“Reks,” she said in her breathy voice “kilonshelz”. Another thing about her – she can take on any role the man she’s with wants. But with me, in spite of her being Fulani, she was her true self, a Yoruba blowing a Lagos girl.
“I’m fucked up babe, real real bad,” I responded.
“What’s the ish?” she asked.
“My thing with Ochuko was merely a bet between him and my boss. I just found that out now,” I responded. I went on to narrate the whole preggy for Ochuko and daddy’s abortion drama saga in lucid detail to her.
She listened quietly and waited for me to finish.
“Are you done?” she asked after I paused.
“Yes now. I called you right after I read my oga’s message.”
“Okay, good. You are going to ditch this your BB. Shebi Q10 kuku just came out, so get that our SLOT guy to bring one to your office today. And be dramatic about the whole matter.”
“And why exactly would I be throwing away a BB in perfect working order?” I asked.
“Because you did not read the message, simple” she responded
“Okay, Fafa, I know I’m slow, but I just called you to tell you I read the message. As in my two big eyes actually viewed the message and it has changed to R already. So explain this to me, in plain olodo nice and slow English.”
“You are just a cow,” she said laughing.
“Madam, compare the size of our chests. The one who is the cow between us should be fairly obvious,” I retorted and we both laughed. If anyone could get me laughing, it was Fafa.
“You are just an ode child, you this girl. Anyway, here’s the plan to give us time to think of how we will deal with those two. He would have realized his mistake now, and will be expecting you to confront him and throw a tantrum. And I know you, that’s just what you will go and do.”
“Of course. He needs to explain to me why he would do this to me. I trusted and respected him very much, you know? He was like my elder bro and stuck with him through thick and thin, good and bad in this company. It was I who believed when most others didn’t.”
“Well, let’s do it my way this time, Reks. We’ll make him walk on needles. Don’t say anything about the message. In fact, go about your job like nothing is wrong, like you could not be bothered about the ish with Ochuko. It will kill him. His mind will race up and down, racked with guilt, wondering what you’re planning.”
“Okay, I get the bit of not confronting him et al. But it still doesn’t explain me dishing out 110K to buy a new BB when this my Bold 5 is still working well.”
“Madam, first, I wan make you upgrade. An an, with all the money you have, you are still clinging to that your Bold 5 and falling my hand all over this Lagos. But seriously, here’s why. When he can’t take it no more, he will ask you about it. You’ll just smile a dainty doll-faced smile…”
“Abegi, unlike you, some of us cannot pull off the doll faced thingy convincingly,” I interrupted.
“Gerrout and listen jo. You’ll smile your wowo smile and tell him ‘oh, I didn’t get it oh. My phone was stolen yesterday and I just got a new one today. I’ve been trying to restore my contacts but it seems there’s an issue with that. You can then add him there and then. He won’t believe his good fortune and feel safe after his jabo-ing. We’ll then plan whatever we want to do while he feels safe.”
“But you know you are witch abi?” I said, smiling and loving her plan.
“Na to protect you I join the coven,” she retorted.
“Okay, and Ochuko nko? What do we do with him?” I asked
“That one en, we need to see face to face to discuss that one’s matter. Shebi he is the tree climber abi? Only monkeys climb trees o, and we will give him appropriate monkey treatment.”
In spite of myself, I couldn’t help laughing like a fool at work. This Farida girl is just a bad influence. Okay, bad influence in a good way.
“Okay, when are we seeing to hear this your monkeylization plan o?”
“Been looking for an excuse to leave this my house sef, so I’ll come and sleep over at yours today. And since I know you won’t have anything to drink in that your house, I’ll be bringing my own drinks. Just make sure there’s food,” she responded.
“You will soon become a whale, and your smile will become ugly like my own.”
We both laughed again and I rounded off the conversation. We had said goodbye and I had almost cut the call off when she added as an afterthought “and madam, if you touch my goddaughter, I will murder you too. I have a name for her already. Zara baby.” Then she cut the call off.
The laughter and conversation with Farida was good for me, I really really needed it. People had already begun to arrive from work and my suspenders wearing assistant, Duke came in to greet me. Sometimes, I wondered how his little man was able to breathe inside his extra skinny jeans and pants. Add his shiny patent leather shoes, multi-colored socks, nerd glasses and neat afro and you can imagine how errrr interesting he always looked. Though he was about my age, he was like the younger brother I didn’t have. Somto, my other assistant, had once told me that his real name was Ndukwe, but that he had modified the name to suit his new Lagos bobo status after he came in from Enugu. This bit, he kept as a closely guarded secret and I pretended I didn’t know.
“Morning ma’am,” he said with a proper English bow.
“Duke, how are you?” I responded.
“Very well, thank you,” he said, fiddling with his suspenders.
Just then, I had a thought. Why wait for something I could go and get.
“Duke, I need you to do something for me urgently.”
As a response he came closer and fiddled with his glasses.
“Go to SLOT and buy me a Q10 sharply. I lost my phone yesterday at Radison Blu and it feels like I’ve lost an arm and a leg and the delivery guy is telling me long stories, so just come and go for me,” I said.
“I know that feeling right? If I had to go to an island and could pick only three things, my BB would sure be one of them,” he responded.
“I’ll transfer money to your account now; you can pay with your POS when you get there.”
I watched him walk out of the door, knowing that the Duke’s one other weakness would cause the whole office to hear a well embellished tale about my lost phone without me being the source of the story. As I became alone in my office again, the sadness began to come over me again. For all my scheming with Farida, there was a baby growing inside me, and it was Ochuko’s. I wanted to keep the child, but the one man whose support would have made Ochuko’s nonsense of no effect was staunchly against the idea.
Thankfully, Somto arrived just then and provided a distraction until her partner returned with my new phone. The moment he came back and she saw what he was carrying, she began to tease him.
“Somebody has gone to use all his salary to buy phone to be forming avant-garde. Sha don’t come and be looking for loan at midmonth o, we will not give you.”
Duke scowled at her and turned his nose up in the air before responding “you can jump for Africa. While I take an exception to your insinuation that I will be unable to afford this phone, let me correct your erroneous impression.” Then dramatically holding the phone up and waving it around, he continued “this is the result of Rekiya’s unfortunate loss yesterday. She’s replacing the phone she lost yesterday. I merely facilitated the process of procuring it.”
Rolling my eyes, I snatched my phone from him before his waving around spoilt it “Ochuko, shay it’s ordinary to say the phone is mine that you gave that Yes We Can speech?”
The two of them burst out into uncontrollable laughter. I was confused “I know what I said is funny, but it is not that funny now. Abi, am I missing something ni?”
Amidst fits of laughter, Somto responded “Madam, I go love oooo. See you looking at this skinny lizard,” she pointed at Duke “and calling him Ochuko. Love don turn everything wey you see to Ochuko abi?”
Their laughter stopped when they saw the tears that began trickling from my eyes. I was unconscious of them but seemed unable to stop them from flowing. Duke was over at my side in an instant “did we say something wrong? What’s the problem ma’am?”
“It’s nothing,” I said, quickly dabbing the tears from my face and smearing my makeup in the process.
Somto tried to say something but I looked at them and fiercely said “I said it is nothing!”
They both quickly beat a hasty retreat to their corners of the room while I went quietly redid my makeup at my desk. See, when your boss does some things you can’t understand sometimes, they’re just being human. Dem no dey craze.
You know the way you anticipate something and prepare for it and wait for it, and then that thing simply does not happen? That’s what happened to me that day. My boss did not show up at work. I had planned how I would be all sweet and all, while allowing the needles prick his conscience, and then he refused to show up.
I was not taking it though. By noon, I put a call through to him using my landline. The call rang out. Then I called him with my mobile, and he still didn’t pick the call. It was clear he was avoiding talking to me. I considered sending him a text saying I had lost my phone and all, but then on a second thought I decided to let him stew. The reason he hadn’t showed up was that he didn’t have the nerve to face me just yet. Let him be afraid when he saw my calls.
Around two in the afternoon, Fafa called.
“Babe, can you leave the office now now?” she said excitedly.
I had been considering closing early anyway, since my boss didn’t show up so I said “yes.”
“Well, get your ass here, I have very hot gist for you.”
“Babe, I don’t have witch like you, so I can’t know where you are by a phone call.” I responded.
“Monkey, I don reach your house,” she retorted.
“Okay, oya hint me on this gist.” I asked.
“You sure you want to hear it over the phone? The thirty minutes it will take you to get home won’t kill you o,” she responded.
“Madam, will you tell me now or you want me to practice my kung fu on you?”
“Well, if you insist, here it goes. Ochuko is not married to anyone.”
“I’ll be with you in twenty minutes,” I said and cut the call off.