IT IS PART OF THE GIFT
goods to them.
Grand Ma: Good. Let me have the invoice. Driver: Ma?
Grand Ma: The invoice; let me have the invoice with which they collected the goods. [Signals] The book I gave you for them to sign that they collected the goods.
Driver: [Terrified] I forgot to give them to sign.
Grand Ma: So, you just off-Ioaded the goods to them and came away. Do you know what you have just done? You just donated those goods to them and walked away. There is no way you can go to them tomorrow to say that you had any business transaction with them. Driver: Oh, Madam what am I going to do?
Angela: Mother do you know those people very well? I mean, are they your regular customers? Grand Ma: You know what you will do? Return to them with the invoice and let them sign, and come back immediately. I have to go to the house as soon
as you return. [Driver runs off to the bus and drives away]. [To Angela] They are both my customers of over two years. There is no problem but he had to go back there for a lesson. He will not forget to get customers to sign invoices next time. You are not in a hurry are you? You are not going back today. When he returns I will only close for the day and not return here. Hilda will just have to lock up at the close of business. Angela: You trust her that much?
Grand Ma: Yes. Hilda has no eyes for anybody’s money. I tried her several times and I think that she can still be trusted. Besides you have to trust the people working for you. They have to feel that trust. They have to know that you trust them. [Calls] Hilda! Hilda: Mummy! [Hurries across to Grand Ma]. Yes Ma.
Grand Ma: Hilda look, I will be leaving early today as soon as the driver returns. I will leave the entries to you. When I come tomorrow we will look at them together. Put the sales in the safe and close it firmly. It will lock automatically. l have the keys with me. [Glances back as the driver drives in] The driver is back. I hope you understood me.
Hilda: [Genuflects] Yes Ma.
Grand Ma: Good. Come early enough tomorrow. You can see that l have visitors. I will not likely be very early.
Hilda: Yes Ma. I shall be early tomorrow.
The driver comes in.
Driver: I am back madam. They have signed.
Grand Ma: [Collects the invoice book from him] GO
and turn the bus; we are leaving now to the house. Hilda, [handing her the invoice nook] here make the entries. When I come tomorrow we will look at them together.
They all move out. of the shop to the bus.
Grand Ma’s residence:
They arrive at the huge entrance gate of the house. It is locked outside. The driver stops and goes to unlock the gate, taking the key from Grand Ma. , Angela asks after Samba the security guard. The
driver returns to the bus and drives into the compound.
Angela: Mother, what about Samba? Has he also resigned? Grand Ma: No. He complained of illness this morning and I gave him the day off. The night guard will come at six in the evening as usual. Samba will resume tomorrow.
Angela: I am sure that he was suffering from the
effects of excessive drinking. He does not know
what It does to his health.
Grand Me: I think he will be a fool to continue to drink after what the doctor told him about his health. He has stopped drinking. He was scarred to death when the doctor gave him a serious warning about his liver. But If he still drink secretly I do not know. He complained of illness, I gave him the day off. That’s all I know. Welcome home. [They disembark]. Bon. park the bus and bring the keys to me before you go. Come early enough tomorrow so that you can wash the bus before we leave. It is too dirty as you can see
Driver: Yes Ma. I shall be early.
Grand Ma: All rightthen park and get me the keys. They come inte the living room, well furnished by local standards. A settee. one double and three singles, are well arranged to give good space around the whole set, with a centre table at the middle on which sits a plastic basket full of fruits of the same make. A malfunctioning old model TV set site silently at a corner with the screen shutters closed. The floor is made of ancient marble whose look beers witness to good care. Everyone takes a seat and Grand Ma welcomes all again.
Grand Ma: [Drops heavily into a seat] Yeah, you are welcome. Koly, come over here my father. [Stretching herhands to him] Come. ’ ‘
Sabena: Grand Ma, and me too.
Grand Ma: Yes my daughter, come over too. Angela, please go to the kitchen and bring some water from the refrigerator; I am very thirsty.
Koly: [Announces] i want to drink water!
Sabena: I want to drink too.
Grand Ma: Don’t worry, water is coming. Your mother Is bringing water for us to drink.
The driver knocks on the door and walks in to surrender the bus keys to Grand Ma.
Driver: [Knocks on the door].
Grand Ma: Yes, come in Bon. [He walks in] See that you are here early tomorrow. The bus is very dirty and it has to be washed before I go to the shop tomorrow. [Stretches her hand to collect the keys] If you see the night guard on your way out, tell him to see me. Do you have transport money?
Driver: [Scratches his head] No madam.
Grand Ma: I know you would not have. Here, take this. [Angela returns from the kitchen with a bottle of water, a glass and a plastic cup]. When your salary is due i will deduct this from it. So this is a loan.
Driver: Thank you Ma. I am very grateful.
Grand Ma: Yes, you can go now. You are closing early today so there will be no reason to be late tomorrow. Good night.
Driver: [Bows] Good night Ma.
Sabena: Good night!
Driver: [Calls out] Good night!
Angela: Mother, how much did you give him?
Grand Ma: Enough for his transport home.
Angela: [Laughs]. And that is a_loan? You used to give people much more than that gratis.
Grand Ma: I did not charge him anything. I did not ask him to pay an interest on that did I? Angela: I mean you used to give more than that away. . Grand Ma: I know. He is a staff and is doing his job for a salary. Besides, I do not mean to recover the money from his salary as I said. This is not the first time I have given him such money but if you do not tell him that the money will be deducted from his pay, he will not be careful in spending it. Now he will spend it carefully, believing that he is actually spending his salary.
Angela: [Laughs]. Is that the trick?
Grand Ma: You have to be careful with them. Let me have the water.
Koly: [Lets out a cry stretching both hands] Water! Angela: Come, here is yours. [Referring to the glass cup] Don’t touch that cup; this is yours.