Short story: Mrs Osibogun and the Balogun tailor

Emeka got to his shop at 8am.

Mummy Femi had blocked the front of it with her table again so he decided to make sure she searched for the table for at least a week the next time he arrived and met it there. But for today he was in a good mood and so he decided to spare her.

He was expecting a big customer this morning, the kind you only get during Christmas, and he had to prepare for her. The call had come late last night, and he had not picked it till the second ring for fear that it’ll be his younger brother looking for money as usual (he had been calling all week, each time with a different number). But it hadn’t been Chukuma, it had been Mrs. Osibogun, asking him how early he was going to be in his shop the next day. She had collected his number from a customer he vaguely remembered but had pretended to be very accustomed with. She had been very impressed by a dress he had no memory of ever making. “It must have been that mgbeke from Togo” he thought to himself. But Mrs. Osibogun wanted the dress and several variants of it, in a quantity that could only be discussed in person, and he was ready to deliver.

He opened up the shop and began throwing clothes around, to give the sparsely used shop an aura of one that was constantly in use. Mrs. Osibogun arrived over two hours later than she had promised to find Emeka deep in sleep, at his work station with a line of drool trickling down the side of his mouth. He immediately jumped to action upon hearing her voice, stepping vigorously on the pedal of his sewing machine even though there was nothing being sewn with it.

She proceeded to inform him in a brisk tone, that she needed 50 pieces of the dress he had made for her friend- who he was still having trouble remembering- at the end of the month.

Emeka sized her up, he knew her type. The ones who came to make large orders from local tailors like him, only to triple the price and hang it up in swanky stores with show lights and air conditioners. Emeka told her how much per piece the order will cost, doubling his usual asking price after taking a discreet peek at the car she had arrived in.

She agreed to it, as he knew she would, and he informed her that the order will be ready long before the month had even ended. She paid the required deposit, which was 50% of the whole order and left immediately. Emeka waited 5 minutes after Mrs. Osibogun left before he stood up. He cracked his neck and stretched out his back then picked up the paper bag Mrs. Osibogun had brought the money in and locked up his shop.

It would be another month before Emeka would come back to his shop.

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The online destination and fashion journal that goes beyond the surface and taps the pulse on all things FASHION. First out of Nigeria and increasingly across the continent, with wit, intelligence and humour.


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