“You seem patently perturbed today; what is really the source of the brouhaha? Or is your company indebted to any of these stressed commercial banks, particularly in this era of TSA?”

“Kay, I’m sure you have not become an Obahiagbon of the House of Representatives fame, with this your grammatical somersaults. Sure, I’m worried; and for my company? Perhaps you are drunk already. Can a Level 12, bloody civil servant own a company? My worry really is about the economic crunch that is hitting us hard. Do you know the state government still owes us salary arrears of three months? And at home now, I’ve become a persona non grata, before both wife and children.”

“My man, simmer down; but it was reported the other time that the governors were given bailout funds to offset workers’ salaries; so how come the governors did not pay you guys?”

“Why are you talking like this? Which bailout fund? See, the governors said they were indebted to various financial institutions and that the money would be used to offset their debts. And let’s even imagine that the money was used to pay outstanding salaries, will they, six months after, go back to the Federal Government, cap in hand, to beg for another bailout fund? And remember, the bailout is itself indebtedness, which you Yoruba people call gbese.”

“Charles I understand. I think the persistent decline in the price of crude oil at the international market largely contributed to the problem. But that is not to say some solution would not come somehow. So just tell your family members to be a bit patient. The simple way out is to draw your wife close; go to the kitchen, help her wash some plates and do some other house chores with her. I tell you, that is a good bailout strategy, since there is no bailout fund.”

“You funny guy, perhaps you are making a good point. But if any of my family members comes from the village, would they not think my wife has used juju on me.”

“Don’t mind the nosy family visitors. Even if they catch you washing your wife’s panties, that’s none of their business. That’s your domestic policy for ensuring that peace reigns supreme on the home-front. At least, I know of a guy, a loafer. He’s likely to meet us at this Iya Sandra Joint. He is not working but his wife is gainfully employed in one of these old generation, strong banks. If men gather outside their compound on environmental sanitation days to discuss about fuel scarcity and high cost of vehicle spare parts, you know what our friend’s contribution would be?”

“No, Kay, yarn me.”

“He would say, ‘Ah, me too wonder o. Do you know that a scoop of pepper plus tomatoes in the market is now costly? Before, it was N200 from the mallams, but now, it’s N500. In fact, the case of onion is something we shouldn’t talk about. Only the rich can buy it now.’” (Laughter)

“So you mean that, permanently, he is the one cooking at home?”

“Yes, Charles, yes. But what does it matter if he’s cooking and cleaning the house and in the evening, he still has some money provided by his wife, to sneak to the beer parlour in the next street, where he would download a steaming hot plate of pepper soup, along with two criminally cold bottles of beer to wash it down?”

“You are funny; so since your wife too is working as an assistant director in a government ministry, why didn’t you resign and stay at home to be cooking and drinking evening beer like your friend?…But Kay, the beer you referred to struck an important cord in my throat..”

“Don’t go too far, I know you are broke; Let Iya Sandra give us an additional bottle each, and it must be, as usual, criminally cold, mortuary standard.”

“Kay, I was in the Agege area of Lagos last weekend and I felt for people. There was no sign that this is Christmas period. The fowls, guinea fowls, turkeys, goats, rams and in some queer market circles, dogs, variously caged, penned or tethered, were looking as if they would soon die un-purchased. People’s purchasing power is abysmally low.”

“Well, it all stemmed from all that we have been discussing. There is no money as such in the economy. But we are all waiting for what government plans to do with the loot it is recovering under this armsgate scandal.”

“You think that will boost your salary? The money was meant for the purchase of arms, and so I think, to arms it will return.”

“Ok o, I will contribute one other thing to our beer session. Let Iya Sandra give us two dried meat; a piece sells for N100. You know it is rare around this area. Her husband always brings the meat from his Ilesa, Osun State homestead.”

“That’s a man who loves his wife. Not your dream man, one who will go wash plates and panties.” (Laughter)

“Na you know, bombastic Charles”