Not as you think

I was trying to recall the events of yesterday when I heard from afar the sound of a fast-approaching car. The noise of the siren contradicted with the calm and serene atmosphere which I wanted to utilise for the reflection of the incident. I wished I could sleep to relieve myself of that disturbing experience. It seemed I have been having a nightmare and wished that the dream will soon come to an end and everything forgotten and laughed over. But this raging sound of the police siren brought my memory to life. It was now that I realised that I have been deceiving myself thinking that I have been dreaming. No, with the look of the environment, I know that it is a reality.
 
I have been a banker at the early stage of my life through the introduction of a friend who thought it wise that I should engage myself to some tangible job while waiting for what future could bring. As a casual staff, I first handled the post of a receptionist. The expulsion of the former clerk ushered me inside as his successor where I proved my efficiency. Before the ending of that month, I have won the love of almost every female figure there with the accountant inclusive. I manifested my ambition as talented Banker handling issues at least at my level then. I made friends with our customers. Often they will drop something for me after they had been settled. Without compromising issues, I was doing well. Added to these virtues was my commendable character. I had hardly stayed up to four months before I was promoted to the signatory stage which affected my name is enrolled in the list of permanent staffs. My only aim is to improve my career as a reliable Banker and other reputations that will accompany it. I was caring little about the monetary aspect of the job though I was earning much and considerable salary. It had not disturbed me any day to be any richer or to go for fast money because I have been brought up in a decent Christian family. My father had been a knight, a disciplinarian as well as a perfect moralist. The impact my background created in me did not allow me to mix up with the unguided mates. I was very conscious of the people I move with because the words of my father kept re-echoing in my mind; “Bad company corrupts good manner”; “Tell me your friend and I will tell you the type of person you are”; and the like. The name materialism did not exist in my dictionary. Though from a rich family, we were made to live a moderate life. Sometimes, at school, my colleagues kept calling me a coward and a fool. But inwardly, I know that they only wished to involve me in their wayward type of attitude. My brothers and our only precious Lyndrina were in this safe brought up of mine.
 
‘Excuse me Mr David’, the manager called my attention one morning. ‘There is a report against you just before I left the office yesterday’, he continued. ‘One Mr Eric said that you scolded him more than he could bear. I was surprised to hear that about you, I thought you will be responsible. Why this absurd development then?’ he queried.
 
‘Please sir, I am sorry’. I managed to say through a humiliating spirit. ‘My fellow staffs will testify to this if this he said about me is right. He came rushing through to your office. I stopped him and asked him where he was heading to he snapped that “I must see the manager,” I told him that he will see you only if the matter is serious and official or that you gave him an appointment. All these while, he had been trying to force himself through. I have to put more effort to bridge him. When he saw that I would not let him in, he mumbled something unintelligible and uttered curses on me adding that he will make sure that my appointment is terminated. It was then that the accountant gave the order that he should live immediately’. At this point, my eyes are full of tears at the point of flowing.
 
‘Poor child!’ Miss Mercy said, ‘he is too young for such allegation’. ‘You can go and defend him. I think he is your post mate’ teased Mark, the consultant. A thin lanky man in his late thirties. He conducts himself like a man worth millions of dollars. It seems that the post he is managing was meant for him alone. He goes with an ever new Toyota Corona that shines with the sun in harmony. He drives the car alone and pampers it like a child. He took care that none of the members of his family meddles with this his little pet. He has a perfect sense of humour and was liked by everyone in the bank. As he said that, he carried himself majestically to his seat, crossed his legs and blew a kiss to her in a manner that everyone in the office could not help but to laugh mischievously.
 
‘Not only have a post mate but I loved him alright. What have you to say?’ Mercy retorted, ‘I will always stand by him. He is a darling’.
 ‘Can’t you just allow me peace in this bank for God’s sake’? The manager, Mr Constance, a very serious but social bald man said amidst his laughter.
 
There was silence for a while until what seemed eternity passed before the deceive manager continued his query. ‘It is only that I cannot reconcile with this your sudden change. You should be constantly aware that we are working here only for the interests of our customers. Though with what you have said it’s obvious that you did not insult him in the right sense of it but he may not see it the way you did. So be mindful of what you say or do because of its diverse meanings and interpretations. Anyway, you did the right thing to maintain the secrecy that is pre-requisite for an efficient Banker. Keep on but everything should be rendered mildly in order not to embarrass a client who knew little or nothing about our dealings here. Remain a good boy. We are proud of you, together with Mercy who...’
 
The remaining of that statement was cut off by an outburst of laughter. Even the lady involved did not take offence at this joke for she rose up immediately dashed to my side and pat my shoulder affectionately saying, ‘I am always with you my little love’. She led me away to her table where she made me sit beside her. I did not like it because I hate pampering and would not like people to pity me. But I was surprised that I lacked at that moment the will power to break myself off from her. So like a sheep being led to a slaughterhouse, I was dumb and obediently following.
 
This action added more grease to the ongoing comic relief. I was the only one who had no share in that expensive joke because I could not decide whether to continue in my defence or to accept guilty. Whichever be the case, the only truth was that shame had occupied the better part of me. So I was lost in that emotion. ‘Let it blow’. I thought.
 
This scene was interrupted by a customer who looked more like a heavyweight champion than a successful businessman. Just at a glance, I can see danger written all over his body. Any reasonable Banker can also perceive danger at the presence of this man with broad-shoulder carved bears without a beard. There is that deceptive “come up baby” look in his eyes. To say that he is handsome may be an understatement. He had all a woman may desire from a man. He was powerfully built and can offer anyone maximum protection should duty calls to that. He beamed to me and switch on a smiling face first to me and then to Mercy who was by my side. Though there was nothing businesslike in him, Mercy urged me forward at receiving him.
 
‘Good morning sir’, he rendered impeccably. ‘Morning. What can I do for you! I replied trying to make it a real business but was surprised when he said, ‘nothing so serious, only I am looking for a chap, Mr Frank David. If I am not mistaking him now’. He retained his cheerful face.
 
My first impulse was to jump to the conclusion that I am he but the second thought calmed me down to follow things intelligently. I had a mixed feeling: danger and fortune. One was as strong as the other. What if the man standing in front of me now had a future for me? Can’t it be that somebody sent him to me? What news did he bring with him? Good or bad? What if he is one of these gangsters who are roaming about seeking whom to destroy? Will I be a victim? These and other likely questions kept crutching into my mind. ‘Be a man’, I urged myself. ‘Handle it rightly, it will be sweet’.
 
‘Is anything the matter’? I managed to say after a brief pause. While we were there, Mercy had been worried that we are not making any progress. Without being told, she was aware that there must be some serious thing going on. I can understand how she was feeling at the moment. I can tell this from how she had been glaring at us since I am with him. Beside her conscious self, she called me back before the man could answer my hanging question.
 
‘Excuse me, sir, just a minute’, I said and retreated to her seat. Her anxiety was clear now as the noonday. She was not feeling at ease with the sight of that monster. She called me back to tell me not to go to him again. But somehow, I was able to manipulate her with some unreasonable reasons without telling her the truth about what I have encountered with him. She reluctantly let me go but her gaze followed me on. As I approach him this second time, I was determined to get the information from him at all cost.
‘Is anything the matter’ I repeated without caring a pin about his feeling. His face was expressionless. He seemed to be in no hurry. He raised his face a little bit.
 
‘Take it easy boy’, he said at last. ‘Just a little discussion and you will see that you are fussing for nothing. Come on let’s get at it straight away. I have a transaction to make with your company and someone directed me to you. I hope I will not be disappointed’.
‘Go on. I think am here at your service only if I can be of any help. But just go about it so that I can face my business. Time is money and it’s precious to me’.
 
He explained the type of transaction he will like to do with my assistance as a banker. It was just smooth dealing. He wanted me to connect him with a company at Milan which has consented his business with them and had promised to update him through a certified bank, he wished that ours will handle the business effectively, he determined, therefore, to call on us to help. He proved some documents to confirm his points. Coincidentally, just as the man was about to sign the documents of approval, he slumped down and lost consciousness. Every effort made to take him to the hospital failed. This was because of his stature. By the time Doctor James was able to arrive at the spot, he was already dead. That brought my earlier worries about the danger I suspected within me. What a terrible incident! 
 
Prisca Onyinye Nwokorie is a  Roman Catholic nun. She belongs to the religious order of “Oblates of St. Benedict Joseph Labre” in Italy. She is a graduate of the University of Bari where she obtained her Bachelor’s and Masters’ degrees in “Information and Communication Technologies for the Production of Software” and “Computer Science” respectively. Currently, she is carrying out research work on “E-learning for Developing Countries”.

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