ANGEL IN THE SHADOWS (I) SHORT STORY
This is the beginning of a short story series that shows how faith and life in a secular world sometimes intersect and what that intersection can throw up. Enjoy and be inspired!
ANGEL IN THE SHADOWS
The last thing Hassan wanted at the moment was female attention. A young woman that lived opposite his house was hitting on him and doing a really bad job of it this evening. She had come over to his front porch and had been making inane conversation for the past five minutes. Right now she wanted to know what he did for a living. In order not to be rude, he asked her to take a guess. She abandoned that course and invited him to join her on her early morning jogs.
“Just like that! What is wrong with girls of today?” he asked himself. “You hold one conversation (correct that to a one-sided chat) with a man and you want him to accompany you somewhere by dawn.”
All he wanted was to get some fresh air. But again, he didn’t want to seem impolite, so he promised he will join her sometime in the future, reiterating he wouldn’t be disposed to do so for a month or so lest she come knocking on his door in a few days.
Hassan had recently lost his job at a big firm because he refused to do an under-the-table job for his employers. He had been asked to find out their competitor’s quotation for a job so that his firm could underbid them and get the contract. It was an oral order and although hacking had been his strong suit while in school, it was not on the scale of the type of industrial espionage the firm was requiring of him. And he had put all that behind him after graduation.
He had hoped to make a reasonable contribution by making virtual communication between the firm’s headquarters and its branches hitch-free. He had improved documentation, networking and had even started writing computer programmes to help the staff perform some tasks with less stress. He was quite proud of how he was running the IT department until the head of security approached him with the order, claiming it was from the CEO.
Hassan had asked to see the CEO or, at least, for a written brief which he hoped he could use to protect himself in the event something went wrong. He didn’t want to start telling a story like Jerome Kerviel’s against Societe General Bank when he was charged with sharp trading practices. It would be too late to cry when the head is off. When the firm saw he was balking, he was fired on a trumped-up charge of consistently pocketing his department’s imprest funds.
With no savings (he had just paid two years’ rent advance on his residence), he was feeling claustrophopic, choked with worry as he was, when he decided to step out to the porch. He would have loved to challenge his dismissal through a lawsuit, but something told him he didn’t have a fighting chance against big business.
He forced a smile when he saw the young lady before him doing so. Apparently, she had said something funny which he hadn’t caught. He pleaded that he needed to go in and do some work ’cause he didn’t know how much more of her blabbing he could take. Oblivious to his irritation, she animatedly bade him good night and strolled back to her place.
As Hassan watched her walk away, he noticed she had a really good figure and he recalled her smile was delightful. If only he wasn’t so worried about the pits he was in, he may have found her company less irksome.
-To be continued-
Ⓒ Edith Ugochi Ohaja 2016
Was Hassan stupid to take a stand that cost him his job?
Having lost the job, was he right to give up without a fight?
How do you rate his handling of the young woman’s attention?
The next segment shows the beginning of Hassan’s life as an unemployed man. Don’t fail to read because a mystery will enter the plot, one you’ll love to know about.
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