This past Saturday, the girls and I took a trip to Takoradi. El asked if Perpetual was coming along to be of some help and I told her no. I wasn’t sure what our accommodations would be like. It was just as well, because El needed Perpetual’s help to pack up her belonging’s. She and her husband were moving in to a new apartment that weekend.
When El walked in the door, I noticed an immediate change in Perpetual. She was far more servile and far less verbose. I chalked it up to the “CEO syndrome” – You know. The way you act around your supervisor is far different from the way you would act around the CEO of your company. She was more free with me because I was “familiar”. Before we left, I asked her if she could finish washing my clothes and slice my pineapple. I’d eat it when I returned. She nodded and said she would.
A few hours after the girls and I had gotten to the beach and soaked up some rays, I got a call from El.
“Malaka, I have some bad news. It’s about Perpetual.”
My heart skipped a beat.
“What’s wrong with her?”
“Malaka, I have never suspected Perpetual,” El said. “In fact, I am in shock.”
Ah. Suspected her of what?
As if reading my thoughts, El continued slowly, piquing my curiosity.
“She has been stealing.”
“Perpetual??” I asked incredulously.
“You just wait!” El commanded.
She launched into a monologue, detailing what Perpe had taken from her. Apparently, she discovered the theft when she was looking for her work-issued Nokia phone in her bedroom drawer. After asking Perpetual if she had seen it, her reply was:
“No, Ma. I don’t have it. In fact, I’m not even allowed to come into the room.”
“That’s not true!” I interjected. “She comes into the room all the time to make my bed!”
“Wait!” El instructed.
Unable to find or produce the phone, El went into the boy’s quarters where Perpetual lives and keeps her belongings to do a search. She unearthed a brand new Palm Pilot that her father had given her, still in the box. She found $30 in cash. She found a picture frame that someone had given her and her husband for their wedding…and a picture of herself (El) in it, tucked underneath Perpetual’s pillow. It was like something out of a Steven King novel – akin to Misery or something. All this search produced no phone, and only more questions; which of course Perpetual had an answer for each one. None made any sense, but she had a ready answer all the same.
El was livid, distraught and gobsmacked. Unable to speak and not sure what to say next, her husband spoke for her.
“We are going out to take these things to the apartment. By the time we come back, make sure you have washed everything in this house that you are supposed to, do you understand?”
I assume she did.
A few hours later, El returned to the house and her husband stood at the gate calling for Perpetual. They got no reply. He jimmied the lock, and the pair of them continued to call for her, to no avail. When they reached the boy’s quarters, Perpetual still didn’t answer the door. El’s patience ran thin and her blood boiled. She kicked in the door, only to find Perpetual “collapsed” on the floor with an inhaler next to her. Her limbs were spreadeagled and dangling “lifelessly”. As far as anyone knew, she had no asthma. El was having none of it.
“Heh. Perpetual. GET UP,” she seethed. “John, get this girl before I beat her!”
I cut El off at that point in her narration.
“You mean, MY Perpetual? Collapsed on the floor? This is too much like a soap opera.”
It only gets worse. As history has it, El gave Perpetual money to buy some medicine to treat her headache. The other house helps were concerned about the pills she had purchased and told El. The green and white pills she had purchased were to treat schizophrenia, and could potentially screwed her up big time. El immediately confiscated them and sharply scolded my sweet (but obviously really, really crazy) Perpetual. Somehow, the pills ended up back amongst things.
After a day, it was decided that Perpetual must be let go. Her “mother” came down from Kumasi with some lame story that escapes me. The sticking point is that she did not seem surprised or livid about the whole tale.
“Perpetual is actually 17,” she confided. “She had to lie about her age and say she was 20 to get a job, because the agency wouldn’t employ her otherwise.”
And so, my sweet (but really insane) Perpetual has been sacked, and I have no extra pair of female hands to help me around the house. In the meantime, circumstances have forced me back to Adenta, which is situated somewhere between the belly button and armpits of Hell, so I am truly less motivated to extend my stay.
When I got back to the house from our beach weekend, I took a look around. A sickly sweet smell attacked my nostrils.
Dang. She didn’t wash my clothes OR slice my pineapple. Ain’t that a b*tch.