EZE GOES TO SCHOOL (Episode 32)

No one moved. The boys remained immobilized under the glare of the flashlight. The light was moving towards them, and I couldn’t see who was wielding it until it had passed by my bunk. That was when I could make out two figures, one of them held the torch.

“Junior boys, how una dey?” a gruff male voice said. He sounded jocular, not all menacing, as though he was on a friendly visit. The voice was also muffled, and when I looked, I could see that the two figures were wearing masks.

Still, the voice struck a chord in my memory, like I’d heard it before. Like I’d seen the owner someplace else.

“Una no dey hear? I say how una dey?” The voice had become chillier now.

“We are fine,” the boys muttered. Their fear leaked through with the words.

“Wetin be your name? You – what’s your name?”

Remembrance flickered through my memory cells, and a name rose from the mass. Tega. The SS3 boy who unleashed a world of pain on Ibuka, Joseph and I in an encounter that made us friends.

Richard stammered his response, “M-m-my name . . . is Richard.”

“And you, what’s your name?”

“Obieze, s-s-senior. . .”

One after the other, they all identified themselves to the intruders.

“Okay, you – Richard, abi?” Tega’s companion said. “Get up.”

As he scrambled to his feet, Richard was saying, “Senior, please, I didn’t do anything oh. Please, don’t touch me oh, my father is a big man, heh! If you touch me, there will be trouble oh. Please, don’t –”

A slap across his face killed the rest of his blubber.

I flinched at the sound of the slap. How stupid could this boy get? I thought. How could he not know that posturing in the face of danger was a bad idea?

“Is there any other person who will like to make mouth about his father?” the senior said icily.

“No, senior,” the boys chorused. Richard was whimpering.

“Good. Now, all of you, come and open your lockers. Let’s start with you, Richard, whose father is a big man.”

The boy started sobbing as Tega pulled him in the direction of the locker he’d pointed at. The torchlight’s beam swung around as they moved, moving haphazardly from one corner of the room to the other. My heart started beating with a fresh surge of panic. There was a good chance that the light would fall on me, or Ibuka, and cause us to be seen.

Or any of those brats could tell the seniors about us. Richard was capable of such malice.

After he opened his locker and the two senior boys began to rummage inside, cackling over whatever valuables they were discovering, I slid across my bed. The bunk creaked. I froze. No one seemed to notice. I started again, quietly slipping down the bunk until my bare feet touched down on the cold floor.

“Eze . . .” Ibuka began in a fierce whisper the moment he saw me by his bedside. His eyes were bright, open and unblinking in the partially illuminated room.

I quickly jabbed my hand into his side, urgently and silently communicating the need for silence. Then I lifted a finger and placed it over my mouth. He nodded his understanding. Then began the sign language. I gestured with my hands in a bid to tell him that we had to get out of the dorm. He nodded again and started to rise.

“Hey you!”

We froze.

“You, Obieze, it’s your turn. Take us to your locker.”

Richard was sobbing harder now. “Senior, please, that watch . . . my father gave it to me, please, don’t take it . . . please – Heu! My provisions . . . senior, please . . .”

They ignored him and moved on to raid Obieze’s locker. Some of the other boys started crying too, the discordant sounds of their sorrow providing the perfect cover for Ibuka and I as we snuck toward the door.

“Sharrap all of you!” Tega suddenly roared.

The sniveling stopped. There was silence again. Ibuka and I stopped moving.

“If I hear pim from any of you, that person will see my other side.”

No one challenged him by crying any more. A rustling started as they started their raid of Obieze’s locker. Ibuka and I hurriedly tiptoed to the door. It was ajar. I began to slowly open it.

A hinge gave a faint squeak of protest.

I stiffened and shot a wild look around. No one’s attention was on us.

I started again, pulling it open inch by inch. There was another squeak here and a whine there. Tiny sounds, really. I kept on. Inch by excruciating inch. My hand turned clammy, and sweat dewed my forehead.

“Hurry, hurry,” Ibuka hissed in my ear.

I wanted to swing a right hook in his face.

Finally, the door was open just enough for us to slip through. Ibuka sidled out first. I was about to follow after him when I looked around, and my gaze clashed with Umah’s. He was one of the other boys, and by far, the mellowest of the bunch.

Our stares held.

A few heartbeats passed.

He opened his mouth.

“Please.” I mouthed the words, begging frantically with my eyes.

He closed his mouth, and nodded.

“Thank you,” I mouthed again.

He nodded again.

And I hurried out after Ibuka. We fled out of the hostel, out to the courtyard, and around to the backyard. Tega and his friend would never think to look for anyone here. In hushed voices, and with our hearts still pounding from our escape, we rehashed what had just happened. It was obvious the two senior boys had come to rob us in a time they knew we were defenseless, with no House Prefect to protect us, and too few in number. They wore masks to avoid detection, and hadn’t bargained on anyone recognizing their voices.

Well, I had. And if I wanted, I could be the star witness needed to bring them down.

“Will you report them?” Ibuka asked.

I hesitated. Reporting any SS3 boy to the school authority was a risky affair, and it became a downright suicide mission if the boy you reported knew you were the one who put him in trouble. Besides, Richard and his obnoxious friends deserved what they were getting.

And then I remembered Umah, and what he had done.

“I will,” I finally answered.

We stayed hidden by the dark at the backyard until we heard the senior boys leave the hostel. Then we stole back inside. The other boys were distraught, some crying and some others swearing at the thieving seniors. I spared a moment to go to Umah’s side to comfort him and let him know that there was hope for retribution. Whatever was left of the night was spent sleeping fitfully and having bad dreams of masked men and nightly evils.

When the next morning dawned, everything took on a speed that bespoke the swiftness of justice. First came the outrage of other junior hostel inhabitants. Apparently, our hostel mates weren’t the only ones robbed, and Tega and his friend weren’t the only thieves. Bereaved and angry, we thronged to the Staff Quarters, to the principal, Mr. Iheukwumere’s house where we lifted our voices in a loud lament. It turned out I wasn’t the only one who could identify any one of the robbers. Infuriated by our revelations, Mr. Iheukwumere called together some other teachers – the tough, no-nonsense male teachers – and they cracked down on the brigands whose names we gave. This led to the apprehension of the others, and they were sent packing on an indefinite suspension, but not before whatever things were confiscated from them were returned to the owners. Not everyone got everything taken from him back; Richard fumed for days that he never got back ‘the expensive watch that daddy gave to him for Christmas.’

* * *

“Eze! You’re back!”

I was jolted out of my musing by Joseph’s excited cry. I saw him racing toward me as Ada and I stepped out of the rain onto the pavement inside the senior hostel. He hadn’t seen my sister yet, I could tell. When he did, his eyes widened and he abruptly halted his mad rush and started walking instead, with a bounce to his steps.

“Hello, Joseph, how are you doing?” Ada had a slight smile on her lips.

“Uh . . . yes, em, I’m fine.”

He was stammering. Oh my God! I wanted to laugh out loud at how uncool the eternally cool Joseph was in Ada’s presence.

Minutes later, after I was settled, a period during which Ada kept looking around, ogling the sights of male living in the hostel, the three of us returned to the car park where I would listen to the parting words of my father and thereafter say good bye to my family.

I am @Walt_Shakes on twitterbpathos-dark-voice-576x432-11k

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44 Comments

  1. Oga, why dis one dey short naa??

    Reply
  2. Grace oruitemeka

     /  December 18, 2013

    Nice! Atleast Eze has his own game (a crook)…he ws able 2sneak awt wit Ibuka,witout waitin 4 Joe 2come n save dem.. BTW..WALTER is guilty of always painting JOE as d smartass amongst d three..

    Reply
  3. carsten

     /  December 18, 2013

    about time :)…

    Reply
  4. Mehn… Those rare times that justice prevails and a senior is dealt with… It’s worth all the suffering and oppression

    Reply
  5. elosiuba okechukwu

     /  December 18, 2013

    Dancing! Walter thanks for this morning lubricant to reduce my today’s friction…am not forgetting this in a worry!!!

    I loooooveee youuuu Wallllttttzzzz yeeeeeeeehhhaaaaaaahhhh!!!

    Reply
  6. Sounds like my alma mater – FGC Okigwe.

    Reply
  7. DANIEL

     /  December 18, 2013

    Wat a breathtaking piece… Eiyah, Umah has a gud heart… I dunno y he’s stil folowin Richard and his group..

    Reply
  8. simi

     /  December 18, 2013

    Funny read…#MemoriesOfSeniorBullying

    Reply
  9. Very good yarn Eze. Sweetly told too.

    Reply
  10. Olisaeloka

     /  December 18, 2013

    Great suspense. Nice ending! Love it.

    Reply
  11. Annie Walter

     /  December 18, 2013

    Too short!!! Arghhhhhhh!!!

    Reply
  12. Annie Walter

     /  December 18, 2013

    Nice piece tho’ was thinking I was get more of Joseph ere.missed him in d last episode,Joseph na my guy anytime anyday,tnx Walter my surnameSake,lol

    Reply
  13. Annie Walter

     /  December 18, 2013

    Would*

    Reply
  14. uzo

     /  December 18, 2013

    I can relate with this jor

    Reply
  15. uyime

     /  December 18, 2013

    Walter!!!just wish I can kidnap you and make you write all the “eze goes to school” episodes so I read them.A crafty mind tou have got bro.

    Reply
  16. Excellency

     /  December 18, 2013

    Okay, Waltz, thank ur stars no one made me an offer within the time 😀 nice one, serves the senior thieves right…

    Reply
  17. Chris Madu

     /  December 18, 2013

    No one moved.

    Reply
  18. Ini

     /  December 18, 2013

    thanks shakes:)

    Reply
  19. anderson

     /  December 19, 2013

    *singing* Tangoligo tangoligo, Tega e yaff enter!

    Reply
  20. Abikoye

     /  December 19, 2013

    🙂

    Reply
  21. Yemie

     /  December 19, 2013

    Jojo the tough cookie’s all smitten! Who knew??? If he were caucasian, he’d be pink all over. LOL! Guys usually don’t fancy their friends dating thir sisters, I wonder how this will play out if they do decide to date, might cause a wedge btw Eze and Jojo, or not!

    Glad the thieving seniors got served and hopefully, Richard and his disciples go ‘coolu temper’ now. Well done, Walter; you did great as always.

    Reply
  22. Nice ondm.keep it up

    Reply
  23. Newton

     /  December 19, 2013

    New session! Senior boy now?

    Reply
  24. Tochukwu-girl

     /  December 19, 2013

    As refreshing as always. I love Eze’s courage in dis one. I missed Joseph, am so happy he is back and already tripping for Ada. lol

    Reply
  25. olabisi o.

     /  December 20, 2013

    Nice wrk bruv as always. All these stories b makin me wish i attended a sec sch.

    Reply
  26. olabisi o.

     /  December 20, 2013

    *boarding sec sch rada.

    Reply
    • Temitope

       /  December 20, 2013

      Yes, same here. all of these escapades by boarders, wish I experienced it. Nice write up Walter. Found u on tlspace and been a fan since then. Joe the smartest, lagosians no dey dull.

      Reply
  27. Adeline Kasper

     /  December 20, 2013

    Hehe! Now I tank God for Ibuka. He was able to pass thru d door freely witawt causing any awareness, u knw he’s d fat one. Lol!
    Eze is smart too, but if Joe was there, they wuld hav passd thru d ceiling, lol!

    Reply
  28. louisa

     /  December 29, 2013

    Wow. U’re a legendary writer. I must say.
    I read 4 episodes on tls place and only just finished d rest now. I hv been unable to drop my fone since Friday night wen I continued with d other episodes. U’re a really good writer. I cut cap for you. *shines teeth*

    Reply

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