After a while, Abdulsalam couldn’t take it anymore. He had been throwing bait at us, and we weren’t biting. He approached my brother, and directly made his request. He wanted to be our gateman. The thing is, we didn’t need a gateman. We were fully grown, and all had keys to the house. We could open the gate by ourselves, and we didn’t have so many numerous visitors that we would have to be opening the gate for 100 times a day. But Abdulsalam was wise. He knew we had a gateman’s apartment, and he was badly in need of a place of his own. I’m sure he saw it as a mansion, compared to him squatting in the kiosk with about 5 other friends of his. The gateman’s apartment has been used as a poultry house, dirt house, thrash house, store, ram and goat house, and every other thing apart from a gateman’s house. Abdulsalam knew this, and he was gunning for the kill.
So he and my brother reached an agreement. He would man the gate, wash all the cars, care for the flowers, and sweep the compound. He would in turn, get his accommodation and a monthly salary. He would not be allowed to have the keys to the house. He was to leave the house shortly after my mum and brother leave, go about his business, and return when everyone returned. Did I mention that Abdulsalam was also a shoemaker? Yes he is, a wise guy with multiple streams of income, no matter how meagre. So I saw Abdulsalam in the compound one day. I asked him what he was doing inside, and he told me about the agreement between him, my mum, and my brother. And that is how Abdulsalam became our gateman by force.
The thing is Abdulsalam does not wash my car often. I work from home weekdays, and resume other jobs on weekends. Abdulsalam knows this, I know this, and we are both fine that my car gets the least priority. Another thing is Abdusalam is not so security conscious. Whenever he gets back in the evening, the gate should be bolted, rather than locked, cos Abdulsalam is there to man it. But sometimes, he’s nowhere to be found, and the gate is wide ajar. One time, I got home almost 12 midnight, and the gate was not locked, or even bolted. Abdulsalam had slept off in the compound, and he didn’t hear me come in. it was not until I actually drove in, that he jumped up. Of course, I reported all these lapses to my brother, concerning his ‘staff’. He is getting better now, but there’s still so much to be done concerning his security ‘expertise’.
One day, I was smelling strange things in the house. I investigated, and realised Abdulsalam didn’t go about his daily business. He has invited one of his friend in, were burning hausa incense. I accosted him, and he said it was perfume that he wanted his room to be scented. Inside me, I was mad, but I gently told him not to burn strange incense in the house. It smelt really foul and was choking the whole house. I reported to my brother, who was mad about the fact that he breached the agreement and didn’t leave the house after they all did, invited someone over, and was burning strange thing.
Whenever he does something wrong, and you tell him, he would start kneeling down, begging, saying “Sorry, ma, I no go do am again” over and over again. The whole scene is just a sight to behold that one just shakes one’s head.
Last week, I went to buy eggs at another kiosk opposite my house. Abdulsalam was at the kiosk, talking to the owner. He had a burning cigarette in his right hand. Immediately I told the woman to give me egg, he heard me, and threw the cigarette away, right in my presence. I asked him why he was hiding and pretending. I guess he’s an idiot who thinks I am an idiot. Does he think I don’t know he smokes like a chimney? Doesn’t he know he reeks of cigarette fumes every Sunday and Saturday morning, when I tell him to quickly clean my car, because I need to rush out? Doesn’t he know his extremely red eyes give him away when he is high on something? Or is it his brash statements I know he would have never had the guts to make on a normal day?
Abdulsalam set up a shoemaker shop in front of the house without permission. He constituted a nuisance. He used an umbrella of mine I had been looking for, for a about two weeks. I collected my umbrella, and told him to take his make-shift shop down. I reported to my mum and brother who were away at work. He didn’t want to take his shop down, he kept lying about different thing, shouted, begged, lied. In the end, it got a bit messy, he said he was leaving, and boasted about he had done ‘security’ in four different places. He packed his load and plates along with my mum’s fabreware knife, which I collected when I saw. He packed his bed, along with my chill and relax banner he was using as a bedsheet, which I had warned him never to do when I first saw him. Before I knew the banner was missing, it was six days after Abdulsalam had left.
Something to Note: I just added that last paragraph this morning. The first edition of this story didn't end like this, cos Abdulsalam was still with us when I wrote this article. I ended it with "This guy, Abdulsalam, is just a case. But still, we would accommodate him… with caution, though. He means no harm." But I guess he rewrote his own story.