It Happened before Ten that Morning by Seun Odukoya

I’m some kind of a rules person. I like rules. They keep things simple.

While I believe that ‘law and order’; either as a TV series or as a legal system is nothing but a crock of shit, I also believe that some order is necessary. I mean – how do you get anything done without discipline?

So it follows that I have rules that govern my life and living. Rules like no eating after eight at night. No eating before twelve noon. No alcohol during the week except on vacation. Yeah. Pretty boring I know.

I had a couple concerning relationships. No serious relationships or commitments before I am a particular age. No romantic anything before twelve noon except on weekends. And no romance around the office. I believe the informal expression for that last one is; “don’t shit where you eat”.

So I have a meeting this morning with a new client. The meeting is in the office and so we had all been briefed yesterday. I am ready – or I think I am.

The boss calls me over the intercom at exactly eight-forty five to say he’s leaving the office – another meeting suddenly showed up. I’m to handle the client by myself. I mumble incoherently but inside I’m elated. The boss has a talent for disruption and having him there would have been twice the wahala.

The client arrives at eight-fifty. I’m ready – or I think I am. Tade, the dark and pretty receptionist tells me the client is waiting in the conference room. Taking a last lick of my Baba Blue drop, I chew and swallow it rapidly, and then bounce to the conference room.

As I open the door I catch a whiff of some subtle perfume – very suggestive perfume. I start to feel alarmed in spite of myself, and I wonder why I’m feeling the way I’m feeling. Nonetheless, I step into the room and close the door before turning to the client with a blinding smile. “Hello,” I begin to say, “my name is…”

I stop in shock. The client is a woman – the prettiest thing called woman I have ever seen. I mumble a mental apology to my mum…but it is the truth. This client is pretty.
She stands up and I am treated to a visual buffet. I actually have to quell an urge to dive over the table onto her chest and completely uphold the cliché that all men are dogs. At least this one would willingly make an ass of himself over this piece of ass.

I smile at the wit in my words and reach for her outstretched hand. I look into her eyes, not listening to what she is saying. After seconds of chattering and not getting a response she looks directly at me for the first time.

I guess she sees something in my eyes because she lowers hers shyly and her hand becomes limp in mine. I’m sure if she were a few shades lighter, she would be just as pink as the blouse that protects her obviously deep cleavage from my roving sight. As I make my way to the table, gently pulling her after me, business is the last thing on my mind. I’m sure I can say the same for her.

Remember what I said about rules? I forgot to add another all-important one: rules are meant to be broken.

I break at least two of mine before ten that morning.


Seun Odukoya is the author of For Days and A Night, a collection of short stories, a poem and some candid personal opinions – basically his perspective on some general issues. It is his first published book.

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