“What is wrong with this lawyer na? Why are Nigerians do deep into the ‘Nigerian time’ thing? Zainab lamented. The time was 2:45PM and so far, there have been no sign of Barr. Boniface.
Zainab started considering the possibility of Boniface not receiving her text, had she made a silly mistake by not simply calling instead of sending such vague SMS, or probably he didn’t even understand what the SMS meant, she thought. She concluded within herself to call him and confirm his status, she still had the “single and married thing to do later that day”. She brought out her phone and dialled Barr. Boniface number.
Just then, a man, probably in his early thirties, thirty-two to be precise, walked into the eatery. Irrespective of his quite old age, he had the looks of a twenty years old. His face was spotless and didn’t look like it had ever experienced a shave, while he kept the popular “Punk” hairstyle. Wearing a well-fitted black suit and black italian leather shoe, he simply looked like he worth million dollars.
He stood at the entrance for a short while, slowly looking at each table and its occupants carefully as if he was looking for someone. He was startled when his phone rang.
He glanced at his modest Blackberry Bold 4 phone screen and saw the name “Zainab (new),” he sighed and picked the call.
“Hello, am already at the venue, where are you?” He asked almost immediately.
“You are already where?” Zainab asked in an alarmed tone.
“You sent me an SMS which had the venue of our meeting, Chicken Republic, right?”
“Yea! Chicken Republic, where are you then? I’m already in the eatery too,” Zainab replied as started scanning the whole eatery uneasily. She suddenly caught the view of a man who stood at the entrance, obviously making a call and looking around, she instantly knew it was Boniface.
“I can’t see you anywhere here?” Boniface complained.
“Look towards your left,” Zainab replied and stood up, waving. Boniface spotted her and walked towards her direction, with a charming smile planted on his face.
He got to the table and after confirming Zainab’s identity and exchanging pleasantries, he sat down on the chair at the other side of the table.
Zainab silently admired his looks and wonder why such good looking person should be bearing such a not-so-nice name like “Boniface,” she was sure his parents were just being wicked to their child for giving his such name, she smiled and dusted the thought from her mind as Boniface made to speak.
“I’m must confess, you look really nice,” He complimented Zainab. He was a graduate of law from the University of Ibadan, and have also read many books on business strategies, the one point that all book had in common was, “always make the client feel comfortable at all cost,” so in this case, he was trying to use flattery.
Zainab wasn’t a sucker for flattery, so she waved his compliment saying, “Thanks, can we get down to business?”
Boniface was fairly disgruntled, no one had actually turned down his compliment that way, but he just had to move on, after all, what other choice did he have?.
“Okay, if you say so. So what’s the problem?” He said.
“Good. Well, I’m not familiar with legal terms, so I don’t know if I can call this a case of attempted murder”
Boniface readjusted on his seat, he had the feeling he was in for a long story, “am all ears,” he said.
Zainab took a deep breath and then went ahead to tell him everything she knew from the scratch, starting from when she filed for divorce to where she woke up at the hospital and got the tape where Richard instructed Dr. Daniel to kill Zainab. When she was done with her story, she took a deep breath, she didn’t even notice she had been holding her breath all this while.
To her greatest surprise, Boniface didn’t say anything to her immediately, rather, he signalled a waiter, and placed his order, he looked at Zainab and saw the surprised look, or maybe angry would be a better word to describe her look.
“Aren’t you going to eat something?” He asked.
Zainab was speechless, she had just told this man something that had been bothering her for days and was very serious and here he was, asking her to eat or drink something like he hadn’t even listened to all the things she said.
“No, thank you,” she finally blurted out, trying not to show her disappointment.
Boniface smiled and in the process exposed his perfect white teeth, if he was employed by any toothpaste company to advertise their product, their sales would tremendously in a week or less.
“I insist you eat something, or at least, just have a drink,” he pushed.
“I said NO, thank you,” Zainab emphasised on the no, and she made sure the “thank you” wasn’t from her heart.
“Okay, if you insist,” he replied and waved the watched the waiter walk to the counter to collect the order.
Boniface then stared at Zainab from a short while, he was obviously thinking, but Zainab hadn’t a single clue of what was going through his “punk head”.
“Do you have the tape here with you?” He finally asked after a long pause.
“Yea, sure,” Zainab replied and started searching her bag for the Ipod, she found it in no time and gave handed it over to him.
He picked it up, and examined it for a while like he had never seen such device before, Zainab starred at him intensely, she didn’t want to miss a thing.
With out listening to the content he asked, “so how did you come across this again?”
“It was found in one of my hand bags at home, I got an anonymous tip,” Zainab replied.
“Hmmm, okay, do you have a suitable earpiece with you? Mine won’t fit into the port”
“Yea, of course, have it,” she was holding the earpiece already so she gave him.
The both of them were feeling quite smart with their selves and tried to pull the other leg or out smart each other at every possible opportunity.
While Boniface listened to the contents, his order arrived: not exotic, just some sort of assorted drink and a king-sized burger, he definitely had a huge appetite, Zainab thought.
He paused the tape, picked up his burger and took a bite, opened the drink and also took a sip, then he looked at Zainab and asked again, “are you sure you don’t want to have anything? This tastes great.”
Zainab was furious and her face was glowing red, Boniface noticed and smiled in a way he was sure she wouldn’t know.
“Are you going to focus on this case or try to flirt with me? I thought you were a pro, guess I was wrong,” Zainab said in a second and snatched the Ipod from him, picked up her bag and made to leave the eatery in annoyance.
Boniface smiled, he was obviously enjoying himself. He had tried to play the good cop with her when he flattered her but she turned him down, and according to his books, when the good cop doesn’t work, then the bad cop would, and that was exactly what he was doing, playing the bad cop.
He let her walk past him and just when she was at his back directly, he stood up and turned towards her.
“You have a tough case here,” he started to say and Zainab paused to listen. “There isn’t much to convict him, but I understand your plight and your husband needs to be locked behind bars, if you walk out of here, that’s not going to happen, trust me. Now come and sit down back and let’s talk more”
Zainab stood still for a bit, weighing her options, he probably wasn’t as bad as she though. After standing still for a few seconds, she returned back to the seat.
Boniface showed his teeth once more and asked, “now, do you want to drink something?” He asked.
* * * * *
Jummy was perplexed as she sat transfixed on her desk. She couldn’t believe her bad luck, every nerve in her body had frozen and she if she let go off herself for a minute, she would probably urinate on her body.
“So this jobless woman was monitoring this call? I wonder why all this woman does is make life miserable for me,” Jummy thought to herself. She had just had an accident and lost her car, plus she still had plans of paying back John for the hospital bill and all this requires money, the last thing she needed now was to loose her job.
She made the sign of the cross, and with a huge sigh, she stood up from her seat and headed to her supervisor’s office.
The supervisor’s office was far different from a regular office. It was bigger than normal and had a state of the art DVD player which had never been switched on, as far as Jummy knew. There were more than enough furnitures in the office, which consisted of a big table, three chairs – one at one side of the table and two at the other side, a couch close to door and a wall which was somehow converted into shelf for files. From the way it seemed, the supervisor made an extra effort to make sure the name tag on her table was very visible, it was a big chunk of flat wood which was coated with gold, in looked like it cost a fortune. Boldly written on it was, “MRS OGBONAYA G. E,” what the “G. E” meant was unknown to all the staffs in the company.
Jummy stood at the door of the office and made the sign of the cross once more, she was dead nervous. She knocked on the door in a way she could hardly hear the sound and waited for a response, Mrs Ogbonaya heard it and instructed her to come in.
Without looking at Jummy, she pointed at the empty seat across the table and continued to punch the buttons on her keyboard.
Jummy sluggishly walked to the seat and just when she was about to sit on it…
“And who gave you permission to do that?” Mrs Ogbonaya voiced out, she still wasn’t looking at Jummy. Jummy was confused, didn’t this woman just point at the chair now?
“Am sorry ma,” Jummy replied and stood up.
“Sorry? It seems everyone enjoys telling me that nowadays,” Mrs Ogbonaya replied and finally stopped punching her keyboard, she now stared at Jummy, “people think they can just say sorry and every misdeeds would be forgiven, even now, the incompetent employees of this company tend to say sorry a lot nowadays, or don’t you agree, Miss Olukoya”
Jummy was starring at the blank wall behind Mrs Ogbonaya, it looked really interesting to her. She noticed no one was talking again and realised Mrs Ogbonaya was waiting for a reply, “Oh! No.. Yes.. No.. Errr.. You are right,” Jummy stuttered.
“Good, I’m always right. I think its high time we do something about the incompetent employees, before its too late, don’t you agree?” The way she used the “we” made Jummy feel she was referring to herself and her.
“Yes ma,” Jummy muttered, so far so good, this conversation was going too well for her.
“Jummy…” Mr Ogbonaya suddenly called out. Jummy was startled, she didn’t think Mrs Ogbonaya could call her that.
“Jummy right? That’s what you are usually called right?” Jummy was getting impatient, what was all this plenty questions for, if you want to fire me, fire me and let me rest, Jummy thought.
“Yes ma,” she replied anyway.
“You are aware you haven’t been to work for a long while, and today you decided to come to work, you insulted one of our customers, right?”
Jummy knew her time was up, she was about to be fired, or so she thought.
“Yes ma, about my absence, it was inevitable. I had an acc…”
“Accident,” Mrs Ogbonaya cut in, “Yes, am also aware you had enough energy to move around but could call to inform us. Anyway, that aside, what do you have to say concerning insulting one of our customers?”
Jummy was on the spot, she had no possibly good excuse, “err.. Ma.. Err… I..” Was all Jummy could say.
“No response? I thought as much,” Mrs Ogbonaya looked at Jummy more intensely now, “you see, like we both agreed some minutes ago, we need to let go of the incompetent staffs, so let me ask you this question. Miss Olukoya Jumoke, are you incompetent?”
Jummy heard the soundtrack of those ancient action movies in her head:”Ghen Ghen!!!”.
She went into deep thoughts, she had to somehow think of a smart reply, and need to fast, very fast.
TO BE CONTINUED.