Author’s note: I felt uncomfortable with Etim describing paid househelps as slaves in this day and age. Jide deserves to meet his comeuppance when his former staff fight back, but we’d previously seen a similar situation when his secretary mocked him. The paragraphs which see Jide thrown outside by his angry staff is also more powerful.
“Fabrice,” I called out to my former butler who sat on a bench outside the security booth, chatting with the security guard. “Aren’t you going to give me a hand here? Get off your lazy ass and call me a cab, now.” Both men stared silently before turning to face each other and bursting into uncontrollable laughter. “Are you laughing at me?” I roared. “You fucking bastards, you think you now have it easy because I’m leaving this place, eh?”
“I beg, go,” Fabrice answered. “I stay here, you go, I no help you.”
“‘I beg, go…’” I taunted. “I may no longer live here, but I can still take you down, so you’d better…”
“Faire taire, imbecile!” Fabrice’s heated reply required no translation, and the security guard muttered unintelligible slurs in Tiv.
“What did you say?” I smashed my fist into the security guards face, expecting him to shut his trap immediately. Too bad I’d picked on the wrong ex-military man that day. Before I could deliver another blow, the security guard landed a heavier punch in my stomach, sending me down to the gravelled floor, but he hadn’t finished. Neither had the rest of the domestic staff who heard the commotion from indoors, and within a second, the yard swarmed with every single househelp I’d offended, abused and belittled for years.
“Don’t talk to us like that!” Everyone treated me with respect, or at least feared me, none of them ever answered back for fear of losing their jobs. When did Patience, Isaac’s newest nanny who hardly ever opened her mouth, become their spokesperson? “Why should we take orders from a rapist?” She let out a chilling cackle. “You’re never satisfied—always complaining, always nagging, always implying we’re beneath you. Take away the house and the job, and you’re no better than us, as you’re about to find out. TV producer my ass, you’re just a rapist who got lucky, and now the whole of Lagos can see your true colours. You no longer live here, go. Other Bassey relatives are about to move in, so try keeping your dick in your trousers on the way out.” Patience’s supporters cheered wildly, and she strutted in front of their upturned hands, slapping each one in triumph.
“There’s no secret under the sun,” the family chef chipped in. “The person who put that letter on the internet deserves a medal for exposing you, hypocritical rapist like you…”
“Shut up!” I grabbed him by his lapels, knocking off his tall hat. “If you don’t shut the fuck up, I’ll…”
“Wetin?” growled a fearless houseboy, bending over the bench and comically thrusting his behind against my crotch to everyone’s amusement but mine. “Wetin you go do, you wan’ rape me? Oya now, come rape my nyash.” The domestic staff burst into another fit of raucous laughter as I released the chef and approached the houseboy who straightened himself up and clenched his fists with a vicious leer on his face. “Wetin, you fear? Come rape my nyash, and I go show you pepper boku! Yeye man, see him head. Common ten kobo you no get, but you do shakara for house you no build. Who you be self? Come fuck my nyash, I go show you…”
I rammed my tightened fist forward, colliding with the cleaner’s smug face. He stumbled backwards, crashing at his colleagues’ feet, but sprung to his feet, ready to retaliate. He wasn’t alone. Arms and legs from all directions rained down on their downtrodden dictator now outnumbered and unable to take on the frustrated househelps army.
“What the hell is going on here, revolt of the slaves?” A deep gruff put an end to the scuffle the moment they tossed my battered body into an open gutter. “Royal Rumble is over, get back inside, all of you. I’ll take it from here,” he added, winking mischievously. The staff obeyed without a word, making no effort to disguise the satisfied smiles they exchanged with each other, and I cast a dangerous glare at Patience who spitefully pulled down her lower eyelids and stuck her tongue at me.
“Someone remind me to give them a raise, they have more guts than I thought,” Etim remarked after they left. “Uncle Hogan asked me to make sure Shirley’s valuables didn’t mysteriously make their way into your suitcase, but I never expected the staff to beat the living shit out of you. So tell me, Titus…Jide…whatever your name is…how does it feel to return to the gutter where you truly belong?”
Etim Bassey. From the moment he refused to shake my hand after Shirley introduced us at a Bassey family dinner, no-one expected us to become bosom buddies. He never let me forget my own poverty-stricken upbringing, and would probe me with insensitive questions regarding my past. Etim had zero patience when it came to children, and regarded as nothing more than a pest. Trust Chief Bassey to trust that son of Satan to handle his affairs.