Critique Forum: AT THIS COFFEE SHOP! fiction by Ife Olujuyigbe

This morning, I almost destroyed my phone. One thing I hate the most is anyone disturbing my sleep. Sad is the fact that my alarm always does and boy it does get on my nerves!  The other day I remember mum scold me in our dialect as I threw her portable alarm clock against the wall, smashing it in pieceswhen it just wouldn’t let me be.
‘Are you not the one who set the time? Did it ask you to do it? Stop destroying every sounding time piece in this house, will you?’
That day, I felt sorry, but that didn’t change anything. I still keep throwing them away.  It was when I was about smashing my phone against the wall this morning that I remembered what it was for: my job interview! Immediately, I jumped out of bed and pulled my slim body into the bathroom. After a hurried bath, I threw my clothes on and dashed for the kitchen to take breakfast. Mum had made toast and put it in a plate on the kitchen cupboard as usual. I grabbed abite, took a glass of water and ran off, without even bothering to check what the time was. I stopped a motorcyclist and told him to take me straight to McAndrews, the street where the company I was seeking an appointment in was located. He named some ridiculous price and I just nodded and climbed. After maneuvering his way through many crooked shortcuts and amidst some crazy early morning traffic, we finally arrived at the front of my proposed workplace. It is a steel manufacturing company which specializes in constructing building materials for building companies and the likes. I’d rather work in that kind of company than in a bank like my other friends are doing. Besides, it is quite related to what I studied in school, so I am still in order. I always did pride myself back then in school that I wasn’t going to spend five years studying Material Science and Engineering in vain. I had to be true to my promise, and fate seemed to be co-operating.
As I alighted from the motorcycle, I asked the rider how much the ride was. I heard him murmur in Igbo, ‘How many times will I say it before you hear. Are you deaf?’
I gave him a knowing look and replied in English that I wasn’t deaf. The look on his face was that of shock and uneasiness.
‘Em..madam sorry o, I no sabisey you be ibo.’ He said avoiding my straight gaze. I just smiled.
‘ Oya how much, na?’ I replied, feigning an igbo accent.
‘Bring #1300.’
‘Haba! No be #1000 you call am before?’ I heard him clearly the first time; I just knew I couldn’t pay such an amount for that distance.
He looked at me in annoyance, probably trying to find the right words to express it.
‘Oga talk na, time dey go.’ I raised my wrist to check the time but it was bare. I couldn’t believe I had forgotten my watch at home on a day like this.
‘Madam, I no like all this thing o! I don talk am already before I carry you seyna #1300 I go collect. Which one be this wan na? oya bring #1200 make I dey go’
Already getting impatient and tired of seeing his angry face, I dug my hand into my handbag and brought out a #1000 naira note and a #200 naira note. He collected the money and sped off. As I straightened my hair with one hand, I rummaged through my bag with the other, in search of my phone. I brought it out and it was then I realized it was just 9am. My interview was for 10am.
‘Well, this will only make them see how punctual I can be,’ I said to myself,’ maybe it’s even a test to know if I can make it before time.’ I shrugged as I crossed the main road opposite the company. I was disappointed when I got in, after answering the several day-spoiling questions at the security post, to know that the person who was to interview me had travelled and wasn’t returning to the office until about 12pm, hopefully. This was no punctuality test or any other test for that matter. I was mad!
‘Please, isn’t there anyone else who can do the interview for me?’ I asked the secretary without thinking. She made a straight face and said no.
Hey! Easy lizzy!
          I thought secretaries were supposed to be nice and accommodating. As Uloma, my naughty friend will say, keep your expectations low so you won’t be disappointed. I asked if I could sit in the reception till the time for my interview and she consented. Then several minutes later, as if remembering her duties as a secretary, she smiled and said, ‘Do you want me to give you a magazine to keep you busy?’
‘I’d like that. Thank you.’ I said.
She handed me a Tell magazine and I just knew I was going to doze off. Politics isn’t particularly one of my favorites. Give me any historical or literary piece and I’ll devour it in no time, but if it came to politics and sports, for me that is sleeping tablet.
I started yawning on the first page….

{to be continued}

    Ife Olujuyigbe is a dynamic young lady who just loves to write. Her writings include short stories, poetry, songs and drama. Currently in her fourth year studying chemical engineering in the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife , Ife is a great lover of the arts who blogs and loves to express herself through pen on paper. Check out her blog on or


  1. The piece promises to be very interesting but I am yet to be drawn into it..will wait until the next installment to make an informed judgement.

    Meanwhile, nice language and flow.

  2. This piece is sure going to be interesting, cant wait to read through to know if you will keep smashing phones and alarm clock when u start d job..

  3. I am not a fan of prose; besides this, TODAY'S stories should be constructive to serve the day. Your first few lines should stimulate one to read further. People want something beyond the normal daily routine; give me something that can tickle my intellect.
    -Ovie Cross

  4. I love the initiative here, kudos!

    I don't consider myself much an authority when it comes to writing but I sure can recognise a good piece when I read one. For me, I consider a piece 'good' when its properly grammatically structured, when its easy to comprehend and isn't vague, when there's a flow of thoughts and when I'm able to feel the emotions of the character/story because the writer has created a connection that draws the reader into the piece and passes the required message/info across. Even when its 'pleasure reading', I believe a good piece should deliver information/knowledge.

    That said, while I was reading, I definitely was interested in the story but maybe not arrested by it and I think maybe it has to do with the introduction. The flow is there, I found myself wondering where the story is headed and its quite comprehendable. Looking forward to the next part.....nicely done Klevdiva

    ~ Mo' Omoregee


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