4 years earlier…
“I’ll have 3 shots of tequila please. Thank you.” I said to the bartender as I pushed my bag aside to begin drowning myself in alcohol.
“Ma’am, you don’t have to pay. The gentleman on that table over there has asked that everything you order for be charged to his account.” He replied and pointed to a guy sitting two tables away.
“Oh okay.” I signalled a thank you to the guy and he nodded in acknowledgement and went back to his discussion.
I hope he wasn’t planning to come over and strike a conversation or ask for my number, and I sincerely hoped he wasn’t expecting me to move over to his table, because he’d be so disappointed at the end of the night. I came here to clear my head not discuss, most especially with some random guy.
8 months back in Nigeria and I still couldn’t find my feet. I wish Jay had come in my place when Pops had claimed he needed one of us around due to his failing health. Automatically, everyone delegated me for the job, and here I was. Except severe womanising and partying almost every night were symptoms of failing health, then it was okay to say Pops was a big fat liar. He was perfectly okay, still the same sweet, charming and good-looking guy I had left behind, he still went to the gym- to catch unsuspecting girls I’m sure.
I had dumped my job, career as a budding Publicist, my relationship, friends, in fact my entire life was put on hold when I moved back to Nigeria. Pops wanted me to work with him, to become a special assistant to him, but I was finally able to twist his arm to make him give up that idea.
Everybody had said finding a job in Nigeria would be easy especially with my international degrees, what they hadn’t said was that finding a good job wasn’t as easy. I attended interviews at least twice a week and I got the same responses. One interviewer had said, “Oh my! We’ll be so delighted to work with someone of your level of exposure and experience but most of our staff and clients will be intimidated by you, so that’s a negative.” How contradictory could human beings get?
The pay? OMG! The pay they kept offering was horrible. I had earned $200 a week as a college intern back in the day, yet these people were offering N75k a month for my B.A, Masters and 3 certifications, that was besides my various experience, they were definitely kidding.
Just as I was back re-considering Pops’ offer, I got an invite for interview with XY Media Fuse. Promising myself that would be the last interview I would attend, I got dressed. On getting to the venue of interview, I didn’t see the usual crowd of people, all of us hoping we’d be picked, it was just me surprisingly.
I went into the Boss’ office and he was quite friendly and very cheerful. Immediately, my paranoia kicked in. It was either he was a pervert, or he was one of those people who owed Pops a favour and Pops had given him my name. Until he started to say that he had seen my application late, but the minute he saw it, he knew he had to work with me, so he dumped the other applicants’ and saved himself the stress of conducting an interview.
We went on to discuss my job description, remuneration was beautiful, I got commissions on any artiste I worked with and a whole lot more. My prayers had finally been answered.
So I had come to the bar to drink and congratulate myself since my friends were absent at the moment.
3hrs later and some more shots down, I was ready to retire for the night. As I walked to my car, I heard someone behind me say,
“Are you sure you don’t need help walking?” He said
I looked and saw it was the free drinks guy. I hope he wasn’t seeking to score a number o.
“Hey, thank you for the drinks and no I don’t need help walking. Goodnight.” I replied and got in the car.
2 Weeks Later
“Shon, Mr Smith wants you in his office whenever you can.” Clara popped her head in my office and said.
“Is it very important? Let me know if I should dump these papers now.” I replied.
“I really don’t know how important it is, but I know it’s related to a new client he wants to hand over to you.” Clara said
“Okay! Anything to dump these paperwork for is totally important.” I replied as I threw my jacket on and headed to the Boss’ office.
“Good afternoon sir.” I said as I went into the office.
“Afternoon Shontelle, have a seat.” He looked back at his laptop screen.
“Sir, Clara said you wanted to see me.” I said.
“Oh yes! I hope you have enough patience to take one more client?” Mr. Smith asked
“Sir, it depends o! I know for sure I’m not taking any upcoming artistes for now. Tobe is better at stroking their fragile egos.”
“Hahaha! Well, this client has 2 albums out already so we won’t call him upcoming right? They think he’s a 2Face in the making if only he’ll stay focused but he has issues with the public and his speeches. He’s always saying all the wrong things on red carpets, at interviews, he’s either in a tweet fight or he’s dissing another celeb. Then his woman trouble is alarming. Will you believe that just yesterday two girls fought over him at Club 10 and he just sat by taking pictures and uploading them on Facebook and Twitter.” He narrated
“Huh? Who does that? This person doesn’t need a Publicist o, he needs a session with those white garment prophets at Bar Beach.” I said
“His manager almost dumped him this morning but for my intervention. I promised to get him the best Publicist we can offer. Ese would have been a perfect match for him but I fear they might end up in a boxing ring, so you seem to be the cool headed one around here, therefore, he’s your new client.”
“Sir, if I tell you I’m not weary of this person already, I’d be lying. But then, there’s money to be made right?” I asked
“That’s the spirit my dear. He’s Chike Songz of Cue Music Ltd. I can tell you have no idea who he is just by the look on your face.”
“I swear, I don’t know him o. I really should brush up on my Naija artistes knowledge.”
“He was here a while ago just before you came in. He stepped out to make a few calls but when he gets back,….. oh there he is.”
He gestured at Chike. “Shontelle, meet Chike your new baby,” he teased.
I turned and I was staring into the eyes of the guy from the bar.
“Uh oh! My Publicist is the rude lady from the bar that refused to come sit with me after I bought her drinks.” Chike said
“Hi, my new crybaby, your reputation precedes you Mr Songz. You don’t have to try so hard to make a first impression.” I replied.
“Okay! Okay! Now that you two have gotten acquainted, you can now both leave my office. Shontelle, you know the drill, and Chike please don’t give her too much trouble o.”
The first 3 weeks of working with Chike was hell, I practically had to dump my other artistes on Ese and Tobe. He was always at one club or the other every night, and there was of course at least one new arm candy accompanying him. He never got tired of the online fights and the two interviews he had done already, were total embarrassments.
With the help and support of his manager,we were able to change his mobile number, deactivate all his social media accounts and literally teach him how to talk. He had to recite his speeches or replies to me before saying them. We arranged a timetable for him. It was from his house to the gym, to the studio and then back home. There was to be no clubbing or outings for him until we got him back in shape.
He got nominated for Next Rated Act and Best Vocal Male for Naija Hip-Hop Awards 2011, so the pressure to clean him up was stronger. There was no way he was going on stage to give the Fuck my Haterz speech like last year. He was going to go alone, he’d have to sit still and there were to be no pictures of him stuffing anything in his nose or of him pants down backstage. I had to make that happen.
A week to the show, as we were picking out his attire for the show, he asked,
“Hey Shon, can I ask a question?”
“That’s one question already! Shoot”
“You’re always with me 24/7 except for a very few times. I think that’s a bit weird. Is your boyfriend or girlfriend not complaining about being neglected?” He asked
I scowled at him before replying, that’s none of your business. “I’m doing the job I get paid for, and for your information, the past 4 months I’ve worked with you, my pay has almost doubled because your company knows how much work I’m putting in with you.”
“Oh! So that’s how it is abi? Your dating life is off topic for me but you’re always all up in my grill, you know who I’m dating, who I’m banging and all.” He whined
“Sometimes, I actually forget that you are a 26 year old man, you just behave like a recalcitrant child. You’re always whine whenever something doesn’t go your way.” I scolded. “But why on earth would you think I have a girlfriend?” I continued
“Hehehehe! Majorly because you’re a bully. I don’t think any normal man wants to date a bully, except of course men like me.” He smirked.
“Oh! Shut the fuck up! What makes you think a whining baby like you can handle me?” I replied harshly
“Have you heard of my skills in bed? You should definitely try them out soon, you’ll become humble forever.” He boasted
“Eeewww. You and I? Never gonna happen, Kapish? Now can we get back to picking an attire that will show how transformed you are now?” I dismissed
“Okay okay okay! Can you at least bring your boyfriend along for the awards? I feel very bad for being the reason you’ve been neglecting him.” He pleaded
“You don’t know when to stop shey? But I’m impressed you’ve finally outgrown your self-centeredness. But no, thank you. Since you’re not allowed to bring a date, then I’m not too. However, I could bring my dad, but he’d bring a date who will then bring one or more of her silly friends, so hell no. My friends hate you for stressing me as much as you have, so that’s a no too.” I explained.
“You mean you don’t have anybody at all to bring along? Oya bring your maid or your security guard.” He joked
“Okay!! I think my kid bro will be in the country by then, and he’s most likely to stay at my place. I’d see if I can drag him along. Now that we’re done, how about I take the week off from babysitting you? I have other babies to take care of. Just promise you’ll be good.” I asked while grabbing my phone to reply a text message.
“Yeah, I promise!” Chike said, raising a licked finger in the air.
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