3. The Good, The Bad and The Jobless.
6.45AM, Monday. Lagos.
“An aptitude test can’t be that bad”, Jude pondered as he walked down the street. Just the night before, he had gone through his emails and caught sight of an invitation to write an aptitude test the next morning for a job with the organisation he had long hoped to work with.
Despite the short notice, Jude was prepared to take the aptitude test. He had spent some of his last savings to buy GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) questions booklets and had solved every question he found therein.
He rubbed his palms together and placed each one in his side. He felt his phone in his right pocket and the thought of Marie jumped at him again.
“… You know you don’t have an excuse, let me talk to you later, I’m on my way to work.” Marie replied calmly, trying not to sound angry. The caller hung up and Marie caught Nene staring at her; obviously waiting to hear Marie say something. Nene had spent the weekend at Marie’s place and they were headed to work together that morning.
“What is it Nene?” Marie asked with a raised brow. “Oh! It’s nothing!” Nene smiled mockingly “but I can tell that was lover-boy, so I’m dying to hear his reason for keeping you in the dark this long.”
“Please can we change the topic already?” Marie rolled her eyes. “Suit yourself.” Nene droned and continued with her phone. “Alright, don’t be mad at me, that was Jude.” Marie looked at Nene with remorse. “So…?” Nene leaned forward to absorb every bit of the story. “He didn’t say much, just some blah, blah, blah” Marie answered indifferently. “What exactly were the blahs?” Nene frowned. Marie saw the curiosity in Nene’s eyes and continued. “…you know, that he’s on his way to write an aptitude test and that he promises to see me before the week is over” “ Like I care!” Marie exclaimed with a shrug. “Errm.. we both know you do.” Nene fell back into her former position. “Quite frankly, You seem to be fighting the fact that Jude has only one thing on his mind now and it’s not about how to ask you out.” Marie tried saying something but Nene interjected “ I think you should let things play out as fate would have it; else, you’d keep hurting yourself and Jude won’t even notice…”
The test centre was located in Ikeja but Jude lived quite a distance, he breezed into the parking garage like greased lightning and got on a bus, “What luck, I’m the last person.” He sighed and turned to face the supposed bus conductor who collected money from passengers on board. “How much is it?” Jude asked, “150” the man replied tersely. Jude brought out his wallet and handed the conductor a 500 naira note.
“Uncle abeg (pronounced are beg) come down I no get change, this early morning!” the conductor yelled making angry gestures; “abeg abeg come down, wait for next turn or go enter BRT!” Jude looked helpless, “abeg you fit remove 200 inside the money, just help me find change abeg.” He replied in a very low tone. The man tossed three 100 naira notes on Jude’s laps and briskly jumped into the driver seat of the bus, turned on the engine and drove out of the Park.
“I’m this close to my dream job, I can feel it.” Jude thought to himself. Working with the prestigious TIC had been his lifelong dream; Jude knew so much about the company, one would think he runs it.
“Wait! Wait! In what direction are you driving?” Jude screamed out realising the bus took a different turn from the normal route, “no be Ikeja bus be this?” Jude asked the bus driver. “Mister man you no know before?” “na Mile-2 this one dey (pronounced they) go, and we no dey inside Park again.” Jude was very upset. “Abeg stop this bus, na Ikeja I dey go..” Other bus passengers implored the driver to allow Jude alight the bus. The driver stopped at the next bus-stop, opened the door and Jude got out; expecting a refund, he waited for the driver to attend to his work. Jude then called out to the driver just before he got on the wheels “where my money?” “I suppose collect the money back since I no dey go Mile-2.” The driver looked sternly at Jude, turned on the ignition key and drove off muttering “which money make I give you, what of money wey (pronounced way) I pay Agbero on top your head?”
Jude was near stranded; he had borrowed the 500 naira from his friend Bode and the 300 naira he received from the bus driver was all he had left. He trekked back to the parking garage, it was the only option he had. Even if he decided to try his chances with buses plying the Ikeja route from different points of departure, he still had to get close to the park.
The time set for the test to begin was 8.00AM, Jude arrived Ikeja and rushed to the test centre at breakneck speed, palms sweaty.
Just before he stepped in, a slim lady dressed in a grey skirt suit and black pump heels walked towards him “if you are here for the test, I’m sorry you missed it.” She said pityingly.
“What?” “I can’t have missed this test..” Jude’s voice turned husky as he glanced at his wrist watch, only then did he realise he arrived the venue really late; the time was 8:44AM. “I got caught in traffic.” Jude tried explaining his plight to the lady. “It’s quite obvious you’ve had a rough morning, I wish I could do something to help.” The lady stretched forth her right hand, “My name’s Harriet and I work with TIC.” Jude declined the handshake “I’m sorry, my palms are rather sweaty. I am Jude, a job seeker whose dream job just slipped through his fingers.” …
Read last week’s episode here.