Everyone in this department knows I’m the resident hottie. I have the kind of beauty that deserves to be chilling on the beach in the Maldives, but look at what the trade department has done to me. I have Dunlop slippers on my feet and ‘didi’ on my head, looking like a low-budget civil servant in Osogbo.
It’s just remaining a tray of Egusi. Jehova!
To make it worse, I haven’t slept in two days because of the NESS fee collections report per port. I checked my reflection in my compact mirror and saw a raccoon staring back at me. A whole Anwuli! A babe! Now looking like an office raccoon. Jesus!
As I was thinking of how to revive my life, someone shouted, “Jesus!” behind me. I whirled my chair around and saw Yusuf, the only Muslim guy in our department, shouting the name of our Lord and saviour as he typed furiously.
That’s what the trade department does to people, makes you momentarily forget which religion you even belong to.
Yusuf was typing aggressively and shaking his bald head. Anybody who sees Yusuf might wonder why the man had thick eyebrows and a full beard but a bald head. Only one month into working in this department, Yusuf came into work with a bald head and said, “Anwuli, I want water to touch my brain.”
I dropped the mirror and faced my computer until I noticed a figure standing in front of me. I looked up and saw a tall, lanky guy, corporately dressed, smiling at me. What is funny? What is making this one happy?
He stretched out his hand and said, “My name is Victor”.
I stared at him like he was mad. You must really be mad to be smiling like this. On a Monday morning. In the trade department. No, you are mad.
“You must be Anwuli. Oga Bode asked that you give me a tour”.
A tour? Does this one think he is in a hotel? He must have seen the expression on my face because he quickly added,
“Oh, I’m the new guy.”
Ahhh. That’s when I smiled because that explained it. He was new. And he had not tasted the trade department pepper, hence all the initial gragra. I stood up, quite excited. You want to do tour of this department, abi? Let’s do tour.
I carried a file I didn’t need, mostly because I wanted to look official, and said, “Follow me. We will start at the Form M unit, where you would most likely be starting. “
I swear I saw a spring in his step as he followed me. This one is dancing? EL OH EL. I can’t wait for what the trade department will do to this one. On our way, Victor looked around and said, “Everyone looks tired. When last did the company go on a retreat? “
Victor was probably wondering why I was bent over laughing, but there was no need to explain. The Form M Unit will help me.
The minute we opened the door into the Form M Unit, it was pure chaos. Some people were screaming about a box file, others were pleading over the phone, and some were in the middle of a mountain of paperwork.
Everyone in the trade department knows this unit is one of the most stressful units. It majorly deals with imports, and thanks to the large amount of importation that happens in the country, the unit never runs out of work. When Victor saw people screaming about a box file, he stepped back a little.
Where to, sir?
Everyone in this department looked slightly insane; suit jackets were off, ties were loosened, people had changed to Dunlop slippers, and wigs were on the table. A man walked up to Victor and asked, “You! Have you seen the Form M for this LC file? ”
Victor, wide-eyed, just stared. The man asked again, “Form M! Form M! Abi, are you deaf? ”
Victor stood there holding his bag as he stammered, “I… I… don’t k…kn…”
I stood watching the interaction, not knowing if I should interfere or watch the whole thing play out. When Victor’s leg started shaking, I stepped in and sent the man off to attack another person.
I casually walked out and Victor ran after me like a deer, grateful to be able to leave.
We entered the LC Unit next. I think Victor must have liked what he saw because it was calmer than the Form M Unit. I explained that LC meant Letters of Credit and was a unit reserved for trade experts; he needed to know trade before he could join. Victor was excited until the head of the unit started asking him questions that scattered his brain.
Two minutes into the questions, Victor was already breathing hard.
The next unit we entered was the document unit. Victor saw papers before he saw people and asked me if they didn’t have computers in the unit.
Papa was bent over a document with a magnifying glass in his hand, and Victor asked if he had eye problems. I told him the magnifier was for quality checks, and he told everyone there was an app for that. The whole unit stopped talking and stared.
When Victor asked how many documents were checked daily, without blinking an eye, Papa said “50 to 60.”
Victor said, “A Day!”
He got out of the unit before I did. I could see he was already sweating and seeing stars. His shirt was soaked, his top button was loose, and his tie was off. I just walked past him, you have not seen anything, my dear.
At the Invisibles desk, the sound of doing transaction payment abroad seemed to brighten Victor’s mood. The same thing happened in the remittance unit where he overheard the discussion of dollars and foreign currency.
However, the mood only lasted until he saw a woman passed out on her desk with a couple of people trying to revive her. Victor stared at me. “She is dying!”
I told him she just fainted because she accidentally added an extra zero to a one million dollar transaction, which meant it would either come out of her account by evening or she would be arrested. Victor gasped at me.
By the time he came back to my office, he dropped on a seat with his hands in his head. He said, “All these things you do, isn’t there a simpler way?”
I nodded, saying they could be automated. Victor smiled brightly, “Then we can write to management to automate these processes.”
All of us in the unit:
That was the last time we heard from Victor.
The trade department strikes again.