A few hours later, the restaurant was looking scanty. Most of the guests had said their goodbyes and driven away into the silent and empty streets in the neighborhood. While the restaurant staff cleaned up the mess and the leftovers, Daniel, Calabash, and Mensah enjoyed a card game in one of the private rooms tucked away at the penthouse level of the building.
“So guys, are we going to talk about this or ignore the gorilla in the room?” Calabash blurted.
“Talk about what? Mensah asked as he untied his bow-tie and loosening the top button of his shirt.”
“About our jobs, man,” replied Calabash in frustration. “It seems the tsunami coming is inevitable, and I was wondering if anyone has any bright ideas. I guess you don’t have any worries. All you have to do is call up your dad and get another job tomorrow.”
“Take it easy, Calabash,” said Daniel. “That’s not fair to Mensah. He worked his butt off just like everyone else. Don’t forget; it’s still his birthday.”
“You’re right!” said Calabash with his head bowed. “I’m so sorry, Mensah. I apologize.”
“No worries,” declared Mensah as he continued sipping from a glass of red wine. “I understand your frustration. Despite my privileged background, my preference remains to pull my weight in life and take responsibility for my actions.”
“Hey, I respect that bro, even though I don’t understand it,” replied Calabash with his glass raised for a toast to Mensah.
Daniel cleared his voice and interrupted abruptly. “Now that we have all kissed and made up, I have an idea.”
“We are all ears,” replied Calabash.
“I saw an advertisement by the Ministry of Defense in the newspaper today. The Nigerian Defense Academy is calling for applicants, and I would like to apply.”
“Are you crazy?” Calabash yelled with an expression of shock. “Join the military?”
“The way I see it, the job market is horrible right now. The unemployment rate in the country is at the highest peak ever recorded. On the other hand, in the military, income and a bunch of benefits are guaranteed.”
“Hmmm….not a bad idea,” interjected Mensah. “I’ve always wanted to join the military.”
“What?” Calabash asked, repositioning his chair. “Can we be real here? We are talking about bullets flying in the air and going to the frontlines in the time of war. I think you guys have lost your minds.”
“Do you have a better solution or perhaps another way out of this?” Daniel asked. “I am not going back to the life I had in the village. No, sir!”
“Count me in,” replied Mensah. “Just send me the link to download the application.”
“You got it,” Daniel agreed happily. “Just one more thing, where do we get a Red Neck to co-sign and validate our forms?”
“What’s a Red Neck?” Calabash asked curiously.
“Senior military officers in the armed forces wearing red collar patches,” Mensah replied. “I have an uncle who is a Full Colonel in the Army who can co-sign for us. Just fill out your applications and give them to me.”
“Thank you so much, Mensah. I’m glad I could count on you,” said Daniel as he hugged him. “Now, that’s said and done,” still with his hands on Mensah’s shoulder, he gave Calabash an elbow tug.
“Are you going to join us or try your luck at the unemployment line?”
“What choice do I have?” Calabash replied as he got up for a group hug. “Love you guys, men.”
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