SAMUEL COBBY GRANT
A WEEK LATER
Kuuku had settled down nicely in the Blending Room. He had taken to it the way a duck took to water. Hitherto, there used to be frequent shortages of processed tobacco in the warehouse but when he took over the blending, he had formulated a process through which he alerted Management of any impending shortage of any brand of raw or processed tobacco, be it from Ejura, Zimbabwe or from the US. And Management also acted swiftly to import them on time to forestall any shortage.
His work in the Blending Room entailed him weighing different brands and blends of tobacco and flavours of cut or processed for up to 200kg. He then placed them in a vacuum chamber which when sealed, are fumigated to kill any weevils, bugs or infections they might have. One side of the chamber opened at the PMS, and when the process was complete, a light went on and they were removed by those on the threshing plant for processing to commence.
Pat was well enough and had resumed her official duties. Her brother and mother had spent three days in Takoradi before leaving. Though she was still wary of how she related to Kuuku, she saw that he now spent more time with her, and she liked that a lot.
Kuuku’s life had once again settled into normalcy. His life revolved around his work at the Factory. He had even been permanently retained in the Blending Room. The rotational program was still ongoing but the Blending Room’s operations were no longer part of it. He was found to be the best person for the blending room. And Pat found herself pinning on him.
She missed him whenever she failed to see him either in the morning, at the entrance of the factory, at lunchtime or at home but she had learned to keep a reasonable distance. The hullabaloo at the Mansion had been an eye-opener. And yet, despite her resolve to keep her distance even though she sometimes passed by the Blending Room just to wave at him.
Kuuku had passed by Manza’s place on Friday to take her to the movies, which happened to be a Roncom, one of his favourite genres of movies, and she had held on to his arm throughout the movie and even after that.
“Kuuku, I will like to know where you live. Let’s go to your house,” she had said when she saw that he was escorting her back to her house.
He glanced at the time and saw that it was 10:00 pm. He shrugged and stopped a taxi.
“I am hungry,” she said as soon as they got home. He fumed inwardly. He didn’t understand why she should say that now when she could have requested for him to get her food in town.
“Don’t worry. Now that you have seen where I live, let me give you enough money for the food and your transport back home,” he said.
“It’s late. I’ll sleep and leave at dawn,” she said and brazenly removed her top in his presence exposing her bra supported boobs to him. She then went into the kitchen to pick a can of Coke while he stood gaping after her. She went back to where he was still standing, drinking the Coke with seductive noises. He looked at her, thinking about how he was going to get her out of the house.
When she saw him staring at her, she put the can down and stood up without breaking eye contact with him. She sauntered over to him, placed her arms around his neck and kissed him. He didn’t open up or return the kiss. He moved back rather, breaking the kiss. She hissed with annoyance. Kuuku then picked up her discarded top, got hold of her hand and led her out of the house. She quickly wore her top and allowed him to lead her to the junction.
He went back home frowning and resolved not to entertain her again since he had a year or two more to achieve his aim before thinking about emotional attachments. He had plans of establishing his own fabrication and tooling shop. And he wanted to do that all by himself without asking for help from anyone or using any of his inheritance.
He got home, had a shower and was crawling into bed when a WhatsApp notification dropped.
It was a “Good night” from Pat.
“Sleep,” he replied with a laughing emoji.
“Goodnight again,” she texted.
“Goodnight, Dearest,” he replied adding a kiss emoji to it.
A MONTH LATER
It was a very eventful Monday morning. Two members of staff had already been caught concealing cigarette packets on their bodies and one of them was Alontey. They were both given summary dismissal after they absented themselves from the hearing that was supposed to hear their defence.
Around midday, KL found the engineering staff assembling a new lathe machine and upon enquiries, he was told that the old one was going to be sold as scraps. Quickly he requested to buy it and he got it at a very affordable price, which he paid for, out of his savings and arranged for it to be sent to Kokompe where he already had a 40-foot container.
He added the lathe machine to the heavy-duty Metal Cutter and the threading machine he already had in the container. The heavy-duty vice he had seen at Abossey Okai was also due to arrive in a week. No one knew about this. Not even his mother and his closest friends. He was so busy running around town arranging things that when he finally got back to work, lunchtime was over, and so he was surprised, pleasantly so when Kate, a cook at the canteen sent him a pack of food that could feed about three men.
“I guess you have a crush now,” said Pat hiding her jealousy when she visited him to check on him since she hadn’t seen him the whole day.
“Kate is a nice girl,” he said, ignoring the veiled criticism in her voice.
“Ok,” she said and left for her office.
He stared after her, admiring her retreating back.
She went back to her office, promising herself to stay away from him. She found that being around him brought her in-built ‘maternal instincts to the fore. It made her want to protect him from the claws of other women.
“I don’t think this is love. It’s just me watching his back as he had done the same for me in the past,” she mused, trying to make some sense of her feelings for him.
Later, after the close of work, Ayi called Kuuku on phone to meet him at Edzii Spot, just across the street from the factory. He got there and found him with Dinah, Manza’s friend.
“I didn’t know that you guys knew each other,” he said and ordered a bottle of Malta Guinness.
“I know her. In fact, we know each other very well,” he said and kissed the back of her hand.
Dinah kept quiet. She knew that Manza was on her way there to be with Ackah who was also on his way. With trepidation, she kept glancing at Kuuku. She came to a decision then and excused herself and stepped out to make a call to Manza, telling her about Kuuku being there with them.
“Thank you Di, you have really saved me.”
She then placed a call to Kuuku.
“Hello dear, are you at home?”
“Naa, I am at Edzii with friends, you can join us.”
“I don’t feel like going to any Spot today.”
“Another time then,” he said and ended the call, unwilling to have her in his home again after the stunt she pulled the other night.
He left after taking just a bottle of Malt but gave money to Ayi and Ackah who had just joined them for their drinks.
He got home and as he prepared to go to bed, a knock sounded on his door and he found Manza at his door.
“What are you doing here?” he asked not amused with her unannounced visit at all.
“Can’t I visit you again?” she asked him, looking directly at him.
He was about to answer when a call came in from Ackah.
“Hey, Killer, can I come over for your new sneakers. I will return it tomorrow?”
“Ackah, you are my friend. I will willingly give you when you ask me for anything.”
“I think this is a bad time to visit you. Next time then,” Manza, upon hearing Achah’s name said and left quickly to avoid clashing with Ackah.
Kuuku shook his head at her behaviour and attitude. Ackah arrived to pick up the sneakers and left immediately. Kuuku showered again and went to bed.
“Good night Dear,” said the WhatsApp message that landed on his phone from Pat.
“Goodnight, Dearest Pat,” he texted back.
When she got his reply, she called him and engaged him in a light-hearted chit chat that got him smiling. It greatly improved his mood. She cut the call after an hour.
“Aww, Kuuku Laing. You make my heart sing and smile in a way I have never felt before,” she said to herself as she covered herself with the duvet.
To be continued…
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