Whenever you do business with new people you must do you due diligence and I was guilty of not doing that. I really should have checked into Naledi’s fathers background before I had even allowed myself to spoken into this business.
When I came to his house earlier he had made a power play by putting me in his study just so I could see who his friends are. That was his way of putting me in line and now that I think about I was a very dumb person to have not researched him. My boss was angry and I knew I would not be able to convince him to let it go even if I tried. Much as I was scared of being reported for corruption or whatever I think I feared Naledi’s father more if this screwed up the deal. What lengths to tender people go to make sure that they win those tenders? I have heard some even go to Sangoma’s to get good luck whilst others go as far as killing. It’s no exaggeration either.
“Son where are you everyone is out here celebrating and you are nowhere to be seen?”
My mother asked me. There was loud music in the background showing that they were excited.
“I am on my way I just got delayed a bit!”
I told her.
“Must I bring anything?”
I asked her.
“No of course not! We are going to be millionaires now so you should not worry about the small things the way you do! Hurry!”
My mother said and she dropped the phone. I was not going to hurry, I decided to Google the man who was giving me nightmares. There was nothing shady that came out about him except that he seemed to be on so many boards. How had I not known this though?
“Ok here goes nothing!”
I told myself as I drove to his place. I am certain I could hear the music from the corner that’s how loud it us. The white people’s dogs were barking but I am sure if he played Nkalakatha they will all go quiet. Even their dogs are racist Shem!
“Look who is here!”
Naledi screamed rushing to hug me. Her father was standing on the other side of the room and although he was celebrating I saw his face sour.
“You are the man of the hour!”
Her father said cheerfully as though we were best friends. One would never think that a few hours ago this man had told me he could destroy me in not so many words. I guess being awarded a multi million rand tender does that to the mood.
“Why am I sir? We all did this together!”
I told him.
“Don’t be humble we all know that without you we would not have been able to produce that document so learn to take credit where it’s due!”
He said slapping me on the back. This was not going to end well at all that much I was certain. He walked away to go pour himself another drink.
“I hate to be the bearer of bad news but we could have a major problem!”
I announced making everyone pose in their stride,
“What do you mean?”
My mother asked me. She was the one closest to me so I think she heard it first.
“Please don’t tell me you want to quit mchana we have done something great here!”
Tumi said. Whenever there was money Tumi was happy and although he was my friend Tumi was the type of person who could sell you for it.
“Its not that, guys please listen to me this is serious.”
I told them.
“Everyone give him a chance to speak!”
My mother said as though they had not already.
“Thank you. My company, the one where I work was also bidding for the same contract and …”
Her face literally losing emotion in that moment.
“As chief I.T person I was part of that bid team. My boss called me before I came here telling me that we lost the contract and that he intends to investigate as to why!”
I explained to them.
“So what’s that got to do with us? A lot of whiners complain when. They don’t win contracts and it never goes anywhere!”
Naledi’s father said with so much disdain but why was I surprised, I am certain he had been embroiled in such scandals before.
“It’s the cost of doing business. You win or lose depending on if you greased the right people. Don’t worry about him young man his investigation won’t go anywhere!”
He said and went back to pumping up the music. I was worried. These people might have protection but truth be told if we got into trouble it is people like me who get thrown under the bus.
“Mate you are just worried about nothing I promise you!”
Tumi said to me.
“Remember how we used to dream that we will make it someday and get a big contract on our own which will make us a lot of money. This is it and if we don’t run with it we might never get this opportunity again. Stop being boring like this!”
Yup he actually used the word boring and I don’t know what made me a bore but direct translation often does not work for people but they insist.
“Its ok I will sort myself out. I can see that you are already having fun!”
I told him.
“Of course I am. Just when I was thinking of being loyal to one girl I just so a picture of the new GTI! As soon as we start the project I am getting it because you know moes it’s the Sister Bettina of cars, girls lose their morals around it!”
I burst out laughing. I had not expected that analogy which sounded very sexist as its spoke to the dumbness of females to lose morals over a car but was he lying though.
“You can’t say such things; we live in a politically correct world now. People like you get roasted on social media!”
I reminded him and he just laughed dismissively,
“Let them roast us because those very people who are doing the roasting are the first to ask you for a lift!”
And with that he walked away. It was funny but disturbing. Maybe I was being uptight for no reason after all because this contract had the kind of money to change lives. I needed some fresh air though so I went outside. I got an Sms, goodness those thing still exist. Once upon a time we used to buy Sms bundles then Whatsapp happened! No wonder why they charge you so much on data Shem imagine how much money they lost to Whatsapp.
Shit! I cursed out loud I had totally forgotten about her today which is a good thing I suppose!
“I did not call because I knew you would not pick up but Vusi you surprised me today. You know I am in hospital right, pregnant with your child and you don’t even bother to call to check up on me or come see me all day? You might be angry at me but that is not the Vusi that I know!”
The text read. To be honest I had forgotten all about her with all the running around I had done today. My intention had not been to ignore but shit happens. I picked up my phone to try calling her but I felt someone hold me from the back,
“This is the best day ever is it not?”
It was Naledi and immediately I jumped away from her,
“What’s wrong it’s just me?”
She asked me surprised at how fast I had run,
“I know it’s just you, in your father’s house! Why didn’t you tell me your father is that powerful? Do you want him to kill me for standing here with you?”
I asked her.
“Relax man my dad would never harm a fly!”
She said! What’s wrong with women though? A lot of women who are married to gangsters or girls whose fathers are dangerous people always assume that their fathers would not harm anyone. Is it because they are so blinded by the wealth and power their parents have they actually think this to be true?
“Its ok I would not want to put that theory to test. I am worried Naledi about this thing. If my boss finds my name there I could be fired and even be in trouble legally.”
I told her.
“I could see you were worried that’s why I came outside. Here is my advice, you can’t change what has happened and if you continue to wallow in the shadows like this you will only make things worse. I suggest tomorrow when the excitement has died down you now think of a strategy on what to do next?”
She advised me. I had heard what she had said and I only had one strategy in mind and that was to resign before I was fired. That was the only logical thing to do, fall on my side! It’s not like I did not need a fresh start anyway but then again this is not America where a person can just quit their job and expected to find another.
“I also wanted to talk about something else, us!”
This woman had no timing really.
“What’s there to talk about? There is no us you know that right. We had a one night stand which I must say was epic and that was that!”
I reminded her.
“I know you think that but I think there could be an us if you were not so scared of my father. In any case that is not what I wanted to talk about; I wanted to say that I am sorry for how I reacted when Londiwe showed up at your mother’s house. In my defence I was not expecting to see someone I know there which made the betrayal feel even worse!”
“You don’t have to apologize, we broke up and I am moving on!”
I told her walking back to the house leaving her there. I don’t know what her facial expression was because of that and I did not care really. I wanted to leave and just go home. When I got to the door I decided to just turn and leave.
“Are you really leaving dude come on why are you being so dramatic?”
Naledi asked me as I walked past her.
“I am tired and something tells me I will have an early morning tomorrow! Good evening!”
I said to her as I got into my car and drove off leaving her standing there hands in air. I swear I can’t catch a break because I had not even gotten far when I turned on PowerFM and there on the radio was my boss’s voice.
“…the awarding of this tender was dubious at best so there must be an investigation!”
And the presenter responded,
“We just got the MEC on the line!”
This was escalating!
I was in the middle of it!
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto (fb)
Thank you for reading my letter.
Guys I am n trouble and I don’t know how to get out of it. Ok so I was dating this guy for like a year. He was boring and all but I actually liked him (not loved). I then cheated on him and broke up with him before he found out. The guy I cheated with was married to a girl from my church that’s how we met. His cheating on his wife is not my problem, I am not the one who went to him he came to me and I only found out he is married to her after we had sex. I did not stop the relationship because vele I would have been left alone. After a month of seeing this guy the wife found out and decided that she should revenge on me but because I had nothing she could take from me she went after my brother who is married. She slept with him and then went to tell her husband what she had done and why. Now everyone wants a meeting! This woman is going to beat me up I am sure eish this business of liking things. My brother’s wife blames me for bringing her to our family and so do my parents. Imagine your parents knowing that you sleep around? I am so embarrassed.
Should I go for the meeting?