The 34-year-old Mr. Gbenga Adeniyi who was still a bachelor couldn’t believe himself that within eight months stay at FranCok Brewery Plc., he could rise to the position of Marketing Manager of one of the branches.
He initially absorbed it as a mere dream but later came in terms with the reality. Though he eventually accepted that it was real, he saw the elevation as a sheer luck that could come to anybody, acknowledging that most employees in various firms were still undergoing probation period after eight months of their employment.
The above perception made him remain humble and focused in his duty post. He was invariably the first person to report to office before any other staff except the gateman who lived on the premises of the company. In spite of the fact that he was one of the major bosses in the branch, he was still acting like a junior staff to the utmost amazement of all and sundry.
Gbenga’s visible features were unarguably, to assert the least, unparalleled and the best among equals, particularly when it called for excellence, trustworthiness and dedication. “Good day, sir.” Gbenga greeted as he stepped into the office of the Branch Manager (BM), Mr. Ben Kalu. “Good day, Mr. Adeniyi.” responded the boss who was dressed in a white caftan as he was seated in his office chair. “Please, sit down.” He offered, gesticulating. “Thank you, sir.” Gbenga appreciated, sat on one of the seats sited directly opposite the boss. “You are welcome.” said the 43-year-old Mr. Kalu. There was a brief quietness. “I sent for you.”
The boss broke the silence. “Something has been bothering me.” He hinted, paused. “Not just me, but the entire management.” Gbenga was attentive, couldn’t wait to receive the message. “What could that be, sir?” he thought aloud anxiously as he was seated in a black suit. “I have been thinking.” quoth Mr. Kalu, leaning his skull on his right arm that stood erectly on the table. “In fact, the management has been thinking.” He quickly corrected. Gbenga remained attentive and silent, though perturbed, placing his hands on his laps.
“Please, remind me,” the boss rode on. “How old are you now?” With the question, the picture became clearer to Gbenga, thus he needn’t further exegesis. “I will be 35 by July this year.” He informed, smiling stylishly. Since it was April, it implied that in just three months time, he would clock 35-years-old.“Interesting.” quoth Mr. Kalu, nodding. “So, what’s your plan?” he added in a jiffy. “I don’t understand, sir.”
He inquired in false pretence. “How?” said the boss. “Isn’t the question self explanatory?” “I don’t think so, sir.” “At 34, nearing 35, you are still single,” he said. “Though working in a notable company as a Marketing Manager.” Gbenga dished out a dazzling smile. “Oh, was that what you meant?” he said. “Well, I am working on it.” He supplemented without much ado. “Working on it?” “Yes sir.” “Meaning..?” “Soonest, I shall invite the management.” Mr. Ben Kalu smiled heavily.
“Are you sure about this?” he asked sceptically. “Of course, sir.” “Good news, good news!” the boss exclaimed elatedly, allowing his arms to rest on the table. “That means, you have seen the person?” he added. “You mean, the lady?” “Yes,” quoth the boss. “You have a fiancée already?” Gbenga was speechless, couldn’t attend to the enquiry. “Mr. Adeniyi?” the boss aroused his consciousness that seemed asleep.By the look of things, he wasn’t enjoying the suspense in any way “Yes sir.” “Didn’t you hear the question?” “I heard you, sir.” “So..?” “Hmm, hmm…” Gbenga murmured. “Hmm, what?” said Mr. Kalu furiously. “No answer?” “Not really, sir.” replied Gbenga. “Just that…” “That what?” the boss interrupted, angered. By the look of things, he wasn’t enjoying the suspense in any way.
“I am still working on it, sir.” Mr. Kalu shook his head sympathetically. “For how long will you work on it?” he queried. “I can see you are not serious about this.”“Not what you think, sir.” responded Gbenga. “It’s just that women are unpredictable nowadays.” He supplemented. “If you rushed into it, you might be making a big mistake.” “You are right, my dear.” concurred Mr. Kalu. “But you just have to be fast.” He conscientized, paused. “Because…” He added, stopped. “What sir?” “The management is losing patience.” He disclosed hesitantly. There was abrupt absolute tranquility. “I will, sir.” Gbenga broke the silence.
“Alright,” quoth the boss. “You can take your leave.” “Thank you, sir.” Gbenga appreciated, attempted to stand up. “Lest I forget, I am very delighted over the concern of the management.” he added. “But I promise you, I won’t let you down.” He assured, stood up. “I believe you, Mr. Adeniyi.” replied the boss, still seated. “Just be careful, okay?” he urged. “I will, sir.”
said Gbenga. “Thank you so much.” He added, about to take his leave. Mr. Kalu hastily stretched out his right arm for a handshake; Mr. Gbenga Adeniyi reciprocated to the warmth gesture. “Do have a great day.”The boss wished as he freed his hand.
“Thank you, sir.” Gbenga responded, turned his back and eventually took his leave majestically in a sober mood. When he got to his office that very morning, about 11:25am, he was occupied with series of thoughts and mixed feelings that he only managed to concentrate on his obligations. Owing to the situation, everyone that walked into his office was haphazardly attended to.
People who witnessed the scenario kept wondering what was really eating the workaholic Gbenga up. The day being 30th April, barely twelve days after his promotion, was indeed hell to his person. The narration of what transpired thereafter ought to be left till the subsequent edition, so remain tuned.
N.B: This is a continuation of the previous story titled ‘Worthwhile suspense’. Only the title changed.
• Nwaozor – novelist, playwright and poet, is Chief Executive Director, Centre for Counselling, Research & Career Development – Owerri