SAMUEL COBBY GRANT
At about 5:00 pm, he went to Pat’s home and left yet another note that read, DON’T LOOK FOR ME TONIGHT. I WILL SEE AND TAKE YOU OUT TOMORROW FOR A CELEBRATION.
I LOVE YOU DEARLY
From there, he went to his Mom’s place to relax. Since his mother wasn’t home yet, Auntie Aya prepared his favourite apem ampesie and kontomire abomu and with koobi, of course.
After he had had his fill, he went into his former bedroom to have a much-needed rest. Auntie Aya had already called his mother to tell her of her son’s presence at home and the elderly woman quickly left the shop in charge of her assistants and went to see her son. In her haste to go and be with her son, she had two near misses before she reached the house.
She went straight to his room and engulfed him in a massive embrace. For once, Lawrencia Laing, the well known Iron Lady, was showing emotions.
“Ohh, KL,” she whispered, unable to stem the stream of tears that run down her cheeks
“LL,” he said and pat her on the back after she had calmed down. “It was a set up and I am going to prove them wrong. I have never stolen anything from the factory.”
“I know, my darling son. But why are such things happening to you?” she asked, fresh tears running down her face.
“Everything shall be well. Uncle Lawyer says he has a strategy, but the prosecution can’t prove that I am guilty,” he assured her.
“When Pat told me that you have gone missing, I was worried. I am glad you are OK.”
“Pat is a good girl and I am going to make a wife out of her,” he said and smiled, making her smile too.
She stared at him in wondrous amazement. It seemed to her that her son had matured beyond his age.
Manza’s mother was growing lean by the day. She didn’t understand why that witch’s son was walking free when her daughter was fighting for her life. Thank God Ayi and Ackah had been providing valuable information and had even agreed to testify on behalf of the prosecution.
“Don’t worry, Mummy. I am going to make sure that he pays for what he did to Manza,” he said when he went to see her at the market.
“I am sure they are going to use their money to bribe the Judge,” she wailed.
“Don’t worry. He who fights and runs away lives to fight another day.”
He said, quoting Bob Marley.
Kuuku woke up later than usual. Had Milo and some of those wonderful scones his mother made. He borrowed her silver-coloured Mercedes and left for home to change for his appointment at the factory.
He got to the factory, well ahead of time and walked majestically in his blue three-piece suit to the reception to wait. Some of the workers hung around to chat with him while others avoided being near him. Most workers, when caught pilfering, never showed up for the hearing so Kuuku was somewhat, looked upon with disdain by most of the staff for wasting his time when it seemed obvious to all that the decision of Management was a foregone conclusion.
Soon, it was time for the hearing. The Panel consisted of the HR, a rep of the GM, the Production Manager, or his rep, the Chief Security and the Union Chairman. They vote to either sack or to retain at the end of proceedings.
“Now that we are all here, let’s commence then,” the Chief Security said.
“Kuuku Laing, you have been accused of stealing cigarettes. What do you have to say for yourself?”
He stood up and looked straight at him and said
“I don’t know anything about it. It wasn’t found on me. It is a set-up,” he said and looked at Pat who had her head bowed.
The Security Chief then produced the incriminating evidence and showed them to him. “Were these not found in the Blending Room?”
“But not in my possession,” he said, and walked over and took one of the bundles examined it briefly and put it back down.
“I have an assistant at the Blending Room. Why am I here and he isn’t, but I have no problem with that. What I have a problem with is how you knew there were cigarettes under the pallets,” he shot at him.
“We had a tip off.”
“I don’t think you know your job. So just because of a tip off, you accuse me and let another go scot free?”
“Are you done with your defence?” The Chief Security shouted at him, in anger.
“No, am not done. Examine the cigarette and tell me the batch numbers.”
“There are no batch numbers on them but that doesn’t change the fact you stole them,” said the Chief Security after examining the package.
“I beg to differ,” the Production Manager said, looking at the Chief Security.
“It means it isn’t part of the cigarettes meant for the market.”
“It also means that it is a sample and the only person that keeps samples is the Quality Control Manager. I wonder how this got out of his safe,” Kuuku said.
Pat raised her head then, a look of adorable wonder on her face.
“Maybe we should look at the logbook to see the one who signed it in and out,” he told the stunned members of the Panel and sat down.
“Ok. If there are no more questions for Mr Laing, we’ll call it a day and communicate our decision to him in due course,” the Production Manager said, looking at the Chief Security with what could be akin to anger.
Kuuku nodded, and straightened his suit, and exited the room, with shouts of ‘killer o killer’ from the few workers who were around.
‘I really must do something about this killer tag,” he mused and waved at his colleagues.
He got to the Mercedes and leaned against the bonnet and waited for the eventual appearance of Pat. She appeared after a while, smiling triumphantly and gave him a peck, in full view of all.
As he had told her already, he had something to show her. He drove her to the Market Circle to his mom’s shop and she joined them.
“Why all this secrecy. Where are you taking us?” Lawrencia asked impatiently.
“As for me I’ll go wherever he takes me,” Pat said, making fun of the old woman.
“See this small girl too,” she said hiding her elation, as she had already been briefed by Pat on what had gone on at the hearing.
“It’s a secret and it’s a surprise. And this is one secret I have kept to myself for four years,” he said and drove on to the machine shop at Kokompe.
Pat who was sitting in the back seat with his mother squeezed her hand in assurance. She returned the gesture, knowing for sure that this girl was completely in love with her son.
They soon arrived at the most modern part of Kokompe and he stopped in front of a blue and white painted 40-foot container that had LAING AND SONS printed boldly on top of it. The two women stared with looks of incredibility and saw that the entrance was tied with a ribbon. He told them that it was his and he put it all together without any help from anyone. He made a few calls and some prominent members of the Kokompe enclave arrived on the scene.
A prayer was offered and the Chairman of the Kokompe Association gave a brief speech and produced a large pair of shiny scissors to KL’s mother who cut the ribbon amidst cheers from the crowd that had gathered to witness what was going on. He opened the shop and showed them all that the shop had to offer. He offered drinks of various kinds to everyone from the small tabletop fridge he had found it prudent to purchase beforehand.
“You have made me a proud mother today,” Mad. Lawrencia said.
Pat was just stunned into silence. She walked by his side, holding on to his arm and smiling at everybody as he explained how the various machines worked.
Three hours after the opening and the reception, they left and he took the two women in his life to the Raybow Hotel to celebrate, which Pat jokingly referred to as ‘the party after the party’.
“I have never, in my wildest dreams expected to witness what you have done in my lifetime,” his mother said for the tenth time that afternoon, remembering how her late husband had started small and made it big.
“Like father, like son,” she said, more to herself than to them.
“KL, you have proven to me that my first impression of you wasn’t misplaced. Today, you have shown me that your head is well placed on your shoulders. First, at the hearing, and now this,” Pat said, with great emotions. “I love you so.”
To be continued…[insert-comment-form]
[stextbox id=”info” caption=”JOIN US ON WHATSAPP“]
Join the Kleva Whatsapp family with the link below