The floor is quiet, the only sounds that c an be heard from the lobby are the incessant clicking of the receptionist on her computer keys and the whirr of the air-conditioning system. For the hundredth time I stare at the floor and try to count the cracks between the tiles. I get up to seventy-five before I give up again. The lobby of the Hudson and Sons Company Ltd. is on the 12th floor of the Skylax building in Benin city. The company occupies three floors for it’s Head Corporate offices. The lobby is modern styled with chrome and glass fittings, polished tile floors, CCTV surveillance cameras in every corner and a huge desk housing the receptionist. She is dark and quite pretty, the soft brown hairdo falls back from her face revealing an oval face and sensual full lips.
I have been sitting here for 45mins now, it is only normal that I should notice such things.
I had, have, an appointment with her boss, the General Manager of the Company, Mr Hudson jnr. himself. I admit, I have never seen the man before. Apparently, he and my aunt served together in Osogbo during the Youth Service Corps program, before his father got rich, and when she heard I needed a job, she rang him up straightaway. Two more phone calls and the date was set. So here I am, sitting uncomfortably in my dark-blue suit and tie while the receptionist chews gum and ignores me.
“Is he ready for me yet?” I ask for the fiftieth time.
“When he is ready for you, I’ll let you know,” the receptionist replies without looking up. She keeps clacking on her keyboard, each click resounding as a gong in my brain.
A man walks in through the front door. He is dressed in a simple, yet obviously expensive, shirt with brown slacks. Instantly the typing stops and looking up with the most dazzling smile I ever saw, the receptionist says: “Hello, Good morning. My name is Maggie, welcome to Hudson and Sons, how may I help you?” Damn! She’s pretty with that smile.
The man mutters something, and she glances at her PC and then smiles at him. Her smile is even prettier now. Maggie…hmm, it’s a pretty name, but she’s probably Bini so her real name might be Imuetiyan*shrug*. The receptionist hands him a Visitors’ pass, points to a door on her left and in the next instant he is gone. We are alone in the lobby again. The clacking resumes, the airconditioner whirrs. I think I need to go to the bathroom.
“I think I need to use the bathroom.”
Maggie ignores me. I don’t blame her. It’s the fourth time I’m visiting the bathroom in the past forty minutes. Inside the bathroom I open my jacket and stare at the mirror. I like what I see. Once again, I wonder what I must have appeared like to Maggie when I came in. The appointment with Mr Hudson jnr. was scheduled for 8:30am, so at 8:29am, I stepped into the Offices of Hudson and Sons Co. Maggie had looked up and smiled as I came in, but her smile was not so wide. Maybe she was expecting a youngish, obviously wealthy chap in flowing kaftans and gold rolexes, and instead she got a twenty-two year old in a suit, clutching a briefcase and looking uncomfortable from behind blue-tinted rimless glasses.
“How may I help you?” was all she said. I told her about Mr Hudson jnr. and why I was here. She told me to wait, that he’ll soon be here. Then she went back to typing and chewing. That was over an hour ago. Splashing some water on my f ace, I make a mean face at the CCTV camera before flushing the WC loudly and walking back into the lobby. Maggie is still typing. I wonder what it is that receptionists type all the time.
A phone rings. It’s not mine. My phone has been ‘Silent’ since I stepped into the Offices of Hudson and Sons. Maggie picks it up.
“How fa na?”
Apparently it is her boyfriend. She is smiling and pouting and promising to cook something the next time he comes around. They schedule a meet for later tonight, at the Hexagon club, by 9:00pm. Don’t judge me for listening in on their conversation, it’s not my fault. I don’t really have anything else to do. I have a pang of envy and I suddenly wish Maggie was my girlfriend. She couldn’t possibly be too old for me, at the most she’ll be twenty-five, so the odds are certainly in my favour. The front door swings open again. Maggie instantly ends the call and smiles.
“How may I help you sir?”
I wonder how long I would be waiting here. The man who just came in has been given a Visitors’ pass and admitted into the office. He looks back at me as he steps in through the doors, pass hanging from his neck. I glare back threateningly. The time is 9:42am. I have other appointments today you know. I and George are supposed to go check out that new place, Bobby’s Bistro. And that is very important to me!! Who knows, maybe Mr Hudson jnr. would not come again. Maybe he has travelled and forgotten. Maybe he is dead in his office, or being kidnapped while we sit outside with no inkling as to what is going on in there. This is begining to really bore, if I had known I would have brought along a novel. The worst part is, there is no chick here to even keep me company, I can’t do this! I am hungry for Pete’s sake, I can’t take this anymore!
“Is he ready for me yet?”
- This is the product of boredom.