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“FOOL’S PARADISE”

FICTION DRAMA
BY MUHUMUZA B. BAGEIRE

Muhumuza B. Bageire
P.O. Box 27
Kampala
Uganda
Tel: +25675315545
Email:muhumuza.bageire@gmail.com

2005

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Chapter One
There were days when he felt that life just wasn’t fair. This was a cruel, hard world.
Why couldn’t he be like his friends, all carefree and easy? Of course, he knew that
they had their own problems but it seemed they mostly concerned transportation or
rather the lack of it when a parent withheld the car keys, and the lack of a venue for a
little fun with the flavour of the month or week or day. The girls were always buzzing
around his friends, but to them he was just part of the furniture, albeit a comfortable
and favourite sofa or armchair. What was wrong with him? He was good looking,
witty, relatively knowledgeable and dressed well. So why was he alone?
Kaye Morrison stared moodily at his friends. César Kamani, Alex Dramadri
and Theo Kamali were involved in an animated conversation about cars.
St Andrew’s College was one of the finest schools in the country. Parents
clamoured to enrol their children there because it produced results. Discipline was
tight but there were always a few students who got away with various
misdemeanours, mainly due to a devious mind or connections amongst the officials in
the student government.
The school was set on a beautiful piece of real estate in the eastern region of
Uganda that accorded the students a tranquil atmosphere. Another reason for the
school’s eminence amongst the students was it’s variety of extra curricular activities
and the fact that popularity was not derived from family connections but garnered
from individual merit. The impression from outsiders was that the school lacked
seriousness. The students and the parents were not concerned with this misconception,
for they knew better; a large percentage of the students went on to the national
university on scholarship while others had good enough grades to get themselves into
other prominent universities without a fuss.
It was a scorching Saturday afternoon at the college, where weekends were a
time to relax after a hectic week of studies. It was also a time to preen and show off to
one another. Underneath the various trees that abounded on the well-tended school
compound, boys stood in small groups as they admired the girls that were prancing
about. Other boys felt that was a waste of time and decided that it would be more
worth their while if they joined the girls and hatched up some mischievous plot for the
night; it was dance night.
Kaye and his friends were sitting by the basketball courts where a heated game
was in progress. Kaye contemplated a swim in the pool when he saw a hand waving
right in front of his face. “What’s up?” Alex asked. Kaye shook his head and shrugged
his shoulders. “Nothing, why?”
“You’ve been very quiet, that’s why. Now, what’s up?”
“Nothing, I was just watching the game.”
“Psh!” César snorted, “You weren’t even looking at the court so how could you have
been watching the game? Man, you’re talking to us, we know you like the back of our
hands. So, what’s up? Man, talk to us. We’re your peeps, man!”
Kaye smiled, the way César sometimes spoke amused him. There were times
he felt that his friend deliberately set out to be a clown. “Listen, you guys it’s nothing
really. I’m fine, honest.”
“It’s amazing how this boy can lie through his teeth and sound so convincing,” Theo
shook his head in wonderment, “You’re not fooling us, Kaye. We know something’s
bothering you and we’re going to bug you until you tell us.”
Kaye sighed and leaned back on the grassy knoll. He knew that his friends
would not give up, so he told them what was on his mind. Alex was incredulous, “You

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guy! You’re not serious! The way babes have been dying for you. How can you even
think that they don’t notice you?”
“The thing is byanas think that you’re unapproachable. I know for a fact that Suzanne
Aseya has this mad crush on you and wouldn’t mind getting with you but she says
that you’re too aloof,” César said.
A little taken aback, Kaye said, “I don’t think I’m unfriendly, if anything I
always go out of my way to help whenever I can.” Alex pointed out that the girls were
aware of his generosity, but they felt that there he was off limits to any intimacy. It
was as if he’d built an invisible wall around him. “We’re about the only people that
you allow to come close to you, although you sometimes shut us out too,” Theo
added. Kaye chewed on his lip as he digested what he’d just heard. They probably had
a point and he would have to make a conscious effort to be more open.
Juliana Kagimba and Laura Kempuga were heading in their direction. Alex
nudged César and said with awe, “But you guy, that kyana has a body. You’re lucky to
be with her.”
“Who, Laura? Ah, that chick is easy. It’s just that she likes to play games so guys
think that she’s hard to get, but she loves to get down.”
“Eh? So if I asked her for some she’d give me?” Kaye laughed at Theo’s expression;
the boy looked hungry.
As the girls joined them, Laura asked what the joke was. Arms akimbo, breasts
barely contained in a tank top, she repeated her question. The boys brushed it aside
with unintelligible murmurs.
César went into his “G” mode, a kind of posturing he affected when he was
feeling on top of the world. He licked his lips and smiled suggestively as he looked
her up and down, “So, what’s up?” Laura smiled prettily and replied, “Humph, that’s
what I’d like to know. You tell me.” César pulled her to him and held her tight. Laura
giggled, “Now I know what’s up! So what are we going to do about it?”
“Walk with me a while and I’ll tell you." César winked at his friends as they walked
away. The boys shook their heads and grinned as Juliana rolled her eyes and
expressed her reservations. “The way those two are going, they’re going to get
themselves into trouble.”
“No,” said Kaye, “César knows what he’s doing.”
“How can you say that when all those two do is have sex? What about the dangers
that go along with that?” Juliana wanted to know. Kaye responded with, “Stop being
so worried, César’s smart, he can handle whatever’s thrown at him.” Juliana raised a
skeptical brow, “It’s not him I’m worried about.”
A few minutes later, César was back. He told Juliana that Laura was calling
her. When she was gone, Alex told César, “Juliana likes you,”
“Wapi, you’re just imagining things,” César responded.
“No, for real,” Alex was adamant.
“How come you’re so sure?” Kaye wanted to know.
“It’s the way she’s always looking at César,” Alex said, “And also the way she always
seems so disapproving when he’s around Laura. I’m sure it’s because she’s jealous.”
“Guys, stop fantasising okay! Juliana only puts up with me because of Laura.”
“César, I’m telling you, I have this gut feeling…and you know my gut feelings,
they’re never wrong.
César made a dismissive gesture and joined Kaye on the grass. Kaye gave him
a side-glance and grinned. “So what devious plot have you come up with this time?”
César just smirked and lay down, folding his arms behind his head.

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He thought about the night of the Senior 5 welcome dinner. He had looked
good that night and Laura had told him so, which had pleased him immensely. Many
of the Senior 5 boys had been clamouring to escort her but it was he that she’d wanted
to go to the dinner with. He’d learnt from a classmate that Laura had heard much
about him from Juliana, who was a long time friend of hers. When Laura joined the
school at the beginning of the term, she’d been instantly attracted to him.
Initially, he hadn’t been sure about what she was after, but despite the fact that
he now knew she was just after his body, he was still willing to oblige her in order to
keep her. He had hopes of turning their liaison into a more serious relationship.
The boys decided to go for a swim in the pool. They fooled around in the
water, terrorising the girls, who didn’t mind too much because they had the attention
of the most popular boys in the school. The boys were known as The Dudes. The
afternoon wore on and The Dudes tiring of their antics, decided to head back to their
dormitory.
All the dormitories were named after major African cities. Nairobi, Dar-es-
Salaam, Accra were the junior dorms while Ouagadougou, Cape Town and Lagos
accommodated the seniors, with Kampala housing the officials.

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Chapter Two
Ouagadougou was in chaos. The party fever was building up. Everyone was
shouting in a call and response manner. “Ouaga, Ouaga – Ouagie baby! Ouaga, Ouaga
– Ouagie baby! We gonna Ouaga – Watch out baby! ‘CAUSE WE GONNA WAG IT
RIGHT AT YOU!” Kaye, Alex, Theo and César joined in the cheer after which they
all laughed raucously as they headed for their cubicle.
Ouagadougou was one large hall that was partitioned into cubicles, which
accommodated two double-decked beds and two wardrobes. There were two doors on
either end of the dorm. They opened to two courtyards that led to the senior six
rooms.
The prefects were on the prowl. They knew that the late afternoon before a
dance was the time students sneaked in alcohol. Two prefects sauntered into The
Dudes’s cubicle and struck up a conversation as they casually inspected the place,
asking questions about miscellaneous items as if they held any interest for them.
Kaye shook his head as he chuckled, “You guys, why don’t you just come
straight out and ask if we have any swallow?” The prefects stated that it was just a
social visit. “Look, you’ve never “visited” us before and we know for a fact that you
don’t like us and I know you haven’t gotten a change of heart, so why don’t you cut
the bullshit, search the place and bust!” Theo couldn’t stand hypocrites; especially the
ones he felt were stupid.
The prefects did not appreciate The Dudes’s attitude and a confrontation was
on the verge of taking place when Morgan Mushega entered. “I’ll take over from
here,” he said to the prefects. With some reluctance, they left. Turning to his friends
Morgan said, “How many times do I have to tell you to stop annoying my prefects?
They’re just doing their jobs. Just chill them, okay?” There were murmurs of assent
all round. “Good,” Morgan continued, “Hey César, I was wondering if I could borrow
your black jeans.” César pointed him to where they were and soon Morgan was on his
way. Theo commented, “Sometimes Morgan can be so worked-up, he’s the one who
needs to chill!”
Four years of O’ level had seen them get into trouble for only minor
infractions but never the more serious offences. Theo wondered why the prefects
thought that the two years of A’ level would be any different. The others chuckled as
they nodded their agreement. “You guys need to realise that it’s Morgan who keeps us
out of trouble. Stop tempting fate,” said César.
“Now look who’s being so hot and bothered?” Theo joked. They all joined him in
laughter. César sobered and remarked, “But seriously, we need to realise that we’re
not above the rules.”
“Yeah, yeah, don’t get preachy on us. I’m off to bathe.” Alex grabbed his basin and
towel as made his way to the first courtyard. The others followed suit.

♣ ♣ ♣

Meanwhile, at girls’ end, there was bustling activity as girls went about their
preparations for the dance later that evening. The girls’ dormitories were larger than
the boys’ dorms, each with rooms that accommodated six girls in the junior dorms and
four girls in the senior dorms. The rooms in each dormitory shared a common corridor
that led to a courtyard that was flanked by the bathrooms and the rooms of the girls in
the highest class of both the junior and senior sections.

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In Alexandria, one of the junior dormitories, sitting on her bed, Cassandra
looked up from the novel she was reading as the door to the room flew open and
slammed shut. She watched her best friend and roommate rush to the window and
hand over a one-litre bottle that had been hidden underneath her jacket to a girl that
was waiting for her outside who quickly disappeared. She then jumped into her bed
seconds before the door flew open once again and the Head Girl, Aida Namatovu,
stormed in. “Maureen Mukasa, you will tell me what you were hiding underneath
your jacket!” Maureen replied in the weakest voice she could muster, “Nothing.”
“You will stop lying to me, Maureen!”
“I swear I’m not.”
“Then get out of your bed so I can check you.”
“But I’m sick; I think I’m getting malaria.”
“I don’t believe you. When I called you a few minutes ago, you were running like a
mad woman, hiding something from me.”
“I wasn’t hiding anything. I was feeling dizzy so I was trying to rush to my bed before
I collapsed.”
Aida stepped to Maureen, pulled back her bed covers, and patted her down.
She searched under the beds and then turned to Cassandra with a questioning look.
Cassandra just shrugged and returned to her novel. Aida then turned back to Maureen,
“You had better be telling me the truth.”
“I am. I’m just waiting for the medical assistant to open the medical room.” Aida gave
her one final glare and swept out of the room.
Maureen giggled as Cassandra burst into laughter, “I swear, Mo, sometimes I
think you enjoy living on the edge.” Maureen got out of her bed and shrugged off her
jacket, “Well, what do you expect with this boring old school? There’s never any real
action so one must create one’s own fun!”
“I hate it when you switch to that accent of yours. Anyway, you had better watch out
because Aida is determined to catch you.” Maureen made a dismissive gesture, as they
heard a knock at the window. The girl that had been handed the one-litre bottle earlier
by Maureen was returning it minus half the contents. Maureen took it, thanking the
girl who promised to reciprocate the next time. “No problem,” said Maureen.
Cassandra grabbed greedily at the bottle and took a large swig from it.
Maureen raised a sardonic brow, “Cassandra Kamani! I hope you realise that’s alcohol
and not water you’re guzzling like that. Be careful, you don’t want you’re brother
seeing you drunk.”
“Ach! He can go to hell. I’m going to have some fun tonight in spite of him!”
The girls continued to drink then Cassandra asked where Maureen had got the
alcohol; it tasted different. “This’ the real stuff, not that watered down nonsense that
the other guys give us. I got this from Yona.”
“You’re really serious about that guy. There’s something shady about him. Besides,
you know how him and his friends are always getting into trouble. You had better be
careful.”
“He’s so irresistible, I can’t help myself.” Then Maureen leaned over to Cassandra in
a conspiratorial manner, “Tonight, Yona and his teenies want to sneak us out of school
for a drink up.”
“Are you mad? We could get into trouble!”
“Shh! There’s no need to shout. What’s the matter, Cass? Are you chicken? I’ve never
known you to turn down an opportunity for some fun.”
“Well, this is not one of them. I told you I intend on having some fun tonight,”
Cassandra said huffily

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Chapter Three
Morgan Mushega was in the prefects’ common room when Aida Namatovu
walked in. They exchanged greetings as Aida poured herself a cup of tea. She sat
wearily in a chair. “You look like you’ve had a long day,” Morgan observed. Aida
settled further in her seat and sighed after a sip of her tea, “That’s an understatement!
Maureen Mukasa alone is enough to give anybody a nervous breakdown.” Morgan
threw his head back, let out a roar of laughter and agreed, “Yes, I know what you
mean. Between her, Anthony Baiga and the Senior 4s, it’s amazing the school’s still
standing!”
Aida arranged her skirt primly around her legs with one hand as she took a sip
from her cup. Looking at Morgan, she said, “To tell you the truth, I’m not looking
forward to tonight. Saturdays are usually the craziest days and policing those kids is a
nightmare.”
“Too true, but what I do is pretend that I’m not bothered by what they’re doing and
pounce when they least expect it.”
“Ha! Whenever I try that, it never works…it’s like there’s a spy network that makes
international security organisations look like non-starters!” Morgan let out another of
his hearty chuckles, “Yeah, I know what you mean.”
As Morgan continued to chuckle Aida watched him, “I get the impression that
you take things a little too lightly.” This made Morgan bristle, “Why?” Aida just
shrugged her shoulders as she said, “It’s just a feeling.”
“Because I refuse to get uptight about everything around me...No I just like to look on
the brighter things of life.” Morgan put his empty bottle of soda in an empty crate and
walked stiffly out of the common room. Aida rolled her eyes as she continued sipping
her tea and thought, now who’s being uptight?

♣ ♣ ♣

In Casablanca, a senior dormitory, Laura Kempuga admired her half-naked body in


the mirror and screwed up her face in disgust. “Hmm,” she said, “I’ve put on some
weight.” Her roommate Connie Mafabi turned to their friend Imelda Ariko and shook
her head in amusement before turning back to face Laura, saying, “What weight?
You’re still as slim as when you joined the school at the beginning of the term. Stop
complaining, you’re just fishing for a compliment.” Laura grinned at them, “And you
told me exactly what I wanted to hear. I have to look good for tonight.”
“Why do you have to look good tonight? You hardly ever bother to dress up for any of
the dances,” said Juliana Kagimba as she entered the room.
“Yes, but tonight is different. I’m planning on giving César the best night he’s ever
had, so I have to really put him in the mood.”
“Oh. I don’t understand this fixation you have with sex.”
“Juliana, dear, that’s the only way to keep a man.”
“No, it isn’t, Laura. Besides, have you thought about the STDs, HIV/AIDS and
unwanted pregnancies that come along with sex?”
“You need to relax. You have a way of working yourself up. I know how to take care
of business so stop worrying about me.”
“Trust me, Laura, most of the time it’s not by choice, you have a way of putting
yourself in compromising situations.”
“Hey, I’m a big girl. I can take care of myself.”

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“Oh don’t pay attention to Juliana,” Imelda interjected, she was excited, “Uh-huh,
what’s the plan? Come on, Laura, give us details.”
“There’s no need to panic, all will be revealed in due course.”
Laura continued to admire her body in the mirror as Connie unveiled from
beneath her pillow a soda bottle that was filled with bungu, a local drink distilled from
cassava. Imelda grabbed at it eagerly and took a large swig. Juliana sighed, that was
another thing she couldn’t understand, this tradition of consuming alcohol before a
dance. She was glad she didn’t need any to enjoy herself; she believed it was all in the
mind. Besides, alcohol had a tendency of making you do things that you normally
wouldn’t do. “Exactly! That’s why we take it, it gives us courage,” said Connie.
Juliana shook herself out of her reverie; she must have said the last bit out loud. She
stood up and rummaged in Laura’s suitcase. “What’re you looking for?” Laura wanted
to know.
“You’re hipsters.”
“They’re hanging on the hook behind the door.” Juliana thanked her and left the room.
Connie made a face at the closing door. “How can you stand her?” she asked.
“Who?” Laura wanted to know.
“Juliana. She’s always putting on this ‘holier than thou’ act but I can tell that there’s
passion boiling underneath that cool surface.”
“Juliana, passionate? Ha! That will be the day. Anyway, she’s a good person and I for
one have no problem with her,” Imelda chipped in.
“I agree with Imelda, besides, she’s my best friend,” Laura added. Connie just
shrugged her shoulders and said, “Okay.”

♣ ♣ ♣

At boy’s end, in Nairobi, Senior 2 student, James Adonnes was reading a book as he
sat in the one of the courtyards. His classmate, Anthony Baiga entered the courtyard
and stood over him. “Jamo, what is wrong with you?” he asked. James looked at him
with a blank expression. “How can you be studying when everybody is getting ready
for what promises to be the best dance of the term!” Anthony was incredulous. James
just shrugged his shoulders and went back to his book.
In disgust, Anthony snatched the book from James who growled in
exasperation. Anthony pointed an admonishing finger at him, “Now, now, temper,
temper.” James glared at him as he said, “I think I have the right. Why don’t you just
leave me alone? I would like to get some studying done before the dance. After all, a
dance is just a dance.” Anthony made a dismissive gesture, “Yeah, whatever. Come,
let’s go.”
“Where?”
“Let’s go.” James sighed, it was pointless arguing with Anthony; the boy was so
persistent that he sometimes sounded like a broken record. He stood up and followed
his decker-mate.
The two friends left Nairobi and sauntered into Dar-es-Salaam, also a junior
dorm, and headed for the corner room on the right in the first courtyard. A boy who
went by the name of Wendo let them in. Wendo was doing a booming business; his
room was packed with eager students who wanted alcohol but were not brave enough
to go to the village to get it for themselves. James wrinkled his nose in distaste and
worried about being caught by the prefects. He turned to leave but Anthony held onto
his arm. “Relax,” he said. James snatched his arm from Anthony’s grip and said,

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“Anto, this place is a trap and if you want to stay and get caught, that’s up to you but
I’m not ready to get into trouble.”
“Kawa, that’s okay, let me get the swallow and we bust.” James shifted his weight
impatiently from foot to foot as Anthony made his purchase, seeming to take forever.
Finally, Anthony was ready to go and the two left Wendo’s room.
As they reached the courtyard door, a group of prefects swept passed them.
The two friends stopped to see what they were up to. The prefects marched into
Wendo’s room and immediately apprehended all in the room, some too intoxicated to
comprehend fully what was taking place. One by one each prefect left the room
pushing, supporting or leading the occupants of the room. Wendo was putting up quite
a spirited fight but the prefect that had a hold of him away was a husky, no-nonsense
young man who handled him quite well.
James turned to Anthony with a righteous look. Anthony made another of his
dismissive gestures and marched out of Dar-es-Salaam. James shook his head in
amusement as he followed his friend, Anthony did not like to admit that he was
wrong.
Back in their cubicle, Anthony Baiga took a swig from the bottle that he had
just bought from Wendo and handed it to James. When he didn’t reach for it Anthony
asked, “What’s the matter?”
“Nothing, I just don’t feel like drinking.”
“Ach, stop being a sissy! Here, drink some, it won’t kill you.” James reluctantly took
the bottle and sipped tentatively. When he noticed Anthony’s scrutiny, he took a large
sip and screwed up his face, the stuff was disgusting. Anthony grinned and patted him
on the back, “That’s more like it.” James watched him take another swig and
wondered why anyone could derive any pleasure from such a foul tasting drink.
Anthony offered James some more alcohol and then polished off the rest. The two
friends grabbed their towels and basins as they headed for one of the courtyards to
bathe. As they finished dressing, prefects came into the dormitory and herded all the
boys out like cattle.
As they made their way down to the main hall, James felt light headed and
stumbled. Anthony held his arm to steady him and hissed, “Will you chill! The
prefects will see you and you’ll get us both into trouble.”
“You shouldn’t have forced me to drink.”
“Did I put a gun to your head?”
“You might as well should have.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Nothing,” James muttered as he snatched his arm from Anthony’s grip and promptly
stumbled again.
“What is your problem?”
“Nothing, just leave me alone!”
“Kawa, do what you want!” Anthony walked ahead in a huff. James stopped and took
a moment to get his bearings back then followed Anthony into the main hall, joining
him in their class line for roll call.
As Aida Namatovu prowled the main hall, she caught sight of James Adonnes
joining his class line for roll call…she could have sworn that she saw him stagger.
Shaking her head in disbelief, she prowled on; there was no way that James could be
drunk.

♣ ♣ ♣

9
Back in Ouagadougou, the courtyard was packed with bathing students so The Dudes
dumped their basins by the water taps and headed for one of the senior six rooms.
After knocking on the door in the far corner a voice came from within, “Do
birds fly?” César replied, “As high as a kite” The door was unbolted and opened.
Danston Mugoya stood at the door bare-chested and grinning as he scratched his wild
and unruly afro. He stepped aside and let the boys in. The room reeked of ganja as
always.
Danston was the son of a very wealthy businessman who contributed heavily
to the school. Everyone knew that he drank and smoked but because he pretty much
kept to himself and because of his family connections, they left him alone. Besides, he
was the favourite nephew of the Headmaster who was prone to disbelieving anything
negative said about him.
Danston was also fiercely loyal to his friends, especially The Dudes, of which
he was part. He found that they were usually true to themselves and didn’t take any
nonsense from anyone, definitely his kind of people. Oh, and another thing, they
always secured him with some fine girls who they sometimes helped sneak into his
single room. Danston was the only non-official with a single room.
Theo and César sat cross-legged on the floor as Kaye positioned himself by
the desk behind the door and Alex joined Danston on his unmade bed. The host pulled
from under his bed a one-litre bottle filled with bungu.
The bottle was passed around as they sipped from it. Danston lit a reefer and
passed it around too. It was excellent weed. César watched his friends in wonderment
while the mood became mellow as it kicked in. Smoking marijuana wasn’t one of his
favourite activities and declined to partake in it.
They continued to guzzle the booze and it changed their disposition to a more
active one. They decided that it was time to get ready for the dance. They gurgled
mouthwash and hit the taps. Dressed to kill and smelling of expensive colognes the
boys headed for the dance at the main hall.

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Chapter Four
They were late, everyone had been chased out of the dormitories and roll call
had already been made, but nobody bothered with them as they made their entrance.
The music was pumping out in vibrating rhythms and students were seriously working
the dance floor singing “Mama Mbiire” along with Juliana Kanyomozi and Bobi
Wine.
The Dudes moved to one side of the main hall to where the boys stood.
Several boys were already discussing which girl they were going to slow dance while
others looked miserable as they were at the dance only because they had to be.
Laura Kempuga and Juliana Kagimba dragged The Dudes to the dance floor.
Connie Mafabi, Imelda Ariko and Suzanne Aseya joined them. César grinned at Kaye
who pretended not to notice. The music changed from hip-hop to Lingala and César
moved to Kaye and urged him not to waste time, it was time he made a move on
Suzanne because he knew that another boy was planning to do likewise.
Kaye danced one more song then told Suzanne that he was going out for some
fresh air and asked her if she cared to join him. Suzanne beamed at him and agreed.
Technically, students were not allowed to leave the main hall until the end of the
dance unless you were an official but a few students got away with it because of their
friendship with the officials and the teacher on duty didn’t fuss either if there was no
incident, mainly out of laziness.
The Dudes nudged and “high-fived” each other as the two left. Juliana
watched César intently as they continued to dance.
Outside, Kaye stood awkwardly by Suzanne’s side fidgeting with his fingers.
Suzanne said, “Kaye, why are so quiet? You can be quite talkative. Or is it me that’s
the problem?” Kaye rushed to deny it but her wide grin stopped him; she was just
teasing him.
Kaye was silent for a moment then blurted out, “Do you like me Suzanne, I
mean really like me?” Suzanne laughed. “Now that’s the Kaye I know. Yes, I like
you…I mean really like you.” Kaye stood there and looked at her with a very wide
grin on his face. Suzanne giggled at his glee, feeling all nice and warm. She sought his
hand and he held hers firmly giving it an occasional squeeze. They stood side-by-side
in silence but very happy and content.
The music changed to Dionne Warwick’s “Whispers in the Dark” César took
hold of Laura and pulled her close to him. After a few moments rubbing against each
other Laura whispered into César’s ear, “I hope that later tonight you’ll be moving
that way.”
“Don’t I always.” He held her even tighter as they drifted into a world of their own.
As Juliana danced, she watched Laura and César over Theo’s shoulder. She
wondered what he saw in her. She was her friend and a nice person too, but basically,
the girl was loose. Right now, she was hot for César, but what would happen when she
tired of him and set her sights on somebody else? At least she would be there to offer
consolation for she knew that César really liked Laura and he would be very unhappy.
Morgan held Aida in his arms. “Would you rather we stopped dancing?” Aida
looked up at him puzzled and asked, “Why?”
“You’re so stiff. It’s like you wish you were somewhere else.”
“I wouldn’t have agreed to dance with you if I didn’t want to.”
“Then relax.”
“I am relaxed.”
“Wow, if that’s how you feel like when relaxed, I’d hate to see you tensed up.”

11
Aida pulled away and glared at him. “Well, if I’m not laid back enough for you then
why don’t you find another dance partner?” With that, Aida turned on her heel and
walked away in a huff. Morgan sighed, that girl needs to loosen up. He spotted
Connie Mafabi standing alone and approached her for a dance to which she agreed.
Suzanne and Kaye joined the dancers and swayed cheek to cheek. Theo caught
Alex’s attention over Juliana’s shoulder and gestured to the couple with his head. He
turned and saw Kaye mouthing the words of Mario’s “Let Me Love You” to Suzanne
who was gazing happily into his eyes. Wondering what he was looking at, his dance
partner Imelda glanced over his shoulder and eyed the scene. She cackled and Alex
asked what was so funny. “Look at them,” she said, “They look so stupid acting all
gooey and stuff.”
“I happen to think that they look very good together.” The coldness of his tone
silenced her.
The song ended and Alex turned and walked away. Danston was leaning
against the wall shaking his head, “That wasn’t very nice leaving her on the dance
floor like that.”
“I know but sometimes she annoys me. She’s always mouthing off about everyone as
if she’s perfect herself. I don’t even know why I bother talking to her. The chick
irritates me.” Danston decided to hold his council. Alex sighed, “Okay Danston, out
with it.” Danston smiled, “She wants you to sleep with her.” Alex was incredulous,
“What does Imelda’s bitchiness have to do with sex?”
“She’s not getting any that’s what. Her friends all around her are getting it but no one
is making her any offers even if it’s for the satisfaction of saying no.”
“So, why doesn’t she come straight out and ask for it?” Danston was amused, “Come
on Alex, you’re smarter than that. Would you do that? At least you’d hint around first.
Besides, this is Uganda. As liberal as our teenies have become, there’s still a little bit
of that feeling that girls shouldn’t do the asking because it might make them look
desperate.” Alex chuckled, “Someone forgot to tell Laura that.”
“Besides,” Danston continued, “There’s a school of thought that believes abstinence is
the way to go.”
“Yeah, I think I can relate to that.”
There was a fracas at the back of the main hall. A drunken girl who was
insisting on dancing but could barely stand was making a big fuss. Her friends were
trying to control her but she wasn’t having it. Maureen Mukasa, in exasperation,
turned on her heel and stormed off.
A short while later, the crowd that had gathered around her parted and César
appeared, Maureen close behind, looking a little anxious. “Cassandra, stop it!” She
looked at César through bleary-eyes as she struggled to stand straight. “Ach, leave me
’lone! Jus’ go ’way. You ’ways like spoiling my fun, go ’way!” César took a deep
breath then gave her a slap that knocked her out cold. Her friends seized her before
she hit the ground and pulled her to a corner. “Maureen,” César said as he noticed her
next to him, “Watch over her and make sure she doesn’t get into trouble.” Maureen
nodded grimly as César walked away.
“I don’t know what to do with that girl. She can’t hold her alcohol but she
insists on drinking. If she gets caught and is sent home it’ll be me my parents will
kill,” César remarked as he joined Laura.
“Don’t worry, everything will be okay.”
“I can’t help worrying.”
“Relax, we have a long night ahead of us…you’ll be needing all your energy.”

12
On the other side of the main hall, Anthony found James standing alone,
leaning on the wall. “Why aren’t you dancing?”
“I don’t feel like dancing,” replied James.
“Why?”
“Because I’m tired, I’ve been dancing from the moment we arrived.”
“I don’t understand you. We are at a dance that has phat jams and hot babes and all
you can do is bore yourself by standing up against the wall.”
“Has it occurred to you that I just might be enjoying myself watching what is going
on?”
“Why watch when you can be in the mix? Teenie, get with the program!”
The tempo of the music slowed down and Anthony took hold of James’ hand
as he led him to the dance floor. James quickly snatched his hand away. “There’s no
way I’m dancing a slow with you!”
“Don’t be stupid!” Anthony took hold of James’ hand once again, “Just follow me.”
With much trepidation, James did as he was told. They crossed the dance floor and
stopped in front of a group of girls that parted to reveal Maureen Mukasa. She smiled,
“Hi James, I was beginning to wonder if you were ever going to ask me for a dance.”
“Huh?” was all James could say. Maureen’s smile widened. “Come on,” she said as
she took hold of his hand and led him to the dance floor. Maureen wrapped her arms
round James’ shoulders as he put his arms tentatively around her waist. “You’re
shaking,” she said.
“Yes,” he croaked and felt his face grow hot.
“Relax, I won’t bite.” She took hold of his arms and wrapped them tighter around her
waist. He felt his hormones raging inside of him and he tried to pull away but she
wouldn’t let him. “Will you relax, it’s a natural reaction. Actually, I’m quite flattered.”
James felt his face grow hotter and wished that the ground would open up to swallow
him. From a short distance away, Anthony grinned and mentally patted himself on the
back.
The entertainment minister announced the last dance. Everyone surged onto
the dance floor and danced with an enthusiasm that seemed to know no bounds. By
now, Cassandra had sobered up a little and her face was feeling sore. Damn her
brother, he was always trying to control her life, she was sick of it. Maureen joined
her looking pleased with herself. “What were you doing with that small boy,”
Cassandra wanted to know.
“What small boy?” Maureen was all innocence. Cassandra rolled her eyes in
exasperation, “I’m talking about James.” A wicked grin spread across Maureen’s face
as she said, “Trust me, Cass, the boy isn’t small at all!”
“Get your mind out of the gutter, you know what I mean and you haven’t answered
my question.”
“I was just getting to know him better.”
“Oh no, you’re planning on corrupting the poor boy. Mo, he’s only in Senior 2!”
“That’s only a class below us.”
“Yes, but S2 and S3, to us is light years apart!”
“Speak for yourself. Besides, I’m not corrupting him, I’m educating him.”
“With you, there isn’t much difference.”
“You’re just fuming because your brother caught you drunk.”
“Yeah, thanks to you!”
“What was I supposed to do? You were going bananas and fighting everyone. I
warned you about drinking too much of that bungu,” Maureen admonished.

13
“Please,” Cassandra said, “I don’t need you to preach to me. If that idiot thinks he can
ruin my night, he has another thing coming. Are we still on for later tonight?”
“Of course, Yona said to meet him by the biology labs at three.”
“Good!”
The girls were the first to leave, starting with the Senior Ones, then the Senior
Twos and so on. Aida Namatovu stood at the door and ticked each girl’s name as she
left the hall. César escorted Laura to the door when it was the Senior Fives’ turn. She
whispered into his ear reminding him of their rendezvous later in the night. As César
left her, Laura joined Connie who said, “You need to calm down, your vibrating with
anticipation and you know how easily Aida’s suspicion is aroused.” Laura giggled at
that, “Yeah well, what she needs is her libido aroused!”
“The ‘Ice Queen’? That will be the day!” The two girls walked out of the main hall
arm in arm, giggling mischievously.
César watched Laura leave with Connie and thought that he must be the
greatest lover that ever lived, and then he smiled to himself as he thought, yeah right!
He knew that it was just wishful thinking. Aida watched César as he walked back to
his friends. Morgan Mushega watched her watching César; she was always watching
him.
Danston raised an inquiring eyebrow and César told him that he needed to use
his room later in the night. “Change of plan I see. You always go to girls’ end. What’s
up?” César replied, “Juliana told Laura that the Head Girl is on the lookout, and since
girls almost never come to the boys’ end especially in the middle of the term, it would
not occur to the prefects that Laura would do so.”
“Don’t be too sure about that,” Danston chipped in, “Aida’s like a hawk; she misses
nothing.”
“True,” César agreed, “but right now Laura’s in her good graces and besides, things
have been relatively quiet lately and security is a little lax.”
“Don’t worry; we’ve got your back,” Kaye said. Theo nodded his agreement and
added, “And brother, you had better give us all the nauseating details.”
“I think I should write a book, ‘The Adventures of César Kamani…The Man Who
Couldn’t Keep It Zipped Up’,” laughed Alex. César scowled at Alex. His friends
laughed as they left the main hall. César wasn’t amused, his status as the school stud
was becoming a strain.

14
Chapter Five
There was the usual commotion in Ouagadougou before lights-out as the boys
prepared for bed. There was still some excitement after the dance. Some of the boys
were heard complaining about how the dance had bored them because there hadn’t
been anything special about it. “That’s because you had no byanas to kaboozi and
dance with,” someone said to the laughter of the whole dorm. The boys felt it prudent
not to respond because it would spark off a series of taunts that could be rather
scathing. The prefects came in with their usual superiority and made sure that
everyone was in their beds, then switched off the lights. It was eleven thirty.
Midnight came and went, as did one o’clock. César tossed and turned in his
bed restlessly waiting for the time he could go to Danston’s room. “Eh, relax,”
whispered Alex from the bed above, “It’s almost time; damn, one would think that
you’ve never had a chow before.” There were chuckles from Theo and Kaye.
“What if something goes wrong?”
“That has never bothered you before, why the sudden concern?”
“She’s never been to boys’ end. She might go to the wrong room.”
“Are you worried that she might chow some other teenie?”
“Go to hell.” There were chuckles all round.
At the stroke of two Danston was in their cubicle and César jumped out of his
bed. “It looks like we might have to share the room,” Danston informed him.
“Why? My bed is free. You could chill out here until I’m through. I thought that we’d
agreed on that. Why do you want to play a brother like that?”
“Will you relax? What’s wrong with you? Laura came with Connie who’s more
conversant with the layout of the joint and she can’t very well just sit there and watch
you two chowing.” César grinned sheepishly. The two friends went to his room.
Theo and Kaye climbed onto the roof from both courtyards where they had a
vantage point view of the surrounding area. Alex kept a look out by the main door.
Soon, he spotted someone coming towards the door of Ouagadougou and at first
thought it was a prefect but then he recognised the figure of Kamal Latif. He assumed
that Theo and Kaye had recognised him too or else they would have come down in a
hurry and everyone would have been back in their beds, with the girls on their way
back to their dorms.
“Where’s César?” Kamal was panting heavily. “And you do what?” Alex was
suspicious.
“I have some information for him.”
“Give it to me and I’ll pass it on.”
“Okay. When I was coming from villa I came across a group of boys. At first I
thought that they were prefects but it turned out to be some Senior 4s with a couple of
girls on their way to villa. One of the girls was Cassandra, César’s sis and the other
was Maureen Mukasa. I couldn’t do anything because I was alone and you know how
wild these S.4s are. So I thought I’d come and tell him.” Alex swore and told Kamal
to follow him.
César opened the door after Alex identified himself. The girls were already
getting dressed thinking that the prefects were on their way. Alex told him that they
had to go to the nearby village. “Why?” César was puzzled.
“Your sis’s there with Maureen and some S.4 boys.”
“Damn! Let me get dressed. In the meantime round up Theo and Kaye…By the way,
which S.4 boys?”

15
“Yona and his clique.” Kamal replied. César cursed some more, Yona and his friends
were the most notorious students in the school.
The Dudes along with Kamal and the girls sneaked out of Ouagadougou on
the lookout for prefects and the college guards. They made their way around the
bushes, using the non-discernable routes that they had created.
The nearby village or “villa” as the students called it was really a trading
centre that catered to the locals of the area. It had its drinking places but the students
rarely went there because the teaching staff frequented them.
It was further a field that the students went to drink, at the homes of families
that brewed and distilled alcohol to supplement their meagre earnings. The drinks
were extremely potent but also very cheap.
They checked several homes before they came to the right one two kilometres
from the trading centre. What greeted The Dudes was chaotic.
Everyone was roaring drunk and Yona and his three friends were fondling the
two girls. César saw red. Before Yona and his crew knew what was happening fists
connected with faces, feet with backsides and elbows with chests. It was a one sided
mêlée, César was furious with these boys for taking advantage of his sister and her
friend; his friends were just as mad.
Cassandra and Maureen were screaming like banshees. Laura and Connie took
hold of them and gave them some choice slaps that quieted them down. The Senior 4
boys lay groaning on the ground not quite knowing what had hit them, everything had
happened so fast.
Mama Sissy the proprietor went about her business as if nothing had
happened. She saw this sort of thing so often that she could usually predict the
outcome. Her other clients weren’t bothered either; it wasn’t any them that were in the
fracas this time, it was nice being entertained instead of being the entertainment for a
change
Cassandra and Maureen cowered away from César as he turned to them
menacingly. “You stupid cows! What is wrong with you? What were you thinking
of?”
“César calm down,” said Laura.
“How can you tell me to calm down when I find my kid sis and her friend, who are
only in S.3, being mauled by a bunch of rabid dogs?”
“Well shouting at them won’t help matters.”
César took a deep breath as he paced a little. “Okay, Cassandra, just tell me
what the hell I just saw.” Cassandra was crying. “We were just having a little fun. It’s
like you never want me to have any fun. You’re always in my business, making my
life hell.”
“I’m in your business because you’re always doing stupid things like this. I have no
problem if you want to have a little adventure but please be a little bit sensible about
it. The nonsense that you pulled tonight just doesn’t cut it!”
They all agreed that Laura and Connie would take the girls back to girls’ end
and they set off. Danston and Theo who had earlier gone to scout the school met them
on the way. “There are some askaris prowling about but they aren’t a threat, I sorted
them out with a bribe.” Danston informed them.
The Yona and his clique staggered painfully back to school. Unfortunately for
them, they were not privy to Danston’s information and they were in no condition to
think of a bribe, they just wanted to get to their beds. That was not to be. The college
guards netted them.

16
In the officials’ dorm, in their statements they had to write the boys revealed
that The Dudes was with them. With no sign of them having left them, everyone was
in their beds when the officials went to check in Ouagadougou. The Yona and his
friends were given suspensions.

17
Chapter Six
Wednesday afternoon after classes, The Dudes was sitting at their usual spot
by the basketball courts. Kaye spotted Suzanne Aseya walking towards the swimming
pool at the other side of the football field. He got up and followed her.
Alex grinned and said, “Things are really serious with those two. So what’s up
with you and Laura?” César Kamani shrugged, “The usual, why?”
“I don’t know,” said Alex, “It’s just that lately you’ve been a little distant with her.”
César sighed, “You’re right. It’s just that lately I find myself getting irritated by her.”
“Why? You two seem so tight.” Danston interjected.
“That’s the thing, I was hoping that we could be tighter but all she wants from me is
sex.”
“So? Man, most guys would love to be in your shoes!” Theo pointed out. César made
a dismissive gesture, “You guys wouldn’t understand.”
“Try us.” César turned to look at Danston, saw his deadpan face and sighed heavily,
“It’s just that I want more than sex. Anybody can have sex. Damn, animals just have
sex. But I want to be able to have a meaningful relationship with the lady I love!”
“To tell you the truth, I don’t see what your problem is. Laura’s the hottest chick in
the school.”
“Like I said, Theo, you wouldn’t understand.”
“You know, César,” Danston said, “I hear what you’re saying. I mean I wouldn’t mind
too much if I was in your position and all, but I can see where you’re coming from.
I’d probably feel the same if I were in your shoes.”
“You know my big bro, Basha, once told me that sex isn’t going anywhere; that it’s
okay to abstain until the time is right.”
“Hey, I hear you1” Alex chipped in.
Just then, they noticed Juliana Kagimba walking towards them. Alex
expressed surprise at her moving about without Laura. “Those two were beginning to
look like Siamese twins.” Juliana greeted everyone and then told César, “I need to talk
to you.” They moved a small distance and got into an animated discussion that lasted
a long while after which Juliana turned and walked away.
As César rejoined his friends Danston asked, “What’s the deal?” With
clenched jaws and shifting his weight from foot to foot César said, “Laura’s been
dogging on me.” Danston raised a casual brow, “Are you surprised? You yourself said
that she was easy.”
“Yeah, I know but it still doesn’t change the fact that I don’t like it. I was hoping that
the things would be different, you know, that she’d style up. I haven’t even so much
as looked at another kyana. I gave her all the chow she wanted hoping that she’d be
hooked onto me. Yeah right, probably just my ego talking.” Theo patted his shoulder,
“So then don’t let it get you down. There’s other fish in the sea.” Then he chuckled
and added as César walked away, “I heard that Aida has a thing for you – Ouch! What
did you hit me for?”
“You talk too much.” Danston admonished.
“What, I’m not allowed to express myself?”
“We’ve just been talking about abstinence and your talking about other fish in the sea?
Get real!”
“It was just a joke meant to boost his ego. Damn!”
“Bad timing my friend, bad timing; it’s a good thing that he didn’t hear what you
said.”

18
The bell rang for games. One could opt for sports or the various clubs that met
in this period. The boys made their way down to the main hall where the performing
arts club met every afternoon; rehearsals for the school’s annual dramatic production
were currently on.
Danston made his way back to Ouagadougou; he had an distaste for organised
sports sessions, he preferred to practice his martial arts on his own. No one was
allowed to be in the dormitories during games time, but Danston being Danston…

♣ ♣ ♣

That evening, just before prep begun, Laura saw César and called out his name. It
would seem that he did not hear her because he did not break his stride, disappearing
behind a block of classrooms. She hurried to catch up with him but when she turned
the corner of the classroom block, he was nowhere in sight. She checked in every
classroom and he wasn’t in any of them. When the bell rang for prep she headed for
the library, she would see him at short break.
César had run round the block of classrooms in order to avoid Laura. He was
relieved when he saw her heading for the library. He went to his class and settled
down to read. A quarter of an hour went by and he realised that he was still on the
same paragraph. He couldn’t seem to concentrate on African nationalism. He fidgeted
about and sighed, it was no use; Laura was destined to occupy his mind because he
couldn’t seem to get her out of his head.
As the juniors were heading back to their dormitories after the first prep Laura
peeped through the window into César’s classroom but he wasn’t in. Spotting The
Dudes standing just outside the door she went to them and asked if they had seen him.
They pointed her in the direction of the senior one classrooms.
She found him in a very dark spot behind one of the classrooms. She stood
rooted to the spot, shocked by what she saw. César was engrossed in a kiss with
Juliana. Deeply distressed, she spun on her heel and ran to her dormitory in the
process, jostling Aida Namatovu. Concerned, Aida followed her and found her crying
on her bed. “Hey, Laura, what’s the matter?” Laura looked at her with teary eyes,
“Thanks for the concern Aida but to be honest, it’s not something I want to talk about
right now.” Patting her on the back Aida stood up from Laura’s bed, “I understand. It’s
something to do with César though, right?” Laura nodded. “Well, when you feel ready
to talk, please don’t hesitate to come to me.” Laura nodded again and Aida left the
room.
Meanwhile, César and Juliana pulled away from each other. “I guess it
worked,” César commented dryly. Juliana shrugged, “I thought that was the whole
point?”
“Yeah, thanks.”
“Anytime.”
César watched her go. He had always thought of her as a bit of a cold fish but
tonight she proved him wrong. He had actually enjoyed kissing her. Laura catching
them had been her idea. The initial concept was to make Laura jealous so that she
could know how it felt to be cheated on, but this kiss had changed his perspective.
Theo’s words earlier on echoed in his mind, there were other fish in the sea. Maybe
Juliana was the one. He was a little confused. He’d just have to see how things went.
He found his friends waiting for him outside the Senior 5 classrooms just
before the bell for second prep. “I gather everything went according to plan because
we saw Laura zooming back to girl’s end and she looked mad,” said Danston. César

19
shrugged nonchalantly, he wasn’t enjoying himself. “I told you Juliana had a thing for
you. Why else would she be willing to be the “other woman”?” Alex whispered to
him.
Just then Aida stormed up to César, all up in his face, “It was only a matter of
time before you hurt Laura. I always knew that you were a no good dog and you’ve
just proven me right.” Visibly shaking with anger, César spat back, “You know jack
about what’s going on so I suggest you mind your own bloody business!” Aida
opened her mouth to respond but Danston calmly cut in, “Aida, chill! Get the full
picture first and then make a conclusion. As Head Girl, you should know that.
Besides, it really is none of your business.” Aida’s mouth clamped shut, at loss for
words. In a huff, she walked away. Alex wiped his brow in an exaggerated manner,
“Phew! You’re as tough as nails to take on Aida like that!
“Man, César! I knew Aida had a thing for you,” grinned Theo.
“What the hell are you talking about?”
“Ignore him, César; he’s talking a load of crock.”
“No, Danston, I want to know what he meant by that statement.”
“Don’t make a big deal about it; Theo thinks every girl wants you. You know how it
is.”
César didn’t look convinced but walked back to his class. “Theo, you need to
think before you talk.” Theo looked at Danston incredulously, “Why are you always
on my case? Can’t a brother express an opinion?”
“Only if it’s valid.”
“Oh, that’s right; I forgot that you’re ‘Mr. Know It All’!” Danston ignored Theo as
the bell sounded and walked to his class for second prep.

20
Chapter Seven
For the next two days Cesar kept out of Laura’s way mainly because he was
still angry with her. Juliana constantly sought him out but he didn’t mind, he found
that he was enjoying her company. The buzz around St Andrew’s College was that
they were an item.
Theo was confused, he was sure that Aida wanted César; he had heard it from
several sources that he considered reliable but this rumour about César and Juliana
was very baffling. Maybe he needed to re-evaluate his sources. He brought up the
subject with Alex, Kaye and Danston. Alex wasn’t interested, he was too busy fending
off Imelda Ariko’s advances; Kaye was too absorbed in his relationship with Suzanne
Aseya and Danston chewed him out for sticking his nose into things that did not
concern him. Theo was miffed.
The only one who seemed to be taking him seriously was Morgan who
appeared to be revelling in the sleazy aspects of school life. Which made Theo
wonder about his burgeoning relationship with Connie Mafabi. That was another thing
that puzzled him, “Morgan, Connie isn’t exactly girlfriend material.”
“Your point being?”
“Come on, Connie has been around quite a bit and she shows no signs slowing
down.”
“So? She can be tamed. As a matter of fact, she’s seeing me exclusively.”
“Okay,” Theo was doubtful, “If you say so.”
Things were heating up at St. Andrew's college and Theo was beginning to
wonder if he would be seared by the intensity of it all and again, Danston told him to
mind his own business.

♣ ♣ ♣

Cassandra found her brother sitting alone by the swimming pool. She sat next to him.
“Hey bro., you’ve been avoiding me.”
“No I haven’t. What makes you say that?”
“Well, you’re normally in my face at every opportunity, but for the past two days I
haven't even so much as gotten a glimpse of you. Juliana’s keeping you busy, huh?”
“And what’s that supposed to mean?”
“Come on, César, the whole school’s talking about you two. The other night Laura
and Juliana had a screaming match. Laura accused her of stealing her man and Juliana
replied that if she hadn’t been so busy humping around she would still have one. Man,
you should have seen the shock on Aida’s face! The old bat was so convinced that
Laura was as pure as the driven snow. I wonder why?
“Yeah, well, Aida thinks that she’s a saint and therefore has the right to judge
everyone.”
“You’re telling me! Anyway, to be honest, I’m surprised you took Laura even
remotely seriously.”
“Yeah, I know. I knew what she was like, but…well you know how you’re always
hoping that things will get better even when you know that they won’t? To tell you the
truth, Laura has a lot of good in her; she just doesn’t take herself seriously.”
“Of course, the fact that she has a great body doesn’t exactly hurt her chances,” teased
Cassandra. César laughed. “You have a point there…but then again maybe it’s what’s
contributing to her current situation.”

21
They sat there for a while in silence. “You know,” César spoke up, “This is
nice sitting here talking. We haven’t done that in ages.” Cassandra put her arm
through his. “It’s mostly my fault. I was so convinced that you were out to make me
miserable that I always had the urge to spite you. With hindsight one develops…what
do they say? Yes, one develops twenty/twenty vision.” César grinned, “I see that
we’ve been paying attention in class.”
Cassandra punched him playfully then put his arm through his again. “So tell
me, are things getting serious with Juliana?” César made a face, “Um, I think that she
would like them to be, but I’m not so sure. Don’t get me wrong, I like her a lot,
but…”
“But you still want Laura.”
“Something like that. Unfortunately, that’s not meant to be so maybe I should give
Juliana a chance. She just might get me over Laura.”
“No, don’t go into anything unless you want to and you’re sure of it.”
César gave her a surprised look then started to chuckle, “Well, well, well, baby
sis is growing up. That was quite a mature statement.” Cassandra rolled her eyes, “It
may come as a surprise to you but I can be sensible.” They giggled at that. By now
there were more people in the swimming pool area. The siblings observed their antics.
César turned and scrutinized his sister. “Tell me, Cassandra, which teenie are
you into?” She made a face as she said, “Don’t be silly.” César nudged her and
grinned, “You’re doing a poor job of being evasive…what about Kamal, hmm?”
“Kamal who?”
“Kamal Latif,” laughed César, “Stop trying to look so innocent. I know for a fact that
you sent him food when he was down with malaria…for a whole week! And you very
well know that cooking is illegal in the school. You don’t even do that for me so you
must like the guy.”
Cassandra looked embarrassed. “Well…he is cute.” César laughed at that and
Cassandra quickly added, “And he’s charming, he’s always looking out for me.” César
shook his head in amusement. “It’s obvious that you like him.”
“Although I’ve known him for a long time I never really thought about him, until his
body changed. Man, have you seen his body?”
“I’ll take your word for it,” César grinned. Cassandra rolled her eyes and sighed
heavily, “Guys! We girls don’t have problems with admiring each other.” César
laughed out loud, “That’s one of the reasons we’re different.”
“Yeah, I hear you!”
César paused as if in thought then said, “Look, Cassandra, I hope you won’t
think that I’m pulling my big brother act, but a word of advice…don’t let Kamal
pressure you into anything. I think you know what I mean.” Cassandra raised her
brows with mock innocence, “Oh, you mean sex? Don’t worry; I plan on remaining a
virgin for a while longer.” César grunted, unwittingly expressing his discomfort,
which made his younger sister laugh, “Oh, you big brothers can be such prudes at
times.” And César grunted again.
Cassandra was silent a moment looking very thoughtful. “This girl/boy thing...
It’s just so complicated.” She leaned back on her elbows and gave an exaggerated
sigh, adding, “I suppose it’s all about compromise. That’s about the only way we can
get along.” César liked what he was hearing. She was turning out to be more
thoughtful, maybe she had always been. “You know something, Cass; maybe my
protectiveness has probably been blinding me to the fact that you’re intelligent
enough to make your own decisions.”

22
“True, but then again, you were just simply looking out for your little sister. To tell
you the truth, I was just being stubborn and was just using your escapades as a plan
for my revenge on you for being so protective. The night at Mama Sissy’s awakened
me to the danger I was putting myself in and to the fact that you cared for me.”
“Wow! That’s certainly food for thought.”
“It doesn’t mean that I still don’t need your protection. You can be my brother as well
as my friend.”
“That’s a deal.”
César got up and dived into the pool. Cassandra watched him glide through the
water with the ease of a dolphin and was glad that they were friends. She was proud
of him though he sometimes did silly things like getting hooked onto Laura.
In the distance, Laura watched brother and sister and sighed, then turned and
walked away.

23
Chapter Eight
Evening came and students made their way to the main hall. It was movie
night. No one needed to be chased out of the dormitories because movie night was
more popular than dance night. For many it wasn’t popular for the films shown but for
the darkness it accorded. Only the senior ones, a handful of the Senior Twos and the
low status students in the school hierarchy actually watched whatever was showing.
For the first half-hour everyone paid attention to the screen, they all enjoyed
the music videos but once they were over most people went about their business.
The main hall filled up as students took their places. Boys sat on one side and
girls sat on the other. That soon changed when the lights went off. The entertainment
begun and most of the prefects went through the motions of monitoring but they too
did as the people they were monitoring, discreetly of course.
Kaye Morrison felt a hand on his shoulder. He looked up and saw Suzanne
Aseya smiling down at him. Settling her stool between his legs, she leaned her back
against his chest. His hands circled her waist as she snuggled closer and they settled
down to watch the movie.
Theo Kamali prowled around the back part of the main hall looking for
Danston Mugoya. He found him in the corner by the back door sipping on some
bungu from his tea flask.
Morgan Mushega joined them for a few quick sips and was on his way,
spraying breath freshener into his mouth and sucking on a mint. He spotted Aida
prowling about and quickly engaged her in conversation as he steered her towards the
main door, “One of my boys tells me that kids are sneaking out of the hall, and we
need you to man the door…um, pun unintended.”
“Why don’t you?”
“Who would dare try sneak out with you at the door?”
“You’ve got a point there! What will you be doing?”
“Patrolling around the hall; I’ve got more spies than the CIA.”
“I can’t argue with that. Later then.”
“Yeah, later.” And Morgan grinned as Aida walked away and he made a beeline for
Connie Mafabi.
Theo chuckled and shook his head, saying, “There goes our Head Boy after a
quick drink with the commoners.”
“Aah, but not just any commoners but we, the chief commoners, his friends. The
general school population is not aware that he drinks and smokes so that makes it
easier for him garner its respect by performing his duties well without being tarnished
by his vices.”
“Brother please, pass me a dictionary!”
“Idiot!” Danston grinned.
“No, but seriously, you just made him sound like a politician.”
“Well, basically he is. After all he’s the head of the student government.”
César Kamani was sitting with Alex Dramadri underneath the back window,
not far from Theo and Danston. On the screen Destiny’s Child’s “breathless” music
video was showing. Alex grumbled how about how there was nothing to get him
breathless. “I thought you had chilled byanas,” said César,
“Well, not totally, it’s always nice to have a girl around to flirt with. You know… a
little action.” César laughed and told him that the movie they were about to watch was

24
action packed; it would keep him entertained. "That's not the kind of action I was
referring to," Alex pointed out. César shrugged his shoulders, “Yeah, whatever.”
For once, César was content to just sit and watch. It was nice not having to pay
attention to a girl, putting all his energy in pleasuring her. Although he was a little sad
at his loss, it felt good to be free. Actually, if he were more honest with himself he
would admit that he was more than just a little sad. He missed Laura a great deal but
he was dealing with it.
Alex noticed Imelda Ariko heading in their direction with Juliana Kagimba
and he cursed vehemently. César chuckled, “Well you did say that you were looking
for some action and here it comes.” Alex glared at him, which amused César even
more.
The girls joined them, Imelda sitting as close to Alex as possible. “There’s
plenty of space around you know,” Alex informed her.
“Yes, I know, but it’s a little chilly in here don’t you think?” César and Juliana
suppressed their laughter; it was like an oven in the hall.
Although Imelda irritated him Alex had to admit that she was looking fine
tonight. In addition, her hand on his thigh was doing things to him that he hadn’t
expected. He tried to ignore her but her hand was creeping up his thigh. He tried to
move his leg but she wasn’t to be deterred. Irritated by his lack of self-control, he
brushed her hand from his crotch and crossed his legs. Imelda sulked as she moved
away from him, much to his relief.
César chuckled, “It looks like Imelda won’t be getting what she wants
tonight.”
“I can understand her frustration, I find myself in the same boat.”
“Juliana, we’ve been over this –”
“Look, I know you’re still hung up on Laura but I’d like to be with you just this once
and I promise you that I’ll never bother you again.”
César was silent for a moment, hesitant, and then he found his body taking over from
his brain. He pulled her to him, “Just this once.” She nodded the affirmative. “You
promise?” An exasperated yes followed and soon they were intent on each other’s
bodies. After a short while César pulled away. “I can’t do this. I know it sounds crazy,
César Kamani, the school stud is saying no to sex. Juliana, you’re a fine chick and all
but I’m tired of it all. I’d like to be me without all this pressure.” Juliana just looked at
him and he continued, “Please don’t be mad. I like you a great deal, but I don’t want
to have sex with you.”
“I’m not mad at you. A little frustrated, but I’m not mad. You’ve been expressing your
reservations about your lifestyle. I actually respect you trying to do something about
it. I’ll stop contributing to your frustrations.”
“Thank you.” Then César laughed and Juliana asked what was funny. “Kaye and Theo
will probably never forgive me for turning down an opportunity to have sex.”
“Yeah well, they’re not in your shoes. The decision is yours to make.”
Towards the front of the main hall Anthony whispered into James’ ear, “I’ve
got a surprise for you later tonight.”
“Am I going to like it?” James whispered back.
“Oh, yes you are.”
“What is it?”
“It won’t be a surprise then, will it?” James shrugged his shoulders and pretended to
be nonchalant. Whenever Anthony had a surprise for him, he usually didn’t like it. He
now couldn’t concentrate on the film he had initially set out to enjoy.

25
On the other side of the hall Cassandra Kamani was seated with Kamal Latif.
She pretended to be engrossed in the film on the screen. She was so excited to have
him by her side that she didn’t know what to do with herself.
Kamal didn’t know what to do either. Cassandra was a nice girl. She went
through a wild phase but she seemed to have settled down. Actually, the story around
St Andrew’s was that even during her wildness no boy had come close to bedding her
with the exception of that incident with Yona and his crew at Mama Sissy’s.
He had also heard through the grapevine that she was into him. That piece of
information had sent him to seventh heaven for he’d had a crush on her for ages but
hadn’t done anything about it because he had thought she didn’t look at him in that
way; and also the fact that César was known to get violent over his sister. At the
thought of him Kamal looked around for César. Cassandra held his hand as if to
reassure him. They sat that way for the remainder of the film, none of them able to
concentrate on the story.
Meanwhile, not too far away, Connie Mafabi was practically mauling Morgan
Mushega, rubbing herself against him, nibbling on his ear and thrusting her tongue
down his throat. All this failed to excite him. What was wrong with him? Many guys
would kill to be in his current position. He liked Connie and thought that she was
attractive, but she just didn’t excite him. Into what had he gotten himself?

26
Chapter Nine
Later that evening, in Lilongwe, a senior girl’s dormitory, Imelda lay on her
bed, chin resting on her hands. Juliana walked into the room she shared with her and
noticed her staring into space. “What’s wrong with you?” Juliana wanted to know.
Imelda just shook her head and Juliana sighed, “It’s obvious that something’s bugging
you. Does it have anything to do with Alex?” Imelda turned onto her back, hands
behind her head. “Why is it that I’m just about the only girl in the school who doesn’t
get any offers from boys? Am I that unattractive?”
“Don’t let it bother you. They’re just a bunch of fools who don’t know a good thing
when it’s staring them in the face.”
Imelda turned to look at her roommate. “Why do I get the distinct feeling that
that it’s a particular boy we are talking about here? Don’t tell me César rejected you?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Juliana said primly.
“No wonder you sound so bitter.” Imelda sighed and continued, “At least he was
yours for a little while.”
Juliana looked at her friend with some concern. “Imelda, don’t let it get you
down. Alex is an idiot who doesn’t know a good thing when it’s staring him in the
face. Someone will come along who will appreciate you.”
“You’ve got that right; I’m going to make sure of that!” Juliana laughed as she
switched off the light. She didn’t realise how serious the situation was going to get.

♣ ♣ ♣

Later still, at about 1:00 am, James Adonnes was shaken awake. “Not a sound,”
Anthony Baiga whispered, “Just follow me.” James groaned inwardly, he’d been
hoping that Anthony’s surprise wouldn’t materialise. Groggily, he got out of his bed
and slipped his feet into his sandals as he stretched luxuriously. “Will you hurry up?”
Anthony hissed.
“Okay, okay, hold your horses!” James muttered under his breath. He followed
Anthony out of the cubicle, wondering why he didn’t have the strength to say no to
his friend’s crazy schemes. The boys made their way to the second courtyard of
Nairobi and Anthony knocked on the first door on the right, facing the courtyard door.
James looked around the room and immediately felt a lump in his throat as he
swallowed hard. On one of the beds were a couple in varying degrees of undress,
necking as if their lives depended on it. On the other sat Maureen Mukasa and Connie
Mafabi, giggling at their antics, but they stopped when they noticed the new arrivals.
The boy who’d opened the door joined the couple after locking it. James stared in
amazement. Anthony wasted no time and joined Connie and they too were as the
others on the other bed.
James stood by the door uncomfortably. Maureen grinned at him, “Relax,
James. I don’t bite. Come.” James took tentative steps towards her and she patted the
bed beside her to encourage him. As he sat on the bed Maureen leaned over him and
started to kiss him. He didn’t respond because he was unsure of what to do. The
sensation of her lips on his was pleasant to him. James found himself responding.
Maureen smiled inwardly; she’d been watching him so that she could gauge his
response and so far so good.

27
As their kiss deepened, Maureen caressed the back of James’ neck. Whereas
that part of his body was normally irritatingly ticklish, it didn’t feel so at that moment.
In fact, it was an altogether pleasant sensation. All of a sudden, he felt his hormones
raging. Although a twinge of guilt was felt, it was quickly pushed aside in the wake of
passion.

♣ ♣ ♣

The warm Sunday afternoon found The Dudes in the first courtyard of Ouagadougou.
They had just demolished a huge meal of plantain, rice, and chicken that they had
bought at the school market. They sat lazily in the sun, too full to do much else.
Danston said to César, “So things are heating up with you and Juliana, huh?”
“No.”
“So what was with the chowing last night?”
“It didn’t happen though it almost did.”
Kaye was a little puzzled. He wanted to know what had happened to Laura.
“You just chill. Go back to Suzanne and forget about us,” Theo was contemptuous.
Kaye was a little taken aback at his vehemence, “What’s your problem?”
“My problem is you spend all your time with your kyana totally ignoring us, and then
expect us to keep you abreast with what’s going on in our lives? I don’t think so!”
“That’s not true. I haven’t been ignoring you.”
“Oh yeah, When was the last time you hung out with us?” Kaye was silent a moment.
“My point precisely,” Theo continued, “You can’t remember. You’ve erected your
wall again and shut us out.”
“Leave the boy alone. Damn, one would think that you’re his mother!”
“That’s unfair, Danston, Kaye’s always shutting us out whenever he feels like it but
always wants to know what’s going on in our lives. If he isn’t ready to share then he
should mind his own business!”
Theo was still warming up when someone came into the courtyard and
announced that he and César had visitors. That silenced Theo but they could tell that
he was still smouldering. As they walked out César put a reassuring hand on Kaye’s
shoulder.
The boys walked passed the parking lot looking for a car they recognised but
couldn’t see any and wondered if someone had been pulling a fast one on them. The
teacher on duty confirmed that they did indeed have visitors and issued them their
visitation rights passes.
Heading back to the parking lot, Theo and César saw the doors of a metallic
blue Toyota Surf open. Out stepped Julian Kagimba and their siblings, Thelma
Kamali, and Basha and Bria Kamani. The boys beamed and strutted towards the car
where they exchanged hugs and pats on the back with the visitors.
César and Theo walked around the car touching it admiringly. “Eh! Whose
fine set of wheels are these?” There was awe in Theo’s voice. Basha grinned at the
boys’ fascination with the car, telling them that it was his. “You’re lying!” César
exclaimed, “What happened to the Rav 4?”
“I sold it. I wanted something a little more sophisticated,” Basha informed him. César
ran his hand the car’s side. “This’ certainly more sophisticated; so, can I drive it when
I get home for the holidays?”
“No,” was Basha's curt reply. César turned to look at his brother, offended, “Why
not?”

28
Bria decided to cut in and asked if they could send for Juliana and Cassandra.
Theo spotted a girl he knew was in Cassandra’s class and asked her to call the two
girls. César suggested that they move to a cluster of trees by the football field. Basha
drove his car to the spot as the others followed on foot, talking animatedly, excited to
be together.
Cassandra and Juliana ran towards them, screaming excitedly. Juliana hurled
herself at her brother, almost knocking him over as Cassandra did the same, first with
Bria and then Basha. “Eh! I think we should do more of these surprise visits. No one
has ever been this excited to see me before.” Juliana put a hand on her hip, “Try going
to boarding school. Trust me you’ll be equally excited to see whoever visits you.”
Basha chuckled, “And here we were thinking that it was our charming selves
that were the cause of all this excitement because you missed us.”
“I missed you bro,” César spoke with feeling. Basha patted him on the back and gave
him a warm smile, “No, you’re not going to drive my car.” César pretended to look
hurt. “Hey,” Bria protested, “What about me?” César grinned, giving her a bear hug,
“I missed you too, sis.”
Cassandra rubbed her hands in anticipation, “Now that we have the mushy
moments out of the way, can we get to the food?”
“Who said we brought any food?” Julian asked.
“What!” Juliana exclaimed, “No food? Go back and get it! How can you come all this
way to see us without any food? Are you people crazy or what?”
“We figured that it being early afternoon you’d all have had lunch,” Basha said.
Theo shook his head as if he pitied them for their lack of understanding, “It’s
obvious that it’s been a long time since you were in boarding school, so let me educate
you. There’s nothing like home cooked food. Even junk food will do. It doesn’t matter
if we’ve eaten already because food from home reaches the craving level; we must
have it! So, when you visit us we expect food,” said Theo. Thelma chuckled, “Don’t
pay any attention to these two clowns. There’s plenty of food. Why don’t you call
your friends to join you?
A short while later, there was bedlam as food was grabbed at greedily by a
mob of enthusiastic students. “Hey!” Bria yelled, “Let’s have some order here.” And
order there was.
The visitors sat back and observed their siblings and their friends as they
listened to their conversation. Theo stood up to make a point, “I’m telling you guys
that there’s no way that can happen! Me, to be detoothed by a kyana, never! What
kind of fool do you think I am? I can’t let a babe use me for her own financial gain.”
“Wapi, weren’t you the one who bought some kyana stuff from the market because
you were hoping to get some but ended up getting none,” Alex countered to the
amusement of everyone. Theo pointed a finger at Alex, “First of all you, you
shouldn’t be talking; byanas are always detoothing you left, right and centre.”
“Yeah, that’s because I let them, I’m aware of what they’re doing, but you, you think
you’re sharp. I’m telling you, all babes detooth.” Imelda looked at Alex in outrage,
“What are you talking about! What girls are you talking about here? Let me tell you
something, I come to school with my own money, buy my own stuff and don’t rely on
any teenie for anything. I’m my own person!”
“Yeah,” Danston chipped in, “but you have to agree that there are some babes who
just use guys.”
“The same way some guys just use girls!” Imelda’s glare dared him to disagree.
Juliana raised a brow at Imelda’s outburst. It was more the kind of thing that
she herself would have said. Not that she didn’t think that Imelda was an independent

29
girl, but lately she’d been so desperate to have a boy that it would not have surprised
her if she allowed some boy to use her. This worried her.
Thelma turned to her friends and said, “It’s amazing how nothing much has
changed.” Bria nodded her head in agreement, “I know; they act more or less the same
way we did.”
“Yeah, but you know what’s truly amazing,” Thelma added, “Is that each generation
feels they invented the teens. They create fashion styles and slang words out of the
old, and feel that they have the monopoly on individualism.”
“The funny thing though, is that they fight to conform to their peers. The notion of
individualism probably extends just to the adults,” Bria mused. Thelma laughed,
“That’s the truth; we did it!”
Basha stared at a young man that was paying a little too much attention to his
sister. He leaned towards Bria and asked, “Who’s that teenie that’s sniffing around
Cassandra?” Bria rolled her eyes and said, “Leave it alone, Basha.”
“No, I just want to know.”
“When you ‘just want to know’, it means that you’re pulling your big brother act. This
time I’m not going to let you meddle in Cassandra’s business. And for starters, the
guy you’re complaining about used to be our neighbour in Bugolobi; that’s Kamal
Latif.”
“No way! That guy’s the skinny little kid that used to follow me about? What
happened? He’s so big now!”
“Uh, there’s this phenomenon called growing up. It’s been going on for awhile now.”
“Ha, ha, very funny.”
“Besides, my thinking is if he can show interest so openly in front of César – who
might I add is more Dudesssive than you – then everything must be okay.” That
seemed to mollify Basha, slightly.
Kamal felt Basha’s eyes on him and moved to join Maureen. She raised
inquiring brows as he settled beside her. “Man, Basha doesn’t seem happy about me
being with Cassandra. The guy’s been glaring at me.”
“Chill,” Maureen soothed, “He’ll be gone soon. The one you really should be worried
about doesn’t mind you being with his sis, so be cool.”
Julian noticed that Laura Kempuga was not in the vicinity. He asked Juliana
about it, “I thought you guys were inseparable.” Juliana narrated most of what had
taken place the past few days. “What a pity. She seemed like a nice girl.”
“She is,” continued Juliana, “It’s just that she’s so insecure, that’s why she’s so
reckless. To be honest, I’m also to blame for the breakdown of our friendship and her
relationship with César. I did and said some things I shouldn’t have.”
“What things?”
“That’s not important, but what is, what Imelda has been urging me to do, is that I
make up with her, which I shall try to do before the day is over.”
Julian still wanted to know the specifics of her words and deeds but decided to
leave it at that, though he was a little uncomfortable with what he suspected they
were. When she was much younger, she always sought his advice, telling him what
was on her mind. But since the death of their parents and him taking over their role,
she’d pulled away from him. She rarely confided in him so he didn’t want to alienate
her now, these rare sessions were the only way he had of knowing what was going on
in her life.
Eventually, the visitors had to leave though their hosts were reluctant to see
them go. There were hugs and handshakes all round laced with advice to study hard.

30
César said to his brother, “Seriously, Bash, can I drive your car in the
holidays?” Basha grinned at his younger brother, “You can but you may not.” César
made a wry face, “Very funny. But really–”
“César, I already said no.” César made an exasperated gesture, “But why?” Patiently,
as if he were talking to a three-year-old, Basha explained, that it was because he was
only seventeen. “So?”
“So it’s illegal for you to drive. You have to be eighteen.”
“Then why did you teach me how to drive? Besides, everyone my age drives, you did
the same when you were my age.” Basha started laughing as he got into the car,
“Okay, we’ll see.”
César had a complacent expression on his face as he watched the car drive
away; he knew that he was going to drive that car. They all went to their respective
dorms to get ready for evening prep.

31
Chapter Ten
Evening came and students were getting ready for night prep. Anthony looked
at his friend who silently got his books as he headed out of their cubicle. Anthony
stopped him with a hand on his arm. “What’s your problem?” James looked at the
hand then at Anthony, “Nothing.”
“Then, what’s with the attitude?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“I don’t see you the whole day and now it’s like something is bothering you.”
“Because I felt like being alone and I have nothing to say means that I have a
problem?”
“Yes.”
“Think what you want. I’m off to prep.” Anthony watched his friend go and shrugged,
deciding to take his word for it…for now.
The truth of the matter was James did indeed have a problem. Last night he’d
enjoyed himself so much with Maureen, but why was he feeling so bad about it?
These mixed feelings just left him feeling confused. What was he to do? As he headed
for his classroom he was jolted out of his reverie by Juliana shouting out Laura’s
name, who didn’t look happy to see her.
Laura started to walk away. “Laura, wait. We need to talk.” Laura spun round
and said, “There’s nothing you have to say that I could possibly want to hear.” Juliana
walked towards her and stopped right in front of her. “I realise that I’m the last person
you want to see, but please hear me out.” Laura stared stonily at her. Juliana took a
deep breath as she continued, “What I did was wrong. We’ve been friends for a long
time and I should have done what I did.”
“What, sleep with César? Why did you do it?”
“Because I wanted to fulfil a fantasy; but in the end it didn’t happen. I know I have
hurt you and I wish that I could undo it. I don’t expect you to forgive me but I hope
some day we can be friends again.”
There was a stony silence from Laura. Juliana continued, “You’ll be happy to
know that César’s not interested in me in that way. He’s just mad at you because he
thinks you don’t care about him. He only kissed me because he wanted to get back at
you.”
“But I do care about him.”
“Then tell him.”
“And how am I supposed to do that? He won’t have anything to do with me and you
certainly haven’t been helping matters.”
“I am truly sorry about that. Look, all I know is that he’s still hung up on you, he told
me as much. Go and talk to him. I think you two could still work things out.”
Laura was silent a moment. She was still angry with Juliana though she knew
she had no right to be. She was the one responsible for the current situation she found
herself in. From the time she hit puberty boys and men alike making her feel that she
was no more than a sex object. She developed an inferiority complex, thinking that
she was good for nothing else. Then César came along and treated her like she was
more than a sex object, but she had to go and spoil everything by sleeping around. She
sighed, old habits die-hard.

32
Laura looked at Juliana and said, “So you really think I should talk to him?”
Juliana nodded her agreement, “It’s worth a try.” The bell rang for prep. The girls
went to class, each with a lot on their minds.
James too went to class with a lot on his mind. Wow, even his idol, César had
problems. Somehow, to James, that made him a little bit more approachable.

♣ ♣ ♣

Later, when the break between junior and senior prep arrived Laura found César
standing with The Dudes. Nervously, she asked if she could talk to him. César was
tempted to refuse but Danston nudged him as he and the rest of The Dudes moved
away.
Sighing, César led the way to a secluded spot between two classrooms. César
looked down at Laura with a look of indifference. She swallowed nervously.
“You know,” Laura began with a shaky voice, “I told myself that Juliana was
to blame blinding myself to the fact that I was the one in the wrong.” Laura looked
down at her hands, wringing them then looked up at César, “I wouldn’t blame you if
you walked away right now, if you never want to talk to me again, but I’m asking you
to give me one more chance. Please.” Tears were rolling down her cheeks and her
voice was strangled. “I have never come across a guy who treated me like I was worth
something. It was such a new experience that I didn’t know what to do with myself so
I retreated to familiar territory. I know that is no excuse. I was wrong and I’m asking
for a chance to make it right.”
Seeing the lack of response from César, Laura despaired. She turned with as
much dignity as she could muster and walked away. “Laura, wait.” She stopped in her
tracks but did not turn. César walked up to her, took her by the shoulders and turned
her around. Looking deep into her eyes he said, “Let’s start over.”
She went limp from relief and he found that he had to support her to keep her
from slipping to the ground. He smiled at her, “Hi, I’m César Kamani.” She giggled,
“Please, I don’t have the strength to laugh.”
“That’s okay,” grinned César, “A smile from you will do. And what is your name,
pretty young lady?”
“Laura Kempuga, I’m pleased to make your acquaintance.” By now they were
giggling uncontrollably. The bell rang for prep. They held hands as he escorted her
back to her class, happy to be together again.
Aida, who was patrolling about was not happy with the situation. She had
thought that Laura was the aggrieved party when all along she’d been stringing César
along. Why he would be willing to take Laura back was a mystery to her, he could
get any girl he wanted. “Spying on César again, I see,” Morgan whispered into Aida’s
ear, startling her. She punched him on his shoulder. “Don’t you ever do that again, you
scared the living daylights out of me!”
“Um, actually, it’s night now.”
“Very funny!”
“So…what are you doing spying on César?”
“I wasn’t spying on him, I was patrolling as is part of my duty, a word I believe you
have trouble grasping.”
“Actually, I take my duties very seriously, I just don’t allow them to rule my life…
something you don’t have, a life that is.”
“Ha! Your life is all about getting into Connie Mafabi’s panties!”
“Something you have no clue about. I bet you wear a chastity belt!”

33
“As a matter of fact, I can be as sexy as the next girl…I just don’t have the need to
parade it for all to see!”
“Yeah? Then prove it!” Aida grabbed the back of Morgan’s head, brought it closer to
her and kissed him with a passion that left him breathless. “That’s a taste of honey
you’ll never experience again!” And with that, Aida spun on her heel and undulated
away. “Damn!” was all Morgan could say.

34
Chapter Eleven
Monday morning started with Kaye Morrison in a disgruntled mood. Mondays
always made him feel that way but he was more so because of what Theo had said the
day before. He didn’t think that he intentionally set out to shut people out, he wasn’t
even aware of it when he did.
Theo needed to understand that but there was no getting through to him. The
boy was determined not to see his side of things. He liked his friends but he just was
not as outgoing as they were so it was not as easy to divulge information about
himself as they were about themselves. At least he tried.
As for him being engrossed in Suzanne Aseya, wasn’t that what happened in a
new relationship? All this was new to him; he was just trying to get his bearings so to
speak. He liked her a great deal though he had to admit that he was a little
apprehensive. He had never been with a girl on an intimate level and he wondered
what he would do when the time came. Only César was aware of that fact, he’d have
to talk to him about it.
Kaye finished dressing, grabbed his books and headed out of the cubicle. Theo
entered fresh from his shower and passed him as if he didn’t exist. César noticed,
thinking that Theo was takings a little too far. “Theo, why don’t you chill Kaye, it’s no
big deal.”
“To me it is,” Theo muttered as he started dressing. He paused and then turned to
César. “It bothers me that he just shuts himself off. What kind of friend is that?”
“But that’s just the way he is. If he didn’t consider us his friends then he wouldn’t be
hanging around with us. It’s just not as easy for him to express himself as it is for us.
As a matter of fact, you express yourself a little too much but no one’s holding a
grudge about your often unsolicited advice.”
César’s words gave Theo pause. “I wasn’t aware that you guys felt that way
about me.” César made a face, “It’s because it’s not important so don’t blow it out of
proportion. Look, we all have our little irritating habits, but we shouldn’t let them get
in the way of our friendship.”
Theo was silent as he finished dressing. César watched him collect his books
and walk out. He sighed; he hoped that his friend had not been upset by his words. He
too picked his books and headed for class.
The morning passed in a haze for The Dudes. Dodging classes had made them
lag behind in their various subjects and it was a struggle to try and catch up.
During the course of the day Kaye sought César out, “Man, I didn’t realise
how much we’d missed in class.” César agreed, “Yeah, I was in a daze half the time. I
think we’ve over cut classes, we need to chill,”
They were standing under a tree, taking in the bustling activity around the
school during a short break. César noticed Kaye’s pensive mood and asked him what
was on his mind. Kaye was hesitant. “Hey, you’re my tight. You can tell me what’s
bugging you.” Kaye took a deep breath and said, “It’s about Suzanne.”
“What’s up?”
“She won’t sleep with me.” César paused then said, “That’s your problem?”
“Yes!” César raised his eyebrows, “I see.” Kaye was exasperated, “You’re not taking
this seriously.”
“I am. It’s just that it shouldn’t be a problem. What’s the rush?”
“I’m tired of being the only virgin in the school.”

35
“You’re not the only virgin in the school, and anyway, it’s no big deal.”
“To me it is. I’m tired of hearing about your conquests, having to pretend I know what
it’s all about, and having to make up stories. I need to be in the mix!”
“Trust me, most of it is hype. A lot of guys exaggerate to look cool; they’re no
different from you.” Kaye shuffled from foot to foot, “It’s not hype for you.”
“Yeah, but it has put serious pressure on me to perform, and to be honest with you I
could do without the stress. Laura and I have agreed to abstain, do things at our own
pace; and not what people expect from us. Sex is no longer an issue, we’re
concentrating on the other aspects of our relationship…and to tell you the truth, we’re
having a blast!”
Noticing Kaye’s silence César put a hand on his shoulder and added, “Listen
to me, Kaye, don’t rush into anything. It will happen when both of you are ready…
Are you listening to me.”
“Yeah, I am. Thanks.” Kaye walked back towards the classrooms. César hoped that
the boy wouldn’t put any pressure on Suzanne because that was a sure way of putting
their relationship in jeopardy. Suzanne was a no nonsense kind of girl.
James Adonnes waited for Kaye to leave then approached César. A little
uncertain, James asked to talk to him. César noticed his timid manner. “Hey, relax. I
don’t bite.” James chuckled nervously, “I know. It’s just that you’re this really cool
guy we juniors look up to and…well, what I have to say might seem very unimportant
to you.”
“Why don’t you give me the benefit of the doubt and try me? What’s your name?”
“James.”
“So, James, what’s on your mind?” James took a deep breath and said, “It’s this friend
of mine. I think he’s alright, it’s just that I’m not too happy with the way he treats
me.”
“And how’s that?”
“Like my feelings don’t matter; he’s always doing things that bother me. I know he’s
trying to give me a good time but I don’t enjoy it. He’s always pushing me into having
sex with girls and drinking alcohol. I believe those are things that I can do later on in
life, there’s no need to rush into them now. Besides, because I spend more time
worrying about these things I find that my schoolwork is suffering. Now, don’t get me
wrong, I like having fun as much as the next guy, but I believe there’s a time and
place for everything.”
“Wow, you’ve been through a lot for one so young.” César said.
James looked at him sheepishly, “I shouldn’t have bored you with my
problems.” As he made to leave César put a hand on his shoulder stopped him. “I’m
sorry; I shouldn’t have been so casual about your situation. Actually, I wish you’d talk
to a friend of mine that I was just talking to earlier. Maybe you could knock some
sense into him. Now, all that you’ve told me, have you told your friend?”
“Many times but he just won’t listen.”
“Well, I think you should put your foot down and insist that he understand how you
feel and if he doesn’t see your point of view then maybe he was never your friend to
begin with.”
“I know what you’re saying but it’s not easy with someone like Anthony.”
“Believe me, James, very few things in life are easy. Stand up for what you believe in
and don’t let people tell you what to do. I made that mistake and I paid for it. The
funny thing though is that now I really don’t feel the pressure to please. It took some
woman trouble to wake me up, but I tell you this, something like that need not happen
for you to realise that it’s your life and only you can determine what happens to it.”

36
James pondered this a moment. What César said had merit. He was unhappy
with the way Anthony was treating him and it was time he stood his ground. He
looked at César and said, “Thank you for listening to me. It has given me courage to
do as you say.”
“Do not do as I say, do what you believe is right.” James grinned impishly, “What you
say is what I believe.” César chuckled as he watched him walk away and thought
there goes a boy with his head screwed on right.

♣ ♣ ♣

As Kaye headed back to class, he came across Imelda Ariko while she too headed
back to class. “Hey, why the long face?” Imelda seemed concerned. “Nothing I can’t
handle.”
“I’m sure that’s true, but it wouldn’t hurt to talk about it.” Kaye stopped walking and
looked at Imelda. “Why do you care?” Imelda was taken aback, “Hey, I thought that I
was your friend, but if I’m in the way then forget it!”
“Imelda, I’m sorry. It’s just that right now I’m frustrated and I don’t feel like talking
about it. Maybe some other time?”
“Okay, some other time then. Remember that I’m your friend.” Kaye nodded and
Imelda watched him walk away then headed for her own class.

37
Chapter Twelve
In Alexandria, later in the afternoon, Maureen Mukasa found Cassandra
Kamani seated alone in their room. “What’s your problem?” Maureen wanted to
know.
“Nothing.”
“So, why the long face?”
“I’m fine.”
“Right, and I’m Mother Theresa. Hey, this’ Maureen your talking to. I know your
moods and this’ not one of your good ones. So, what’s bothering you?”
“Why can’t guys stick to one girl? Why must they be greedy?”
“Okay, from your outburst, I guess you’re having problems with Kamal?”
“It’s all those girls that are all over him! Why does he pay attention to them? He must
be having a thing with one of them.” Maureen sighed, “Oh boy. Cassandra, Kamal’s
one of the best-looking guys in the school. Girls have been chasing him long before
you two started going out together. He’s constantly rejected them because he’s always
been into you. So why would he start having a fling with any of them now that he’s
with you?
“Maybe he’s tired of me.”
“Child, you must be losing your mind! Everybody except you knows that the boy is
mad about you. Stop trippin’ and get a hold of yourself, damn!”
“Okay, no need to get so hot and bothered.”
“Then stop giving me a reason to. Now get off your backside and let’s go have some
fun.”
Cassandra got off her bed and followed Maureen out the door. She was
determined to immerse herself in whatever Maureen had planned but she still couldn’t
shake off the feeling of uneasiness.

♣ ♣ ♣

Later still, during games hour, Anthony caught up with James. “Hey, James, what’s
up? Ready for some fun?”
“What kind of fun?”
“Maureen Mukasa was so impressed by your performance that she’s invited you to her
room tonight for more of the same.”
“Tell her thanks but no thanks.” Anthony was puzzled, “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine.”
Looking relieved Anthony said, “Good then its all systems go. I hope you
remembered to use protection the last time, we don’t want you making babies.”
“Protection?”
“Oh, man, James, what planet are you from? I’m talking about condoms!”
“Oh, that…Well, to be honest everything was so new to me and rather overwhelming,
I didn’t think of condoms.” Anthony gave an exaggerated sigh and said, “Well,
Maureen should have known better. Oh, well, now that you’re aware just make sure
you bring some along the next time.”
“Anthony, I don’t think you’re getting me. There won’t be a next time.”
“There must be something wrong with you to turn down such an offer.”
James was irritated, “You’re damn right that something’s wrong, but it’s not
with me. It’s with you!”
“Hey, that’s no way to talk to a friend.”

38
“Sometimes I wonder if you really are my friend.”
“Now what’s that supposed to mean?”
“It means that friends take other friends’ feelings into consideration. It means that I’m
tired of you pushing me into your adventures.”
“It’s because I’m trying to keep you from being a sissy!”
“Did it ever occur to you that I just might like being a “sissy” as you call it? Let me
tell you something, I came to school to study, whatever pleasures are to be had are
secondary. I want good grades and I will have whatever kind of fun you might want
me to have when I’m good and ready! And if you really are my friend then you will
respect that.”
“To hell with you then, I don’t need this bullshit.”
“I knew this’ how it would be,” James shouted after Anthony as he stormed off, then
added to himself, “that’s why I was afraid to let you know how I really felt.”

♣ ♣ ♣

As games hour was winding up, Cassandra Kamani found Kamal Latif at the
swimming pool surrounded by a bevy of beauties. In tones that suddenly turned the
atmosphere into arctic conditions she said, “I need to talk to you, Kamal.” Seemingly
oblivious to the tension emanating from Cassandra, Kamal good-naturedly excused
himself from the girls and followed Cassandra to where she stood. “Hey, beautiful,
what’s up?”
“I want to know what you’re doing with those girls.”
“We’re just hanging out. Why?”
“Lately, you’ve been ‘just hanging out’ with quite a few girls.”
“Is there something you’re trying to tell me?”
“As a matter of fact, yes; I’m tired of you making a fool of me.”
“I’m doing that how?”
“By cheating on me!”
“For the last time, Cassandra, I’m not cheating on you! How many times do I have to
tell you that? You’re the only one for me.”
“Then stop hanging out with those girls. I will not stand for it!” Cassandra spun on
her heel and stormed off, leaving Kamal feeling as if he’d just been run over by a
steamroller.
Maureen Mukasa caught up with Cassandra by the basketball courts. “I
couldn’t help overhearing that little conversation you had just now with Kamal.”
“Oh, so you’ve become an eavesdropper now?”
“Well, the way you were screaming at the guy, I’m sure the whole school couldn’t
help but eavesdrop. Girl, what is your problem?”
“Why don’t you mind your own business?”
“You forget; you are my business.”
“Let me relieve you of that responsibility…back off!”
“Stop railroading Kamal or you will lose him. How do you like that for a parting
remark?” Maureen sneered as she turned and walked back to the swimming pool,
leaving Cassandra seething.
Kamal immediately sought Maureen out as she entered the pool area.
“Maureen, I’m confused. What the hell is going on with Cassandra? Why does she
constantly accuse me of cheating on her when I’m not? We both agreed that there
would be no sex involved in our relationship, it’s purely emotional and mental.”

39
“Maybe that’s the problem. She agreed to one thing and wants another – we girls can
be like that sometimes – and so because she’s thinking about it, she thinks that you are
too and with all these girls running after you, she thinks you must be having sex with
them.”
“I swear, Maureen, I’m not having sex with anyone!”
“More is the pity,” Maureen muttered to herself.
“What was that?”
“Oh, nothing, just thinking out loud. Look, try and convince her that there’s no one
else and that she’s the only one for you.”
“I’ve been doing that repeatedly that I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, and
frankly speaking, I’m getting sick of it. I can’t be in a relationship with someone who
doesn’t trust me. It’s really bugging me.”
“Kamal, I can’t tell you what to do, but maybe give it another shot and see how things
go.”
“I’ll give it my best shot.”

40
Chapter Thirteen
Yet another hot afternoon found The Dudes seated at their usual spot by the
basketball courts. As Kaye walked to join them, Alex commented on the fact that
lately, Kaye had been unusually happy. Kaye plopped himself next to César. Theo
leaned over and said, “Okay, out with it. A chow was seen via Suzanne.” Kaye grinned
at his friend, “Let’s just say that things are going smoothly and their better than I
expected!” Theo sighed dramatically, “There he goes being cryptic again! The boy
will never learn to be open with us.” Alex laughed, “Ha, you must be studying the
dictionary, your luzungu is just too styled up!” and he switches to an English accent,
“cryptic and all that!” While everyone laughed at Alex’ mimic, César’s eyes narrowed
as he observed Kaye. Something wasn’t right; there was shadiness in Kaye’s
demeanour. The boy was hiding something.
Cassandra and Kamal walked passed the far side of the basketball court
prompting Danston to grin and say, “Hey, César, your kid sis and her teenie are giving
you and Laura competition on the title for favourite couple of the school.” César
laughed, “Yeah, well, they can have it. I’m just glad that things are easy between me
and Laura.”
“It’s good to see that she’s behaving herself,” said Theo. César chuckled, “It’s because
she’s surer of herself and doesn’t need to use sex to assure herself that she’s desirable.
And that’s the best part; I don’t have to use sex to keep her. My brother, Basha, was
right, at our age, there’s no need to be so preoccupied by it; it’s not going anywhere.”
“Humph, speak for yourself,” Kaye cut in to the amusement of the others. César was
beginning to worry; the boy was really being shady. He shrugged it off, maybe he was
overreacting, but time would tell. He wasn’t to know how right he was.

♣ ♣ ♣

Meanwhile, James Adonnes went about his life calmly and effectively. Now that he
didn’t have Anthony Baiga to distract him, his studies picked up and he found himself
associating with like-minded individuals. He involved himself more in sports and the
drama club and he found himself having the time of his life. He didn’t feel pressured.
César was right, one needed to do things at one’s own pace. Some were faster than
others were. César checked on him from time to time and he sought him out too, a
mentor relationship was building up.
During one of their talks, James told César about his discussion with Anthony
regarding condoms and Maureen’s promiscuous ways.
“Have you thought about going for HIV/AIDS testing and counselling?”
“No, why would I need to? I feel fine.”
“True, but it doesn’t hurt to be sure.”
“Okay, so what if I’m positive? What good will that do? To tell you the truth, I’d
rather not know.”
“First of all, knowledge is power. After you’ve been tested and counselled, you’ll
have the power to make positive and informed decisions. Think about it.”
“Yeah, that makes sense,” James nodded thoughtfully, “Actually; I think I’ll go for it.”
“Now you’re talking.”
After a brief pause, James wanted to know, “But how do I go about it?”
“The clinic at the trading centre has those services. Talk to our medical assistant, he’s
a good guy, he will help you with the clinic. And you don’t have to worry about
confidentiality, everything’s done discreetly.” César got up from one of the benches

41
they were seated on, “I’ve got to go, but if you’re worried about going through with
the whole exercise, just let me know and I’ll be there to support you.”
“Thanks, I appreciate.”
As César walked away Anthony sat next to James. “Hey, what’s up?”
“What’s up?”
“You know, I actually didn’t think that you would ignore me for all this time.” James
shrugged his shoulders, “Hey, you’re the one who didn’t want to have anything to do
with me, so I moved on with my life.”
“That’s because I didn’t think that you were serious and I thought you would
eventually come to your right senses.”
“But I am in my right senses.”
“I see that now.”
“So, there will be no more trying to force me into doing things?”
“No more. But I insist on having my fun!” James laughed, “Somehow I didn’t think
you would stop. Hey, if that’s what you want to do then do so, but be careful. There’s
no need to take unnecessary chances.”
“Yeah, I hear you.”
“I’ll see you later.”
As Anthony watched James walking away Maureen joined him. “Hm! There
goes one fine specimen of maleness…pity he doesn’t know what to do with it.”
“For once, Maureen, I’m going to have to disagree with you. James discovered it and
decided that there are more ways than one to utilise it.”
“Don’t tell me you’re going soft on me!”
“No way, I still like the way I use my maleness. It’s just that James has made me
realise that it’s one’s right to decide on how to use it and not be told how to use it.”
“Okay, if you say so.”
“Oh, I do say so! There’s a certain delectable young thing that’s caught my eye.”
“Poor thing, she doesn’t stand a chance! I wonder if you’re going to share her around
like you usually do.”
“Not this one, my dear, this pretty young thing is going to get my full attention! I want
her for my girlfriend!” Maureen looked at him incredulously, “Anthony Baiga having
a steady girlfriend! Now that’s a first!”
“There’s always a first time for everything.”
“So how are you going to go about convincing her that you’re sincere? You’re
reputation has a way of preceding you.”
“Hey, they don’t call me smooth for nothing.”
“It depends on what they’re referring to.”
“Ha, ha, very funny.”

Chapter Fourteen

42
Morgan Mushega walked into the prefect’s common room first thing in the
morning and found Aida Namatovu sipping on a cup of tea and reading a textbook on
some subject he didn’t quite catch. Morgan ignored her as he retrieved a soda from the
fridge. Aida watched him opening it. “What, you’ve never seen a person open a soda
before?” Morgan enquired.
“No, I was just wondering when you were going to stop ignoring me.”
“I’m not ignoring you.”
“Well, you’ve been doing a very good imitation of it.”
Morgan sighed and then took a sip of his soda. “Look, Aida, we’re two very
different people who have to do the same job. Some things have gotten in the way, but
I think we should concentrate on doing our duties and ignore our animosities towards
one another.”
“I have no animosity towards you. Yes, you do irritate me at times and I’m sure I
irritate you but that is no reason to be adversaries. I realise that most times I come
across as being uptight and puritanical, but for me that’s the only way I know how to
get the kids in line. For you, your interpersonal skills are more finely tuned and that’s
how you get your duties done, people open up to you, making it easier to either
deflect a problem or solve it. We both get the same thing done but with different
approaches.”
Morgan took another sip of his drink as he looked at her. “The funny thing is,”
he said, “is that for the first time, I don’t have this urge to disagree with you.” Aida
shrugged her shoulders, “Maybe we’re just getting used to each other.” Morgan
grinned wickedly, “I could get used to that kiss you gave me the other time.”
“Don’t start that nonsense now.”
“Hey, I’m just being me.”
“Yeah, you just keep being you with Connie Mafabi.”
“Oh, her, she proved to be too fast for me.”
“Wow, there’s a first!”
“Wonders never cease, huh?”
“Too true…so, we’re friends?”
“Friends…though to be honest I’d rather we were more than –.”
“Don’t even go there.”
“Hey, you can’t blame a guy for trying.”
“Yeah, just try with somebody else, this girl is not on the market.” Morgan let out a
chuckle as he sipped on his drink, “You’re so easy to tease.”
“I should have guessed; you get a kick out pulling people’s legs.”
After a brief pause Aida said, “Why is it that some people can’t seem to keep
out of trouble?”
“Who’s in trouble this time?”
“Anthony Baiga.”
“Oh him, I’m tired of that boy! I’ve tried everything I can to keep him out of trouble
but he just doesn’t listen.”
“I caught him last night in girls end with an S1 girl. I’m handing him over to you.”
“Why, I’ve had enough of his nonsense, you deal with him.”
“Well, for starters boys are your responsibility, I’ll deal with the girl. Secondly, he’s
your cousin so that’s another reason you should deal with him.” Morgan sighed, “I
suppose you’re right.”

♣ ♣ ♣

43
César rushed towards the cluster of trees by the football field. Word had gotten to him
that Cassandra was in distress. He found her crying as if her heart would break. “Hey,
baby girl, talk to me,” he said as he wrapped her in his arms. For a while she couldn’t
say a thing but her brother’s presence calmed her somewhat. Stroking her hair César
rocked her like he used to when they were little. “I messed up big time,” Cassandra
croaked, “I pushed him too far. Maureen kept on warning me but I wouldn’t listen. He
kept on assuring me that I was the only one in his life, but would I listen? No…I just
had to let my irrational ego get in the way. The more girls threw themselves at him the
more jealous I became. It was as if some monster was growing inside of me. Even
Maureen stopped talking to me and she can take a lot, but I guess she’d had enough.
In the end, he lost patience and told me that he didn’t want to deal with my
insecurities any longer.”
César let her ramble on has he continued to stroke her hair and rock her in his
arms, as if he was trying to absorb her hurt and lessen her suffering. “Kamal is the
only guy that has treated me like I was precious and not some thing to be ogled at by a
bunch of hormone crazed hooligans…and what do I do? I ruin everything. Maybe I
should go to him and grovel.”
“Maybe, but if I were you, I’d give him some space first. Why don’t I talk to him?”
“No, don’t, you’d probably scare him. You have a tendency of doing that to him.”
“Really? That’s news. I actually like the guy. Look, I’ll be gentle, I just want him to
see where he stands and if there’s a chance that he’ll forgive you.”
“Do you think that will work?”
“There’s only one way to find out.”
“As horrible as I feel, just knowing that you’re looking out for me is doing wonders.
The world doesn’t look quite as horrible.”
“Hey, that’s what I’m here for, your safety net.”
“Thanks.”

Chapter Fifteen

44
It was the last day of term when the Head Boy, Morgan Mushega, walked into
Danston’s room and found César playing a game of cards with Danston. It was an
intense game and it wasn’t until Morgan plopped himself on the bed that they noticed
they had company. The forlorn expression on Morgan’s face prompted Danston to ask
what the matter was. “Our friend’s in dogs,” Morgan said.
“Who?” Danston wanted to know.
“Kaye.”
“What did Kaye do?” asked César.
“He got Imelda pregnant.”
“What!” the two friends exclaimed in unison.
“But I thought you knew, César, I mean with the way Kaye was always confiding in
you. Well, anyway, Imelda’s doing badly. Apparently, she tried to abort the pregnancy
herself, using some crude method. The Headmaster has taken her to the hospital.”
“How did you find out?” César was curious.
“Juliana found her in one of the bathrooms, bleeding. She called the Head Girl who
then sent her for me. Imelda wouldn’t say who was responsible for getting her
pregnant, but Juliana later told us that Imelda had confided in her about sleeping with
Kaye.”
Morgan stood up to leave. “I thought you guys should know because you’re
his buddies, but don’t let him know. We want to sort out Imelda’s mess first.” The two
friends nodded, too stunned to say anything. When Morgan was gone, he said to
César, “Did you know anything about this?” César shook his head, “I had my
suspicions that he was up to something shady, but I was also under the same
assumption as you guys that he was chowing Suzanne, although I had my doubts
because Suzanne was dead set against it. You see Kaye was desperate to lose his
virginity…” Danston raised a brow, which César noticed, “…Yeah, I know it comes
as a surprise. Anyway, Kaye was desperate to sleep with Suzanne and Imelda wanted
Alex badly. I suppose they got together…with disastrous results.” The two friends sat
in silence for a while.
In walked Kaye, Alex and Theo. They wanted to know why their friends
looked so downtrodden. César just stood up and left the room. “What’s his problem?”
Theo asked. Danston made a dismissive gesture and asked if anyone wanted a game
of cards.
♣ ♣ ♣

César was standing underneath a tree, waiting for Juliana, whom he had just sent for.
After a few moments of waiting impatiently, he saw her coming from girl’s end. She
looked distressed and his heart went out to her. She stopped where he was standing
but she didn’t look at him at first. Then she looked up and César was taken aback by
the hostility on her face. “What do you want?”
“I wanted to talk to you about Imelda and Kaye.”
“I knew you were in on their deal!”
“Don’t talk nonsense! You’re the one who’s always going on about people making
assumptions about you and now you’re doing the same thing.” César took a breath to
calm himself down. “I heard about Imelda and the fact that you found her. I just
wanted to see how you were holding up.”
Juliana assessed him a moment, “You really didn’t know what was going on?”
“No. I was surprised to find out that Kaye was sleeping with Imelda. How’s Suzanne
taking it?”

45
“She doesn’t know, poor thing. I can’t wait until they expel the bastard!”
“Why?”
“Because he doesn’t deserve to be in the school!”
“Okay, again I ask, why?”
“Because of what he did to Imelda!”
“What did he do to Imelda?”
“What’s wrong with you? He got her pregnant!”
“Like she didn’t have anything with it?”
Juliana paused as she assessed César once again. “I should have known that
you would take his side.” There was venom in her voice. César’s voice was the same
when he said, “There you go making assumptions again. Let me tell you something,
Juliana, get off your high horse and see the light. Both of them are equally to blame. It
takes two to tango. Now, instead of telling Kaye that she’s pregnant so that they could
work something out, Imelda decided to take matters into her own hands. Kaye’s real
crime was sleeping with her when he had a girlfriend. So, tell me, what will César’s
expulsion achieve? You may not like it but Imelda was responsible for her own
actions.” Juliana glared at him then turned on her heel and stormed off. César sighed
as he watched her go; the girl was determined to put the blame squarely on Kaye.
Morgan caught up with César as he was heading back to Ouagadougou. César
noticed his facial expression, “She didn’t make it, did she?” Morgan slowly shook his
head, “She was announced dead on arrival.”
“Damn!”
“There was too much internal bleeding. In her desperation to get rid of the foetus, she
did some serious damage to herself.”
“So what happens now?”
“Kaye will be expelled.”
“And is that going to bring her back?”
“César, I’m sorry, but that’s the way it is.”
“But does it have to be?” The bitterness in César’s voice silenced Morgan as he
watched him walk away, looking dejected.
Suzanne Aseya hurried to catch up with César. She took hold of his arm and
turned him to face her, there were tears in her eyes. “Is it true?” César just nodded. “I
didn’t want to believe it when Juliana told me. If only I had known how desperate he
was, I would have given him what he wanted.” César was shaking his head, “No,
Suzanne, you did what you felt was right. You stuck to your principles. That was a
wise decision to make.”
“So what now?”
“It looks like César will be expelled.”
“I see.”
“I wish I did.” And with that, César walked off.
♣ ♣ ♣

Kaye sat with his head in his hands as tears rolled down his cheeks. He rocked himself
gently as he absorbed the shock. He kept on mumbling, “Why?” His friends felt his
agony but were at loss at what to do.
After parting with Suzanne, César had rejoined his friends in Danston’s room.
One look at him and Danston had known that the situation had worsened. Sensing the
uneasiness, their friends had demanded to know what was going on and César had
obliged. In the stunned silence that had followed, Kaye had broken down. “I should

46
have listened to you, César,” he had said repeatedly. Theo put a reassuring hand on his
shoulder but it was of little comfort. The others looked on, helpless.
By now St Andrew’s College was abuzz with the news of Imelda. Aida found
Morgan coming out of the Headmaster’s office. “The man is on the warpath,” he told
her. She said, “Do you blame him? You know we should tell him about Kaye.”
Morgan shook his head and said no. “What! Are you crazy?” With a gesture for
patience, Morgan said, “Look, Aida, I know you’re mad about what’s going on, but
think about it. What has he really done other than cheat on his girlfriend? From what I
understand their having sex was mutual. Juliana told you that Imelda had gone to her
for condoms because Kaye hadn’t wanted to go to his friends…” Aida conceded to the
fact, “…but they must have been defective or she lied and had also been sleeping with
someone else. Kaye confirms that they did indeed use condoms…the boy is going to
live with the fact that he may have had a hand in Imelda’s death. Is that not
punishment enough?”
Aida was silent a moment. “To be honest, no. He had no business having sex
in school. I know, I know, she was also to blame, but I believe an example has to be
made then kids will think twice before they jump into bed with anyone.”
“Ordinarily I would agree with you, but Kaye is my friend and he isn’t a bad person.
Please Aida, in the past I’ve done you favours, do me this favour.” Aida sighed,
“Okay, as much as I’m against it, I’ll drop the matter.” Morgan took a deep breath,
“Thank you.”
“What about Juliana? She believes very strongly in Kaye’s expulsion. She might go to
the Headmaster herself.” Morgan said earnestly, “Make her see that it won’t improve
matters. As righteous as she’s feeling right now, she will not be helping anyone.”
“I’m not making any promises, but I’ll see what I can do.”

Chapter Sixteen

47
On the last evening, in the main hall, the end of term dance did not excite The
Dudes like it normally did. Considering the circumstances, it was hardly surprising. “I
won’t be coming back next term.” These were first words that Kaye had spoken all
evening. The Dudes was incredulous. “But why? You’re not going to get expelled.
Everything’s over,” César said.
“No, it’s not, at least for me it’s not…and Imelda’s family.”
“What about us?” Theo wanted to know.
“You’ll always be my friends. That isn’t going to change, but I can’t continue to be
here.”
“Surely, you don’t blame yourself for what happened to Imelda?” said Danston.
“Yes, I do. If I hadn’t slept with her, she wouldn’t have gotten pregnant and she’d still
be alive today.” Laura squeezed Kaye’s hand, “What you say is true, but its happened.
Beating yourself over it won’t make it better. Believe me I know. With time, you will
learn to forgive himself like I did.”
Across the room, Juliana watched The Dudes. She walked towards them and
they tensed when they noticed her approach, bracing themselves for a confrontation.
She raised her hands in a gesture of peace. “Look, I won’t pretend that I’m not angry,
but I wanted to assure you all that you have nothing to fear from me. Kaye, I see now
that you were not directly responsible for Imelda’s death, but as irrational as it may
seem, it will take me a while to forgive you.”
“It will take a while to forgive myself,” Kaye said. He then turned and walked away.
Suzanne caught up with him at the door. “Kaye, I’m sorry.” Puzzled, Kaye
asked why. “For what you must be going through.” Kaye smiled for the first time, it
was an ironic smile, “You truly amaze me; I should be the one apologising for
betraying your trust.”
“Maybe I’m a fool, but all I know is that I still love you and if you ever need me for
anything, I’ll be there.” Kaye was shaking his head in wonderment, “The funny thing
is that I know you mean it. A word of advice though, forget about me, you deserve
someone better.”
“Like I said, I’m a fool…a fool for you. You will remember that because I won’t let
you forget.” Kaye watched her walk away and he too turned and walked away, out the
door.
Laura, who had followed Suzanne, squeeze her shoulder, “With time, Suzanne,
he will learn to forgive himself as I am learning to do.” Suzanne smiled at Laura and
said, “They say that life is a battlefield. This is just one more battle to be won.”
James Adonnes tried to enjoy himself but things were not the same without
Anthony there to bug him. Why did the boy have to go and have himself expelled?
James felt that he should have been more insistent about Anthony changing his life
style. First, he had been willing to go along with Anthony’s foibles and when he put
his own life on track, he had been willing to accept Anthony's idiosyncrasies. What a
friend he’d turned out to be, James thought to himself even when he knew at the back
of his mind that one could only do and say so much to someone.
Kamal approached Cassandra who was standing with Maureen in a corner.
Maureen moved away. Cassandra couldn’t bring herself to look at him. “César had a
talk with me the other day. What he had to say made a lot of sense but I wish that it
had come from you.”
“I guess I was too much of a coward.”
“So, where do we go from here?”
“You tell me.”

48
“To be honest, I’m not sure. Maybe we need some time apart. I’m not sure I’m ready
for something as intense as what we’ve had. We’re too young to be dealing with
issues that we both find overwhelming.” Kamal turned and walked away. Maureen
came and put her arms around her crying friend. “Why do I feel so sad even if I agree
with him?”
“You’ve experienced something beautiful and even if you’re both too young to deal
with it and realised that it overwhelmed you, you’re still reluctant to let go.”
Cassandra pulled away from Maureen and looked at her incredulously, wiping
the tears from her eyes. “Wow, you’re singing a different song. What happened to the
‘devil may care’ Maureen that I used to know?”
“She learnt some hard lessons from you’re experience and Imelda’s death. Life isn’t
always what it seems and shouldn’t be taken for granted.”
“Yeah, I hear you…We’re young, we’ll make it if we keep learning from life’s
lessons.” Maureen burst into laughter, “We sound like a couple of wizened spinsters
who’ve realised that we’re going to die old maids!” Cassandra chuckled along with
her, “Trust you to come up with something like that.”
The term ended on a sour note for The Dudes. Alex was berating himself for
being too hard on Imelda. “Maybe, if I’d given in to her she would still be alive.”
“You know, that’s exactly what Suzanne said, but like I told her, you did what you
thought you needed to do,” said César, “If anything, I’m the one who didn’t do what I
needed to do.”
“What do you mean?” Danston wanted to know, “You sorted out your issues with
Laura. In fact, you’re a living example of turning one’s life around.”
“I agree with Danston,” Theo added, “And you’ve always had time for all of us. As a
matter of fact, although you guys along the way pointed out in your own way that the
universe did not revolve around me, it was you César, who drove it home. You did
what you could for Kaye.”
“Maybe it wasn’t enough,” César muttered. Danston put a hand on César’s shoulder,
“No, we’re all responsible for our own actions. To tell you the truth, I think this is a
lesson for all of us. The recklessness of youth no longer has a place in my life.
Imelda’s death has had a sobering effect on me. I have been living in a fool’s
paradise.” The others nodded their agreement.

▲ ▲ ▲

49

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