PRECIOUS VESSELS – CHAPTER ONE

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Is that your last price?’

‘Yes. A male child costs seven hundred thousand naira,’ Madam Ronke stressed.

A period of silence passed between the parties. Madam Ronke observed the expression on the faces of the man and his wife as they both conversed in a foreign language; It was apparent that the couple cannot afford her price.

As an astute entrepreneur, she detests it when her customers keep dragging the issue of prices to and fro.  After all, I didn’t come to Lagos to count the bridges! She mused‘, tapping her fingers gently on the table as she awaited the couple’s response.

‘We came from a far kantri…’ the man explained.

‘Very far kantri,’ his wife concurred, ‘ma’am, please kanside ess.

‘I’ve been considerate enough,’ Madam Ronke replied, willing herself not to laugh at the sound of the foreign accent, ‘seven hundred thousand naira. No more; no less!’

Expensive chauffeur-driven, nice kente attire…all a façade! Madam Ronke taunted her prospective customers in her mind.

‘Seven hundred thousand naira. Period!’ she announced with a note of finality.

‘Can we pay small, small?’ the man asked.

‘Hmm, installment payments would attract an additional fifty thousand…’ she paused at the sound of her beeping phone.

‘Please, excuse me…’ she picked her phone.

‘Hello…oh, let him in,’ she ended the call.

‘Please, gentleman and lady, can you come back some other time?’

‘But we hev not finished…’

‘I know, you can collect my account details from my PA and drop your contact,’ she dismissed them, ‘I would contact you later.’

Barely had she dismissed the couple than the new entrant walked in.

Chief Oliver proved to be more ready for the deal than those stingy foreigners, Madam Ronke concluded as the prospective customer paid her a price higher than the initial seven hundred thousand naira, she had earlier quoted.

‘Come, let me take you around the creche to make your choice,’ Madam Ronke conducted the buyer around the creche.

In less than an hour, the deal was sealed and concluded, with both parties all smiling.

‘Thanks, for your patronage,’ Madam Ronke beamed.

‘It’s my pleasure dealing with Good Home Ventures,’ Chief Oliver responded.

              ********************************

The day gradually wore on, as the business activities at the Good Home Ventures came to a halt.

Madam Ronke took a swig from the remains of the red wine on her side stool. It was celebration time for the middle-aged lady. Ranking on the list of her ecstasy that evening, was the business transaction with Chief Oliver. What a way to begin the new month! She mused, pouring herself another round of wine from a new bottle.

 As she relaxed on the recliner in her office cum room, the melodious sounds of the chirping birds outside the building aligned with the drums of joy beating in her head. Her business is beginning to gain wide recognition. The visit of foreigners to the Home that day was a testament to that. Even though the couple that came weren’t loaded with enough cash, at least, Good Home Ventures is gradually gaining international recognition!

Intruding into her reverie, were the cries of babies; cries which had become the hallmark of Good Home Ventures.’

‘Poor helpless creatures!’ she muttered to herself, ‘without them, I would cease to be in business!’

Suddenly, her door creaked; slightly opening, but without revealing the visitor’s identity.

‘Who is it?’ she sprang from the recliner.

The door flung open and a teenage girl cowered before her.

 ‘Pamela!’

‘Sorry, ma…’

‘Look at the way she’s shaking,’ Madam Ronke sneered. She loved it whenever any of her workers and tools tremble before her. Pamela was one of her tools.

Her attention shifted to a portion of the girl’s blouse slightly drenched at her chest region.

The girl blinked back a tear and clutched tightly to her breasts.

‘I want my baby…’ she broke down in tears, ‘give… me my baby…my baby!’ now!’

TO BE CONTINUED…

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