Here we go again!
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Flicking the airconditioner switch on, I dragged my shirt back over my head and then flung myself onto the bed.
I pulled the curtains closer together to darken the room even more, and then switched the television on. I tuned into a movie channel, and lay my head back on the pillows staring up at the ceiling. After a few moments of blankness, I noticed the shower had stopped running; this meant she was done and would be back in the bedroom any moment. I quickly pulled off my jeans and dragged a pair of shorts on. Opening the wardrobe I fingered around a little before I found what I was looking for; I quickly ripped the pack open and pulled a packet out, stuffing it quickly into my back pocket. It was at that moment that she walked in from the bathroom dressed up in a pair of shorts and a see through black spaghetti-strap top.
Walking towards me she gave me a hug before lying down on the bed and rolling towards the edge against the wall. She turned a quick flash towards me before reaching for the cover cloth and slowly pulled it over her body, and then finally over her head.
laying down beside her I slid my hand beneath the sheets, resting it on her knee, and then with my other hand, I turned her over. She rolled over, seemingly a bit hesistant, and stared me in the eye for a few seconds. By this point my hands were rubbing on her thighs, inching up from the starting position on her knee. She had started squirming and making little sounds of pleasure now, but as I reached my hands further up, she reached down and held my hand tight, moving them away from the zipper and button on her shorts.
I moved my hand and rested it on her shoulder, gently playing with the strap of her top. She had a cold, hard look on her face, but her body movements beneath the sheets betrayed her demeanor.
In other words, her body seemed willing, but her mind wasn’t…or was it?
I slid the strap gently down her shoulder, playfully tickling her along the way. Her eyes closed as she let out a gentle sigh. With my other hand I gently slid up her top, revealing her belly button, with which I started to play. But again, just when it seemed she was ready to let herself go, she again stopped me by holding my hand which had wandered from on top of her navel back down to her shorts button. She turned to face me again, and as she did I cupped her chin in my hands and drew closer towards her lips, her eyes closing as my lips touched hers. They were soft and wet, and her hands reached out to hold me around the neck drawing me even closer. But as my chest touched her breasts, she again seemed startled by something and pushed me slowly away. It was as if something was on her mind and bothering her. She didn’t keep me wondering any longer though,
“baby, I need a favour”, I nodded for her to continue, “I need ten thousand cedis for a project”.
I almost gagged, but kept a cool face.
“what for”? I could barely conceal the giggle almost coming out of my mouth.
“For a project I’m starting, just let me know if you can get it for me, I will give you the details later”.
In my mind, I was shaking my head, but I nodded at her and said I would see what I could do. She smiled and gave me a kiss on the cheek, ” even if it’s less, eight thousand ‘koraa’ I can manage it.”
I smiled at her and replied, “no worries baby, I’ll see what I can do”, and then slid my hand back into the sheets, this time reaching straight for the zipper, and with my lips I reached for the spaghetti strap on her shoulder, licking her gently as I rolled it over her arm. She didn’t resist this time as I pulled the zip all the way down, undoing the button as well. By now my tongue was in the gap between her breasts and her moans of delight were louder now than just a few sighs.
Gently slipping down her shorts with one hand, and expertly sliding up her top with the other, I definitely gave a new angle to the meaning of ambidextrousity.
With her shorts on her ankles and her top all but off her body, I was startled when she again held my hand and gave me another push; do you have protection?
I smiled to myself as I reached into my back pocket, “of course I do”…
The rest of the week went by without incident and soon again it was Friday. The suspended boys and girls had left and everything went back to normal.
I was in math class and was very hungry! This was murder; how long were we expected to wait between meals over here? We had breakfast at nine, and even though we had a break around twelve, it wasn’t as if I had money to spend at the canteen! My Dad just didn’t see the need.
“There’s dining isn’t there?
And you’ve got your provisions”?
That was in response to me asking him for pocket money the day he dropped me off. So all I had on me was a 5000 Cedi note which my mum had given me. That money left me the very first night; Mr Akpadie came around just before lights out and collected money from each and every one of us ostensibly to buy padlocks and brooms for the House.
A week later, ten padlocks, one for each dorm were shown to us and a bundle of about six brooms.
Finally, the siren went off; that meant it was Two, and time for lunch. I rushed off to the dorm to get my plate and cutlery and made for the dining hall. We had rice again, but with beans stew this time, which was much better than the soupy stew.
Half an hour later, I was back in the dorm and lying on my bed. Siesta, they called it, and it wasn’t optional. This was just another opportunity for those bullies to make more sardines off some unlucky junior who so much as blinked when he was supposed to be fast asleep snoring. I was in no mood to part with any more of my food, so I covered myself with a blanket and lay down as still as a rock. I often wondered how on earth they thought it possible for anyone to get any decent piece of rest in less than twenty minutes. Soon, the siren went off again and the bullies were back at it, threatening fire and brimstone on those who dared oversleep for even a second.
It was scrubbing time. Thank God tomorrow was Saturday! Finally a chance to get some proper sleep I thought, but alas! I was wrong.
I was exhausted when I got back from prep that night and went straight to bed, but it felt like I had barely been asleep a minute, when I heard the loud clapping. For a few moments I thought I was dreaming. A minute later, a stinging pain seared across my back, I jumped up and instinctively shouted out, turning around I found myself face to face with the senior dorm monitor. His name was ‘Terror’ and I think I understood why,
“Report downstairs”, he shouted and moved on to wake another poor soul up.Downstairs in our pyjamas we looked a groggy sight. Terror soon appeared on the corridor upstairs together with Sly.
“Go and get your cutlasses and come back down in three minutes, we’re going for project”!
The word project usually brings to mind images of some scientific experiment in a lab, but in Triple H College, the word had a totally different meaning.
I think it’s time I introduced you to our school motto, ‘Head, Heart, Hand’. Head was meant to signify book knowledge, which obviously was why we were here. Heart stood for moral uprightness and love for our neighbours, which was all very well, but Hand, that was the one component of our motto, which I sincerely believe had been deliberately misinterpreted. Of all the things the hand could be used for, our masters conveniently chose to see this as a call for work; hard work or more aptly put, weeding. From the first day I knew all that grass was a bad sign, it looked almost like it had been grown that way on purpose.
Triple H College was definitely no paradise for a first former.
We trudged along behind Terror, headed in the direction of the football field. The other boys’ houses were lined up along the field up the road from Trost, and I could just make out the figures of lots of other forlorn-looking boys dragging their cutlasses along and headed in the same direction. Clearly, we weren’t the only ones whose sleep had been curtailed. Terror came to a stop in front of the football pole directly facing Trost and then raised his hands, signalling us to a stop. Then in his booming voice he announced,
“Trost boys are to take from this pole to the centre, I expect you to finish in thirty minutes so I can inspect”
Thirty minutes!!! Even with the forty of us here, this looked like a one week job at the least.
Over on the other side, the boys of Lincoln House had already started clearing up their portions, and it took another yelled threat from Terror to get us working.
I stared at the long piece of sharp metal in my hands. I was familiar with a cutlass, just that I wasn’t familiar with how to use one. I’d tried swinging one before; back home it had looked pretty easy seeing my elder brothers clear the back yard, and so I’d taken a swing myself. I ended up almost taking my head off that time!
I looked over to my left and saw Elvis bent over swinging his cutlass with such ease. Elvis was big and tall with huge muscles, and looked like someone who’d been in this business from the day he was born. Around me, it was comforting to see lots of the others finding it rather difficult swinging theirs own cutlasses. James, who was standing just in front of me had gone on his knees and grabbed a huge tuft of grass, and was busily cutting away like it was a piece of bread. Some of the other boys who clearly found this rather amusing had gathered around and were cheering him on. He didn’t get to feel good about himself for too long though; Terror, who we all thought had gone off into the darkness somewhere, suddenly appeared from nowhere and landed a well-placed punch somewhere between his shoulder and back ,
“get up and weed the thing properly, do you think we are here to joke”?!
The others quickly scattered and I hurriedly moved on to make myself look busy. That was my plan; to loiter around and hope the others finished up quick enough for me to go and get some sleep. My plan might have just worked perfectly if William hadn’t happened to be weeding around the same spot I’d wondered over to.
William still hadn’t forgotten about his food we’d stolen on the first night, and was even more incensed over the fact that we’d somehow gotten away with it.
“Hey! Why aren’t you weeding”? He blurted over at me.
“Comot for der!” I yelled back in pidgin.
William promptly dropped his cutlass and walked off towards Terror. I don’t know what he told him but Terror was up on me in a flash.
Grabbing me by the scuff of the neck he dragged me off to a patch of devilish looking grass. Spreading out his arms in a sweeping motion, he graphically marked out an area,
“Finish this, I’m waiting for you”. True to his word, Terror wasn’t going anywhere.
I didn’t have muscles like Elvis, but it couldn’t be that difficult. I lifted my skinny arm back and aimed at a particularly stubborn looking patch of weeds. My cutlass got stuck in the mud around the tuft. Looking over my shoulder I could see Terror shaking his head and looking very menacing. I aimed another blow at the patch and this time my cutlass came bouncing back in a shower of sparks; I’d struck a stone this time. I wasn’t giving up, I raised my arm once more, but before I could bring it back down, I felt the cutlass pulled right out of my grip. Spinning around, I would have given anything for it to have been Terror standing behind me, but there stood Mr. Akpadie!
“You’ think we’re playing here boy”?!
He handed my cutlass back and marched me off in the direction of the hedges on the edges of the field, where a few other boys were already at work.
The hedge trimming was a much easier exercise and I’d trimmed almost a whole row before the sun began to come up. Behind me, the Trost plot was diminishing thick and fast.
With the rising of the sun, came a species of animal which we’d previously not noticed; perhaps because it had been too dark to do so. They looked somewhere between a cross of grass cutter and house rat. I’d never seen one before, but from the way some of the boys started chasing them around, I knew this had to be some really good edible stuff, and promptly joined in the chase. Even Terror and the other seniors supposed to be supervising us joined in the chase. Together with James and Livingstone, I managed to cut down about three of them. The appearance of these pseudo-rats brought our project to an abrupt end and those of us victorious in the hunt brandished high our capture. Soon we were performing a different kind of project on the lifeless specimens. Around us on the front lawns, the other hunters were busily preparing their capture too.
Several little fires sprung up and several little rat-like bodies roasted upon them. It was a good thing Mr Akpadie was out in town else we’d have had more than just a little explaining to worry about.
These rats tasted quite good; almost like chicken. Someone said they were called bila.
Whatever it was, I didn’t care, this was some really tasty meat!
Warm Up was the Senior House Master of Triple H College when I was there. Many tales were told of him; he was supposed to have magic powers according to some narratives, because no matter how hard we tried he almost always seemed to know our next move.
Take for instance Sunday mornings when some of the boys would decide they didnt feel like going for church service, warm up would turn up at some of our most unlikely hiding places; in the bushes behind the school canteen, in the house lavatories, and even in the farthest classroom blocks, Warm Up would show up.
But on one Sunday Morning, Warm Up surprised even us, some of the most successful truants in the history of Trost house.
It was a typical Sunday morning, and myself and about four other boys woke up earlier than usual, donned our khakis, dragged on some t-shirts and headed towards the canteen. We were habitual truants; hardly ever turning out for church, prep nor any other social gathering but entertainment.
We made our way for the cemetary, or rather some classroom blocks belonging to the primary department, which were particularly close to the cemetary. One needed to be cautious when roaming these particular outskirts of the school because the cemetary was a favourite hide out for those bad boys who smoked marijuana. Anyone caught anywhere remotely close to the cemetary risked being accused as one and that meant instant dismissal.
However, so vast was this haven for truants that we could not resist going there as it was the safest bet to avoiding detection.
So on this morning we made our way there again. We had our cups in our pockets so we could go straight for dining as soon as church service was over. We made camp in one of the classrooms and went straight back to sleep awaiting end of church service.
I was awoken by a loud crashing noise as one boy from one of the adjacent classrooms came running screaming and rubbing his back in agony. Startled,I jumped up, waking the other boys around me in the process, behind the low wall, a long wooden cane held aloft I could see Warm Up, and he was headed straight for us.
I hurled myself over the low wall on the other side, the other boys close behind me. By this time Warm up was almost upon us and his cane cracked followed by a shriek of agony; a late stragler had fallen victim to his merciless justice.
it was a sprint for dear life now. Slippers in hand and running past other classroom windows, we sounded the alam, “ Egbolooooo”,warm up was coming!!!
Warm Up passed this month and for us old students of Triple H College, although we are sad in our hearts we will remember him fondly, and shall never forget the cry which signalled his presence,
Second term began on a rather quieter note than first term; to start with, more than two weeks into the term, there had been no reports of anyone being thugged yet. And of course, with that beating Kelvin got on the last day of last term, start afresh, was the last thing on most of our minds. In fact we had much more pressing matters to deal with; for starters our results were out and though I didn’t know much about the grading system yet, three Fs sure didn’t cut it. The story on Rockson’s result slip was unsurprisingly very similar to that on mine, and you might have well mistaken his to be mine if it weren’t for the distinct number of Es accompanying his three Fs (I had been fortunate enough to have racked up a couple of Ds and some Cs)
Second term was usually the decider; it would determine whether one was going to make it through to the next grade or not. With three Fs already, I was surely heading down the highway to hell…and there was no way I was going to let myself be repeated!..I could deal with the nagging from my parents, (that was the least of my worries), but what I really cared about were the taunts I’d receive from my mates. In actual fact, I wasn’t even a dumb kid! And should never have found myself in this position to begin with. But as they say, desperate times beget desperate measures, and so suddenly, I found myself an avid fan of prep; day and night, rain or shine…I glued myself to my books…I was on a mission of redemption…
For those of you who’ve been to a boarding school yourself, you may have realised that the harder you studied, the hungrier you got, and then consequently the more you ate. Well, that’s exactly what happened to me, and to many of the other boys, and by the fifth week many of us were officially broke; no food, no money…just the dining hall…but surely, one wasn’t expected to rely on that alone!…
Soap: arguably man’s greatest gift to man. The continued survival of the human race could well be as a result of the vey existence of soap…Ever since its creation some several thousand years ago, soap has gone on to be man’s greatest friend (no disrespect to the dog)…and in Triple H, this proved to be no different… But to the boys of Trost House, soap was much more than just a hygiene enforcer!…Soap in its purest, unused form could guarantee you a hot meal anywhere within the walls of the school…
Through the years, the barter system has been a unique manifestation of the human race’s mutual interdependence; people would exchange salt for meat, tomatoes for rice…you know, that sort of thing…and they all lived happily ever… This venerable economic system, though generally distinct, had been spectacularly revived by the Boys of Trost. Though very much in existence before myself and some of my other colleagues ever stepped foot in the House, we revolutionised this system of trade and such ensured the continued existence of this particular species of secondary school boy…Soap became a catalyst of change…You could exchange it for a bowl of waakye, a ball of kenkey, you could even get yourself a bottle of coke, and some change! (Depending on the quality and quantity of the soap)…
The re-emergence of barter trade within the walls of Triple H, was always going to come with its own challenges and difficulties…for one, unlike most other mediums of exchange, soap was a perishable and non-renewable resource; which meant once it got finished, there was no way you were going to get it back, unless…well …unless you stole some, but I prefer to use the word borrowed; because the victims almost always ended up enjoying the fruits of the labour. That was how thug, as a way of life came to be reinvigorated and repackaged to include not just food items, but also soap (which was proving to be much more valuable). But it got to a time that even borrowed soap became an endangered species, and thus more creative methods were needed…and creativity was one thing the boys of Trost never lacked…For as they say …Cometh the hour, cometh the man…Kelvin was that man…
It was a Saturday morning and most of us had just woken up. On a normal Saturday morning, you would usually find most of the boys washing their clothes, but there were only about three or four of them doing that today(soap was reserved for much more useful purposes these days).
I had woken up very hungry, but had no food, no money, and no soap. On another bed opposite me, Kelvin was just waking up too…sitting up he caught my eye and smiled… “I’m hungry”, he called out to me. I nodded, to indicate I felt the same…then he called me over and showed me a rectangular shape wrapped in newspaper. A wide grin broke on my face; that looked like soap, and soap meant food!
We wasted no time in getting to the canteen, where most of the sellers had already set up. The Waakye looked particularly tasty and we went over to the women selling it, who happened to be a teacher’s wife. Taking a bowl to serve us, she asked how much, but then Kelvin showed her the wrapped up parcel, and then nodding, she begun to heap a generous amount of the rice and beans into a bowl, collected the parcel and placed it under the table. That was that for the morning, survival ensured…and so we went back to the dorm and wasted the rest of the morning.
The weekend quickly went by and soon it was Monday again…I was seated in the far right corner together with Rockson. It was first period and we were supposed to be having Social Studies, but the teacher hadn’t shown up yet…A shadow appeared at the door and a hush fell over the class as Mr. Kokrokro( the P.E master) stepped in. He pointed straight at a fair coloured boy called Nii who sat in front of me and beckoned him forward. As he led him outside, I could make out a familiar looking package in Mr Kokoroko’s hand. We couldn’t hear what was going on between the two of them, but as I craned my neck to have a look through the window, I tried hard to hide the amusement on my face as I finally recognised the package…it was the same one Kelvin had been holding on Saturday…but what was going on? The waakye seller was Mr. Kokroko’s wife, and I forgot to mention, but barter was actually considered illegal by the school authorities…this was clearly a case of mistaken identity (Nii resembled Kelvin a bit), but I was still a bit confused; he wouldn’t give up his wife would he? So why was he here with the package? That question was soon to be answered as he opened up the package to reveal a large rectangular stone!…Cometh the hour…cometh the man…creativity at its best!
Trost House had many lawns; lawn one, lawn two, lawn three, and lawn four; which were all in front of the House, and then there were two lawns behind the house which were simply called the back lawns.
We slowly crept through our first term till finally there was just a day left to vacation. Exams had been quite tough, especially since I hadn’t been able to put in much study (the game of start afresh I’d been playing with Rockson, hadn’t done me much good: I was too tired most of the time to do any serious reading). But who cared anyway? The best part was it was all over and the results wouldn’t be out till next term; so it was no use worrying about it for now.
Of all the vices we had so far invented since landing in Trost House, Thug life and start afresh were by far the most destructive and dangerous. Start afresh, which had originated as a completely harmless and pretty meaningless prank, had somehow morphed into a treacherous game of hit-and- run, aimed at causing grievous bodily harm to the victims.
Thug life; which was so famously launched on only our first day here, had begun to take on quite different proportions as well; what initially had started as an ingenious way of teaching stingy boys a little lesson, had metamorphosed into a contest of pure and unadulterated child thievery…Such was the scale and rate at which people’s food items kept going missing, that few left any of their food lying in their chop boxes anymore, and preferred keeping them with the masters.
Today being the last day of term, we all had to pack up our things, and clean out our dormitories. It was during this process that I came across one boy called Mark, who had a chop box full of gari and four bottles of shito, which he planned to take back home…I politely asked him to contribute to a final supper I’d been planning with some of the other boys (all we needed was some shito)…but he flatly refused, even though I offered him a front row seat at the meal…This guy definitely needed to be taught a lesson…I backed off and went looking for Rockson; we needed to hatch a plan to help relieve Mark of some of the burden in his chop box (after all we didn’t want his luggage to be too heavy did we?)
I finally caught up with Rockson behind the lavatory; leaning against a wall…he had almost dozed off, but jumped up as soon as he saw me approach. (Our game of start afresh was still on-going) I told him of my plan and we set off together to find how best we could execute our mission without being caught…Walking across lawn two, we were headed for some benches on the other side, when suddenly Rockson grabbed me back, pointing towards lawn four…In amongst the thick tall weeds, we could just make out a flattened out area somewhere in the middle…creeping up slowly, we made for the levelled out plain…As we approached, we saw there was a mattress laid out on the grass( this explained the flattened area) and on it we could make out the figure of a huddled up body. We bent forward to take a closer look at the face and saw it was Kelvin! …Then I realised what was going on…
Like I said before, start afresh had developed into a nasty little game, and now included many more players; this had raised the stakes, and modus operandi of participants in the ‘sport’ had progressed to a whole different level; players like Kelvin would disappear for hours on end, and then turn up to beat the hell out of someone and then disappear again. Almost everyone in the ‘fraternity’ was looking for him, and here he was trying to catch some sleep, hidden amongst the tall grass. The fact that he had ignored the obvious dangers of sleeping in the bush at night (snakes and other reptiles) just went to show how desperate the whole situation was becoming (sleep had become a rare thing ever since this game came around) And the sad thing was that once you entered, there was no turning back, and you were in it for the long haul.
Kelvin had become something of a prized asset in this little sport of ours, and generally everyone wanted a piece of him. And so not wanting to be selfish, we went and called the other lads over; in all, about eight other guys came round for the ‘final execution’; each wielding a formidable weapon, ranging from leather belts to pieces of furniture… We silently gathered around him, and then the count down began…on the count of three, I gave the order, and then the assault began…It lasted barely ten seconds; for Kelvin was up on his feet and screaming, as he leapt across the lawn, away from his oppressors. The assault may have been brief, but it swiftly brought to an end the reign of one of the most feared players in this noble sport of ours, and quickly took its place in the Hall of Fame as the sweetest victory ever in the battle of start afresh, and the event became known as the murder on lawn four …Hands and weapons raised in triumph, we cheered loudly as we watched him speed off into the dark…Victory was ours…