What? Yeah, you heard me right. I bumped into this jamaa in town last week and I figured out a trip down memory’s lane ain’t a bad idea. Memories of how he betrayed me way back in school flooded my mind. We’d nicknamed him “poop-phantom” because of I’ll-tell-you-what-he-did-shortly.
You know, sometimes friends are douche bags. They betray us, shame us, do embarrassing stuff and even snatch our girlfriends :D. Friendships have proven to be as volatile as ships in wild stormy seas. They might sink, yet they may reach their destiny. They start and end. Time tests, them, our actions refine them and trials validate them. Seasonal friendships also serve as a lesson, tagged along with experience, haha, that’s my teacher.
Then here’s where I hit you with the friends-with-benefits bat. Commonly referred to as FWBs, they are total fails when it comes to what fruitful relations concern. FWBs came to mind when Jackie, having coaxed her to lunch so that she’d open up in my wild ventures for a blog-story, narrated to me her relationship ordeals. Jackie is one of my treasured friends, in that we treat each other with utmost professionalism (of course in a profession that doesn’t exist yet I’m just trying to validate this thing in these brackets). Thank God for brackets. They are the bloggers’ version of commercial breaks.
Oh, Jackie, let’s just say I keep her secrets, she keeps my passwords and we keep each other in check. She reads, likes and comments on my blog posts while I furnish her hard disk with jazz music and stuff. Letting the notes of the background-playing classical seep into me with the coffee, I lent her an ear as she told me how she’d had a couple of relationships in the reckless period after she’d left home for college, full of anger, bye to parents’ long arms. She hadn’t had time to date before; besides, late nights would leave bags under her eyes. Her attachment to a man, she’d thought bitterly then when she joined campus, might loosen her mother’s grip on her. So it had been inevitable when she’d broken free, that she would plunge into all the experiences other girls had in campus. It was probably also inevitable that they would be unsatisfactory. She was like a girl let free from the convent, a girl who knew nothing about the real world. The knight in shining armor didn’t ride up on his white steed; true love eluded her. Furthermore, her last stint before she called it quits was an FWB arrangement that proved sex was thoroughly disappointing. Expectations rise and swell with every single “benefit” like a soap bubble, which of course gets the more fragile with every swell till it bursts. Throwing a surreptitious glance as I sipped my juice, it was vivid a friendship had ended, and had also taught someone a lesson. I empathetic-ally felt like telling her that then, she was brilliant than the day before, but I instead took a deep breath and swallowed the words into a hard knot in my tummy. She’d judge me rude if I did. Friendship at risk.
Then how is that even connected to poop? Bumping into poop-phantom was like the week’s jawbreaker. We first met and became friends right outside the late Dr. Geoffrey Griffin’s office on our first day in high school, seated on our metallic boxes, in anticipation as our parents and the Boss engaged in the jargon that culminated into our admission as freshmen. His name then was Gao, yet to know if he changed that. Weird people change names like underwear. He’d arrived well before me. Thing is, immediately I arrived he yanked off his headgear that he’d adorned to protect him from this cruel world (don’t worry, I mean earphones) and glared up at me with a high-five as if we actually knew each other from the other kingdom. Later on, realizing that we had the same taste in music and saggy-baggy pants glued the friendship.
Then just eight weeks into school, on one chilly morning, something threw me into a deep freeze. I arrived in time for morning preps and settled undisturbed in my locker was a full serving of green poop, right on top of my books. Unlike cats that you can shoo away if found on the wrong places, or slugs that you can scare off with a stick-poke, poop just stays there looking at you waiting for your drastic measure. Hard to believe, I hadn’t even made any enemies yet in school since I hadn’t started writing people’s stories in a blog, hence, this one presented a quagmire. I became the laughing stock that day as my classmates gathered and shared in murmurs that projected into overtones that I could grasp; of how I’d ‘shat’ in my desk. Apparently, Gao stood with me, convinced me to laugh it off and presumed that the senior students had connived to just piss me off. But the harder task was ferrying the slimy mass to their final resting place, amid swearing vehemently like @#$%)(*&^%@ then @#$^&^%$#! Frankly there are no letters on this keyboard for those words.
Two days after the incident, the phantom does his thingy in the hostels on top of my metallic box. I found this warm and fumy bundle right after the 6am get-up-bell-ring, witnessed by all my other cube mates. As if handing me a detailed lesson on the different types of faecals, this sample was hard brown with evidences of a veggies diet and protruding ‘eyes’ of maize husks. Word goes round fast and I shuddered in disbelief as the rumor came back to me in a presentable ‘sugarcoat’ saying ‘hi’. The story had changed: “I, a heavy dreamer, had sleepwalked to the boxes’ rack, pulled out mine, did the act and dashed back to bed.” There was even no space for tissue paper in the rumor. Rumors have to be short and precise, approximately the length of a tweet, so as to capture the audience.
I was shrouded in mystery as other versions claimed to have actually seen me that night and unfruitfully tried to coerce me to halt the fateful deed, yet I went on amid protests. Wah! These are the things that make me see with my mouth. I nearly believed that. The hostel’s patron’s quest and pledge to leave no stone unturned didn’t quell the sneers that came my way. Gao though, this time round, looked unperturbed and even one time offered to keep my secret if I admitted I’d committed thus. But I wish a hint of wryness in his smile would have sold someone out then.
From then, things happened like a movie series. Episode three was on the teacher’s table in class, then right beside the flag post a week later and a final one that we couldn’t forget as if wrapping up the 1st series of the movie was in cube 1A in the hostel. We found an equal serving of evidence in our cups in the hostels one morning. Eight cups with a precisely equal division just left our ribs aching. Even so, we were fed up. School started to suck. We swore to burn the damn culprit down to ashes, and true to our word, we pooled resources and bought petrol to store in wait. Oh, wait, I hope none of my high school administrators is reading this because I haven’t picked my CSE Certificate. If you are, please click here. This was happening just 2 weeks to the school’s Founders’ Day, nearly similar to what others call parents’ day, one when parents, stakeholders etc visit the ‘jailbugs’.
Founders’ Day came and as usual, parents swarmed the school grounds as if they too loved academics. Most notably, they were loaded with edible trappings for the ‘jailbugs’. My mum came of course but since she was in ‘quite some hurry’, she dropped off an admirable package with me and sailed off into the horizon. I was looking forward to unveiling the contents of the full wrapping when Gao suddenly popped up from the blues like those live-chat invitation adverts on my browser that tell me cute singles near me are looking for me everywhere. Sincerely, where are they?
Gao was carrying a similar wrapping too. We fist-bumped each other, followed by a dance-like procedure that involved thump chest, lift right leg, thump chest again, then fist-bump; a fashion-greeting Gao had traded to me, in a bid to buy the village-far-from-the-city I had come from away from me. We then exchanged some glance that explained a whole volume of i-know-how-ferociously-you are-going-to-attack-that-wrapping before we decided to settle at a clearing in the fields and munch the delicacies.
I ravenously unsealed my treasure, revealing a generous serving of chapatis, nyama choma, potato-baked fish rolls and bountiful salad enough for an Indian family of eight. It’s then that Gao played a scene from a thriller. He suggested, backed by my full acknowledgement accompanied with a satisfying nod, that since his entailed dates, cookies and canned ice-cream, we’d appetize with mine and dessert with his.
There was a ceasefire of verbal exchange as we tawdry reduced the size of my delicacy. Men can’t multitask. Eat first. The only sound being the food as it squirmed in our fists the African way and the noise of gratitude by our throats as they gladly allowed voluminous gulps and boluses through them. Done with my set of munchies, we gladly wiped our hands with disposable antiseptic wipes and pushed aside the leftovers like soldiers preparing for the next phase of battle, anticipating more conquest and victory.
Gao pushed his bag towards me and flippantly lit a spark of humor as he excused himself to go and ‘offload’ so that he’d have credible space for more goodies. He gave me the go-ahead to unravel the mystery that was his package while he disappeared amidst the trees. I opened the brown cardboard paper anxiously and maneuvered through the counter-foil that followed only to be surprised by another layering of newspaper that had wrapped the hefties as if they’d do a daring escape. Undoing the newspaper wrapping only gave way to a hard plastic-paper folding. The unfolding proved momentous because lying there in front of me was fresh cow dung from at least three bulls. I jumped in horror as I wafted fumes away, cursing at this wild ‘bull****’ joke. Only that the bull poop here was real and right in front of me. Gao had disappeared completely. We closed school after 6 days but he hadn’t appeared. School opened but he was nowhere to be seen. Funny drugs were later on found in his case and it hit us that this guy was nuts. He stopped becoming Gao, and became ‘poop-phantom’. And I stopped making friends :D.