The men from security matched into our office in troops. Useless people. When fight had finished. They were now doing stern face for us up and down.
“What is happening here?” The CSO asked.
Nobody wanted to reply for fear of the people involved. The people in my department most likely were too scared to rat out their boss. While the other people were probably scared to talk so that Fayo would not tear them to pieces like she did Onome.
“I said, what’s going on here?” The man said a little louder.
The talkative beside me whispered, “Ode. Can’t he see what has happened? Which one is he asking us one million times?”
Before I knew it, Onome’s finger was pointing at me.
“She started it. This is all her fault. She not only insulted me, but called her friend to beat me up.”
At that point, it was like I should remove her wig again, use it to flog her, then remove the rest of the hair on her head and leave her walking about like one who had alopecia.
“Don’t mind her! She’s the one who started it. She and her running mouth that doesn’t stay in one place needed to be taught a lesson.” Fayo countered sharply and straighted her blouse for the umpteenth time.
I looked at her with a look that asked, ‘After putting us in trouble, you still have mouth to talk? Are you mad?’
“I see. All three of you would have to come down with me please.” He said.
Fayo and Onome tried to put themselves in order before proceeding to follow him downstairs. As we left, tongues were wagging. People had gathered in small circles, in typical Nigerian fashion, to discuss what had just happened. There were sounds of “Oh” and “Ah” from different corners of the room. People were clapping hands and listening to the key witnesses with keen interest. I felt so embarrassed because I never saw myself being in such a situation. I used to be the model employee. The one everybody in the department looked up to. But now, because of revenge, I was now a referee at a wrestling match.
We got downstairs and as we were proceeding to the security office, Badmus was driving in. I had not even thought about what the implications would be if Badmus found out what happened. He would be so angry with me. Fear gripped me just as much as it did Onome. Hers was even worse. She looked like she had just seen as ghost, as Badmus stopped and wound down his glass just beside us. A disheveled Onome couldn’t put her self in order before he stopped. He looked at three of us in shock and confusion, me especially. He looked at me directly with questions in his eyes. His eyes looked like he was asking me what happened. I looked away in shame as the CSO greeted him.
“Good morning sir.” He said.
“Good morning oga.” The other security officials chorused immediately.
“Morning. What’s going on here?” He asked the CSO.
“There was a serious fight in HR department sir. We got a report at our office and went to find out what was happening immediately,” responded the CSO.
“Immediately kor. Something that if you were doing your job and watching the security cameras, you would have seen and prevented from happening,” I retorted in my head.
“From what we saw, these are the three people involved. So we’re taking them to our office for proper questioning and investigation.” The man said with a sense of pride. As if he had just impressed Badmus by doing his job effectively.
“You’re still beating about the bush. I said, what exactly happened? What caused the fight?” Badmus asked his tone of curiosity turning to one of anger.
“We don’t exactly know yet. We are still investigating. That’s why we’re taking them to our office sir.”
“You don’t know yet? What are you being paid for then?”
“Sorry sir.” The man said.
“Sorry for yourself. Send them to my office.”
“Are you deaf? I said send them to my office.” He shouted.
“But… but…” The man stammered.
Badmus ignored him and faced three of us.
“Go to my office and wait for me.” He drove off immediately.
“Oya let’s go.” The CSO said to us.
We turned back and walked into the office. Everyone stared at us as we walked by. I was sure that by now, the whole gist would have spread to every corner of the office. I was ashamed of myself. I felt like the ground should open up and swallow me. I was sure everyone was judging me the most. People could probably understand that girls like Onome and Fayo could do something like this, because of their temper, but I don’t think anyone looked at me like that. They must have been extremely shocked to see that I was involved. I felt like I had let a lot of people down.
We got in the elevator and soon arrived on the fourth floor, where all the executives had their offices. It was indeed very embarrassing, to walk on the corridors of power, with two disheveled women and many security men, like a criminal.
As we walked down to Badmus’ office, another executive, Mr. Festus was walking out of his office with an entourage. He looked at us in confusion. He must have been wondering what we were all doing there.
“Good morning sir.” The CSO greeted.
“Good morning sir.” The rest of us chorused.
“Morning.” He slowly replied.
“What’s happening, Miss Onome?”
“They were in a fight sir.” The CSO quickly responded.
Dindirin. Did they ask him? I hadn’t met the man before today, but one thing I knew was that his eye service was the worst I had ever seen.
“A fight?” The man asked slowly.
“Yes sir. A fight.”
“That’s why all of you are here? Walking about and disturbing the peace of people who are doing serious work?”
“That’s not it sir. Mr Kolawole said I should take them to his office.” The CSO defended.
I started wondering when Badmus told him to bring us to his office. Badmus had only told three of us to go to his office. I don’t know why the man was now claiming that he was sent. Fayo looked at him in shock. Since the security men had taken us into custody, Fayo had looked the least bit bothered. If not that she was in big trouble and didn’t really know Mr Festus, I bet she would have replied. Knowing Fayo, the words were hanging at the tip of her tongue, itching to come out, but she didn’t talk.
“Because Badmus asked you to bring them to his office, you had to come with all the security personnel in the company? So who is manning the gate if all of you are here?” Mr Festus angrily asked.
“This is not all of us o. There are people at the gate.” The CSO replied.
Mr Festus looked at him and shook his head. “One person should take the women to Badmus. The rest of you should go back to your positions. This is a corporate organization not your village. There is zero tolerance for this disorderliness.” He said sternly.
“Ok sir.” The CSO said. Then he turned to his men and said,
“Go back to your positions.” He ordered them. They turned back and scurried away like rabbits.
Mr Festus took one last look at four of us and walked away with his people.
We got to Badmus’ office and told his secretary he told us to wait for him. With the look on her face, I knew she had heard what happened. She sized all of us from head to toe before offering us seats. Five minutes after we had settled in, Badmus walked in. His secretary stood up, greeted him and took his iPad from him, then walked into his office. He followed her behind and acted as if he didn’t see us seating there.
After a few minutes his secretary came out of his office and said, “Mr. Kolawole will see the three of you now.”
“Thank you.” The CSO replied as he stood up.
“Thank you for what?” She asked him.
He ignored her and matched towards the office, while three of us followed behind.
The secretary pulled him back.
“Where are you going?”
“To see Mr Kolawole of course. Didn’t you say he was ready to see us?”
“Didn’t you hear me say ‘three of you’? Did I call your name? Abi did you fight too?” She asked wide-eyed.
“I am the one who is in charge of this case. I…”
“Abeg carry your gra gra and go back to the gate. Be doing eye service up and down.” She cut him short.
He ignored her again and tried to walk into Badmus’ office. In her pettiness, the secretary ran to the front of Badmus’ door and blocked it, spreading her arms and legs wide to cover every corner.
“This is my own security post o. So if you come any closer, you and I will start fight here.”
Even in the heat of the moment, everything was so funny, but I couldn’t laugh out loud at the scene. As I was giggling, I heard Fayo burst into hysteric laughter. She walked towards two of them and said,
“Abeg both of you should give way let me pass.” She nudged the secretary. That one shifted a bit and left a tiny space for us to squeeze through. Fayo looked back, eyed Onome and gestured to me.
“Come let’s go now,” She entered the office.
I followed her with Onome on my tail. We entered the office and shut the door.
We stood directly in front of Badmus, whose head was buried deep in his iPad. He looked up at us slowly and asked,
“So what happened?”
Everyone started talking at the same time, giving their own version of the story and casting blames. We had the liver to do that because all three of us were somewhat familiar with him.
“Calm down. One at a time.”
“I’d go first.” Onome quickly shouted.
Aunty Onome told her story, making herself the victim, me the bully and Fayo my stooge. She conveniently omitted the detail that Fayo accused her of sleeping with one of the executives also know as Badmus Kolawole and that she slapped Fayo first before they started fighting.
Fayo and I gave all the expressions of shock as she told her story and absorbed herself of the blame. When she finally finished talking, it was Fayo’s turn. I feared that Fayo would bring up the accusation thing and put both of us in trouble. But she was smart enough to omit that detail. Trust her to put pepper and salt. She told Badmus that Onome had called her names. She even added the names Onome did not call her and made herself look like she didn’t look for Onome’s trouble at all.
When it was my turn, I told the story as it was.
“I was talking to Miss Onome here, when my boyfriend called me.” I gave Badmus a knowing look.
“It was urgent so I picked up the phone and started talking to my boyfriend. When the details were getting too personal, I excused myself and left the office. Only for me to finish and see Miss Onome storming out of her office. She rained abuses on me and even threatened me. All the while, I didn’t utter any insult back until Miss Fayo showed up. Miss Fayo stood up to for me and insulted her back. She started calling me degrading names and even insulted my competence, saying she doesn’t know how I got hired and before I knew it, she had slapped Miss Fayo. Miss Fayo retaliated and they started fighting. I tried to separate them, but they didn’t budge. It was until the rest of the staff joined hands with me that I was able to separate them.”
Of course I didn’t talk about what caused the slap. It was as if we had silently agreed not to talk about the cause of the slap because we all knew all hell would let loose.
There was a brief moment of silence. Badmus stared at each of us one after the other before he finally spoke up.
“I have heard everyone’s side and I can deduce that Miss Onome was scolding Miss Teniola and Miss Fayo stood up for Miss Teniola. I know you can go back and forth on insults, but all of you are leaving out one vital detail.”
“What could that sir?” Fayo asked him.
“What caused the slap?”