*Nothing sir! Leke responded carefully, pulling up an expressionless face. 'It's just that we would like to buy two copies,' he added smartly,
'You quick-witted rat! Deji attested thoughtfully to Leke's quick response to the bookseller's suspicious remark.
'If you can deposit, I shall get you the second one.'
The bookseller assured them.
"We have not even talked about the price,'Deji reminded him.
'It's five hundred naira.'
'Five hundred what!' Leke exclaimed disagreeably.
"A new one is sold for four hundred naira.'
'Let's give you three hundred naira, please. And a hundred naira deposit for the second one,'Deji pleaded and was already dipping his hand into his school bag.
The bookseller hesitated for a moment. Then, he said: 'Okay, bring the money.
Furtively, Deji counted out four hundred naira from their lesson fees and gave it to the bookseller.
Collecting the money, the bookseller asked,
When are you coming for the second one? Can you
"By what time, sir?'
“Come anytime after you have closed in school.'
"Could you please keep this one for us till Mon day? We would like to collect the two together, ' Deji said with feigned sincerity.
‘Oh, that's no problem,' the bookseller said and collected the book back.
“Please, don't sell it before we get here on Monday, 'Leke appealed.
'I have no reason to do so. You have paid for it,'
the bookseller promised, and to convince them, he separated the book from others on display.
Satisfied with the way they handled the matter, the boys left the bookseller and headed home.
On their way home, the wonder of the day did not only rekindle their hope in getting justice, it pre-occupied their discussion.
Leke was, at first, afraid of what their mother might do to them if she heard the whole story. His fear, however, gave way to courage when Deji convinced him that their mum would even commend them for being truthful.
It was Deji who took his time to narrate their school and market experiences to their mother. Though shocked by the native intelligence used by her kids to control the situation, she was elated to realize that, afterall, home videos were not outrightly bad for children. She commended Deji and Leke and warned
them to keep sealed lips on the matter while she took charge.
Mama Leke, as she was fondly called, instantly alerted Sergeant Buraimo, an uncle of hers in the police force. The policeman promised his cooperation but advised her to hand off the matter while events unfolded.
Mr. Abiodun, a middle-aged man, was the school librarian. He was fair in complexion and heavily moustached.
It was a Monday morning and he was just resuming for work. He unlocked the padlocks on the wrought iron gate fixed to the wall of the library for security purpose. Then, he drew it open. From the bunch of keys he was holding, he fingered out a key and inserted it into the lock of the wooden entrance door. He turned the key twice and then yanked the door open. He walked in and was confronted with still darkness. He made his way carefully to the windows one after the other and
cleaning the seats and tables used by the readers. On opened all of them.
In his usual characteristic manner, he looked for a student who would help him sweep the floor Through the window, he saw a boy passing by and beckoned to him. That was Yomi who was coming from the toilet. He came up quickly and stood respectfully
in front of the librarian.
You will sweep this place for me. Get a broom there,' Mr. Abiodun instructed, pointing to a corner in the library
‘Yes sir,' Yomi responded and went for the broom.
Mr. Abiodun moved outside as Yomi began sweeping. He was standing at the corridor of the library till the boy finished sweeping. Yomi packed the bits of paper his broom was able to gather into a wastebasket
he found by the entrance of the Library. He took the wastebasket to the school incinerator and emptied the rubbish there.
Mr. Abiodun returned into the library as soon as Yomi left with the wastebasket. He opened his drawer and brought out a napkin. Using the napkin, he started
cleaning the seats and tables used by the readers. On any table he found a book, he picked it up and returned it to the appropriate shelf. That done, he moved to the shelves proper and section by section, he dusted the books arranged on them. He also rearranged some books wrongly placed by the library users in a definite order to facilitate easy location.
Yomi returned with the wastebasket and put it at a corner. He wanted to know if there was anything else Mr. Abiodun wanted him to do for him and the latter said that was all. Impressed by Yomi's pleasant demeanour, Mr. Abiodun asked for his name and class and he told him.
‘Thank you, Yomi,'Mr. Abiodun said appreciatively, patting the boy on the back.
Yomi, shy, nodded in response. Afterwards, he left the library and headed towards the incinerator. He stopped when he reached a building which had served as classrooms before but was now in a state of disrepair.
The iron roofing of the building had been blown off a few years back in a heavy rainstorm. Yomi walked inside a classroom in the building and made straight to a corner.
He lifted up a rusted metallic box, and lying under it was a textbook. He picked it up, pulled up his shirt and pushed the textbook halfway down his shorts. Then, he tucked in his shirt neatly. That way, the book held firmly to his belly that no one could have imagined he was hiding something underneath his shirt.
Yomi was heading towards the classroom when he saw Mrs. Redford going to her office. She had just finished teaching in one of the senior classes. Yomi made an abrupt U-turn. But it was belated as Mrs.
Redford had seen him.
"Yomi!' she called, and to a girl who was carrying her books she said: 'Drop the books on my table,' and the girl went away
Yomi heard his name called and turned round pretentiously. He feigned a surprised look, then walked down to Mrs. Redford.
'Good morning, Madam' he greeted, prostrating himself.
'Didn't I ask you to come with your father today?'
Mrs. Redford questioned intolerably.
'I told him and he said he would come,' Yomi said carefully.