You will go home now and you're not to come back
Come with me for a written permission to go out, she added absent mindedly before firing again Oh go and take your bag first.'
Yomi heeded the instruction. A few minutes later, he was standing in front of Mrs. Redford with his bag.
He was particularly happy that he was leaving school early. He had been thinking of how to sneak out as soon as he smuggled out the textbook from the library.
Uncle T.J. had promised to pay him well if he could get a B and B English Language textbook for J.S.S. One. And now that he had got it, he needed to deliver it to Uncle
T.J., get his pay and wait for another round of business.
Yomi could hardly believe his luck when Mr. Abiodun asked him to sweep the library. A jumble of tempting thoughts crowded his brain as he was sweeping the library. He was tempted to use the opportunity to get the book for Uncle T.J. and he eventually yielded to the temptation. So, as he was sweeping, he was checking eye except your father comes with you
His other eye watched the door for Mr. Abiodun's movement.
While peeping, he saw a B and B English textbook lying table. It was left there by a user. He checked it, and i was the right one he was looking for. Carefully and
tactically, he folded the textbook and dropped it into a wastebasket and later covered it with the refuse.
Mrs. Redford handed the note to Yomi and revelling like a monkey forced into the tree branches, he sped out of the school premises.
Yomi approached him.
That morning as usual, Uncle T.J. had taken his position with his second-hand books and magazines displayed in a characteristically beguiling manner. He implored the passersby to patronize him. According to him, he had books on various subjects and disciplines.
And they were all available at reasonable prices. A taxi pulled up in front of Uncle T.J. and two passengers alighted. One was Yomi. He was glad to see Uncle T.J in his shop.
'My friend, how far?' Uncle T.J. asked eagerly as peeping,
Yomi opened his bag and produced the textbook. He handed it to Uncle T.J.
"I trust you,' the bookseller said, smiling as he received the book.
He opened the book and his face lit up when he saw it carrying a school library stamp. 'You little rat! You're going too far!' He felt like saying but the overriding interest of his business shut up his mouth. He couldn't afford to lose the boy who happened to be one of his most consistent suppliers.
Uncle T.J. counted one hundred and fifty naira from his wallet and gave it to Yomi. As the boy pocketed the money and was about leaving, a man in his thirties, dressed in a blue corduroy jacket came forward and drew Yomi back.
‘Don't go,' the man ordered gently.
Uncle T.J. and Yomi looked inquiringly at the man.
'I'm Sergeant Buraimo,' the man said, showing his identity card.
Uncle T.J. felt a chill ran down his spine
That greeting was meant for Yomi but the boy was too scared to say a word.
'What can I do for you, officer?' Uncle T.J. asked fearfully
This book carries the stamp of a school library.'
The sergeant showed the stamp to Uncle T.J. "Can I have that book?' said the sergeant as he pointed to the just sold English textbook.
This time, a sudden limpness struck Uncle T.J. in the whole body. He felt like collapsing.
Uncle T.J. handed the book to the sergeant, his hand trembling. The sergeant opened the book and nodded approvingly.
So, how do you defend this?' the sergeant questioned and looked at Uncle T.J. as if to physically wrestle him.
'I don't know what you're talking about, officer,
Uncle T.J. responded weakly.
You appear to be one of the people who are bent on sabotaging the government's efforts at improving the quality of education in the state,' surmised the sergeant.
the government, 'Uncle T.J. said ruefully. "This little boy Uncle T.J was now visibly trembling.
Please, don't look at it that way. I am a friend of boy,' pointing at Yomi 'came to me one day and narrated his ordeal of having no parents. And that the Uncle
he was staying with hardly cares about him. I was moved by his predicament and I gave him some money. Since that day, this is the second time I would set my eyes on
him,'Uncle T.J. fought helplessly.
'And what did he say he wants this time?' the sergeant asked intelligently.
‘Thank you,' Uncle T.J. began rhetorically. 'He brought this textbook and said he would like to sell it.
In fact, I have not checked the book. I won't say I forgot to check it but it's just that my heart always aches and filled with pity each time I see this boy. In fact, I have not told him I want to buy the book. I was about questioning him on where he got the book when you arrived, 'Uncle T.J. forced the lie out of his mouth.
Yomi was not feeling comfortable with the on-going rigorous catechism. However, he was not too small to know they had landed themselves in trouble. The in-
volvement of the police in their business transaction was something he had never dreamt of. How he wished Mr. Abiodun did not call him to sweep the library. How he wished he went home first and come back later to see Uncle T.J. Yomi was ready to let the cat out of the
bag if he could be assured of having his freedom.
According to you, you have not checked this textbook, so you don't know it carries the stamp of a school library. If you had checked it, you would not have taken it. And you did not see anything wrong in
paying for what you did not see. Or have you not paid him? the sergeant asked, outfacing the bookseller.
'I gave him some money. But I'm not buying the book. I see the money I gave him as charity and not for the book,'Uncle T.J. fought on unscrupulously.
‘Let me put it to you that you are not playing any selfish interest.
'I don't understand, officer.'