“Heyy, make sure you report early to the office tomorrow. Remember you’ve got a journey to make.”
“But Sir, wouldn’t it be better if I just took off from my place to the park, I mean, to save time and….”
“Look here, I don’t know how you want to do it. Even if it means waking up by five, better report here at the office. You keep acting like you know it all. I don’t like it, you must take my instructions….maybe I should contact your previous employers, so I can find out if you have a history of insubordination.”
Insubordination, really? I spent the next half a minute trying to process what I had done wrong, by suggesting what I felt was a better way to carry out the following day’s tasks. All that bile from his lips, just for thinking on my feet! For this boss of mine, it was either his way, or the highway.
I knew that I should have got used to his vitriol and bile by now, but there was something about his recent utterances that found their way to my bone. It was probably the fact that it was past the day’s closing hours and so I had drawn down my mental anti-employer defences, letting the venom from his words seep in….or maybe it was because he had not paid my salary, ten days after everyone else in the office had received their paycheques! He had cited financial difficulties, but was it not I who did the most work the previous month (even doubling as clerical staff on certain days), and had he not only yesterday instructed the secretary to pay out some money into a relative’s bank account, money which amounted to twice what I earned?
There had also been the multiple episodes of being dressed down for errors as grave as a double line spacing instead of single line spacing on a document. Failing to mentally regurgitate one point out of ten points made by him during a previous interactive session would usually lead to questions about the authenticity of the excellent academic qualifications contained in my resume, and on more than one occasion he had called me out for not making efforts to bring more clients, reminding me that marketing prowess made up half of my assessment points (never mind that the office had no marketing department). I did not even want to recall the days that my one-hour mandatory break was cut short after less than ten minutes, or the threats he made about my having to forfeit a month’s worth of earnings in the event that I desired to leave. I did not need to watch the movie “Horrible Bosses”; I acted it out every day.
I would often go home depressed because of this man, and during my intense battle with malaria I did not get so much as half a day off; as a matter of fact more files were placed on my desk. I had long chosen to ignore, patiently waiting for a much better opportunity, upon which I would withdraw my services without so much as a warning. I took a deep breath and picked up my jacket, getting ready to go face the city’s gruelling traffic, when he began to speak in his trademark annoying tone:
“The clerk said he got to Yaba with those documents by 4pm. Why so late?”
“Sir, that was because he also had to get to Victoria Island earlier in the day. I gave him both sets of documents, and he said traffic contributed to the delay….”
“I don’t know, there is so much inefficiency and incompetence on display here”, he cut in. “Why didn’t you call him from time to time to track his movements? I don’t care about the traffic situation, I want things done. I am many years ahead of you in this business, you don’t know everything. I am beginning to think I erred in hiring you.”
At that moment, I decided that I had heard enough.
I looked around the office. It was only slightly larger than an average living room, the beautiful design of the firm’s website obviously made to deceive desperate jobseekers before draining them of their souls once they got their employment letters. It was nearly 6.30pm, and we were the only living creatures in the building. I saw that he was putting some of his personal effects (such as his food flask and mouth spray) into his bag, I quickly reached for the office scanner, and in a matter of seconds, I had applied it to the left side of his head with considerable force.
I was fully aware that my stint as an employee in this low-level firm would come to an end, but I was determined to make an impression. I gave him a cold stare as he lay on the floor, clutching his head in pain, and I swung the scanner again, only dropping it when I began to spot some red liquid on it. I then grabbed the charger of the laptop assigned to me, that laptop which stood for all the oppression I had endured in the last three months, and I wrapped the chord around his neck, knotting it tightly and dragging him around the office, but not before tying his hands behind his back with the ropes used in sealing some of the office files .
He would not stop screaming though, groaning in typical work-hour-whining fashion, and I took hold of his jaw, clipping his lips with the stapler I picked from his table, before proceeding to close up shop with a maxing tape. Reasoning that I had to finish what I had started, I pulled down the office printer, set his bloodied head on it, and forcibly brought down the scanner repeatedly until I was sure that he had gone motionless. Satisfied, I dragged his body to the door and hurled it down the stairs, before returning to clean up all the blood left in the wake of my notice of resignation.
“Hey, where has your mind gone?”
My boss’ voice jolted me back to reality. It had all been a figment of my imagination, another one of many times I had sent my boss to permanent sleep in my head. Sure enough, I had a mind to put him away, but the law prescribed a death penalty as punishment for what I desired, and I was not quite sure as to whether the hangman would make a good host. I grinned as I picked up my bag and jacket, ready to close for the day, when I heard him say:
“How many times will I tell you to leave a line, and not two lines, between the address of the recipient and the salutation? Incompetent thing, maybe I should even further withhold your salary. Your appraisal is up for next month, and if I must say, you have done nothing to merit a raise.”
The fact that everyone else had departed helped the echoing effect of the words. I looked up and saw him putting some of his personal effects in a bag. For me, having no dignity was worse than making a necklace of the hangman’s noose, and my boss’ statements stripped me of my dignity with each passing day. I stepped to the right and reached for the scanner.