Kung Fu Man – All About Steve

I’ve been working with Steve for a while now. Save The Humans is just a typical NGO, with enviable investors and highly placed initiatives except when the tide becomes rough. Steve & I have been colleagues for exactly seven months.  \

I’ve learnt how to manoeuvre him.

“Lizzie, change your presentation back into the first one,” Steve says as he inches closer to me “also make the logo more noticeable,” he adds.

stock-photo-laptop-with-blank-screen-on-table-340152863

On the first page, the logo fills up half the page. This is the seventh time that I’m adjusting the presentation.

In my younger years, I was hot-headed and never shied away from asking questions above my pay-grade. It ultimately backfired on me. I decided to tone it down a notch. Besides, hii campuni si ya mama yangu.

Though Steve isn’t exactly the Grinch of Christmas. Instead, his indecisive and easily swayed whenever the tide changes. I try not to get too attached to him. He’s a part-time snitch and that’s why most of the people above him, adore him.

I breathe out resignedly.

“Can you make it more creative?” he adds as he waves his hands.

I don’t understand what he means. His words are vague. I nod my head because I want to end this.

John pops his head in front of my cubicle. With narrowed eyes, measured breaths, he glares at Steve. Steve tries to look composed but I can feel his composure falling apart. His right hand is quivering lightly and he keeps licking his lips. Sweat is slowly brewing on his forehead.

I look at John with a cool expression because I honestly don’t care. I rarely react to bullies. I stopped caring about Save The Humans Inc. Lastly, since I have a small body frame, most guys tend to leave me alone.

“I see both of you are still at it,” finalising his voice booms through the half-empty office.

As he grips my cubicle, I lean back demurely and Steve adjusts himself awkwardly.

“Yeah, finalising it,” I answer for both of us. Sometimes, I feel sorry for Steve.

“Yeah Lizzie has a few grammatical errors, here and there,” he admonishes me.

Really Steve. Snitch.

***********************************************************************************

At my last performance appraisal review. Seated opposite me “I love your strong writing skills,” Steve purred out as he peered at me over my laptop.

“It’s nothing,” I downplayed the compliment.

Salary increase. Pap. Pap.

************************************************************************************

I’m not a manager so sometimes, I’m at the mercy of our Event Manager Evie. Save The Humans Inc has a small booth at the international N.G.O. meetup at KICC (Kenya International Convention Center). It happens annually towards the end of June. Lots of glitz, (internal) sabotage and intrigue.

Can you imagine, the security guard tried shooing me away because of my beat-up, slightly faded Probox?

*************************************************************************************

“Boss nataka ku pack hapo,” (I want to pack there) I say pointing to an empty slot near the entrance.

“Hapana,” (NO) he says “pack uko inje. Hapa imejaa,” (pack outside. It’s full here) he says without smiling.

What does he mean? There’s so much space at K.I.C.C. that Uhuru Kenyatta can show up with his entire entourage.

“Nafanya kazi hapa,” (I’m here for work) I look at him straight in the eyes “Toka njia ama nitapigia mboss kubwa wako,” (Get out of the way otherwise I’ll call your boss).

“Madam, sitaki shida,” (Madam, I don’t want problems) he tells me as he swings his rungu.

The cars behind me start hooting. I switch off my engine.

“Madam, tutabeba hio gari yako,” (Madam, we’ll carry your car away) he says with a hard voice.

Fixing me with a hard stare as he tries to intimidate me.

Three cars a behind, a man emerges from a sleek black Land-Cruiser. A tall white man in a navy blue shirt and silver watch walks toward the guard.

I can see him from the corner of my rear-view mirror.

“Excuse me. What seems to be the problem,” he asks the guards in that crispy English accent.

“Nothing,” the guard responds quickly.

He peers at me curiously in the car, trying to remember my name.

“Linda,” he tries unsuccessfully.

“Lizzie, from Save the Humans. We met last night,” I decide to help him out.

He nods briefly, turns around and walks back towards the Land-cruiser. The guard beckons me to enter the parking lot. I smile sweetly as I turn my ignition key.

*********************************************************************************

11:30 am. By now everyone is at this big event. I’ve been left manning the booth by Steve and Evie. He left his Macbook charging next to me as he talks to media people.

I’m tired of being asked exactly what we do before people smile politely and look for greener pastures.

I blame the graphic designer. He was obviously in a happy place. Not in a nice way.

A few people from UN backed NGOs point at our banner and giggle. If I didn’t work at Save The Humans Inc, then I’d also join them. Nobody has a red licence plate at our office. We are like servants or extras in Game Of Thrones. Pretty but powerless.

17:00 pm. It’s time to close up and leave. John walks up to me and starts raining expletives all over. Questioning my innocence and my involvement with Steve.

“I’m sorry. I’m not following you. What’s the problem?” I ask him with a forced calmness.

He’s filled with pure hatred and forced restraint.

“Look at your email,” he disappears in a huff like a slighted peacock.

Sent at 16:53.

An email has been sent to John and our HR Director. John has forwarded it to me.

I have resigned effective immediately from Save The Humans INC. I’ve gone to work for IMF in Ethopia. Regards Steve

I turn away from my laptop and glimpse at the Macbook next to me. I definitely need to learn that trick.

I might need it.

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