Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Fucking Interns: The Devil's Assistant Wears Prada (episode 6)

AUTHOR's NOTE: This post is inspired by true-life events. Thanks for reading. Please send all feedback to kobbytettehgyampoh@gmail.com if you want a reply. I do not publish comments on this blog.

DAY 38 
8.15 hours.
Sometimes, the little solutions to problems we ignore could make us take bad decisions which further complicate these problems. Of course, I didn’t know this when I got out of my taxi stuck in unmovable traffic.

“You are the worst passenger I ever had!” The taxi driver was yelling at me as I proffered his money through the window. “I should have taken the main road. I shouldn’t have listened to you. There’s a whole lot of bad luck following you!”

I’d advised the driver to take the shortcut route since there was report of an accident on the major highway causing the kind of traffic I wouldn’t need this morning. Taylor was waiting for me to get to work on time. And I couldn’t be patient enough to keep her waiting because in my hand contained the magazine’s Style Guide. The magazine’s Style Guide I’d nicked with the other copy interns because my horrible boss didn’t want us anywhere near it. Taylor was to return the Style Guide to its stash. And I had to get to her early before my boss got to work or—worse—security found out this Style Guide was missing.

I paid the driver, leaving him to cuss at me for making him take this road and wouldn’t it have been OK to sit tight listening to him suggest proper solutions for the country’s dire economic state, huh? Huh? 

Balancing the huge leather-bound book in my hands, I was headed for the Glitz building, which I spotted from its lightning rod, was just a couple of blocks away.

Then I heard it. The crackling engine of a motorbike roaring behind me. It happened too fast for me to step away, and for a brief moment my life flashed before my eyes—work, school, church. Vagina! Vagina should be somewhere in there! I was dying, and I hadn't even had sex with anyone who wasn't me!—work, school, church, lube. 

Except this motorbike had no intention of running me over. It had zipped past, a beige scarf flying behind its driver’s helmet as he swerved through the jam-packed vehicles on the route.

I was safe. I wasn’t hit. I was alive. But my hands were shivering so much I had to stare at them with hopes of steadying them, slowing my pulse, calming myself. This was just another near-death experience better for sealing amongst memories of other similar experiences to be recalled at a later date, I consoled myself. Then I realized my hands were empty. There was no Style Guide.

Work, school, church, jail. I looked around hopelessly. Now where was a reckless driver when you needed one?

8.45 hours.
Taylor was glaring at me from the sharp bangs that shielded her eyes. Justin was furiously kicking a bin at a corner of the restroom. Wendy blew on the lacquer she’d just applied (“Because If I look up from my nails, I’m going to fucking kick your arse, Kobby.”). Maggie was throwing a wry smile in my direction. It was a nice change, this smile. Though it did nothing to cheer me up.

I knew I did wrong. I knew I shouldn’t have taken the shortcut, the easiest route out. If I’d been on the main highway, there was no way this would have happened. But there was no telling these people. I wasn’t going to take the blame for this, even though a part of me wanted to. 

“Guys, let’s be calm and analyse this…” I broke off as I heard my phone pinging, as well as all the others’ expect Taylor’s. We all suspected who was texting without getting our phones.

“I did analyse this Kobby, I did,” Taylor spoke perched against a stall’s door, a sob was evident in her voice. “You’ve ruined our internships. You’ve ruined any possible chances of us working at Glitz. I don’t want to look at you now. Just thanks very much for trashing my dreams.” She picked herself up, then walked to the door. “I’m sorry to say this, but I wished I'd never involved myself in your mess.” She directed this at everyone. “If you’d excuse me, there’s still a lot of work to do before I get fired.”

Fired, the word was heavy. The kind of word that settled in with the atmosphere and made you shiver out of fear. I wanted to reach to her, to pull her close and tell her if anyone would be getting fired it was me. Only because I was having suicidal thoughts. I would do anything in my power to prevent anyone from being THAT. But it was too late. It was like reaching out to a fleeting spirit; you didn't have hopes of getting a hold of it, so you just let it go. I let Taylor go.

A lour was spread across Justin’s dark features as he followed Taylor out. Wendy was next. She refused to leave without showing me her middle-finger. I thought of complimenting her on what nice lacquer she’d used, but given the situation, I was not sure it would have been appropriate. 

“Kobby, it would be ok.” Maggie walked up to me. “We just have to pray Winfred doesn’t know the Style Guide’s missing.”

8.51 hours
“I know the Style Guide’s missing.” 

I managed a sharp intake of breath, watching my evil boss move around his desk to meet us halfway. He towered over us, tugging at his suspenders, glaring down at us like the giant probably did when Jack had nicked his beans. Except we were in no fairy-tale, and in our story there would be no happy ending. I fucked up, and I was taking everyone tumbling down the beanstalk with me. Fired. I was getting them fired

“I have proof one of you stole it.” He began, letting his gaze shift among us. “I’ll give whoever by the close of the day to return it, then I’d have to dredge up the kindness that’s stashed somewhere inside of me—I’m sure of this, to prevent myself from calling the police.” His gaze rested on me. 

The sounds of sirens approaching the building made my heart skip a beat.

“Oops. I think I might have gone ahead of myself and dialled one-nine-one already.”

9.35 hours
As I walked into Winfred’s office which had been transformed into an interrogation room, my eyes fell on two men beckoning me to two armchairs at a corner. If I thought they were going to let me sit, I thought wrong. Because these guys, with pimply faces uglier than the infamous cow everyone was known to abuse, had a thing for sadomasochism. They were distributing this trait by ordering me to stand with my hands tucked behind and my legs apart. It didn’t help that they were all dressed in leather.

“Do you have anything against your boss?” Ugly Cop 1 asked.

Yes, I wanted to say, everyone who experiences emotions such as hurt and anger would. I worried if I responded that way, they’d pull out whips they were hiding and find thrill in watching my pain. “No.” I said simply.

“Do you think you’d want to steal the Style Guide?” Ugly Cop 2 asked.

Yes. In fact, if I could re-enact the whole heist again, I wouldn’t hesitate. “No.” 

They stared at me for seconds, as though trying to goad me into making a confession. The silence was unnerving.

“So if we’re done here, can I leave?”
Ugly Cop 1 lifted a finger, the universal hand gesture for ‘gimme a sec’. “What do you think about this video?” 

A tablet was handed to me. I watched a video of myself rummaging through Winfred’s office, looking under these armchairs, moving the potted plant at a corner, trying hard to yank open the locked chest of drawers, then defeatedly banged his desk when I couldn’t. If I was surprised I didn’t show. I kept my face as blank as possible. “I... don’t think at all.” I answered vaguely with an ounce of pomposity, handing back the tablet. 

“I think you stole the Style Guide.” Ugly Cop 2 laid it to me. “And that there is an incriminating video—though not enough evidence to press for an arrest. But listen,” he leaned in closer, “your boss is threatening to let this go to public. Public opinion has been known to be the strongest court. Your mum’s going to judge you and find you guilty, your dad is going to judge you and find you guilty, your cat is going to find you guilty as well—"

“I don’t own a cat.” I said as firmly as I could.

He reclined back in his seat, surprised, then shot me a look that said, how can you not own a cat? “Well,” He cleared his throat. “Everyone is going to judge you!Even your future employer! You know what that means?”

I put a latch on the gasp that threatened to escape. I knew what that meant. The next job I might land would be in construction. No one minded a mason with a track record. I tried not to panic. I swallowed hard. “If we’re done with this interview, I think I would go.” 

Without waiting for a response, I walked slowly with shaky legs. If I broke into a sprint, I’d be found guilty as a dog would a stranger who took to his heel.

“You think he’s the one?” I heard Ugly Cop 1 ask when he thought I was already out the office.

“Yeah, the whole time, he avoided our gazes, did you notice?”

Oh no! I pushed the door and stepped back into the office. “It’s hard not to stare at your faces and not wonder if shit had a face this is what it would look like!” I braved a smile through my defiant stare. Their shocked expressions were reward enough. “Good day, gentlemen. I’d urge you to stop by the beauty closet on your way out.”

10.10  hours.
“Guys, really, I’m sorry this happened.” I broke the deafening uncomfortable silence that had been wedging itself between the others and me all morning.

We were at our cubicles on the Intern Floor. All the interns around us seemed hyper while we in the copy department stared endlessly at our computers, refusing to speak to one another because we were afraid if we did, a full-blown argument was bound to happen. 

Despite being the one who should be solely blamed, from the corner of my eye, I could tell regret was eating at them all. Why did we let Kobby have the fucking Style Guide? Wendy’s furtive look to Justin had said. Why did we even steal the Style Guide in the first place? Justin shot back. Maggie would bang at her keyboard in frustration and when we all looked in her direction she’d smile effervescently like she wasn’t fighting the urge to throw something at someone and admit that I was a total plonker for letting the Style Guide slip from my hands. The anger was so intense I was beginning to swelter despite the air-conditioning.

Together, the three looked like they’d endured the interview better than I did. But of course, there was no incriminating video to tie them to the whole thing. They would be free of their cat's judgemental eyes. They wouldn’t have their whole life blown apart after this event. But I would be sweating buckets as I shovelled waste out of gutters across the city looking up at the sunny skies and cursing the day I was born. 

So I had to find a solution to this. I just had to. But first I needed to apologize even though I felt it was not fair all the blame was being pushed on me. And after I did apologize, things got easier from there.

“We’re not going to sit down and mope.” Justin instructed. “We’re going to find this Style Guide. Kobby, tell us everything that happened, every little detail.” I just wished he felt as hopeful as he sounded.

I began my story, how everything happened, Wendy letting me pause in between my tale requesting I slow so she jotted it all down. Justin had charged her to do so. Maggie was made to type—“We are in the digital age, after all.” Justin had said after she'd given him an odd look. 

“Guys,” We were distracted by Selfina, a beauty intern who was known to idle away taking selfies on her spare time, on company time, on every time. We all looked up to glare at her as if to say, What is it Selfina? “I came to Maggie,” she said pointedly and headed for Maggie. “I took so many pictures of yesterday’s show. Your appearance at Take A Look At Me Now.

Yesterday, Maggie had made an appearance as a contestant on Take A Look At Me Now, a show that was a replica of Style Network’s How Do I Look. Though effort had been put to transform Maggie into a glamazon, she’d reverted to the intern who paired tulle gowns with knee-length lace-up boots and colourful Nicki wigs.

We watched as Maggie faked interest listening to Selfina give a running commentary of photos she swiped through on a silver Samsung Galaxy Note she wielded. Wendy cleared her throat occasionally, telepathically communicating to Maggie to tell the girl to Fuck off, we had important business here. (Justin and I would have done the same, except we were being honest with ourselves, there was no way we were getting the Style Guide back.) But Maggie wasn’t having any of what Wendy was trying to tell her, because she really did look like she was paying attention to what Selfina was showing her, until she snatched the Note from the girl and thrust it at us.

“Guys, you should see this.” She brandished the Note at us. On the tablet was—unsurprisingly—a Selfie of the Narcisstic girl beaming behind Maggie being worked on by a glam squad. We would have said no, we’ll pass, but the fierce look in Maggie’s eyes was enough to warn us if we refused, she’d whack our faces with the device.

I took the tablet, and the others drew closer to me as I flicked through endless pictures of Selfina. Till I noticed what Maggie was on about. In each photo was Selfina at the grounds of the show alright, but in some photos, over her shoulder was Maggie on the phone, and not far away from the latter was a dark image. A dark image glaring at her. A dark image we all found, after later swipes, was Cruella. But what this meant to Maggie we had no idea.

“I was on the phone, calling each one of you, yelling at you to provide any information on the Style Guide, but every time your phones went to voicemail.”  Maggie stated with an accusatory tone, though not entirely directed at us. “So Cruella knows as we were at the show, you guys were back here trying to steal the Style Guide.”

“That explains everything!” Justin screamed behind me. “This is simple. Winfred has the Style Guide. I mean, why would anyone steal the Style Guide if they didn’t know what it was? C’mon, we are in Ghana, no one fancies reading that much to whisk a book away from its owner.” I do, but I didn't  point this out. Instead... 

“So you believe Cruella, Taylor’s bitch of a boss, told Winfred and someone was sent to get the Style Guide from me?” I said doubtfully, though after seconds of pondering on it, it did make sense. Winfred has the Style Guide…

“And we’ve got proof!” Wendy sounded ecstatic. “So we go show this to the cops? God, they are ugly. I’m not sure why they keep popping in every hour to check on us. But it would be nice seeing less of them.”

But Justin was shaking his head. “This isn’t proof enough guys.” And he was right.

“This is proof, this is solid proof.” We hadn’t realized Selfina was still present. Christ, did she have any idea what we were on about? With the clueless expression she was trying to hide behind affirmative nods, it was clear she didn't. 

“Fuck off, Selfina.” Maggie said over her shoulder. And she was gone with her Note taking selfies as she made irritable kissing-teeth-sounds on her way to her cubicle. Hashtag Pissed Girl Selfie.

“That was a surge.” Wendy remarked exhaustingly, collapsing back into her seat. “But now, we are back to stage one.”

“Though we do know Winfred has the Style Guide.”

“Did I hear my name?” Winfred had appeared from nowhere after Justin’s declaration. “Anyway, what do I care?” He levelled his mocking gaze at me. “Kobby, get me your last coffee before you go to jail. We’d miss you around here.” Then he was off before I had the chance to tell him what sort of a horrible, horrible boss he was. The Kevin Spacey kind.

“When the day’s over, he’s sending a story to the press,” I began shakily, looking anywhere but the curious expressions of my colleagues which I knew would evolve into pitiful looks after they heard me out. “He’s going to put out a story reporting the missing Style Guide. He’d add that I was the one who stole it. I’d be fired from here, obviously.”

All three fell silent, not knowing what to say. I smiled wryly at them. Should this be the moment I said my parting words?

“Kobby, go get his coffee.” Maggie ordered, knowing what I had in mind. “And while you are at it, do not forget to get one for me too.”

I smiled at her. It was nice that she was making an effort to cheer me up putting up her Evil Winfred impression.

“Oh, and confirm my salon appointment when you are done.” Wendy rolled her eyes at me indignantly, exactly like she used to when she used to boss me around for being a butt intern. 

“Remember, you’d always be lower than us.” Justin continued. “Now get your arse off your seat and do as we say.”

“Thank you, guys.” I stood up from my seat, smiling at them. They eventually smiled back, conceding it took our Horrible Boss more muscles to smile than frown. “But I have to go. These coffees wouldn’t get themselves.”

10.35 hours
Though I was panicking anytime my eyes rested on my wrist watch, I tried not to think of what Winfred might be up to as I walked back to the office to deliver his coffee. On my way back, I found myself staring all around me at everyone who had blue-collar jobs. The scrap-collectors who dragged their carts by me, the vendors who plied the streets with loads on their head and their babies on their backs. Maybe I would be like an African cliché with a worst job, ripped clothes, and discoloured teeth. Tourists would take pictures of me and go back to their countries yelling at conferences: These are the realities in Africa. These people need our help!

I wasn’t going to make a fuss about it and cry. At least, I’d cry behind closed doors. I just had to brave the day and wait for the moment my face would be over every newspaper, ‘You Cannot Employ This Guy. Ever!’ I wouldn’t breakdown on every body’s watch, not even the bum by the Glitz entrance I used to pay to spit in my Horrible Boss' coffee till her prices soared higher than the building. I noticed she was smiling at me. I halted in my tracks. Must have done something wrong.

Hmm, come to think of it she’d been smiling as I rushed out to get everyone’s coffees. Did she have some sixth sense that I was going to turn up like her? Tears welled up in my eyes. I know I’d promised not to cry, but no one would want to turn up like Bummy down the street. Christ, I’d look terrible in her clothes. Was bad breath even going to smell good on me? I made an attempt to keep my head low and walk by hastily, but my phone trilled just before I could walk past her.

“Taylor?” I was surprised she was calling. “Look,” I walked the few feet from the bum to the revolving doors. “I know you are pissed. But you are in the clear. There’s nothing tying you to the Style Guide. I’m sorry I involved you—"

“Whatever the hell are you talking about?” There was the Taylor who’d introduced me to Accra nightlife and instructed me to stay put because she might just as well take up that guy on his offer to blow him in the gents. The Taylor I knew, not the one who’d been glaring at me all morning. But she followed her question with something more surprising. “Kobby, you said the biker was wearing a beige scarf?” I nodded—she knew me enough to know I could hardly mumble a word when transfixed. “Get to the African Regent Hotel now. The magazine’s having a shoot there. I’d be at the ground floor waiting for you.”

I stared at my phone in shock.

“Is anything the matter?” Bummy came by me asking with a silly grin splayed across her charred lips. Again, I was haunted by the realization I might have teeth as bad as hers…

Not if I have anything to do with it!

I dumped the coffee in the bum’s hands. I flagged down a taxi and I was off to African Regent Hotel. Whatever Taylor had for me, it had to be good. 
But, oh, why did the bum have that stupid look on her face? Crying out loud, we weren’t alike, I’d make that clear when I got back. To think I’d ever fancy wearing a skirt that had holes the hobo-chic community would decide were the new polka dots. Shivers.

11. 30 hours
I run into the lobby of what Trip Advisor called one of the finest hotels in the country upon searching directions to the place. I met Taylor who ran into the nearby elevator upon recognizing me, I followed in quickly before the doors shut close.

“I’ve seen our guy.” Taylor spoke on the ride up. Like me, her breathing had no regular pattern. “I’d tried so hard pretending everything was alright and he wasn’t metres away. He’s a photography intern. He owns a bike. Did you see it down the street?” I shook my head. The elevator doors opened. We stepped out. “Anyway, I know he’s our guy, I’m sure of it.” She didn’t sound so sure because, just as I, she was thinking everyone could own a beige scarf, everyone could have a motorbike could to go with that scarf. But I told her about Selfina’s pictures and Maggie’s story so she’d have little faith we were about to bust our guy. Christ, it had to be him.

We passed a thick-carpeted corridor on a floor that was labelled ‘Executive Suites’ and bundled into our destination.

A group of models trudged around in their underwear as fashion editors rummaged through endless rows of hangers pulling out clothes for them at the orders of Cruella de Ghana, the magazine’s fashion director. At the centre of the room which a four poster bed with heavy sheets occupied, a set was being arranged, and a stiff male model in an unbuttoned long-sleeved shirt was being tidied by make-up artists who acting all giggly. He was killing two birds with one stony gaze, I surmised.

And there—there was a beige scarf tied around the neck of a guy who had his back to us, testing the lights, adjusting equipment. He spun around with an air of satisfaction probably about to announce to the whole room he was done, but his gaze fell on me and his mouth snapped shut. There was a guilty man.

He looked over our shoulders to the door, planning how he could make an escape. But Taylor was too fast. She pulled him by the end of his scarf just as he zipped by. A choking sound erupting from his mouth made me wince. He immediately broke into a confession of being the one who stole the Style Guide. He confessed how Winfred had told him to stay around the building and wait for me to arrive, how he drove his bike past me and pulled the Style Guide from my hands. I glared at him. He could start by telling us something I didn't know.

“Are you recording this?” Taylor asked over her shoulder.

“You bet I am.” I responded firmly and threw the guy my best withering glance. “So where’s the Style Guide?”

“Christ, I don’t know.” He sounded honest. “I thought I stole it from you. But then I was caught in traffic and turned around to find it missing.”

“You can release him now.” I ordered Taylor who’d just been holding on to the guy by one wrist. I know, what a wimp.

I hit stop on my smartphone to end the voice note and thanked Taylor so much. I turned to the guy and told him to zip up his underwear. A dark park had been running down his jeans all through our interrogation. I run for the door and soon rushed out of the elevator speeding towards the hotel’s exit.

I didn’t have the Style Guide in my hands.  Though what I had was enough to keep Winfred’s mouth shut. And I do not mean the issue of Awake a Jehovah's Witness had handed over blocking my path.

("Go to Hell!"

"Technically speaking, there's no Hell.")

12. 45 hours.
I run out of the taxi preparing to confront Winfred. I pushed through the entrance. But something was bothering me so I had to run back out and face Bummy.

“Why the hell do you have that smile on your face?” I yelled over the sound of a speeding Vintage Citroen as I met her on the pavement.

“Oh, crying out loud, Kobby.” She threw me a look that communicated just how stupid she thought I was. “Don’t you ever watch movies? Naturally, if a character has a smile like mine—“at a demonstration, I cringed—“they have something the protagonist might need?”

I reeled in shock. Protagonist—a huge word for a bum. I regained my stance. “What do you have that I could possibly need, huh?” 

She smiled that unnerving smile again. God, I hated this bum. She could kiss away the coins I dropped in her box every morning. Immediately, I was thrown off course as a thought occurred to me. This bum had something I needed!

“I thought I stole it from you... but then I was caught in traffic and turned around to find it missing.”

The biker’s voice rang in my head. I squinted at the bum. She nodded affirmatively with that smile I realized I would need to implore her to quit. Shit, they don’t make teeth like this anymore.

“You have the Style Guide, don’t you?”

She frowned. “Is that the same as a big white book with a spine the size of my calf?” There she went back to being an unknowledgeable African bum. “I thought it was a photo album.” 

“Could I have it?” Shit, I knew I shouldn’t have betrayed the urgency in my tone. "I mean," I shrugged my shoulders feigning non-committance. "If you don't mind giving it to me. It's not like I would need it or anything..." I petered out at a cocky brow raised in my direction. It was too late, she already knew it was more than a photo album.

Again, there was that smile. “First I have a proposition to make.”

14.06 hours
“Kobby, you are late.” Winfred deadpanned just as I walked into his office with his coffee in hand. I noticed the Ugly Cops still occupying their positions on his armchairs. 

“Gentlemen,” He stood up from his desk to meet me. He snatched his coffee. “Could you please follow me?” The men reluctantly got up. “Kobby, do so as well. I wouldn’t want to have a duplicate footage of you turning over my office, would I?”

In the elevator he pressed the button for the last floor. I knew where we were heading already. If he only knew.

“So, we are going to The Cellar,” he explained to the clueless cops as we stepped out of the elevator onto the floor. “The Cellar’s where we store very private company information. It’s in the Supply Closet,” the men nodded on as though they understood the rocket science formulae he just as well might have been rambling. “It’s surrounded by cameras. How the fugitive behind you, managed to sneak in to steal the Style Guide, I have no idea.” I would have given him an idea, and let him up to speed with current events. Except he didn’t give me a chance as he droned on and on to the cops. “So, we are going to let ourselves into the Cellar and I’d have you two confirm with me that the Style Guide has been moved. I want to believe you'd back my article with a few words." They nodded. "I would have loved to rely on your investigative skills. But let’s face it,” He halted at the door of the Supply Closet, gave the two cops his gravest expression and said, “Ghanaian Police Force are shit.” He pushed through the Supply Closet just as I gave the policemen a sympathetic expression, hoping to convey, he really hadn’t meant what he’d said. Though in my mind you’d hear me chanting, He is right. He is right. He really, really is right.

Once we were standing in The Cellar with walls encasing documents labelled with stuff like Shoot Ideas, Futuristic Layout of the Magazine, The December Issue Ideas, Winfred walked over to a safe across the room. He spoke to the Cops as he accessed the code, not bothering to look on the keypad to give the impression he did this on a regular basis. Well, I do this on a regular basis too, Winfred, I resisted the urge to smugly shout.

“So, gentlemen,” he stepped away from the safe, “look into it, and confirm there’s no Style Guide.”

The cops looked on. “Um,” Ugly Cop 1 spoke, “Is that the same as a big white book with a spine the size of my pimple?” He joked good-humouredly, pointing at said pimple beneath his chin. Eek, I had thought that was a double chin. 

Winfred winced. He'd probably thought the same. “Yeah, yeah. I described it to you in my report. Just confirm it isn’t there and leave…”

The guys looked at each other confusingly.

“But, it is there.” They said in unison.

“What?” If I had been writing that down it would have been punctuated with an exclamation tailing the question mark. I almost repeated to Winfred words he’d used in the Style Guide: ‘Always correct the fashion editors. They are so much fucking eejits they think a punctuation mark could be used in the succession of another’.

Winfred looked into the safe and he took steps back in shock. Ugly Cops were right, he found out. As if to be sure he wasn’t dreaming, he touched it. 

“Gentlemen, leave.” He growled as I did my best to hide the shit-eating grin that was threatening to break out on my face watching my boss' features really, really turn red.

Ugly Cops scuttled away, and left after they’d told me, “If it makes any difference we knew you weren't capable of stealing anything.” They thanked me for the countless skin-care tips they’d received from the beauty editors at the Beauty Closet. They’d go back and re-interrogate all the prisoners they’d jailed when they had flawless skin.

“What the fuck are you playing at?” Winfred had covered the space between us and took my hand in a grip.

I wrenched my hand out of his obstinately. “I could ask you the same,” I spoke deadly, returning his glare. “But I wouldn’t want to cuss in front of my boss.”

Together we engaged in a stare-down. A stare-down I hoped was enough to convey that two days ago, I’d found out he was hiding the Style Guide, I’d found out he had no intentions of training us to be Copy editors, I'd found out our programme was one big sham.

He sighed defeatedly. “What do you want, Kobby?”

Sometimes, the little solutions to problems we ignore could make us take bad decisions which further complicate these problems. Of course, I didn’t know this when I took the risk to steal the Style Guide. A risk I could have done away with had I manned up and stood up to my boss. Interns, learn your lessons. Stand up to your mean bosses!

“I want you to quit being deceitful and horrible.” I laid it out to him. “I want you to teach us how to be Copy Editors. We want to be able to consult the Style Guide any time we are in need of your expert knowledge.”

He lifted his coffee to his lips, and sipped for the first time. He brushed past me, heading for the door. “Kobby,” he spun on his way out. “You’d have what you want. You’d be a copy editor. You’d have access to all of my knowledge. But there’s one thing you’d never be…” he paused for effect, “me.”

It was then I realized my horrible boss was horrible all along because he was insecure. Insecure one of us would get better at copy-editing and take his job. Something I would have known if I had confronted him in the first place and asked why he was the way he was. I was seconds away from consoling him, we had no intention of taking his job, he would be like Claudia Sharpe, the editor in chief of the magazine, she was hitting her fifties and still got better with age. But…

“I love this coffee.” He stared at the disposable plastic. “I would never want you to ever stop doing the coffee-runs, Kobby. You might never be me, but you sure as hell can make my coffee taste great.”

I returned his sarcastic smile and watched him laugh on his way out. What an arse, I thought. If only he knew…

13. 49 hours
Again there was that smile, the smile from the bum that made me wish I could pay for her dental surgery. “So does that mean our deal is on?” she wanted to know.

I took out money from my pocket, and handed it to her. “Yes, just never smile like that again. It makes my stomach turn...” I paused after a thought. “Although not as much as my boss’ would if he drank this coffee.” I pushed open the lid of the coffee I’d just run to get, and brought it closer to the bum’s lips.

After watching her spit mouthfuls into the coffee, I shook the plastic cup to dissolve any phlegm that might be swirling on the top. We shared a conspiratorial wink as I pushed through the revolving doors and stepped into the plush ground floor.

I headed for the elevator, all the while humming Imagine Dragons’ I Bet My Life for the little sod-you moment I’d have for confronting my horrible boss later.

AUTHOR's NOTE: This post is inspired by true-life events. Thanks for reading. Please send all feedback to kobbytettehgyampoh@gmail.com if you want a reply. I do not publish comments on this blog. If you enjoyed this episode please share #FuckingInterns and check out these others: 

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