The first day Ibim walked into campus, he found a nice spot to chill in: a thatched shed in front of the Fine and Applied Arts block, built by Fine and Applied Arts students, who could have been inspired by anything from creativity to boredom.
After the week of clearance, he decided to visit the shed, planning to read The Thing Around Your Neck which he had stolen from the library. That day, he had walked boldly out of the library, and the library attendants had not bothered to check if he was leaving with their book.
“The first time our house was robbed, it was our neighbor Osita who climbed in through the dining room window and stole our TV, our VCR…” Ibim had barely read the first sentence of the first story “Cell One” when he heard his name. “Ibim thing strong, with veins all over,” the fair-skinned girl said. “She talk say na she take her hand commot the latex, force am to put am inside. Since then, na so them start the royco things o.”
The second girl, dark-skinned, said, “Me I no dey dull for this kind matter o, I go thief him number from her phone. I must pinto that guy.”
They were loud, as if they had earphones on and were trying to hold a conversation over their too-loud music, as if their loud discussion was, in fact, not gossip. Ibim could go no further with the book, he felt like doing them.
He had heard that campus could be nasty, but being a church boy nursing rottenness at heart, he never imagined that females could hold such conversation. Lost in lust, his reverie was pruned when he soon realized he had become part of their gossip–“why this guy prick dey stand?”
As if rehearsed, they both rose, striding in bad catwalks, to sit on either side of him, on the bamboo bench.
Theatrically, they switched to good English. “Could you come to LT1 tonight?” the fair one said. She had watermelons for breasts. Stuttering, he asked where that was. She pulled him up, dragged him a few paces forward, and pointed at the first of the three halls converging architecturally like siamese.
It was one of his most embarrassing days, as his tool was yet to alight before he, like it, was pulled up.
They had said 11pm, but he got there at 9:27, and watched the hands of the cement clock with COMR. KOKORIKO EBIKIBINA RAPHAEL engraved on it, the hand snailing, second after second.
They, too, had come early, but at 10:57, minutes after their Theatre Arts classmates were done with their rehearsals.
He strolled like a sheep to the abattoir behind the girls, who had come with a third girl whose facial features had been rendered indecipherable by her bizarre makeup. They took him backstage, happy to find exactly the kind of device they had during the day discussed. When they found out his name was Ibim–but not the Ibim they talked about–they thanked the god of fornication and did him in turns on a pile of stage props curtains. At about 4am, they walked away still unsatisfied, but with Ibim and his tool lifeless.
Rumor had spread that a male fresher was raped. Nosy students walked into the University Health Centre so they could glimpse who, as the school authority did not want word spreading.
Ibim had been put on drip, the very first treatment the health centre people attempt even when your complain is nasal congestion. Lying there, ashamed to wake up, he heard a hoarse voice ask: “How did you find him?”
“I was reading in LT2 when I noticed my pad was full, so I went into LT1 to change as it was unlit. I only noticed someone was there when I heard a fart. I flashed my torch that way and found him lying naked.”
Ibim was brought in nude amidst a pedestrian convoy of students. On finding him, Juliet, the Campus Queen, ran to the Health Centre to inform them of the emergency. The ambulance driver was not around so she suggested that a stretcher be used. After going into virtually all the rooms, the nurse on duty came out saying there was none. Before she could complete her statement, Juliet ran. She ran back to the hall she was reading in, and requested the assistance of two guys to help ferry the victim. The guys offered help not because of the situation, but for who requested.
Students being who they are, always sensitive, sensed panic. Seeing that it was not a situation that needed them to run, they evolved into Paparazzi—camera lights, Ibim was celebrity.
Fear did not grip the campus. If the victim was a girl, other females would have been scared, their boyfriends too, who wouldn’t love to share. The security had no help to offer, but at sunrise they assumed a stroll with big dogs, and wore frowns that could make you laugh.
Ibim was hungry, he needed to wake up.
Juliet only realized she was responsible for the boy when she half-walked, half-ran to Beans Up.
Beans Up, a cluster of bachers where cheap food is sold, is located a few paces after where the concrete road ends by the Vice Chancellor’s original apartment. Mostly patronized by hostel dwellers and Engineering boys who mostly order beans and bread, Beans Up has over the years served as salvation to all category of students, especially the broke and stingy.
Juliet ordered N100 rice, N50 meat and N40 plantains, served in a black cellophane bag. To make it N200, she bought pure water. The plantains, limp from having sucked too much oil, were like tongues hanging from the mouths of beheaded goats.
On leaving, Juliet heard the boy who attended to her whisper something to his madam. “Miss NDU!” she called out. Juliet turned and the woman said, “Na for the boy wey dem rape? Bring make I add small.” Annoyed, Juliet turned again and left for the Health Centre.
When Ibim managed a peep, his eyes met scrutinizing eyes behind rimless spectacles. Ibim shut his immediately for fear that she could, through them, access the chambers of his mind. “Someone will bring you food,” she said, and Ibim was glad he did not have to ask.
When Juliet walked in, she dragged a plastic seat along to Ibim’s bed. He never knew it was her, the girl whose banner greeted him at the school gate the day he came for PUME. His crush had found him in a rather nasty situation, something that crushed his crush for her. Ibim thought, She will never like me.
“What’s your name?” she asked, untying the cellophane bag she had placed on the seat. Before Ibim could answer, she said, “I forgot to get a spoon, hope you won’t mind using your hands.” She pulled Ibim’s clothes out of her back pack, dropped them on his bed, and walked out of the ward.
Outside, the doctor told Juliet she could take the boy home after she gives him an antibiotic injection, and suggested that Juliet should take him to the counselling department.
Ibim opened the door, and cleaned his oily hand on the wall out of character. The doctor walked in with Juliet, gave Ibim the injection, and mouthed a couple of stray advices.
Juliet picked the empty cellophane bag, and thanked the doctor. They were good to go.
Not oblivious to the pouts and gossips, Juliet held Ibim’s hand as they walked out of Gloryland campus. Ibim, coated with a layer of shame, was grateful that the news on campus was rape. He did not know whether or not to consider himself a victim for something he enjoyed—till he could not anymore. Perhaps that was when he became a victim, he thought.
They alighted a bike and walked into Adule-Ama sandfield. The sandfield was dotted with activity, from children swimming in the shallow lake to truant primary school pupils playing soccer on the sand, their voices an ambience of music in the afternoon sun.
They walked silently, turning right by a building labelled ORANGE CATHEDRAL. In front of the second room, Juliet half-raised a 9-inch block used as step, retrieving a single key. At the far end sat a barrel-chested guy on a low bench, sucking on clarole held with two short brooms like chopsticks. Dragging-in smoke escaping from his mouth, the guy said with an effort, “Because you carry man come you no fit greet person, abi?”
“No vex, abeg,” Juliet said, and walked into her room with Ibim. The guy, Ibim would later know as Mach.
Ibim watched as Juliet warmed her food in the small kitchen of the self contain, while gisting him about Mach and his clique. “The boys here are cool. It’s just that they smoke weed every minute of the day. I like it when they start talking all this their lie-lie philosophy. Fine boys wey wohn waste their life.” It was at that point that Ibim mentioned that he was a Philosophy fresher, the same point Juliet realized she did not know a thing about the boy. “What’s your name?” she asked. Ibim told her his name, scared she was going to ask about the rape night, but Juliet never did.
They sat on the floor eating from the pot when they heard a knock on the burglary proof. Without waiting for a response, Mach who had a jumbo in hand, walked into the room.
“Babez, how far? Abeg I fit get one pure water from you make I take run my Nutri-C?” Juliet said he could pick one in the kitchen. On leaving, Mach took Juliet’s spoon from her and rapidly scooped three spoons of beans. His mouth full, he said to Ibim: “Senior man, you go come join us outside later na, so you go gist us how the thing go.” Looking at Juliet as if to find approval on her face, it dawned on him that everyone knew about his rape.
Juliet did not say a word, they ate on, as Mach walked back to the kitchen instead, picking a second pure water.
It was Kasa’s birthday and everything was drugged. Thyme was substituted for weed in the peppersoup. Pills were thrown into the keg of palmie, and even the cake was not innocent.
With the arrival of dusk came the entire smoking community in Wilberforce Island. Aesthetically tapped oranges were served in trays. Apart from the fresh Ogobiri uncut, Kasa had bought a whole bible of skunk. What to smoke would never be a worry.
In Wilberforce Island, only a few bars boom because the town has more pot users. Pot-smoking has become a perfect illustration of gender equality, with both males and females on the same scale.
Students attend lectures with eyes reduced to red slits. And if you’re a glutton, you just might have a whole card of Tramadol in one sip of a friend’s soft drink.
The night was a gray haze as Burna Boy’s “Like to Party” played from a lone home theatre speaker on Kasa’s verandah. The rest of the music was heard from inside the room, audible enough to inspire dance yet allow chit-chats and drugged gossips.
Jules, sitting on a pair of female laps, threw three tabs of Tramadol into his mouth, screaming, “Wey my patients?” He had a couple of girls he had taught how to use pills.
Aiko, his shirt hanging on a line, was searching for a lighter to set ablaze the ugly weed in his mouth. Tucky, with his community of girls he’d always call “Amma,” was saying, “Don’t you know Philosophy is the mother of all disciplines?”
There was Bishop, Mach and Pope in another corner, talking in low tones about the escapades of Mach. Mach was a whore!
Juliet had gone to Yenagoa for the weekend, but there was Ibim in her room. When talk got to who was missing out on the fun, Bishop said, “If to say no be Juliet carry that boy come I for talk say ‘im be mumu. Na him be the first person wey dem go rape for this school? What of the other girl wey tha’ strong madman blow nko?”
Once upon a time, a girl was lying in her room when a madman walked past her apartment’s open door. Seduced by her hot mini, he entered her room, pinned her down, and entered her. She screamed. Neighbours came to her rescue hitting the madman, but he only stopped after he had had a cum.
As if instructed, Mach walked to Ibim’s window and screamed, “O’ boy, you be Port-Harcourt boy o. You no go come out make we give you levels? Orange dey, barneys dey! Wida you sef?”
Three minutes later, Ibim came out. That night he had his first weed and first many other-things.
Mach and Kasa had just returned from class, and as is traditional, they needed weed. They hadn’t had a meal all day, and still couldn’t, at least not before having a smoke.
“Bro, how we go do am na?” Mach said. “You go go buy the orange make I tidy the chow?”
Kasa said “No o. I go run am no worry.”
In Orange Cathedral, Mach was the worst cook. Every time he suggested cooking, someone else would volunteer. Mach could do magic, however. He could satisfactorily prepare beans, his favorite dish.
Sitting in the verandah tapping weed for two, Mach reduced the volume of Kasa’s cellphone playing Duncan Mighty’s “Package.”
“Brotherly,” Mach said, “you wohn see the mallam spicy I jam as I dey come from Baron place? Abobi! She wohn soft die!”
Kasa who had just had his two drags, passed the orange to Mach, waiting for it to be passed to him again. Mimicking Mach, Kasa said, “You whon f*ck her?”
Mach laughed, and began talk about how he met her. He met her at the aboki’s shop by D’ Bar where he bought captain black for Kasa. She had come to buy cigarette, so he suggested she joined him to his block so they could smoke together. “I don’t smoke,” she had said. “I just want to have these to enhance my assimiliation. You could have my phone number and call later, though. My name is Eniye.”
At about 9pm, Mach called inviting her over with the intention of convincing her to pass the night. She was smarter. She declined and invited him over instead.
She didn’t let Mach in. She stood at the entrance of her aparment, leaning on the burglary proof. They had talked randomly till about 11pm. Mach’s hand had strayed to her waist when she said, “Don’t do that.” His hand lingering, he asked, “Does that turn you on?” She nodded, but did not insist he stop.
Mach, sensing the chemistry building, ran his hand around her body some more, and without warning, tongued her navel. With the expertise of a marksman, Mach pulled her skirt down a bit, his tongue snaking down her.
The want for adventure was mutual, so she didn’t resist when Mach pushed her into the room. They both collapsed on the mattress as he sucked her like an infant.
“Do you have a condom?” she asked. Mach brought out four cheap condoms from his wallet. He had them handy.
They banged, like landmines in the civil war, sweat streaming out of them like water from the Kainji.
On the third round, Mach pulled off his condom, but Eniye gave a frown. He assured her he didn’t want to lean in, only to feel the area with it, and he did. Still, Mach slid into her and they began the third round with the frenzy of a first.
To Be Continued…January 10
Post image by Roy Blumenthal via Flickr.
About the Author:
Sotonye Dan lives in Port Harcourt. He loves brown leather shoes.