When Life Attacks

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
An intriguing tragic-comedy that reflects on the lively-hood and daily hustle of a man in the city of Lagos. Join Segun as he experiences an unforseen reality of when life attacks.

Submitted: July 12, 2017

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Submitted: July 12, 2017

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T he day couldn't be any more terrible than it already was?at least, that’s what I thought. It was a Monday morning…The most horrible day of the week?since it starts another session of a frustrating work reel. This time, Colin over did it. He didn't just in his drunken state mess up the whole apartment, he puked on my work shirt… my only work shirt! …And Colin? He is just this nutcase you will never want to get stuck with as a roommate. Bad news he is mine. I really can't recollect how we came to be, but sincerely, you don't want to know. All that bothers me now is how I get this mess off my shirt.

******

I rushed into the streets of Lagos looking like every other hungry?money thirsty?private worker. The heavy rainfall from the previous night made the roads all muddy, leaving me with no option but to walk barefoot with my 1990 leather shoe held between my armpits. The oldie had gone through thick and thin with just enough patches to show for its years of loyalty. Still, I was not ready to lose it so soon. I made it to the bus station just in time to see an approaching bus. With my expertise in the daily struggle for shuttles, I wasn't intimidated by the crowd of commuters before me. In seconds, I got into the bus.

"O wà o! Driver! Please let me come down." I shouted, from behind the vehicle. The arrogant looking driver?with eyes red as crimson, probably from lack of sleep or just too much to drink?kept moving at a constant speed. As he passed my stop, I became infuriated. With my teeth gritting against each other like an angry dog ready to attack, I screamed at him threatening to shove his manhood down his throat…through his innards back to where it belongs. Other passengers, realizing that he neglected my plea, rained all sorts of abuses on him in each of their local dialect. …In a grumble he brought the bus to a halt. Now that I was out, there was no point brawling, neither was there time to confront the obviously unconcerned driver. I took the shortest path as I ran to the office hoping not to meet the dreaded 'Head of Communications' on the way. ******

I jogged half way into the lobby with heavy balls of sweat dripping down my forehead. Even my fake stride after the jog didn’t seem to conceal the fact I was late? "You are late again," a voice spoke softly from behind me, enveloping my mud-stained shoes…crawling up to my knees…holding me in a vise of fear, with my legs threatening to betray me at the very sound of these words. In a startle, I stood completely still?too afraid to speak. I turned slightly towards the voice’s direction, laying out my options before my judging conscience.

"…Oh my God!" I made an exaggerated sigh. It was just Ifeoma a colleague. I couldn't give her the satisfaction of thinking she scared me because she was just another busybody who in no time will spread the news of how 'big Segun' got scared of 'little Ifeoma'.

"Hi Ifeoma! Can you just go about your own business pretending you never saw me?" I responded in a snarl. "Well, you also should stop resuming late, Mr. Latecomer." She saidpoking me as she walked away with a smirk dancing by the corners of her face. ******

James the janitor was just finishing with my work area. He always gives me the chills with the way he stares at me; his eyes piercing through like he is searching for something vile in my head. He is the creepy janitor that stares too much... and I don’t trust him. He is just too eccentric to not be crooked. I settled in my desk ignoring his usual stare as I checked through the leftover files? the previous week’s job. It was more of a full day’s work born out of so many days of leftovers. I picked up the phone receiver as I punched the number of the first customer. She was obviously an Igbo woman, considering the name I had on the list- Mrs. Obiora Amarachi.

The other end of the line held still for a second until a continuous and familiar beep broke the silence, piercing through my earsin no time blending with the stillnessuntil “Hello! This is the Obiora’s resident, who am I speaking with?” a squirmy voice inquired ?Probably the maid.

“This is Segun from TIMBID. I would like to speak with Mrs. Obiora.” I said, in my most courteous tone. The silence that followed my brief introduction was almost deafening. All I could hear was faint mumblings and long screeches?probably from the movement of something heavy.

“Yes? You have me on the line. How may I help you?” a croaky voice but authentic voice broke the silence.

She sounded like a blunt woman who wouldn’t welcome the courtesy of another introduction, so I just went straight to the point.

“Hello Madam! It appears you have an unsettled bill of 5,000,000 Naira. And of course you mean so much to us considering your debts. It’s no longer a—“

“Excuse me! Owe? You’ve got the wrong person…I owe the company nothing.” She said, with a sarcastic laugh.

“No madam! It is plain here that you are yet to refund the sum of money you borrowed and your time for payment is overdue. The company does not do so well with customers that refuse to pay their debts. So, it does you no good playing games with the company. Madam, you have less than one week to respond to this directive before we take drastic decisions you would likely not be comfortable with.”

“Listen! Mr. Segun, like I said, you have the wrong person. I don’t owe the company; there must be a mix up somewhere. I am Mrs. Obiora Amarachi you should know who I am!”

“Okay madam! I have heard many talk like this like they own the company, but I will tell you what I tell them; suit yourself, but when we confiscate your assets, then you will understand. Have a good day!” “Àwón ígbò onígbésè…Àwón ahun” (Igbo debtors...such selfish people) I mumbled as I ended the call.

******

It was lunch break. I had successfully contacted a reasonable number of 25 customersprecisely debtors! There is always this buzz of excitement that fills the air in TIMBID when its break time. It becomes another scene entirely as men with just enough money flaunt around with free food offers, enticing the ladies in the office. At another corner, chitchat will be onmostly gossips about who the new hot guy or lady is? who just got fireda raise or a demotion? who sleeps with who? you knowall sorts of filthy conversations that go on in every office. I felt contented with my progress so I decided to award my tired self a nap. Not like I am a fairytale dreamer, but I was having this wonderful dream of owning a mansion with so many cars and ladies arounduntil I felt a light but steady nudge on my shoulders. ” Nothing is going to make me leave this fantasy” I said to myself. But the bump persisted. I raised my head off the desk?sluggishly—to take a look at whoever was disturbing me.

“Ifeoma! …What again! Ah! Why can’t you do without pestering me in a day? What do you want? ” I shouted, with a fierce stare. “I wouldn’t be here if the Head of Communications didn’t send for you.” She retorted as she stormed away with anger brimming on her face.

In no time, my lethargic eyes lit open as I replayed in a loop all that Ifeoma said.

The HOC? ...Oh God! Not again!” “What does he want me for?” I asked an imaginary being.

I re-dressed my table as I stood. Really, I don’t know why I did that I just did. With much hesitation, I practically dragged myself into the HOC’s office.

“Hello sir!” The stout looking man with his elf-like ears—probably within his fifties—tilted his head towards my direction as he adjusted his tiny lenses to get a better view of me.

“Mr. Segun, when last were you called up here?” he asked. “On Friday sir.” “And before Friday?” he inquired, but this time with resentment all over his face. I knew what he was getting at, but with his approach, I got really nervous. Though the room was fully air conditioned, you could tell I was sweating. He didn’t wait for my reply, he just went on


© Copyright 2017 Damilare Stark. All rights reserved.

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