Things never felt the same after that day because now I have been sentenced to life imprisonment, and I heard it means a lifetime behind bars. It hadn’t always been like this. It all started when I refused to listen to my uncle’s advice concerning staying away from the bad boys who shied away from school to indulge in various nefarious activities at a location not too distant from our secondary school compound.
I was in class 4 (equivalent of SS2 in modern day) and due to my stature I was about six feet, the senior boys became my friends all in a bid for me not to join in the inter class fight which occurs at the end of the session. This fight had become a ritual over time and sensing that if I am not on their side I might inflict grievous bodily harm on them but if I became their guy then I would if it comes to the worst be neutral due to the affiliation I would now share with both parties.
Uncle was not too wealthy. He was a young bachelor working in a micro-finance establishment. He always dressed smart though due to the wardrobe allowances which he utilised judiciously and of course he needed to woo a young lady whom he would get married to and how better could he induce affection than to dress well at all times. Due to my uncle’s type of job, he left home early and came back very late having limited time to interact with me. He only dished out some advice and left the house for me to maintain after school.
I became lonely at times and my seniors at school would invite me to join them to play football against other schools and groups, this further strengthened my bond with them. Having in mind that my uncle would not come back on time, I would play ball and gallivant round town after our football matches before returning to my uncle’s apartment to rest and make dinner pending his return.
Over time, I became too close to my seniors in class 5 and when the holidays came, there was more time to play. It must not escape mention at this point that I also fraternized with my classmates but obviously not as much as I did with my seniors (my classmates were quite shorter than I was). Myself and the class 5 boys having become idle and tired of playing football, decided to go into the busy streets of our state of residence just to fool around and maybe pick up some loose change from nonchalant pedestrians and persons who came to shop along the busy street. At first I was adamant about indulging in petty thievery but due to the persuasion from the older boys, I gave in (at least there was no way uncle would see me, his office was a long distance away from where we planned to indulge in our thievery).
Things went well at first; in fact for a while things seemingly went well. We recorded massive successes in our escapades overtime and people even waved at us and willingly gave us their purchased goods to carry to their vehicles, this enabled us to plunge into their bags and purses carting away loose change (alongside the one that the persons who we helped also gave us). Uncle would come back home late as usual in the night and he never for once thought that I had left the locale and ventured into the wild city with my friends. On one occasion he asked me if I was bored staying at home all day. I said I wasn’t and that was the last about the issue. He felt I could sort out myself.
We had always done our street thievery and pick pocketing and never got caught until the senior boys decided to up the game and decided to start snatching bags as our pick-pocketing escapade wasn’t yielding the desired results anymore. The gang consisted of 5 boys (4 from class 5 and myself from class 4). On that fateful day, we had planned our route of escape just in case we were chased by persons who we planned to borrow their bags from. I wasn’t a fast runner but I had to just try to keep up if I wanted a share of the spoils of war because stealing and running a long distance so as not to get caught was a petty war to me.
To be continued…
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