Collins drove into the premises of Tony Brown party venue and he was amazed at how filled up everywhere was with different expensive care of different brands and makers.
As they walked on the red carpet leading to the entrance into the house, Collins took his time to count the cars in the compound, but he hadn’t counted three cars before a particular sports car caught his attention. It was an Aston Martin, the first time he was seeing one. He badly wanted to touch it, but a second look at the car, he saw it had a customized plate. Obviously, it belonged to a bigger gun in the society. The bodyguards standing around it spoke volume.
“Are you nervous?” Bunmi asked.
“Of course.” Collins replied. Who wouldn’t be?
“Don’t be. I am nervous too and you are my knight in shining amour.” Bunmi said with a smile.
They were stopped at the security post where the
security men ran checks on them, at the same time confirming the autenticity of their invite.
“You are welcome sir and ma’am.” The security man admitted them into the elevator and few seconds later, they were ascending to only God knows where.
All through the flight, Bunmi never left Collins. Aside holding his hand tightly, she was always coming to adjust his polo or anything that need to be adjusted according to her.
“Breathe in and breathe out.” Collins said as the elevator stopped on the sixth floor and by the time it opened, they were welcomed into a very big hall which was brightly decorated.
“Welcome sir. Welcome ma’am. My name is Malik.” A light skinned man, more like a Morroccan or an Algerian than a Nigerian greeted them as they walked into the venue of the party.
Without being told, Collins recognized Tony Brown from the way he was exchanging pleasantries with everybody.
“Ah! Welcome my special guest of honor.” Tony said as he approached the latest arrivals.
“Good evening Miss Bunmi.” He bowed slightly as she shook hands with her and subsequently kissed the back of her hand. “And you must be Collins. Its nice to have you here.” He shook hands with Collins as well.
“A nice party you have here.” Collins complimented.
“I’m glad you guys love it. Let me show you around.” Tony said, more of a command than a request.
For the next five minutes, Tony introduced them to other guests and by the time they had met everybody, Collins had forgotten most of the people he met, but one thing he made sure he did was exchange complimentary cards with them all. Even though his card bore the office of a production manager, unlike others who were either Directors, CEOs, Managers and other high ranking entreprenuers. But he wasn’t
disturbed. While he hustled to exchange contact with everybody, Bunmi only gave her card to a young lady who in turn gave hers to Bunmi.
“She is an event planner. I think she’ll plan our wedding.” Was what Bunmi said as they left the lady.
At the end of the tour, Tony Brown had taken them to the inner parts of the house, including the kitchen where they met those in charge of cooking and the last person they met was a popular DJ.
“Collins, can I borrow Bunmi for a while?” Tony asked when they returned to the hall where other guests were. “You can walk around the house, strike up
conversations with anybody. And yes, there is a lsnooker board and a casino ground on the topmost floor. “Go there, have fun.” He added.
“I’ll just grab a drink or two.” Collins replied.
“Baby, here. Hold my phone for me.” Bunmi said before she left with Tony to only God knows where.
At first, he felt empty while he continued staring in the direction which they went until a voice screamed in his subconscious. “Loosen up Collins. You are here to have fun.” That was all he needed before he gingerly walked towards the bar where he requested for a mixture of his favourite drink. Even God knows he wanted to quit alcoholic drinks, afterall, he hadn’t tasted them for almost a week, but here he was in a party where everything is in abundance. “Even God go vex if I no drink for this place.” He thought as he smiled.
“A penny for your thought.” A feminine voice asked bringing him out of his riverie and before him was a young lady, a little over twenty five. Dark skinned, tall and beautifully endowed in the right places. In terms of beauty, Collins knew the lady before him would give Bunmi a run for her money, but he waved it off.
“What are you doing all alone at the bar laughing?” She asked.
“I love laughing alone especially when am in a bar.” Collins wanted to say, but he controlled himself.
“I’m bored. My date went out quickly.” He replied instead.
“Fine, then I’ll be your date.” The lady grabbed his hand and literally dragged him out of the party towards the elevator. She ‘dragged’ him not because she had power to, but because he had no choice except to follow her.
As soon as the elevator stopped at the topmost floor, she dragged Collins out once again and they walked toward a door outside which were to bouncers or
As they stopped before bouncers who ran checks on Collins, he decided to know the name of his new found friend so to say.
“What’s your name?” He asked.
“Tha’t unimportant for now. I need to get my money back.” She replied.
“What money?” Collins asked. As his mind wandered into the likely scenario he is about to face. “If this lady think I am a fighter who would help her collect her money, ne OYO she dey o.” He thought as they walked into a dimly lit room.
The hard stench of marijuana hit his nose and he felt like passing out, but to avoid the falling of hands, he dare not. He looked around the room and saw two ladies dancing almost naked. It is obvious they have been paid to entertain the guests, because, the way the moved sensually, everything about them oozed professionalism. Collins quickly took his eyes off the two ladies.
“Here is my defender. He is going to recoup all I have lost.” The lady said to a group of people seated around a casino.
Collins laughed in his mind. He was no professional in the game of casino, and the obnoxious lady who came to drage him from his comfort zone didn’t ask if he could play or not.
You never loose. You go loose
Collins thought as he sat down. He first of all exchanged pleasantries with the guys
and judging from their names, he could point at three players whose parents are serving Senators.
“So, this is how our collective wealth is being spent? No wonder wardrobe allowance for each senators runs into millions.” He thought.
“I raise with 50k.” A guy, an albino said. “I bet 60K.”
Another guy said.
Collins looked at his cards. “I fold.” He said.
Everyone exchanged funny looks which later grew into serious looks.
“I can see we have a professional tactician here.” The albino guy said. Collins smiled.
He had a perfect game plan.
“Mr Tony, this is a bedroom.” Bunmi said as Tony led her into a well decorated room. “What’s this supposed to mean?” She asked.
“This is for us.” Tony replied.
Bunmi took a few steps backwards. “Are you okay? Did you drink more than your system could take?” She asked.
“I am perfectly in my right senses. I have always wanted you to be mine Bunmi. I became you company’s largest buyer just to make you notice me. I
want you to be mine.” Tony poured out.
“No doubt, we need help here.” Bunmi said as she searched for her phone which was nowhere to be found. Then she remembered she had given it to Collins.
“I am okay Bunmi. Tell me yes or no. Become my girlfriend.” Tony said angrily.
“No.” Bunmi snapped.
“Why?” He asked.
“I have a boyfriend and I am closer to getting married to him. I don’t know you and the age difference is a turn off. Try someone else.” She replied.
“That Collins is your boyfriend right? I know what to do.”
“Nothing must happen to him. Or else, I will make sure you spend the rest of your life in jail.” Bunmi screamed.
“Good, but even if you won’t date me. Get on this bed and let’s have fun.” Tony commanded.
“In your dreams.” She laughed.
“Don’t you sleep with politicians to land your company contracts? Why should my own be different.” Tony asked.
“You need to read better news about people. SJC is
about intergrity, we win contracts on merit.” Bunmi
“Let’s see how you win contract without proper
financial backing. I will switch alleigance. I will stop
buying from you. Let’s see what you have then.” Tony
“All because you want to get in between my legs? Mr Tony, I am disappointed.” Bunmi asked. “Is this why you invited me to your party?”
“Get out.” Obviously embarrassed, he screamed.
“Thank you.” Bunmi mocked as she walked out of the room.
Kike stood beside Collins at the bar as they discussed. Collins had used his experiences at playing casino with his broke friends and the various casino games he has played on his phone and computer, to win Kike and huge amount of money.
“So, my name is Kike. Kike Brown.” She said.
“Are you related to Mr Brown?” Collins asked. “Your husband?”
“No, he is my brother.”
“Wow! Never knew.” He retorted.
“And now you do.” She laughed. “So, tell me, what do you do?”
“Baby, I’ve been searching everywhere for you.” Bunmi’s voice interrupted them.
Collins excused himself and went to meet his girlfriend.
“Whatsup?” He asked.
“Let’s get out of here.” She almost commanded.
“This party is a bad idea, how I wish I had listened to dad.” She replied.
“Okay, will you at least meet my new friend?” Collins asked.
“No.” She snapped.
“Fine! Let me pick up our phones.” He replied as he returned to the bar to pick his stuffs.
“Is that your girl?” Kike asked.
“What’s wrong with her?” She added.
“I have to go now.” Collins said.
“Okay, can I have your number?” Kike asked.
A suprised Collins quickly collected her phone and punched in his number. “see you some other time.” With this, he returned to where Bunmi stood.
“And thanks for the game.” Kike called back after him as he exited the room.
The drive out of the estate was quiet as each of them was deep in their own thoughts. While Collins tried as much as possible to keep his mind on the road, he still couldn’t help but think of what could be responsible for Bunmi’s sudden change of attitude.
“Let’s go to your apartment.” He heard her say as he turned onto the main road.
“Are you sure?” Collins asked, knowing fully well that she has never passed the night in his room.
“Yeah.” She replied.
“What about the mosquitos?” He asked.
She smiled as she held his free hand. “I will survive
wherever you are.”
“Okay. And what about work tomorrow?”
“Jeez! You ask too many questions. I will call in sick tomorrow.” She replied.
Collins kept quiet through the rest of the journey, and even the few times they talked, he avoided bringing up the issue of the party and the reason her countenance changed after meeting Tony Brown privately.
“Only time will tell.” He concluded as he drove into his street.
Tony Brown sat inside his well decorated office with a musical video showing on the flatscreen television hung on the wall to the left of his desk. A knock sounded on the door.
“Come in.” He said and moments later, the door was pushed open and his personal assistant walked in.
“Oh! Malik, I sent for you.”
“Yes sir, I came as soon as I got the summon.” Malik replied as he stood before his principal.
Tony picked up a brown envelope from the table and handed it to Malik who took it promptly and took a peak into knowing the content of the envelop.
“Go on, check it all out.” His boss instructed. “You can use the table over there.” He added pointing to the centre table in the mini living room carved out of his office.
“Here is okay.” Malik replied as he removed two pictures, two white papers from the envelop and looked at his boss for the next line of action.
“The guy on the first picture is Mike Collins, he was at my party yesterday as Bunmi Jose’s date. Find out more about him, what he does, his net worth, his connections and weaknesses.” Tony instructed.
“On the other picture is Alhaji Dababa, he is from Niger state. A major supplier of sugarcane to SJC, seek him out and fix a meeting date between us. His office address is on one of the papers.” Tony continued.
“And the second paper?” Malik asked.
“That is the address of the milling company providing SJC with timber and other furniture materials. I don’t know those behind the company, but that’s their address there. Seek them out as well, Tony Brown would like to meet them.” He concluded.
“I’ll do just that sir.” Malik said assuringly.
“I want results as soon as possible.” Tony emphasized.
Malik nodded in affirmation, a sign that he understood and agreed to his boss’ stand before exiting the office.
Tony swirled his chair around like a kid sitting on such chair for the first time and with a contented, but wicked smile on his face, he muttered. “Bunmi Jose, you have nowhere to run to.”
Kike walked out of her room for the first time today after yesterday’s hangover where she got drunk and wasted. How she got home remained a mystery to her, because she remembered driving to the venue of the party herself, but she couldn’t remember when she drove back home.
“You are up?” Alice, her step-mother asked.
“Yes Alice.” She replied as she walked into the kitchen in search of what to eat.
“What the fvck did you guys have for breakfast?” she asked angrily after a futile
search around the kitchen.
“I’ve told you countless times, stop using the ‘F’ word in my presence Kiks.” Alice scolded.
“You are in position to tell me what to do Alice. I am an adult and I know what is right.” Kike replied hotly.
“Fine, today is Saturday and I am fasting, so Iinstructed the maids to limit their cooking to the staffs and not the members of the main house.” Alice explained with a smile. She sure enjoys making Kike frown.
“What the… Your useless fast again?” Kike asked angrily. “After spending majorityof your life as a hooker, running after made men’s wealth. Now that you are nearer to death, you felt fasting can take you to heaven.”
“Deal with it. It is either you go back into that kitchen or you remain hungry for the rest of the day. Brat!” With this, Alice stormed out of the living room.
Kike angrily marched into her room and placed a call to her brother.
“Hello Tony.” She said hotly.
“Angel Kiks.” Tony answered.
“Alice is getting on my nerves. There is a limit to what I can take, I hope you know that?”
“See, whatever Alice is doing wrongly, you just overlook it.” Tony replied, suprising Kike even the more.
“Wait! Are you sleeping with her? I mean Alice. Why are you suddenly been cool to her?” Kike asked.
“She is dad’s wife, I can never do that.” Tony replied a bit offended.
“Just warn her and make her adhere to the warning.”
With this, Kike hung up and threw herself on the bed as the thought of her new friend, Collins rushed through her mind. Instantly, her anger dissipated at the thought of him.
“Mr Collins, you’ve raised three salient points today and we would like you to discuss more, especially the actualization and the long term benefit they will have on the company.” Mr Ola, the finance manager requested just before Collins could sit down.
Since the begining of the meeting, the finance manager has been asking nerve breaking questions from Collins, but all thanks to his preparedness and confidence, he was able to answer them all. Collins stood up once again.
“The first point I raised was Staff’s welfare. Especially those in the factories. Because of time, I will give a summary instead of a full report of production in the last nine months.” He began. “In August last year. Materials purchased in the sugar mill stood at fifty trucks of sugar cane at a cost of five million naira. Production process costs us a total of 1.7million naira. Now, the end product which is sugar valued at 7million naira which is not supposed to be.” Collins paused to crosscheck his statistics.
“Shed more light.” The finance manager urged.
“Considering the fact that the production process stood at 6.7million naira and at the end 7million naira was gotten from sales. Meaning, profit for the month stood at three hundred thousand naira. Salaries of the staffs at the sugar mill stood at four hundred and twenty thousand naira.” He paused. “That means the sugar mill was run at a deficit of one hundred and twenty thousand naira for the month of August. Even though that is quite small, if the trend continued for the next nine months, that means almost 1.2million has been lost….” He continued, but was cut short by the finance manager.
“If that amount was lost in nine months, does that mean the sugar mill is rigid and couldn’t expand to make more profits?” The finance manager asked.
“That question should be directed to the finance team. If they keep giving wrong figures and wrong financial advices, the company will keep being run at loss.” Collins replied.
“You are the head of production, you should know more about productivity and expansion.”
“On the other hand, productivity and expansion are two different things sir. I can categorically tell you that the finance team led by you is responsible for the problems at hand.” Collins replied.
The finance manager stood up in anger and took few steps closer to Collins who moved backward by three steps.
“Are you accussing me of running the company into debt? Mr Collins.”
“On the other hand, Mr Ola. The company is not in debt because the furniture factory is making about 300% of its investements. That’s about 200% profit and that is being used to run the other factories. Mr Ola, let’s call a spade a spade here. The finance team led by you is only interested in the general profit and not profit by each factories. Other factories are incurring debt, but profits from the furniture factory is covering them up. Statistics don’t lie.” Collins explained.
“I’m out of here.” Ola said angrily as he grabbed his notepad and stormed out of the conference room in annoyance.
“Mr Collins, your report would thoroughly scrutinized by the board and we will reach out to you as soon as a decision is made. This meeting has come to an end.” The Vice president, David who presided over the meeting in the absence of the president concluded.
“Good afternoon everybody.” He said as he stood up exchanged pleasantries with a few people and left the room.
“Good job.” Rukayat’s voice brought him out of his reverie as he packed his files.
“Thank you.” He replied.
“But, you are revealing secrets o. And I’m afraid you are stepping on people’s toes.” She said. “I’ll help you.” as she collected his bag inside which his report as well as laptop lay.
Collins muttered a thank you as they both walked out of the conference room. “Are you going home now?” She asked.
“Yeah.” He replied.
“I’ll drive you.” She proposed.
“There won’t be a need for that.” Collins replied.
They continued in silence until they entered the parking lot. “You said something about stepping on toes, what do you mean?” He asked.
“Well, what I meant is that. The production and the finance team of the past have been in a kind of alliance. They have been running the company into debt and paying off with the little profits. By revealing all these, a lot of people would be sacked and that’s dangerous for you.” Rukayat explained as she unlocked the doors of her Toyota Rav-4.
“But, you can’t deny that the company will benefit from my revelation.” Collins pointed.
“You are right, but I hope you are aware that Mr San Jose himself doesn’t own 100% of this company. He owns about 80% and the remaining twenty belongs to two notable people who are staffs of this company and one time production and finance managers in the company. So, there is every possibility that they started the rot.” She explained further.
“Are you saying the other two shareholders are likely responsible for the rot?” Collins asked.
“More like it, and if the board should get a wind of it, they will be sanctioned, and you know what else? These two men will pull out their percentages and SJC can’t stand without their 20%.” She explained.
“On the other hand, the company will survive without them, because you will realize that what is being stolen from the company’s coffers is enough to run the company effectively. I’ll see you on monday.” Collins replied as he walked towards Bunmi’s car which he drove to work in the morning, but not after Rukayat had warned him.
“Do you think we don’t know all these? I served in the finance department as well as production before I was promoted to HR. We all knew the truth, but you can’t say it, because you will pay for it, the company would suffer and in the end, you will realize your saying the truth brought the company down.” Were her last words.
He waited for a minute or two until Rukayat had driven out of the lot before he hoped in and drove out. Rukayat’s last words kepts ringing in his head as he drove homewards.