“Hefty Helping Herbs” by Jude E. Davids.

And all of a sudden, the door flew open. The darkness skittered into the corners and the birds of silence chirped their last song.

“This is the worst dorm in the house,” boomed the Senior Housemaster.

Ms. Nyonyu went over to the trunk by the second bunk on the right. She threw it open.

“Ei! Whose trunk is this?!” Ms. Nyonyu exclaimed.

The other teachers came around to check what all was about. Here was a trunk full of pornographic material, from mags to videos, with a Video Disc player in a hidden compartment.

“Hey, look!” directed Mr. Apem the agric teacher.

The other teachers raised their heads to see a full-body poster of a nude woman squatting underneath the lid of the trunk. A rosary was hung above it so that the crucifix settled on the most holy place.

“What is his name?!” screamed Ms. Nyonyu who was Catholic.

The Senior Housemaster turned the lid down to look at the miscreant’s name: Peter John Dzato. “Get that foolish boy for me!” he commanded.

I went to the bush he usually hid out in around this time to smoke his hefty helping of hemp. There was no way he would be in class now. How passersby never noticed the obvious scent when they bypassed the Old Science Block beats me. Maybe they were just not curious enough to investigate. I usually met him there to smoke my own cigars and to discuss some interesting events of history.

John Dzato came back to the dorm. He strolled in casually and said in an unusual husky voice – he had an indifferent tone and pitch usually, “I hear say some birthday party dey happen; where my own dey? You take some women from the town come? Abi you know say just one Geisha be enough for them.”

“Come here!” said the Senior Housemaster who slapped Pete upside the head and yanked him in, positioning him beside his trunk. “Look at your treasures.”

Pete got lucid right then and shot me a querying look. I only shrugged my shoulders. That’s all I could do.

“And you have told us your other crimes as well, you deuce,” Ms. Nyonyu said.

“You and your words,” Mr. Apem remarked.

“That’s why she is the English teacher,” supplied the Senior Housemaster.

I still wonder how many rolls Pete had to sabotage himself that way. I did inform him of the truth of the matter. But it appears he mixed it up in his mind. Wait, I recall that the scent smelled funny today. It appears he laced his jot with something. Maybe heroin? There was quite a substantial amount of it around anyway. Wouldn’t be too hard to come by around here; I have never smelled heroin but it’s most probable? The Senior Housemaster’s son even grew and sold some.

At the staff common room, Ms. Nyonyu momentarily transformed into a confessor, trying to absolve Pete of his sins. I heard she had been in the convent before but left for unknown reasons.

“Peter Dzato, there is no way to deny it now! Just renounce these ungodly desires of yours and turn over a new leaf!” she shouted into his face which was only inches from hers. Peter had once told me he felt some feminine pheromonal vibes from her when they met. She appeared to be quite fond of him; maybe that’s why she was so vehement in this matter.

“Madam, why are you trying to change me? This is the way I am. Why do you want to change me? You want to point a finger, blame my father because he is a womanizer; he gave it to me. Madam, please, why are you trying to change me?” cried Peter Dzato plaintively in response, gesticulating helplessly.

All the staff burst into laughter at this. Mr. Sempe directed amidst snickers, “come on, get out of here! Go ask Kofi Gyimsa where he put the chainsaw he used the last time and get it. Go clear up the lumber at the saw mill.”

Peter Dzato got off the hook. This kind of act usually carried either a month of suspension from school or outright dismissal. He walked out of there with a sly grin on his face.

“Please, is Mr. Jud around?” asked immaculate Ama Fatima. “We have History now.”

“Hey, National Service man, you see that boy is walking in the path you made when you were here?” said Mr. Sempe.

I watched his gaunt haggard face briefly and turned away in the direction of my faithful fans.

Today was not a simple day. No lie. But it was another scene.

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