7, DECEMBER 2015
Nicholas rolled the pen in his left hand as he tapped the fore finger of his right hand on his table. He rocked his chair and stared into space. His tie was loose and his damp shirt stuck to his body despite the air conditioning in the office. He had not had two weeks of peace since the morning when he woke up next to a supposed dead girl, it was getting tiring. He had gotten some sort of respite when he got off the hook for murder or kidnap but CyberCorp was doing just as much damage to him as an arrest probably would. He had thought of quitting, he had seriously thought about it but had decided it was not the thing to do. It would be exactly what everyone expected and it would only show he was a coward.
Pressing on was not easy, not after Faruk’s revelation. The tax officers had been back and it turned out the problem was bigger than he thought. Logged-In had been a model company but for three years they had committed a lot of tax evasion. It was not a big deal for a company to have tax issues but they generally did not end up being played up in the press or dumped on a new company just taking over. As he expected, Logged-In shares had very little value and they were losing clients every week. Anybody who knew anything knew that Logged-In was done.
He heard a knock on his door and his secretary came in.
“Mr. Abdullah is here to see you sir.”
“He is?” He had thought about bringing Faruk back but it was a bad idea, he had been silly for letting him stay for so long. “Let him in.”
“Hello boss, you look tired, it’s not easy to run a company, is it?” Faruk said as he drew a chair.
“No it isn’t. You are still on suspension, right?” Nicholas asked with a smile.
“Yes, I am except something has changed and I have not heard of it.”
“Nothing has changed, not that I know of and I think I would know. You’ve come with more bad news I suppose.”
“Very funny, what do you think I am, a bad news peddler?”
“Okay, what do you want Mr. Abdullah?” If he was a good person, Nicholas knew he could really be friends with Faruk.
“I actually bring potential bad news, the badness of the news will depend on the decision you are going to make on the current situation of CyberCorp.”
“What is the news you have?”
“I know I’m suspended and I have no business here but I think I have a solution to the problem that is the bad investment in Logged-In.”
“Go on.” Nicholas did not trust anything that came out of Faruk’s mouth but it did not mean he could not hear it.
“There is a simple solution to this all; declare bankruptcy.”
He thought about it, it made sense. If the company declared bankruptcy, the company would not have to pay anything.
“It’s a good idea, isn’t it?” Faruk asked, Nicholas kept quiet. “There is a catch though, well it’s not really a catch… you will hurt a lot of people if you do this. Every other investor will be screwed basically.”
He had not thought of that, Faruk was right. A lot of poor people who had invested in the company would lose a lot. These people might not recover, CyberCorp will.
“I believe we can still salvage Logged-In, all we have to do is revamp the company. Thanks for your advice but we won’t be filing for bankruptcy.”
“I knew you would come to that conclusion, you’re a good man boss. The problem is business is not for good men. Here’s my bad news; SON, the standard organization people just withdrew the production license of Logged-In.”
“What! Why?” Nicholas asked , surprised. It looked like everybody was out to ruin the takeover.
“I don’t know, but I know it’s a lot of trouble running a company that cannot even produce.”
“Wow, you are really a peddler of bad news, aren’t you? Not just for me now, but for everybody, especially the investors. Is that all Mr. Abdullah?” He hoped there was no more, it was already too much.
“That will be all sir. So what are you going to do?” Faruk asked.
“We’ll see.” Nicholas answered.
Filing for bankruptcy was bad but it had to be done.
7, DECEMBER 2015
Tola could not believe the mess around her. She was not a perfectionist but there was a line between ‘carefreeness’ and dirtiness, the room definitely crossed the line. She tried to shut out her environment and concentrate on the person sitting across from her.
Nicholas had mentioned in passing that Adam had spoken to a lady who used to work for Faruk and she was the reason Kemi had been found at all. Getting to meet her was not a huge problem. She like most ladies her age loved internet gossip, so when she got an email from one of her favourite gossip blogger to set up an interview with another blogger, she had agreed immediately.
“I’m sorry about the room, I was going to take care of the place tomorrow.” Helen said with a weak smile.
“Oh, it’s not a problem.” Tola said, her face betraying the lie. “I’m just glad you agreed to meet me.”
“When Ese Tokunbo says you should meet somebody, you meet the person. She never told me what this was about though.”
“You used to work in CyberCorp, right?” Tola asked. Helen relaxed in the chair and crossed her arms across her chest.
“Yes, I did.”
“And you used to work with Mr. Faruk Abdullah?”
“Yes, I used to. What is this about?”
“I don’t mean to trouble you but why were you fired? From what I gather, you did your work well and Mr. Faruk liked you.”
“I don’t… you know what, no need for any more lies. Yes I was good and I wasn’t fired in a bad way. I was compensated.”
“Okay, but why were you fired?”
“Do you know Senator Lawal? Of course you know him, everybody knows him.”
“Yes I know him, go on please.”
“Wait, you know the C.E.O. of CyberCorp died recently, right?”
“Yes I know that too.” It looked like Helen was rambling.
“Okay, alright… despite what everybody thinks, he did not die of natural causes.”
“He didn’t? How did he die?” Tola sat up, she was getting information she did not expect.
“No he didn’t. He was poisoned.”
“He was? How come it wasn’t detected? How was he poisoned? Who did it?” She had so many questions.
“The poison is… I don’t know the name but it is supposed to be indetectable, it acted slowly… I don’t know all the details, it’s not like I was briefed.”
“Okay, alright but who did it?”
“I don’t know who did it. I mean I know who orchestrated it but I don’t know who poisoned him.”
“Okay…” Tola was getting impatient.”Who orchestrated it? Wait, was it Senator Lawal?”
“Yes, I said so before.”
“No, you didn’t… doesn’t matter. Do you have any proof of this?”
“Proof? Are you serious? How do you expect me to have proof?”
She was right, she probably would not be alive if she had proof. “They just let you go despite all you know?”
“Yes they did. Like you mentioned earlier, Faruk liked me plus I was paid, I have no reason to talk… except now I am talking. I have not been able to get it off my mind since… Remember I also have no proof of this.”
“Wow, thanks a lot for this information. I wasn’t expecting to get this much when I asked to see you.”
Tola stood up, she had gotten more than she expected.
“Wait, there is something else. I have the card of the guy who supplied the poison. He was kind of hitting on me, right in front of my boss, jerk. Let me get it for you.”
Tola waited as she went inside to get the card. She was killing two birds with a single stone; putting together a great story and helping solve a crime.
The door opened and Helen came out with the card, she was about to hand Tola the card when there was a knock of the door. Helen moved towards the door to open, Tola waited she had to share this new information with Nicholas.
Tola watched Helen open the door, she could see a man standing in front of the open door, a neighbour maybe. Tola was about looking away when she heard a bang, the man was gone and Helen turned towards her gripping the door. Blood was coming from her stomach, it could have been her chest, she had been shot. She stumbled and fell across the room. Tola stifled a cry, she grabbed her bag, the man could be back. Her legs shook as she jumped to her feet. She stepped over the body trying her best not to step on blood. She was about leaving the room when she saw the card sticking out of her hands, she grabbed it and hurried away.
7, DECEMBER 2015
Kate had not been in Nicholas’ office very much, it was off limits but it she did not always feel welcomed there. She knew it was not a very good time in CyberCorp so she was surprised when Nicholas asked her to come.
Nicholas had moved two chairs to face the window, the view from his office was incredible.
“If i had this kind of office i would not leave ever.” Kate said with a smile.
“If you had all the trouble that goes with it, you’d probably leave as fast as you can.”
“You have a point. Why did you want me here by the way anyway? It’s not like this office is very romantic.”
“I don’t know, i guess i just wanted to see something good happen inside this office.”
“Oh, nice to know that you see me as something good.” Kate said with a chuckle. “You can’t tell me nothing good has ever happened here.
“No, i can’t tell you that, but i can’t remember them. The bad just outweighs the good.”
“Hmm.” Kate said. They sat in silence and watched the city. Kate still wondered why Nicholas had called her that morning, she had asked but he did not have an answer. She was glad he did anyway. Their relationship had gone only upwards since their date at the Romanticismo. Like every relationships they had their challenges, CyberCorp was a major one. She did not know much about running a major coporation but she did not think Nicholas’ problems were normal.
“You know who I met here last?” Nicholas asked closing his eyes.
“Faruk. How worse can it get?”
“It probably can’t worse actually. What was he doing here by the way?”
“To deliver more bad news of course, what else?”
“They have more bad news left? Can this really get worse?” Things were bad, that much she understood from what Nicholas had told her. Things getting worse meant trouble for him, for her, for them.
“Oh, it can and it did. Long story short is I’ve had to take a decision that is going to hurt a lot of people.”
“You have?” That was not something you heard from your boyfriend every day.
“Yes, do you see how tough this job is, you have to take such delicate decisions.” He did not seem to realize what he had just told her.
“You said you were gonna hurt people, what did you mean when you said that? What people?”
“I didn’t say I was going to hurt them, I just said the decision I took will… well I guess I am hurting them.”
“Nicholas, what are you talking about? Which people?”
“The investors in Logged-In, all of them. We are declaring bankruptcy, they all lose their money. It’s sad isn’t it?”
“Oh, why do you have to declare bankruptcy? Isn’t there another way?”
“There is no other reasonable way. The only other way will be paying them for their shares but that is not reasonable.
“It is not?” Kate could not believe what she was hearing.
“We will be paying a lot of money despite the huge losses we have already suffered, you know all about that already.”
“And you think hurting those poor people is a better option?”
“They should learn to invest smartly next time.” Nicholas said with a chuckle, then he looked at Kate. “Hey, I was joking. Why are you looking at me like that?”
“You actually think it is funny, don’t you?” Kate said standing up. “Now I know what it is like to be on the other side of the table.”
“What is going on here? Why are you angry? It’s not like I have a choice here, do I?”
“Nicholas, you always have a choice. You know this kind of stuff happened to my uncle, he invested a lot of his money in a company because everybody in his office was doing it. Some rich spoilt C.E.O. somewhere decided his company was more important than him…”
“Is that how you see me? You think I’m a rich spoilt C.E.O.?”
She did not reply him. “My uncle was poor till he died, most of his children are yet to recover from that single incident. But of course the company must not incur any more losses.”
She picked her bag and moved towards the door, Nicholas did not make a move to stand. She opened the door and left the room. She walked briskly to the elevator, punched the keys and stepped in. She twiddled her thumbs as she watched the elevator tick at each floor. She wished the day had gone another way but she could not believe Nicholas was turning into the selfish C.E.O. she never thought he could become.
The elevator doors opened and she stepped into the reception, it was almost empty, only the receptionist was in the room. She nodded at her and walked out of the building and towards the parking lot. She glanced at the gate and stopped. She saw a familiar figure walking towards the gate. Kemi! It had to be her. Kate looked at the parking lot then turned back, if it was Kemi she had to know for sure.
She skipped as she walked, it was Kemi for sure. Kate stopped when she saw the car, it was driving too fast and it was coming towards Kemi. Kate dropped her bag and started running towards the gate, Kemi just kept coming. The car was getting closer and then Kemi heard it, she turned to look at the car as it hit her. She rose into the air and crashed against the sidewalks, the car screeched and sped away.
Kate dropped to her knees, bowed her head and screamed.