The Birth of John Okro

The Birth of John Okro

“And you?” the teacher asked. The boy got up hesitantly, knowing the consequences of his next words before he said them.

“Yes? Hurry up,” the teacher said.

“John Okro.” The entire class erupted. Even the teacher struggled to suppress a chuckle.

He was all too familiar with the trend. With every new term, class-teacher or subject-teacher came the inevitable request for everyone to tell the class their names. Since Primary One, it had been a problem. Expecting his classmates to ‘get sense’ by Primary Three was seemingly a bit too much to ask.

They laughed heartily for what felt like a whole term before the teacher finally barked: “Everyone keep quiet. Next. Yes. You.” She pointed at the pupil to John’s right.

******** ********** ********* ********** ********** **********

“John Craw-Craw!!!” they yelled as the three boys dragged John across the corridor.

“Leave me alone now. What did I do to you people?” he asked amidst sobs. “Every day you will be abusing me. Leave me now! Leave me!!!”

“How can I leave you when you have not yet drink toilet water?” Ladi bellowed. Ladi was in Primary Five. He was a lot taller and a whole lot bigger than John was. If strength wasn’t a problem for Ladi, English was. And the precocious John was aware.

“Dundee United. ‘Drank’ not drink! Yeeeee!!!” John screamed as Ladi kicked him in anger. Clearly, taking unrequested English lessons from a boy two classes below and two feet shorter was not Ladi’s forte.

They were now at the toilet. It was generally clean but only the walls were tiled. Concrete floor. The corridor was quiet because it was break time and since the teachers converged in the staff lounge during this period, it was unlikely that help would come John’s way.

Ladi lifted John by the waist, Osas had him at the armpits while Dapo was happy to dip his head in the toilet bowl.

In the recesses of a young boy’s brain – masked by a face three inches deep in toilet water – something snapped.

The toilet was always neat. A cleaner was paid to make sure that John only got his head into clean-ish disinfected water. Today, unfortunately for the three boys exercising their size-given rights to bully, there was piss in it.

And though John was as yet unfamiliar with the expression, he was really pissed off.

In five minutes, break was over and John was back in class.

Smelling like piss.

The stench was coming from his face but his entire body felt violated.

“Aunty, may I be excused?” he recited the question Aunty said each member of the class should ask in case they wanted to use the toilet.

Back in the same toilet he’d been dipped in, Okro stretched across the sink to slip the tiny bar of soap through all ten of his fingers. He proceeded to wash his face with the lather generated by the motion of his hands across it. As he rinsed his face, he stiffened his spine in resolve.

Plus the water from the faucet was really cold!


He’d inadvertently located the powdery stuff under his uncle’s bed but he really had no idea what it actually was. At first, he thought it was regular powder… but Uncle never used it. And then one afternoon, after watching a very tough action film, he got the idea it was cocaine. Once, his curiosity got the better of him and he touched some and even rubbed it on his face. The memory of the consequences made him shudder. Luckily, he’d been the only one at home so he was fine by the time uncle had returned. He shoved some spoonfuls into a polyethylene bag and tied it. He grabbed Uncle’s “environmental day gloves” on his way out. Uncle wouldn’t notice. Not until next Saturday.


At exactly 7.46 am, three best friends walked into their classroom to find their classmates laughing extremely loudly. Once the rest of the pupils saw them, their laughter increased. Ladi, ever the bold one, was the first to inquire: why are you guyns laughing. Uche, the primary five class captain pointed at the blackboard. In an even, legible handwriting were these words:

“L for Last, L for Ladi.

O for Olodo, O for Osas.

D for Dundee United, D for Dapo.”

Their faces turned ashen as they read this. If it was even possible, the class laughed louder at their shocked expressions. Deflated, they trudged to their seats. As an afterthought, Ladi turned and made towards the blackboard. He cleaned it vigorously lest the class teacher see it after assembly. As he turned to go back to his seat, he met John’s eyes. Outside by the window. Smiling and nodding his head. Then it came to him: most people said “dundee” but only one person called anyone “Dundee United.”

Ladi was tempted to go after him but he thought against it. Instead he muttered to himself: “John Craw-Craw, you haf dead…”

By break time, they were pumped up and ready to draw blood. The three huge boys ran to John’s class where he normally sat awaiting his fate but he was not there. Growing in fury, they bolted to the playing ground. He was still nowhere in sight. The rest of their break period was spent ransacking every corner of the school premises. They even peeped into the staff lounge. Still no sign of John.

Back in their classroom, they opened their lockers and found identical written notes: “Break period won’t give you enough time to beat me properly. Come and revenge after school. I will be at the back of the science lab.”


The science lab was at the back end the school. Barely two meters behind it was the school fence. Ladi had Osas and Dapo flank the lab and approach the back from both ends in case John changed his mind upon seeing them and chose to flee. They saw each other as they arrived at the back. But no John. They stood facing the fence, “Where is that rat, lemme kill him!” Osas yelled.

And then the white stuff was upon them. “What is this?” they said at once as they began to try to clean the powdery substance that seemed to be coming from above them. As they stretched to look, their eyes fell on him.

Standing from a window ledge, a gloved John Okro was sprinkling the powder. He stopped once they made eye contact.

Dapo ran towards him and reached up to punch the side of his knee. The sheer force of it made John buckle. Ladi grabbed John by the ankles and dragged him down. He allowed John fall to the floor with a thud. Instinctively, the three boys began to kick John with everything they had in them.

Oh no, John thought, it didn’t work.

And then suddenly… it did.

Osas froze first with his leg in mid air. In an instant, his hands were all over his body as he scratched with abandon. Ladi was about to ask Osas what the matter was when the mega-itch struck him too.

Surprised that the kicking had stopped, John looked up to see the other boys writhing and scratching on the floor. He forgot the pain he’d been in as he jumped up and screamed: “Ope o!”

Dapo was the first one he attended to.

He punctuated his words with kicks:

“Never,” kick! “In your life,” kick twice, “try me,” Kick! “again!” He kicked one more time before he moved on to Osas. He suddenly realized pinching might be more effective.

“If you know,” as he said this, he pinched Osas’ belly viciously and elicited a yelp from the primary fiver, “that you have liver,” he landed on Osas’ midsection knee first, “push me inside the toilet again, you hear?!!”

One of the security guards was walking close to the lab and heard groans. “Dis stoofid children,” he muttered as he walked towards the noise. As he arrived at the back, Ladi wailed at him: “Uncle, that boy is beating us!” The gateman knew Ladi’s face. And his reputation as a bully.

“I resemble small fikin? E dey crase?” the gateman yelled back disbelievingly.

“I swear. John Craw-Craw is beating us!” Ladi yelled again and pointed in the direction he assumed John was standing. The gateman looked around to see four boys writhing and scratching on the floor. The smallest one looked in as much anguish as the others. He wouldn’t be bothered enough to get to the root of things. The kids would have to sort themselves out because he was in a hurry. The guard’s shift ended in minutes. Dragging these two to the authorities would postpone that and he had plans.

“When ina flay pinish, make ina dey go hawse, kajiko?” Ignoring their cries of “Uncle please!” he turned and left.

Once John was sure that the guard was out of earshot, he got up. He brought out a small bag with the last of the powder and proceeded to sprinkle the rest on the boys for good measure. He looked at their feet and concluded that Osas was wearing the sandals that would inflict the most pain. He yanked one off roughly, cutting the strap in the process. Amidst incessant itching, Osas barely noticed.

Then he went to Ladi. Hard as he could hit, he struck him twice on the top of his head with the sole of Osas’ sandal. Ladi groaned loudly and John put a gloved hand to his mouth to stifle the noise. He brought his face close as he spoke:

“My name is not Craw Craw,” John started angrily,


14 thoughts on “The Birth of John Okro” by cikko907 (@cikko907)

    His name is John Okro. I like that.
    He fought them like a man and gained his respect
    Good job!

  2. Lol at the Dundee United. I have not heard that phrase in a long time. Enjoyed reading although I was a bit confused by the ending. Not sure how sprinkling the coke worked the magic on the other boys. From their reaction, it sounded more like he sprinkled poison ivy. Look forward to reading more from you :)

  3. I liked this.

  4. Not sure the white substance was cocaine. Whatever it was though, it sure did the trick!! way to go JOHN OKRO!!!

  5. hehe… twas itching powder o!

    1. SICKO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Missed you, my mad brother.

      Where you been? Welcome back!

  6. Revenge…..always leaves a coppery but sweet taste in Ur mouth. Nice.

  7. This is lovely. Mad humorous.

    And I love the fact that…justice (not to mention itching powder) triumphed in the end.

    Well done!

  8. And so JOHN OKRO was born!
    I love this.

  9. Seems NS writers have discovered a fasciantion for velvet bean pods in their stories. First Chudi’ebere, now Cikko.

    Very funny story; very satisfying, too, as it often is when I read wicked people getting their just deserts.

  10. LOL….

    His name is John Okro, well deserved punishment for the bullies…

  11. Cikko where are you? You come and go. You be army?

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