11/40

If anyone told me that Sunday afternoon that I would be at the office going through proposals with Martin trying to save my job, I would have laughed at them and probably searched for contacts to Mathare Mental Assylum. I know Mathare would have been the stronger thought, but as it is no one tells you when you are about to served a good one.

No one also tells you that the person you get along with at the office is the one who wants you out because your department is a liability. The proposal Nicole wrote was based on the never ending war between Human Resources and Public Relations. It was a case of I can do what you do, and can even do it better. Reading her work was like walking on coals trying to strangle your master who was seated at the end watching you with a smirk on his face. For someone whose job was to be aware of my job description, Nicole was clearly off the mark. Even as I read through her working drafts and reviews of the contributions made by the PR department, I found myself torn between dealing with the matter professionally and pushing her down a flight of stairs.

The spreadsheet detailing the funds set aside for the project I was assigned was attached to the proposal together with a reviewed version she had in mind.

“This is outrageous!” I said.

“What? the fact that she stole the document you accused me of stealing, or that you were having the last supper with your friend?”

“Martin, do you know what this means?”

“What? The proposal or the impending apology from you?”

“Look, now is not the time to play games Martin. I understand that the HR department has the right to look into appraisals and make amendments on certain issues, but this is not just a forty percent slash, it is more like a sixty percent slash because there will be no funds for the marketing department to follow up on the project I was assigned. She is…”

“Saying to hell with your project!”

“Exactly and”

“It is making you mad.”

“Yes, but…”

“That is not all, she is doing this and has got Lillian backing her up, an epic case of HR versus PR with the Board of Directors as an audience.”

“Exactly and would you”

“Stop interrupting you!’

“Yes!”

“Well, I am hungry and the food we ordered is cold. We cannot warm it up because the microwave is in the kitchenette and we do not have those keys.”

“I carried my keys. There is a microwave in my office, but there is a way we can save face because I mean that’s what we do. We make other people look good for a living, so here are some notes I took as I was going through the proposal. Read them and let me warm the food you bought.”

“Yes Boss.”

“Martin, please don’t call me Boss.”

“For as long as you keep dishing out orders, Boss it is, now what duty did you assign me?”

“Please, just take a look at what I noted down, some are weak points in the proposal and they can be sued to make a counter proposal. Others are just ideas I guess, I would love to know what you think.”

“Now did it hurt you to have started with that Marjorie?”

“Whatever, just read them, I will be right back, I am hungry just going back and forth with you.”

“I know, right?”

I was about to add a sly remark but he smiled. He looked better without those brown sweaters.

10/40

The Boss called me on Sunday at 2:00 P.M.

I had just finished mopping the house and my knees had become noodles. His response to Jeremy’s idea for a collaboration was ‘just do what needs to be done to make us look good.’ I set the phone on the brown leather chair Dad had bought me.

I looked through my fridge hoping for a different result every time I swung the door open, but magic had ceased to appeal to me. I could go down to Mama Jacinta’s kibanda and get mboga ya ten and stop over by Jose’s shop for two eggs and come back to prepare lunch. Or I could simply make some tea and have the two slices of bread with it. The healthier option would involve adding a tomato to it. The phone started ringing as I was still standing by the fridge hoping to open it’s door once more and see a piece of grilled chicken.

It was the office.

“Hello.”

“Hi, Marjorie, it’s me, Martin. I had to talk to you about something urgent and I knew you would not answer if I called using my number.”

“I might just hang up now that I know it is you. What are you doing in the office on a Sunday?”

“I was working with the Board of Directors on next quarter’s plans. The golf event that I was working on took place today at the golf course so, that’s why I am calling.”

“Okay, how can I help?”

“There is a disconnect between the PR department and HR and Accounts departments. The HR and Accounts do not see the need of what we do and their proposals have come down to a forty percent budget slash and if this gets to the meeting on Wednesday, we might be forced to pull out of the project with The Light Keepers and also consider letting go of two people in our department.”

“Do you have soft copies of the proposals that HR and Accounts made?”

“No. They are in hard copy.”

“How long will you be in the office? Have you had lunch?”

“I had some heavy breakfast at the Golf course canteen but I can order something for us at Tuffoam Mall.”

“Okay, I would appreciate that. I will get there as soon as possible. We can work through this and I think a budget slash on my project with The Light Keepers would not be such a bad idea.”

 

 

10/40

When Jeremy dropped me off, I realized two things; I talked more about myself with him and I had no control of the project. It was nine o’clock. My neighbor, Suzie, was coming down the stairs in her black knee high boots and red bare back dress. She pulled me into a quick hug and smiled at Jeremy then took to those stairs like a swan. Jeremy shook his head and tucked his tongue into his mouth. 

I held out my hand and thanked him for a wonderful evening and took those stairs two floors up to my apartment. 

Two things needed my attention: Nicole’s two timing face and Jeremy’s stubbornness.

If I was lucky, then I would find a way to deal with both issues without breaking a sweat even if it meant not talking to Nicole over those lunch breaks.