The Palm Wine Bar Incident

Over time, I had become a regular evening visitor to a dimly lit palm wine joint, located some metres outside the GCI gate, towards Afrograms.

On this particular evening, I met other boys there including Demola Ajibade (of blessed memory) and Tunde Oremodu. After savouring the usual one bottle of palm wine in an Aromatic Schnapps bottle, it was time to depart since prep was about to end. I paid the attendant but was startled by her exclamation. A customer, who was probably tipsy or had had a glass too many, had stumbled on a tray and broken several bottles of palm wine. Immediately, we all bolted in confusion towards the school gate, knowing that whoever was apprehended would identify others. The bar tender was in hot pursuit shouting, “Yeepa, mo gbe o.” It was obvious that the culprit was one of us. Everyone made it safely to the gate and promptly disappeared behind the shrubs.

Unfortunately, one Housemaster was seeing off a visitor and was at the gate at that point in time. He pacified the irate and frantic woman and promised to get back to her after investigating the matter. He was certain that he would unravel the mystery because he could identify at least one fair complexioned Chinese looking fellow among the absconders. In less than five minutes after leaving the palm wine bar, we were all back to base.

None of us returned through the main GCI road, we all took, various unorthodox routes. I was however assured by my lawyer that even though, it would appear that I had been sighted and identified, since I was not physically apprehended, there would be the benefit of the doubt, which must be resolved in my favour if I was accused. But then, there was still the risk of an identification parade, which had to be avoided at all costs.

I then came up with a bright idea to go and beg the woman by offering to pay for two bottles out of a possible six or more that have been broken.

Her aide testified that I had paid for mine and was not the fellow responsible for the breakages. I convinced her not to press charges nor identify me in the event of a parade. She was a smart lady, because she realised that if that happened, she ran the risk of low patronage thereafter.

Upon interrogation, I told the Housemaster that I had also seen people running but could not identify them as I had been at the gate to see off my cousin who visited me.

Surprisingly, the Housemaster believed my story probably because I did not deny being at the gate. So, the matter died down that way. The palm wine vendor did not also press further charges. I started threatening my ‘partners in crime’ that I would spill the beans; a threat that gained traction and necessitated my being incentivised and assuaged with many food rations. I indirectly ‘played rough’ (a GCI lingo meaning taking illegal rations of food.)> several times exploring the situation.

Submitted By: 

SONAME Olumakinde Akinola
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