Little Black Book episode 3

Episode 3

My boss had an acquired taste. For a man who did what he did well, it was necessary for him to never lower his standards. I had to only stay with him for a year to realize that he didn’t do one-night stands; he kept short carnal relationships but never one nighties.

The chase was more exciting than the kill. I always saw him get bored the instant he got what he was going after. On one particular occasion, after getting a yes for dinner at so and so from some woman he was chasing via text, he muttered “now I have to find something else to do this weekend.” He already knew the chase was over the moment her text came in. That was how easy women were for him. Therefore, he kept his taste high and sought for those that would lead him on a long thing.

And that was where Clara came in. Clara was a feminist. Hers was no joke. She was the type that could go butt n***d before a government building holding a placard while hunger-striking for women’s rights. Men were afraid of her because she had a reputation of emasculating them. But not my boss. He found her amusing. After watching her on TV a couple of times, he decided it was time to dive in for the catch.

“Anna?” I saw him swiveling on his chair with a tickled expression one afternoon. “What do you women fight for?”


“As in, women’s rights? What do you guys fight for?”

I stopped to think. I had five brothers and throughout my childhood, I was forced to fight for everything I got from them, yet I couldn’t find an answer to my boss’ question.

“Equality, I guess.”

“Equality in what?”

“In everything. Work place, church, mosque, school, in business, in government, at home…”


“Women have been oppressed for a long time.”

“Really? I didn’t know that and I didn’t know lesbians fought for equal rights too. I thought you guys were so absorbed in gay rights.”

“Sir, I am not gay.”

He sat up. “Point noted. Go to your office, think up some feminist cause the hotel can support, write a brief proposal and bring it to me after work hours.”

My mouth hung open but I knew better than to protest. I marched out, cussing him in my mind.

“I’m not gay!” I muttered, loud enough for the new secretary to hear me. “I’m not a feminist! I’m just a PA and yet you won’t let me drink water!”

I sat behind my desk and decided I wasn’t going to waste brain power thinking up some stupid feminist cause; I was going to Google it. But after two long hours on the net and I came up with nothing, I decided to take a break. The secretary was playing some music videos on her PC and I was drawn to the sounds, so I went to her desk to see what it was she was watching.

“Who is that?” I asked.

“Kas,” she answered, dancing to the beat of the music video. “You don’t know him?”


“Mehn, you should go out more often, girl. This is what is rocking in clubs now. Fi mi le. Fi mi le, baby…” she sang.

“I thought it was Oleku.”

She shook her head. “Oleku is a national anthem, babe, but Kas is the real ish.”

Oleku, Kas, whatever. Nigerian music bored me.

“But why do they like using all these white girls with their shapeless shapes sef?” the secretary asked, not stopping her dance.

And gbam! It hit me. I had found a cause I could present to my boss. I almost ran into his office to tell him but I remembered he said he wanted a proposal. I sat behind my desk and quickly typed out a lazy proposal and waited for the closing hour. When the time came and the secretary left, I entered his office and found him looking out his large glass window, tucking in his grey shirt into his trousers. He looked so appealing that I temporarily forgot why I was there.

“Yes, Anna?” he said, not staring my way.

“I have a proposal.”

He stretched out his hand to me took the proposal, sat in his chair and studied it carefully. Then out of the blue, he burst out laughing.

“Seriously? A campaign against objectifying women on TV?”

“Yes, sir.” I moved forward. “On music videos, TV commercials and even movies, they always use women as s*x symbols and it’s not fair. Someone has to speak out against them. If you watch the white people’s music videos, they tell a story, it’s art, but here, they just use women as meat.”

He laughed again. “This is 2011, Anna and it’s going to get worse by let’s say 2013. The girls are going to dress skimpier, the music content will be all about s*x and the videos raunchier. And more ads will use women and sexual undertone to sell their products. Finally, Nollywood is not going to stop showing bawdy-looking women because their audience loves it. And you talk about white people; they sold this culture to us and we’re enjoying it. So do you think your campaign will make any headway?”

I shook my head, deflated.

“Good. We’ll embark on it. Schedule a meeting tomorrow with the PR and media departments. Also find a way for us to get Clara Williams.”

Bells in my head went off. Not that formidable woman! Why on earth did he want to use her? There were other more agreeable feminists.

“Sir, I should contact Clara?”

He stared at me with a naughty smile and I saw that familiar hunger in his eyes. “Yes.” he tapped at a poster on his table with a picture of Clara on it. “Her. I want her.”

You gotta be kidding me. The woman looked like a man. She was nothing like the others. Flat-chested, rectangular-shaped, big-boned, caustic-mouthed. What did he see in her?

“Is she doable?”


“Can we use her for the cause?”

“Yes-yes sir. She is the hottest feminist in town.”

I wish I hadn’t used the word ‘hottest’. It brought out a glint in his eyes.

“Get her for me,” he replied in that sly manner that hardly moved his lips and I hurried out. Geez. The man was up to his antics again. So far he had not been on the dating wagon for a healthy number of months but now he wanted to hop on her it just like that? Phew! I had my work cut out for me.

The next day, after the meeting, I made a call to Clara’s office and I got her PA who was of course, a guy. He told me Clara was unavailable for the next twenty years. Mind you, I could hear her speaking in the background. The moment she had been informed the call was coming from my boss’ office, she had drawn a long hiss and called him a dog, saying she wouldn’t touch him with a hundred meter pole.

“I’m sorry,” her PA told me. “Tell your boss she’s dead. Just kidding!” He laughed. “Clara Williams is unavailable.”

And he rang off. I knew I couldn’t go back to my boss with that message. He sometimes saw me as a miracle worker and expected unrealistic wonders from me. So I took a bike straight to her office that hot afternoon and demanded to see her. When she spotted me from her beautiful pink and black themed, modern day office, she asked me to come in. I was intimidated when I saw her. She was almost as tall as my boss, had piercing eyes and high eyebrows that stayed way up there mocking anyone she decided to look down on.

“So you’re his personal assistant?”

“Yes ma,” I said.

“Does he sleep with you?”

I was thrown off balance. “No-no ma.”

“Because you’re not sexy enough for him?”

I was speechless.

“I know his type. Men that feel they can have every woman.” She gave a lazy, mocking expression. “Tell him to come ask me himself, if he’s a real man.”

I smiled, thanked her and turned to leave when I saw him at her door. He looked past me and stared at her.

“May I come in, ma’am? You are a very difficult person to see. Lucky I get to find you on seat.”

“Come in.” She kept a straight, stony face.

“Oh, Anna, don’t leave just yet. Please do sit with us,” my boss requested and I followed him back in. After we were seated, he took a professional pose and spoke to her about the cause he was about to embark on.

“Oh, really?” She raised thin eyebrows. “I am amused. Quite tickled, actually.”

“My pleasure,” he responded without his usual smile. I could see her reading his face to know if his response had been some kind of tease.

She leaned forward over her table and I was surprised to see that she wasn’t flat-chested at all. She actually had b***s! Did my boss know this? I followed his eyes but they were on her face, all seriousness.

“Well, you’re quite fortunate, mister,” Clara said to him. “We are about to launch into something similar. Thank God your enterprise has the name and the reach we need, so I guess this will be a good alliance.”


She smiled in surprise.

“I see a clause in your eyes. What are your terms?” he asked.

“However, I wouldn’t want you to show your face in the campaign and seminars.”

“Reason, being?”

“You’re a man w—e.”

I almost gasped at the unapologetic way in which she said it. “The whole of this city knows it. Heck, the whole of Nigeria knows.”

My boss put his hand to his chest and carried a wounded look that had traces of mischief. “I am hurt, Miss Williams.”

“Oh, spare me. You probably think working with me will get you into my pants, some sort of conquest for you to see me dominated.”

He broke into laughter and she watched him with what I would have naturally believed was hatred in her eyes. But after being with the man that long and watching him do his thing on the regular, I had come to understand that the women that fronted the most were only doing so to make less obvious the fact that he had won them already.

“Fine.” He stood up and straightened his suit. “We’ll support your campaign and as you desire, I’ll stay in the shadows and do what people subjected to the shadows do. But you should know that I am a feminist as well.”

This time she laughed.

“No, really. I believe in the movement…”

“Give it up, sir. It’s never going to happen.” She stood up and I did the same. “You’ll hear from me tomorrow.”

“Okay.” He nodded. “Call the office and…”

“I’ll take your assistant’s number instead. I feel a lot more comfortable working with women.”

He smiled. I gave her my phone number. They shook hands and we turned to the door.

“After you.”

He held open the door for me and waited until I walked out before he did. Now, that was a little different.

Don’t get me wrong; he was always the gentleman and held doors for me but the way he did that one was exaggerated.

When we go into the car, he handed me his phone.

“Get on Twitter and Facebook, will ya? Some random tweets and statuses about treating women right and upholding the cause of equality amongst the sexes will make my day. Be classy about it, though, because one of these bloggers will pick it. If they don’t, by tomorrow morning, pay that Melinda blogger chick to run a story about the tweets on her blog and hint about the coming campaign.”

This man was full of surprises! I couldn’t believe he was going through all the trouble just to sleep with one woman!

“Stop looking at me like that, Anna. I really am a feminist. So you better start spreading the word. It would help my government. I wonder why I never thought of it.”

I said nothing in reply.

“Erm…also have reception reserve Presidential Suite A for Saturday night…and maybe for Sunday too.”

I was instantly annoyed. Why that ugly woman? I was way more feminine than she was. When was he ever going to notice me? “Sir, Miss Williams doesn’t like you.”

“Oh, she will. Soon.”

I got bolder. “And the tweets won’t move her.”

“But she just followed me on Twitter. Please, do not follow back. The last thing I need is a feminist yapping on my timeline.”

“Sir, Miss Williams already knows what you’re up to.”

He looked at me through dark eyes. It was a warning to mind my business. “Anna, what are you talking about?”

“Nothing, sir.”

He picked his second phone and engaged some business partner in a long conversation all the way back to the hotel. We spent the rest of the day in another meeting that lasted until closing hours. I was having a headache by the time I got to my hotel room. I was done with the social media assignment by then and tried to go to bed. But I couldn’t. I was thinking about him as usual. His voice, his laughter, his mischief, his smile, his eyes… oh, his eyes. I could just die for them. And his skin… I wanted to touch him so bad… to feel him…

How could I be so close to someone yet so far away? Why didn’t he see me? Was it the way I dressed? I knew I was called Ugly Betty behind my back but I wasn’t ugly. I was just a geek and couldn’t dress sexy to save my life. The one time my brothers tried to help me, it didn’t work. I just couldn’t do it. To me, I was too smart to be identified simply by the way I looked.

But I guess the world today sees things differently.

I sighed and got off the bed and walked to the dressing mirror. My glasses lay there on the dresser, gathering dust for not being touched in a while. Stupid room service girls; they never bothered to dust my dresser.

I picked the glasses. I had missed them. I still wasn’t used to the contact lenses I bought a month ago…

He hadn’t even noticed anything that first day I tried them on. He had asked what was different about me.

“New hair? You got laid last night?”

I had given him a sad shake of my head and walked away.

He never noticed.

I dusted the glasses now and took off the contact lenses. I wore the glasses, went back to bed and lay beneath the covers, staring up at the ceiling.

I will not think about him this night. I will think of other stuff. I won’t give him that power over me.

I turned to my side, trying to force sleep in but got interrupted by my buzzing phone. I reached under my pillow and drew it to me. I didn’t recognize the number yet I took the call.

“Hello Anna.”


“This is Clara Williams.”

“Oh, hi.”

I felt indifferent about her. Maybe a little hateful.

“I hate to disturb you.”

“No, it’s okay.”

“Are you alone?”


“Okay, good because we need to talk.”


“You’re probably the person closest to your boss.”

I wasn’t. He had family but I lied. “Yeah.”

“So you know him well. Look, I hate working with people I don’t know, especially after hearing terrible things about them. I’m sorry to think about your boss that way but his reputation precedes him even though he is hardly in public eyes. My repute is important to me. I can’t be going into something with someone who will spoil my name. I hope you understand this.”

“Yes. So, how can I help you?”

She hesitated a little. “Tell me all about him. Especially about how he treats women. I read his tweets earlier. I just want to know if all that is real.”

I sighed. Another one bites the dust.

Oh, but I hated myself at that instant. Wasn’t it me who wrote those tweets? Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! He had used me as a wingman – again!



“Yes, Miss Williams.” My voice was sweet but my face was covered in anger.

“I’m listening.”

I rolled my eyes and started loading her with the mother of all BS about him.

Nice one, Anna. I could hear my voice of reason scold loudly in my head. At this rate, you’ll begin delivering foreplay to his conquests right before he slays them on his love altar.


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