LITTLE BLACK BOOK
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November 15, 2018 at 8:21 pm #1272133
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My boss had an acquired taste. For a man who did what he did well, it was necessary for him to never lower his standards. I had to only stay with him for a year to realize that he didn’t do one-night stands; he kept short carnal relationships but never one nighties.
The chase was more exciting than the kill. I always saw him get bored the instant he got what he was going after. On one particular occasion, after getting a yes for dinner at so and so from some woman he was chasing via text, he muttered “now I have to find something else to do this weekend.” He already knew the chase was over the moment her text came in. That was how easy women were for him. Therefore, he kept his taste high and sought for those that would lead him on a long thing.
And that was where Clara came in. Clara was a feminist. Hers was no joke. She was the type that could go butt naked before a government building holding a placard while hunger-striking for women’s rights. Men were afraid of her because she had a reputation of emasculating them. But not my boss. He found her amusing. After watching her on TV a couple of times, he decided it was time to dive in for the catch.
“Anna?” I saw him swiveling on his chair with a tickled expression one afternoon. “What do you women fight for?”
“As in, women’s rights? What do you guys fight for?”
I stopped to think. I had five brothers and throughout my childhood, I was forced to fight for everything I got from them, yet I couldn’t find an answer to my boss’ question.
“Equality, I guess.”
“Equality in what?”
“In everything. Work place, church, mosque, school, in business, in government, at home…”
“Women have been oppressed for a long time.”
“Really? I didn’t know that and I didn’t know lesbians fought for equal rights too. I thought you guys were so absorbed in gay rights.”
“Sir, I am not gay.”
He sat up. “Point noted. Go to your office, think up some feminist cause the hotel can support, write a brief proposal and bring it to me after work hours.”
My mouth hung open but I knew better than to protest. I marched out, cussing him in my mind.
“I’m not gay!” I muttered, loud enough for the new secretary to hear me. “I’m not a feminist! I’m just a PA and yet you won’t let me drink water!”
I sat behind my desk and decided I wasn’t going to waste brain power thinking up some stupid feminist cause; I was going to Google it. But after two long hours on the net and I came up with nothing, I decided to take a break. The secretary was playing some music videos on her PC and I was drawn to the sounds, so I went to her desk to see what it was she was watching.
“Who is that?” I asked.
“Kas,” she answered, dancing to the beat of the music video. “You don’t know him?”
“Mehn, you should go out more often, girl. This is what is rocking in clubs now. Fi mi le. Fi mi le, baby…” she sang.
“I thought it was Oleku.”
She shook her head. “Oleku is a national anthem, babe, but Kas is the real ish.”
Oleku, Kas, whatever. Nigerian music bored me.
“But why do they like using all these white girls with their shapeless shapes sef?” the secretary asked, not stopping her dance.
And gbam! It hit me. I had found a cause I could present to my boss. I almost ran into his office to tell him but I remembered he said he wanted a proposal. I sat behind my desk and quickly typed out a lazy proposal and waited for the closing hour. When the time came and the secretary left, I entered his office and found him looking out his large glass window, tucking in his grey shirt into his trousers. He looked so appealing that I temporarily forgot why I was there.
“Yes, Anna?” he said, not staring my way.
“I have a proposal.”
He stretched out his hand to me took the proposal, sat in his chair and studied it carefully. Then out of the blue, he burst out laughing.
“Seriously? A campaign against objectifying women on TV?”
“Yes, sir.” I moved forward. “On music videos, TV commercials and even movies, they always use women as sex symbols and it’s not fair. Someone has to speak out against them. If you watch the white people’s music videos, they tell a story, it’s art, but here, they just use women as meat.”
He laughed again. “This is 2011, Anna and it’s going to get worse by let’s say 2013. The girls are going to dress skimpier, the music content will be all about sex and the videos raunchier. And more ads will use women and sexual undertone to sell their products. Finally, Nollywood is not going to stop showing bawdy-looking women because their audience loves it. And you talk about white people; they sold this culture to us and we’re enjoying it. So do you think your campaign will make any headway?”
I shook my head, deflated.
“Good. We’ll embark on it. Schedule a meeting tomorrow with the PR and media departments. Also find a way for us to get Clara Williams.”
Bells in my head went off. Not that formidable woman! Why on earth did he want to use her? There were other more agreeable feminists.
“Sir, I should contact Clara?”
He stared at me with a naughty smile and I saw that familiar hunger in his eyes. “Yes.” he tapped at a poster on his table with a picture of Clara on it. “Her. I want her.”
You gotta be kidding me. The woman looked like a man. She was nothing like the others. Flat-chested, rectangular-shaped, big-boned, caustic-mouthed. What did he see in her?
“Is she doable?”
“Can we use her for the cause?”
“Yes-yes sir. She is the hottest feminist in town.”
I wish I hadn’t used the word ‘hottest’. It brought out a glint in his eyes.
“Get her for me,” he replied in that sly manner that hardly moved his lips and I hurried out. Geez. The man was up to his antics again. So far he had not been on the dating wagon for a healthy number of months but now he wanted to hop on her it just like that? Phew! I had my work cut out for me.
The next day, after the meeting, I made a call to Clara’s office and I got her PA who was of course, a guy. He told me Clara was unavailable for the next twenty years. Mind you, I could hear her speaking in the background. The moment she had been informed the call was coming from my boss’ office, she had drawn a long hiss and called him a dog, saying she wouldn’t touch him with a hundred meter pole.
“I’m sorry,” her PA told me. “Tell your boss she’s dead. Just kidding!” He laughed. “Clara Williams is unavailable.”
And he rang off. I knew I couldn’t go back to my boss with that message. He sometimes saw me as a miracle worker and expected unrealistic wonders from me. So I took a bike straight to her office that hot afternoon and demanded to see her. When she spotted me from her beautiful pink and black themed, modern day office, she asked me to come in. I was intimidated when I saw her. She was almost as tall as my boss, had piercing eyes and high eyebrows that stayed way up there mocking anyone she decided to look down on.
“So you’re his personal assistant?”
“Yes ma,” I said.
“Does he sleep with you?”
I was thrown off balance. “No-no ma.”
“Because you’re not sexy enough for him?”
I was speechless.
“I know his type. Men that feel they can have every woman.” She gave a lazy, mocking expression. “Tell him to come ask me himself, if he’s a real man.”
I smiled, thanked her and turned to leave when I saw him at her door. He looked past me and stared at her.
“May I come in, ma’am? You are a very difficult person to see. Lucky I get to find you on seat.”
“Come in.” She kept a straight, stony face.
“Oh, Anna, don’t leave just yet. Please do sit with us,” my boss requested and I followed him back in. After we were seated, he took a professional pose and spoke to her about the cause he was about to embark on.
“Oh, really?” She raised thin eyebrows. “I am amused. Quite tickled, actually.”
“My pleasure,” he responded without his usual smile. I could see her reading his face to know if his response had been some kind of tease.
She leaned forward over her table and I was surprised to see that she wasn’t flat-chested at all. She actually had boobs! Did my boss know this? I followed his eyes but they were on her face, all seriousness.
“Well, you’re quite fortunate, mister,” Clara said to him. “We are about to launch into something similar. Thank God your enterprise has the name and the reach we need, so I guess this will be a good alliance.”
She smiled in surprise.
“I see a clause in your eyes. What are your terms?” he asked.
“However, I wouldn’t want you to show your face in the campaign and seminars.”
“You’re a man w---e.”
I almost gasped at the unapologetic way in which she said it. “The whole of this city knows it. Heck, the whole of Nigeria knows.”
My boss put his hand to his chest and carried a wounded look that had traces of mischief. “I am hurt, Miss Williams.”
“Oh, spare me. You probably think working with me will get you into my pants, some sort of conquest for you to see me dominated.”
He broke into laughter and she watched him with what I would have naturally believed was hatred in her eyes. But after being with the man that long and watching him do his thing on the regular, I had come to understand that the women that fronted the most were only doing so to make less obvious the fact that he had won them already.
“Fine.” He stood up and straightened his suit. “We’ll support your campaign and as you desire, I’ll stay in the shadows and do what people subjected to the shadows do. But you should know that I am a feminist as well.”
This time she laughed.
“No, really. I believe in the movement…”
“Give it up, sir. It’s never going to happen.” She stood up and I did the same. “You’ll hear from me tomorrow.”
“Okay.” He nodded. “Call the office and…”
“I’ll take your assistant’s number instead. I feel a lot more comfortable working with women.”
He smiled. I gave her my phone number. They shook hands and we turned to the door.
He held open the door for me and waited until I walked out before he did. Now, that was a little different.
Don’t get me wrong; he was always the gentleman and held doors for me but the way he did that one was exaggerated.
When we go into the car, he handed me his phone.
“Get on Twitter and Facebook, will ya? Some random tweets and statuses about treating women right and upholding the cause of equality amongst the sexes will make my day. Be classy about it, though, because one of these bloggers will pick it. If they don’t, by tomorrow morning, pay that Melinda blogger chick to run a story about the tweets on her blog and hint about the coming campaign.”
This man was full of surprises! I couldn’t believe he was going through all the trouble just to sleep with one woman!
“Stop looking at me like that, Anna. I really am a feminist. So you better start spreading the word. It would help my government. I wonder why I never thought of it.”
I said nothing in reply.
“Erm…also have reception reserve Presidential Suite A for Saturday night…and maybe for Sunday too.”
I was instantly annoyed. Why that ugly woman? I was way more feminine than she was. When was he ever going to notice me? “Sir, Miss Williams doesn’t like you.”
“Oh, she will. Soon.”
I got bolder. “And the tweets won’t move her.”
“But she just followed me on Twitter. Please, do not follow back. The last thing I need is a feminist yapping on my timeline.”
“Sir, Miss Williams already knows what you’re up to.”
He looked at me through dark eyes. It was a warning to mind my business. “Anna, what are you talking about?”
He picked his second phone and engaged some business partner in a long conversation all the way back to the hotel. We spent the rest of the day in another meeting that lasted until closing hours. I was having a headache by the time I got to my hotel room. I was done with the social media assignment by then and tried to go to bed. But I couldn’t. I was thinking about him as usual. His voice, his laughter, his mischief, his smile, his eyes… oh, his eyes. I could just die for them. And his skin… I wanted to touch him so bad… to feel him…
How could I be so close to someone yet so far away? Why didn’t he see me? Was it the way I dressed? I knew I was called Ugly Betty behind my back but I wasn’t ugly. I was just a geek and couldn’t dress sexy to save my life. The one time my brothers tried to help me, it didn’t work. I just couldn’t do it. To me, I was too smart to be identified simply by the way I looked.
But I guess the world today sees things differently.
I sighed and got off the bed and walked to the dressing mirror. My glasses lay there on the dresser, gathering dust for not being touched in a while. Stupid room service girls; they never bothered to dust my dresser.
I picked the glasses. I had missed them. I still wasn’t used to the contact lenses I bought a month ago…
He hadn’t even noticed anything that first day I tried them on. He had asked what was different about me.
“New hair? You got laid last night?”
I had given him a sad shake of my head and walked away.
He never noticed.
I dusted the glasses now and took off the contact lenses. I wore the glasses, went back to bed and lay beneath the covers, staring up at the ceiling.
I will not think about him this night. I will think of other stuff. I won’t give him that power over me.
I turned to my side, trying to force sleep in but got interrupted by my buzzing phone. I reached under my pillow and drew it to me. I didn’t recognize the number yet I took the call.
“This is Clara Williams.”
I felt indifferent about her. Maybe a little hateful.
“I hate to disturb you.”
“No, it’s okay.”
“Are you alone?”
“Okay, good because we need to talk.”
“You’re probably the person closest to your boss.”
I wasn’t. He had family but I lied. “Yeah.”
“So you know him well. Look, I hate working with people I don’t know, especially after hearing terrible things about them. I’m sorry to think about your boss that way but his reputation precedes him even though he is hardly in public eyes. My repute is important to me. I can’t be going into something with someone who will spoil my name. I hope you understand this.”
“Yes. So, how can I help you?”
She hesitated a little. “Tell me all about him. Especially about how he treats women. I read his tweets earlier. I just want to know if all that is real.”
I sighed. Another one bites the dust.
Oh, but I hated myself at that instant. Wasn’t it me who wrote those tweets? Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! He had used me as a wingman – again!
“Yes, Miss Williams.” My voice was sweet but my face was covered in anger.
I rolled my eyes and started loading her with the mother of all BS about him.
Nice one, Anna. I could hear my voice of reason scold loudly in my head. At this rate, you’ll begin delivering foreplay to his conquests right before he slays them on his love altar.0November 16, 2018 at 4:14 pm #1272354
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Uhmmmm0November 16, 2018 at 11:15 pm #1272448
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Little Black Book – Episode Four: In Those Heels
I was obsessed over my boss. If this wasn’t clear before, I am putting it out there now. In a short while, I had crossed the line from crushing on him to full obsession. I worshipped the air he breathed. I woke up every morning thinking about him. I made a customized t-shirt with his name on it. I had post-it notes where I wrote my name and added his just to see how it would look when we eventually got married. Each time I went to pick his laundry, I kept his clothes awhile with me just to have his perfume fill my room. Every love song reminded me of him. Everything he did was good; even if he committed murder today, I’d probably blame the person he murdered.
He was the god of my universe and I, his humble minion and lover.
But you see, obsession is a really bad thing. You never know that it is consuming you until it ruins you. It’s often a blissful journey of a life that exists only in your head. It has different stages, however. For me, I was at the point where I had begun to imagine things.
It kicked off on a normal day at the office. Not so normal though. There was some renovation on our floor and my boss didn’t feel like doing anything worthwhile, even though we had lots to iron out. He told me he was going out to relax at the poolside since it was a hot day. I told him we needed to work on a report he was to present at a seminar the following week. He grumbled, I stood my ground. He ordered me to follow him to the poolside.
An hour later, we were almost done with the report, sipping on margaritas under a huge blue and yellow canopy. The area was mostly deserted with only a family of Arab tourists chilling off at the end of the pool.
“I think I’ve found the one, Anna,” my boss said from nowhere.
“One what?” I asked.
“The one. The woman I want to spend my life with.”
Something in me stirred. For some reason, it hit me that this person he was referring to was none other but me. Crazy, yeah. I know. But like I already told you, my mind was not in the right place. I was lost.
“D--n, she’s beautiful. You need to see her. Natural exquisiteness. She is gorgeous, Anna.”
His eyes were rich with emotion and he was staring straight into mine. He was talking to me. I was the one!
“It’s the effortlessness of her beauty that gets me. The naturalness. Her hair… I just want to run my fingers through it.”
I touched the base of my neck to feel my hair. It wasn’t all that but if it was to him, then…
“I want this woman, Anna.”
Aww, I want you too.
“No, this is not like the other times. I need this woman in my life like I have never desired anything before. I can’t stop thinking about her even though I watch her every single day.”
My head began to swell in a sweet way. He said ‘watch her every single day.’ People, he was talking about no one else but me.
“And yet…” He put his hands behind his head and stretched out his legs before him on his lounger. “Yet, the old demon surfaces.”
His eyes lustfully followed a group of four girls who had just come to the poolside, all dressed in bikinis. I frowned at them. Why did girls have to dress so desperately?
He was still staring at them when one of them shamelessly caught his eyes and smiled at him. He didn’t smile back. His interest dropped. He turned to me.
“Yeah, old things don’t easily pass away like that, not when the world is still rife with tempting offers.”
My heart sank. He caught my disappointment.
“Do you think I should settle down?” he questioned.
I scratched my neck. In the past I deflected questions like this but after what he just told me about his mystery woman (AKA, Me, the One), I wasn’t going to shy away.
“Yes, you should settle down, sir.”
He laughed. “Why?”
“Well, if you say you’ve found the one…”
“I have.” He straightened out his swim shorts and I forced my eyes away from the lower part of his body.
“When this woman finally takes her place in my life, I’ll take a bow from this life you’ve known me to live.”
I smiled without realizing.
“Why are you smiling?”
I quickly wore a straight face. “I… nothing.”
“Okay. Could you Google Zara for me? Find out what she’s been up to these days?”
I kept my straight face but I was mad at him inside. What on earth could he possibly want with that woman after the way she treated him the last time she stopped at the hotel? Was he a sucker for pain? Didn’t he see that no matter how much he tried (and he had tried quite a few times) that Chizara Achusim was never going to have his time?
I understood that he was a man with these strong urges, just like other men, and coming round to finally settling down would take time. I was ready to wait for him but to watch him get his heart broken by Zara was something I had to stop. The woman was mean. You know her type—spoilt, from a rich family, heiress to excessive wealth, fulfilled mogul of a flourishing hospitality business, a PhD holder and finally, the proud owner of a body made for sin. All of that nonsense got to her head and with it she treated men, including my boss, like s--t.
But to him, she was a conquest. She had to be had at all cost.
“Sir, she’s in Paris for some fashion show,” I relayed to my boss what I had gotten off the web about Zara’s latest activities. She had this blog where she kept updates of her goings-on to her faithful followers.
“I initially arranged for the manager to represent me at that boring annual hotel convention in Abuja but I think I just changed my mind. Anna?” He sat up. “We’re going to Abuja.”
“Yes. But you’ll need a makeover, though.” His eyes were all over my body. I felt naked. No, that man stripped me naked with those eyes. “You can’t rep me looking like this. You need to come out of the closet. And no, I’m not referring to your sexual orientation.”
The lesbian thing again?
“There’s a sexy woman beneath all this. Bring her out.”
He dismissed me with a wave of his hand. I hated when he did that but at the moment I had bigger issues on my mind, like how I was going to become feminine in two days. To me, even if I had a year, it would not be enough to become the type of woman he wanted.
He sensed my fears.
“Anna, you won’t need to lift a finger or spend a dime. It’s all on me. Just enjoy the treat and unleash your inner Barbie.”
Inner Barbie? What the heck was that?
I picked my laptop.
“Make reservations for the convention.”
“Reservations? We’re not staying at our branch?”
“No. I know the hotel where the convention is holding is booked but that’s where I want to stay. Do your magic.”
I nodded and began walking away.
“Anna?” He stopped me. I turned. “Just a little heads up. Zara will be staying at one of the penthouse suites at that hotel. I know you don’t like her.”
He had his poker face on. Handsome devil. I knew what he was suggesting. Yeah, I could read his mind like that. Isn’t that what couples do? I smiled. All my fears about Zara were allayed. He didn’t want her anymore. He just wanted to get even and who better than me, to enact it.
Silly, spoilt thing! She didn’t know what was coming for her.
* * * * * *
The convention was to begin the day after the next and so far, things were going well.
He gave me the day off to take care of myself. I had woken up early and commenced on Operation Displace Zara.
First of all, I dialed her office and asked to speak with her, claiming I was calling from the hotel hosting the convention. I got her secretary, instead, who confirmed that Zara would be attending the three-day event and would still be staying at the penthouse suite reserved for her. When I was done with that, I dialed the hotel next. Using a fake voice, I canceled the reservation, claiming I was calling from Zara’s office. Having accomplished that, I called ten minutes later in my real voice and asked if there was any reservation for my boss. When the concierge heard his name, she naturally stumbled over herself and offered the penthouse suite to him.
Genius! I could imagine the look on Zara’s face when she waltzed there in all her pride and discovered she had been overthrown.
At this point, it was some minutes to ten and I had just finished breakfast. Someone from our hotel’s salon was knocking at my door. They had come for me. I was ushered downstairs like a queen. First, I was given a full spa treatment and after that, I was taken to the hair salon where the entire transformation took place. Hours later, I stepped in front of a mirror and didn’t recognize myself. I almost ducked away at my reflection. I could swear I was looking at someone else.
Oh my! He was right, there’s a Barbie in every girl.
I could hardly sleep through the night, high on excitement. I remembered thinking before I dozed off, that I could conquer the world of men.
But I wanted just one man – and he wanted me.
* * * * * *
The car was waiting and so was my boss. I had never kept him waiting before but I was a nervous wreck. Somehow, my million dollar makeup didn’t look so smashing when I woke up the next morning. I had to call one of the salon girls to redo it for me and she took forever to appear. Next, I was panicky over the tight, short skirt I had on. God knows that before this time, I didn’t know I had a sizable bum and full hips. I wore the skirt and gbam! I was all petite and shapely. Didn’t even notice it the day before while trying it on. I guess it was the fact that I had to face him that was making me all jittery. I can’t recall how many times the salon girl told me I was looking okay. Her name was Fatima, by the way. She became my friend later, just because she believed the boss and I had a thing and she wanted to get in on the action too.
“It’s too short!” I whined for the eighth time.
“It’s not,” Fati answered for the eighth time.
“Let me wear something else.”
“No, this is fine, Anna. Abeg, knack these heels on and be going. Oga will vex that you’re wasting in his time.”
My phone was ringing. He was calling. I answered. He was mad at me. I apologized and said I was on my way down. The moment I ended the call, Fati picked my new designer handbag and pushed it over my arm. I had never carried any of those things before. I always carried a backpack around. Fati showed me how to hold it.
“There’s a small makeup purse I put inside there. You don’t need to do much. Just compact powder, lipstick and mascara.”
“Oh God, these eyelashes itch.”
Fati slapped my hand away from my eyes.
“Don’t scratch!” She pushed me to the door. “Let’s be going.”
Thank God she escorted me all the way to the reception and through the door that led to his private parking lot. There, she left me and my luggage and wished me well.
“I want all the juicy details when you come back o.”
Like I was going to tell her anything.
I pushed open the glass door and stepped out. The sun hit me. Part of my senses returned and I recalled him talking about his mystery woman’s natural beauty.
Alarm bells! O ye gods, what have I done?
I turned around to glance at my reflection at the mirror. Oh no! Fati had overdone it! I looked overly made up. What was I going to do?
I made a slow turn. It was the chauffeur. Even he could see that I had guffawed. His eyes said that much.
He took my luggage and left me alone. I wanted to hide behind him all the way to the car but he was gone in a jiffy.
Then I looked up… and I saw Him…
His door was open and he had a leg out. I stared at the leg, at his shoe, at the ground. I didn’t want to look up. What would he think of me?
But I couldn’t help myself. My eyes traveled all the way up and met his face…
The perplexity in his eyes, the surprise, as it slowly turned to a smile. A smile that undid me.
Still I had to walk, no matter how wobbly my feet went or how sweaty my underarms felt. And the worst part, he wouldn’t stop staring.
D--n the stilettos! They made it so hard to keep any type of composure. How did these girls do it?
He was still staring.
I was almost there. I could pick out a whiff of his perfume. I could almost hear the words waiting on his lips; words that will tell me how beautiful I looked, how stunning, how gorgeous, and then everything will be okay. All my nervousness will disappear. And maybe he’ll even kiss…
Was that the sound of my right stiletto about to disgrace me?
Oh God, no!
I lost my balance and in a blink I found myself flat on the ground, staring up at a not-so-clear blue sky.
Ouch!2+November 17, 2018 at 4:05 pm #1272593
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This episode is something else1+November 17, 2018 at 4:59 pm #1272602
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lol…I cnt stop myself 4rm laughing
hahaha0November 18, 2018 at 9:27 am #1272677
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hahaha0November 18, 2018 at 2:56 pm #1272709
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next0November 18, 2018 at 2:57 pm #1272710
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