He was with his three friends when a junior mistakenly kicked a ball in their direction and it hit Paul—popularly called Paulo—on the head. The junior ran away with the ball while Paul ran after him.
“Why is Paul so truculent?” Joseph asked in his trademark sonorous voice and big English words.
“Trucku—wetin?” Yomi, asked, impressed and giggling. Yomi came from an affluent home and was the most humble in the clique. He sponsored all schemes that required money. He spoke more in Pidgin English.
“Truculent. It means he is quick tempered,” Joseph educated, beaming with pride because he had scored yet another point with his gang. He lived only to speak English and chase girls.
“Come-on kneel down you stupid boy! You think you can run?” Paul had caught the junior and dragged him to where his friends stood.
“I say kneel down!” Paul knocked the junior hard on the head.
“Paulo leave this boy. Let him go,” Joseph pleaded.
“No–o, he must kneel down first,” Paul insisted, trying to kick the junior to his knees.
“Paulo, stop embarrassing yourself.” Joseph corrected Paul in front of the junior. “The right expression is ‘kneel’ not ‘kneel down.’ Let this boy go. Little boy, go.” And he freed the junior.
“Can I have my ball?” demanded the junior rudely.
“God punish you!” Paul shouted, throwing the ball angrily at the junior so that it hit his head hard. The boy gave Paul the middle finger and ran off as fast as his legs could carry him, leaving his ball behind.
“If I catch you, if I catch you!” Paul made to run after him again.
“What’s your problem?” Kayode, the most brilliant and most quiet of the lot had been irritated by the whole scenario. “Leave the boy alone! Ha! Short people!” The words “short people” came out of his mouth before he could stop it.
Paul is a short person. The only thing that always broke his last nerve was someone reminding him how short he was. He and Kayode tolerated each other in the clique. They were not best of friends.
“F—k you! You ugly baboon!” Paul shoved Kayode so hard he reeled backwards.
“You dey craze?” Kayode responded with a thundering slap.
“Yehh! You dey mad?” Paul barely had muttered these words when a fight ensued.
“Easy, easy, guys, ma’una behave!” Yomi shouted as he made to stop the fight, with Joseph lending a hand.
They soon succeeded in pulling them apart. Paul and Kayode were ready to go at it again when, from the distance, Joseph spotted the principal coming towards their direction.
“If you guys want to continue, go on. I’m leaving. See Mrs. Grundy coming.” Joseph and Yomi left the feuding two. But they knew better than to continue with the fight whilst the principal approached.
Fortunately, the principal headed in another direction.
Joseph said, “Thank God this woman did not see you guys.” Paul and Kayode were eyeing each other as if waiting for an opportunity to pounce. Joseph disregarded them and continued, “Anyway, that’s not the main issue now. Let’s be serious about this prom. You guys know I must win this thing.”
“Guy, you go win,” Yomi said in his trademark broken English.
“Guy, you sure?” Joseph wanted more affirmation.
“I say an you dey win that tin! Wetini? Na you joor,” Yomi assured.
“Paulo, K-fed, say something,” Joseph cajoled his friends, calling them by their nicknames.
“Mhhm,” muttered the two wearily.
© Bankanthony N. David