Monday, 12:30 pm
Annabel picked up her phone to call Kemi, her colleague but that very minute, her phone rang. She looked at the screen to see who was calling and smiled. Hmm, Kemi, what a perfect time to call.
As she said hello, she discovered that Kemi was in high spirit and too eager to speak than to respond to her greeting. Guess what Ann? Kemi asked with such excitement that comes from a lady who is about to announce her being engaged to the man of her dreams. Oh come out with it Kemi, I am not in the mood for...
No! I insist you take a guess. Kemi cut her short. Ok then. Since you are in the office,
I guess you just got promoted.
No, try again.
You got a salary raise.
No. One more try
Oh please spare me the trouble. Annabel protested
One more. Kemi insisted
Okay, Bola proposed
No, no, no Kemi replied in quick succession.
The Managing Director was in our office this morning. He came to see you.
The MD came to see me? Annabel asked unbelievably surprised. Kemi, it is too early in the day to tell lies and the last time I checked, today is not April fool's day.
Oh! Annabel she called her name in full. Something she seldom does except whenever she wants to make a point. Are you calling me a liar Annabel? The MD called on the phone early this morning to speak to you. I told Him you were not in the office. He was annoyed that you had not come to work by 10:00 am. He said he had an assignment for you that you should see him immediately you come in. So I had to let him know that you were not going to be in the office.
When he asked why, I told him you were on suspension. He was so surprised that he had to come down to our office himself. As soon as he came in, he walked straight to Mr. Luscious' office. As he stretched his hand to reach out for the handle of the door, he almost collided with Mr. Luscious who was also walking out. Good morning Mr. Luscious. Good morning Sir sturterd Mr. Luscious a sign of his discomfort about the MD's unexpected visit. I heard Annabel is on suspension. For what offence if I may ask? For insubordination Sir he replied. As the door closed behind them, Kemi tip toed to the door to eaves drop on their conversation. Has she ever received a query before? Yes Sir Mr. Luscious responded. Can I see copies of the query and suspension letters? Yes Sir. Please sit down Sir. Mr. Lusciuos said pointing to the chair in front of his desk with one hand as he opened his drawer with the other hand. He searched every corner of the drawer from the first to the second even to the third drawer. He scattered his neatly arranged table as he begins to sweat, Eeh I left it inside my drawer on Friday Sir. Please let me take my time and look for it. I will personally bring it to you Sir. The MD got upset and stood up. Luscious, I expect you of all people to know the policies of this organization. It is against our policy for anyone to unilaterally suspend anyone. Every suspension letter must be signed by me. This is because past experiences have revealed that most unilateral suspensions had an undertone of witch-hunting. The board then decided that every query or suspension must have the approval of the MD. You said you issued her with query but you never copied me. Again, you issued suspension letter and I don't know about it.
Since you took this decision alone, I hereby nullify this suspension. Annabel should be informed to resume work tomorrow. When she comes, I shall further investigate this matter and God help you Luscious, God help you if I find out that this is a case of witch-hunting. You know, so I don’t need to remind you what the consequences will be. Good day Mr. Luscious.
Annabel could not help laughing. She wasn’t laughing about what Kemi said but the drama she played acting out the MD and Mr. Luscious at the same time. It was so funny. Kemi is known in the office to be the custodian of every office gossip. If you want to know what is happening in the office, Kemi is the person to call.
I wonder how she manages to be the first to know about anything in the office before any other person. Annabel thought.
Kemi continued. Ada has been instructed to send you an e-mail and call you on phone to resume tomorrow. So girl, keep checking your mails for that, but please when informed, act surprised. Don’t act like you have already known so I don’t get into trouble for telling you. Bye.
As Annabel lowered the phone from her ear, the phone rang again and with a glad heart from the good news she just received, she picked the call without looking at the screen to see who was calling. The voice she heard jolted her back to reality. She took a look at the phone to confirm the voice just heard. Yes, I heard right she confirmed to herself with a nod.
Hello Anna, how are you? I am fine Sir Anna replied. I need to see you as soon as possible. This is very urgent. Can we meet somewhere and discuss? Is it an official matter Sir asked Anna? Yes it is. But Sir, I am on sus... yes I know you are on suspension he cut her short, that is one of the things I want us to talk about. In that case Sir, we can meet in the office. Anna was trying hard not to give herself away as being privy to the prevalent situation in the office. Errrr... not in the office stuttered Mr. Luscious. Let us meet on a neutral place. But I thought you said it is an official matter Anna protested. Yes it is, but meeting in the office will not be a good idea. In that case Sir, I am not comfortable meeting with you anywhere outside the office for reasons we both know. Ann was enjoying every moment of puting him on the defencive. Anna please. It is important we meet. It is not what you think. I promise that I will not disrespect you or make you uncomfortable in anyway. If it will make you comfortable, we can meet in a public place or even in your church. Just tell me where you will be comfortable with and I will meet you there. But it is very important that we meet today because there is something at stake here. Something at stake? Anna asked with a sombre voice trying to pass on a feeling of concern and at the same time smiling at his frustration. Ok then let us meet at lunch hour at the eatery down the street of the office. I prefer we meet one hour before lunch time to avoid being seen by anyone from the office. So I propose we meet by 1pm. That is okay by me Sir.
1:15 pm at the eatery
Sitting at a table and slowly sipping a glass of orange juice, waiting for fifteen minutes seemed like eternity. Mr. Lusciuos looked at the entrance again for the umpteenth time but this time, he saw her walking through the entrance door, dressed in simple pink gown with a touch of lilac sprinkled all over the gown. Just as he was about to let his eyes admire this embodiment of natural beauty, he remembered the reason for the meeting and how this lady holds the key to his job retention. He quickly stood up and beckoned on her to come to his table.
I am sorry for coming late Sir Annabel apologised. It's okay Anna, at least you are here now, that's more important to me.
Sir, you said something was at stake. What is at stake if I may ask?
My job is at stake and only you can save me from losing it.
How Sir if I may ask?
First, I want to say that I am sorry about the mistreatments and all the harassments and suspension I gave to you. Please you can resume work tomorrow. Wait a minute Sir, when you suspended me, you made it official by giving me a written letter. Now you want me to resume, why do it unofficially by oral notice in an eatery? I have already instructed Ada to send you a mail and to call you by phone before the end of business today.
Why I invited you here is to explain to you that my job is at stake because of the suspension I gave you. I don't understand how Sir.
It is against our company's policy to unilaterally suspend someone. I acted unilaterally when I put you on suspension. I am there put under investigation by the board of directors. If a case of witch-hunting is established against me, I will lose my job. I have a wife and two lovely kids to take care of so I beg you to help save my job.
Sir, you neither considered your family nor mine when you harrassed, intimidated and suspended me. I may be single, but I have those who depend on me too. So why should I help you?
Anna, you are not like me. I know you are a good person. You are not vindictive and inconsiderate like me so I beg you to save my job. I promise never again to harrass, intimidate or mistreat you. If you want I can put it in writing and if that is not enough, I can get down on my knees and beg... No sir, please sir don't do this here she quickly protested to stop Mr Lusciuos whose left knee was already on the ground.
Okay so what can I do to help you Sir? When you resume tomorrow you will be invited for explanations. All I ask is please don't implicate me. I will try but on one condition. What is the condition Anna just ask. That you promise never again to harrass niether me nor any other lady in the office.
So Mr. Lusciuos stood up with a smile of satisfaction, offering Anna a handshake as peace offering. So Anna also stood up and shook his hands. See you in the office tomorrow Sir. Thank you very much Anna, see you tomorrow.