Short Stories in Episodes presents “Burnt”, which is about fictional characters that portray the daily struggles, lifestyle and activities of the regular individual in Nigeria.
Her fingers worked with a frenzy on the keyboard. She was desperate to beat the dead line of 10 am and it was already 9:45 am. Her boss will skin her alive if the script wasn’t ready by that time. The intern that was assigned to her had not even resumed to commence work on the second script. “What a morning!” she thought. She typed in more words, added a few more lines, adjusted her glasses and then added the final full stop and that was it. She was done. She quickly printed out the 5 pages of the script and hurriedly left her cubicle to her boss’s office.
Mr. Duke quickly scanned through the papers with a speed that always left her stunned cos at the end of every scan he did, he never missed out on any error. He nodded his head in satisfaction indicating that she was free to leave. She was almost at the door of the spacious office when he called her back;
She turned around waiting for his scolding to come in their usual bouts but instead, she was surprised at what came next.
“This is one hell of a script you wrote. I’m impressed. Lunch’s on me”
That said, he turned around to face the beautiful lake side view outside his window. Mila couldn’t conceal her smile that almost made her dance for joy. Anyone who knew Mr. Duke would know that he was never generous with compliments. He was a tough boss to please. As she walked back to her cubicle which was in the third open spaced office, she took the moment to reflect on her journey to this point of working for one of Nigeria’s largest and most successful advertising agency.
Mila had been a freelance writer with her focus mainly on reviews. She had started as a result of not being able to secure a job after a year of graduating from college. At first, it had started as her passion but later on, she had gotten serious with it as she realized that her writing had started drawing the attention of the right audience. Her breakthrough came when she was contacted by Mr. Duke himself for a chat. She had been sceptical about the identity of the caller.
Mr. Duke was the CEO of the ACE Group. She knew of the company and had fantasized about writing a script for one of their adverts on countless occasions. The company was situated at Victoria Island in Lagos Nigeria thus whenever she found herself on the Island, she would deliberately ask the Taxi driver to take the route where the company was situated so that she could feed her eyes with the magnificence of the building and also inhale the intoxicating richness of the environment.
Mila had gone for the “Chat’’ which turned out to be an interview. She passed the test as it really was a test. Mr. Duke, coupled with 3 other members of his management team had asked her so many questions which required her to provide just one answer to each and though, she couldn’t recall what her answers had been, she passed. They had shared a glass of wine to welcome her to join the company and each had expressed admiration for her reviews.
That was 6 months ago. Now, she had come to realize that it wasn’t an easy feat working in such a high paced environment. Though, the pay was more than enough for her 25 year old self to go by as well as pay her bills, she found herself working beyond the regular 9-5 hours.
She got to her cubicle, sat on her seat, rested her throbbing head in her palms for a bit and then set to work on the next script. She was mid way typing when she heard the familiar giggle of the intern, Simi.
“Oh hell!” Mila cursed softly under her breath.