It is about that time of year again, when everyone is regretting their Christmas choices and silently praying that the minutes and seconds until January payday would magically fly past. People like Ameyaw swore that it would never happen again a year ago. That didn’t work out like he had planned. Here is to January Payday coming soon! Also, happy new year, my darlings! 💜
Find the other Christmas stories here .
So who sent me?
Every single year, I tell myself that I won’t do this again, and yet every year I do the exact same thing.
Christmas koraa, is it by force?
Ameyaw’s thoughts were interrupted by a knock on the door.
‘There is somebody here.’
‘Yeah, I know. I just want you to hurry up. You have been in there for about an hour. The rest of us also have bladders and bowels to empty.’
Why am I even having a conversation with this guy in the washroom?
He took his sweet time to flush the toilet. When he opened the door, he was expecting to see a whole line of people waiting to use the washroom too. It was just Collins. He was yet to meet a Collins that wasn’t annoying.
‘What took you so long?’
Ameyaw forced on a smile and said, ‘Take a wild guess’, before opening the tap.
It was better for Collins to assume that he was suffering from diarrhoea than the fact that he was broke. He was also yet to meet a Collins that wasn’t a gossip. The last thing he wanted was his office colleagues discussing his financial decisions.
Now about those financial decisions… December always brought out the worst in him.
First it was the music. Christmas music was always his weakness. Who could really argue with Nat King Cole? Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year. Then, of course the decorations and the lights. Even if he wasn’t in the mood for Christmas, that always did the trick. There was also Twitter. There was always a new advert about some new event or a new place to chill with the guys. Then of course, there were all the borgas suddenly hitting you up with ‘Yo mehn! Coming to Ghana this week? We for hang out.’
December is a scam!
His phone buzzed. It was Kuma.
‘Chale Ameyaw, I make dry. Drier than Sahara desert. You no get some loose 1000 Ghana for there?’
Ameyaw laughed. It was that kind of laugh that could easily metamorphosize into ugly tears if he was not careful.
‘Oh I make serious oo, Ameyaw.’
‘We are both competing with the Sahara desert wai. Everybody make dry.’
‘Chale, slow! Didn’t we promise ourselves that we won’t do this again, last year?’
‘Haha, exactly. It is when the hunger pangs hit you that you suddenly remember how foolish you have been. I swear, I have been sitting here, silently cursing myself for every tip I gave, every ‘Drinks on me’ show off for the girls I did, every Uber ride I took. Ordering food left, right, centre when there was banku at home.
Chale, what was wrong with me? January to December 22nd, I take trotro like every normal Ghana boy on a budget. As soon as it was December 23rd, I remembered that I have Uber and Taxify on my phone. That Albert from Taxify koraa, he was sent. Everyday, discount code. Everyday, new event. Me too, mumu! I went everywhere some. What was I thinking? Uber in this Christmas traffic? Mumu raised to the power 1000!’
It was Kuma’s turn to laugh.
‘Ameyaw, relax eh? I even bought hair for girls who will probably blue tick me now that Christmas is over. You know how December is wedding season? Well, with all the ladies I juggle, I had to contribute to Akosua’s bachelorette, Cynthia’s wedding gift, cloth for Denise’s traditional marriage and countless makeup sessions. The weird part is I don’t know either the bride or the groom. I was blowing off 3000 cedis in one night like my borga friends, forgetting that we operate in two different economies and it is just about 470 pounds to them. Relax, yours can’t be that bad.’
‘Naah, chale. I do yawa. The moment my boss gave me the Christmas bonus, I should have deposited it in my investment account. At least, I would have had something to fall back on.’
‘The thing is we all seem to think that the December salary is for December chilling, forgetting that January has 365 days. Today sef be what?’
’43rd January, bro. 322 more days till payday.’, Ameyaw responded dryly.
‘My mother was suggesting that I take advantage of this self-imposed hunger strike and join the church in their 31 day fast. The church is helping the broke to survive January. I told her no thanks. They would probably have a prayer and anointing service on 31st and everyone will sow half of their February salary as their ‘Year of Progress’ offering. Not interested.’
‘The prayers that your mother is praying are the only reason why you didn’t crash your car, while half drunk on way too many cocktails this Christmas. You better join the fast.’
‘So true, chale. It is a wonder how we didn’t wind up with STDs and damaged livers.’
‘STDs? I beg, speak for yourself. All I did was party. One night stand is not in my playbook.’
‘So long as we agree there is a playbook, I am fine with the subtle judgement. Chale, Ameyaw, so the 1K, I should forget eh?’
‘Guy, forget koraa. Ever since we came back from the Christmas break, the security men keep trying to corner me for their ‘Christmas bonus’. Am I their employer?’
‘With your designer suits and shoes, they probably don’t see any difference.’
‘I wonder how they survive on their 700 cedis and below salaries. They are the ones with six children and stuff.’
‘They don’t have your expensive tastes. They stick to trotro, no Uber. They don’t crave for bacon and egg sandwiches. They have definitely not heard of Detty Rave.’
‘Chale chale don’t come and remind me. I can’t even afford Kofi Brokeman at this point, you are here casually mentioning bacon and egg sandwiches. I brought gari and a bottle of shito to work. Me, Ameyaw Owusu! Unbelievable! Thankfully the shito is the rich kind, bless my mother’s soul. I can at least deceive myself that the shrimps in the shito are the source of my protein. Stress!’
‘I cannot even laugh at you. I need to pay my rent, renew my car insurance and replace those shocks. All pocket draining activities chale!’
‘I don’t want to be you. So next year, more prudent financial decisions?’
‘So help me God!’
Ameyaw spotted his HR manager walking in his direction.
‘I have to go. We go link up later.’
‘Hi Ameyaw. Nana Akua from Finance is getting married this month. In the spirit of togetherness, we are taking a donation of 100 Ghana cedis each from everyone. I am here for yours.’
‘Nana Akua. Finance. Her wedding is in 2 weeks. Everyone is contributing 100 cedis.’
‘Yeah I heard you. I am just surprised. When did we decide this?’
‘Well, I decided. Almost everyone has paid without complaining. Cash or mobile money?’
What is all this? It is not like I can say no. A wrong answer can cost me in the yearly appraisals.
‘Erm, mobile money.’
At least that gave him a few more days to play the ‘I sent it oo. You didn’t get it?’ card.
‘I’ll be expecting the alert soon. Thanks, Nana Akua would be touched.’
‘Sure, anything for a colleague, in the spirit of togetherness.’
‘That’s the spirit! Can’t wait to take donations for yours.’
‘Your wedding, of course. It is about time you settled down.’
I am just trying to survive January. Father Lord, what is all this?
‘Watch this space. I just need to find the bride first.’
His phone buzzed again as Miss HR walked away.
It was a Whatsapp message from Jeffrey.
‘Chale, I loan you some 100 Ghana in July last year. I dey need am.’
Jeffrey. The same Jeffrey whose weekend spending money was more than Ameyaw’s salary.
Ei! He couldn’t even remember taking the 100 cedis, but one thing was for sure. It would take a really dire situation for Jeffrey to ask him for money dating back to July. Nowhere cool!
365th January better come quickly!