The story so far here
“I need more time,” I was sweating as the rest of the team breathed down my neck. They were crowded round my desk, looking over my shoulders and peering at my computer screen.
“Time, my good friend is what you don’t have.”
All heads swung in the direction of the voice. Standing at the door to the Sales and Marketing office was the CEO, the top dog himself. He was looking dapper as usual in his black Italian suit, white shirt, red silk tie and black shining shoes. But, he didn’t look very pleased.
“We are supposed to be on our way to the client’s by now. What or who is delaying us?” The emphasis placed on the “who” made me sweat even more. The rest of the team were already backing away from my table, as if dissociating themselves from a criminal about to be sentenced to hanging. The CEO’s wrath was legendary and no one finds it funny when they are within his shooting range. I could feel five pairs of eyes staring at me sitting at my desk, my eyes glued to my computer screen as I tried to understand how a PowerPoint proposal of our strategy proposition to a new client we were prospecting could have gone missing from my laptop. I just finished up on the document, and put everything together and duly saved it in a folder created for that specific purpose. Then I had dozed, until the team leader came bursting in on me and asking for the file. She had mumbled something about a sudden shift, about the client bringing the date of our presentation forward. About her being in a hurry, about the CEO wanting to see the proposal first before we head out for the meeting.
But, I could no longer find the folder nor the document. It had disappeared completely from my system. All attempts, even going through the recycle bin, had proved unsuccessful. We were still at it when the man himself walked in.
I must have deleted the file while I dozed, I thought to myself. But, if that had been the case I should have seen it in the bin. But, it was not there and that was strange. Now, with no proposal and nobody having a copy I was cooked and being served on a plate to the executioner. I could almost see me getting my termination letter within the next hour. I wiped my brow and turned to face him. I was just about to own up to the mix up when Vincent, our I.T. guru walked into the office.
“Let me try and locate the file, sir”, he walked directly to my desk before the CEO could give him permission and began to type. Then he straightened up, winked at me and stepped back, “the files were deposited in the server database. I have retrieved it and saved it both on the flash drive, the system and sent it as a mail to you sir.”
“That’s good, Vincent. Okay guys, let’s go!” He turned briskly and walked away without another glance in my direction. Every one scrambled for bags, writing pads, laptops and other necessaries in a rush to get to the pool car before he got to his. Getting to meetings late was an unforgiveable offense.
On my way out of the office, Vincent grabbed my arm and whispered “Almost got you that sack letter you always dreamed about there, didn’t I?” He winked and brushed past me before I could even digest the import of his remark.
I didn’t even have enough time to fully understand his words before I was shoved out by a mass of bodies scrambling to get to the car first.
“That was sick Vincent, very sick.”
“Yeah, you can talk. Coming from the king of all sickos,” Vincent grinned back at me as he swung sideways on his seat. “I am sorry I didn’t play it out longer. Maybe that sack letter would have been a good outcome for you after all.”
I showed him the middle finger and took a friendly swipe at the back of his head with the sheets of paper in my hand.
The presentation to the client had gone pretty well. As a matter of fact, the client had liked every one of the strategy recommendations we had made and had decided on the spot to hire us as its media and advertising agency. In all, it had been a very fruitful day. The incident with the almost lost files had been quickly forgotten by the members of the team, however on getting back to the office I had tracked down Vincent for an explanation.
Vincent hid the files in the database, a practical joke for my constant whining that I hated the way people in my department demanded impossible timelines for delivery of strategy direction for a myriad of clientele. It was a joke, one that could have had me fired if he had not showed up when he did. However, his little trick with the files had not resulted in any major reprimand.
I looked at him with feigned disgust, “You be the devil wey dem send from my village abi?” He smiled and handed me his half eaten packet of peanuts, “I no want,” I replied eying the packet suspiciously, “Tell dem say you no see me.” In my mind, I cursed myself for making a reference to the devil.
I stood up and patted his shoulder as I left his office. Vincent was a nice guy whom a lot of people around the office didn’t understand. And because of his peculiar behavior and habits, they hardly took the pains to try and understand.
I went back to my desk, punched a key on the keypad and prepared to settle down to one of my favorite past times – writing stories and poetry is what I do with my spare time. I opened the folder titled ‘MY BOOKS’, and created a new folder.
I paused for a moment as I contemplated my next move – a title for my new story idea. I loved writing and it gave me release from the troubles of the real world. In my writing I could live my fantasy world. I could escape, be rich or poor and date which ever girl I desired. In my books, I could kill or be killed; and in my poems, which I consider my very finest craft, I could lay bare my heart for the world to see.
It is catharsis for me. Writing is the balm that soothes all the wrinkles that exists in my life.
It must have been close to a full minute before I realized I had once again dozed off with the newly created folder, yet untitled. I blinked and focused on the screen, yes I needed to put down my idea for a new story. I also have to save it properly this time, in my external drive. Somewhere Vincent cannot get to tamper with it.
The story idea had been festering in my mind for a while, but I had put it off because of the work demands on the new client’s strategy proposal. But, now that that was out of the way I could get down to doing some serious writing. I write every opportunity I have, in between breaks or in the lunch room, in the bus on days I am not driving, at home on nights I can’t sleep. Basically, I write every time I had a free time on my hands. It was better than going out and being made the laughing stock of girls and my male friends. It beat the dejected feeling of being turned down by a girl or being heartbroken.
The new story idea was a thriller and it had been an idea I had nursed for while without making any major effort on it until recently when someone in a BBM group I belonged to wrote a vivid replica of the same idea I had, as a parody of all the members in the group. The fella had it in him to be the killer in that one, chasing all the girls and representing the guys as gutless heroes or straightforward cowards. That had sparked my urge and desire to write my story.
A TIME TO KILL rolled out on the screen as my fingers moved expertly across the keyboard. Then without knowing why, I felt everything stop – my fingers, my colleagues, even my heartbeat.
===== TO BE CONTINUED =====