Eclipse, an anti-climax, of a life of great promise
| Floxy’s mother descended the staircase of the family’s posh residence bubbling with excitement. Hearty smiles brightened her face as she made towards the Lexus Jeep exhilarated about her daughter going to join the interesting class of baby undergraduates Floxy’s bags were already neatly arranged in the car for the journey to the campus. The driver was set only waiting for the order to move while daddy had been standing by to bid his daughter a passionate farewell.
“Floxy, please come down, we are set,” mummy called in a joyful tone. A dreadful moan rather than an enthusiastic response was heard. Then a frantic rush back upstairs and there was the fragile little girl writhing on the settee in apparent discomfort. Mummy rushed at her wondering what the matter was while daddy called the family doctor. He had, in like manner, been invited the previous day when she performed a similar drama and had had her at the clinic for some medical diagnosis. In no time, the doctor arrived and again examined the little girl. Then he stood up and sighed heavily.
“What’s the matter, Doctor?’ mummy asked impatiently.
“I’m sorry, madam. Your daughter is pregnant.”
“Come again, Doctor,” she demanded in stupefying disbelief, making for the doctor’s collar.
Uneasy silence enveloped the lounge as all remained dumb-founded by this horrifying disclosure about a little girl who was fifteen only three months ago. Floxy herself was for a moment stupefied by he doctor’s ‘cock and bull story.’ Pregnancy? What pregnancy? Is the thing that cheap? She was hard put to it to immediately come to terms with the bitter fact that that unfortunate encounter with the prowling villain, Sully, was enough to plant this unwanted guest in her innocent womb. She had thought she had been able to successfully regiser the regrettable event as an invaluable deposit in her personal life bank of experience. Her fragile little mind had admonished her to take in her stride and dismiss Sully for who he was – one preying opportunist of a ruffian.
And that, ironically, was exactly who Sully had been, at least since he was expelled from the University a couple of years earlier. But he had right from childhood been one imbued with great promise, highly intelligent and potentially knowledgeable, attributes whose development was being threatened by ther odds of a humble background. So the popular role-model in discipline, focus and ambition in his teenage days resolved to fight the odds to a standstill, especially after his academic progress was almost halted as his poor parents could not even see him through his secondary school education.
Armed with only his intelligence and determination, Sully took himself through rigorous sessions to pass his external ordinary level examination. And, burning the midnight oil all by himself, he also passed his joint matriculation examination and secured admission into the University to read Accountancy. In only his first year he was able to register his presence within and beyond his department with his dazzling intelligence and sharp sense of humor. But the problem was always there: the inhibiting hands of excruciating poverty, which got to a head just before he could write his sessional examination.
The examinations were only a few days away and Sully had not even had a grain for a second day running; he was without a kobo. He wobbled across the lawns at the Sports Centre, his eyes almost popping out of their sockets on account of hunger. His frail frame failed him and he slumped at an awkward corner of the side lawn lying flat on his face. In a few seconds, he felt his entire life had crumbled. With his eyes swollen with tears, he contemplated “the only option feasible” – to withdraw from school. Suddenly, he felt a scratching tap of a heavily-built foot on his head and managed to conjure a frightened reaction.
“Hello, Sully. What the hell’s the matter with the great genius?” the strange voice sounded somewhat friendly. Sully looked up and beheld the hefty frame of Patrick, the notorious dare-devil leader of one of the deadliest cult groups on campus. His countenance graduated to extreme fear as he wondered why he should be the next victim of the one notoriously refered to as the BullDog.
“No, I’m not … I mean, I don’t know what about … em … Sully was already seeing stars in another planet.
“Relax boy, the BullDog is your friend. You look frail and hungry. Get up and have lunch with me.”
“No, thanks. I’m okay. I’m only trying to keep out a little fever,” he mustered some courage.
“So you are afraid of me too? The genius is one of those going round the campus with this envious misconception about the BullDog?” Patrick, with a rare charming smile was unusually pleasant.
And before Sully could respond, he helped him to his feet, took him to the nearby restaurant and treated him to a sumptuous, toothsome meal. Over the meal, the BullDog wasted no time in making Sully realize how he had always admired him and his burning desire to tap from his intellect. And before the duo parted ways, the BullDog offered some cash sufficient for Sully to keep body and soul together till examination was over.
On resumption for the new session, Sully tried all the tricks in the books to avoid Patrick. He had been warned severally during the holidays that such a character was only trying to set a trap for him. Try as much as he did, he was eventually cornered by Patrick who became even more friendly and generous. He labored much to impress it on Sully that all the noise about him on campus was mere hyperbole.
“You honestly believe my kind of person could at the same time match this description being branded around campus?”
“No, Patrick. It simply doesn’t tally.” Sully was beginning to fall for him.
“Smart guy! That’s the Sully I know. Look, you ain’t seen nothing yet from me. In fact this evening I’m going to treat you to something even more special.” Patrick sounded even more convincing.
And Sully had no hesitatation in honoring the evening appointment which turned out a pleasant surprise to him. Two more such outings and he felt safe in the BullDog’s hands. The fourth delayed late into the night. An adventurous stroll, on the prompting of Patrick, led towards the bush in the dead of night. And before a frightened Sully could communicate his fears and desire to return, he had been surrounded.
The BullDog urged him to entertain no fear but just give his cooperation. He was led to a very distant, frightful area in the bush where Patrick relayed the mission of the group to get him initiated into to club. He was then at a point of no return, he was told. And while still hoping to wake up from the “dream,” Sully was taken through the tortuous rituals of initiation.
To Sully’s initial indignation, the demonic deadly group of cultists wrecked such dreadful havoc on the campus community that left people dead, maimed, assaulted and traumatized. With time, he became accustomed to his new life as one who lived by the sword and later graduated to being one of his group’s top hatchet-men. The most notorious members of the group were ultimately rounded up, in Sully’s third year on campus, following the power-play that trailed the brutal raping of the daughter of an influential member of the society and subsequently expelled.
Just over a year after his expulsion, Sully managed to secure a job with a thriving medium-scale firm in Lagos where his intellect manifested itself within months. In under two years, his boss had entrusted him with a lot of responsibilities and even became an evening tutor to the children. Meanwhile, he had reunited with some members of his former cult group with whom he had resumed the commission of criminal acts underground.
In the intervening period, the joint matriculation examination season came, Sully laid his hands on some fake joint admission board documents and paraded various examination centers faking an influential official of the examination body and deceiving gullible innocent girls. At one of the centers, he crossed the path of a young girl during the short interval, craftily displaying the fake examination board’s logo.
“Hello, young lady. How did you find the paper,” he asked smilingly. The girl became green at the sight of the smartly displayed logo.
“Oh, a little bit tough sir, but I did my best,” she said with an inviting smile.
“My name is Sully. I am the chief coordinator for all the centers in this area.”
“My own name is Floxy. Floxy Adams. And I hope you won’t be too harsh in dealing with us, sir.”
“Young, pretty girls like you should not be having problems and I’ll be willing to assist you if you so desire,” he pretended to be moving away. Floxy invited him back and expressed her desire to benefit from his assistance. He described his residence to her urging her to visit him if she was serious as he had a lot to do.
After the examination, Floxy found herself between the devil and the deep blue sea. She believed she had done her best but that might, at the end of the day, not be good enough. She was well aware of the different funny games in vogue which students play to pass examinations. And she had boasted to everyone who cared to listen she would be on campus following the next admission exercise. And as she tried to make assurance doubly sure, she sneaked out of home to visit Sully. He warmly welcomed her with lavish entertainment assuring her of ready-made admission. He got up to embrace her in congratulations and with his sound system blaring at full volume, he took advantage of the girl, violating her sexual innocence.
He was still basking in the excitement of the Floxy conquest when his gang hatched another plot. He seized the opportunity of his closeness to his boss'es children to organize the kidnap of the youngest. Ransom was demanded and a negotiated amound of five million naira was received and shared among the gang of four. Following a tip-off, the police ultimately nabbed a gang member who revealed the identities of his co-criminals who were later declared wanted.
Meanwhile, the joint admission examination results had been released and Floxy had passed to secure admission. She had felt unsure what part Sully’s influence had played. Whatever the case, the important thing was that her desire to become a baby undergraduate had seen the light of day. It made no matter she had to pay a price in the process. That was only a little, temporary price, one of those things, or so she felt, until the doctor confirmed she had a bigger, permanent price in her womb.
The surprise on her mother’s face at the damning disclosure metamorphosed to raging aggression as she pulled the doctor’s shirt by the collar.
“Look here, Doctor, if this is a joke, it is too expensive.”
“Excuse me, madam, I don’t joke with my profession.”
“Sorry about that Doctor,” daddy cut in, “but could you please reexamine this little girl?”
“I have no need of that sir. Your daughter, the test result revealed, is carrying a ten-week old pregnancy,” he confirmed.
Again, grave-yard silence! And then, daddy summoned courage.
“But who’s the devil of a boy, Floxy?”
“I don’t know, I mean, I know no man, …” Floxy could not bring her little, fragile mind to comprehend the whole scenario.
In a short while, after she had finally opened up, mummy, a relative and two police officers arrived with her at Sully’s residence. Unfortunately, the criminal could not be located. Frantic search yielded no positive result, save for the information from a neighbor for whom he left a note the previous day stating that within the next twenty-four hours, he would have landed in Canada.
Floxy’s paternal grandmother, threatening suicide, vehemently objected to abortion for certain family reasons which the family later yielded to. Floxy, who of course, had to forgo the admission, stayed with her grandma back in the family’s country home. At the expected time, she had baby – a fine-looking boy who grew up a perfect physical copy of Sully. After two years, she secured another admission and left the boy, named Temmy, with the old woman. Four years on, she obtained her first degree in Economics and got married three years later to Osim Bassey, the son of a wealthy business-man.
Meanwhile, Sully had been deported from Canada and after successfully evading the home immigration network, had relocated to Kaduna. Temmy, who had always exhibited the traits of an adventurer, was at the age of ten, later sent to a private secondary school, also in Kaduna. In only his first session, he left no one, students and teachers alike, in doubt about his intimidating academic prowess. During the end-of-session prize-giving ceremony, he won almost all the prizes at stake – a feat which made almost all parents in attendance to go green with envy. One such parent later cornered him to congratulate him.
“How are you, my boy? Congratulations on your performance.”
“Thank you, sir,” replied the little boy.
“Your name is Temmy, right?” and as the boy of the moment nodded in affirmation, the man continued, “My name is Alhaji Issa. I wish you the best as you move ahead. By the way, why was your dad not here? I believe he stays in town.”
“My parents don’t stay here; they live in Lagos,”
Temmy marveled at the strange face showing familiarity.
“What! Are you not Sullivan’s son … the man who assists Papa Kay in running the Club along Durbar Road?”
“No, sir. My dad is dead and my step-father’s name is Osim Bassey.”
When Temmy arrived back in Lagos on holidays, his proud mum and step father wasted no time in taking him on a visit to Osim’s parents who had yet to physically set their eyes on him. Immediately Osim’s father saw him, he exclaimed:
“Goodness Gracious! He reminds of someone.”
“And who could that be?” Floxy interupted in eagerness.
“One interesting guy who worked with me about a decade ago.”
“Mummy, what’s this matter about me reminding every body of someone?” Temmy wondered. He then recounted his encounter with Alhaji Issa in Kaduna.
“That must be Sully!” Osim’s father erupted. “He and his group kidnapped little Didi and extorted five million naira ransom from us and used his share to escape to Canada.”
Putting two and two together, everyone felt convinced of the likelihood of Sullivan being Sully. Further information was tactfully obtained on phone from Alhaji Issa who had left his business card with Temmy for onward delivery to his parents. Osim, the eldest of Mr. Bassey’s children, who could recognize Sully, flew with Temmy and two family friends not known to Sully to Kaduna. With Osim, in hiding and the two other people approaching Sully in a detective-like manner, the villain was identified.
The Kaduna police command was informed and, with its assistance, Sully was moved back to Lagos where the police command insisted the case, whose file was still intact, would be revisited. In spite of the pleas of the Adams and the Basseys the police still set out to prepare the case file for prosecution. The two families were however able to secure a bail for him, in the meantime, while they wondered, in dilemma, what to do with the problem: a criminal must be prosecuted and made to pay for his crimes, but the criminal in this case was their son’s father!
In the course of all these events, while he moved between both ends of his grandparents’ homes, an eavesdropping Temmy became aware something worrisome was going on. Meanwhile a meeting had been arranged for the residence of the Adams to which Sully was to be brought straight from bail. Temmy sneaked into the meeting as Sully was being welcomed into the lounge. With rivers of tears flowing down his cheeks while wobbling around to hit one person after the other, in a child-like manner, Temmy pleaded:
“Please, don’t allow my daddy go to jail,” as momentary perplexity enveloped the lounge.