Say It Isn’t So (Part 7)

Aziema walked past the rows of desks at her right and doors at her left until she turned to face the door to her own office, marked with the words “AZIEMA OTHMAN” emblazoned in Sans Serif Font size 20 followed by the words “Compliance Manager” underneath them. She was about to turn the doorknob when she heard someone calling her name behind her and turned to see Hazlin Aminudin, her secretary, at her desk, holding up the office phone.

“Ms Azeima, its for you,” Hazlin said, apprehensively. Aziema heaved a heavy sigh indicating annoyance. There went her chance for a quiet morning cuppa at her desk before starting on work for the day. “Who?” she asked, curtly.

“One Mr Yudistra from Messrs Raj, Ong & Yudistra. He says it’s about…,”

“Put him through,” Aziema replied without waiting for her to finish and immediately went into her office and picked up the office phone on her desk. “This is Azeima speaking,” she said into the speaker.

“Ms Azeima? Hi, this is Yudistra. I have been appointed by..,” came the response before she interjected.

“Yes, I know. Datuk recieved my package, I presume?” she asked the senior lawyer on the other side of the line.

“He has. And for the record Datuk categorically denies that he is or was ever involved in those activities. We shall be sending you a letter to this effect. That said, Datuk has instructed me that he would like to propose a meeting with your side to discuss an amicable and mutually acceptable solution,” Yudistra promply replied.

“I’m sure you know that the only acceptable solution for me is if Datuk pays his bills, specifically, the bills issued him by my client,” Azeima said in a serious voice.

Yudistra avoided the topic. “Yes, that will be discussed in the proposed meeting,” he replied. “So I take it you agree to the intended discussion?”

“Sure, you give me his number, and I’ll discuss the matter with him,” Aziema proposed to laughter from the other side of the line.

“Young lady, it does not work that way. Datuk has appointed me as his counsel, so I will be there. The Legal Profession Act..,”

“Oh, right. Sorry, I forgot. I’m still a junior after all. Just a few years in practice,” Aziema quickly interjected. “Yes, let’s have the meeting. I know this nice restaurant in downtown KL. But I needn’t bother you with details. Just put me through to your assistant handling this file, and I’ll sort out the time and place with him,”

“Thank you very much for your cooperation, Ms Aziema. Hold on, I shall get my secretary to put him through,” came a thankful sounding voice before the line was put on hold, indicated by the sound of some sax music by Chris White.

No, thank you, thought Aziema as she waited for what seemed a long time. Finally, a nervous sounding voice said “Hello?’

“Hi. You’re the guy in charge of Datuk’s file, aren’t you? What’s your name?” Aziema asked in an earnest tone.

“I’m..,”

“Nice to talk to you. Still chambering, eh?” said Aziema without waiting to know what it was. “Listen, I’ll be frank. I need Datuk’s phone number, specifically, his mobile number. Can you give it to me, please?”

There was a momentary silence before an apprehensive response. “Why?” the man asked. “Didn’t my boss give it to you?”

“Oh, he said he doesn’t have it on hand, so he said for me to get it from you,” Aziema lied. “Can I have it now please, this is urgent?” she pressed, applying pressure on the man to comply.

“Oh, errrm, okay, I guess. Wait a sec,” the man told Aziema to hold while he went looking for the information she wanted. He came back soonest and immediately gave it to her. “Thanks,” she said, hanging up. That was easy, she thought. Poor boy will probably be fired, though. Oh well, life was tough, and he needed to learn. She dialled the mobile phone number recently given to her on her office phone and it rang for almost a minute before being answered.

“Hey! Who the hell is this? I don’t take direct calls. Ring my secretary, please!” came an annoyed voice which sounded as if the speaker intended to immediately hang up after saying his peace. Before he could do so, Aziema spoke in a sharp voice.

“Datuk. Aziema here,” she said.

“Huh? The one who sent me the photos? I thought I already engaged someone to deal with you,” came the voice, sounding high and mighty at that point.

“Yes, we spoke. Honestly Datuk, I’m disappointed with you. Involving lawyers when you know you can talk to me direct,” Aziema said, a smile on her face. “So, can I expect a cheque from you soon? It is an awful lot to be paying by cash. A logistical nightmare, in fact,”

“Listen, bitch. I’m not the one in the photos, damn it! And I told the stupid bank that I’ll pay when I have the money, which I still don’t. Get it? Leave me alone!” came the angry response.

“Tut tut, Datuk. I wouldn’t use such language if I were you,” Aziema said, smiling even more. “I’m the one with strings here and I have some friends in the press who would be very interested to see those photos. I don’t feel like letting them know just yet, though, since let’s face it, you do look good when you appear on TV receiving those Tokoh Maal Hijrah awards. But my patience is running thin, Datuk. Now, I won’t ask again. When can I expect your cheque?”

A long silence followed by a sigh ensued. “Tomorrow?” came a meek reply. Aziema grinned widely.

“Before noon, please, or the photos go to the press. Make sure it doesn’t bounce. And, yes, I almost forgot. You will tell your lawyer that after having had time to think about this thoroughly, you have decided to render your cooperation, which is given freely and voluntarily, and have decided to settle with us, before strictly instructing him that the matter is closed and no further action on the same is to be taken, understand?”

“Yes. So can I go now or do you want to continue your lecture?” the Datuk asked, irritably.

“No, that’s all. By the way, loved your segment on TV AlHijrah. I agree, decency is indeed on the decline, especially amongst us youth. But if I may, this sort of messages are alot more credible coming from someone who doesn’t do things like bang people by names such as a Ms Gabriel,” Aziema said before hanging up. She took up a list of names of creditors on her desk and crossed out one with a blue ink pen, looking satisfied. Another day, another file closed. The phone rang again. It was her secretary.

“Ms Aziema, it’s the boss. He asked to see you in his office,” came Hazlin’s voice. Aziema groaned. She could never catch a break today, it would seem.

“Tell him, I’ll be right over,” she said and hung up the phone immediately. She looked at her computer screen on her desk, clicking the mouse a few times. Then she got up, took off her leather coat, and went out the door. On the computer screen left by her then was the Facebook profile of Ferman Hadi.

TO BE CONTINUED…

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