FOOL’S GOLD (A Short Story) by Victor Olugbemiro

She looked up from her computer and it took a lot of self-control to keep from gawking. The definition of ugly had definitely shifted to the dude standing in front of her. In complexion, he wasn’t dark, he was black, crisp black; like a malicious burnt offering to the gods from disgruntled worshippers. Not only was he black, he had a mouth that always curved into an ‘O’ no matter what he said. That and so many other things that could go wrong with a guy were the entirety of this guy. Effy couldn’t help but wonder why she had to be the one stuck with such a horrendous site as her first customer on a Monday morning. But pushing all that behind her, she attended to him robotically, wearing her plastic smile like she was paid to do:

Customer Service

Model Picture (From http://ekoelectricityng.com)

‘Good morning sir, please take a seat, my name is Effy. How may I help you?’

He took his seat. He wanted to open an account. After talking him through the procedure, she gave him the necessary forms to fill out and buried her head behind her computer, hoping that would be the end of the encounter. But no way. Instead of the dude to fill his form in silence, he started a conversation

‘Your face looks pretty familiar, you know’

Oh no! Was he trying to chat her up and with that line? Aargh! It didn’t help that the sadist Head Office sent to carry out a Customer Satisfaction Survey was prancing round the banking hall like he owned the place and she had to maintain the plastic smile that was already beginning to hurt. This was not the beginning of the bright and cheery week she had pictured in her mind in church yesterday when the handsome Pastor Moses was prophesying good things for the coming week. Sigh, Pastor Moses… tall, dreamy eyes, thick hair, sharp dresser, hunk of a…

‘So when will you be free for dinner?’

His last statement snapped her out of her reverie.

‘Huh?’ she replied, looking up in time to catch his ‘O’ mouth close, blinking at him, clueless. How on earth could he have moved so quickly from ‘familiar face’ to ‘free for dinner?’ He repeated himself. Hia, Pastor James said it o, that enemies of progress would come disguised in various forms; this one did not even bother disguising himself. If not for where she was, she would have unleashed her arsenal of insults that she reserved for people like him. Instead, still smiling, she said jokingly,

‘With the nature of this job, will I ever be free?’

Undaunted, he dropped his card on her table as he got up to leave and asked her to give him a call whenever she could find the time. ‘I sure will’ she said as she flung the card into her drawer without even as much as a glance. She allowed him step out of the banking hall before she released her rattlesnake hiss,

‘Thunder faya you, bad market!’

As he stepped out of the banking hall, he began to whistle. He hadn’t felt so lightheaded in a long time. The pretty face that attended to him in the bank was dancing before his eyes and that cherubic smile that didn’t waver for a second was turning his insides to jellyfish and making his heart melt into a million pieces like butter in a hot frying pan. Surely, she must have enjoyed his little chit chat for though she didn’t contribute, she never stopped smiling. He could spend the rest of his life gazing into those hypnotic eyes that blinked innocently adding a certain quality to the smile, and those dimples…sigh. He had definitely encountered the definition of beauty today. He was happy with himself for being able to overcome his usual shyness and start a conversation even though it was quite one-sided. At a point, he felt like he was babbling. The fact that she kept his card in her drawer, unlike many others who tossed it in the trash right in his presence, gave him hope. Even if she got too busy to call, he knew where to find her. As far as he was concerned, judging from her body language, the stage was set for a romantic journey that he foresaw leading all the way to the altar. With these happy thoughts in mind, he got into his car and drove off to his other engagements, approaching his day with as much enthusiasm as Romeo as he approached Juliet’s window.

….

Victor Olugbemiro is a graduate of Sociology from Bowen University. He currently shuffles his time between teaching children in an elementary school in Lagos, Nigeria, writing and finding a way to inspire others.

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