From the comfort of my bed, I can look back at these past weeks and admit that camp life wasn’t all pain. The writer in me admits that the past weeks saw the fugitive , actress and investigator in me come to life! While I’d be taking each tale one at a time to avoid boring you to hiccups, here is the first on my list…
Corper Precious the FUGITIVE…
From the first day I stepped into Kubwa camp, I expected that I might be fished out sooner or later for the crimes of my lookalike who was recently an inmate. Just as I feared, as I sluggishly crawl-walked to start my registration, a Man O’ War officer startled me to a standstill when he yelled “My friend what are you doing here?” It sounded like a blank cheque question with a thousand and one options to fill but with the way he stared at me like he had just set eyes on a ripe NYSC criminal or a ghost perhaps jolted my memory. I replied promptly “My twin sister was here last year Sir”. In nanoseconds, his expression changed from shock to sheer amusement and probably excitement. My guy proceeded to call his colleagues and decided to read me dear Patsy’s atrocities. If I remember correctly, they referred to her as that”Oyinbo Customer” as she was a regular at either the guardroom or in front of the Camp Commandant’s residence either frog jumping or getting comfy on the muddy ground for atrocities ranging from sleeping while her mates attended lectures or got sun kissed at the parade ground or getting caught threatening to bring the camp commandant to his knees if anything happened to her skin.
My first encounter with the camp powers made me resolve to be as elusive as possible which meant staying away from trouble, avoiding officer’s quarters at the very least and literally not doing any of the fun stuff (Including the popular Camp drilling sessions).
All seemed easy-breezy till my headdress left its position to somewhere between my hip and waist. “Ehen! Madam, you don’t need the cap abi? Bring am!” I stood frozen for a second, torn between giving up my cap or following my heart which screamed “Run Precious! Run!
I FOLLOWED MY HEART… An action I still regret. Running the few metres to my hostel door and realizing last minute that the gates of SAFETY were already bolted, I stopped dead in my tracks and in mere seconds, my nemesis was upon me. Till today, I can’t say what got into me but I remember vividly how I spent the evening.
The officer made no attempt to spare me the embarrassment. As we walked to my gallows, he told everyone who cared to listen that I chose to call myself “PANT”. My weak cries that my Initials spelt PAN was as expected, a waste of already spent breath.
As I sat in warm mud with my eyes shut and arms stretched out, I tried to imagine that I time traveled to 1967, a beautiful but plus sized Igbo spy caught in the Nigerian camp and on the roll to be executed. Too terrifying, I swinged to being one of the exalted priestesses of Amadioha, in a limbo, hoping to hear from the gods on the best way to disappear and reappear in Hawaii, Cuba or Jamaica with nothing but a bikini matched with a straw hat and a human head sized coconut.
My reality however was filled with shrieks of shock every time an unsuspecting soldier first glanced in my direction.
I collected my headdress and gained my freedom eventually but not after spending two hours on my butt and an extra hour opening my social media handles to convince the little crowd that had gathered to question the “Chinese Spy” that my lookalike committed last year’s offence.
As I managed to catch three hours of sleep in my hellish bunk, I could not help but swear at the cause of all my palaver who most certainly was posting glam pictures on Instagram, pampering her already silky skin and making up plans to run down Shirley’s Confectioneries especially their Sharwama section.
That thought only made me more depressed. Till a more hilarious post, stay tuned!