Thursday, 19 May 2016





Henry woke up with a smile on his face. He looked around him and realized he was in a once familiar space.

"Oh thank goodness!", Henry exclaimed when he realized he was laying on the bed in a room.

"I am glad that we were able to get back here in one piece even though I can't seem to recall how", Henry soliloquized . He looked around and saw two figures coiled in the bed next to his.

His other two former roommates, Edwin and Kennedy were sharing one bed even though there were bedding arrangements for three. Henry laughed when he saw the posture in which his former roommates and two close friends lay in the bed; cuddling like husband and wife The night before, they had had one too many drinks by accident. Henry prided himself as one who could never get drank so the previous night, he, together with his roommates and a host of other friends went out clubbing and unfortunately, it turned out to be a drinking contest to find out if Henry could truly withstand a few shots of alcohol. Henry accepted the challenge after his two close friends called his bluff. The last thing Henry could clearly remember was the twelfth glass of six shots of whiskey he had to drink. The events that followed gave him a sharp headache as he tried to recall even though fragments of the happenings on the night came to mind.

"I have never done anything this crazy my whole life", Henry said to himself. "I cannot believe that I let these people talk me into doing all of this", Henry said as he looked up and saw the ceiling fan turning slowly over his head. His phone's battery had run down and it was flat out. He ransacked his bag in search of his charger. He simultaneously drew the attention of his roommates and close friends whilst he was at it.

"Edwin, Kennedy, wake up!", Henry shouted a number of times as if he was dreaming. Henry was having a katzenjammer and he knew full well that his former roommates were going to suffer the same fate when they woke up.

There was a knock on the door.

"Come in", Henry called out as he plugged his charger to power up his cell phone.

A young man walked in. Henry turned to look at who had entered. The young man was dressed in a suit

It was the guy from the next room.

"Are you guys not getting ready?", the young man quizzed. "The graduation ceremony will start in a few hours", the young man added...

Henry and his friends had come back to their university to officially crown their four-year university tenure. They were so gay that they decided to go out and have fun the night before the graduation ceremony. Henry rushed to the bed in which his roommates lay and vigorously shook the bed.

"Idiots, wake up, wake up!" "We are going to be late for the graduation!", Henry added. Henry managed to wake them up as they all prepared hurriedly for their big day.

Henry and his roommates arrived late at the venue. Henry was supposed to be seated in the front row because he was going to be called upon to receive the award for the best student in his department. The hall in which the ceremony was being held was fully packed with graduates, family members and well-wishers. Henry could possibly not see himself walking up to find his seat in the front row because he knew all eyes were going to be on him.

"This is all your fault!", Henry exclaimed as he turned to face his roommates who were standing right behind him.

"We didn't ask you to accept the challenge to drink so much", Ken responded. "After all, we are also graduating too", Ken added. Henry stood outside and listened carefully as the Dean of Students in his university gave his speech. It was time for the special awards and Henry knew that he had no option than to walk all the way to the stage to receive his award when his name was mentioned. During the rehearsal for the graduation the previous day, he counted the awardees and knew he was the sixth person in line. So when the fifth awardee's name was mentioned, Henry asked Edwin to help him adjust his gown.

"You've made us proud son", Edwin said jokingly as the three of them quickly posed for a selfie before Henry's name was mentioned by the Master of Ceremonies. Henry heard his name loudly through the surround sound system and started to make his way up the long aisle leading to the podium.

He staggered uncomfortably as he walked. He could only hear whispers from many people as they searched around the hall to see where the awardee was coming from. This made Henry more tense. As he walked up, looking straight on, a hand touched his gown. Henry turned and saw his mother almost tearing up. At the sight of his mother, Henry gained some more confidence as he walked up majestically to the front row amidst cheers from the graduating students who knew him and applause from those who did not. Henry received his prize and on his way back, he stopped and gave his mother a passionate hug before going on to join his friends outside.

Soon, it had become official. Henry and his roommates were now 'certified' graduates. It was now time to make merry. There was a lot to eat and to drink. The graduates randomly selected tables of their mates to introduce themselves to their visitors, share memorable moments, partake in the consumption of the variety of sumptuous dishes and take lots and lots of pictures. Edwin was in a dilemma as to which of his ex-girlfriends' tables he could show up at without being embarrassed.

Edwin changed his girlfriend every semester when he was in school. Sometimes Henry and Ken even had to take note of the names of Edwin's countless girlfriends so as not to mistakenly call out the wrong name when they came visiting. As luck and friendship would have it, Edwin managed to get Ken and Henry to follow him and the three of them expertly made stops at the tables of all seven ex-girlfriends. Seven because Edwin decided to stay single during his last semester in school. The whole place was a chaotic beauty. There were people dressed in different cultural attires. The suits stood out as most of the guys who were graduating were clad in them.

After the merrymaking, Henry and his friends saw their parents, family members and well-wishers off and returned to the hostel for a final night of fun before departing the following day.

The graduation board had planned a night of fun and music for the graduates so they were all expected to meet up at an agreed venue to party all night long with some invited artistes.

The graduates had already been assigned National Service postings; a one year service that is rendered by every graduate after successful completion of the years of study in the university. Henry and his friends had also been posted. Ken had graduated with a Second Class Lower in Metals and Metal Fabrication. Ken was posted to a prestigious private bank and he was overly excited about his chances of being retained after he had completed his service diligently. He had already hinted that his chances were brighter than the sun. Edwin had graduated with a Second Class Upper in Physical Education. Edwin had been posted to one of the country's leading telecommunications company. He had already been assigned a car. Henry had also graduated with a First Class in Business Administration and Development. Henry had been posted to teach in a primary school in a remote part of the country.

When the postings were announced, both Ken and Edwin had the laugh of their lives when they sighted Henry's place of posting.

"Teacher Henry, teacher Henry, someone has broken my pencil", Edwin would mimic a little child sarcastically just to mock Henry. Ken on the other hand sought to encourage Henry slyly by saying, "Don't worry, it is only for a year afterwards I would employ you in my bank because by then, I would have been made a branch manager in one of the bank's branches. "Edwin would also provide you with free airtime and free internet access", Ken would often add.

Henry hated himself and the entire posting system for treating him so unfairly as compared to his qualification as against that of his roommates. He often complained bitterly, "I would not teach in any primary school after all the hard work I put in school", Henry complained. "I would rather be remembered as the only person who did not go through the National Service program than one who went to teach in a godforsaken no man's land", Henry lamented. Henry's father was a business man and he assured Henry that he was going to try his best to have the postings changed for Henry even though he knew the repercussions were going to be grave if his son was to be caught. "I am speaking to some friends of mine and they are asking me to be patient, because there are a lot of higher ups who are also not satisfied with the postings of their children", Henry's father assured Henry one evening. "As soon as they are sorted out, you would also be sorted out", Henry's father added.

One whole month had gone by and still, both Henry and his father had heard no word from the people who had promised to help them.

A second month had gone by.

During the wait, Henry had already given up and had resolved to reapply for the National Service program the following year. He therefore put together his CV and started looking for a job even though he had not even started  nor even completed the mandatory National Service.

Many companies wanted to employ him due to his amazing CV and dazzling analytical and problem-solving mentality but there was a hurdle. As a matter of law, many of the companies that wanted to employ Henry were required to only take on staff who had completed their National Service and had a certificate to prove it. Henry came back home dejected after every interview. After one of such returns, he came home to meet his father seated in their hall. "Good afternoon", Henry greeted and dropped himself like a log on the couch out of exhaustion.

"I have good news", Henry's father started.

"What is it?", Henry responded with an indifferent tone.

"Sit up right because you would want to hear this news", Henry's father said.

Henry reluctantly sat up right in the chair.

"The people finally came through and gave me a call just after you left for your interview", Henry's father started.

"Which people called you?", Henry asked not looking too amused by the delay tactics his father was using. "Tell me already", Henry insisted

"Okay, okay", Henry's father gestured with his hand when he noticed his antics were getting his son infuriated.

"Your National Service posting has been changed!", Henry's father announced.

"What!", Henry exclaimed as he adjusted himself properly in his seat with his face now broadly lit with escaping beams of smiles from his cheeks.

"Hold it, hold it", Henry's father said. "Now, you have been posted in the heart of the City", Henry's father continued.

"Are you kidding me?", Henry asked looking very excited and was starting to get hyper.

"Relax, relax, relax!", Henry's father reiterated. "Now get ready for the best part", Henry's father said. The whole room was suddenly plunged into slow-motion state as Henry anticipated the next words that were going to come out of his father's mouth. Henry fixed a zoomed-in gaze on his father's lips. "You were posted to Kaprisky Law Firm", Henry's father finally revealed.

"I don't believe it!", Henry said out of ecstasy.

"You had better believe it because this is proof of the posting", Henry's father said as he passed on a letter in his hand to Henry. Henry greedily grabbed the letter and read out loud its content. As he read, he could hardly stand still as he kept fidgeting.

"I can't believe this; I just can't believe this", Henry kept saying. When Henry had finally settled down after the hangover excitement frenzy,  he asked. "You must have paid so much for the change to be effected on this", Henry told his father. "You wouldn't believe me if I told you this, but the truth is that, I paid nothing", Henry's father said.

"But how?" Henry asked. "You and I know that Kaprisky Law Firm is the best private law firm in this country and it takes only the best of the best law school graduates to walk the halls of Kaprisky" Henry retorted. "You and I also know that even though I have ambitions of becoming a lawyer, I am nowhere near that feat", Henry said. "You must have surely paid some sort of bribe, just tell me how much you paid", Henry said excitedly as he went through the letter again.

"It is good to have friends but it is important to keep old friends", Henry's father started. "Last week I made a personal effort to follow up on the posting issue". "On reaching there, I saw a familiar face so I talked to him and lo and behold, he was my mate in school and as a matter of coincidence, he is the head of IT at the secretariat so he asked me to give him your name and assured me that he would do everything in his capacity to help me", Henry's father continued. "What you have there in your hand is the assistance he gave to me", Henry's father revealed pointing to the letter in Henry's hand. "However, you would have to go back to town and to the offices of Kaprisky to present your particulars because the deadline for submission is tomorrow", Henry's father said. "They are about to start training the second batch of their National Service Personnel", Henry's father added.

"How do you know so much?", Henry asked looking on as he marveled at his father's wealth of information on the subject. "We live in a world where people know people and people use their privileges to carry out favors for one another", Henry's father said. "You better get going now before they close!", Henry's father ordered.

"Yes sir!", Henry responded.

Henry rushed into his room, quickly put on a new shirt, grabbed the bag that contained all his official documents and dashed out of the house after taking some money from his father. He successfully went through the registration process at Kaprisky. He was told to report after three days to start the training program. When all protocol had been duly observed and the due diligence had been carried out,  Henry headed back home. He took a detour on his way back and asked his two friends, Ken and Edwin to meet up with him because he had something to tell them.

After work, the three young men gathered in front of a popular eatery. Edwin ordered for food and drinks for all of them. "Teacher Henry, what made you decide to call this meeting?", Ken asked sarcastically. "Things are pretty much going to change around here", Henry said. "And what is that supposed to mean?", Edwin asked.

"You see the way many people have been taking the banks and telecommunication companies to court over matters of interest with you lot always losing out?", Henry started looking and pointing at both Edwin and Ken simultaneously. "All that is about to change now because I would start working at Kaprisky Law Firm soon and I would ensure that you win every little legal battle for half the price", Henry bragged. "It is a lie!", Edwin started out of disbelief. "Say no more", Henry said and dug his hand into his bag and handed Edwin the letter of appointment. As Ken and Edwin looked at the letter, Henry started enjoying his meal.

"You and your father are criminals!", Edwin exclaimed. "How did you manage to pull off this miracle?", Ken added his voice. Henry slouched in his seat and said, "This is as a result of having high and mighty friends in high places"

“I didn't even call your parents criminals after you guys secured what to me was the most shocking postings ever”, Henry said sarcastically. “Because both of you are total misfits at your places of posting”, Henry added and all of them burst out laughing.

"Your father definitely has mighty friends because everyone knows that Kaprisky Law Firm is..." "...the best private law firm in the country", they all sang in unison to conclude Ken's statement.
“Congratulations, Henry!”, both Ken and Edwin opined.

They all enjoyed their meal and chatted for a while before they parted ways.

After the third day, Henry put on his best official clothes and left the house very early in the morning for his place of posting, Kaprisky Law Firm. The new service personnel that had been scheduled for the training were eleven in number. The ladies were six and the required number of guys made up the difference. In the middle of the training, the doors leading into the conference room where the training was being held flung open and at the entrance stood a pot-bellied elderly man. All eyes turned to look at him as the new personnel had no idea whom the man was. The man signaled to the trainer to carry on with the session. The personnel that were being trained turned their attention back to the trainer. As the trainer, a junior associate at Kaprisky Law Firm took the new personnel through the company's history,  the pot-bellied man walked up to the front and introduced himself, “My name is Ben”. He requested that all the eleven personnel mention their names and the university they graduated from. After that was done, he told them that he would have someone join them in the course of the day before wishing them well and politely asking to take his leave.

Around midday, after the personnel had been treated to a world-class lunch, the doors to the conference room flung open again and this time, a gorgeous young, light-skinned, exquisitely  dressed, curvaceous and possibly well-cultured young lady started her way up the aisle to the front.

“Hello everyone”, the young lady greeted. “My name is Sandra and I am to join you in this training”, the young lady said confidently. She looked through the room to find a seat which had not been taken. She looked through the room and spotted the empty seat; it was right next to Henry…



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