Tony walked into his hostel room exhausted.
“T-man, how far? You’re coming from the library again, yes? Take it easy o. If you read all the books there are, what will be left for us to read?” Toks humoured.
Toks was the new guy they were accommodating for the while.
“See, I’m hungry. What did you cook?” Tony replied as he walked to the corner of the room to flip open the pot covers.
“This is why I can’t do anything productive inside the hostel”, he muttered under his breath contemptuously as he peeked outside the room from the balcony.
The guy whom he saw outside was lost in his own world. He sang along in a high pitch treble, “We’re making money this year…my graduation this year…” The song was left on replay from his phone while he washed his clothes, crouched beside the black GP water tank.
Tony returned to the room. Toks was fixing his broken torch again. If it was him, he’d have thrown away the useless torch long time ago.
“Toks, so, erm, can I take some rice?”
“You don’t even know if I cooked your portion. The guys haven’t even eaten. Remember we all contributed, well, most of us.” Toks replied, laughing.
“But sure. You can.”
Tony marvelled at Toks. For a hostel squatter, he was quite resourceful and pleasant. Tony’s roommates constantly flipped at him for always having an excuse to avoid contributing to the pooled funds for foodstuff purchase, but eventually eating the largest portion of food. Toks hardly ever retaliated.
“So Toks, I’ve been meaning to ask. Do you even study? You’re such a nice, pastor-like guy but I will feel guilty to watch you fail without offering help.”
Toks said nothing, but Tony went on.
“Guy, make we talk true, you no dey read. And this is final year. The labour market is not smiling at all. Jobs are scarcer than petrol.”
Tony showed Toks some question papers.
“I’ve been studying for this aptitude test for 2 weeks now. It’s for a graduate job with LM, the LM, the prestigious consultancy firm in Abuja. What is your plan after school? Do you have any? You know, in the outside world, you can’t continue to squat in people’s houses.” Tony closed with a tinge of sarcasm.
“Thanks for your concern Tony. But making reference to my inability to afford the accommodation fees for now was a bit on the insensitive side. Also, just because you don’t see me study is no proof that I don’t.”
“Okay. Sorry that came out gruff. I think I’m just concerned, that’s all.” Tony replied with an air of flippancy.
“Yeah, I appreciate that. I was going to tell you and the guys anyway, but I wanted to get the employment offer letter first. I took the LM aptitude test as well, a couple months back.”
Tony was wide-eyed. LM only shortlisted the top 30 candidates for the aptitude test after a long, gruelling process. How on earth was Toks even qualified? It could definitely not be “long leg”. Toks, who was squatting with them because he couldn’t afford the accommodation fees. If he knew “anyone”, he should not be squatting.
“I took the test in that round, got invited for an interview and was offered a job with them in Abuja. If you want my help, I could offer pointers for the aptitude test.” Toks replied, unassumingly.
Tony was dazed. LM only invited the top 2 candidates from the aptitude test for the interview. The job offer was only to the best national candidate in that round.
“There’s still some rice in the pot, if you want more,” Toks added, smiling.