It was Idara’s fifth day of going to TED Oil and Gas, a massive oil and gas services company, in search of a job. Her best friend Toke had told her about the job of an assistant in their company. She was already working there as a petroleum engineer, going to the rig with the other staff two weeks in a month.
Idara wished her turn would come today as she applied a tomato red Tara lipstick on her lips and parted her lips bit by bit.
“My boss is very strict. He might complain about the color of that lipstick, it’s too bright,” Toke said as she combed her hard Afro hair backward.
“I don’t understand again. Your boss has to tell us what we have to look like?” Idara asked.
“My department girls don’t joke with Femi Omari, he is too strict,” Toke said as she applied petroleum jelly Vaseline on her lips and parted them.
“How do I look?” she asked, turning from the mirror to face Idara. Idara looked at her with admiration in her eyes. “Simple and hot. Feminine,” she said.
“Yeah!” Toke said and took her handbag and her car keys from the bed and headed outside. “I am in the car,” she said.
Idara rushed after her and they both headed to the office at about 7:10 a.m that morning.
Idara looked at her beautiful oval face again in the mirror. She was beautiful, with or without makeup, her satin skin glowed and her beauty was captivating. She was dark skinned, slender and looked like models who often appeared on fashion magazines. Toke had a fairer skin, she was chubby and acted most of the time like a tomboy.
When Toke arrived the office and got to the garage, she turned to Idara and said; “I just hope you get this job because the pay is good, and the Managing Director needs someone who can be really patient with him. He has fired six people in just three months. That’s how hard this work is. But you’re going to get a car, accommodation, free travels to many countries for meetings and hospital bills are on the company too.”
Idara covered her face excitedly.
“Toke, if I get this job ehn, I will be so happy. You won’t understand how I am so pressurized by my sister and mom to work, so I can be helping my mom pay my sister’s school fees and take care of the house needs. Making up my mind to come stay with you in Lagos was out of determination. Since 2015 that I finished school I have walked on high heels to different interviews but nobody wants to give me the job without wanting to see my panties.”
“No, no, Femi Omari isn’t that type of person o. He doesn’t have time for women at all. Don’t worry, you will get this job.”
“Amen o,” Idara said and hurried out of the car.
“Good luck!” Toke said to her as she walked hastily in her silky lemon dress and a black high heel shoes and headed to another part of the premises where the interview is to be conducted.
Idara was the fifth person on the waiting list. She exhaled happily and settled in. There was no crowd today like other days where she was given number ninety-nine and it never got to her turn.
A lady walked out of the office where the interview was taking place looking flustered and flushed with embarrassment as she readjusted her dress and bent over to pick her handkerchief from the floor, revealing her underwear as she walked away smartly in her yellow stiletto heel shoes.
“Miss Idara William?” a fair tall man wearing a black corporate suit called out, pushing his glasses back up the bridge of his nose as he scanned where the applicants were sitting.
Idara stood immediately and exhaled. She greeted the man with a nervous nod and smile that probably turned out more like a grimace.
“This way please,” the man said, accompanying her into the office and exiting before she settled in.
Idara widened her eyes at the office that looked like a home in paradise. She clutched tightly at the folder containing all her credentials and qualifications; she had worked all week to perfect it, just to get the job.
Then her eyes finally settled on the man she only saw on Forbes Magazine and on TVs.
“Good morning sir,” she greeted boldly.
“Name?” he asked, his eyes still fixed on a magazine he’d been reading since she walked in.
“My name is Idara Edet Williams, sir.”
“Have you worked as an assistant before?”
“So how do you know the nature of this job?”
“I will undergo exclusive training sir. I have read about this and I know…”
“This isn’t what you read in school young woman,” he said as he carefully placed the newspaper on the table and lifted his head to stare at her. She was adorable and he knew it, he hadn’t seen a woman that beautiful in his entire life.
“Sir, these are my credentials,” she said, pointing at the file in her hand.
“It’s not credentials I want. It’s competence and smartness that I want. I have worked with so many young men and women who claimed they graduated with a First Class degree and Distinctions and they had nothing to offer me,” he said, a deep British accent lacing every singular, blunt word.
Idara cleared her throat and wiped her wet palms on her lemon dress. She looked up again and stared at him, seated on a large leather chair behind a dark, polished marble desk so large it almost took the entire space in the office.
“Take a seat,” he muttered and turned to his phone.
A few moments passed before his eyes came back to Idara. He looked straight into her eyes for long moments, and Idara wondered if he knew her from somewhere. Such an influential young man would never know her. She was a young girl, looking for jobs in Eket. While he was a billionaire who owned oil firms and vessels all over Nigeria.
“Mr. Fayose will take you on a tour of my office. He will show you the cars and introduce you to the drivers. He would train you for two weeks, then you can resume,” he said, his eyes still staring into hers.
Idara gasped with shock.
“Oh my God, thank you sir,” she said as she stood to her feet and walked away. His eyes trailed her until she slammed the door.
“Sir please are you Mr. Fayose?” she asked the man who had taken her in before.
“He wants you to train me,” Idara said nervously.
“Oh wow, congratulations. I hope you are ready to do this job? It’s hard,” the man muttered softly as he led her outside the office.
A woman came to announce to the remaining applicants that someone had been taken. They all sighed, looking disappointed as they walked away.
“Mr. Femi uses Jar Bolt of Lightning on Mondays,” Mr Fayose paused and glared at Idara who was nodding at him. “Don’t stand there nodding at me. Get a pen and paper, because if you miss out on this, you will be fired,” he said.
Idara rushed to her handbag and got a pen and paper, supporting the paper with a notebook.
Mr Fayose cleared his throat and continued.
“On Tuesdays, he uses Joy by Jean Patou. On Wednesdays, he uses Caron Poivre. On Thursdays, Hermès 24 Faubourg. And on Fridays, Clive Christian No. 1. And on Saturdays…”
“He works on Saturdays?” Idara interrupted, gasping in surprise.
“Of course. MD works even on holidays. This is a private company, not owned by government,” Mr Fayose said and continued. “On Saturdays, he uses Chanel Grand Extraordinary. And on Sundays, he uses Baccarat les Larmes Sacrees de Thebes.”
“Sir please can you spell that?” Idara asked, looking directly into Mr. Fayose’s mouth.
“Miss, I am not a French man, I am Yoruba,” he shrugged and gave her a grin.