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Mind Your Business


Tina was exasperated. She rolled her almond shaped dark brown eyes as she sprinted up the marble steps and let herself in to the four story palatial mansion. She knew what to expect. And lo and behold, right from the door the mess hit her. There were paw prints where Rex and Andres – the two Dalmatians had tracked mud all across the white marbled foyer. There was a broken crystal vase with drooping damp lilies strewn across the floor. It seemed someone had made a halfhearted attempt to clear up the crystal shards by kicking them together under the mahogany side table. Looking up the staircase she found Chewy, Baby Junie’s favorite stuffed toy discarded on of the large winding staircase that split into two at the first landing, each path leading to separate wings of the house. She sighed deeply, as a mutter escaping under her breath, “These spoilt messy rich people. Ugh!”


She locked the door behind her, took off her shoes, although she wondered why she was bothering considering how dirty the floor was, and went straight for the walk-in broom closet. She secured the red apron hanging on the door around her tiny waist, slipped on her house shoes, and dragged the vacuum cleaner, mop bucket, mop and cleaning agents with her as she backed out and closed the door with a light tap of her foot. She wondered – Why did they always have to be so messy? Why couldn’t they just pick up after themselves? What on earth was wrong with them?


She shook her head, as if literally trying to shift gears. She had been in this house less than 24 hours ago and had left everything spic and span, yet once again it looked like an avalanche had hit. Sometimes he wondered if there was any point putting in as much time and effort as she did – if it was only going to end up upside down again. She pulled her phone out of her back pocket, opened her work playlist and was soon bumping to Falz and Simi. She sang along softly as she worked and broke into sporadic dances when she couldn’t resist the beats. Tackling the foyer first, in case either Mr. or Mrs. Jay came home early, she cleaned thoroughly getting lost in the details of her work and in her thoughts.


She had received an email this morning from their joint personal assistant stating they might both be out of town until next Wednesday – but as with their busy haphazard lives and the spontaneity their wealth allowed them, their schedules changed at the drop of a hat. Half the time they were meant to travel – they didn’t. Half the time they were meant to stay home – they traveled.


With 14 books and 5 movies produced between them they had sets to travel to, speaking engagements to attend, functions to grace and the list went on. Since the birth of their baby Junie 18 months ago things had become even more hectic. Tina had been their housekeeper for about two years now but was still never quite used to the chaos they seemed to create in their daily lives. As she finished off the foyer and moved to the living room where they entertained guests she found champagne flutes strewn around the entire room. There were also delicate China platters and side plates with remnants of canapés on them on every imaginable surface, including the floor.


Just as the melody for “Chemistry” came on the soulful ballad was interrupted by her phone ringing. She fished it out of her back pocket – “Cassandra calling.”

“Hey Sand,” she chirped enthusiastically. “What’s up mama?”


“Girl not much,” Cassandra muttered. “I’m just trying to edit this manuscript my client sent me. I promised to have it back by the weekend but girl it is trash. You won’t believe the way people write. Before I even start restructuring the content and the scenes I need to understand the grammar, usage and mechanics. It’s giving me a headache just looking at it,” she concluded. Letting out a deep sigh.


Tina laughed. “Girl that’s why they need you and what keeps you in business. Besides, didn’t you get your asking fee for this job? No negotiations?”


“Yeah Teen I did, and I’m grateful. I’m just saying, their work is abysmal,” she laughed. “I guess if it wasn’t abysmal I wouldn’t have a job though so I better just mind my business.”


“True say,” Tina chimed in with gusto.


“How are you Hun?” Cassandra inquired.


It was Tina’s turn to sigh. “Girl this house is a junk yard!”


“Didn’t you just say that two days ago?” Cassandra asked.


“Yes I did. And I cleaned it to perfection two days ago too! Sand, I swear every time I restore it to its glory the Jays take it as a personal challenge to turn it upside down again. Why can’t they just be tidier? Is it too much to ask?” Tina complained.


Cassandra laughed. “Physician heal thyself. You were just telling me not to complain Missy. Sounds like you need to mind your business too. Besides, if the Jays weren’t so busy entertaining, traveling, and doing whatever else they do you wouldn’t have a messy mansion to keep spic and span, you wouldn’t have started your cleaning company and you wouldn’t be making that superstar salary would you?”


“True say, again. What would I do without your words of wisdom Sand?” Tina smiled. “Let’s both crack on then. Are we still meeting for drinks this weekend?”


“Definitely,” Cassandra affirmed.


“Okay, happy editing girl.”


“Happy cleaning darling. Speak later.”


As the phone disconnected, the sultry sounds of Falz and Simi flirting their way through the song came back on. Tina lowered the volume slightly and thought about her conversation with Cassandra even as she whisked out a large silver tray and began to balance the dishes of what seemed like the remnants of yet another dinner party on them. She straightened the furniture, swept off the rug, wiped off the surfaces and headed to the kitchen to tackle the dishes. She transferred her phone to the speaker deck next to the coffee machine and was vigorously singing and dancing, elbow-deep in soap suds when she heard a sound that always brought a smile to her face – no matter how cranky she was, Mrs. Jay’s infectious laughter.


She was home. Tina could hear her musical voice floating through the high ceilings. She was laughing and talking animatedly while baby Junie cooed as if trying to keep up with her mum’s chatter. Tina shook off the soapsuds, pulled off the yellow rubber gloves and went out to welcome her home. Baby Junie was balanced on Mrs. Jay’s hip but as soon as she saw Tina she stretched out her chubby little arms and let out a laugh that turned to a drooling gurgle. Tina laughed back, scooped Junie up into her arms and smiled at Mrs. Jay. “Welcome home! I see you weren’t able to make the trip.”


“Yes,” sighed Mrs. Jay. “I had an appearance on a breakfast show and a gala to attend this evening on behalf of Mr. Jay so I chose to sit this one out.”


Tina nodded with understanding. She was somewhat in awe of how flexible and accommodating Mrs. Jay was to the last minute changes in plans and demanding work schedule.


While they were in the middle of the conversation Mrs. Jay’s friend wandered back into the foyer. “Darling you must let me know who does your cleaning,” she said, an edge of urgency in her voice, squarely facing Mrs. Jay. “I’ve just come from the living room and it looks like a showroom – better than the day after you redecorated. Everything is sparkling. Meanwhile I know I was personally responsible for spilling red wine on your sheepskin rug and remember the doggies tracking mud all over the place after our water fight early this morning. This is a miracle! You know I’m launching Sip and Ship in a fortnight. Three make up stores and four clothing stores with bars and events in each almost every night? Given the half entertainment, half retail aspect they are going to be a wreck at least 3 nights a week. Whatever company you’re using I need them!”


“That’s easy,” Mrs. Jay smiled. Warmly grasping her elbow. “I’d like to introduce you to Tina. She’s been my cleaner for two years and has her own cleaning company with equally well trained and managed staff. She’s literally the one who single handedly keeps our home in pristine condition. I’m sure you can work out something mutually beneficial.”


Tina smiled, shifted Junie from one hip to another and proceeded to talk business. By the time she met Sand for drinks that weekend, her cleaning company, which had been nothing more than an idea and two years of being a cleaner herself had signed a contract with Sip and Ship and was responsible for servicing 7 stores.


“You were right Sand,” Tina concluded as she raised her glass to their toast. “It really does pay to mind my own business.”


They laughed as they smiled at one another.

“Also, there’s no sense in complaining about what others cannot or will not do when my entire career path has been designed to fill another person’s need. If the Jays were the tidiest people on earth I wouldn’t have this job and wouldn’t have gotten this opportunity to meet this lady I’ve only seen in magazines or have had first dibs on providing a service or expanding my business. Here is to more wisdom to know when to complain and when to just put in work, more opportunities to hone our skillsets and take on more work, and here’s to minding our own businesses so they keep thriving and growing.”



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Tina and Cassandra aren’t the only one’s guilty of this. Sometimes we simply need to do a better job of minding our own business. Sometimes by our words, thoughts and actions we are unconsciously reducing our earnings, whittling down our clientele list, and limiting our potential. Have you been minding your own business? How has minding your own business (or not as the case may be) affected your bottom line?

Check out the next post: Mind Your (Own) Business for more on this…

Wishing you good success in all your hands, hearts and minds find to do!


Zeni St. John

  • Marta

    Always an interesting read, and inspirational too.

    December 21, 2017 at 12:33 pm Reply
  • Modupeola

    This is brilliant and soo true! A healthy reminder to face your front, work deligently and not be so judgemental.

    December 22, 2017 at 8:56 am Reply
  • Toyourgate

    Great work… I’m honestly impressed with the short story. Great details..Keep up the great work Zee

    December 22, 2017 at 8:01 pm Reply

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