(Art by Bloochikin, at bloochikineene.tumblr.com)
“Form 1, sema!”
(Sema is a greeting in Sheng Swahili)
“Form 1, why are you in such a hurry? Chill, wait for us”
The tall lanky one of the two guys goes silent once Eddy stops in his tracks and does exactly what they asked of him; waits as they catch up to him.
Never had Eddy been more scared in his short tenure at Oyugis Boys High School. He had only been there for a couple of weeks and had somehow managed to evade older students, but this time he had been found.
Once they caught up, they beckoned Eddy to walk with them; the mood was tense, as silence took over. Eddy had in his hand a couple of Biology books, in an effort to expand his horizons and get ahead of his classmates. The pathway along which they walked was often referred to as the red carpet, a singular pathway that cut a vector across the semi-mowed lawn of grass referred to as the quadrangle, forming some sort of illusion; whoever was seen walking along that pathway from far could very well be mistaken for a celebrity making his way down the red carpet.
Yet again, this was a school in the rural part of Nyanza; their idea of a red carpet was very vague and was heavily dependent on how their English teachers would describe it to them.
Not only were they not exposed to a whole new world outside of Oyugis, they also had no books. The sighting of a Form 1 carrying a couple of biology books while approaching the red carpet spread like wildfire. Before everybody else knew it Eddy’s bullies found him before anybody else could.
“Unaitwa nani? Sijakuona around”
(What’s your name? I’ve not seen you around here)
“Eddy” he frailly replies; before quickly giving them the keys to his locker. “Please, take anything you want; just don’t hurt me”
Both dudes laugh heartily. “You Nairobi kids seem to think that we’re always in need of what you have to offer” The short chubby guy replies, before moving closer to him in a whisper. “We actually picked you before anybody else gets to you, because we wanted to save you from the bullying” he says before moving away from him in a smile.
Eddy is still skeptical, until the tall guy moves to allay his doubts.
“Come on kid, you look like a nice person; consider this as one of our 13 acts of kindness”
Eddy looks a bit calmer. Upon seeing this, the taller guy immediately moves to get to know him. “What’s your name?”
“I’m Eddy, what about you?”
The two form 4s look at each other, before sharing a cheeky smile.
“I’m Ed, and he’s Edd” says the taller guy, much to the surprise of the shorter one.
“Who are those?” The other guy asks his partner.
“They are cartoon characters”
“But how do you watch cartoons? You don’t have a TV at home. None of us have TVs at homes”
“Yeah that’s true but my cousin from abroad came over a few days ago and I saw a lot of things on his phone. Including Ed Edd and Eddy!”
The short guy then says “How can we both be Ed (d)?”
“Your’re Edd with two Ds; you can go with Double D if you want” Ed explains, much to Edd’s happiness.
An observant Eddy looks on at these two clowns, well aware that they were playing a practical joke on him but his newfound sense of belonging would not enable him to see past their jokes.
“Come on Eddy, let’s go watch the football game”
“But I need to read, guys.”
“Form 1, there’s nothing you’ll read that will significantly impact the exams which are 5 weeks away; you can avoid reading just for today, Eddy Kenzo”
Eddy was sold once he got a nickname. Growing up he always wanted a nickname, but there never was much to add to Eddy. He was the smartest person that the school had admitted in many years but his constant search of a sense of belonging led to his own undoing; it led to his own miseducation.
And there and then, Eddy shoved his books into the arms of a fellow form 1 student who was passing by without thinking and made his way to the football pitch with his new found friends. Every onlooking person couldn’t help but look at the silhouettes of the three people and feel sorry for the form 1 student, for the plans by Ed and Edd to deal him terrible misdeeds had been set in motion.
Read the final chapter here.