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CORPERS LODGE (FINALE)

We have come to the end of this
crazy series. To those who have
been reading this series and never
commented, I challenge you to
come out of your caves and say
something today. If you only read
Corpers Lodge in this blog, you
are missing a lot. You are like a
man in the middle of a garden of
Eden and eating only cashew.
Corpers Lodge isn’t the best thing
I have written, it’s not even
second, or third. Perhaps it’s not
even in the first ten. Take a look
at the short short stories and
short stories sections and judge
for yourself; make a date with
Sade. Read the diary of the Tin
head. We have a great collection
of poetry, true, hot articles. Read,
laugh, laugh, laugh and think. If
you don’t follow this blog, you
owe me. Scroll down down down
and slot in your email address. If
you have problems subscribing,
say so in the comment box, I will
send our engineers hitting your
roof or fire someone (I so care for
you). Like our Facebook page.
And, on a more personal note, if
you wish to boost my ego, come
follow me @Oke4chukwu. And hope you didn’t miss The Previous Episode .

Enough of adverts. Let’s read the
very last episode of Corpers
Lodge.
*
The long awaited 2015 Batch A
came to camp in May. Our LGI
was a platoon leader which meant
she was in the orientation camp
throughout the twenty-one days.
CDS meetings were taken for
granted and a sizeable amount of
corps members even traveled out
of Osun.

The Welcome Committee for these
corps members was set up, Gowon and Hameed represented our PPA, Gowon emerged chairman. He worked hard to give
the new corpers a gracious
welcome but he was frustrated by
two-third of the house who hadn’t
paid their 500 naira fee as of the
last CDS meeting before the
welcome day. Myself and IBK,
harmed with Gowon’s list, went to
our colleagues row by row, one by
one and taxed them. IBK charmed
them, I flattered them, we urged
them to pay. By the end of the
meeting only those who weren’t in
town hadn’t paid. IBK called them
on phone and got them promise
to refund her the money if she
lent them.

On the 25th of May, a
handful of corpers and I in a team of four buses charted from the local government went to Ede Camp, and brought our brand new corps
members home. There were six
corpers posted to my school;
three pretty girls and three hefty
guys. After the welcome luncheon
of rice and Fanta, every PPA took
their corps members home. We
took our boys to Snake Lodge to
be hosted by Gowon, Hameed and
the others, we lodged the girls in
Micah’s room. One of the girls
took a look at the cemetery and
began to cry; ‘I can’t stay here, I
can’t.’ She wept.

‘Then carry her to Snake Lodge,’
Agu said.

‘Oh shut up,’ I said. Agu hissed
and made for the graveyard to
smoke. He now smoked his weed
among the death because, as the
most high corper, he believed he
had to pay his due respect to the
death, and it was what he had
that he would offer them, smoke!

Uncle Dayo, Agatha and Mercy
consoled the crying girl. If only
Micah was here, one charming
look and a soft touch, her cry for
help would turn into cry for love.
But Uncle Dayo was no Micah, he
quoted the Scripture, God sent you
here for a purpose, before you
were born He knew you, before
you wrote Jamb, he chose
Cemetery Lodge etc. I suppressed
a sigh as I opened IBK’s door. She
was in bumshorts. The sight of
brown laps seized my breath.
‘Don’t dare come near me.’ I shut
the door and went near her.

It was still May I think when the
students finished Waec and came
and set fire to disused tyres in
front of our lodge. Agu wanted to
go out and fight them but his
lodgemates held him back. ‘Use
your teeth to count your tongue.
How many of them can you fight,
are you the scorpion king?’ Edwin
asked him.

Agu sighed. ‘If to say I get two
more guys with ginger like Corper
Kings, we for wound these boys.’ I
hid a grin. If only indeed.

In June the civil servants of Osun
State embarked on strike over
seven months unpaid salaries.
They had to wait for seven
months! Anyway, it was a relief
for us because the whole Batch B
in our local government had
marked June as the month for
our terminal leave. Our vice
principal said he didn’t know
anything about terminal leaves
for corps members. We insisted
on having it; June was set for a
showdown, then the strike.

On the 6th of June, as we
prepared to go and watch the final of the Champions League,
information came to us that the
village would be performing a
sacrifice and no one should be
seen outside after dark. Bullshit. I
wasn’t going to miss a cracker
match because some old men
wanted to sprinkle fowl blood on
ancient stones. But no viewing
centre in the village opened for
the match. I watched the match
on Twitter.

In early mid-June, the Batch A
corps members returned to town
from post-camp break. Edwin said
he must collect something from
one of the new girls. ‘I am the
only guy in Cemetery Lodge who
hasn’t enjoyed this village,’ he
moaned. I told him he needed
Jesus.

We began clearance for our
passing out amid conflicting
rumours over the date. Some said
we would be passing out on the
2nd, others said on the 16th of
July. I didn’t care, I was having
the best moments of my service. I
was taking long walks in the
woods with IBK; sometimes she
sang Celine Dion to me, then I
read her love poems while her
head was rested on my chest, on
bed. I wouldn’t mind being like
this till the Second Coming of
Christ.

IBK began to learn shoe and bag
making from Fisayo and Fatima,
and teaching me. She wasn’t a
very good teacher, I wasn’t a keen
student and I was always
distracted by you know-whats. I
had no worries except that I
hadn’t saved one naira from my
allowances. I would be paid twice,
for June and July, at the end of
this month but after paying my
debt (I finished my allowance and
incurred debts before the end of
every month–falling in love with a
fellow corps member is like a
small marriage, with the guy as
the minister of budget and
planning) and buying one or two
things for home and transporting
self back home, would take a lion
share of this pay-off. But I refused
to let this worry me. Perhaps
Osun State would pay us the
twelve months allowance owed
us. An impossible miracle, but
corpers never stop hoping.

It was around this time that
Corper Lawrence’s personal CDS
project of two toilets for his
school was commissioned by the
state coordinator herself. It was
on this day that we confirmed
July 2nd as our passing out
parade day.

June 21st, NCCF sent us off amid
tears, hugs and snapshots. We
the celebrants wore a uniform of
tailored wax material. Mine was
badly sewn by the very village
tailor and it nearly affected my
self-esteem.

On the last Monday in June, a
send-off football match between
the Good To Go Corpers and the
Still Around Corpers took place in
Community School pitch. I played
to impress IBK. A mistake. I was
out of practice and only too glad
when halftime came and I
substituted myself. I won’t tell
you the final score, let it be my
only secret to my grave (not yet,
mind you); you love gossip too
much, anyway.

On the 30th of June, the entire
corps members sent us off. We
announced a new CLO same
night, a quiet respectful boy from
Community. The next day, my
church sent us off. Myself, Uncle
Dayo, Micah and recently, IBK,
attended this church. I admired
the educated and very
accommodating pastor. I never
missed Sunday services; I never
forgot to carry along my phone
charger either, by the way.

July 2nd.

Agu woke us all up in Cemetery
Lodge around 5am, shouting at
the top of his undisciplined voice.
‘I no be corper again o, I no be
corper! Anybody wey no wan make
I see today thunder fire him
mama! I be ex-corper!’ I blocked
my ears with the sheet.

It began to rain. It rained till ten
o’clock with small pauses in
between. Corpers were bursting
with impatience. ‘Rain, rain go
away,’ Tina sang. They were all
dressed for Oshogbo. ‘Miri zobe,
zobe!’ I countered. They cursed
me.

I was still not dressed when the
bus Dayo chartered arrived at
quarter past ten. They left without
me. IBK stayed back for me but
she nagged so much I wished she
didn’t bother. Our bike arrived
before eleven. But it wasn’t our
bikeman.

‘What of Ojo?’I asked his
presumed brother.

‘Ah, Ojo, e no well, e swallow
medicine. E dey for hospital.’

I didn’t understand. IBK spoke
Yoruba to him and told me that
he meant Ojo took poison. ‘What!
Why should he do that?’

‘This world e tire him now.’

It ruined my day. I like Ojo.

There was no passing out parade
for us, we would have stoned the
governor. Corpers lined up and
fought and cursed in the muddy
queue for their discharge certs.
There were about twenty lines,
each was hopelessly unruly. When
corpers collected their certificate
and the photo album, they would
shout, come out and begin
snapping with it. I wondered why
people snapped with their NYSC
certificates and never with their
degree certificates. Why?

The next day, Agu left for his
Enugu village. Fatima and Fisayo
left for Kwara and Ekiti
respectively. Edwin boarded a bus
for Delta. Around four o’clock,
Agu called me and shouted, ‘I
done reach o, I dey for my village
now. Kings, make you leave that
evil village, comot for there o. I
dey my village.’ I smiled. Agu was
now home, in his virrage, as he
pronounced it.

The day after, Dayo left for the
newly created NCCF family house
in the local government
headquarter, from where he would
leave for Lagos. Tina traveled to
Edo. Agatha went to her corper
boyfriend in Ilesha where she
would spend her post NYSC
honeymoon before going home.
Mercy’s final destination was
Lagos, but she returned to Kogi
today. Myself, Edwin, Dayo, Mercy
and, of course, IBK would reside
in Lagos. Lagos, why always
Lagos?

The 8th of July was IBK’s turn.
Big girl, she charted a car that
would take her straight to her
brother’s house in Ibadan. It was
warm and sunny when the car
arrived Cemetery Lodge, but by
the time we finished packing, she
sun had lost its gaiety as a black
cloud began to eat it up. We were
standing by the car boot. IBK
looked up. ‘Like it will rain.’

I nodded. ‘The village weather is
mourning the departure of their
most beautiful possession.’

She slapped me on the chest. ‘Lie.’
She sighed. ‘How would Cemetery
Lodge have fared without you?’

‘Peaceful,’ I said. ‘No mischief.’

She locked her hands around my
neck, her eyes on mine. ‘When I
first met you, I didn’t like you.
Now I don’t want to leave you.’

‘I…’ she cut me short with a peck
on the lips, and buried her face in
my shoulder. We held each other
tight, very tight; it felt like the
last hug, and we didn’t want to let
go. ‘I will miss you so much,’
there were tears in her voice.
‘When will leave here?’

‘In four days’ time.’ I had stayed
back to complete the novel draft I
had been struggling with for two
years now. Since nothing kills my
creativity like travelling in the
middle of a project, I had decided
not to move an inch until I was
done. ‘I will be coming to Lagos
after few weeks in Anambra,’ I
added but this didn’t stop her
from crying.

She had cried the
day Mercy left; she cried when
Dayo left. Your tears will finish, I
wanted to tease her but I couldn’t
trust my voice, and the tears in
the backyard of my eyes were
looking for the tiniest trigger to
flood my face with salty sorrow. I
remained in her arms and dumb.
It began to drizzle. The heavens,
weeping in solidarity. IBK shook
with passion, the drizzle
increased in urgency. ‘You have to
go,’ I forced myself to say. In
reply, she gave my neck a tiny
bite. She placed her head on my
forehead and sighed as she
studied my eyes.

‘Romeo and Juliet,’ the driver
called, ‘abeg e done do.’ With the
greatest reluctance, the two birds
parted and began to move, arm in
arm. I opened the car door. She
sat down; she blew me that kiss,
coated with tears. I shut the door.
‘Don’t let that soup spoil.’ She
extended her hand, I pressed it
with both hands.

The engine shot to life. I kissed
her hand. The car began to move.
I let go. But I was rooted on the
spot as the vehicle took my
sunlight, my most prized
possession away. Beautiful hand
waved as the machine gathered
speed. I watched, helpless, like an
angel stripped of his wings, until
the car was out of sight.

Slowly, I walked towards the
graves and sat on the three feet
high cemetery wall. It wasn’t just
the pain of losing a woman, or a
lover, IBK’s departure symbolised
every good thing that had
happened in my service year. My
service year and Cemetery Lodge
weren’t perfect, but all the
positives were balled up in this
beautiful girl I love passionately,
positives that I had now lost
forever. Never would the Christian
virtues of Dayo, the Jamaican
flair of Agu, the pregnant
comradeship of Edwin, the loyalty
of Mercy, the mixed package of
Fatima, Fisayo, Agatha and Tina,
the general melodrama of all be
gathered under the same roof, the
same time. And there would never
be a Micah…

The drizzling had turned into a
small rain and was fast drenching
me. I knew it was time to go, my
laptop missed me; sitting under
the rain and mourning wouldn’t
help me. I rose to my feet. So
much pain and nostalgia to nurse,
but the only way to survive these
is to move forward, and the only
way to move forward is to move
forward. With the back of my
hand, I wiped rain from my eyes
and began to move forward.

The End
image

Because of the length of this
episode, I will have to share the
‘Acknowledgements’ as a separate
post next week or so. So many
people to thank, so help me God
(to remember every single name!).

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55 thoughts on “CORPERS LODGE (FINALE)

  1. Jhon

    Awwn… So much emotion.. “..and
    the only way to move forward is to move
    forward.” Kudos bro.. I really wish it never came to an end. I wish you the best man, may you have a happily ever after.

    Like

  2. Saint Gab

    Finally… It ended like philipine movies. If it were nollywood, you would have taken IBK for introduction in ur village.
    Anybody you meet in life whether good or bad, its hard to leave the person no matter what. Nice ending. Your art is well crafted. A real representation of contemporary literature.

    Like

    • HARD VOICES

      I have never seen Philippine film before. Perhaps this is a compliment. But I have copied your last sentence into my CV, no time. Thanks Saint, I so feel like asking for your account number. Sigh

      Like

  3. Femi

    Welldone kings. Wishing you all the best out there. And please try to call IBK everyday o, and go to Lagos fast fast. Kana ji. God be with you.

    Like

  4. danyCEO

    *sigh* Okay.. I know i have been selfish all this while, reading without leaving a reply. I enjoyed every bit of the series. I began following the series on mymindsnaps.com till I moved here. You did a great job with the series bro, perfectly written without leaving behind any detail. The humour side of it is exceptional, you are a doing a great job. More ink to your pen. #bless

    Like

    • HARD VOICES

      Another MMS spill off. I should buy Walter a car, shouldn’t I? No, I won’t say you were selfish. Let’s say, coy. A whole CEO like you, shy!

      But it was a worthy wait. This comment has hit my art like cold water after a Marathon. Clears throat (in Agu’s voice) ‘Jah bless.’

      Like

  5. Dom

    Kingsley, your works kept the spirit of literature alive in my heart. I followed through, and I’ve read most of your works. I must be sincere to say that they are most definitely works of a perfect WordSmith. You need to publish the novel of CORPERS LODGE mehn!. I’ll sell my money to buy the work of your hand. I served (Batch B Corps Member) alongside you and stayed in a ‘Corpers Lodge’ too. I think, sorry, I know you killed Corpers Lodge, so dress it and have it served.

    Like

    • HARD VOICES

      Selling your money Indeed. Thanks Dom for your kind words. Thanks for coming out in the first place. I know you must have understood some of the runs here, having served in a Cemetery Lodge or Snake Lodge (add your address).

      As for publishing this, I will consult the Oracles.

      Like

  6. RoborKaybee

    #Sighs….
    So Much emotions wrapped up in Dis episode…Love ur choice of words, narration n all put together to make ds episode a masterpiece… but ( I suppressed a sigh as I
    opened IBK’s door. She was in
    bumshorts. The sight of brown laps
    seized my breath. ‘Don’t dare come
    near me.’ I shut the door and went
    near her.)…n wat next??? #winks

    As always, u have proven to b d best of ur kind.. I celebrate talent wen I see one, U r one n so I celebrate u.I am proud to b an ardent reader/follower of Dis blog…n am proud of u….
    #ThanksForWritingCorpersLodge

    Like

    • HARD VOICES

      When I wrote that scene, I knew you would come at me with claws. You and your evil eyes. What next, I brought out a long skirt and covered seductive legs. Then I broke palm kernels for her, then we sang Panam Percy Paul. Then we studied the word. Yeye!
      Keep peeping through key holes, one of these days…
      Guy, you are one of the two or three readers whose comments I look forward to, whose comments I will miss so much. Thank God you read nearly everything I write, see you in the next story. Thanks, thanks, thanks Elijah, you rock!

      Like

  7. Adaolisa Ezeh

    ” i suppressed a sigh as i open IBK’S DOOR, she was in BUMSHORTS. The sight of brown laps seized my breath”. “dont due come near me” i shoot door and went near her. . . . . Network cut! Wel ur so creative , am proud of u. Jst try n bring more series dat wl b more sweet dan dis! I wait to read more of ur write up. Tanks 4 givin us a good end on ds series, i most comfess ur excelent but pls try n bring IBK to east so she wil b a captive.

    Like

  8. Alexis Chyka

    The only way to survive The End of this series is to move forward. And the only way to move forward is to move forward!! I Just did.
    I am looking forward to the Complete Works of Kingsley.

    Like

  9. Adewoyin Joseph

    I guess I’m one of the lots that ate just cashew… plus apple and a handful of little grapes.

    This piece is a blend of several extremes — coincidence (or fate) that begot friendship, sacrifice, brotherhood and serious politicking, deep irrevocable loss, Romeo and Juliet in the making…

    Now clarion sef no fit just call una anyhow, whoever calls you “Corper” would definitely be lashed, at any place you choose. Yelz!

    Thanks for this series bruvv; the fun and laughter were ghen-ghen!

    Like

    • HARD VOICES

      Thanks Senor Joe. Your contribution to this cashew tree cannot be quantified. You killed me most of the episodes, with your crazy comments and witty analyses. You bombed us!

      Indeed anyone who has the courage of a madman and the buttocks of gorilla, let him call me corper. If I don’t couple will I will cobble him.

      Thanks for blogging this series with me… I have since submitted your name for Buhari’s coming cabinet (if it will ever come). Cheers

      Like

  10. Moses Haruna

    Corper Kings,sorry,King Kingsley.Were u talking to me when u said reading ‘corpers lodge’ alone was like eating only one fruit…?well,it wuld interest u to know that i read a no.of ur works,asides ‘corpers lodge’,I just culdn’t read everything/keep up wt ur pace of publishing stuff,when so much of ‘other things’ to do.I just decided to ‘stay faithful’ to ‘corpers’ lodge’ 4 now,till I had time to read d others.
    As 4 this episode,in d words of Walter(yes,i think?),”u’ve killed it.Now,dress it and get it served!”You got me emotional here,and u must pay for this(no,just kidding).Pls,keep up the good work.
    #u’re_good!

    Liked by 1 person

    • HARD VOICES

      Not just you Brother Moses, so many of my people couldn’t keep up to my pace of publishing nearly every two and half a day, this is Nigeria remember. I will slow down to at least one post per seven days and see.
      Thanks for eating a little more than cashew. And for the cashew you ate, thanks for eating it very much.
      God bless

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Vic

    Was it rain you wiped off or tears? Say the truth….been following this story, got to know about it through MMS. Been so beautiful, you write so well, I’m quite emotional reading this. Btw, you never told us who was responsible for IBK’s belle? Can’t wait for the novel

    Liked by 1 person

    • HARD VOICES

      Is like you like gossip o. Haba. Who’s talking IBK’s belle in this century? No, it is zobo I wiped from my eyes. Vic, Vic, Vic… How many times did I call you? If you weren’t commenting for the very first time, if you weren’t from the parent blog MMS I would have made you see your ears with your nude eyes, ashiri gbakwute

      Like

  12. Anavami

    Finally its the end of Corpers Lodge.
    A nice and entertaining piece,beautifully written. Thank you Mr. Kings for a job well done and thank you Walter for the introduction.

    Like

  13. Tobbie

    Confession time…….Ghost reader without comments, product of MMS…..

    Back to gist of the day, bia pls don’t tell me you haven’t called IBk since then? Can’t you see the green light or which other greenlight do you want, biko drop ur Lastma jacket and act fast.

    If you won’t act, pls can I get IBK’s number?

    Micah……thinking deep, that episode shook me loads but it’s fine.

    Great write-ups, keep soaring high n don’t give up even when you do feel like giving up….👀 I’m watching you oo.

    Like

    • HARD VOICES

      Give you whose number? General Gowon’s or Agu’s number? These are the only available number sir… Thank you sir.
      MMS. That great godfather blog again! God bless Walter. Thanks Tobbie for finally dropping your mask, and commenting.
      I shall never give up. Thanks for the encouraging words. Keep covering my back

      Like

  14. mosesabubakar

    Is it a coincidence that your finale came on the 5th of August 2015 exactly a year from reporting to camp for the NYSC or was it that you planned it that way? Anyway it was a series that I enjoyed a lot though my comments were not consistent. I can’t wait for another series to bit the net. Thank you Aboki na for the many weeks of awesomeness and endless laughter not forgetting the lessons underneath. Keep it up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • HARD VOICES

      I never thought of the coincidence in the dates. But that it coincided, the way it did, without my actually thinking it is symbolic in itself. Na gode for your readership and for your help your rare comments. I am equally happy you noted the lessons underneath it. It wasn’t just about the comedy, the entertainment. The lessons! Let that sink.

      We would see a new series, soon. How soon, I don’t know. Thumbs

      Liked by 1 person

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    Like

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