‘We are finished.’
Eket walked into the room with her hands on top of her head.
‘God forbid. Eket, you have come again. You might be finished, but I’m not finished. What happened?’ Gideon noticed that the office gossip was looking rather serious.
She pulled Gideon to the hallway. ‘Did you know that we have a new inspector?’ She asked.
‘You’ll break my hand o, stop pulling it. Why are you so dramatic? Yes, we have a new inspector.’
‘Ehn! You know. And you did not tell me. Gideon are you not wicked like this?’ Eket cried.
‘Wicked? How kwanu? Why should I tell you something that you already know?’
‘I don’t get.’
Gideon snapped. ‘Was it not announced at the last general meeting that the old inspector was retired, and a new inspector would take over his duties?’
‘Wait for o! Are you serious? But…but I wasn’t at the last general meeting.’ Eket confessed.
‘Oh ho!’ Gideon said and shook his head tragically. ‘Madam, please don’t disturb me. It’s your fault.’
‘Don’t be like that now. I had something to do that day, so I left early. It was Sisi Vero that covered for me sha.’ Eket said.
‘Mba, mba. Please! I don’t want to hear about your nefarious activities before you put me into trouble.’
Eket slapped his arm. ‘Your own sef is too much.’
‘I’m warning you. If you break my hand, I’ll break your hand too. Don’t tell me about the crimes you’ve committed, before they call me your accomplice. I don’t want wahala.’
Eket put her hands on her waist and glared at Gideon.
‘If you are going to stand there looking like I owe you money or something, I’ll go back inside. I have work to do.’ Gideon moved away, but Eket grabbed his hand and pulled him back.
‘Just calm down abeg! Somebody cannot talk to you again.’
Gideon sighed. What is it with women and not getting straight to the point?
‘I’m calm! What do you want?’
‘I came to ask about the new inspector. Have you seen her?’ She asked impatiently.
‘No, I haven’t. Her? I thought it would be a man.’
Eket smiled triumphantly, ‘So you did not know it was a woman. Now you know. Kemi in accounting told me. We are in big trouble. You know how women like to behave when they have small power. They’ll be raising shoulders up, said be shouting anyhow. Kemi told me that she has a former colleague that told her that she has a friend that has worked with the new inspector before…she said the new inspector will show us pepper.’
‘Atarodo abi atagungun?’ Gideon asked with a straight face.
‘Is this the time to be cracking jokes? Did you not hear what I said just now? This is…’
‘No. I don’t want to hear anything. This is just you gossiping about somebody that you hardly know.’
‘Who said I’m gossiping? This is just data analysis. I’m sharing information with you and we are strategically analyzing it.’
Gideon looked at her as if she had just grown two heads.
‘Eket! So data analysis is the new name for gossip these days.’ He said in disbelief.
‘See ehn, gossip is a dirty word, and I can never ever gossip about anybody. I even told Kemi the other day that…’
Eket stopped talking as a woman walked into the hallway with several people trailing her. The heels she was wearing made her look taller than her actual height but it was obvious that she was a tall woman. Her well-tailored suit and skirt gave her an air of sophistication, and unlike the people around her that looked flustered, she was well composed.
Gideon and Eket murmured greetings when the group reached them. They received answering nods, but the group did not slow down. Soon they turned into the next hallway and were out of sight.
Eket clapped her hands and looked at Gideon. Her face was a mask of horror. ‘That’s her o. THAT IS THE NEW INSPECTOR. Did you see her now? Mbok, I told you…she’ll be wearing shoulder pads. She didn’t even look at us or respond to our greetings. Women ehn! Too proud.’
‘Is your data analysis complete now or do you need more information?’ Gideon asked.
‘You gerrit. Yes, I need more information.’ Eket was smug as she said, ‘Mister man, shouldn’t you be working? Is like you want this new inspector to be on your case abi. Move abeg, let me find Kemi, and give her the update.’ Eket pushed him aside and walked into the office.
Gideon stood dazed for a moment. He concluded that he would never ever understand women.