Katherine Sylvester alighted from the bus,
clutched the traveling bag handle on her
shoulder and used her right hand to
straightened out her black gown with a
yellow belt strapped around her waist. A
yellow beret was shaped to a side with
her long hair tucked in.
She stood five feet, seven inches tall as
she waited for the bus to move ahead
before crossing to the other side of the
road. Her skin glowed reminding one of
Her brows were full, her face oblong. You
wouldn’t call her fat neither slim, if one
was compelled to pick one of the
adjective, slim would be chosen, with all
curves and cleavages well represented
Simple but attractive was the common
compliment she got!
It was past 9, the sun was set and at it’s
best, so hot that it could boil an egg. She
kept on trekking, the sun the least of her
problems. She had three street to walk
through before she got to a bus stop
Where she would board a bus that will
lead her home.
She decided to take the shortest route
she could remember to her destination.
She cornered to the street across her.
The street was cool because of the much
shady trees and calm because it was
obviously a street for the rich.
She sighed feeling thirsty but she thought
against waiting for a minute on the
All handy men, women were off to work
even children were in school.
Katherine continued her journey without
looking back even at sometimes the bark
of dogs or the cat calls of gatekeepers
who were idly outside.
She took another turn and admired the
street for it look like a boulevard with
magnificent buildings. It now appeared
like she had not passed there before.
Halfway through the street, a building
made her slowed her pace, it was the
administrative building of an industrial but
popular organization. It was extravagantly
yet impeccably designed.
A notice board made her halt, a cleaner
should apply within. Katherine smiled, it
was like a answer to her prayer. She
wanted to work this time Where she can
see what it was like for people who have
actualized her kind of dream if all things
had been equal. She was past wallowing
in self pity.
She approached the gigantic gate.
As she stepped her feet into the waters
of the company, she came face to face
with a security man.
‘Good morning Sir.’ She greeted with a
smile and noticed five other pair of
careful eyes watching her.
‘Good morning, how may I help you? ‘ His
gave her an encouraging smile.
‘I came concerning the notice I saw
‘That is not the kind of job for you.’ The
elderly man said with a scrutinizing look.
‘I know Sir but I need it.’ She stated
simply not embarrassed.
After few seconds of consideration, he
spoke. ‘Walk to your right as though you
intend going round the building, you will
noticed a detached building. Ask for the
head cleaner and express yourself. ‘
‘Thank you very much Sir.’ She gave him
her big and appreciation smile.
‘You’re welcome. ‘He returned and
watched her leave. such a well mannered
girl and a beauty too, Why would she
want to do that kind of job? He was
‘Oga, ‘ One of the younger security man
called. ‘Who is she? ‘ His eyes not leaving
the retreating figure.
‘Ask me again! ‘ He snapped before going
to sit and balancing a club on his lap.
Katherine admired the neatness and
serenity of her environment until she got
to the building.
She took deep breath before knocking.
The door was opened by a woman in her
‘Good morning ma.’ She bent slightly to
greet with a smile.
‘Welcome my pickin, wetin I fit do for
you? ‘ She had an overall on top of her
Katherine knew that to obtain favor from
people you have to speak to them in a
language best understood by them. ‘I de
ask of the head cleaner. ‘
‘Na me be that. ‘ She answered proudly,
‘wetin you want? ‘
‘I come because of the notice wey I see
‘You wan apply? ‘ She asked retaining her
smile but studying the young lady with
‘Yes ma.’ She answered.
‘Okay my pickin come inside. ‘ She stood
aside for her. ‘Sit don. ‘ She gestured to a
An unmistakable coolness took over the
hotness she had felt. Aircondition in the
cleaners wing! That wasn’t the only
surprise, there were about 12 black
chrome vinyl chair around a centre table.
The floor was covered .with modern
She sat and the head cleaner sat across
She heard voices from inner rooms and
saw what she presumed was the store.
Katherine filled the form she was given
and after glancing through the form, she
‘I know say girl like you no suppose do
this job but anything fit happen for life
and me, ‘ She shook her head. ‘I don get
my share, person suppose chop and live
like person. I don de work here for fifteen
‘Woah! ‘ Katherine join the flow. ‘That na
long time, you deserve the post you de
The HC grinned. ‘Ha my pickin! I de happy
for the post wella, less work, more
money but I deserve am. Back to
business like Oyibo people they say …’
She adjusted herself on the seat and
laughed. ‘To be cleaner here, you de
serious and hardworking. Our Oga
kpatakpata like make everywhere de neat
pass hospital. We de resume 7 make we
fit tidy everywhere before workers go
come by 8. We go start you with twenty
five thousand, if you do your work well,
after six months we go top am. Na
monday to friday, Shay you ready to
‘Yes ma. ‘ That would be the highest
salary she would ever earn.
‘You go start next tomorrow. ‘ She said
‘Thank you very much ma.’
‘Thank God my pickin, this place no be like
any other office, we no get anything to
give you except water. ‘
‘I am okay ma, Thank you. ‘ She stood
bend her knees to show appreciation.
‘When you come on Monday, we go give
you everything you go need. ‘ She was
seeing her off when the phone began to
ring. ‘ Emmm… I no go fit follow you
‘Yes ma, goodbye ma.’ she said before
the HC hurried in.
Shading her eyes with a palm , she looked
up at the skyscraper to see the name –
SIGISMUND INTERNATIONAL. Back in
secondary school she knew it was owned
by a black American, a considerate one to
She head towards the way she came and
the security man met her.
‘Any hope of seeing you soon? ‘ He asked
almost in a whisper because he could see
the other security man’s ear enlongating.
‘Yes.’ She replied whispering, she got the
cue. ‘Thank you very much Sir. ‘
‘Thank God Miss, see you tomorrow. ‘ He
returned the smile.
As she stepped out and felt the scorch of
the sun, she increased her strides and
adjusted her beret, now she was hurry to
On sighting a mart, she stopped to buy