I eased my car into the office complex just beside NNPC Towers. The security officers were unusually cheerful towards me, their teeth beamed at me as I passed through the barricade having collected my gate pass. Kings Guard is the name of the security outfit but I can swear that there was nothing kingly about these ones. Yes they appear efficient and have acted professionally but deep within me, I just knew that they were unintelligent.
“Good morning Sir.”
Alero greeted me. A perfect smile and a more perfect dimple. She had just one on her left cheek.
I replied, passing my bag to her whilst I followed through the security door. It beeped, the counter displaying an additional number. How the device works I cannot tell, if it was ereced to checkmate guns and other metallic weapons, then it is a failure. I have passed with a dagger before and the security door just beeped me in, no shrill alarm like I have watched in movies.
“Sir, how was the weekend?”
I caught a queer look in her eyes.
“It was wonderful.”
I muttered. I did not wait one moment longer, straight to the lift I went. I punched in 4th floor and waited patiently for the lift to make its lazy journey from the fifteenth floor down. A quick glance at my wristwatch showed I was three minutes behind time. I smiled. Even with the register that had been opened to reduce late coming, I had always defected. The only days I come early were Wednesdays and Fridays.
I quickly punched a button in the lift to allow the newcomer step in. Fair, petite, a long hair, probably one of these expensive human hair and a perfume that screamed subtly, eat me, devour me. Her face was finely cut with a slight scar just above her right eye. Dressed smartly in a red shirt that was tucked into a black skirt that fell slightly below the knee. Her legs were straight and hairless with high heeled sandals receiving her beautiful feet.
“7th floor please.”
Since I was closer to the buttons, I punched it in. From the reflective door, I kept looking at her. There was no need to steal glances at her.
“I never knew 7th floor had such beautiful women, I would have resigned and applied up there with immediate effect.”
I said turning to give her a sideways glance.
“By the way, I am Justice, forgive my manners. A beautiful morning to you.”
Curt. The lift slowed down and beeped. Fourth floor. I looked at her and stepped out.
“I did not even get your name.”
Her face hardened.
Curt. The doors of the lift slid shut while I stood mouth agape gazing at the door.
“Good morning Sir.”
The security guard attached to the fourth floor greeted me. I scratched my head, answered her and made my way into the office.
“Nigeria is not prepared for this technology yet but I can sell it to them. If you are planning to use Abuja trade fair as a means of creating awareness, you will only end up using money without getting returns on it.”
Mr. Williams sat in front of me with rapt attention. He had not touched his coffee since he came in.
“What do you suggest we do?”
I smiled. I have gotten him in the position I wanted. Williams is an inventor, one of the few we have in Nigeria. I have accompanied him to his office once where he put up a little display for me. He had developed a machine that could scan and take the DNA of individuals then match it with the one on security database. He was seeking for funds to build prototypes that would be used by our security agencies.
I was perplexed at his intelligence but then, most of the inmates and ex-convicts roaming the streets of Abuja and Nigeria as a whole do not have their DNA on databases. The highest that had been done to them was take their fingerprints on paper. This same papers are stacked in God-knows-where never to be used during investigations. Also, our forensic department was only kicking off.
“Mr. Williams, you will be sold on TV as one who dropped out of school to pursue your passion after you were framed. You have to discard your Americanized tongue and adapt quickly to the Nigerian way of speaking English. You also have to deliberately make mistakes but your intellect should be a hundred percent.”
The look from Williams was incredulous but it lasted till I finished speaking. A bright smile spread all over his face as he nodded in agreement having grasp where I was headed. He picked his cup of coffee, took a gulp and squeezed his eyes shut.
“Sugar please and milk please.”
He said through clenched teeth. I only pointed to his tray. The items he asked for were right in front of him.
2:30pm and I took my lunch break. I was in the spirit of celebration. The deal with Mr. Williams had fetched ten million naira provided we handle even the video shoot. Other clients had come in and I had attended to them.
“Lucy, I am off to lunch, reschedule the remaining appointments.”
I said to the secretary as I breezed out of the office. Her voice brought me back.
“But Sir, Mr. Otedola would want to see you.”
“He called me already. He won’t be coming himself. Whatever his driver gives to you, collect it and make sure you drop it in my office.”
You might be wondering what an advertising agency is doing with an oil mogul, you are not far from the truth. EFCC and a senator, remember? Things happen.
I was in no mood for chips and chicken, instead I settled for the buka in a garage beside the office complex. I wanted fufu and afang soup. Guess who I saw devouring a plate of semovita and egusi soup……