Akinyi drummed her fingers on her desk to the sound of some old school Michael Jackson playing on her IPod. She was an hour behind her scheduled deadline; she genuinely didn’t care. Three hours worth of work was submitted to her 20 minutes earlier to be completed as per a client’s irrational demand.
“I am not a magician; I don’t pull copy out of hat,” Akinyi would repeatedly yell. It was a broken record no one cared to listen to anymore. She acquired the habit of working within her own timelines. Clients be damned.
It had been six months since her fellow copywriters and boss quit. She didn’t have the heart to quit. Deep down she knew she was talented; she didn’t have the confidence to leave. But the current situation was steadily giving her a reason.
Akinyi felt a sharp tap on her shoulder, she slowly turned her head, it was Jeff, the irritant-in-chief. He was the leading sales rep; she knew what he was there for. She gave him a glance and went back to looking at her computer screen with a huge sigh to calm herself down from the steadily rising well of bile and resentment. Akinyi felt an even harsher tap on her shoulder, she grit her teeth shook her head and continued to hum to the music drowning the noise around her.
Suddenly she heard all the office sounds crash in at once, the copier, the TV was on with the 11 am news bulletin, sounds of tea cups being stirred. The water dispenser was making a bubbling sound as people served themselves a cup of water. Then everything fell eerily silent. Akinyi turned her head; Jeff was stomping on her brand new Beats by Dre head phones as the other sales executives looked on. She froze in disbelief.
She rose from her chair steadily dwarfing Jeff as she stood to her towering 6 foot 3 inches. She was known as the gentle giant, she was none confrontational. But Jeff had drawn the line and today the wrath from the heavens would rest squarely on Jeff’s 5 ft 4 inch frame. Akinyi lifted the diminutive figure off of her now crushed headphones. She took a deep breath staring squarely at Jeff and hissed out, “That will be 16,000 bob, just give me the cash, I will buy another pair and we can walk away from this.”
Jeff stood hands akimbo, mouth pursed as if he was ready to spit at her.
“Maybe you didn’t hear me, it’s 16,000 bob for my headphones that you just ruined. Pay cash, MPESA the money to me, or we can go to the ATM if you don’t have the cash and it’s over.” Akinyi repeated as her voice shook in rage.
“For what?” Jeff yelled.
Akinyi shook her head and sat down; she clenched her fist, and started to tap her feet under the desk. This had now gone way too far. She heard other sales executives demand that he pay quickly. Akinyi removed her spectacles and lay them tenderly on her office desk and stood up again. This time shoving Jeff who attempted to block her way past her desk, she went straight to the lifts. HR was her destination. She was done! Just as the lift doors began to close, Jeff reached in and blocked the lift sensors – the doors opened.
“Let go Jeff! PAY. THE. MONEEEEY or get the HELL OUT!” Akinyi barked.
“Why should I? Good for nothing, untalented tramp! Who did you sleep with to be here?” Jeff hissed, sneering at Akinyi.
“That’s it!” Akinyi yelled as she shoved Jeff out the lift, she slapped him; he fell to the ground in a pile, pleading. Akinyi was going for a blow this time and she froze in mid air, her face menacing.
Sam, the head of sales, had been watching all of this unfold and let it escalate. He yelled to Akinyi, “I’ll pay!”
Akinyi looked at him menacingly; Jeff quickly squirmed to safety clasping his raw cheek. She charged toward Sam.
“All this time you were here? You watched the assault, and you did nothing! I have worked here for 6 months alone, doing the work of 4 people at the pay of less than one. I have been disrespected several times reported it to HR and you and now, you think money will make it ok?”
“Don’t even try to defend yourself. Pay up the cash right now!” Akinyi demanded. Sam pulled out his wallet and started to count the notes, but barely could as he shook in fear. No one had ever seen Akinyi that enraged before. She always suppressed it, not this time. Sam gave her an extra 4,000 bob on top. Akinyi threw it back at him. “I don’t want your charity!”
Akinyi went back to her desk, packed her belongings and left. It was about time she found another job anyway.