“I distinctively recall giving you the list of services I requested performed on my laptop.” I rested a cold piercing gaze on the medium height pot-bellied guy, who, despite my discontentment with his poor services, was resting comfortably on a dirty kenpoly chair across the dusty service counter from where I was standing. I struggled to maintain my calm. My heart burned with anger and lines of disappointment wrinkled my face.

“Boss, everything on your list has been done. It is your turn to pay.” He, Bob, said casually. The fire in me raged.

In unpleasant circumstances involving second party, I always will myself to engage logics. For logics is the only feature that sets us, human beings, apart from beasts. Emotions and appetite constantly bend our behavior towards the fate of animals, but the power of reason when employed anchors us on civilization. Sometimes I succeed in bringing the other party and myself to the light, most times I fail. In latter instances, I find peace in walking away. Not on this particular day. I was determined to ignite his thick faculties.

I shifted my gaze to two of his buddies who had stopped chit-chatting and now keenly followed our disagreement. The first, stout and bald, heaved his weight on a dingy squeaking wooden table behind Bob. His right elbow on his lap, his chin resting in his palm, and a contemplative expression on his face. The second, thin to the bones, wore a dirty baggy short strapped tightly by a Maasai leather belt at the waist. Like a night gown, Chelsea FC jersey hanged on his upper body. He was leaning against the shelf heaped with old computers, on the left of Bob, a cigarette held clumsily in his right hand. He seemed eager to give a piece of his mind.

I encouraged him with my stare to speak up. He took a long drag at his cigar, held the smoke in for a couple seconds and then slowly billowed it out. “It is your turn to pay.”  He echoed to me Bob’s demand in a croaking bass that didn’t match his size. I ignored him.

“You were to update my drivers pack and Microsoft Office.” I said to Bob. Turning my laptop’s screen to his direction, I added, “The version of Microsoft Office I had is the one I still have, and now my touch-pad drivers pack are malfunctioning. I can’t move the cursor. In any case, why should I pay you!”

“Because you have wasted my time.” He did not pretend to bother about my concerns.

At that point, rage threatened to overcome me. I felt weak and void. The temper I had struggled to constrain with reason was now raging like a storm inside of me, my body slightly trembling. Displeasure and loath billowed in my heart and, temporarily, vengeance clouded my mind. I saw myself coming back at night and torching the place down. I saw myself watching with satisfaction as the sooty smoke billows to the sky and the hot hungry flames gulp everything Bob has to his name. These thoughts calmed me a bit, and I regained my composure.

“When you have stared at me to your satisfaction, remember to give me my money.” Bob said nonchalantly. Apparently, I had pinned him with my gaze the whole time. Here was a man impervious to reason. There was nothing I could say or do to penetrate the thickness of his faculties. I had to fold back my cards of logics and give in to the contemporary way of doing business.

I am one too attached to my laptop, not trusting it to anyone easily. Perhaps it is the flashy signpost outside; Best of TechWorld, that had misled me. Perhaps it is the sticker on the counter that read; Customer is King, that had misguided my trust. I fumbled in my trousers’ back pocket for money.


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