Saturday, 29 September 2018

Corper Sean: Blackmail Palaver

After my ordeal in the hands of Oluchi and her goons, where they extorted me of all my money with the threat of sending my nude pictures to the school authorities, I became a caricature of my usual self.

Villa life and NYSC, as a whole, lost its allure and I was more broke than a glass cup thrown down a four-storey building. I had to constantly borrow money from Diran and Felicia to get by.

It so affected me that I did not have time for any of my runs. Even when they asked if they could come to the lodge, I feigned ‘busy’ and told them some other time. A disturbed man has no sex drive, jare.

There was, of course, also the matter of Amaka who had had promised to ‘show me’ after I disappointed her. She had been seriously giving me cold shoulder since that day. But that was even the least of my problems. My main issue was how to get some cash fast to support myself for the rest of the month.

I thought about this predicament for days, then finally came up with a solution. Why couldn’t I use my position as a teacher to make some side money? After all my lecturers in Uni did it, making us buy endless handouts

So, I put something like a handout together on my laptop, but actually named it ‘Revision Summary’ and told my students they could get it for just N500 to prepare for my upcoming test. Anyone who did not buy it would automatically fail the test.

“There is no way you can read for the test and pass it if you do not have the summary, so not buying it shows you have no plans to pass the test,” I told them.

I also gave them stiff instructions to only pay whenever they see me in class; they were not to come to the staff room to pay. I did not want the other teachers knowing what I was up to.

Everything went well, the students paid in their droves, since the money was not much. Then Oluchi happened again.

On the last day of payment, she walked up to me in class after the other students had gone for break and, with an overflow of insolence, informed me:

“Corper. I have come to tell you that me I am not paying for this your summary, and I must pass the test.”

I opened my mouth to ask her what sort of nonsense that was, but remembered my nude pictures in her boyfriend’s phone. Instead, I forced a smile and said, “Of course, you don’t have to pay now.”

She smiled knowingly and hissed, then bounded off.

That was still not the end of it. Later in the day, after I had collected money from the remaining students and was heading back to the staff room, Oluchi rushed up to me.

“Corper,” she called and I stopped. She thrusted her phone at me. “Obi’m wants to talk to you.”

Who’s obi’m, I wondered.

“Corper Shun. How far na. We need money o.” It was her boyfriend. “You see all that money wey you just make? Tomorrow morning unfailingly, give Oluchi everything. Otherwise, we will send your principal those ya naked pictures. Inugo?”

I started shaking and sweating copiously under the afternoon sun. Just when I thought I had managed to get myself out of ‘cashlessness’ with my genius scheme. It was clear that their blackmail was not a one-off; they would keep extorting money from me till I left the school.

Which kind life be this?

“And no try play smart, think say you fit reduce the money. You must send at least fifty tazan naira. We don calculate am o. At least 100 students na him you collect money from. Them pass that one, but at least 100. 100 times five hundred naira na fifty tazan.”

He was right. There was a total of one hundred and fifteen students in the SS1 classes. One hundred and ten had paid. Sending them fifty thousand naira left me with five thousand naira only. And I would still need to deduct the amount I borrowed to print and photocopy the summaries.

I gave Oluchi the money the next day like I had been ordered. There was nothing I could do. I could not risk the principal learning I had been philandering with the female students.

The days that followed were very tough for me. It was hard to keep borrowing money, and most times, I had to rely on the food prepared by Diran or the food stuff/ cooked food brought by Ifeoma and my other girls once in a while. Even when they brought the food, I refused to touch them as I had completely lost interest in sexual romps. That was the rubbish that had landed me in this predicament.

Days moved to weeks and finally, allawee was paid. Coincidentally, alert for NYSC and the school allowance came almost at the same time. I felt like a breath of life had been blown into my nostrils. Immediately school closed that day, I made for town.  My plan was to use the ATM, then do some very necessary shopping.

“Heyyyyysssss,” I heard someone call at me after just a dozen steps.

I saw Oluchi’s boyfriend and his friend standing under an agbalumo tree, beckoning.

“We hear say them don pay una allawee,” the friend said.

Are these people wizards? How did they know? I wondered in despair.

“If you know what is good for you. Just go bank now now, withdraw the money come give us for Ezinne joint for 6 o’clock today.”

I could not even argue. I just nodded wordlessly.

“We for follow you go collect am sef, but work dey for farm,” Oluchi’s boyfriend added. “But we know say you no go fuck up. Bring am come meet us 6’oclock sharp, otherwise, your naked picture go enter ya principal phone. Ehn ehn.” He pulled his ear for emphasis.

For a moment, rage surged from the pits of my stomach to my head and I wanted to rebel. I wanted to tell  them to do their worst. But then I thought of all I would lose. Not only would I be sent away from my PPA, a report would also be made to NYSC and I would definitely be expelled from the program.

I quietly went to town and withdrew the money for them.

After withdrawing all the money, I separated the allowance from NYSC from that of school. I would give them only the 19,800 and keep the other one for my upkeep. Hopefully, they had no knowledge that that had been paid too. I kept both monies in separate compartments in my wallet and entered a cab.

When the cab arrived at the villa, I dipped my hand into my back pocket to bring out my wallet. Nothing. I blinked, then dipped my hand into the second back pocket, still nothing. I searched all my pockets… nothing. My wallet was gone! 

I felt like fainting.

Someone had stolen my wallet!

God, no, no, no. Why this again?

I had to start begging the cab driver, telling him someone had stolen my wallet. But he refused to buy it. “Bia, don’t tell me rubbish.”

It was only when I told him I was a corper serving in that village that he pitied me and let me go.

By now, I was late for my rendezvous with my blackmailers, and even worse, I did not have their money.

I trekked down to Ezinne’s joint. The blackmailers and Oluchi were waiting for me there. The men were already drunk, with several bottles littering their table. Oluchi herself was busily digging into a mountain of nkwobi. All courtesy my money.

“We don wait for you tire,” the boyfriend said when they sighted me. “Give us the money osiso.”

I dropped to my knees in front of them and began begging, explaining that I had been robbed of the money I withdrew.

Men, they were really angry when they heard this.

“Oh-oh, you wan’ use brain for us abi? Which kind lie be this. We go send the picture now now. I get una principal number for this phone o. I go send am to her,” the friend threatened.

“I beg, I beg, no send am. I go give una my next allawee. Dem don steal this one.”

“See this idiot o. You think say you get sense abi? Okey, send the pictures for wazzap biko,” the boyfriend urged.

The friend, Okey, picked up his phone and started pressing it. Oluchi looked worried and said something in Igbo. “No worry, nothing mega. Even if them pursue you for this school, you go go another school,” was her boyfriend’s replied.

I begged some more, crying freely now, not caring that we were in public and in full view of the few other people at the joint. But the men were unmoved. Okey continued pressing his phone, then he looked up. “I don send am. Next time, you no go dey think you say you get sense.”

I fainted.

I refused to go to school the next day. There was no point. I was done for; ruined.

I refused to respond to Diran when he asked if I was not going to school, but remained in bed, my bedsheet covering my head.

“Do you have malaria?” he queried.

Oga, what is doing me is worse that malaria, I thought but said nothing.

He finally let me be and hurried off.

I was still in the same position, covered up and brooding, when I heard a knock on the door. “Seun, are you there? Open the door.”

I frowned. That certainly was not a corper’s voice, neither was it that of a student. It sounded like the principal’s voice.

The knock came again, insistent. “Seun. Open the door.”

I stood up, shaking. My moment of reckoning was here.

I opened the door. It was indeed the principal. She came into the room and sat at the desk. I couldn’t stop shaking.

“You decided not to come to school today,” she began. “Is it because of this?” She showed me her phone. A shameful picture of Oluchi and I was on the screen.

“Ma… I – I.”

The principal surprised me by laughing then. “Why are you shaking and stammering like this? Relax yourself, I am not here to castigate you.”


She got up and came closer to where I was standing, laying a hand on my shoulder. “All I want is for you to agree to be dating me. Then all of this,” she waved the phone, “becomes a forgotten issue. I will help you cover everything up. I will even help you make a case against Oluchi and the person that sent this, that they robbed you and forced you to lie in bed naked with her.”

To say I was shocked is an understatement. With the principal’s motherly face, she could easily pass off as a pastor’s wife; she was the last person in the world one would expect to be making such an illicit proposal.

“So, what is your answer?” she urged impatiently, shaking me out of my stunned silence. “Yes or no.”

I stared again at her rotund stature, and jowly cheeks. How can I sleep with someone her age? 

Oh God, am I not going from frying pan to fire like this?

But I had no choice whatsoever, so in a tiny voice, I whispered, “Yes. Yes, ma.”

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