Standing at a Distance (1)

Richard

It is considered insane for one to be happy because of the Lagos traffic; especially as it was on Otedola road. But Richard couldn’t have been more grateful for it. He was on his way to work at a job he neither applied for nor got interviewed for. Specs of being the son of the CEO. He thought.

He had simply gotten a text from his dad, informing him that he would be resuming at that particular branch as their sales manager the next day.

Get prepared. Your work as a sales manager at Ajasi Limited, Maitama branch, starts tomorrow. The text had read.

He had fumed and murmured incoherent words, but none of that changed the fact that he had to obey his father, because his father never goes back on his word. All efforts to contact his dad at night and early that morning proved futile. He had no option but to prepare for work and head to a place he’s never been to before.

He tapped on the steering wheel. “I am thirsty, for God sake,” he said coldly.

Richard was the candy every lady sought for.  He was the tall, fair guy with a cute baby face that always made many dispute his age. He was the only son and heir to his father’s empire that could sustain them even to his fortieth generation. He always saw no reason why he should bother working.

The traffic congestion cleared. He hissed and drove the remaining short distance into the premises of Ajasi Limited. He wondered if this was another of his father’s many assets. That was how nonchalant he was about the location of the businesses. He never had any reason to find out where all of his dad’s companies stood.

“Good morning, sir,” a male voice greeted from behind as he tried to lock his car door.

He rolled his eyes at the intrusion before turning to see the intruder.

“Hy,” he feigned a smile that didn’t reach his eyes.

“Good morning, sir,” the man greeted again. “My name is Jude. I’m your personal assistant.”

Oh. I get a personal assistant too? He thought and inwardly danced triumphantly. “Good, where’s the office?” he demanded.

Jude led the way into the building.

Richard halfheartedly followed behind with a mental note to call his dad and thrash out the issue later. He wasn’t a kid to be bossed around and his dad definitely had no right to assume the position of a  king in his life.

He walked into the building and met the staffs all lined up to greet him. He grudgingly answered all of their greetings and followed Jude’s lead.

“Who’s that girl with the 2 o’clock eye?” he asked.

“Your secretary,” came the short reply.

He sighed. “Don’t I even get the right to chose a beautiful secretary?” he asked Jude, who simply nodded and continued walking.

“Lord help me!” he groaned. His dad had really lost if he thought this would make him start caring about the family business.

Jude opened a door and gave way for him to walk in. “Your office, sir.”

He entered into the plush office space, walked straight to the chair and sank in.

“You can now leave!” he said when the so-called personal assistant made no effort to leave.

“You dad said to brief you on some…

He knew what it was even before Jude completed the sentence. This was his dad’s and Jude is here to guide him.

“Start the briefing,” he said, absentmindedly.

“It’s not my job. It’s the secretary’s.”

His senses came back to him. “For real? I don’t have the power to exercise my own human right again? I thought I was a grown man.”

Jude, who didn’t know the reason for his outburst, just stood watching him rant.

“Can I call her now?” he asked when Richard finished ranting.

“No. Give me some breathing space first.”

Jude nodded. “She will be here in ten minutes.”

“What?” Richard creased his brows. “Are you my boss or it’s the other way round?”

“I’m your dad’s employee.”

While Richard was still trying to wrap his head around all that was happening before him, Jude bowed slightly and left.

Could this day get any worse? He thought. One thing is to be your dad’s employee, another thing is to have a personal assistant who’s more superior than you are.

He had barely relaxed his nerves when a gentle knock sounded on the door.

“Who’s that?”

“It’s me,” he heard a feminine voice. “Sandra, your secretary.”

I thought Jude said ten minutes, it’s not even up to a minute. He thought.

“Come i…,” she was already in before he could complete the statement.

He rolled his eyes and focused on the pictures he was looking at on Instagram before she interrupted.

“Sir,”

He refused to utter a word.

“Sir,” she called again.

“I’m not deaf,” he answered rudely. “I can hear you.”

“Sorry,” she mumbled. “I came with the documents your father said you should go through before the briefing.”

He hissed. Aside from being saddled with an ugly secretary, he didn’t have the right to his own privacy again. His dad actually announced to everyone that he was his son. Now the workers will start to see him like a spoilt kid being spoon fed.

“Drop it on the desk and go,” he said without even a glance in her direction.

“Alright.”

He sighed in relief when she dropped it and turned around.

He was just starting to focus more on Instagram when she turned back and opened her mouth to speak.

“Do you enjoy talking?” he said with a high tone, hoping it would scare her and she would keep whatever it was she wanted to say and walk away.

She didn’t even flinch. “Sir, the briefing starts in 5 minutes.” with that, she turned and walked out.

He glared at the closed door.

If this is what working entails, he would make sure to back out before it becomes too late.

Just then, his phone rang. He looked at his screen.

“Dad?” he hissed and muted the call.

He flipped through the document and dropped it aside. His brain wasn’t ready to take in all of the content of the document. He grabbed his phone and started play GTA.

Five minutes came too soon. He didn’t actually notice until his secretary knocked and walked in.

“Sir,” she started. “It’s…”

He interrupted with a wave of his hand. “Sit down and start.” He pushed the phone away from his reach.

She furrowed her brows. “OK.”

Sandra dropped the large files she was holding on the desk while he looked on like a sacrificial lamb.

“So, we’re starting with our biggest customer, Senator Mbakwe. This contains her details,”

She stretched a paper toward him and he collected it absentmindedly. His mind was already focused on the name she just mentioned. If he was not mistaken, the biggest patronizer was his girlfriend’s mum. He quickly flipped through the pages. Yeah, he was right after all.

His thought quickly drifted to his girlfriend and the last time they were together. They didn’t get to spend much time together but still, it was worth it.

All other things the secretary said afterwards only entered through one ear and went out the other. His mind was too focused on Mirabel; his longtime girlfriend and the future mother of his kids. She was currently running a Master’s programme at Lead City University, Liverpool.

“Please, can we continue tomorrow,” he interrupted, after five minutes of her noisemaking. She had actually been sounding like a radio with no frequency because he wasn’t listening and wasn’t about to listen to anything she had to say.

“Alright.” She stood up to go.

“Great,” he reached for his phone and continued the game from where he stopped before she interrupted.

He didn’t see her again. Neither did she come to bother him about any document and he couldn’t be more grateful for that.

“5 seconds to go.”

“4,”

“3,”

“2,”

“1,”

“Awesome!” he exclaimed, jamming his hands in the air. “Time to go home and have fun.”

He had started counting down to closing time since 4:59 pm. He figured it would get his mind off his meeting with his dad at night.

At a few minutes past 4, Richard quickly packed and ran out of the office like he was being chased.

“Oh, sh*t!” he exclaimed. He had bumped into his secretary. It wasn’t just an ordinary bump. It was a chest to chest kind of bump.

“I’m so sorry, sir.” she apologized immediately.

“Watch where you’re going next time,” he said firmly and walked past her.

He was halfway to his car when some thoughts actually started to rear their ugly heads.

She has really nice and succulent boobs.

They’re moderate and soft.

Richard shook his head to get rid of the thoughts but it seemed like the act only invited more thoughts. The images of the bump flashed in his mind again.

He finally managed to keep his thoughts under control, entered his car and drove off.

He was only a few minutes away from the office when he noticed a black Camry trailing him.

At first, he didn’t see anything unusual about it, until he reversed and started towards Shoprite when he remembered he needed to get bottles of red wines for his friends who would be coming over.

He panicked, but not for too long as he lost sight of the car.

Richard got what he wanted from Shoprite and came out to meet one of his tyres flat.

“What da?” he said, staring straight at the flat tyres.

He looked around, hoping he would find a solution to the mess before him but all to no avail.

“What could one flat tyre do anyway?” Without minding, he entered the car and slowly but steadily drove away.

He had safely driven away from the mall and was in a secluded area when a car came out from nowhere and blocked his path.

He angrily blared his horn.

Wait a minute. It’s the same car that was trailing me. He thought

“Get the fuck out of my way,” he continued blaring the horn but whoever was in the car didn’t respond.

He pushed open the car door and stepped out. Before he could say, Jack Robinson, four men with pistols each in their hands stepped out from the other car.

“Nobody will cry or get hurt if you corporate,” the one who seemed to be the most giantly built, said to him, with a gun pointing directly to his forehead.”

Richard quickly raised his hands in surrender even without being told. He had never been this scared in his life. He wouldn’t be surprised if he peed in his pant.

“Don’t hurt me, please,” he begged. He could not recognize his own voice.

“Nobody is hurting you,” the leader laughed. “Be an obedient boy and get into the car,” he gestured towards their tinted black Camry.

Richard walked forward. His legs shook like the weather was almost minus three hundred degree Celsius.

“Enter! Oloriburuku. Ajebo Oshi! ” one of the guys said, speaking as if he was high on something.

Richard nodded obediently and entered. The guy kicked him hard on his butt before he sat down.

He didn’t mind the kick. He only sat, wondering why and how he got into this. All his life, he always stayed off people’s path. True, he didn’t like to work; just party, smoke and drink. He had only been with one girl for the past 5 years. So, how the hell did it get to this?

He tried to recall if he offended anybody lately, but nope, he was sure he didn’t.

He was still on his thinking cap, when two of the guys stepped in and sat beside him, one on each side, still holding their guns.

“Guy, you go see pepper today,” one of them told him before their leader entered and drove off.

 

 

To be continued…

 

This is a Pelleura story.

Idea and write-up by Judith Uguwoke. Read the other chapters here

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About Judith Uguwoke

Judith Ugwuoke is a student of the University of Nigeria Nsukka. She is passionate about writing and reading. She is currently a Pelleura Team Member. When she's not doing any of the above, she's listening to music.

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