Xenon Leisure centre was well over twenty kilometers from Magodo, GRA, and Kenneth was obliged to cover it daily to get to work. It was now exactly two months since he came to live at the high-end district. Due to the huge distance he commuted on a daily basis and the exactions of his new job, he spent more time away from his new home. Nevertheless, he heartily loved his new cosy apartment, mainly for its aesthetics and wholesomeness. Now, he did not have to contend with the Gully’s rowdiness anymore. Fun-seekers and other categories of people from all over the city thronged Xenon Leisure Centre as early as eight am with activities there reaching a crescendo in early evenings. Xenon leisure centre was a tourism centre as it had swimming pools, cafes, a gym, indoor tennis courts, natural parks, and an event auditorium which could be rented for social functions. As such, the varieties of facilities at Xenon Leisure Centre made it a tourist attraction for people in the city. Kenneth had been employed there as an assistant accountant, and he was compelled to be at his post before activities hummed up, for which reason he had to set out as early as six in the morning in other to make the needed allowance for the abiding traffic in the city. Marcus, who was now Kenneth’s roommate, was still over the moon at his heart-warming relocation to Magodo GRA. When Kenneth had first informed him of the new Magodo apartment, Marcus had, at first, taken Kenneth’s claims with a grain of salt, until Kenneth practically dragged him to the splendid house and was visibly dumbfounded when he sighted the architectural masterpiece, and had since sworn never to return to the Gully or even Atitebi Street again. But unlike Kenneth, Marcus had a less definable schedule, and over the same period of time had had a cause to change his job. A few days after he moved over to Magodo, he had secured a job as a manager of a filling station in the neighbourhood, but during the six weeks he worked at the service station, the motorists, whom he served, persistently complained of being short-changed. The matter got to the hearing of the proprietor and he proceeded to make investigations and was shocked to discover the metre had been tampered with by the new manager- the fuel dispenser had been dispensing far less than what the metres had been displaying- the proprietor blew his top and summarily gave Marcus the sack. He had thus lapsed into another bout of idleness till exactly one month ago when Kenneth got wind of information that that the bakery, which supplied the leisure centre’s cafeteria pastries and bread, had some openings and had duly informed him, even then, Marcus would have sniffed at the offer but for Kenneth’s admonishments: ‘’You don’t have to work there forever, ‘’ he had told him, ‘’as soon as a better offer comes you’ll make a beeline for it and besides, I’m going to Mr. Kunle Adeife about your matter, hpoing he would also assist.’’ Marcus grudgingly resumed work at the bakery the following day. But even then, there were weekdays he would not go to work at all and on some other days he would leave home same time in the morning as Kenneth but would return just before midday .Kenneth saw nothing wrong with Marcus’s mode of life so they got on fine with each other though there were occasional frictions.
The one bedroom mini-flat, they lived in, had gone through a little transformation. The living room now had two armchairs, one longue chaise and a centre table which sat on a beige centre mat in the middle of the room. Opposite the longue chaise was a14-inch television set placed on a trolley, a compact disc player, and a standing fan which abuts a small refrigerator. Kenneth had scrapped to buy all the gadgets from a store where fairly-used gadgets were sold, just after two months work at his new job. Marcus, on his own part, had brought a plethora of compact audio and video discs along from the Gully, which he played nonstop all day, taking care to turn the volume of the player down, so as not to break the estate codes.
It was late evening and Kenneth was returning from work. The twenty kilometers distance from his new home to work and the patience-taxing traffic had made him clapped-out as he entered the compound.
He streaked into the room and found Marcus and a girl seated in the chaise longue playing cards in the dusky room. Empty cans of soft drink lay on the centre table. The two were immersed in the game, their heads hanging over the stacks of cards on the table, and were oblivious of his entrance. He grunted a greeting and the two looked up at once.
Marcus eyes went to the wall clock, ‘’Six-fourty-five. You came back early today, you’re fifteen minutes early,” and with a giggle, ”You usually return by seven pm.”
‘’So, you’ve been keeping a timebook for my movements,’’ Kenneth replied drily. ‘’That goes to show how much I like you, Kennthe but the rpobeleme with you is you do things too much, ” Marcus turned to the girl and said: ’’My friend works like a horse.’’
The girl, who was plump, with dark, inky eyes, giggled. Her long, apple green gown made her look like an ancient beauty even though she was only in her early twenties.
‘’Oh, by the way, Kenneth meet Yvonne, Yvonne meet Kenneth.’’
The girl offered a chubby hand which Kenneth shook with apathy.
‘’You still remember her don’t you? My divine soul mate, whom I met on the internet two weeks ago. . .’’ Marcus hummed gaily.
Even though Kenneth vaguely remembered all the hysteria that marked his roommate’s new catch two weeks ago, when he hooked yet another girl on an internet dating website, he was not ready to get himself immersed in the subject just now. He was vividly too spent to listen to the twittering, he nodded impatiently and murmured a certain response. Hot sweats were coursing down his body, and because there was a power outage he could not put on the fan, so he began to unbutton his shirt and in a rather coarse manner cast his shoes off.
Yvonne quietly left the room and Marcus saw her out, with their playthings lying haphazardly on the floor.
Kenneth regarded the cards with despise and dropped in the longue chaise. He was dozing off when public power supply was suddenly restored and the TV made a sound, his eyes came wide open and saw the television show the opening theme of a movie, Marcus, in his typical manner had failed to disconnect the gadgets from the main source, sending the gadgets into operation at once as soon electric current flew in. Kenneth jerked up in the chair and groaned irritably at the nonchalant attitude of his mate. He remembered the estate codes of conduct- prompt turning off of all electrical appliances whenever they were not in use was item number ten. He winced at the probable consequences if Bartholomew Adunfe found out that the rule was being violated. He sprang to his feet at once and moved to turn the gadget off and returned to his chair.
Much later, Marcus returned in high spirits and with palpable excitements, he saw Kenneth in the chair with a wistful expression on his face. ‘’Boy!’’ Marcus boomed as he sank into a chair. ’’What a catch! A real beauty, she is as beautiful as the blue skies, tall dark and busty. That’s the way I want my girls. You know what? When I saw her picture on the net, I was wondering if she would be anywhere as beautiful in flesh as the picture she uploaded, you know many of these girls could be a big disappointment when you set your eyes on them.’’ He said reflected briefly then added, ‘’I vividly remember once meeting a girl on a social dating site, she called herself Binta, her beautiful picture enchanted me that I began to thank my stars for meeting the most adorable girl in the world. Then we began to chat and then finally made arrangements to meet in a pub. Aw boy, when I did see her, the figure I saw in flesh was damn horrible, she was like a gorilla! It was then I realized all the pictures she had been posting all alongwere phony.I’d to use all the tricks in the book to break away from her.’’
He hesitated then clasped his hands around his flat belly, then went on, ’’I’m thankful Yvonne’s beauty is real, she‘s beautiful in picture and in flesh, as young as she is, she is educated, elegant and self-possessed.’’
‘’I will be surprised if you keep her longer than two months,’’ Kenneth reposted. Marcus shot him an angry stare, ‘’Two months, why? I tell you, I love this girl with all of my heart, and did I mention that I’m already thinking of marrying her.’’
Kenneth eyed him queasily and then burst into laughter. ‘’Marry her? This is the first time I’ll ever hear you talk about marriage.’’ ‘ Marcus began, ‘’Look Kenneth, my feelings for Yvonne are very strong not anything like I’ve had for any girl in recent past. I’m going to marry her.’’ A wide grin appeared on Kenneth’s face. ‘’Hmm, hope you’ll keep your word. What does she do?’’
‘’She is schooling at a polytechnic outside the city, they are on a semester break which ends tomorrow, so, she would be going back soon. I’m happy she is in her last semester, in four months time she will be back finally, then we’ll plan our future.’’
‘’I see,’’ Kenneth said, mentally figuring out the plenitude of girls that his roommate had had dalliance with lately and doubted if he could ever enter into a serious commitment with any girl on a long-term. As for his new affair with Yvonne, time would tell how long it would last; he decided to change the subject. ‘’You left the gadgets on, when power was taken, ‘’ he said.
‘’Look Marcus, you must listen to me, we’re already flouting the rules. You left the TV on when power was taken. I advise we continually read the estate’s code of conduct, Bartholomew Adunfe may not be living here but he definitely got snitches around.’’
‘’You’re creating a storm in a teacup,’’ Marcus snapped, leaning forward and gripping the chair’s arms. ’’If you wish, you can keep on reading that thrash you call code of ethics like an examination material, but as for me, I’m not going to open it up again, be a man for once Kenneth!’’
Kenneth dropped the subject, a little while later, he turned to him once more: ‘’I spoke with Mr. Kunle today.’’
‘’Yes, you’ve not forgotten all about him, have you?’’
‘’Isn’t the man that lent you a hand the other day?’’
‘’Yes, he’s having a little birthday party in his house next Monday at seven pm, and he has invited me. I think we should both attend, that way, you’ll be able to meet him and have a friendly chat with him, he might probabaly assist you with a job too, what do you think?’’
‘’Oh, brilliant idea,’’ Marcus boomed. ‘’Yes, we’ll both attend his party, and that’s the most heartwarming news of the day.’’