“I can find out right down to the colour of her panties,” Obasi said, smiling confidently. “Anything you want to know, I will find out. Only that it will cost you.”
Shifting his gaze to Tunde, not because he was giving Obasi’s proposition a thought, but because he thought there was so much more to Obasi of late than met the eyes, Tony asked, “What do you say about this?”
Tunde showed his teeth in what seemed more of a grimace than a smile, and he said, “Don’t pay Obasi any attention,” and because he was intent to return them to the reason for which they had met in this sit-out that stood between oak and gmelina trees, and very close to the Biological Science Hall where they were to receive their last lecture of the day in an hour and half’s time, he added, “so, the amoeba belongs to the Class Sacordina, and forms some sort of false feet for motion.”
“Give your brain a break!” Obasi said, curtly, and turning to Tunde, he said, “If you want your girl checked on, I am the right man for the job!”
“Cut that crap right now!” Tunde bawled, his eyes turning a fierce red as they bored into Obasi. You would think some laser beams would shoot out of those eyes. “Spy this! Spy that! You are sick, Obasi. And you need your brain examined. You can only find spies in movies and books. It’s all fiction!”
“So, are you saying there are no actual spies in the world?” Obasi asked. He sounded a bit hurt.
“Not in this part of the world,” Tunde returned, his voice still somewhat belligerent. “You can’t go about wanting to be a spy in Nigeria just because you read it from some novellas.”
Obasi shifted his gaze to Tony for support. Throwing up his hands in a gesture of resignation, Tony said, “Tunde is right, Obasi. You are taking this spy stuff a little too seriously.”
“Did I mention spy?” Obasi asked, his voice an octave too high. The trio weren’t the only persons in the sit-out, and so, they had attracted a couple of eyes. “I said if you want your girl checked on, then you needn’t look any further from me!”
“Where’s the difference?” Tunde asked, paying no attention to the other students who were staring steadily. “We have an exam on our hands, and here you are talking about watching someone!” And then, he turned his gaze on Tony. “Why did you begin to talk about having your girlfriend watched in the first place when you know he is always going to do this?” Tony adjusted his glasses, but said nothing.
“Well, if you two don’t believe that I can be a spy in future, I don’t know why we should keep being friends,” Obasi said, and walked off before the other two could find words to say to him. They stood, gaping after him till he was out of sight. A spurt of raged raced through Tunde and Tony, and they stood stock-still for a couple of idle moments, but they weren’t shocked. They had seen Obasi put up the same act over and over again in the past (which was not well beyond earlier that day).
Obasi, Tunde, and Anthony had been friends since primary school. There had been moments their bond of friendship had threated to snap as they advanced up the rungs of education. When they had taken the entrance examination for secondary school education, three of them had eyed the King’s High School, being so certain that they would make it. However, only Obasi and Tunde had made it, with Tony getting on to a private school. Nonetheless, they kept in touch, and when time came for varsity, they picked the University of Lagos and the Faculty of Medical Sciences. They didn’t make it to the Department of Medicine and Surgery, but fate wasn’t going to abandon them. The trio got admitted to study Biochemistry in the prestigious University.
With their gazes still set on getting inducted into the Nigerian Medical Association (for these three were so fantasized about the human body that it was all they truly wanted to go to school for), the three friends agreed that they would meet each day — at any time of the day they had the opportunity, but never would they skip a day — to discuss their field for they believed that a reading group would prove to be helpful. They read more than the average student in the department of Biochemistry on the campus, or so they believed. They so read and discussed all they have read together because they wanted to make a switch to the field of study they had dreamed of ever since they were kids: Medicine and Surgery.
However, a little disapproval of Obasi’s newfound love for fictional novels had grown into a solemn worry, and from thence, an abject irritation, and even more, a hopeless nightmare for both Tunde and Anthony who had reasons to believe that their best friend had finally lost it. Both of them could still recall how it had all started as a mere indication of interest which hadn’t the faintest threat in it.
Here was how it started: it had been a rather gloomy Monday afternoon, and the three friends had agreed to meet at the cafeteria on campus. Obasi had been last to show up, and when he did show, he had a book in his hand which had on its cover a rather good-looking girl that seemed to have taken a pose for the camera. She had red tresses that cascaded down to her shoulders, big, emerald green eyes that stared directly at the camera, and tiny strips of clothing that seemed almost as if she had nothing on.
Tunde and Tony had eyed the book Obasi clutched, and had asked what book that was, who had authored it, and why Obasi had chosen a piece of literature which was only good for passing the time when he could have purchased books to further his knowledge on Biology.
“First of all,” Obasi had begun, settling himself on a plastic chair around the table where Tunde and Tony sat, “I didn’t buy this. On Saturday, I was bored to hell with studying Enzymology, so I tried to read something else, and I went digging in my father’s boxes of old books, and I came across this beauty: The Whiff of Money by James Hadley Chase. And I have read it up to half.”
Tunde and Tony hadn’t taken any objection to it, because indeed, they too, sometimes, did get bored with the branches of science they needed to have a knowledge of, and at such heights of boredom, they took a break from their books. However, they began to bother when Obasi became more addicted to novels, and not just any novel, but anything and everything written by James Hadley Chase. He began to use all of his money to buy James Hadley Chase’s books from the bookseller that had a store near the Main Gate of the varsity, and he would finish each book within a maximum of eighteen hours.
And what was more, Obasi began to look less interested in pursuing his childhood medical ambitions, and talked more of becoming a top spy for Nigeria. He always talked about a spy in two of the James Hadley Chase’s specials he had read. Mark Girland was the name of this spy who was for hire for any one that bade the highest. And much to the chagrin of Tunde and Tony, Obasi had said he wanted to become a spy just like Mark Girland in the first novel of James Hadley Chase’s he had read: an intelligent and efficient spy. And when Tunde and Tony asked him what was to become of his childhood dream to become a doctor, Obasi told them that he could become both. This horrible situation, as Tunde and Tony usually called it, was a quagmire for the two friends who thought Obasi needed help.
“Come on, Tony,” Tunde said, swinging his bag behind him. Tunde and Tony had continued with their study after Obasi had walked out on them. “Let’s get to class.”
Tony levered up from the brick stool he had been sitting on, and stifled a yawn. As the duo began to walk to class, a youth came running up to them, frantically. This youth was Gbenga by name. He looked, Tunde and Tony thought, like the harbinger of bad news.
After catching his breath, Gbenga said, “Obasi is about to be killed in the cafeteria. He got into a fight with someone who wouldn’t believe he was a spy hired by the Nigerian Government!” At once, Tunde and Tony broke into a dash for the cafeteria.
Johnson Onyedikachi is a teenage Nigerian creative writer who has unpublished manuscripts of poetry and plays. He recently picked interest in crime fiction and in August 2019, enrolled in an online course where he gained proficiency in article/journal writing including the use of referencing formats (MLA and APA style). He wrote in via firstname.lastname@example.org