Katherine placed her bag down and a
beautifully wrapped parcel on her desk
attracted her attention. She was about to
go ask the security men in the lobby how
it got to her desk when something
glittering caught her eyes.
In gold was written -Happy birthday
She slumped on the nearest chair dazed,
thank goodness she was close to one. For
five seconds, she remained in the same
position as she tried to recall the day and
month and actually it was her birthday!
Who in the world was the sender?
She undid the wrapper. ‘Oh myGod!’ she
exclaimed, ‘Oh-my-God.’ She repeated
flabbergasted. On her lap was the newest
brand of phone that was being
advertised. It was a superior brand of his
She knew instantly who the sender was.
How could he spend so much money to
buy a phone to celebrate a birthday that
she didn’t even remember! Not that her
birthday was not special to her, at a point
in her life it meant everything to her but
those period were long gone. Its thought
brought back rush of emotions and
memories that dishevelled her so much.
With unwavering determination long ago,
she had repressed her birth date in such a
way that she treated it like every other
Since she started in Sigismund, so many
things had happened that had put cracks
on a heart that she had choicelessly and
carefully pick its pieces and fix back. This
present was a shocker that threatened to
break her heart . Her eyes blinked
severally and then heaved.
No…no…don’t cry. She told herself. You
know that once you start, you won’t stop
She stood. How did he know it was her
birthday? The biodata. She answered
immediately. She opened a drawer and
placed the phone. ‘God please help me.’
She muttered and head to his office.
She still had an objection.
She stepped in and he looked from the
book he had been reading. ‘Happy
Birthday Katherine. ‘ He beamed.
‘Thank you Sir. ‘ She smiled. ‘I saw the
present and am so taken aback. You really
went out of your way and I am grateful
but I… I don’t have cake and drink to
give you. ‘
He chuckled. ‘Don’t bother about that,
am glad you love your surprise. ‘
‘Sir I… I don’t have anybody to call.’ She
Was she actually serious? He was alarmed
but he lowered his gaze, drummed the
pencil he was holding on his desk for few
seconds thoughtfully. ‘Mobile phones are
not made for communication only though
it is one of the vitals but not the all in all.
If you have nobody to call, you can call
me, myself and I and Precious also. Four
persons to call is far beyond nobody. ‘ He
smiled up at her with a raised brow.
Katherine chuckled. ‘Thank you Sir.’ She
glanced at her wrist watch. ‘The meeting
is in a couple of hours, you should be on
your way now because the traffic along
Lagos -Ibadan express way is
‘True, inform my driver that I will be
ready to go in five minutes. ‘
‘Okay Sir. Excuse me.’ As she head out,
she knew she was indebted to him and
would never forget his person.
‘My dad will arrive Nigeria by Sunday and
he will be staying for three days. He is
going to survey generally, attend
coferences, seminars etcetera. His
permanent secretary was sacked after his
last visit. It doesn’t make sense
employing a secretary for three days so…
sacrifice. ‘ Kelvin sipped water and then
entwined his palms on the desk. ‘I have
two persons that can serve that purpose,
Precious and you.’
Katherine listened maintaining a blank
‘Precious is now an execretory and it is
unfair for me to make her do what she is
above. You are competent for this work,
besides it will provide you with exposure
and experiences. You will be working the
founder of Sigismund International and
going places with him. You are the only
secretary I know that can work with my
him. He is a no-nonsense-man.’
What! From the DG to the founder, has
he forgotten her root! ‘Sir I… I can’t… ‘
‘Katherine you can, I believe you can.
Give me no objection and I would take
it.’He held her gaze.
‘By 7 on Monday, my driver will be
waiting here to take you to the
production company. I don’t think it is
you to be nervous, please don’t be now.’
He searched her expression hoping he
was not being manipulative.
The plea his voice held had surprising
soothed her. He had believed in her so
far and it had worked out. She nodded,
hopefully this too will work.
‘Is that a Yes?’
What is wrong with this boss sef, he
doesn’t want no but when he get Yes, he
still question it. ‘Yes.’ She told him.
‘Thank you.’ He said gleefully, so gleefully
that it made Katherine smile. ‘Don’t be
scared Katherine, just be yourself. ‘
It was an opportunity, a rare one to meet
the Visionary of such a great company
that has been established in half of the
world and was the biggest in the country.
She knew so many would give whatever
they can to see him talk more of working
for him and here she was having direct
access for him for three days and she had
even dared to object.
She resolved to doing her best.
Katherine repeated the paragraph.
‘My dear, you repeated that.’ Franklin Sigismund observed and glanced at her.
They were in the sitting wing of the permanent office of Franklin, its class was very well beyond that of Kelvin. It represented the status of the owner in a breath taking way and the wall was graced with awards and recognition he had received in Nigeria.
Katherine was seated opposite him holding a letter.
‘I want to comment on the paragraph that is why I repeated it so you can understand what I am driving at. The paragraph was centred on plea.’ She glanced down at the letter. ‘Based on the content of this letter and the organisation it is addressed to, I think a firm letter will do the magic. ‘ She expatiated, ‘Not that pleas won’t work but it is going to give the addressee an impression that we are desperate, that we are begging because there are no other up to standard substitute. They will feel important and will want to put their power to test by extending our feedback date and making us want to plea more, not that
we won’t eventually get what we need but it will be delayed. Pleas do the trick most times but not in this case, it should be transposed.’
‘I kinda Katherine, it was my Korean secretary that wrote it you can rewrite it.’ He said and sipped from the icetea in a tumbler on his side table.
‘Yes Sir and I have one observation, more of a contribution. ‘
‘Shoot. ‘ He said with a smile as one directing a movie and sat back.
‘On our tour in the company, I saw samples of the supposed new product, the bar soap. Bar soap are so common in Nigeria that people have a lot to choose from and sometimes the packaging have little or no effect on their choices because they see the tag bar soap on all available choices. Regardless of that, when I looked at those samples in the lab yesterday, something occurred to me, when you see something over and over again though having different content but packaged in the same way, there is a high tendency of still making it a never mind.’ She looked at him for an approval.
‘We all get curious when we see an unusual presentation of a thing. Who doesn’t appreciate creativity! It is possible to get creative with the soap production, make various shapes…’ She raised her hands for descriptive purpose. ‘Common shapes like rectangle, square, rhombus, triangle etcetera, alongside variety of colours. I know all those are possible scientifically with the various coloring pigment alongside precision.’ She paused and swallowed.
His eyes did not leave her face yet it caught every movement of her hands.
‘Nigerians crave for detergent and use bar soaps when they need to wash native attire. From what the research department discovered, tested and presented, we know this soap has an authentic wiping effect on the toughest stain one can think of. I believe its content can be preserved despite the shapes and colours. Also advertisement, ‘ She lifted both hands and made a quotation mark sign with both her fingers. ‘The people who face the problem of stains are the school children, housewives, unskilled and semiskilled labourers and workers and so on.’
‘The advertisement has to have a kind of canopy, a coverage for them all. For instance, students in high school and college are mostly responsible for their washing. In most case, they scrub, wash but some stains just wouldn’t come off. It is a known knowledge that they want to look impressive at all time, they are desperate for a soap that works. Hence, their ears are on the ground. ‘
‘The soap is introduced with all its uniqueness, you don’t need to soak before washing, you get to chose a preferred color and shape, washing is faster and energy preserving. Mother needn’t take clothes off the line to wash a second time. Such news spread like wild fire in harmattan.’ Katherine smiled and tilted her head in a kind of what -do -you -think way?
Franklin smiled though thoughtful with his left palm rubbing his cheek. ‘You solved the three major priority of a producer- what to produce, how to produce and for whom to produce. When I hear something unusual but promising I get to rub my left cheek the way I am doing now.’ He grinned.
Katherine chuckled rather shyly.
‘My three intended days are over today, make the necessary call and put my flight ticket on hold. Contact the head of research and advertisement department for a meeting for 8 tomorrow. Kelvin… Kelvin can’t be around tomorrow, he will be sealing a contract. When we’ve converged you will be repeating what you just told me. That was the most powerful suggestion I ever heard from a secretary, as a matter of fact, you’re the best I ever had. ‘
She blushed. ‘Thank you Sir .’
Franklin stood. ‘Meet me downstairs in fifteen minutes let’s go for lunch.’
‘You’ve been more of a personal assistant than a secretary to me. I’ll like you to come to the airport with me tomorrow. More importantly, I will like to see your lovely face when I come back to Nigeria, for my son do not tolerate nonsense. ‘
‘I will do my best sir.’ She beamed as she remembered the words of Kelvin. He had told her, his father is a no nonsense man.
He walked out with an aura of confidence and a smile people often wondered if it was plastered since he was always smiling. Kelvin was a chip off his shoulder, just that Kelvin had blue eyes and was taller while his was hazel.