Independent—Episode 5: All is Fair in Love and War

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Wale

“Unku, what are you doing?” Someone asks from behind me, and I immediately stand up and turn to face her. It’s the errand girl from the office; I should have known when I heard “Unku”. She calls everyone that for some reason. I quickly close the hot cup of coffee in my hand and put on a fake smile, hoping it will make her forget I was about to spit in what was obviously Kim’s coffee just seconds ago. I mumble a greeting and walk past her; I don’t have the strength to answer questions today. All my strength has been used up running errands for the past five days.

As usual, I jog up the stairs and perfect my permanent sulk, then I enter the office. And as usual, Lekan and Kim are laughing over something, but this time she is sitting in his chair, and he is on my chair since our tables are placed together and we sit facing each other. I clear my throat, and Lekan shoots out of my chair very fast and goes to lean on his desk in front of Kim. She suddenly stops smiling and looks between the both of us.

“Did you just vacate your seat for your assistant?” She asks him, and I settle into the chair properly and wait for Lekan’s reply. He looks back at me, his expression begging me to make it easier on him somehow, but I shrug and look away; so he mumbles something about feeling sorry for my legs as I have been running errands all day. She is obviously not moved; she just goes to her desk and motions for me to bring her coffee, because “I need caffeine in my system to handle this”. I almost yell at her to come get the coffee her damn self, but the sight of her laptop open before her gives me an idea. She needs some caffeine in her system right? I know it’s underhanded of me, but I stroll over to her desk and intentionally make the cup fall out of my hand just as she is about to collect it. As expected, the coffee spills all over her and her desk and she screams at the heat and the shock.

She doesn’t even care about her dampened shirt front: which is all I can see as she is moving around very fast in a bid to save her laptop and the important files on her desk. For the first time since I started this job, I notice that Kim is actually really very buxom. She finally stops clearing up and turns to face me, and I can’t help taking a step backwards. She looks really angry, she looks like she is about to hit me over the head with a shovel.

“That was intentional” She says very quietly. So quietly I’m not sure I heard right. I shake my head no. A vein starts pulsing at the side of her head, and I realize just how angry she is
“That was intentional” she says again, and I shake my head again. She takes a deep breath and nods, then walks past me into the adjoining toilet.

“Guy, what is wrong with you?” Lekan asks from behind me, and I turn to face him; shocked.
“Guy?” I ask him; I have known him since he was brought into the palace at the age of twelve, so we are close enough that he can call me by name. But “Guy” is downright disrespectful. He doesn’t seem to care though; he comes over and starts tidying up Kim’s desk.

“Guy?” I ask again “What has come over you?” I ask him. I didn’t come here to be his servant or any other person’s servant, I came here to try and sort out my life and this peasant Kim is turning one of my own against me? I pull Lekan by the upper arm and start walking towards the door; we need to discuss this before it becomes a big issue. He surprises me even more when he forces his arm from my grasp.
“Lekan, this behavior is starting to piss me off.” I say “Why are you taking her side?!”
He suddenly turns to face me, and he looks angrier than Kim had earlier.
“I saw you tip the cup. That was so low, too low; especially for you.” He continues tidying the desk.
If I’m being honest, I feel very guilty; but Lekan’s words are now making me feel like absolute crap.
“I’m tired today. I’m going home.” I say and stalk out.
The girl has been treating me like crap since, but I do one bad thing and I’m Hitler the third?

I hate this place.

 

Kim

I wipe my tears and button up the spare shirt I keep in the bathroom locker for emergencies. That ugly bastard belongs to the devil; does he know how much the laptop cost me? I have no money to replace it; I don’t even have money to fix the laptop, and I have the new proposal for Hip TV on the laptop. Tears start falling again, as I think of what Vivian will say if I go to her and ask for the proposal again, or a loan from my salary. The mockery will be super.

I had to move into a new place after I left Iyke’s place, so I went back to my one room in Bariga. It is farther from work, but it is the cheapest I can afford. Plus I had to put the obligatory twenty percent in my fixed deposit account, so all the money in my account right now is just enough for feeding and transportation for the next two weeks, and the proposal is due in a week.
I bite my lower lip to refrain from cursing Ugly and I don’t stop until I’m back in my now clean chair.
I look round the office; Lekan is stealing awkward glances at me, and the devil is no longer in the office. I smile to myself, remembering the argument I just overheard. Lekan took my side.

*************

Its way past closing time, everyone has probably gone home by now, and I’m exhausted. My back hurts like hell, and I had to miss digging deep today because of the Hip TV proposal. Fortunately, I found a copy of it on my hard drive, so I started work on it immediately.

“Shout out s’awon goonz mi, awon……” my phone starts ringing, and I do a little dance to my new ring tone, before picking the call
“Hello?”
“There’s a package for you at the door.” Someone says and immediately hangs up. I try not to freak out at the person’s voice, but I can’t help it. The voice is a cross between croaky and raspy, and I am so creeped out I want to be in my house right now.
I pick one of my shoes from under my desk, and tiptoe to the door then hold my shoe in attack mode, and grab the door open. But there is no one there.

I look around; no one. I hiss and turn to go inside, when something on the floor catches my eyes; it’s a gift wrapped package. I bend pick it carefully; it’s wide and quite heavy. At first I wonder what it is, but something occurs to me and I immediately start tearing open the package.

Just as I suspected it’s a laptop. Theirs is a small card attached, with the words Sorry about today, I hope you like it.” written in it. I hug the laptop to myself and smile. So that was why he left work early today.

This Lekan is so cool.

All’s fair in love and war. Will you succumb to love, or war?


Independent—Episode 6: Rose Tinted Glasses
Independent—Episode 4: Welcome to Hell

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