Printing machines were talking. White office papers clothed my brown desk. The screen of my desktop computer cried out a large table with multiple cells holding numbers of digits hostage. At that moment, I wanted to do anything but have a silent discussion with figures that mattered more to our C.E.O. than they did to me. I stood, and kicked the green stapler with my fingers. I wanted something. Something I could not even picture in my cloudy mind. I took a few steps forward, then swerved to the rear. Maybe water would cool me down. I headed to the CWAY dispenser behind me and stole some fluids. The more I gulped down water the more I realized that nothing had changed — or would change. I didn’t mind what my other colleagues in the office would think or say. It seemed like no one minded me either. No change, not even the opposite of betterment. I went back to my seat to face the job I had no other option than to do.
Just after my wristwatch which once said 11:46 am had added 3 minutes, a figure walked up to me. She stayed at the left side of my desk, her fingers spread out to support herself as she leaned over my desk.
“These are the updated inventories for week 39, Mr Kingsley Ejiro,” she plucked some papers from the cavity of her left elbow, squinted at them, and then handed them to me.
My tired eyes couldn’t rise beyond the area of interest below her neck. My mind went wild in tune with her yellow blouse. I was staring at a juxtaposed binary that was easier to calculate.
My head adjusted its angle up to her face. Mojisola Omotoyosin was sweet. How did I not notice in the four-month she joined us?
“You seemed stressed up, sir.”
“Yeah,” I exhaled noisily from my mouth, woke from my slouch and dragged my office chair closer to the desk, “It’s just family wahala jare…”
“Wife or kids?”
“Kids?” My cheeks inflated with nothing particularly.
“I don’t even have a wife yet,” I made her eyes rest on my left fingers to prove my words.
Her eyeballs could fall out if widened a few millimetres more. Yeah, anyone should be surprised. A few white hairs having a family meeting on my chin, well-built arms and wallets that had more double-head-bearing currencies than business cards yet non to call, wife. I was like Adams before Eve came; I had it all but no woman.
“I didn’t know that,” Moji said, “but on a serious note sir, you should take a break. Maybe this weekend or so.”
“My problem is that I don’t know how to take breaks,” the power supply was interrupted and the silence was conspicuous.
I quickly picked up the office phone punched a few buttons and placed it on my right ear.
“Yes. Put it on. Quickly.” I said before dropping the phone back to the black bed it previously laid on.
I turned to my desktop computer and quickly pressed the control key and the black key which had a white “S” boldly pasted on it. The UPS was always a lifesaver.
Smiling, I turned to Mojisola, “Will you teach me how to relax this Saturday?”
She froze. Her speech machine was open yet still.
“I would think about it, sir,”
“Yes, please do,” the light bulbs and the machine in the office roared to life once again.
She just nodded her head and shot a smile that was starved for days.
I understand. She was surprised. This Saturday is going to burst my head. I can’t wait. Where would… I have a plan.
With a fresh and youthful eye, I began cross-checking the numbers again, mindlessly at first. Then I realized that I had to keep Mojisola out of my mind if I didn’t want to make any obvious errors.
Allah U Akbar!
I heard it. But I wasn’t well-rested enough to wake up. I had been chatting with Mojisola and oftentimes, replying to my younger brother’s chat when Mojisola took a little longer to respond. Well, she was my cocaine. My real cocaine. I mean, neither prayers nor the need to complete any project now, nor in the past, had ever kept me up till 2:39 am. We both joked about the “igbotic” accent of our C.E.O., we talked about how rude Mrs Funmilayo appears to be, and how easy it was to deceive Mallam Sanusi, the company’s gatekeeper, that we came to work at past 8 am because Oga sent us on a virtual errand.”
Then the sweet part that made it exciting was when we talked about each other’s past relationships. If her battery wasn’t low, we would have chatted till dawn.
I wanted to pray then I thought of the sweet evil I had already planned out to do with Mojisola when we see today. This is the Saturday I have been planning ahead for. Should I ask God to bless the workother’sy hands today? My heart was speaking in two languages with different volumes.
What should I do?
I knew what I should do, obviously, but I can’t just avert the plan. I mean, I know she wants it as well, our dirty chats revealed that to me. And besides, she was just more than hot and I live alone here.
I know what to do.
I got up from my knees flung my Bible gingerly into my wardrobe and went straight to the bathroom. No. Wrong way. I diverted to the kitchen first.
I couldn’t focus at work. I mean it was worse this time because whenever Mojisola passed by, my mind would begin to calculate the angle of her swaying hips faster than the Microsoft Excel sheet I had to work on. I mean the brain loves pleasure over hard work, doesn’t it?
When our eyes jammed, her lips grew wider. Mine grew too. I twisted my wrist. What does my watch say? Why is the day so slow? It should be over already! I wondered why we had to work on Saturdays as well. I mean! Why?!
Finally, the hour hand slept at the digit 2. This time, I went to her table.
“I’d pick you up at your house by 5 pm,” it was more like asking than telling. I was able to extracted an “Okay, no problem” from her mouth and that, for me, was a bountiful harvest.
I wanted to rush home. Then I remembered that I was supposed to be in the market. I had to get ugwu, crayfish, pepper, red meat, and what else did I jot down from the “Foodies and Spice” show? The list should be in my car. I got in and before I turned on the ignition, I scampered the short stack of documents that piled beside my gear.
I heard some women chatting and laughing as they shouldered their handbags away from the compound of the office. I stole a quickie and then returned to my search. Finally. I revealed the folded paper. How could I have even forgotten the most important component of Egusi soup? Egusi itself. I laughed at myself. I should have stayed with mum while she was cooking rather than playing football with Nonso and James. I chuckled again, sat upright and twisted the ignition key. Nothing happens. I repeated my action before my car roared to life. My palm cupped the gear and danced in a few directions and I was on the road. La market, la go!
The road I took was quite dazing but not unfamiliar. I stole another glance at the paper that housed my list; I must not forget any food item. I want Mojisola to prepare dinner for us without any comma.
It was quite stressful. But the thought of the evening filled me with energy from wherever it came. I got back to the gate I recognized and punched a horn or two. I noticed Mallam Musa open the smaller gate, peeped out and shut it back. In a second or two the large gate murmured as it glided across the cemented ground. The gate was wide open. I wanted to drive in but I stopped. Without turning off the engine, I dropped down, my shoes pressed the ground. I picked the black poly bag which had green leaves peeping out of it and hurried to my main door. In a short while, I was inside my house; I dropped the bag just beside the silver sink in the kitchen. Everywhere was as I left it, expectedly. I could hear the clock sing its eternal song, Tick Tock Tick Tock. When I looked up to it, it said twenty-one minutes to the time for Mojisola’s pickup.
“I can’t go late o…” I soliloquized.
Quickly, I locked the door behind me and then dashed out. I disturbed some Agama lizards as they soaked up the rays of the sun just along my path. They ran haphazardly. Do they even have a leader? I thought.
No. I shake my head. That’s not my concern now.
“Lock the gate.”
“Oga, hope no froblem,” Mallam Musa asked. He wore a simple jalamia as radiant as the white dresses ghost wore in most movies on the African Magic channel.
“No, no, no,” I turned to him as I opened the door of my car, “there is no problem.”
“E’hen, Oga, some dustbin fefu been dey pind you today,”
“Chai. Correct, Oga,”
“Did they drop the bills?”
“Yes. Oga the fayfa dey inside my room,” his index finger pointed towards the rare of his shoulder, “shey make I bring am comot por you?”
“No, when I come back, I would read the paper,” I said, “I’m in a hurry.”
I shut the door of my Range Rover. And in a moment my vehicle had reversed and left my house.
“I don’t know what’s wrong with this car?” I kicked the tire. I think I gave my feet more pain than I did to the tire.
“Don’t worry, Mr Kingsley,” her slender palm rested on my right shoulder, “we could use my brother’s car.”
I threw my face towards her.
“I’ll just tell him I borrowed it.”
I didn’t even know what to react
“You can drive if you prefer,” her voice was as thin as she was, “We could call a mechanic to check your car out later.”
I was calmed. Her touch alone was sufficient.
“If you say so,” I stretched out my hand. I could hear Phyno’s Fada Fada eh… play in the background. I should have danced but I wasn’t wearing dance shoes that matched my mood.
“It’s manual,” she dropped the keys in my palm.
“No wahala you can get in the other side,” as she walked, I studied her hips as they did their magic. The blue gown was like a second flat skin, only blue.
She was in the car. I got in, too. The car ran.
“You didn’t tell me you were taking me to your house.”
“Well, I didn’t tell you any other place. And so,” I cupped her sweet hands in my palm, “we find ourselves here.”
The low-volume radio was louder than the silence that ensued.
“Oh, forgive my manners,” I got down from the Toyota Camry, turned around, I could hear the crickets sing to us. The street light above distinguished us from the darker bush beyond. I opened the car and brought her out. And as we drove in Mallam Musa waved; he wasn’t surprised. Mojisola wasn’t the first beautiful woman that stepped into my compound with me. We both knew. We got in and locked the front door behind us.
Mojisola satisfied me twice, in a plate of a rich delicacy of egusi soup with pounded yam and in bed. She was amazing. I thought of how she would make a great wife. I wanted more. I mean, I wanted her to be more than “one of those girls.” I could propose to her. Today was Sunday, she had woken up earlier and said she would love to go for morning mass. I understood. I asked if she would need a drop and she had waved it off. I was even tired sef, so I didn’t force the offer.
“Goodnight sweetheart,” I heard my lips pour out.
“Good night? It’s morning!”
She wore her dangling gold earrings, drew a red line on her lips. She leaned over for a second and pasted her lips on mine, ran off as fast as her heel shoes could permit. Then I heard her car zoom out of the gate. I heard Mallam Musa close the gate afterwards. Everywhere was lonely once again. Well except in my wild thoughts.
Should I go to church?
I answered in the negative. But I have to go out. See as Mojisola just paralysed me yesterday night. Chai…
I coated my chest with a green jersey and jumped into a loose pair of blue jeans. I stole a pair of green and white sneakers from my collection and headed off to the gate.
“Let me check on the mechanic I called to fix my car,” I told Mallam Musa. In a few minutes, I was out.
I left my house by 9:33 am after I finally earned the energy to get up from bed. I saw a few of my friends at a nearby restaurant and discussed my sweet experience with them, trying hard not to mention Mojisola’s name.
I went to my mechanic after the visit; he called me that the car was almost ready. By 3:55 pm I got back to my compound. Everything was just the same. I had got a pineapple from the grocery. At least, that’s was what I felt like eating. The knife wasn’t there. Maybe Mojisola didn’t know where knives were stored. As I went to the parlour to search for it, my eyes caught a sight. My knife was clothed with blood. Did Mojisola wound herself? I don’t think so. She would have made it know while we intertwined on the bed. I mean, I was rough; It should have been obvious. I waved the build-up of thoughts in my head. I got to the sink and washed the knife with detergent, water and a hard scrub.
I could not peel pineapple without wasting the inner flesh along. Then, mama had forced me to learn it right, but as always, I had dodged.
What did I learn in this life sef?
I packed the watery peels towards the corner of the tray upon which I did the cutting. I sorted out the succulent chunks from those married to the pineapple skin. Good guys in a soup bowl, bad guys remain on the tray.
I opened the backdoor, headed towards the dustbin pile to dispose of the peels until my eyes caught an unexpected wonder. Mojisola was lying lifeless around the wastebin all dressed in her pretty and churchy attire. My tray dropped shattering into pieces. The blood on the knife had its source from Mojisola’s abdomen. The wastebin area was a messy sight of stale blood, decaying matters and flies.
Who drove the car out?
In her hand was a sound recorder. I picked it up. What kind of misfortune is this?
I listened carefully to the end.
Mojisola had planned it all out with her boyfriend. Their aim? Her boyfriend would steal my money and gold bars while she kept me busy in bed.
Yes, their plan was successful and clean. Except for the fact that her boyfriend, which she had sneaked into the boot of her car which I drove, was rather more selfish than death himself. Yet, he shouldn’t have killed her.
So my car breakdown was planned too?
And she knew that I would take her home. She must have read my promiscuity like a novel. Everything was so perfect that she would be the least suspect. I mean, they had also cut off a chunk of the barbed wire so it would seem like a random thief came in while I went to get my car from the mechanic. I thought I was smart at getting to her. But she had bigger plans. Too bad it was with an unfaithful crime partner. And worse for me, I have a dead body in my compound.
Ezeadum Sixtus Ebube is a 200 Level medical student at the University of Ibadan. He has a long-lasting romantic relationship with creativity and enjoys every variation she offers, most especially, in the aspect of creative writing. He can be reached through firstname.lastname@example.org