Chitchat

When Pamela walked into the restaurant, she was fuming. She had an ugly scowl on her face and as she sat next to her friends Noel and Pat, they could hear her panting.

Ah ah, Pam Pam, what is wrong? Noel asked.

Pamela sighed, obviously trying to calm herself. “Please, I need a drink before I talk. Order me two bottles of Harp immediately.”

Noel quickly motioned for the waiter and placed the order. Soon enough, the young man reappeared carrying a tray on which sat two sweating, ice-cold bottles of Harp lager and a tall glass.  After filling the glass tumbler, he walked away. Pamela grabbed the open bottle instead and took a long swig, swallowing as gulp after gulp hit the back of her throat. Noel and Pat watched in awe.

“Will you talk to us or what?” Pat was getting impatient.

Pamela sighed again, “My dear, don’t mind that useless Oluchi girl. I just finished pounding her before I left the house to meet up with you guys.”

“Oluchi? You mean your house-help?” Noel asked.

“Who else?”

“And why did you pound her? What did she do? Is that why you stormed in here breathing like you just carried ten bags of rice up a flight of stairs?” Pat asked, laughing.

“Pato, stop laughing, it’s not a funny matter.” Pamela insisted, “I have been looking for an opportunity to give her a lasting scar. The useless idiot! Can you believe that the rat I brought from the village is now looking good because she has seen good food to eat and good clothes to wear and is enjoying air-conditioner in my house? She now earns a salary and can buy body cream. Her complexion now glows. In my house!”

“But you have not told us what she did,” Noel said and took a sip of her malt drink.

“It is a long story.”

“We have time Pam Pam,” Pat replied, looking amused.

“Well, it all began two weeks ago.” Pamela started, then took another long swig from the bottle before she continued, “I don’t know where the sudden affection came from, but my husband insisted that Oluchi should get a raise.”

Pat and Noel burst out laughing. Pat especially laughed so hard that she almost knocked down her glass of beer.

“And what is so funny?” Pamela shouted. “What kind of friends are these sef?”

“No, no, Pam, take it easy,” Noel responded. “We are only laughing because you overreacted. So what if your husband asked you to give Oluchi a salary raise? You should have simply said no and that would be the end of it.”

“Hmm, wait let me finish before you conclude that I overreacted.” Pamela said, “I said no. Why should I give her a raise? Raise for what? What does she do that deserves a raise? I already pay her for the work she does in the house including caring for the kids. So, I told my husband no. He then said that if we will not give her a raise, we should make plans to send her to school, after all, she had been with us for 4 years and was yet to be enrolled in secondary school.

I asked him for the rationale behind his thoughts and he said that since our kids have started school and Oluchi spends most of her mornings and afternoons at home doing nothing, enrolling her in JSS 1 would be a good idea, and if we did not want her in school, it was only fair that we pay her more. He even had the nerve to say that her clothes deserved changing because most of them were old and torn.”

“But didn’t you once tell us that you purposefully underpay her so that she won’t have too much to spend?” Noel asked.

“Of course.” It was Pamela’s turn to laugh. “See this Noel o! So you expect me to pay her well so that she will glow even more, and no longer wear the rags I give her? She already eats in my house and lives with me. I shouldn’t even be paying her but my husband won’t hear of that. I even suspect he likes her.”

“So continue to the part that made you pounce on her.” Pat said.

“Yes. Imagine my shock when I came back today and found new clothes on Oluchi’s bed, and a wad of money next to the clothes. I immediately asked her where they came from and she said, ‘daddy came home early and gave them to me. He went to the supermarket and will be back shortly.’ My blood boiled and I gave her the hottest slap of her life. Now, I have no doubt that that fool has been seducing my husband. How can he buy her clothes and give her money after we argued about it two weeks ago and my no was final? Who brought her from the village? Was it not me? What is his business what I do with her? I beat her black and blue. I even put pepper in her eyes and I made sure I left marks all over her body, especially on her face, let me see the face she will use to seduce my husband again.” Another long drink from the bottle, and opening the second bottle with her teeth, she gulped that one down too.

“You did well,” Pat said. “In fact, I need to order you another beer. Those house-helps can be so useless. That’s how I caught mine massaging my husband’s feet in our bedroom. In her defense, all she could say was that my husband had asked her to do it. The stupid man even agreed to it and was trying to stop me from beating her. Thank God the girls were sleeping over at their friends’ place, I beat both the useless man and the stupid girl. The next day, she was out of my house and my husband was apologizing like a puppy. Hahaha.”

“Yes o.” Pamela replied, “When my husband returns from the so-called supermarket to see his lover battered and bruised, he will know not to play with fire. Is that not so Noel?”

Noel hissed, “I don’t know, because I don’t have such issues since my help is a boy, not a girl.”

“Well, that’s because you have 4 boys and no girl child. It’s convenient to get a male house-help. I can’t risk doing that since I have girls; not with all the news of rape and child molestation going around these days.” Pat said.

“But aren’t boys worse? They steal when no one is around. Can boys actually look after children as well as girls?” Pamela asked.

“Akpan is a good boy.” Noel answered. “We have never had problems with him. We don’t send him to school but we pay him well. He has never stolen from us.”

“Well, pray he does not. I don’t trust male house-helps. I’d rather get a girl and give her a lesson if she tries rubbish.” Pamela replied, “Anyway, that’s it o. I’ve finally succeeded in damaging her fair skin. It was getting too much. She was starting to look too good for comfort, even in tattered clothes.”

“Are you going to send her away?” Pat asked Pamela.

“For what? She will stay with me, scars and all. My husband will see what he has caused. Rubbish! Imagine buying clothes and giving money. Not while I’m still alive.” Pamela finished her second bottle before finally draining the glass. “I have to go. It was nice chatting with you ladies. Let’s do this again next Tuesday?”

“Next Tuesday. Come with an update on Oluchi.” Pat said, smiling. “Pam Pam! You no gree o.”

“I have to go too,” Noel got up. “See you next Tuesday.” She walked away briskly, feeling uncomfortable.

Pamela and Pat paid for their drinks, and walked out of the restaurant, happy that they had been able to chitchat for a few minutes.

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