TUGRIL(The Underground Room)- Episode 1

Chapter 1

Bidemi Adeoti saw no reason to do so but he felt he needed to watch the dark guy who opened his bag, looked about briefly, and put some books into his bag. Nothing was fishy about him putting books into his bag, but Bidemi still felt the urge to watch the guy, that urge that comes into mothers that make them rise just in time to see something bad happening to their children.

‘Excuse me, please’, a sonorous female voice said behind him.

Bidemi turned back to allow whosoever it was to pass, his eyes still fixed on the black guy. Shifting back, he was awed by the beauty of the dark lady that just passed his front, he had seen so many ladies but he had never been captivated so early by their beauty like the one passing his front. He swallowed hard as the vanilla smell of her perfume captured his nose and held it bound, as he sniffled silently.

The lady has an hour-glass-shaped body: she has a very tiny waist and a tiny shoulder. Her hair dangled around her shoulder giving her the aura of a queen. Bidemi allowed his eyes to follow her, roam over her, and stop at her long hair, the thing he appreciated most in women. He was still appreciating her beauty when his eyes caught a very popular inscription. This inscription was popular among readers at Boost Brain Library located in University of Ajede; the name ‘Boost Brain Library’ was written on one of the books the dark guy was putting into his bag.

‘What!’ Bidemi whispered, looking lost, taking his full attention away from the lady that captivated him and resting it on the book.

Maybe, the guy forgot that the porter at the door would give him trouble because no one is allowed to take the library book out of the library without proper documentation. Bidemi was sure the guy did not take it with proper documentation because they were coming from the same floor of the library- he knew when the guy picked the book from the shelve, and knew that the guy had not gone to do proper documentation of the book.

‘What’s my concern?’ he said himself, putting his books into his bag and zipping it up.

The lady came back again, this time to pick her bag. He could not help closing his eyes and sniffing-in her perfume gently just to enjoy it, to allow the sweet smell grasp the whole of his lungs. She was putting on a green three-quarter gown, which held her body like its life depended on it, showing her curves perfectly, and making Bidemi’s throat go up and down severally.

‘Excuse me’, she said quietly again as she got to his back, carrying her handbag on her left shoulder.

Bidemi shifted again. Suddenly, the books in her bag poured out. Immediately, he ran to her side to help her pick the books that had scatter on the floor, pretending to dust the books as he tried to search for her name or anything that would help him know her better.

‘Thank you very much’, she kept on saying as he handed the books he was able to pick to her. She had also picked some, so she dropped them all into her bag, arranging them hurriedly. His eyes grazed quickly through her notes to see what her name might be, and if he is lucky enough, to see her faculty or department; however, he did not get the opportunity to see any of these; instead, he only saw some of her courses through her textbooks, a fruitless effort. Bidemi dropped his shoulder as he rose up.

Unknown to both of them, his Library I.D Card had dropped while he was helping her. The lady thought she was the owner, so she picked it and dropped it into her bag since they only needed it when they want to enter the Library and not when they want to get out.

Then, Bidemi remembered the dark guy that dropped Brain Boost Library’s book into his bag, so he looked up and was relieved to see that the guy was still and he wanted to see what will happen to the guy at the door.

The guy carried his black back-bag from the room where students drop their bags, and moved towards the exit that leads into the Faculty of Arts; The Brain Boost Library has two exits. The one that leads from the faculty of Arts is the main one; it has many flower-trees in front of it that would make one wonder if the original builders wanted to build an orchard before thinking otherwise. The other exit faced the sport complex, and regularly seen at this exit is a member of the university guards popularly known as the ‘Abefele’, whose chocolate shirt and black trousers is always neatly ironed, whose black shoes are always shining, whose eyes scan the arena like an automated machine. The uniform would have passed as the colour of a honey bee had the uniform not been chocolate.

Although, the guard at this exit change every time, one can still point at two people as the most popular among them- a fair slim lady from the eastern Nigeria and a chocolate skinned fat man from the western part of Nigeria.

Bidemi followed him to see the outcome. He plugged his earpiece to his ear as he followed the guy, who seems to have the whole day to himself as he moved gently and slowly towards the exit, walking as if he does not have anything else to do, making Bidemi vexed.

‘Open your bag’, a man with an aquiline nose (the type of nose Harry potter star, Daniel Radcliff has).

‘Should we always show our bag everyday?’ the dark guy said, grumbling as he unzipped the bag.

‘Open it joor’, the man restated, his business-like nose moved as he leaned over the counter in front of him to see the contents of the bag.
‘ We check to prevent people from thinking about stealing’.

The dark guy opened his bag angrily. Bidemi’s heart pounded like a drum that is beaten for war as he neared the exit, as he kept himself from blurting out that the guy had an illegal book in his bag.

Bidemi is a hundred level student who was in his first semester in the University of Ajede and he is studying Linguistics and African Languages as a major course.
University of Ajede is a federal university. The state, Ajede, is a new one carved out of Oyo state. ‘Ajede’ is a Yoruba word that means wealth has arrived.

Bidemi had faced some trouble in life and had wished he had talked earlier those times because they later placed the blame on him.
Bidemi wondered why he was afraid, when he was not even the culprit.

‘Ok….’ the man said.

Bidemi stopped breathing.
Widened his eyes.
Did he hear well?

‘You can go…If you are innocent, why should you worry? Obey rules and your life would, to others, be a rule’ the man continued saying, and then faced Bidemi,’ Yes… Let me see your bag’. The man searched his bag shabbily.

‘You can go….’

‘Whoa…’ Bidemi mouthed, trying not to make any noise. There were some borrowed books in his bag, he was waiting for the man to see and find out about the books. He always wanted people to see the book ‘Microsoft for Dummies, to ask him questions; make fun of him, so that he can teach them all he had learnt from the book.
Frustrated by the lackadaisical attitude of the porter, Bidemi shook his head just as he passed through the white, sliding-glass door of the library, wishing he was the porter. He met the dark guy outside, trying to close his bag. He was sure he saw the guy putting a library book into his bag but the guy has just proved him wrong.

‘These people are not efficient’, he hissed loudly the moment he got to the side of the guy, purposely avoiding the guy’s eyes as the dry, cold hair of the harmattan blew past his nose.

‘Are you talking to me?’ the dark guy said, looking sideways, towards Bidemi.

‘No’, Bidemi said, bending his mouth to look like a small letter ‘n’ shape, ‘I was complaining about those Porters’.
‘Oh! Those fools’, the guy muttered and hissed as he strapped his bag on his back. The harmattan has started creating cracks of white webs on the guy’s body, dark people suffer the most during harmattan.
‘As in, I do not understand how he will not see the book I borrowed in the Library. With these people, one can always take all the books in the library to read’.
‘It is not that people can always take. I have taken more than one.’
‘Are you kidding me?’ Bidemi said, his heart warming up with delight that he was right after all.
‘No….’, the guy said just as they got to the round-about that divides the road to the main faculty(of Arts), on the right, and its Annex, on the left.
‘Whoa, how are you doing it?’ He said as if he genuinely wanted to know.
‘It’s so simple. All you have to do is to put the book under the other books, sometimes I put them at some hidden place in my bag’.

Bidemi opened his mouth in feigned surprise as the dark guy kept on explaining the processes as if he was describing the happiest day of his life.
‘For example’, he said. He removed his bag from his back and brought out a green bulky book titled ”The American Revolution”, ‘ look at this book’, pointing it at Bidemi, ‘ you were there when that man searched my bag. He did not see this because of my expertise’.

‘But… But why can’t you just borrow it legally?’ Bidemi said, surprised this time.

He felt he needed to record their speech to understand why the fellow would steal these books and just to write an article to paste on his Facebook page, to make people understand what is happening in our system, to make them know that Nigeria’s corruption starts with you and I. The topic will be “Nigeria’s corruption starts with U,I”.

‘I have lost my library card’, the guy answered.

Bidemi continued checking his pockets for his phone. But the phone seems to have shrunken into his pockets because it was no where near his pocket. He narrowed his eyes and looked on as he and the guy moved on. Putting it in his back was out of the option because he did not really put anything into the bag as he went to read one of the material’s from the library.

‘So, how have you been entering the library?’ He said to keep the conversation going.

‘I’ve been using my friend’s own’.

‘I can’t find my phone’, Bidemi blurted out at last, ‘please do you have a little credit on your phone that I can use to flash my phone to know if it is here or not…’

The guy brought out a silver NokiaC3 and gave it to him. With a shaky hand, Bidemi dialed his phone number. Where would he get a new phone especially this hard times.
Then, it started ringing, singing Kirk Franklin’s ‘None like you’.
Bidemi quickly touched his pocket it was not there. The melodious sound was coming from someone else’s’ pocket- The guy’s. Bidemi felt like rushing him into the wall.
How did the phone get to his reach?



6 thoughts on “TUGRIL(The Underground Room)- Episode 1” by Akintayo Akinjide (@Divepen)

  1. The start was quite hard to comprehend i almost opted out reading it..
    Anyway nice story#following

  2. OMG! this guy is a thief, he’s even good in other aspect, not only in library books. sounds interesting, let’s see what happens next.

  3. Sincerely, it was a struggle to read this piece till the end–I eventually did. I merely read. And I did not bother myself with the task of creating any imagery about the setting or characters. Dear, more work has to be done.

    * Note: You switched tense–from past to present–more than once.

  4. Hmmmm……I won’t say much apart from the fact that you should do proper editing before posting.

    I stopped reading cos the errors were just too much and I dnt want to start correcting it.

    Editing can be a serious task but you could give someone who has a keen eye and is observant and also good onEnglish Language to edit for you cos errors like this can spoil a good piece.

    Read more books and see how it is done.

    Its a narrative and it has to be in the present tense not past.

    The use of “has”, instead of ‘had’.

    Hmmmmm…. I said I wnt say much buh I just did.

    Oh well! My bad.

    Keep on writing

  5. Your use of descriptive words is commendable but overwhelming at times. Pay more attention to the tenses, flow and syntax of sentences. The story itself looks promising. Cheers

  6. The errors in this piece are too much. I barely grasped the story. Please work more on your tense.

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