The Rise and Fall of Ebuka Isi Oti

Ebuka is the biggest boy in our class, he has no respect. This boy also has the biggest empty head, that is why we call him Isi-Oti. Juniors like me dare not call him that to his face,else he will squeeze your head into his smelly armpit! hummmmm. Though he is in Basic 4, Ebuka, with his big muscles is the strongest boy in our school. He fights and he wins. If he beats you and you report him, he comes back and beats you again. Ebuka has an ugly naughty way of crying when the teachers flog him, yet, tears never drop from his bulgy eyes. Report him again and he will beat you again till you get tired of him.

My name is Chikamso, people call me Chikam, and they say I have a small funny head that looks like an unripe mango. But just like my mother always told me, it is stuck with books. So I don’t care. I was Oti’s close friend, till last Friday. I used to be his friend, but he was never my friend. How can someone who scale the school fence and wears bathroom slippers to school be my friend? He is always flogged for keeping his hair so rough and untidy; he told me he wants it to become dada (dreadlocks). How can somebody that takes people’s snacks and destroy their stick house be my friend? I am his friend only when he wants me to write test for him. But last week, he destroyed my wn stick house.

It was during break time, Tobenna and I had just finished constructing a beautiful stick house when the big headed Oti and his big friends came around, when they should be breaking each other’s legs in the football field. Oti’s friend, Chiemeka placed his dirty leg over our stick house, Oti was standing beside him. He looked at us with a naughty smile and told us to call him “The king of the whole world”. Tobenna obeyed, I only looked at Oti, my friend and refused to call him that ‘king’. He threatened to destroy our stick house when I refused. I refused and maintained an angry face. Chiemeka brought down his foot and smashed our stick house. That stick house contained three bedrooms, two toilets, a football pitch and five car parks. I could not believe my eyes. Tobenna threw himself to the ground and started crying. Oti and his friends started laughing at my friend, Tobenna. I couldn’t believe Oti was laughing when he should be feeding his armpit to Chiemeka. I thought he would beat Chiemeka for me. I thought he was my friend.

Yesterday, I started building another stick house, and waiting for Oti to come around. I knew he would come because I had refused to write our Mathematics test for him. I molded the sand and covered the roof with water proofs and sticks. Before I could add the fences, there he was, jumping down towards me with his friends, dangling his big head from side to side. Sure, he was smiling; sure I had set a big trap for him. He matched straight to where I was and without asking for any salutation, smashed my house again. He smashed my house with the anger he had been reserving since the Mathematics test and fell down to the ground letting out a big cry. Well, I had put a nail under the stick house. He would not have gotten injured if he had worn his school sandals instead of bathroom slippers. His coarse ugly cry filled the air, this time, I saw tears dropping down Oti’s cheeks! Oti has actually fallen.

Then, he started begging for help but everybody kept laughing at him, including his friends. But as a good boy, I remembered what our CRK teacher taught us about helping others in need; so I got up and helped him. I helped him wipe the blood before squeezing onugbu (bitter leaves) juice on the surface of the injury, to arrest the bleeding. He was lucky the wound was not very deep.

From that day, I learnt to confront my problems and not run away from it like a coward, because it will keep hunting me. On the other hand, Otti my ‘friend’ learnt his lessons the hard way. Remember, teacher always said pride goes before a fall.

Well, for the whole of yesterday and today, neither Oti nor his friends dared destroy anybody’s stick house for fear of what happened to Oti. I have made a few more friends today and became more popular. Suddenly, it seems my small mango head became quite useful .