?” the manager asked, irritation poking out from underneath.
“Wetin you mean? You forget say I come from far? You tell me say you go give me my transport. Abi no be so? I change plug, change this, change that, come do general servicing. You no want pay me my workmanship?”
“Still, Oga, N5000 is too much. Haba. I always call you for this generator. Why are you acting like we are just meeting?”
“Exactly! Na because say you dey always cut my money na im make I been no wan come. Na because of how this girl talk to me I agree to come here. Complete the money.” He dropped the money on the table, his jaw clenched.
The manager laughed a forced laughter. “Okay. Do I owe you N2000? I’ll give you an extra N500.” He put his hand in his pocket.
“No, sir. My money na N5000.”
The Manager brought about another N500 note and added to the ones on the table. He pcked them up and offered the man. “Please take it.”
“Ah ah. Do you want me to get another person for this generator?
“You go do am o cos I no fit come here again.”
“As I don’t have more now, what do we do?”
“Send am go my account.”
“I will not do that right now. You can drop your account details here, I’ll transfer you the money later.”
The man looked at me and back to the manager. “You dey craze?” he went to stand in front of the manager as he raked in anger. “I go change am for you now. Give me my money complete. I resemble small boy for your eye? Na only tfare you wan give after I don come do your work for you. Complete this money now before I provoke for you.”
The Manager gave a smile and sat down in his chair. The man held him tight by the collar and whisked him up. The Manager tried to force his hand out. It was obvious he was suffocating. I screamed out for the driver and went to try to placate the mechanic, his grip was firm.
“Sir, give him the complete money please. That’s what he said over the phone before he agreed to come.” He did not reply me, he was choking. The mechanic knocked him many times. I ran out and called the other people. We rushed in there and saw the manager coughing, struggling to talk while the man held scrambled notes in his hands. The men rushed the manager while the man counted the money loudly, N5, 000.
He shoved past us and left.