It was 6:30am on Monday morning and I was struggling to find any of Danielle or Darrelle’s clothes to fit me at the same time imagining the traffic between Ikeja and Ikoyi at this time. Whatever made me agree to a sleepover at their family house again? Oh! Their mom’s food! That woman can cook for Africa sha! I’m sure I ate enough and had fun to last me for another week.
2 hours later, I was out of traffic and almost at my office then I remembered Mr Tino mentioned something related to a list of venues and gigs he had arranged for upcoming artistes, during the meeting on Friday.
Hehehehe! Who said I wasn’t paying attention at the meeting after all?
The problem right now wasn’t whether I paid attention or not, but that Mr Smith needed the list this morning and he didn’t specify who was to get the list to him. Well, a little eye-service wouldn’t hurt, plus I promised I’d make it up to him for my slips on Friday, this could be the starting point. I really needed to get back in his good books, and I pray nobody had beat me to that list, I thought as I reversed and headed to Lekki to get the list from Mr. Tino’s office.
I got into the office complex at 10:00am and everyone was acting tense, even John, the errand boy, who always had a joke for everyone was silent. Who had died? Had someone been fired? I wondered to myself.
“John, Wetin happen? Why everybody quiet dey shake?” I whispered.
“Madam, no be small thing o. Oga first everybody come today. Everybody plus me o. Na so him eye dey red. Clara sef join enter kasala o.” he whispered back.
Wow! If Clara, the Boss’ PA, was in trouble, then we were in deeper shit. Well, I was late because I was trying to be a model staff and that was the stance I was taking this morning. I would go into that office and deliver the list like the badass that I am, I thought to myself.
“Good morning Boss.” I greeted Mr Smith as I walked into his office. Ol’ boy, my voice was shaking o and his eyes were actually red, meaning he was really mad.
“Oh! Good morning Madam Shontelle Eze. I see you’ve finally decided to grace our lowly office with your presence.” he answered sarcastically in a loud voice, “What’s good about the Monday morning that you come into work at 10am?”
“Sir, I was already on this street at 8:30am when I remembered you’d need this…” I brought the list out and gave to him, “and you didn’t ask anyone in particular to pick it up. So I had to go back to bring it Sir.” I’m sure he didn’t see that coming! Yipppeeee I was obviously free.
“How am I sure you didn’t pick this up since Friday and you’re passing it up now as an excuse for lateness?” he replied in a not-so-angry tome.
“Sir I would have said you should call Mr Tino’s office to confirm, but I know you believe me already.” I replied.
“I could have picked this up myself later or sent one of your other colleagues to pick it up. So don’t act like you’re a saviour or this has freed you.” he continued.
“I am sorry I came late Sir. It won’t repeat itself.” I replied.
“That’s what all of you say all the time. Tobe has said those same words everyday in the last month but at 10:45am today, he’s not here yet. You can go.”
“Thank you Sir. I’m sorry Sir.” I said as I turned to leave his office.
“Tell Clara to get the conference room ready for the staff meeting by 11:00am. Tell your colleagues that whoever is not present by then should leave his/ her resignation letter on my table before our meeting is over.” he snarled at me.
“Okay Sir. I will Sir.”
Whatever was making Mr Smith bark and snarl at everyone this morning was obviously nothing office-related. He was simply transferring aggression.
I can’t believe my week started on this note.. this could mean it would remain this way. I thought to myself as I walked into the office I shared with Tobe. There he was panting like a dog.
“Bros na wa o, you be no plan come work today?” I asked.
“Babe, car trouble o. That my car don tire me.” he replied “I heard Boss has sharpened the cutlass for my beheading. Wetin make I do? Abeg tell me.”
“There’s a general staff meeting due to start in 10mins so just put yourself together and arrange your fine face well before you go into the conference room.” I replied.
At 1pm, the meeting was looking like it was finally coming to an end. All Boss had done from the start of the meeting was snarl at everyone for coming late, he really had nothing to discuss with us. After a while, he left the floor open for suggestions on a project we were about to embark on, while he stared at us one after the other to make us squirm.
My stomach had started to growl like I owned a jungle filled with lions. Thank God Clara had taken everyone’s orders to go get lunch for us.
“Shontelle, please say the closing prayer for us.” I heard Boss say.
“Thank God“, I muttered beneath my breath as I proceeded to say a rushed prayer.
After the meeting was dismissed, I went with Ese and Oge, the office gossips, to their office. I was sure they had the inside scoop to why Boss was in a foul mood. I don’t know how they got these things, and they never leaked their sources.
Just as Oge was getting into the gist of some office romance gone wrong, John walked in with a basket of food.
“Yaayy! Food at last.” Ese screamed with glee.
“John, where my food na?” I asked.
“Madam I no know sey you dey here o. I drop your own for your table. Na only Oga Tobe dey una office. Make I go bring am for you?”
“No don’t worry, let me leave Ese and Oge to eat in peace, I’ll eat in my office.” I replied.
“Oghene!!” Ese screamed… “Na rotten food una bring come give person? This food don spoil na. John why you no check food wey you dey buy?”
“Madam na me dey cook the food, abi na my wife dey sell am wey I go dey check whether e don spoil? They no tell me sey na rotten food na, else I for no carry am come.” he replied.
“Obviously na to go KFC go chop be that. I can’t eat rotten food with you people.” I teased.
“The chicken is manageable o. So let me eat your own if you don’t want.” Oge replied.
“Mumu! Na only food you sabi. So you no fit throway the food abi? You must taste the meat first abi? God no go let you purge your intestine come out o.” Ese replied.
I chuckled as I went down the stairs to the floor that housed my office. The story was the same there too. Everyone was cussing John out for the rotten food. I picked my bag and stepped out, I needed the fresh air.
At KFC, I ordered for 5 packs of Jollof rice, Chicken and 3 packs of juice. Ese, Tobe and Oge had called me to pick something for them too as well as something for the boss. I could have gone back to the office for their money but since I had my card and every bank was preaching cashless, I thought I give the POS a trial. My bill was #8,200, so I gave the waitress my card.
“Madam, it’s like your bank has network issues o. It’s declining the transaction.” she said.
“Okay! Let’s try either of these other two.” I replied as I cursed First Bank in my mind.
“Neither of them are working, ma.” she said.
What was I going to do now? My stomach was growling and I’m sure Ese would have my head for lunch if I wasted more time.
“I would suggest you use my card but I’m scared you’d have my head chopped off if I dare to.” a familiar voice from behind me said.
I turned back and it was Walter.