Chapter 19

Paris Honeymoon had been given such a wild publicity using all media outlets that it easily became a crowd-puller, such that the throng that flocked the leisure centre tonight, the third night of the weeklong show, simply outnumbered the number that came on the two previous nights. Kenneth and Felix, who had partially utilized the evening in having further discussions on ICT for several hours before the evening’s events kicked off, were roundly surprised to find the hoards near the new auditorium when they stepped outside out of Felix’s office and headed towards the edifice under the rows of tall lamps that lined the path.                                                                                    ‘’This is intimidating,’’ Felix said.                                                                                          ‘’Everyone wants to see the movie,’’ Kenneth, who held a white computer print-out sheet. replied.                                                                                                                                         ‘’But the crowd is intimidating, do they think they can all get in?’’                             ‘’I bet they all imagine they will.’’                                                                                         Felix smiled, ‘’that’s partly why the screening of the movie was scheduled for two days, tonight and the whole of tomorrow.’’                                                                                                  ‘’I guess some of them can’t afford to wait that long.’’                                                        ‘’It then remains to be seen how all of them would get inside the hall.’’                                  The two parted ways near the auditorium, as each of them proceeded to their respective duty posts. Kenneth walked off to the teller who was issuing tickets in its cubicle which was manned by Andrew Eze. Outside the cubicle, he observed the queue outside the shutters of the cubicle was growing exponentially. He flashed a smile at the security guard, as the door of the cubicle was unlocked for him, to make his entrance.                                                                                  ‘’Quite a crowd we’ve got tonight,’’ Kenneth said after exchanging greetings with the teller, seated behind the slit with heaps of tickets and four big metal vaults on his table.  ‘’Many of them would unfortunately be disappointed, as soon as we’ve sold up to two thousand tickets we’re closing shop. There is going to be just two screenings tonight.’’                                                                    ’’It means the others would have to come back tomorrow.’’                                           ‘’Obviously.’’                                                                                                                          ‘’Just came to say hello and show you this,’’ he said handing over the white computer print-out to him,’’ the young teller collected the paper, scanned it and smiled,   ’’our balance sheet for yesterday, very impressive, look at what we’ve raked in!’’                           Kenneth gave a lithe shrug. ‘’We’re not doing badly and by the end of today and possible tomorrow we should even have a better report,’’ he said as he heard his phone beep and on whipping it out, found a message, insignia which he clicked at once and found the message was from Marcus, it read: am within d leisure centre, chillin out wt Lauren.                           Kenneth read the message and smiled; he briefly thought about the plenitude of lovers his roommate hung around with and shrugged.                                                                             Later, he bid the teller farewell and left the cubicle. He came out onto the well-lit corridor on which byzantine lines were beginning to spread in all directions, and was picking his way through the intricate lines when he heard Andrew announcing in his characteristic bass voice,’’ the auditorium is sold out for the night’s two screenings. It’s one thousand-seat, it’s full for the night, we’re no more selling tickets!’’                                                 A cacophony of voices hurled vituperations at him as the lines began to thin out. He was about to cross the narrow path that led to the auditorium where even longer lines had been formed when he spotted an inky figure that eyed him mildly several yards off the foot of one of the lampposts that circled the auditorium. The figure intoned: ’’you work here?’’  He turned back and gazed at the figure which turned out to be a girl but whose face had been partly shadowed. He strode over to her and took a close look, ‘’I’m sorry I’m having difficulties remembering where I have met you.’’                                                                                                     ‘’Maybe it’s not important,’’ she quipped and took a few steps forward, poised to walk past him and away from the hall. Kenneth stood on the spot musing, his mind swiftly running through all the recent vistas of events : from the girls he had seen in the mall , the several ones he had seen on the buses to the numerous beautiful faces he saw every time in the leisure centre. The delicately slight frame of the girl, who was now a yard away from him, did not fit into any of the descriptions.  He stood and thought hard, his mind awash with a motley of pictures and thoughts, then he remembered the lawn at his apartment, and the girl he had seen walking through it some weeks ago.                                                       ‘’Oh,’’ he muttered, turning around and striding after her. He was vividly panting by the time he caught up with her, ‘’I’m sorry, sometimes my memory fails me,’’ he said to her, gasping for breath, ‘’I just recollected. I saw you the other day in the lawn at home, as I was returning from work, you stood in the lawn, examining it.’’                                                                                     The girl nodded. ‘’Yeah, I was wondering who could have trimmed the lawn so nicely,’’ she said rather drily in the green frilled blouse she wore on long polyester trousers.                                                                                                                                      ‘’Well I live in the estate and I occasionally work on the surroundings.’’                                        ‘’I know you live there, I go there every now and then, I’m Mr. Adunfe’s house maid.’’                                                                                                                           ‘’I’m his tenant, and my name is Kenneth.’’                                                                   ‘’I’m Damola.‘’                                                                                                                       ’’You came to watch the movie I should think.’’                                                                   ‘’Yes,’’ she said, ‘’but I’ve to return home because the hall is full, maybe there will be another time.’’                                                                                                                  Kenneth starred pensively at the slim girl; her mild, courtly, disposition strongly stirred him. He sensed she was unlike the brash young women he often ran across in the city.       ‘’Yes I know the hall is packed out,’’ he reposted shyly as he straightened out his thoughts, ‘’most of our events in the new hall had been a massive sell-out for the past two days, but before you go back why don’t we check if we can make some effort to see if you can gain entrance.’’                                                                                                                         ‘’Oh, really?’’                                                                                                                          ‘’Yes, if you come with me I’d really like to see what I can do about the situation.’’         ‘’Never mind, I’m not much of a movie buff myself, it’s just I’ve been kind of bored of late and needed a little entertainment.’’                                                                                           ‘’It will be a shame if you returned home without seeing the movie, if you come with me to the hall, I believe we can create some chance.’’                                                                   ‘’Okay, if you say so,’’ said Damola.                                                                                     Kenneth then led her down to the hall which was gleaming resplendently from the rows of lights that encircled it; a couple of disappointed movie aficionados who could not gain entrance were loitering around it and leaving in small groups. All the two big doors on both sides of the hall had been shut while wild rapturous shrieks emanated from inside. The shrieks from inside the hall made the people outside to pine for the movie even more.        The two came to one of the doors of the hall.                                                               ‘’Wait here, ‘’ he said to her and he quickly went round the hall to meet one of the doormen- Alidu- a scrawny dark man with a timid face.                                                                        ‘’Alidu, what is the situation in there?’’                                                                                  ‘’Filled up.’’                                                                                                                              ‘’Not a single seat left?’’                                                                                                       ‘’I’m afraid not, it’s a great night for us here in the leisure centre, don’t you think?’’ he said smiling.                                                                                                                              Kenneth nodded dejectedly and as he made to walk away he heard Alidu’s voice: ‘’you look disappointed.’’                                                                                                            ‘’Well,’’ he said,’’ I have someone who would really love to see the movie but she came late.’’                                                                                                                                              The slight man exhaled deeply and walked up closely to Kenneth and said to him: ‘’maybe she has a chance after all, you see some seats downstage were reserved for a couple of VIPs who were billed to watch the movie but just a couple of minutes ago word came in that ten of then could not make it again and their seats are vacant as we speak. We had given three of the seats away to people after they had paid triple the usual fare, but since she is here on your account we will let her in and allow her to have one of the seats at the regular price.’’                                                                                                                   Kenneth expressed his gratitude to the doorman and then went back to meet Damola.

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