ARTICLE: MY JOB IS MORE THAN TALK-TALK by Ajibade Oyemade
My phone rang like an angry dog! My daughter woke up at that first ring and began to call for attention. I was overwhelmed with sleep, all I could do was reach out to it and pressed the silence bottom.
Whoever it is can wait. It’s just 9am! And it is weekend! I began to doze again. I was really tired from the previous day’s event and I didn’t get home until almost midnight. I couldn’t get to hit my bed until near 2am. It had been like that almost everyday of the week. So this weekend sleep was an accumulated one.
Just when I was arriving dreamland, the phone rang again! This time I reached out to it and peeped with one eye who the caller might be. No name, a foreign number. One of my thoughts, 419! I hissed and put the phone on silence and went back to sleep. Few minutes later, my other phone rang! Urrrgh! How did I forget to put that on silence or even switch it off? I peeped again at the caller, it was same number. This time I decided to answer the call.
“hello, please who is this?” I drowsed onto the reciever.
“Yes this is chief…chief Agbiaka from the United States of America.” His yoruba accent sounded funny as he pronounced America with emphasis. “Doctor Fash gave me your number. He said you are a very good professional MC.”
I had dozed off until I heard the last part of his statement very good professional MC. Sleep left my eyes immediately and I sat up. This could be a client who possibly want me to come MC his ceremony in America.
Suddenly, my voice came alive, “Yes sir, I know Doctor Fash sir…”
He interrupted, “that’s right. My daugther is getting Married in December and you have been recommended for the MC job.”
“It will be a privilege to be of service to you sir.” I was getting excited.
“You see, I am looking for an MC that will be able to mix a little of Yoruba and CLEAN english spiced with a little joke here and there,” there was an obvious emphasis on clean. He must be from Ibadan.
“That is my job sir and you will be glad you choose me to serve you.” My accent changed.
“My friends and my daughter’s friends from America will be in attendance and I want them to be well carried along in the program.”
“I am going to do my best sir. You will not regret my service.” I added fune to my accent.
“I will like us to see and have a meeting as soon as I touch down in Nigeria. So you can also meet my daughter. But first how much is your fee?”
I thought quickly on how much I billed Doctor Fash but I could not remember. I knew the doctor would ve told chief.
“No problem about meeting you or your daugther sir. It can only be appropriate that we have a meeting to familiarise with the other plans of the event that may concern me. My bill is 750 sir.” I became very official.
“750 what?” I felt his response made the phone vibrated a bit. “oh…so because I said I am calling from America you bill me so high? For you information, I intend to pay you in naira not dollars.” He was obviously offended.
“Do not be offended sir. How much are you willing to offer sir?”
“I will talk to Doctor Fash and ask him to get back to you.” He calmed.
“That will not be necesarry sir if we can make conclusion here and now.”
“No, no no! There’s no way I will pay you that kind of money just to come andtalk,” he said that ‘talk’like MC was a child’s play.
“Sir, this is not just talk. I am a professional MC with over 10years experience. This is not just about talk-talk.” This man needed to see my CV.
“I will give you 100”, he said in a low tone. I guess he too felt guilty about his negotiated amount.
“I am sorry sir, that will not work. I will take 500.”
“Wo, wo, wo. Young man there are many MCs in Lagos who are equally good or is your price inclusive of the music band?”
I was begining to get angry, “the 500 is for Mc only and I accept 70% as advance payment. Can I text you my account number once we finish talking?”
“Don’t worry, I have a friend whose son studied English Language, I will ask him to be the MC.”
“Ok sir…add something to that 100 please. Hello? I will manage the 100. Hello Chief are you there?”
Pom! Line went dead! Sleep refused to come and I wished I had accepted his proposed 100 to compensate my sleep!