Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you wished you could reverse the hands of time? The choice we made yesterday they say, shapes who we are today. Like you wished you had chosen that homely but not too fine girl over the fine-faced super model goddess for a wife. Or mundane things like jollof rice over fried rice, making a stew with either groundnut oil or the one from palm. Should I have chosen that job?

My name is Dayo, don’t bother about my surname because I don’t trust you. I am very sure once I leave this place, you will Google me out and get links to my social media pages where you will like to explore my soft world and get a cue of who I am. Anyway, it will be a waste of time, because all are lies. You think I am smart because of what I uploaded as my profile whereas the real, hardcore Dayo is a dumb-ass!

At Gerracorp where I worked, my boss was a hard man. He pushes a man beyond the Hooke’s law and was never sorry for it. I think he discovered my weakness of never knowing how to say “NO!” and used it consistently and continually against me. I have seen colleagues who had stood up to him and told him to his face how the job was too difficult and insolvable, how they think another man can do it better than they. He does not repeat himself, he does not push them. But with me he flexed his muscles, the land he conquered. I was the good boy. Countless times have I stayed late to work after everybody had gone home. Ordinarily I should have beaten the hazardous Lagos traffic if I closed earlier, but that was never the case for me. I spend close to five hours on the road, always too tired to cook when I eventually get home and had to commence the work I could not finish at work in my own house. I was getting leaner by the day and sleeplessness became my night star. My friend Lekan Salami was the closest to the boss. Friday nights after work they visit some cool spots on the Island to drink, party and relax. He was conversant with the latest gist in the company. From who was being sacked to which of the female employees the boss had slept with. He even told me about Sandra, the boss’ secretary, how I did not know her flattery remarks were means of getting my attention and maybe luring me to her bed. “That prostitute, God knows how many times she had been screwed by the boss!” I hated her filthy comments about my work, comments like “The boss like your work, he says you are very smart and hard-working.” Sometimes she calls me at night to ask if I had eaten and even brings food for me at work. Of course, I never eat any of them “Make one girl no go put love portion for food for me, God forbid!”

So, I trusted only my friend, Lekan Salami. I confided in him about how hectic my job is and how it was weighing me down. How I felt I was the only one doing everybody’s job and received condemnations upon condemnations instead of praises for the works I denied myself some leisure to complete. Works my sweat, tears and blood, the three sacred and pure elements of my deep loyalty, can attest to. I told him, I wished I could be like him and stand up to the boss and say no. He seemed very understanding and agreed to speak to the boss on my behalf. I exclaimed “No o, I’m just telling you.” He assured me to relax that he knows how to go about it since he was very close to the boss.
Lo and behold! I saw, the following day, through a see-through glass partition that separates the staff floor from the boss’ office my friend Lekan Salami and the boss in what first seems like a gentle and relaxed discussion which then escalated to something more hot. I could see fingers pointing, to each other and then Lekan pointed at me. The boss looked my way and I quickly removed my gaze and focused on the computer screen in front of me, pretending to be working. I looked up again and then I saw the boss placed his hands on Lekan’s shoulders, he seemed apologetic. I smiled and thought “Wow! He has done it! ” Throughout that day, I never stopped to wonder how some people just possess that natural and scintillating magical touch to just make things happen “I’m a loser, pathetic and useless like a blunt knife.” I don’t even know how to defend myself or even live up to the expectation of the new status Lekan has presented before the boss as who I really am. That is if I’m not going to be fired, or as Lekan said, “…if we are not going to be fired.” By speaking out for me, he had put his neck on the line for me and somehow, his career was at risk. What some men can do for a dear friend? He therefore came up with a sound idea, that we should prepare a letter each- a resignation letter. According to him- “better to quit a job than being fired.” That could nip one’s career in the bud. It was a grand idea, something I never thought of. He showed me his, that in the event of any suspicion of dismissal coming forth he will present it to the boss. I prepared mine also, folded it neatly and finely dropped it a slim, brown envelope. I was waiting for the month to end, more eagerly than I always waited for my salary, was I waiting for ‘the sack letter.’

My phone rang, I picked it and it was Sandra, the secretary ” The director wants to see you at his office ” she said, that same seductiveness in her voice. “Here we go ” I muttered to myself. I pulled the drawer of my desk and took out the slim, brown envelope. I took a deep breath in, my last breath at Gerracorp, I looked around and smiled and for the first time since I started the job, I was full of much confidence like that which Lazarus felt when he was leaving this wretched life and its troubles and sickness with an anticipation of resting on Abraham’s bosom. I marched with my head high to the boss’ office.

We were looking at each other, eyeball to eyeball as I sat across the boss, for a moment that was to define a man’s life. Then he slipped it to me, enveloped in a more gloriously adorned paper, the company’s letter head, than my own brown envelope was my dismissal letter. I did not open it, I only looked at it’s beauty and thought how beautifully the enemy had packaged my fall. “Open it” he said. I smiled and slipped his envelope back to him. I brought out my own slim, brown envelope and felt the smooth texture of the paper and I was surprised at my own calmness. I told him, “Listen to me, I don’t want you to push me on this and you have to promise me that, you can keep your letter and consider mine as first tendered, promise?” he nodded in agreement and I slipped it to him. His mouth wide opened, and I told him “Open it” He opened it and smiled and all he could say was “Hmmm, smart move.” I stood up to leave and as I opened the door he called back and said “Nice envelope, it looks like a coffin! ” I slammed the door closed.

I tried Lekan’s mobile throughout the day but it was switched off, I did not even see him at work. As I partied alone to my smart move in my own apartment, my phone rang. It was Sandra, I did not want to pick it, then I thought I should hear from her how much the company was missing me and probably she knew of Lekan’s whereabouts. Not to mention that I was expecting a little baby’s cry of “Oh, you didn’t say goodbye to me.” When I picked the call, she was bitter and resentful “How can you be so stupid Dayo? I typed the promotion letter myself. The director was very fond of you, so much that even Lekan was jealous of you. An opportunity opened for that position and the director thought you were best fit for it. He was telling Lekan about it the other day and you needed to see how he rubbished you. How he tarnished your image and called you a fool. The director was shocked because he was not expecting him to react that way and he promised him his time will come. Anyway he didn’t have to wait, he has been given the position. I consider myself even more stupid to care so much about an ass like you!” the phone drops, my life crumbled. I could not think, I wished I had a killer’s instinct, yes you guessed right, I would have killed Lekan Salami. There at the director’s table, I made my choice. There at the director’s table, I rewrote my journey, a journey that eventually lead me here, to your company, hoping to get employed by you.

The Human Resource Manager looks at Dayo from hair to toe with a wide mouth , and eventually said “I like your confidence, and sincerity such is rare indeed. But I’m just concerned. I don’t know how this has shaped you and how that will add to our company’s vision. I wish I were a psychologist.” Dayo looks at the HR as he makes a note on his pad. The HR raises his head and said ” Mr Dayo Phillips, we do not have to Google you. I have your CV and contact right in front of me.” Then he adds ”We will get back to you. Thank you.”a_day_at_the_office_the_clockwatcher~3

14 thoughts on “Paranoid” by Oluwaseun Ojegoke (@ojestar)

    1. Yea…Lekan was a cunning guy. Thanks for reading and d comment.

  1. Too bad for Dayo. Lekan definitely outsmarted him

  2. Lekan is a bad guy. Thanks for stopping by @maggiesmart

  3. Wow…wow…you really did wow me. I didn’t expect that…
    Though if I were Dayo , I would have gone back to my boss to explain things to him, how I ended up in the ‘duping’ pot..he wouldn’t find it hard believing his favourite worker.

    Well done

  4. @inesokojie, thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed it. #Blushing

  5. @praize…that’s true, but come to think of it Dayo doesn’t look much of a smart guy, but you are. I commend your thought, I wished he had a friend like you n U’d have advised appropriately,,, but again the guy is Paranoid.
    Glad I wow you…It’s actually the first time I’ll be trying my hand on short stories in prose form,, you guys in Naijastories inspire me. Thanks a lot.

  6. mendel martha (@ihenyengladysusile)

    Eiya poor guy bt those interviewers had time oo shooo!

  7. I tell you, maybe applicants no plenty…lol..#superstory…I hope he lands the job sha. Thanks for stopping by @ihenyengladysusile

  8. My view, he’s not a dumb-ass guy. Dayo just works too much, and trusts too much–I’m sure that combination can make one paranoid.

  9. Hmmm @namdi thanks for your thought. Dayo really needs to work on his self-esteem.

  10. Nice story. Was quite entertaining and original. Good flow too.

    But I’ll mention something, maybe it was an error… the degree of adjectives being used, like “more hot” should be hotter (comparative adjective).
    Otherwise it was very well written.

    If I were Dayo I would have asked the boss what the letter contained. Verbal description isn’t binding, right?
    Good job.

    1. @aplusn…thank you for the observation, really appreciate.

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