Read Story: SEASON 1 EPISODE 2
Chief Mike gently removed the arm of his wife from his chest and sat up. She was already asleep, barely five minutes after they hit the bed. He was still wide awake. It was always so with him whenever he had something serious to ponder upon. Sleep would elude him until he had arrived at a satisfactory conclusion.
Only the previous day had he intended sacking his gatekeeper and gardener; that same day had he seen, on television, the Governor going about commissioning some projects to mark his third year in office. He was actually two months into his fourth year, but had delayed the celebrations because of the inability of the contractors to deliver on schedule. Chief Mike’s wife, with whom he had earlier argued on the sacking of their gardener, had sniggered when the Governor said he was dedicating the his third year in office to the poor masses on the streets, the gatekeepers and taxi drivers, the artisans and the gardeners, the elderly… He had asked why she laughed, while irritated by the Governor’s sheer hypocrisy. The Governor Paul Igbobia he had met on two occasions wasn’t a man who cared about the masses; on that he was sure.
‘That’s a man!’ Florence, his wife had replied. ‘That’s a man who cares about the poor, unlike some others!’
He suppressed the urge to slap back the words into her puffy cheeks, he suppressed the urge to sternly rebuke her; instead he said gently:
‘His actions are what matter, his words on television don’t matter a bit…’
‘They matter, my lord, they do,’ she insisted. He knew when she was being sarcastic, referring to him as my lord. How he wished she meant it.
‘You are being deceived, my dear,’ he said, ‘that man is only playing to the gallery.’
‘Then play to the gallery yourself!’ She snapped. ‘How many gatekeepers have you dismissed? How many gardeners have you shown the way out in the past six years?’
‘Because I said I would dismiss a man who is absent from work for three days?’
‘Because you have a special knack for disrupting the lives of your workers.’ He had wanted to say something before she added, ‘what would you do if you were the governor?’
The question had stunned him into silence. If he was the governor? And it was a possibility! Yes, he could be the governor. He could become the next governor of the state.
He had dismissed the thought before falling asleep, but had ended up dreaming about it. In his dream, he had seen himself addressing a crowd of teachers, promising not to sack them for laying siege on the Government House in their demand for better pay. It had appeared so real and vivid as the teachers cheered him, only for their cheers to dissolve into the hum of their bedroom air conditioner. He had opened his eyes to meet Florence smiling at him.
‘That dream must have been very interesting,’ she had whispered, ‘considering the wide smile on your lips a while ago.’ That must have been when he was being cheered by the teachers.
‘Oh, so you’ve been watching me?’
‘Is it now a crime for one to watch her husband?’
‘Is that your good morning?’
‘I’m so sorry; good morning my lord.’
‘Good morning, my dear.’
‘So what was the lovely dream, my lord?’
He didn’t tell her; there was no need, at least not yet. She would likely make a mockery of it. He would tell her later, when he was very sure of his course of action.
‘I saw myself back in the Primary School, playing soccer on the school playground.’
Florence didn’t believe him, but chose not to push it. She adjusted her nightgown to cover her fat thighs and rolled off the bed to kneel on the floor beside it. She clasped her two palms in front of her in a sign of penitence, shut her eyes and commenced her every morning ritual of reciting Our Lord’s prayer. Afterwards, she would read her bible for five minutes before embarking on any home tasks. Chief Mike had smiled and shook his head, he didn’t see the need for the rite, he had never believed it had any effect. It was the same with the church; he occasionally attended it just to please his wife, and by extension, their children. Florence’s eyes were still shut when he arose and made for the bathroom.