“I am ready for you, Subomi…Ready! Ready!! Ready!!!” I chanted as I washed in the bathroom. I slid carefully into the tub and ‘drowned’ in my thoughts. In less than 24 hours I was going to be seeing Wednesday. As the clock ticked, my heart raced in accordance. Wednesdays, to me, used to be my ‘I can’t wait’ day of the week; it was in between all the hassles of work. Nothing in particular to ‘torment me’ on my Wednesdays. Mondays would bring the heavy duties, and Tuesdays followed suit. Wednesday is always neutral, but tomorrow didn’t seem neutral, it felt like ‘Make or Break’.
I soothed myself to some music by Marc Anthony…for all the right and wrong reasons. I stepped out of the tub and let the water drip from my body as I walked into my room. I had sent myself into some sort of ‘trance’. I wanted to feel great. As I wiped my body, I fell back into thoughts of my victory over a popular chatter box at Law school, Madison Taylor.
“Darlene Williams is making us believe that Frank Terrence has nothing to do with the murder of Howard Smith, but we all know that Frank Terrence had threatened the Late Howard Smith outside the Campus lane for not helping him with the Final year exam papers. A threat on Howard Smith’s life eventually led to his death after Frank Terrence failed his final papers, who else would have done that?”
I wanted to eat Madison like a club sandwich. She had just spoken like a rookie with no experience. Even though we were all rookies, but you know those rookie-rookies. That’s my term though… Professor Dean stared at us. Even before I stepped up I wanted to hit her for such a lame point.
“Over to you, Ms. Williams.” Professor Dean said.
I smiled confidently. “It is true that Frank Terrence threatened the Late Howard Smith, but that was in the wake of an unbalance in the mind and soul. Anyone could be triggered by emotions especially after failing the same exams two times consecutively.” I paused to stare at Madison’s face and of course catch Professor Dean give a nod for my point.
“Frank Terrence had threatened Late Mr. Smith with the words that , ‘If I fail this exam the third time in a row, I would ensure that you have a lonely summer break. ’” I swayed confidently in our Law class which had been converted to a court room. “Come to think of it, Terrence’s tirade was directed at poor Mr. Smith’s family since he had said he will make him lonely, not take his life, but it turned out that Howard lost his life. It is therefore of importance to note that Late Howard Smith became the new custodian to the Exam papers just this semester, and there was no way that he could have been responsible for Terrence’s past failures.”
I was slowly getting the ‘Hmm…she may be right…’ ‘I beg to disagree…Terrence is evil.’ I immediately jumped in to play on their emotions. “To allay any doubts, there are forensic results to prove that Howard Smith wasn’t murdered by Mr. Terrence as Frank Terrence had retired to his room to study for the exam, but as you know it, Frank is so dull, a ray of light would be too much for him. He failed yet again.” A section of the court room chuckled. Even Professor Dean laughed. Frank Terrence was the ‘worst’ of us all in Law School, so when we chose our plots, he just had to be the accused.
“Hold it right there, Ms. Williams. Are you so sure Terrence is dull?” Professor Dean asked, wiping his palms
Frank Terrence was now laughing. The whole room had exuded in laughter. “Professor Dean…sorry…Judge, I ran a quick scan on his brain and he still is as dull as ever.”
Frank nudged me in the waist. “I am smarter than Madison; she came up with something lame against me. Ms. Throttle” he said, sticking out his tongue at Madison Taylor.
“Okay, class dismissed! Howard Smith, hope you don’t feel dead?” Professor Dean asked.
He smiled. “I am just fine.” Howard Smith was the second best student in our class. He didn’t speak much.
“You don’t call that a case, do you?” Madison asked as she joined me in the hallway. “It was a joke. I let you win!”
I shook my head. “Of course not, I should have been given the opportunity to chew you like a squid. Do you ever do your homework?” I asked, fetching my bag.
“You are too full of yourself, aren’t you? I would love to see you on the big scene. You aren’t really that good, you know.” She said and walked away, almost swaying like a pendulum in her Caribbean skirt . At least she could sway her skirt to confidence! I laughed and left for the next class.
It would be a lot different taking on Subomi but I could beat him. I knew it! I grabbed my laptop bag and headed downstairs. “Morning Darlene.” Dad said as he sipped his coffee.
He stretched out the Dailies at me. “They are talking about you.” I collected one from him coolly, and placed the rest on the table. “Have a good day.” I said, and left.
“Hi D…” Jake said, standing in front of the gate.
I felt a bit repulsive. He probably must have slept with Dora last night . “What are you doing here?” I asked.
` “You shouldn’t be giving me any attitude after what you did yesterday. You got me pissed on my birthday; anyway, my day was saved.”
I nodded. “Of course, it was saveddddd…” I dragged the ‘Saved’ for emphasis. “I am running late for work. If you don’t mind, we could talk later. Probably online.” I said, stepping aside.
“Let me drop you off.” He offered.
I smiled. “I will be fine.” I said, and walked away. Jake caught up with me by foot.
“What is it with you, Darlene? You dropped a package in my house without saying a word and now you are giving this entire attitude. I can’t deal.”
I shrugged. “You don’t have to. I already relieved you of your duties.” I said, with a smile. “Chauffeur?”
“I am fine by the tag. It suits me right! If that makes you happy, I want to be your chauffeur by all means. Let me drive you.”
I smiled. “Jacob Martin-Oje, you don’t read in between the lines, do you?”
“That’s why I am a happy man. I wait for it to be a BOLD SENTENCE. I don’t stress.”
I nodded with a smile. “Here’s the BOLD STATEMENT: I don’t want to see you ever again!” I said firmly.
“You could never mean that.” He replied, with a smile.
I rubbed his cheek and smiled. “This time it’s real. Bye Jake.”
“Why, Darlene?” he asked, holding my hand with a firm grip.
I scoffed, releasing myself from his grip. “Jake, I want you to be free. Have your own life. You are always coming here, checking on me, and all. Jake I want to set you free.”
“Are you crazy, Darlene? Do you think you have a hold on me? I choose to be here because I want to.”
I nodded. “The moment I don’t want you to anymore, I indirectly help you to stop caring. So, I want you to stay away, Jacob.” I said and re-adjusted my dangling laptop bag. Jake stepped backward as he stared at my eyes. I blinked and walked away.
The Mass Transit was a real case. I had to join the commuters standing; I joined the 7am bus late. Cute High School Boys and Girls flooded the bus, Men of the Stock Market and Banks could easily be identified in their suits, some sitting, and some standing. I wore a gorgeous smile to the Men in Blazers hoping that it would gain me a pass on their seat, but who knows Jack in Lagos? No gentleman on my bus today . Who cares?
I had roughly twenty minutes to go on the bus and I would have to stand all through the journey if someone didn’t get off at the next stop, but the next stop was mine. So standing is a must!
“Hey Ms.” A voice said. ‘What is it with me and guys?’ I didn’t turn. ‘Hey Ms.’ this time I was tapped lightly. I turned around to see a young guy of probably 17 or 18 in his School Uniform; probably a senior at school. Clean face, nice lush low black hair, pretty dimples. By God, this guy is beautiful. Yes, I used the ‘B’ word for him. “You can have my seat.” He said with a smile. Some girls giggled and I felt a little bit embarrassed. It seemed to me like a dare to get to me sit in his place.
“No, thank you.”
He frowned slightly. “I’ll feel bad. And probably, it means I’ll be having a black Tuesday, A fine woman shouldn’t tell a hopeful, ‘I’ll pass’ on a day like this.” We all laughed. Some of the men that were all ‘suited up’ looked back trying to place the joke. Why were they interested in the joke? A boy had done what men couldn’t do!
I took my seat kindly, but it wasn’t for too long. I was soon at Ade-Cole. I smiled at them all as I got off the bus. There was a huge cheer as I walked away into the Giant Firm. Poor boy with his heart in his hand.
“Darlene…how are you this morning?” Mrs. Abu asked as we met in the reception.
I nodded with a smile. “I am doing fine, ma’am.” I replied, courteously. I didn’t expect Mrs. Abu to let me go easily. You don’t just barge into ‘Mrs. Nosy’ without a reason.
“Young Dare won’t be coming in today from what I gathered yesterday.” She started. I stared at her. She puffed some powder on her face and then gasped. “Dear Lord, I can’t believe you love gossip.” I rolled my eyes. “Okay, I will tell you why he isn’t coming to work today.”
I was joined by Toni at the reception. “Good morning, Mrs. Abu.” She said without even looking at her. “Darlene, let’s go upstairs.”
“How is your preparation for tomorrow coming?” Mrs. Abu shouted as I stepped into the elevator with Toni.
Toni punched the buttons to the last floor. “How are you today?”
“I am feeling okay. A bit nervous…” I confessed.
She smiled. “You will do fine.”
“Why won’t Dare be here today?” I asked.
She stared at her phone. “He will call you later to inform you on that.” She replied.
Mrs. Small knew the polite way to offend me. I practically didn’t say anything to her again as I replied with the casual ‘Um…hmm’
“Hi Bola.” I said as I greeted my ever dutiful secretary. She responded with a smile and helped Mrs. Small with her bag into the office.
I drew the blinds and took my seat. Toni took hers too. Immediately the door closed after Bola, she sat straight.
“Dare had to leave the city urgently last night.”
I swallowed a bit. “Really?” I feigned being uninterested in the matter as I turned on my laptop. “He is the boss; he could do what he wishes.”
“Dare won’t just miss work, he told me that there is something that he had to do.”
I shrugged. “If it is important that I know, he would let me know.” I replied. “Toni, I have a case before me tomorrow and that to me is more important than whatsoever might be the reason for why Dare decided to take a trip.” I paused to catch my breath and then I recollected the fact that Dad was also going away on an ‘important’ trip. “Seems like everyone is running away from the case, I am not scared.”
She sighed. “Darlene, I don’t think Dare is running away from your case.”
I hissed dryly. The intercom rang. “Yes, Bola” I kept it on loudspeaker. Picking up the receiver is a big deal to me.
“Mr. Tunji Davis wants to have lunch with you; he says he will be here to get you himself.”
I nodded. “Book it.” I replied and ended the call.
“I’d be careful with whatever I eat in the next 24 hours if I was you.” Toni said, pouring herself a glass of water.
I smiled. “Tunji Davis is my client.”
She scoffed. “You are naïve.” She took a gulp of water. “Anyone could be used to plot your downfall, probably the chef at the restaurant or the waiters, anyone.” She sounded so confident.
I nodded. “Thanks for the heads up. I will be having only water then.” I said and smiled.
She frowned. “That’s not meant to be a joke, so I am surprised at your face. You think it’s funny.” She hissed. “I had diarrhoea on my first court case.”
I laughed. “If anyone would have diarrhoea, it has to be you. Toni, you eat too much. You deserve it.” I flipped through the pages of the City People’s Magazine.
She rolled her eyes. “Honey, the Doctor diagnosed me with food poisoning. Can you imagine I was poisoned with the Enterotoxigenic
Escherichia coli ?” she said proudly. “My opponents went too far!” she concluded flipping her hair backwards with pride.
I widened my eyes and burst into a mocking laughter that the magazine fell from my hand. My eyes soon got wet. “Toni, you are a clear case of illiteracy!” I said as I tried to catch my breath. “Illiteracy in the Microbiology field, I mean.” I bent over to pick my magazine.
“What do you mean?” she asked, sounding offended.
I managed to be a bit civil with my laughter and then I continued. “Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli is a microorganism, it is a strain of the Escherichia coli and it is responsible for diarrhoea. Diarrhoea is thanks to what you eat.” I paused to laugh. “My dear , Escherichia coli is no sprayed powder into your food .” I returned to reading my magazine.
She frowned. “Whatever! I didn’t graduate with a summa c-m laude so you shouldn’t expect me to know everything.”
I laughed harder. “I am
summa c-m laude in Law. Whatever I know about microorganisms is from personal study and interest.” I replied. “Oh dear…did you think you had stored up a poison in your memory bank? Madam, please erase it!” Toni raised her eye brows in defeat with a smile. “Hahaha…Toni, you are just so full of wonders. I just love you, poisoning?” I laughed more. I just couldn’t get a grip of myself. Probably if I didn’t know about it, I would have let her sway me.
Mrs. Small laughed in spite of herself. “Mock all you want today. We’ll see who would be laughing after tomorrow.” She said, with a grin. My laughter slowly started to fade into a wry smile and then a grimace. She burped a bit and laughed. “We’ll see by tomorrow.”
Oh my…tomorrow!!! Tomorrow!!! Subomi…Tomorrow!!! My
summa c-m laude versus Years of Experience!!! Tomorrow and tomorrow again!!! I would wait patiently. Did I say patiently? Nope! Impatiently!!!
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