Anniversary Gift

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
Oil manager based out in Nigeria needs an anniversary gift for his wife.

Submitted: July 30, 2017

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Submitted: July 30, 2017

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Anniversary Gift

Two gentle knocks resound in the office.
" Your 1:30 appointment is here Mr. McMann."says a feminine voice. "Thanks Karen, would you let him in." As she turns around her golden hair lifts into the air as if gravity is only an option for such voluptuous hair. Sometimes I don't know who I was doing a favor for more, her father for asking me to take her on or myself.

Joe Wilkins walks in wearing a khaki suit and folders clutched near his breast. His eyes dart around the office. It being the only one that has mahogany covered walls and a drinks cart loaded with the finest offers.
"Hello, Sir." he said.
"Hey Joe, thanks for swinging by was hoping to get an update on that little issue we had with the locals." I said."Please take a seat. Would you like a drink?"
"Oh its alright my father always said a drink before the night is a sure way to end your day." he replied.
"Well how about some coffee?" Without waiting for a response I buzzed the intercom button. "Why Karen would you be a doll and fetch us some coffee please, thanks"
She responds " Why of course, Mr. McMann."

"Well , now that that’s taken care of what did the local municipal office say about digging in that field?" I asked.
"After discussing it with the mayor, sir, he says that hes getting push-back from the locals.  They proclaim that the land is being inhabited by the Hausa tribe for generations and they don't want to move."
"You want to tell me that even after we made that generous contribution to his campaigns fund he couldn't find a way to move some tribesmen? Does he not understand the amount of oil that is in that area? With that piece of land we will be able to supply a quarter of our companies oil."
Joe looked down on his knees not having a response to my words.
"Alright Joe, there has got to be something we could do? Does he need another contribution, or some perks? How about a vacation on the company yacht? Talk to him find out what he wants and make it happen no matter what. We need that land and we will get it one way or the other" I said.
Joe still looking at his knees, I knew that he needed a little encouragement. I got up from my armchair and sat on the corner of the desk near him. Placing my hand on his shoulders.
"Son, you wouldn’t be here if I didn't think your not the man for the job."  
He gets up with a small semblance of confidence on his face.
"You are right, sir. I will make it happen no matter what!" As he turns around Karen walks in with a tray with our coffee.
"Here you go gentlemen, freshly brewed. Enjoy." She smiles with teeth bright enough to light up a room and red lipstick so alluring that even a married man can't resist the thought of those lips.
"Joe, stay for coffee. I actually got personal situation I was hoping to get your advice on." I said.
The urgency in his body diminished taken over by a slight curiosity. Guess its not everyday that a Chief Project Manager asks for personal advice from the runaround boys.
"You a married man Joe?" I asked.
"No, sir, haven't had the time with how much the company makes me travel."
"One day you'll find yourself in a similar predicament too. In a couple of days its my wives and I 30th wedding anniversary. God as my witness I have no idea what to get that woman that she already doesn't have."
"So my question to you young buck is have you got any ideas because I am definitely in a pickles here." I said.
Joe looked down on his knees again. Which I am guessing is a natural response for him when he has no words or is grasping to come up with them.
As my hope to get a suggestion of any sort began to diminish he exclaimed "Does she like animals sir?"
"What home economics major doesn't like a pet or two?" I replied.
A grin grew on his face as if a child that got away with stealing a cookie on the top drawer without his mother finding out.
"Perfect, then I got the perfect idea. I am going to send for him right away, he will come to your office when its fresh."
He raced out of the office without giving me anytime to ask what he meant by fresh or who hes going to send for.

Left pondering on what to expect a sleepy haze started coming over me. This coffee sure tastes good but lacks the punch to keep me up. I hit the intercom button again but wait to say anything. "Can I help you Mr. McMann, a soothing voice answers?"
"Karen, hows my schedule look for the rest of the day?"
I hear her ruffle through a couple of papers she then responds
"a 3 o'clock with the board followed by a conference call with the engineers on site at 4:30."
"Great, well would you be a dear and hold my calls till the meeting, I am going to lay down for one of my siestas."
"Why of course, Mr. McMann." she answers.
 
A feminine hand push my shoulder. "Mr. McMann I am sorry to wake you. Security downstairs says there is a visitor with a package for you but they can't let him through." said Karen.
With the haze of slumber still over me I respond " I wasn't expecting any package. What time is it? Has the board meeting began?"
My eyes start adjusting to reality and I notice the frown on Karen’s face, that ever loving smile turned into concern.
"What is it Karen?" I asked.
"Your board meeting isn't for another hour." she takes a pause mulling over the right way to bring something to my attention.
"Why the face sweet cheeks, whats going on?"
"Security said that the courier has something in rags its covered in blood. ."
My mind immediately shifts from 1st gear to 5th gear. Can this be a retaliation from the tribe for wanting their land?
"Okay Karen, tell them downstairs to send him up with a guard but to use the stairs. I don't want anybody getting suspicious." I told her.
A few moments later I hear two sturdy knocks on my door and a deep voice say "Mr. McMann this is Fred from security I am here with the courier. May we come in ?"
"Yes Yes come on in."
The door opens revealing a tall muscular Fred in black uniform followed by a short African man with two objects rapped in what seems to be fire blankets with fresh blood on them.
I stand up and glare at the courier.
He looks down in fear and holds up the two objects and says "Wannan shi ne kyauta ga ku daga Mr. Wilkins"
"Fred I don't speak Hausa but I did understood Mr. Wilkins so you better get Joe in here ASAP." I said.
Fred went to the door and while holding it open to keep an eye on our little Nigerian friend told Karen to reach Joe.
"Sannu" I said it being the only Hausa word I know meaning hello. The man responded with a head nod and thrust with his arms the bloody blankets. With hesitation I walked over to the courier. If these are limbs or some sacrificial warning I am getting myself involved in this negotiation.  Joe can't handle a threat such as this.
I cup my hands underneath the blankets. The Nigerian deposits them onto my hands. The blankets don't weigh as much I expected. I thought severed arms or legs to weigh more. I walk to my table about to set down the fire blankets as an eruption of noise occurs behind me as Joe flys through the door.
Panting he says "Sir, I am so very sorry I didn't know that they would deliver this so early and even more so to the office."
I turn my head with bewilderment in my eye.
"This is your doing Joe? What is the meaning of this?" I asked him.
"It's the gift for your wife, sir.I just didn't expect them to bring it right after the kill."
"Kill? What kill, who or what did you kill Joe?" I said.
An eyebrow on Joe's face rises.
"Didn't I tell you what I had in mind for your gift?" he asked.
"No, Joe you didn't. You stormed out of my office before I had a chance to ask you like a child with candy on his mind." I said.
His cheeks go red as embarrassment fills him.
" I do apologize sir, this man is Adebiyi. He's a poacher that we've gotten to known through our time here. I thought he'd know exactly what to get for your wife her being an animal lover and all." He said.
I look at the Poacher and ask "What is in the blanket?"
it didn't seem like he understood what I said but Joe translated "abin da yake a cikin bargo?" Joe Said.
The man responded "Wa?annan ?ungiyõyi biyu ne sabo hauren giwa."
Joe says " The man said these are two fresh elephant tusks that he got today."
I turn back to the table with the blankets. I start to unwrap them. To my awe I see stark white pointed tusk with a base covered in fresh flesh still warm from the extraction.
I turn to Joe "This is quiet an idea son. But what good is this if they are covered in blood and guts?"
Joe reply’s "Oh sir, it is tradition to show the purchaser the original product for authenticity. They will clean it and engrave it with your anniversary date by the end of the day."
I solemnly look at Joe. "Thank you Joe this is a unique idea I didn't expect it. I guess I was expecting something horrid with our negations not going well and all."
Joe's smile returns and the color of his cheeks settle back down to a hue of calmness. He speaks to the courier in Hausa but I pay no attention to it. The courier re-wraps the tusks bows and leaves the room. I holler "Fred, you make sure he takes the stairs back down." through the door hoping to not spook anybody.
"Okay Joe, I appreciate the gift but next time a forewarning would be appropriate, alright?" I said.
"Yes, of course sir my sincere apologies I was not expecting them here so soon." Joe stated.
"Well, I got a board meeting to go to. When did you say that he will be back?" I asked.
"Should only be a couple of hours. I told them to deliver them in a box straight to your office. There will be no misunderstandings next time I guarantee it sir."  

The meeting consisted of the usual processes so in the back of my mind I kept thinking about the tusks. They must have been at least 4 feet long and a foot wide. I remember from somewhere saying that Nigerians use them for status symbols and aphrodisiacs. As a child my uncle always said " You see these piano keys sonny, they came from elephant teeth". I always laughed and said "impossible". Now I see how I was mistaken.

The board adjourned for the typical scotch before dinner session. I slipped past the crystal glass bearers to my office. Karen was not at her desk. Making copies or such.
I opened the door to my office to be greeted by a white blanket over two long objects standing side by side as in a royal family crest of crossing swords. I lift it to reveal a warm red cherry wood base with tusks attached to it. But this time around there is no blood or tissue. This time they are standing straight crossing each other at their respective bases with the sharpened points in opposite directions. Before the tusks were stark white now each of them had a unique engraving. The one on the left covered in floral arrangements from roses, lilies, tulips and others that I have never seen before. The right one had people dressed in traditional Nigerian dress holding hands, dancing all around the tusk. It was as if there was a celebration occurring up and down the right tusk. Each character on the tusk smiled and laughed. As if it was a never ending celebration. Between the tusks on the cherry base was a golden plate with bold black English lettering "Happy Anniversary Dear. Janurary 5th."  


 

 

 


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