It was Tuesday August 27 and another lifeless day filled with uncertainties, inconsistencies and a shameful lack of direction at Monalisa, the white elephant magazine misadventure of Lanre Nzeribe and Monalisa Chinda. Lisa had suddenly gone AWOL for close to a month from her ceremonial publisher’s seat, staff were being owed two months’ salary and Lanre was stalling. He rarely showed up in the office and whenever he did, he barely spoke with anyone before he would zoom off again in his black Maserati. Outside, he was always conscious to give off a deceptive public image of the hip ‘big boy’ and perfect gentleman to camouflage his real insensitive, aloof and condescending sides. Back to the farce at 19 Ademola Adetokunbo Street, Victoria Island (Chase Mall). After their publicised breakup, there were whispers Lisa had reconciled with Lanre and was coming back to her ceremonial seat. The ‘news’ cheered up some of the junior staff. It wasn’t surprising because to some degree, she was the life of the party in the company with her chirpy, free-spirited, girl-next-door, almost simpleton nature. Some of the workers wanted to buy coloured cardboard and decorative materials and another one got external speakers from outside the office. The driver had angrily left the company two weeks earlier because he said Lanre paid him N25, 000 as salary instead of N40, 000 they had agreed, so I offered to drive them to the store. While waiting at the park of the megastore, I glanced at my wristwatch. It was 3pm. The ‘party’ was ready, but no word yet from the ‘red carpet’ guest. I decided to call her. “Hello Keshi, what’s happening in the office?” she asked. “Nothing, really,” I replied and hesitated to gauge her mood. “…just that some of the staff are excited you’re coming back and are planning a small welcome for you.” “Oh, no ooo. Who said I’m coming back? I’m not ooo. I’m not talking with Lanre. I don’t know what they’re talking about,” she answered tongue-in-cheek.
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