BY ISRAEL USULOR

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“Where are you from?” I asked, taking her hand and playing with it, throwing it up and down like a tennis ball. Her hand was smooth too, but not as smooth as Halima’s. She was tall and had a hairy body. She had a round face and a slender body. But her backside was very conspicuous such that she cannot pass you without you looking back at her twice. I had met her at one of the meetings I attended for Meningitis sensitization programme. It was at that meeting that I told her to meet me at the Man O’ War Ground.

“I’m from Cross River State”, she said with a shy smile. “I have a special feeling for Cross River girls” I told her. It was a lie.

I could barely see her face because the Man O’ War Ground was always dark or mostly not properly lit. For that reason, corpers were not completely allowed to stay there at night. But it was the perfect place for a date. I loved that place because it looked like a village square with gigantic tall trees providing a sweet shade. Staying there in the night felt like playing hide and seek in my village square. There was a corner that was completely dark, and that was where I sat on a log of wood with this lady. Her name was Julia.

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“I’m from Ebonyi state”, I said, placing my left hand on her bare lap. She didn’t say anything. I was happy. Devil was seriously pushing me. I was resisting the devil, but it wasn’t working. We were silent for a moment.

“Do you have a girlfriend?” she asked, coming closer and placing her head on my chest, making me hold her like a baby. “This is too easy” I said to myself. “Don’t worry, move on and enjoy,” said the devil. I yielded.

“Ah! Girlfriend? No! I’m still a child.” She laughed.

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“So you are ready for us to be together? I mean let’s start a serious relationship,” she asked. She was taking the initiative and rubbing her hand on my chest and beards. I became weak.

“Yes!” I lied. You can’t expect honesty from a man overwhelmed by romance. She continued rubbing my chest. We were getting closer and closer to the point of no return. “Continue, don’t stop,” said the devil.

“Who is there?” A very harsh voice came from one end of the Man O’ War Ground. That voice was followed by a very bright flashlight pointing our direction.

“Na soldier o!” I told Julia. We have to run. At that time, the light was getting closer and closer. We stood up and took to our heels. We ran in different directions but for some strange reasons, the soldier followed only me instead. I ran as fast as I could. I knew it would be hard to outrun a soldier, so I ran into the parade ground where there were many people and quickly mixed up among them. He still went around looking for me. I saw him pointing touch light at people’s faces. I was very angry. “Stupid idiot” I cursed. “So after pouring sand sand in my garri, you want to catch me and give me frog jump. E no go better for you,” I said.

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The next day was the turn of my platoon to participate in Man O’ War activities. Man O’ War activities looked simple, but they were hard. The most difficult one was walking the tight rope. I had successfully done all the other ones, and now, it was my turn to walk the tight rope fastened in between two tall trees. I climbed onto the rope. I was scared to death. I took my first step, and then the second up to the fifth step. I thought I was doing it. People were clapping and cheering. Then suddenly, I started shaking. The rope was shaking too. I fell from the rope. In fact, the rope threw me off and I landed on the ground. I felt a sharp cut inside my testis. It was as if my scrotal sack was torn into two. I wondered if my scrotum had broken. The pain was as if someone had given me a hard punch on my balls. My eggs. My balls, my dear eggs. It was a paralising pain. “I have broken my balls” I whispered to myself. It was a serious situation and if I were to be alone, I would have started crying. Yes! The most vital organ in a man’s body is his reproductive organ. It is far more important and many men value it even over their head.

I stood up quietly and went straight to the hostel. Luckily for me, the hostel was empty. I removed my khaki and lay flat by my back. I put my left hand inside my boxers and started feeling my testis to see if the two of them were still intact. Luckily, they were still there! “Thank God o! How I for do?” I never participated in any Man O’ War drills again until I left the camp.

Read part 5 here

Israel Usulor is a journalist and short stories, writer. You can reach him via @JonalistIsrael, 08104082159 and [email protected]

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Note: This story is entirely a work of fiction and a product of the author’s creative imagination. Any resemblance in characters or occurrences is merely a coincidence.



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