Yaw Owusu sat at his desk at the head office of Freedom Investments Ltd. at Osu RE Accra. His cell phone rang. He pulled it out of his pocket and noticed his father’s number displayed.
“Yes I am here….Everything is fine…You don’t need to worry. Just enjoy yourself at Aburi… Later.”
There was a knock on his office door.
“Papa I have to go. Someone is at the door. You have now retired. I’ll make you proud of me.”
There was a harder knock on the door.
“Come in!” Yaw yelled.
Mariam Mensah walked in. She was a slim woman in her twenties. She was wearing a close fitting dress that showed her full bosom. Mariam walked past the sofa and coffee table to the large table thatYaw sat behind.
“Good morning Mr. Owusu,” She said in a sensual voice.
“Please, please. Enough of this formalness. You don’t need to call me Mr. Owusu,” Yaw Owusu said. “Just call me Yaw.”
“Sir, I have to call you Mister. When your father sat in that chair, he insisted on our being respectful. I want to give you the same respect now that you are the Managing Director of this company.”
“That was my father. I’m different. It’s been a month now,” Yaw said.
“I know but it may take a while for me to change,” Mariam said.
Mariam sat on one of the chairs in front of the table and handed Yaw the folder she had brought in.
“What have you brought me to look at?” Yaw asked.
“These are the minutes from the share holders meeting we had last week. The normal procedure is for you to review them,” Mariam said.
“Yes, you are right….” Yaw began.
“And you had told me that you preferred that I bring them in person as opposed to emailing them to you,” Mariam interrupted.
“Yes I had said that.” Yaw opened the folder and began to read.
“Can I leave now?” Mariam asked.
“No, can you come around to this side of the table? I need you to explain something to me.”
Mariam went round and stood beside Yaw who remained seated. He opened the folder and pointed to the names of the board members in the minutes.
“Dr. Ampofo. Which man was he?” Yaw asked.
“He was the man in the dark brown suit,” Mariam answered.
“Yes, that’s the man. Anything else sir?”
Yaw gently placed his hand on Mariam’s lower back. She flinched a bit then let his and settle even lover down her back.
“Yes, I have one more question,” Yaw said.
“Business related or personal?”
Yaw looked up from the folder and up at Mariam’s face. He reached for her hand.
“Your hand feels soft,” he said.
“Thank you. What was your question sir? I have a lot of work to do.”
Yaw stroked the palm of Mariam’s hand.
“Can you stay behind after work today? I need some help with a report I am drafting.”
“Sure I can.”
“No husband or boyfriend to go home to?”
“No sir. I’m single and stay at home with my mother. I’ll text her that I’ll be late. She’ll understand.” Yaw got up from the chair.
“You know Mariam, I think you have the potential to be upwardly mobile in this company.”
Mariam smiled. “I hope so,” she said.
“See you at 5.30 p.m. then.”
Mariam walked away towards the door making sure to swing her waist just a little bit more. When she got to the door she cast a last glance back at Yaw whose gaze was transfixed on her. She smiled then left.
Efua Konadu took one last look at the numbers on the Excel Spreadsheet on her computer. She looked at Mariam who sat next to her in the office they shared with two other administrative staff at Freedom Investments Ltd.
“I don’t like going in to see Mr. Owusu,” Efua said to Mariam.
“Why I find him very friendly,” Mariam said.
“Maybe you do. He always seems to flirting with me.”
“Isn’t that what most friendly men do?”
“I know they do, but I’m a Christian and I don’t want to be a part of that.”
“You Christians. Always so rigid. You need to be more flexible. If you did, you would get some overtime, like I have been getting.”
“Yes, I’ve seen that. You have been staying late for two weeks now. What exactly are you working on?”
“It has to do with Human Resources so it’s confidential.”
“Well, wish me luck. I have to explain these numbers to Mr. Owusu. He has no clue about this business. Sometimes I wonder how he got the job.”
“Don’t you know? His father gave him the job. His father built this company from scratch.”
“Rumour has it that Yaw Owusu almost failed at GIMPA,” Philomena Nsiah one of the other secretaries piped up.
“Really?” Efua said
“We shouldn’t start rumours in the workplace” Efua said.
“I’m just saying what I heard.” Philomena said.
Efua stood up and went to the printer.
“Sister, I hope you have been watching what you eat.” Mariam said.
“Not every man likes a skinny woman like you. Some men like me this way. They say there’s more of me to love. I’m a true full bodied African beauty.” Efua responded.
All three women laughed. Efua grabbed the printed spreadsheets and headed down the corridor to Yaw Owusu’s office. As she approached the office Christina Mensah, another secretary with the company, came out the door looking dishevelled. She bolted past Efua.
“Christina, is everything okay?” Efua asked.
Christina glanced back and yelled, “Yes everything is fine. I just need to use the washroom. Mr. Owusu is expecting you.”
Efua knocked and walked into the office. As she walked in she noticed Yaw buttoning up his shirt and tie.
“Sir, did I come at a bad time?” Efua said. “I can come back later on.”
“No, no, Efua. This is a time as good as any other. There is a deadline for that Annual Financial Report anyway. My father called to say we may have a new partner for the company.”
“That’s great news,” Efua said.
“Yes it is. Why don’t we sit in the couch and discuss the figures? I’m not good with numbers so I need you to go over everything with me.”
As Efua took a seat, Yaw Owusu came and took a seat beside Efua. Efua began explaining. “What I want us to look at today is the income the company generated as opposed to the expenses. Once you grasp those two concepts, the rest will be easy.”
As Efua continued talking, Yaw’s eyes were fixed on her lips.
“Efua, can you stop for a minute?” Yaw interrupted.
“Did I say something wrong?” Efua asked.
“No no…I just wanted to say you have very lovely lips.”
“You’ve told me that before and I told you I am a Christian. I’m engaged and do not engage in those kinds of things.”
“What kinds of things?”
“I come to work to do my job. Nothing else.”
“I understand, but don’t you know that sometimes to go ahead, you have to give up something?”
“Then maybe I have no place in this company.”Efua stood up.
“Where are you going? We haven’t finished our meeting yet!” Yaw said angrily.
“I think we have. You seem to be more concerned about my physical features than on what we were discussing.”
“You are being very disrespectful. Can’t a boss compliment his employee?”
“You and I both know that you were doing way more than that. Why don’t we continue tomorrow? Maybe by then we both would have cooled down.”
“That seems like a good idea. We should meet first thing in the morning as this report has be finalized for my meeting in the afternoon.”
“I’ll see you at 8.00 a.m. tomorrow morning then.”
“Efua, I have to say this before you go. I am the new boss in this company and if you are going to advance here, you are going to have to be like all the other administrative staff.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“What I’m saying is that if you can’t do the other duties as I ask you do, you may have to find another job. Think about that overnight and tomorrow we’ll talk.”
Efua stormed out the Yaw Owusu’s office, went to her desk and grabbed her bag without saying a word to anyone.
Yaw Owusu sat at his desk dressed in a dark blue business suit. He was wearing a white shirt and woven kente tie. He glanced at his watch. In a few minutes his father would be coming in the door. This was going to be one of their routine monthly meetings to make sure that Freedom Enterprises was being run properly. Mariam knocked on the door and came in with a tray of tea and cookies.
“Thanks Mariam,” Yaw said. “Please set it near the sofa.”
“Okay Yaw,” Mariam said.
“So no news from Efua since she left without a word yesterday?”
“Not a word. I have called but I hear she’s unavailable. I hope she’s okay. We knew very little about her. Good thing you knew as much about the Financial Report as she did.”
“As you know, I’m talented in many many areas.”
“Yes, I know…and we’ll talk more about that at my place later tonight.”
As Mariam was about to leave Mr Yaw Owusu Senior walked in. he was a man in his eighties and used a cane to walk.
“Good morning Mr. Owusu Senior. Good to see you,” Mariam said.
“Get out of my way Mariam. I didn’t come out here to see you.”
Yaw got up from his chair and came towards his father.
“Papa, why are you so angry?” Yaw asked.
Mr Owusu Senior turned to the door, “Come in!” he yelled.
“Father, you know Efua? I bet you she told lies about me.”
“She recorded most of her conversations with you including yesterdays’.”
Mr. Owusu Senior pulled out a digital audio recorder that was shaped like a pen. Yaw Owusu grabbed it from him before the recording began.
“How could you do that? I thought you trusted me!”
“Trust you? You earn trust and over the years, you have never done that. I have had to bail you out of so many situations. How can I trust you when you are always so irresponsible?”
“Then why did you hire me for this job?”
“Because I wanted to give you another chance to prove yourself to me. I’d rather have my own flesh and blood run my company than give it to another person. Yaw Owusu, I’m relieving you of your duties immediately. Efua will now run this company. Her father is Professor Kofi Konadu who will be joining this company as partner/investor”
Yaw got on one knee in front of his father.
“Papa, I beg you. You can’t do this to me. I’m your first born son.”
“And a very irresponsible one at that. This is my company. I do I please. Efua are you ready to start your new assignment?”
Efua stepped forward, “Yes, I am Mr. Owusu Senior. Am I allowed to hire or fire anyone?”
“Of course you can you are the boss.”
“Mariam!” Efua yelled.
Mariam came in the door.
“This company no longer requires your services for regular or other duties.”
Mariam and Yaw left the office. Efua sat next to Mr. Owusu Senior and began discussing the next steps for Freedom Investments Ltd.
About Kobinna Ulzen
Kobinna Ulzen is a Ghanaian born writer, poet, and playwright. He has called Toronto home for the past two decades. Kobinna first had his work published in Ghana, Kenya and English speaking Africa. This included poetry, articles and short stories in Viva Magazine, Step Magazine, Ghana’s Weekly Mirror as well as other publications.
In Canada, Kobinna Ulzen has had his poetry published in Accra! Accra! Poems About Modern Afrikans and Akwantu, Thoughts of a New Canadian. His work also appeared in T-Dot Griots, Anthology of Black Storytellers in Toronto, The African Drum, and Toronto World Arts Review amongst other publications.
Kobinna has performed his poetry at various locations in the greater Toronto area. Kobinna has facilitated an interactive educational event called Postcards from Africa for over a decade.
Kobinna Ulzen is a skilled facilitator, producer, and community organizer who has also been involved with numerous community groups in Toronto. Kobinna’s has written/produced several theatrical short plays including Karibuni Canada, Malaika, Bus Stop, Lunch Time, Lunch Time Again. Kobinna Ulzen is currently working on his first African themed feature length play Ekua na Kamau. This is a love story set in Accra.
In April 2011 Kobinna Ulzen was the featured guest at the Writer’s Project’s monthly reading at Accra’s Goethe Institute and on their radio show Writers Project on Citi 97.3 FM. He has also written several short stories for Worldreader.com.
Kobinna Ulzen’s website is www.kobinna.com. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org