Fears and Deadbeats

From a distance, the clanging of the keyboard from the reception could be heard. Michelle was using the computer, and in her head, she still pressed hard on the buttons like it was a typewriter. She was drafting another letter for the boss. She called it a draft because she knew he’d make a few corrections. Only until the fourth draft would his wordings make sense, only then would he approve the letter for postage.

Michelle had worked for her boss, Mr. Karanja, for twelve years now. She had joined the firm when she was twenty years old, and had finished her secretarial course. She was young and unsure of herself, but so was Mr. Karanja. He was thirty at the time, and taking up ownership of his father’s law firm. He got coached by the big man, while Mrs. Wanjau trained her as her replacement. She was a nice lady, happy to leave than work for the boss’ boy, who she said was like a son to him.

With a new boss, she had the power to change a few things, and he happily let her. He said he wanted a new feel, like he was the boss and not reporting to his father any more. Soon, younger clients started showing up and business peaked. That was when she met George. He was tall, very confident and well achieved for his age. He liked her, took her out for coffee and the rest was history. Mr. Karanja gave his blessings and she quit her job to become a wife.

Two years down the line, Michelle felt a void, like she lacked a purpose in life and asked to go back to work. Her husband did not understand why, but he let her. He was advised that a happy wife meant a happy life. Mr. Karanja was more than happy to have her back.

By then, things had changed. It was a new century, with new technology. She struggled with the laptop but got the hang of it. Sandra, her fellow secretary helped her from time to time and soon, she got the hang of it. She was happy for the challenge.

Her letter was done and headed for the printer. She checked her Facebook for any updates, nothing. She walked across the room to pick the print out when she heard giggling from the kitchen. She paused for a second to see if she’d get wind of what was happening. Sandra was the topic of discussion between the messenger and tea girl. They mentioned how devastated she was, that she was expecting the boss’ child. She knew all along that the boss would never leave his wife for her but never did she think he had another mistress. Then they mentioned a page called Dead Beat Kenya.

Michelle was shocked. She knew Sandra had a crush on the boss, but she never thought it would amount to anything…and Mr. Karanja! He was happily married, she did not understand…

“Michelle, is the letter ready?” she heard the boss call out.

She composed herself as fast as she could and walked into the office with letter in hand.

He skimmed through the letter marking out what he required changed and gave the letter back.

Michelle walked to her desk, put the letter down and opened up word. She begun typing the letter but halfway through, she switched to Facebook to look for the said page.

Within minutes, her request to join the group was approved. She gaped at what she saw. Women and men a like complaining of spouses who do not support their children. Full names, telephone numbers, ID numbers and photos all there as proof! She hadn’t seen something so juicy on gossip since she last read Uganda’s Red Pepper!

Scrolling down the posts, she saw Mr. Karanja there. The lady posting was called Amelia Sugarplums. What kind of woman who was a mother call herself that? Why, she was only twenty three! She said he had supported her for the first six months since conception. Then he disappeared. She said she did not know he was married up until he disappeared. Michelle laughed at this, she did not believe the girl. If she was from this town, she would know. And Mr. Karanja never took out his ring! And if he did, the ring line would be so evident….there had to be a mistake.

She heard him before she saw him. He was standing behind her, reading what she was reading. She wanted to change the tab but her told her not to. From the anger on his face, she could now tell there was some truth to it.

“How did you access this page?”he asked, with more veins appearing on his head.

“I just sent a request and they accepted,” she said in a very low tone. He was mad, he was really mad.

“Have you finished the letter or are you going to spend the entire day reading gutter Facebook pages?”

“Er..I’m sorry sir, I’ll be sending the draft shortly,” she said opening her Word.

She heard his office door slam shut, she held her mouth in shock. A few seconds later, she was back on the page just to confirm her George didn’t have secrets of his own.


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