At smack-dab 6:00 A.M, the bell sounded in Daniel’s ears. He knew it was time for him to join his family in the sitting room for the morning devotion. He wiped his face but was too weak to rise due to his failure to sleep early. He was busy seeing an American movie on his phone, which ended at around 3:00am in the midnight.
The bell had been purchased by his father, Barrister Johnson, after his children failed to comply by the rule, that once they heard him knock their doors in the morning, they should make sure they are in the parlor on time. He decided to act just like his father, when he was still under him.
Once he jingled the bell, any child who failed to be out in two minutes, had him to deal with. In no time, they all got adjusted to the new rule, to avoid being caned.
Daniel jumped out of bed, and dashed to the sitting room. He was the last to join the prayer which was already ongoing.
The devotion was over at exactly 6:09am. The children greeted their parents and each one set off to his/her morning chore.
It was a saturday morning. Daniel already planned his day the best way he could, even though he was yet to discuss with his parents. He knew he had to clean the two cars outside, and polish his father’s shoes, before he could have the chance to go out to visiting his friend, John. He already promised John he was going to be at his place by 8:00am. John was his primary school mate. They met again just three days ago.
They by chance met, when he drove his mother to the market to get some food items for the family. John had also driven his mum too to the market and it was at the park slot they met again after so many years. Right there, they exchanged contacts and home addresses.
During their primary school days, John was the shortest and the youngest in the class. There was just another friend of theirs, Ibrahim. The three of them could turn the school upside down at the tip of the finger, but they were as well intelligent. They represented the school at competitions on many occasions and won prizes for her before they graduated. They were legends. Daniel hurriedly got a rag and was outside to clean the cars.
He cleaned the cars and polished his father’s shoes. Barrister Johnson believed all his shoes must be polished every day, although he wore just a pair in a day. It was never easy for him to polish pairs of shoes. Nevertheless, he never complained, but looked forward to the day he was going to be on his own. He got into the bathroom and rushed his bath.
Daniel made his way into his parents’ room, after he had dabbed his body.
“You have taken your bath. That is too early today. Are you going somewhere?”
His father asked out of surprise, lifting his eyes from the book he was going through on the bed, where he sat with his wife on the other side.
“Yes dad. I have an appointment with a primary school mate of mine I met the day I drove mum to the market. Mum, you remember?”
He said facing his mum to admit.
“Oh, that boy, John or what is his name?”
“Yes. John. Dad, actually, I promised him I would be at his place this morning.”
“That’s too early. Don’t you think it is not appropriate to visit a family early in the morning? They are probably still sleeping. I will advice you hold on till around 10:00am.”
“He is the only one at home and we both agreed on 7:00 Am. All the other family members travelled for a wedding.”
“In that case, you may go, but make sure you return on time.”
He agreed, returning his eyes back into the book he was studying.
“No, you will have to wash those cloths I have packed there before you go.” Mrs. Johnson attacked, pointing to some cloths piled up at the corner of the room.
Daniel’s countenance changed immediately. Mrs. Johnson whenever a child says he/she is going out, usually delays them by giving them chores to do. It was just in her blood, and the whole family knew it to be a disease of hers. Even Barrister Johnson knew this. He raised his head just after she was done talking.
Barrister Johnson had an American ascent every of his children wished they inherited from him. He had never been to America anyways, he just had the tongue.
“He can do that once he is back from where he is going to or even wash them tomorrow.”
Barrister Johnson tried to help Daniel out.
Mrs. Johnson who was not happy with what he said yelled defensively.
“You know I don’t like it. You may go sha. Make sure you wash them first thing tomorrow morning.”
She finally approved.
“Can I go with your car?”
he asked facing his mum.
“No! I am also going out very soon.”
He needed not to ask his dad.
He jammed the door and dashed into his room to get dressed.
Daniel was a young, tall, dark, slim, handsome man. He was every girl’s choice and this had made him always think highly of himself, plus he was intelligent.
Without much time wasted, Daniel dashed out of the house. He remembered he was not having his wristwatch on him, so he ran back into the house to get it. His Uncle, uncle Dipe, as he was popularly called by the kids got Daniel the watch. He had promised to get Daniel and his two sisters something, when returning back into the country from Dubai. He got sayo, the immediate sister of Daniel an iPhone, after he learnt the one she was using had been stolen during her JAMB coaching. He got Folashade, the baby of the house a small keyboard. He knew the ten year old girl had passion for keyboard.
The wristwatch had no specific color. The farer a person is from the wristwatch, the difference in the color. He put it on and checked the time. It was just 7:47am.
Daniel eventually located the address given him. The house was unfenced and looked unattractive like a poor farmer’s house. Daniel was expecting to have seen a big mansion well painted with a huge gate and small fence as it was commonly practiced by the big people in the society. He wondered how a lowly family could have afforded such a luxurious car he saw John and his mum in. The car did not match the house at all. He hoped he was not at the wrong house.
He moved towards the door, and knocked. There was no reply, but the opened windows and cottons were evident there was someone inside. He knocked the second time, but there was still not any reply until the third time, when a masculine voice answered, telling the visitor to hold on for some moment.
Daniel lifted his left wrist to check the time and it was just 7:56Am. He recognized the voice to be that of John, as he leaned on the wall waiting.
While Daniel was still outside, he started hearing noises. “It must be a crowd of people.” Daniel thought, as he waited for them to appear, so he could know what exactly was going on. It was a multitude having a young man in their midst. The young man had been stripped naked, with scars all over him. The people were shouting “ole (thief)”, as they walked down the road with canes, and kobokos in their hands, beating him as they walked along.
Daniel noticed someone was already beside him and he raised his head to check. It was John who was still in his towel, with water dripping from his body, and his ears were full of foam from the soap he had used. The whole floor was already full of water.
“olofofo.” Daniel shouted.
“Don’t mind me. I didn’t want the show to pass me by.”
He laughed, as he opened the door to enter into the house.
“Your ears are full of foam. You better go rinse them properly and dry up your body.”
He said as he followed him inside. It was then Daniel noticed the short boy in those days was already taller than he was.
Daniel was surprised at what he found inside of the house. The inside looked well furnished, colorful and beautiful. In fact, it was far beautiful than his father’s gigantic house. He had to go back outside to ascertain if his eyes weren’t deceiving him, while he was outside, after John entered the inner house to get dressed. His eyes were not deceiving him. He wondered why they had made the outer part look ugly with the inside not compatible in any way to the outside. “Maybe they built it that way, so as not to attract thieves.” He thought as he got back into the house and got himself a comfortable seat to relax on.
“So, hope you did not find it difficult locating this place?”
John asked as he entered into the sitting room rubbing his head.
“No. It was quiet easy
“Okay. Welcome to my kingdom.” He smiled.
“John’s temporal kingdom per say. Others would be back tomorrow, and it ceases from being your kingdom.” Both laughed, as Daniel watched John put on the television.
“What kind of movies does my guest see?”
“American movies majorly.”
“Have you watched ‘John Wick’? It is the new and reigning movie in town.”
“You are going to love it.” John assured Daniel, as he inserted a disc into the DVD player.
Daniel hoped he was going to enjoy the film, as he had his face glued to the television screen.
“I tried searching for you on Facebook, but I could not find you. Are you on Facebook at all?” John asked, not minding he had his full concentration in the film he probably was enjoying.
“I should be asking you the same. There is no month I didn’t search for ‘Mohammed John. Although I customized my name then as a young secondary school boy, and since then I have not gotten the time to make changes on it.”
“Oh. The same thing goes for me.”
John was already feeling bored, while Daniel was busy enjoying the film. He was not feeling good, but was happy he could entertain his visitor.
“What will you take?”
“Noodles should do, Indomie to be clear-cut.”
He got up to get Daniel what he requested for.
Minutes later, John entered the sitting room with a tray in his hand, containing the noodles and a cup of cold orange juice. He expected Daniel to have helped him with the stool he was going to place the tray on, but Daniel had faked not to have seen him trying to get the stool.
He finally got everything done without any help from Daniel.
“Here is your food.”
“Thanks mate.” He finally unglued his face from the screen, to wolf the food, although, more concentration was still given to the movie.
“I love the way you primed it.” He gave John a smile, which John also reciprocated.
“Remind me I have something for you later. So, what school did you or do you attend?” john asked.
“Unilorin, and you?’
“Futminna.” John smiled.
“I study Mechanical Engineering, and You?”
“Wow. Same discipline.” Daniel smiled. “I am in my final year.” He continued. “I want to believe you are also in your final year.” He added.
“You are right.” John nodded in affirmation.
They had ceased the light, although Daniel had finished watching the Hollywood movie. Due to the intense of the heat inside the house, Daniel and John were outside receiving cool breeze.
“You said you have something for me.” Daniel reminded John.
“Yes, it is about the thief that was caught the other time.”
“What about him? You know him?”
“It is not really about him. It is just a similar scenario. Few weeks back, I was in the kitchen cooking. I was the only one at home as usual. I just arrived from school. I placed my laptop on the dining table, enjoying the music from there. Then I started hearing voices just like the one we heard some hours ago.” John started his story and Daniel gave him full attention.
“The only difference was that the noise was a noise of chase. I quickly figured out what was happening and I knew the thief was still being chased. As a smart kid…”
John smiled humbly as he continued.
“…I hurriedly locked the door, ran into the sitting room and also locked the door as well. I was afraid as I lowered the music to the minimum. I stood still in the kitchen, when I heard someone creeping under the mango tree. The leaves were actually making the noise, exposing the thief’s movement. I got the idea he wanted to escape through our neighbor’s fence at our backyard. I suddenly grew a sort of confidence in me, as I went inside to get a pestle, went back to the kitchen, and gently unlocked the door; I made my way out of the kitchen without making a noise…”
He got interrupted by Daniel.
“You get mind oh…”
Daniel was flabbergasted.
“Listen na. Just when he wanted to escape through the kitchen, I hit him very hard on the head. That was how he passed out and I started shouting ‘Thief!’ I was later asked at the station to put down a statement and I was praised. I went popular in the area, and even all the girls here know my name. Some, I have never met in my entire life. You now see I don’t just rule this house, but I rule the whole area. I have gone popular bro.” he smiled, throwing his shoulders to the back.
“You get heart o. I hope you are not lying just to impress me sha?” He snapped.
“No. trust me nah.” John smiled. “So, do you have a chick yet?” He asked Daniel.
“That reminds me.” Daniel raised his wrist to check what the time was.
“Are you leaving already?”
“No. I have to call someone by 12:00am.
“Oh. And who is that?”
“Ashhh… na everything you wan sabi.”
“sha talk this one.”
“Okay. There is this girl. She was my mate in secondary school. I didn’t know this girl was falling for me until we finished secondary school. She started sending all these love texts on Facebook, WhatsApp and 2Go. You know 2Go was still reigning as at then. I was busy enjoying it, but just three years ago, she stopped texting. It was this year, when the ‘freshers’ resumed I saw her in my department. To cut it short, I asked her out two weeks ago. Out of pity, that she didn’t easily give up. She said I should give her a call by 12:00pm to know what she has decided.”
“Wow. Who will not fall for a fine boy like you? In few hours time, you will be out of the single world.” John teased.
“Get out jawe.” Daniel pushed John who was laughing.
“I should be on way now.” Daniel said as he drove his eyes up and down his body to make sure he was good to go.
“Let me get the doors locked, so I can escort you.” He left Daniel outside.
As Daniel and John walked to catch a cab, they chatted and a girl who was passing by greeted John, calling his name and waving. After she was some distance away, John told Daniel he didn’t even know the girl’s name. “We just live here in the same area. My guy, I am popular.” John said, being proud of himself.
“John, the catcher of a thief and many girls.” Daniel smiled.
As Daniel alighted from the taxi just at the junction to his house, he ran his eyes through his watch and it was just 10:25am. “Thank God I didn’t take mummy’s car.” He thought, as he trekked down the street. He suddenly sighted the back view of a girl from behind, talking with some guys who surrounded her. “No doubt, this is Bimpe.” He thought, as he reasoned for a way to surprise her. It has been long since he last saw her, although they still chatted that morning.
Bimpe was the girl, who had everything bestowed on her. She had a natural form, which every other girl then envied. She was of an average height and if not for her ugly face and masculine voice, she would have turned into a semi-god.
Nevertheless, the number of male students who chased her increased day by day. The male teachers who were adulterers were not left out. They didn’t leave her until she graduated.
There was the story of Mr. balogun, who was popularly referred to as ‘balo’ by the students. After one of the biology classes, he shared everyone’s scripts, when they were about leaving, he had intentionally omitted three students name, and Bimpe was the main reason for that. After the three students had complained they had not been given their scripts, Balo had told them to wait behind, so he could look for it and as well record their scores.
He cleared the two male students, and when it was Bimpe’s turn, he told her there was no need to look for her paper, since she failed. “I am sure of what I did.” Bimpe had protested.
Mr.Balogun who had wooed Bimpe several times took the opportunity to threaten Bimpe she had to befriend him before he could pass her and keeping passing her. The lab was far away from other labs, and Mr. Balogun was the only teacher who had his office within the lab. Bimpe had turned him down again, and since he knew the other students had gone and there was nobody who would hear Bimpe scream from there, he decided to cease the opportunity as he tried raping her. Just as he expected, Bimpe screamed but he didn’t care. Little did he know there was one of her male friends waiting outside. As he heard her scream, he rushed into the lab, and made it inside Balo’s office.
He caught Mr. balogun red-handed, where he was struggling to lay Bimpe on his desk. He kicked him away and got Bimpe out of the office. He didn’t hesitate as he reported him to the school authority and told the students. He lost the job.
Daniel smiled as he remembered those times. He moved closer to her in a way she was not going to hear his footsteps, although the boys she faced could see him, but had cooperated, knowing what he was up to.
“Who is that?” The girl demanded as Daniel’s hand covered her face.
It didn’t sound like Bimpe’s voice; Daniel thought but concluded she was only faking it.
“Please, I am not good at guessing.”
She replied, as Daniel uncovered her face smiling, waiting for her to turn to him. His hands were already opened to receiving a warm hug, when he affirmed it was not someone he knew. The smile faded away, but there was still something else, that kept his eyes fixed on her, as he stood still looking helplessly at the girl.
“The girl who watched him for some time, and there was a kind of look in her eyes. Suddenly, she looked back and saw the two boys she was discussing with confused with the drama. She raised her right palm, which landed on Daniel’s left cheek. Daniel was stunned as he watched the girl turn back to the boys to continue their discussion. The boys laughed out loud making fun of him.
Daniel continued his walk home as his legs failed to connect with the ground. He could not help but hold his face, as the pain was so intense. Daniel was surprised to have met the gate opened. Just as he expected, his parents’ cars were not in the compound. That shew they were out for their businesses. He was surprised to have met the door to the house opened as well, as he entered with his hand still on his face. He could hear someone close the door to the bathroom, which affirmed there was someone in the house.
He entered into the passage to the other rooms, except for the parlor, to check who was inside. It was Sayo. She had her towel around her and was just leaving for her room, when she saw her brother enter the passage.
“Welcome bro.” she had greeted, but Daniel turned deaf ears to his sister’s greetings.
“Why did you leave the gate and door opened?” he tried transferring aggression.
“I just woke up and did not even know the gate is opened, though mum told me to close the door, when she and Folashade went out, but I was fast asleep.”
She explained, giving an intense look at Daniel. “I have noticed you have been holding a side of your cheek.”
Daniel quickly got his hand off his face at Sayo’s statement.
“It is nothing.”
He had replied.
“But it is red, did somebody slap you?” she asked, drawing closer to have a better view.
“Of no doubt, you have been slapped.”
She confirmed, waiting for an explanation.
“Actually, it is nothing serious.”
He wanted to leave for his room, but was bridged by Sayo, who was desperate to know what happened.
“Okay. A girl, very close to the junction slapped me.”
She asked anxiously.
“Now that you know, let me narrate my ordeal. I saw her back view, and I mistook her for my former schoolmate. You know Bimpe nah? I covered her face from behind, and by the time I freed her, she was not the one. I got slapped sha.”
“Oh my God! Where did you say it happened?”
“Oh! I know those girls. Their mother owns the shop.” She said, dashing into her room in a haste.
“What are you up to again this time?”
She yelled in anger leaving Daniel in the passage.
Daniel could no longer go into his room, as he waited for what Sayo wanted to do.
“Sayo, where are you going to?” he asked just as sayo returned to the passage, with a scarf around her waist.
“I will gist you when I am back.” She said as Daniel watched her leave the house.
Daniel who had lived with Sayo for 18 years knew what she was capable of. He remembered how he had used her in secondary school, especially against Shola, the rude girl.
Daniel had entered his class then, and had met his bag and books scattered all over the floor in the class. He was surprised as he packed his books and made a research on who threw them to the floor. He was told it was the rude girl, so he went to her to confront her.
“Yes, I am the one. I was looking for an extra pen. What will you do?” She had weighed him with her eyes.
As usual, Daniel had left her, as he thought it was not proper arguing or fighting a girl. He only planned with his sister on how they were going to let her pay.
The next day at school, the JSS 3 girl just barged into her brother’s class during the school break passed by her brother and other students and had gone to meet Shola.
“Do you know where my brother is?”
She asked her.
“Are you completely blind to see you just passed by the stupid him?” shola had asked.
“Did you just call my brother stupid?”Sayo flared up.
“En-ehn? And what will you do?” Shola stood to her feet, prepared to fight the junior girl.
“I am surprised oh. so, a girl who takes last in class can call someone ‘stupid’.” She said out, so the whole attentive class could hear. She had something land on her face. She touched her face to be sure if Shola really slapped her. That was how they turned the class to a battle field. Shola really got the beating of her life. The three students faced the disciplinary committee, and it was then Daniel stopped using her sister to taking revenge.
“What did you do?”
Daniel who was waiting in the sitting room asked Sayo as she entered.
“I beat the girl up, though I am not sure if I beat the real one. I met just the two girls there.” She said, sweating profusely.
“For God’s sake. I didn’t send you. I pray you don’t bring trouble upon yourself. Sayo just walked away to her room.
Daniel imagined she had beat up the wrong girl and hoped the beating was not serious. “It is time this girl knew she is now a grownup.” He said to himself. He could not still deny the fact he liked the girl, who had slapped him. “How crazy.” He thought. He laye the sofa, checked the time and it was 11:36am. He had just some minutes left, to hear from Bimpe. He wished he had not asked her out, with the new beauty he just found, but his sister had just made him lose the opportunity.” He thought.