Jude woke up with a smile on his face. For the first time in two years, he was still on his bed by 9 AM on a Monday morning. He was getting married in a week and even his ‘Adolf Hitler’ boss agreed he needed some time to prepare. And his preparation was going to start with another round of sleep. He pulled the sheets over his head and snuggled against the pillow. Sweet dreams Jude.
His phone rang and he sat up. He immediately reached for the phone but he stopped. He was already used to answering the phone at first ring but not today. He was on vacation so nobody would call him from the office. He let the phone ring out and smiled, it felt good. The phone rang again, this time he picked up the phone. What? It was his boss. Why on earth was he calling him?
“Where are you?” Adolf Hitler bellowed.
“I’m at home sir. It is my…”
“You are at home? At 9 O’clock?”
He was confused. “Sir, you said I could stay home for the whole week?”
“Are you sick?” The boss asked.
“No sir, but…”
“Are you dead?”
“No sir but I…”
“Do you still work here?”
“No, I mean yes sir but I’m…”
“If you’re not here in the next one hour, consider yourself fired.”
The call ended and Jude starred at his phone. What just happened? Was his boss drinking again? It did not matter, he needed to get to the office. Doing it in one hour would be a miracle though. He jumped off his bed and ran into the bathroom. He took off his clothes as fast as he could and turned on the shower. Nothing. No, not today. His neighbours had forgotten to pump water. There was power at the moment, he could pump the water but he did not have the time.
He ran into the kitchen and picked five sachets of water from the fridge. This was not going to be great. He got to the bathroom, opened one of the sachets into a bowl and poured a little on his head. The water flowed to his back and he shook so violently he almost fell. This would not work. He had not done it in years but that morning Jude went back to the boarding house method of ‘Rub and Shine’.
Ten minutes later he was in his car and backing out of his compound. He turned into the road and sped for the highway. He said a silent prayer, binding every spirit of traffic or slow drivers on his way. He was on the road for about five minutes when his phone beeped. He picked it and looked. He had a text from his boss.
‘Forty minutes more.’
He shook his head and put the phone down. He’d wanted to resign for a long time, maybe today was the day he would do it. But he knew he couldn’t. He was about to get married, he could not be jobless right now. He sighed and turned his attention to the road.
Another ten minutes passed and he was doing well. At this rate he would be in the office on time and put the devil and his boss to shame. Although they were probably one and the same. His phone beeped again. He looked at the phone and it was his boss again.
‘Thirty minutes more.’
Okay, it was becoming creepy now.
Ten minutes later the phone beeped again but it did not look at it this time. He was ten minutes away from the office and he was not likely to meet any traffic at this point, there was no need to stress.
He turned off the road into the street that led to his office. He was home free, thank God. His phone beeped again. He smiled and picked up the phone. Of course it was his boss again.
‘Ten minutes more. Please come late. Your job is already on Jobberman.’
Jude laughed, the man did not even know about Jobberman until the previous week, now he was using it as a threat.
Out of the corner of his eyes he saw a yellow shirt step in front of his car and instinctively his legs marched the brakes. He looked and it was LATSMA officer and he had his hand up.
“No, not today.” Jude said.
He stopped and rolled down his window.
“Can you please open your booth sir?” The officer said.
“Is there a problem? Please I’m in a hurry.”
“If you’re in a hurry then come down and open the booth on time.”
Well, he was right. Jude stepped out of the car and opened the booth. It was empty and the officer nodded, he was satisfied. Jude ran back into the car. He had about seven minutes left but he would still make it.
“Thank you Officer.” Jude said and put the car in gear.
“Can I see your particulars please?” The Officer said.
“What?” Jude could not believe this.
“Your particulars, can I see them?”
“No!” Jude said before he could stop himself.
“No, you cannot see my particulars. In fact I’m leaving now.”
The front passenger door opened and another officer he had not noticed, entered the car.
“I am taking you to the station now.” The second officer said.
Jude smiled. “Okay.”
He pushed the accelerator and the car jumped forward. He had four minutes and he needed speed to make it.
“This is not the way to our station.” The Officer said.
Jude smiled. “This is the way to my station.”
“Stop, I want to come down.”
“Sorry, I can’t stop now.”
He saw the look of worry on the Officer’s face. The guy was really a coward. His colleagues weren’t so far behind, what was he afraid of?
“Oga, stop this vehicle.”
“In a minute.” Jude said. “See, I’m getting married in a week. If I stop to drop you that marriage will be in trouble. Do you understand?”
The Officer looked at him. “No.”
Well, that was his problem. He looked at his watch, two minutes more. He parked outside his office compound, he would get the car later. He jumped out of the car and pushed the ‘lock’ button on the key.
“Hey.” He had someone scream.
He looked back, the officer was still in the car. He pushed the ‘unlock’ button on the car and the officer came out but did not close the door.
“Close the door, I need to lock the door.” Jude shouted.
“You will regret this Mister man.” The officer said.
“Close the damned door.” Jude shouted.
The officer didn’t. Jude left him and the car, the officer could do whatever he wanted with the car. He ran into the compound and was about climbing the stairs when his phone beeped.
‘Time up, pick your termination letter at the reception.’
Jude shook his head, no, he could not get fired like this. Not now. He ran up the stairs as fast as he could. He got to the reception and looked at the receptionist. She was about to say something to him but he walked away from her and headed for his boss’ office. He got to the door and knocked.
He bowed his head. “God, please grant me favour.”
He opened the door and entered. His boss looked up as he entered.
“Sir, I’m really sorry…”
“What are you doing here?” His boss asked.
“You asked me to come sir.” Jude said. “And I’m so sorry I came later than you said, I had some problems with some officers on the way.”
“Aren’t you on leave?”
Jude did not understand what was going on. Was this a trick?
“Jude, you are getting married in a week, why on earth are you in the office?”
“Sir, you called me this morning and said I should be here before 10 AM. You’ve sent me like four messages after that call saying the same thing.”
“Wait a minute.” The boss said and picked up his phone. “I called you?”
“Yes sir, you called me.”
“Oh no. I wanted to call Justin.”
Jude bowed his head and sighed. He was not sure if he should be angry or happy.
“Jude, go home and get married.”
Jude stood still and stared at the man.
“Get out, I need to make a call.”
Jude wanted to destroy a few things in the office before leaving but then that would cost him his job for sure. He turned around and headed for the door.
“Hello Justin.” He heard his boss say on the phone. “If you don’t get here in one hour, consider yourself fired.” He paused. “Oh, you are in the office already? Never mind then.”
Jude dragged his feet as he walked out of the office. At least he still had his job, everything was going to be fine.
He stepped outside the compound and stopped; his car had been towed.