Tunde winced as the information on the screen before him began to dance once again. He had really over done it yesterday at the club. It was taking him twice as long to fill out this report. And the splitting headache that had tagged along with the hangover wasn’t helping.
He reached into his laptop bag and fished out a packet of pain relievers which turned out to be empty. That damn woman! Couldn’t she do anything right? He had specifically told her to always ensure that he had everything he needed before he left home. He crumpled the empty pack and trashed it. He would have to wait until lunch break. The office door bust open.
“Hey, Tunde how far? Have you-”
“Lanre please not so loud.” Tunde interrupted as he rubbed the sides of his head.
“Oh? Are we still hung-over? I told you that this new club is where it is all happening.” Lanre laughed.
“My wife forgot to put my headache pills in my bag.” Tunde grumbled.
“Do you ever do anything for yourself?” Lanre taunted.
“Excuse me?” Tunde stared angrily at his colleague.
“Sorry, but you start every sentence with her name whenever you need something.” Lanre said.
“Do you see her here making money?” Tunde retorted.
“Ok, ok sorry. No need to fly off the handle. Look, I have some tablets in my bag. You can get a cup of water from the dispenser… Oh, this one is empty will have to go to the banking hall. I too could use a drink.”Lanre said.
The banking hall was bustling with activity. It was the end of the month so a lot of salary earners were here to make withdrawals. Tunde wasn’t please about having to come out at this time. Chances were he would run into some of his cheaper customers who would bug him for mundane issues.
The dispenser was all the way on the order side just beside the security doors. Hopefully they could get there and sneak back into their office without been noticed.
“Fancy going out for lunch? It’s almost time.” Lanre said as they got to the dispenser.
“No, don’t really feel up to it. Besides, Seun packed lunch for me.” Tunde replied.
“Home made food? Lucky you! My wife travelled a few days ago to see her mum. I have been eating out the whole period and frankly I am already tired of it.” Lanre said.
“So you are whining now? Why did you allow her to go?” Tunde asked.
“Well, it has been a while since she as seen her mum and I didn’t want to quarrel over it with her.” Lanre said.
“Quarrel? Just backhand her. ” Tunde said offhandedly as he took a sip.
Lanre nearly choked on his cup of water.
“Backhand her?” He repeated.
“Sure. She will never argued with you again, talk less of making stupid requests like she wants to go and see her mother. Is she married to you or to her mother? Women…If you don’t want them to take you for granted you have to let them know who is in charge.”
“But… Tunde a slap?” Lanre spluttered.
“You are such a wimp Lanre that is why your wife takes you for a ride and-”
“Sorry can I get some water?” a voice requested.
“Oh sure …”Tunde replied. instantly moving away from the dispenser to give the enquirer access.
“Well … it is a small world, Tunde isn’t it? The voice said again.
Tunde hadn’t bothered to look at who had wanted to use the dispenser and had simply stepped away. But as he now saw who it was he groaned inwardly. It was the Baba from the hospital. Surely the world wasn’t that small…
“Yes… sir. Good day sir. What a surprise.”
He hoped his voice did not show his lack of enthusiasm. How did the man even know his name? Then he remembered his mum’s incessant chatter in the hospital yesterday and sighed inwardly. He hoped this pensioner wasn’t going to adhere to him like wet clothes…
“Tunde! Lanre!” Great ! The boss had seen them…idly away… He watched with dismay has their superior swooped down on them like a vulture on fresh carcass.
“What are the two of doing just standing there … Uncle! When did you come in?
The sudden shift of focus from them took both him and Lanre by surprise.
“ Oh, Just a few minutes ago, John.” The elderly man replied.
“Have my boys attended to you? They are new in this branch so…”
“I have already sorted myself John.” The man replied.
“You went to the counter? That was totally unnecessary.”
“It s ok…ehm… John can you spare your boys for an hour?” The man asked.
Tunde shared a glance with Lanre. What did the man want with them?
“Sure …no problem in fact you can have them for the whole day if you want.” Their boss said.
He then turned to them. “It is because of this man I am the man I am today you know. He was very instrumental to my getting the first job I ever had.”
All thoughts of making the outing short and snappy flew out of the window. They were going to have to capitulate to the man’s every wish. If they valued their jobs, that is.
“Thank you John we won’t be more than an hour. I promise. Gentlemen, shall we?” The man gestured to them to lead the way.
Feeling somewhat like a prisoner whose fate had just been decided on,Tunde led the way out of the crowded banking hall with Lanre at his back and the man bringing up the rear. They piled into his car and he drove them just a few streets away to a fast food joint.
“Relax boys I am not going to bite. I just enjoy a good debate; I couldn’t help over hearing your conversation.” He took a sip of his malt drink which was the only thing he had ordered.
Tunde couldn’t quite conceal his surprise and mild relief. For a while he had been worried the man had noticed what he had done in the hospital to avoid him.
“So… what is your name?”The man asked Lanre.
“Lanre sir.” Came the reply.
“You can call me Kunle.”
“Pleasure to meet you. Sir.”
“Same here. So …Lanre your friend thinks you are a wimp.” Kunle prompted.
“I am not.”Lanre answered somewhat heatedly.
“He is.”Tunde said beginning to relax and dig into his meal.
“A man should be the captain of his ship and not give in so readily to his wife’s wishes.”
“Just because I gave her permission to go to her mum’s place does not mean I am weak.” Lanre insisted.
Tunde laughed. “Did she take permission or she ‘quarrelled’ you into submission and got her way?”
“Tunde …” Lanre began heatedly again.
“I once knew guy who ran a tight house like you do Tunde. ” Kunle interjected.
“A very successful man I am sure.” Tunde said as he tore into his chicken.
“Oh yes, if by successful you mean comfortable he was. In fact still is.”
“Please share his secrets Lanre here has a lot to learn about what it takes to be the man of the house.” Tunde said.
“Sure.”Kunle took another sip.
“Now where to begin about Remi…
“Waka!” The expletive was hurled at him as he recklessly over took the car in front of him. Remi ignored the man and continued humming happily to himself. Nothing, absolutely nothing could spoil his mood. He had managed to wrap things up fairly quickly at the office today. Consequently he had gained an extra two hours, and he knew what he was going to spend the extra time doing… or rather with. He applied a little more pressure on the accelerator and the car responded accordingly.
Fortunately Linda place wasn’t very far from his office in less than ten minutes he arrived. He honked once and in a matter of seconds a head popped out from the side gate, and on sighting him the security guard immediately retreated and flung the gates wide open. He drove in and parked beside the day old car he had just bought for Linda. There mere sight of it filled him with pleasure.
The reception he had received after he had handed over the keys had been exceptional .They had smoked, drank and spent hours in bed. He was hoping to ride the euphoria of the moment and get an encore.
He walked to the door and it opened before he could ring the bell.
“ Eh,Eh, don’t Linda darling me please.” Linda said as she raised her perfectly manicured hand to his face halting him in his tracks.
TO BE CONTINUED…