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Golden Ashes.





Maria received the weighty envelope with a grin on her face. Month end. The favourite part of her month. It wasn't just because she received her monthly pay, it was because of the constant reminder that fortune had smiled upon her and she must have done something good in a past life to receive such good fortune. Or why else was she paid twice as much as other maids were paid. What house help in Abuja earned a hefty forty thousand naira a month? Maria received the envelope and went on her knees, thanking her generous boss, Mrs Aisha Frederick. 

Aisha smiled benevolently at her maid and hurriedly exited the kitchen. Tonight was another of those nights when the world stood still at her feet. 

The driver brought the white limousine towards her front porch and she smiled a contented smile as she picked up the train of the floor length Tiffany Amber red satin dress and walked regally to the car. Unfortunately her husband couldn't join her, he and the kids were vacationing in the South of France, she would join them shortly, after she had received her award for the Best Contemporary African Writer. She leaned back into the plush leather seat and resisted the urge to indulge in a the glass of champagne. Champagne can come later, after I've received my award. Champagne is for celebration. 

There were two other contenders but Aisha knew without a doubt that they were no rivals. At forty-one she was one of the youngest Nobel prize award winners in the continent, and what was more, she was just getting started. She could resist the urge for champagne but she couldn't stiffen the giggle that tickled her throat; Aisha Muhammad, the daughter of a village tailor, who would have thought that she would one day control millions of dollars. All the books she had written in the past nine years had each sold over eight million copies and were published in five different languages. Two of her books had been turned into Hollywood box office hits and she had been paid at least several millions of dollars for the rights.      
      She chose to live in Abuja because she had a strong attachment to her country and her home but that did not stop her from indulging in her little pleasures; expensive homes in different cities; one in the Upper Eastside of Manhattan and another in Dubai, coupled with the properties she owned on the Island in Lagos. Her children, aged seven and nine attended one of the best boarding schools in England, and her darling husband, formerly an average investment banker now managed his wife's wealth and the family affairs. 

All too soon the limousine pulled up inside the Transcorp hotel and Aisha stepped out. Immediately her Manolo Blahnik encased feet touched the ground, the camera lights flashed and an usher frenetically rushed to her side. 

"You're welcome Mrs Aisha Frederick, allow me to accompany you..." the young lady gushed, looking up at her adoringly. 

Aisha was used to being adored, what was not to adore? She was a classic Fulani beauty who stood tall and proud at 6ft1" and had the skin of polished mahogany. Her face was beautiful and proud and her cheekbones further added to her aristocratic beauty. Aisha sashayed into the beautifully decorated hall and was led straight to her seat. 

"And the award for the Best Contemporary African Writer, for the second time, writer of over nine published best sellers..., her books have sold over 70 million copies worldwide, Nobel Prize winner; Mrs Aisha Frederick!!!!" 

The applause was thunderous. The usually somber literary community and academics could not sit still in her presence, they all wondered how she did it and marveled at the brilliance of her mind, she indeed had a beautiful mind, deep, intricate and extremely brilliant. Her stories had an innocence to them, a naïveté, yet the world, even Hollywood movers and shakers fell under her spell. The Aisha Fredericks of the world came only once in a generation. 

Aisha walked confidently up the podium and gave a speech in that soft and sultry voice of hers, her perfect diction, tinged with a slight northern accent only added to her general appeal. She thanked her God, her family and her fans. 

"...People ask how I do it? They ask my inspiration? They wonder where it all comes from... I wonder the same thing too. God has blessed me tremendously with an amazing gift, a gift I call my golden hen, a very fertile hen that lays me golden eggs; a mind that churns out the most amazing stories that amaze and intrigue even myself. When God blesses us with a gift we ought not question it, we only utilize it to its fullest and thank Him for it. And that's all I can do; thank God for the opportunity to enrich the lives of millions through the gift He has blessed me with. I thank Him, and I thank you all". She concluded her speech and smiled gracefully, walking off the podium as loud applause rang through. 

Plaque in hand, Aisha could hardly wait to get home. That champagne would have to wait, her publishers were eagerly awaiting the completion of her new book which they wanted to publish just before Christmas to maximize the sales. Aisha called her driver and discreetly snuck out through the back, before anyone could notice. 

"Honey, you were right! I bagged another one!" She squeeled into the phone gleefully

"I just knew you would. I told you you would. When are you joining us my baby, the kids miss you, I miss you..."

"I'm so sorry my love, I need to complete this book and then I'll join you... And yes, I need to write it here" she added quickly and sternly, knowing that her husband would ask her for the thousandth time why she always insisted on writing at home.

...
Her steward welcomed her home, he saw the plaque in her hand and smiled a knowing smile. 

"Brew me a pot of green tea Samuel, and bring it up to my study immediately"

"Yes ma..."

"And Samuel, ask Maria to meet me in my study, ok?"

She hurriedly changed into comfortable cotton pajamas and rushed into her study. Work beckoned. Her pot of tea already waiting, she settled into her chair and just as she was about to power up her laptop she heard a gentle knock on the door. 

"Come in..." She called out

"Madam, Samuel say you dey call me"

"Ah yes Maria, please sit down, you know you haven't finished... Where were we?" Aisha asked handing over a bag of chocolatechip cookies to her maid. 

"Ehen, madam I remember, I remember ma" Maria said as she excitedly tore open her bag of cookies and took her place at her usual spot on the floor where she sat unceremoniously. 

Her madam just loved hearing her stories. She didn't know why but in the years she had lived with madam she had spent several nights in this study with her, telling story after story while madam speedily typed away at her computer. She wasn't sure if madam even heard her, madam said she just liked the sound of her voice. 

In any case Maria did not mind; Madam gave her sugary treats and good salary. Besides, her head was filled with stories and she was just happy to have someone listen to them, they seemed never to end and madam seemed never to tire of hearing them. Maria babbled on excitedly, eager to spill the words out. Words nna anyi had regaled them with about the Biafra war and other ancient Igbo history, words Chukwumerije the village drunk had sang to them on cold harmattan nights, and the ones her mind wouldn't stop fabricating. 

"Easy, slow down Maria, take it easy" Aisha chided tenderly, as though talking to a hyperactive child and not a grown woman. 

"Ah madam, am sorry ma", Maria said apologetically, small bits of cookies flying from her mouth. 

"It's ok Maria, it's ok. Go ahead, talk to me... my beautiful golden hen.", Aisha whispered warmly. 

As Maria chattered on a shudder ran through Aisha's spine. Where would she be, what would she be if this woman had not been sent to her ten years ago from a remote eastern village, this tiny illiterate woman whom she owed her life and her entire wealth to, her wonderful golden hen who had turned a village tailor's lowly daughter to a wealthy world renown literary genius. 

A tiny smile tugged at the sides of Aisha's lips as she continued to type frantically, she must have done something good in a past life to receive such good fortune. 




***The End***

Comments

  1. I just knew it was the maid. So after all the wealth she has helped her to gain its only 50 thousand that she can spare for her.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If she goes higher, the golden hen might die! Lol... deep story!

      Delete
    2. At least she will have her millions and real estate and she will quietly retire. Thelma doesn't seem to know how to not do deep stories. Tee I feel like your mind is too heavy these days.

      Delete
  2. Yes! Thelma is back with her twists and turns. Aisha God iz watching you in 5D.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It's just like a post I saw on IG, what if the person who has the cure to cancer is an illiterate in a village with no access to education? When I think about the untapped potential of the poor and illiterate I feel very sad. Meanwhile Aisha is a thief and a cheat, unfortunately Maria may never know that she is a maid in a mansion that her own talent paid for. God forbid such ill fortune in life.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This Aisha is just a thief. No wonder she chooses to alwys write at home. 50k is damn too poor for ur golden hen madam. Thumbs up Thelma.

    ReplyDelete
  5. House in manhattan, Dubai and island, children in British schools and Maria gets 40k a month with biscuit. Hmm. May God not allow us to sell our destinies short.

    ReplyDelete
  6. nice story thelma.. I think they are both happy.. Aisha is getting paid and has lots of income coming in..so does maria.. In maria's words "What house help in Abuja earned a hefty forty thousand naira a month?" if Aisha pays her more just for being a maid, maria will leave and aisha gets broke.. sighhh
    lots of marias in our society today :(

    ReplyDelete
  7. If it was a real life situation, then Aisha must find a way to better secure the maid's future, buy her a house, or leave her a nice chunk in her will... after all she won't have made the money she has without the maid.
    Very nice. Someone is trying to win back my love... but I want more

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't worry you'll get more soon. I'm not in story telling mode right now, just wanted to express this kind of exploitation in prose form.

      Delete
  8. Aisha is one smart lady, discovering a talent is a talent on its own, not everyone would ve been able to make millions out of a village girls tales, good thing is she treats her well, this is d major issues most Nigerian artistes have, people discover thr talent, make super stars outta them n then they discover they r talented n become greedy n want independence but life doesnt work that way, there is a reason God gave everyone thr talent. E.g the case of D'banj and Don Jazzy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with you. It would be nice though if she does more for the help.
      But then there's something about Aisha, even her husband doesn't know the maid is the source. Lol

      Delete
    2. I just totally enjoyed the story.
      I expected the twist cos Thelma is Still my T....

      Delete
    3. @Ifunanya, well said but don't u think ur example doesn't relate with ur statement, knowing for a fact dat D'banj actually brought Don Jazzy out of his shell with the JJC crew. Except u mean don jazzy leaving D'banj sha....
      A better example shud have been Wizkid leaving EME.
      But thinking abot it though, u can't realize ur potentials if u dont outshine your Master, as matter of fact u'll be a Failure if u don't do dat.

      Delete
  9. I don't think Aisha is a thief like u rightky said ifunayan. The house help tells stories, but Aisha brings them to life. I also do some writing and my inspiration usually comes from the stories of others, however I add a lot of my own creativity to bring these tales to life. There is no way the maid would tell just one story that would fill 500 pages of a novel, nor will the maids Grammer fill the pages of the novel. What Aisha owes the maid is a good life, good pay and most importantly to give her something in her will. Trust me the minute Aisha begins to give the maid beyond 40k, wahala go gas. The maids attention and priorities will change. We are all human and we tend to behave the same when we have arrived.

    An example is my own maid at home, because I use my church mind to give her food items every month to take to her family, (this is aside from her monthly pay o) one particular month I didn't add cray fish and spices, just rice and yam with garri, the maid came to me and said madam the things wey u give me never complete. My ear was just swelling in annoyance. And that's how I stopped giving her those particular items and stuck to regular rice,yam and garri, only at Xmas and other occasions do I add those specials. She learnt her lesson. CEO

    ReplyDelete
  10. I don't think Aisha is a thief like u rightky said ifunayan. The house help tells stories, but Aisha brings them to life. I also do some writing and my inspiration usually comes from the stories of others, however I add a lot of my own creativity to bring these tales to life. There is no way the maid would tell just one story that would fill 500 pages of a novel, nor will the maids Grammer fill the pages of the novel. What Aisha owes the maid is a good life, good pay and most importantly to give her something in her will. Trust me the minute Aisha begins to give the maid beyond 40k, wahala go gas. The maids attention and priorities will change. We are all human and we tend to behave the same when we have arrived.

    An example is my own maid at home, because I use my church mind to give her food items every month to take to her family, (this is aside from her monthly pay o) one particular month I didn't add cray fish and spices, just rice and yam with garri, the maid came to me and said madam the things wey u give me never complete. My ear was just swelling in annoyance. And that's how I stopped giving her those particular items and stuck to regular rice,yam and garri, only at Xmas and other occasions do I add those specials. She learnt her lesson. CEO

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are absolutely right, there's no way the Maid would be able to contruct her stories in the right Word play to make for a Nobel prize or any other award. I think Aish deserves every awards she's gotten, she only got. Inspiration from someone else.
      #NB No creative person ever creates anything without the inspiration of something else. In this case a Village Tale did her d Good. #simple...
      Her 40k to me is quite small irrespective of whether she is tapping from the maid, it doesn't matter. Esp. When she ha properties in upper east side? Dubai? A Porsche car? A Limo? C'mon... That's just another greedy Rich person. #simple.
      Anyways, Nice work Thelma. Well structured to taste. Except maybe you. Should have stated somthg higher dan 40k esp. In Comparison with Aisha's Millions, cos wen I saw 40k I knew smthg was Fishy from that point on.

      Delete
  11. Pls where can I find my own Mariam?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I swear down...lol.. I need me a Mariam. - Olu

      Delete
  12. Exploitation in the highest degree, wow and if one day someone finds out she's been lying all these while? Everything she has is built on a lie

    ReplyDelete
  13. In the developed world, the story will blow open of how an innocent girl was exploited (whether true or not). There will be those lawyers feasting on it, the case will go into negotiations for Aisha to settle out of court with Mariam. Mariam will become very rich because she owns the stories; Aisha would lose a lot in terms of integrity and her publishers will turn their backs.

    We need a society where the weak are protected and everybody has the same opportunity at fame and to be all they can be.

    Nice story with some effizy!

    ReplyDelete
  14. This just goes to show us that we need to know how to recognize and make good use of an opportunity when it comes calling. What if Ausha had chosen to treat Maria the way an average maid is treated in Nigerian homes?

    Secondly, anyone can be sent by God to be our helper, our Angel. And when such a person comes, may we have the discernment to welcome such warmly and settle him/her comfortably.

    I await my golden hen dear Lord.

    -F

    ReplyDelete

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  16. Awesome writeup.keep it up.Am new here.

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