Naledi’s father had said that whatever development happens I should come to him first before I made a decision that
could lead to more problems. I was going to honour that because I did not want to go to jail. It is safe to say that I was going to get fired so I was not going to be naïve about this that’s for sure. I had brought this on myself really. My company had put their trust in me and well I had been more ambitious. If I was white they would praise me saying I saw an opportunity and exploited a loophole but because I was black they would call it corruption. The double standards we live in though.
“I put everything on hold after I got your message. He did not mince his words I see!”
Her father said to me with a wry smile on his face. To him it was a joke but to me this was my livelihood.
“Yes he did not and I know that I am going to get fired after this!”
I told him resigned to my fate.
“Chances are that’s true question is what are you going to do if you do? He will most likely try get you blackballed everywhere else and no one might want to touch you after that?”
He warned me.
“I had not thought of that or rather that fair!”
I said putting my head into my hands.
“Well in this case you should have. I can’t cuddle you because right now I have to find a response or try reaching an understanding with him that won’t see him doing anything that could lead us in court!”
He warned. I think finally he had realized that the threat was real and our project was in clear and present danger.
“Yes I did warn you of this!”
I reminded him.
“Indeed you did and the longer we wait the more likely we will expose ourselves to even more problems. We have to do something now! I suggest that you go and see him and see what he says!”
He told me.
“You have to be kidding me! I will be slaughtered in there!”
I told him.
“Stop whining and be a man! In life there will always be consequences and men stand up to such. We don’t hide in a corner and cry like little girls!”
He said slamming the table. I wanted to tell him that the reference to ‘little girls’ was now considered sexist but now was not the time.
“Remember what I said as long as there is no evidence that our notes ever crossed or conversation we shared you should be fine. It’s not a conspiracy if they can’t prove it remembers! If that’s the case you will only be guilty of one thing and that’s non disclosure and that’s it!”
He reassured me.
“How can you be so certain of that?”
I asked him.
“Simple, unlike you the moment you said you were in troubled I called in the lawyers. I also called in accounting firm like I said in the meetings to cover the bribe money we paid out! We should be insulated!”
Eish the problem with that was that it was actually on the computer that Londiwe had and was threatening to use against me. That was part of the damning evidence which would lead every single one of us in prison as we would be tried as co-conspirators.
“Ok then I am trusting you on this but…”
I started to say,
I was about to tell him about Londiwe when his phone rang.
“Shit, never have an ex wife! They are annoying life sucking bitches who claim they gave up everything to be with you forgetting that even you gave up everything to be with them!”
He said. This mother of Naledi’s was featuring quite prominently today neh!
“What is it? I told you not to call me ufunani!”
He said rudely when he picked up. His phone was loud enough for me to hear their conversation which made it awkward enough as it was.
“I am with Naledi I just wanted to congratulate you that’s all, I am sorry I bothered!”
She said and I think the fact that she was with Naledi made him soften up be it just a little,
“Oh ok thank you! I told you that I will get her up and running and nothing will stop her once she gets the momentum in her!”
He said in what was definitely a boast to her. I tried not listen in because it’s rude but what else could I do we were in his study and it was as quiet as a church mouse in here.
“Thank you for that because she has stability in her life. She has some news for us which she wants us to set aside our differences so that she can tell us both in person. Is there any way you can set aside your big ego and make us a have a family dinner so we can discuss her news!”
The mother told her and in my head I could hear myself cursing out loud. Come on! I am very sure she was telling her mother how pregnant she was! What is wrong with these girls come on!
“I will see what I can do! You know I will make whatever plan for her but there will be no making of dinner! You want to poison me again!”
He said wow that was a bombshell! Who the hell was this family?
“You know that’s not what happened! You had food poisoning because you insisted on eating food not well prepared and not even by me at that matter mxim!”
She said very annoyed. I heard the phone click meaning she had hung up on him.
“Never marry a woman simply because you think she is beautiful. The lack of substance upstairs will be your undoing! I hate my ex wife, she tried to kill me once and that was that!”
He confided me in which was awkward to say the least.
“I am sorry to hear that!”
I told him.
“Don’t be, I fear that my daughter will one day turn into her mother and I try and keep them apart as much as I can but she is a grown woman!”
He told me pouring himself a glass of whisky I think! It was on those fancy bottles rich people have so you can never actually know what it is they are drinking. It could even be juice for all I know.
“Sir I have to go now and face and the music! Its best I take this head on like you said!”
I told him standing up. I could see he was about to go into a rage. It’s weird how the prospect of all of us all going to jail had not fazed as much as the thought of his ex wife making dinner. He was not scared of jail but his ex, she terrified him.
“Yes but when you are done you are to come right back here so we see the way forward.”
He told me.
“Do you have someone I can go with?”
I asked him.
“What do you mean? Like security?”
He asked me.
“Nope! Be a man son! It’s not like they can do anything to you now can they! Go face the music!”
He said dismissively. I did not think that was wise walking in like nothing happened but oh well.
I knew I had to go to the office because running away would mean I would most likely lose my provident fund. Private companies do that. When I got to the office it felt like all eyes were on me now what am I saying, they were! My boss must have been waiting for me with intent because he did a slow clap as I walked in,
“Guys look what we have here! Here is the man who took your bonuses out of your accounts because he gave away a contract that should have been ours!”
He said continuing with his sarcastic slow clap,
“Do you know who he gave it to? A rich corrupt man who does not need more money! The reason why the wealth is not shared in this country is because of little shits like this who are fuck boys to more powerful people!”
My boss shouted for all to hear. Money can make anyone turn against you and I could see my former colleagues all look down with what could only be disgust. If they could lynch me they would.
“You know there will be consequences right and one of them is that you are fired!”
He said which so much venom in his voice as little bullets of spit shot across the room. I walked away and went to my cubicle to take my things and he berated me the whole way,
“Security come take this thief and make sure he does not take anything more from us!”
He said loudly. Everyone was staring.
“Vusi I am going to find out how much more you are involved in this and I swear with everything that I have that you will end up in jail for this!”
He told me angrily. The thing with betrayal is that it is so painful as it comes from a place of trust and I could understand why he was so angry.
“Things did not go down the way you are thinking but I understand where you are coming from!”
I told him.
“You have no idea!”
He said as I hurriedly put my things in a box. This was incredibly embarrassing so I did it very fast. I carried my box and did my walk of shame and was escorted out by security. When we got to the lift I could not even bring myself to turn around because I knew all eyes were on me. The lift seemed to take forever to come up. Eventually I was in it and went down.
As I walked through the foyer downstairs I saw a familiar face,
I said to her as she walked in.
She said very much surprised to see me there.
“What are you doing here?”
I asked her.
“What do you think? I told you what you have to do to stop me remember!”
She said smugly the surprise gone after she saw the box I was carrying. On top of the box was a picture of her and me at a happier time!
“What a beautiful couple!”
She said I think very much sarcastically.
“Please don’t go upstairs!”
I told her.
“Oh no I am going! I just want to hear what he has to say! I will come back and tell you of course! Time is ticking; you now have 24 hours lest you think I have forgotten!”
She said and she walked away.
Things were just getting worse!
Michael Nkululeko Maphoto (fb)
I am a very big fan of your work and funny enough I believe you have not even scratched the surface of your talent. I wish you all the best.
I have always been a go getter. I don’t stand back for something I want or like. I am 27 and I work. I am doing my second degree part time. Early last year I met a man I fell in love with. He was 29 and ambitious. There was only one problem, he was married. That did not stop me from going after him. I know how easy it is for us to say men are shit when they cheat but this guy did not stand a chance. I stalked him until I got to be friends with his friends and this way he could not escape me. I made sure we attended the same events. I befriended one of the wife’s friends to get her number and when I did I had two guys I know start pursuing her via whatsapp. They would send her flowers etc.at work and because she is a woman to her it was flattery from a secret admirer. Eventually it started to take its toll on her marriage, me flirting with on the one side and all this attention she was getting. The more time I spent with him the more he opened to me on how bad things were getting at home. Before long we were sleeping together and he was spending less and less time at home. What I did not account for was that one of the guys I had made pursue the wife to create the doubt fell for her and eventually confessed what had happened. Her husband, my boyfriend got so angry he beat me up to a pulp. Their marriage went on the fritz obviously as she ended up sleeping with that guy who had fallen for her. Everything is a mess unfortunately. It’s December and I am single, he is getting divorced and everyone blames me. I earned it but I am not sure I regret it.
Last week he called me. It was the first time in months and I did not pick up. I have been debating on whether to call him back or not. I caused all this I know and I am selfish. I want him back but is it wise?