Well, let’s just say that I did not have to wait until midterm. It was as if the trumpet of doom had finally blared on my son Ken.
It started with the principal’s call four weeks after the school’s opening day. He said his father and I were needed in school as soon as the following day. The principal would not even hint what the urgent call was all about.
“He is in good shape , don’t worry. Just come tomorrow with his latest report form?” He said.
I pulled the TV cabinet’s drawer for his school file. I was surprised that I had not filed his form 2, end of year, report form. I remembered he had picked it up quickly after his father and I had seen through his grades. Luckily, his grades had not been affected by his ignominious actions. I went to his bedroom to see if he had left it lying around.
He always left his room spick and span. Every clothe folded and kept where it should be, his books neatly arranged . All the drawers in the wardrobe were clearly marked , for trousers, shirts and underwear. I was always impressed by this side of Ken. Little did I know that there lied a pandora box in this seemingly perfect room.
Motivated to see more of this orderliness, I pulled open the trousers’ drawer. His jeans and shorts were arranged in different rows. The shirts drawers also had different rows but surprisingly, the underwear drawer would not open. My instincts kicked in as I smelled a rotten rat. No way would he lock in his innerwears as if one of us would steal them. I called out to Tom, my brother who was repairing the dog’s kennel.
“Please come over with those tools.” I said , my heart palpitating praying that my son was just very protective of his inner garments. Tom came in and I showed him the drawer. He tried to pull it open and confirmed that it was indeed locked. We searched for the key but the efforts were futile hence having no other option than breaking through.
When we finally found access to the inner attire compartment, nothing could have prepared us for what we were to see. Yes, there knickers neatly arranged but underneath was Ken’s secret stash.
My son had stocked a packet of condoms, a box of cigarettes, and little satchets of white powder.
“You don’t want to know what they are,” Tom said when I asked about the white powder.
The we saw a school stamp. It was his school’s principal’s.
“I wonder why he would have the school principal’s stamp.” My brother voiced the same thoughts as mine but when he took out some documents from an A4 envelope, we were astounded at the mischief of my teenage son. A fake ID that said he was twenty years old dropped on the floor. Naked pictures of the neighbour’s fourteen year old daughter also spilt out.
When we poured the contents of the envelope, I came to face to face with the real school newsletters and report forms. Apparently, he would visit a cyber cafe and design better forms that would impress me and his father and hide the true papers. Now I understood the use of the school principal’s stamp. In the real results forms, my son had flopped dismally. In the most recent letter, the principal had even asked to meet his parents on 14th January over his performance. The date had passed.Why hadn’t the principal not called me to ask why I did not show up?
That evening, I revealed it all to Ken’s father. I left out the sugar mummy part just not to shock his father too much. He was beside himself with rage and as it is with many homes the blame game started.
“It’s all your fault, you treat him like a toddler, calling him daddy and cooking him all these food and…”
“How dare you say that Peter, at least I try to talk to him, you two are like strangers in this house. Tell me when you both had a conversation, even a simple one about the weather! It’s as if you cant stand each other.” I screamt as he stormed out of the house in high dungeon.
Needless to say, no one spoke a word yi the other as we took the five hour drive to Ken’s school.
“I am glad you both have come. Now without further ado, I will go straight to the point. What I will tell you might shock you. When I wrote you a letter that you come over to discuss your son’s academic performance, someone came on your behalf. She said she was Ken’s aunt and she sure acted the part, reprimanding him where necessary. I have to admit she swayed me into believing that she had Ken’s best interests at heart. I even escorted her to her Toyota Mark X.” The principal said regretfully.
When the principal mentioned a Toyota Mark X, I closed my eyes to conceal my pain whem I remembered the day I saw Ken in the vehicle.
“Anyway, last week, we did a random search in the boys dormitory and found a phone hidden in Ken’s box. Upon scrolling through the mobile phone, we saw flirty texts and naked pictures of the “so called” aunt. Here is the phone.” He gave it to me but I could not master the energy to see worse than what I had already witnessed. Peter grabbed the phone and grimaced at what he saw, quickly dropped the phone on the table then rose up simmering in fury.
“Where is he?” He asked. The principal called out at his secretary who came in obediently.
“Is the boy waiting already?” The secretary nodded. ” Call him in.”
Ken cautiously peeped in. He looked at the principal, then at me, his father and then the phone that was on the table. He banged the door behind him and took to his heels. The principal rose quickly and we followed him hysterically.
His luck ran out quickly when a teacher caught him at the main doorway and brought him back to the office.
“Is this why we brought you to school Ken?” His father asked fuming in anger. Ken went quiet and bent his head. No one saw how his father paced the two metres to his son and land a slap at him.
“From what I have heard, I can see you are already a man. I will give you a man’s beating today.” His father said as he took his coat off. Ken looked at him with frightened eyes. I was also scared for him. We had seen Peter angry a couple of times and he was not good news when aggravated.
“No Sir. Please, I do not want bloodshed in my office.” The principal said. “I called you here to tell you that we are expelling your son. This is a Christian sponsored school and the board cannot have such a boy in the school premises. He is bad influence.” He said, handing a clearance letter to us. Peter, Ken and I were astounded. No amount of promises to reform our son was heard. His decision was final.
The drive home had a colder silence than the one from home.
When we arrived, Ken jumped out quickly and ran to the bedroom. He made a loud yell! I knew he had seen that I had seen his secret paraphernalia. Then few minutes later, I heard a commotion.
“Throw those damn pills on the ground you idiot!” Peter frantically yelled.
Ken was holding a glass of water on one hand when the other held tens of capsules.
“If you come nearer, I will swallow all these.” Ken threatened.
Then I realized that I was not worried. I had a gut feeling that Ken was bluffing, to scare us and be lenient to him for all he had done.
“Go ahead, swallow them all.” I said.
“What?” Peter howled. I looked at him and winked at him. He stared back confusedly.
“Let’s go Peter. We will back for the body after a few minutes.” I said as Peter followed reluctantly.
“What are you doing Mama Ken? You really want him to die?” Peter asked shockingly.
“Peter, ever heard of maternal instincts? He will not do it.” I whispered to him our next plan.
One hour later, he came to the living room, his head bent. He saw a stranger, with a steely look in his eyes and gazed at us quizically.
“Boy we just cannot deal with your games anymore. Let the law take over.” His father announced. “Meet Officer Ali.”
“What? You called the police?” Ken started to cry like a five year old, begging us not to allow the police officer to go with him. Ali was busy reading to him his list of offences, forgery of documents, possession of indecent images, attempted suicide…
“Officer, let’s give him a minute and hear what he has to say.” Peter announced.
“No, let him go with Officer Ali. I have had enough!” I said holding my laughter as Ken gave me an injured desperate look.
“Mum? How can you do this to me?”
“C’mon Mama Ken ,let us listen to him.” Peter said, biting his lip to stifle a giggle. We looked at Officer Ali whose glare at Ken made him tremble with fear. Ali shook his head grimly.
“No, you will talk to him in jail. He is an adult after all. Is this not his ID? ” He said taking out Ken’s fake ID from the big envelope that we saw in his wardrobe.
“No,no,no! I am not over 18, that is not mine. It’s fake. I swear I can’t go to jail, please, I am just a child.” Ken said kneeling on Officer’s Ali feet.
“There, you just admitted one of your crimes. Faster, no time to waste. I have other criminals to catch.” The man said with austerity and authority causing Ken to cry louder and beseech to be forgiven.
“Please Officer Ali. Give us time to talk at least this night then you can come pick him tomorrow.” Peter begged Officer Ali who looked down at a sobbing Ken. “I will be waiting for your call tomorrow.” He said and kicked Ken out of his way as he left the house.
We had a long talk with Ken that night and cut a deal with him ; if he wanted us to talk Officer Ali out of coming to pick him, then he had to heed to our new rules. We read the dos and don’ts to him as he readily agreed, nodding his head comically. He even suggested swearing by the Bible that he would turn a new leaf. We agreed that at any slightest mischief, Officer Ali would be called through speed-dial.
He almost ran to bed when his father told him to go to bed after the lengthy conversation. We waited until we went behind the closed door of our bedroom. I took the pillow and muzzled my mouth as I laughed by heart out.
“That boy will never play us again.” Peter said.
“I did not know your friend Leo could act so well. ‘No, you will talk to him in jail’.” I said mimicking Leo’s harsh voice. “Thank God he is going back abroad tomorrow before Ken bumps into him.”
We had some good quiet laughter.
“If Ken goes back to his old ways again. I will call the real police on him this time.” Peter said.
I nodded in agreement, but I knew our son would change. We had put the fear of God in the young boy that would last at least until he finished secondary school.