"Welcome to boarding school!" The voice exclaimed; I recognized it. It was that of the senior prefect who had dealt with me that night. I tried to figure out where I was, for some minutes I couldn't tell. I watched as he gave me some strokes of the cane; he laughed happily as he did; I saw my self crying. 

"I don't train bad students..." this voice also sounded familiar, it was that of Sir Paul the hostel administrator. I wailed loudly as he whipped me with his own cane. 


It was still dark when I heard the sound of a bell being rung from a distance. I concluded that it was the Rising Bell; meant to wake every student from sleep. I opened my eyes; perhaps I'd been dreaming all these while. The hostel seemed to be dark, and slightly illuminated with the torchlights of some students. From where I lay, I could see a lot of them, jumping down from their beds and moving out with their buckets. I'd never woken up this early; back at home, I would wake around 6am, when the atmosphere would be fairly bright, to prepare for school, that was when I still attended the Junior Secondary School. 

While some boys moved out with their buckets, some still lay like logs of wood on their bed. Then someone let out a loud snore above me; it was Ted. I wondered why someone of his age still snored loudly while he slept. Yet, he grunted disgustingly again, it itches my ears. 

I began to understand the reason why Tom had suggested that we fetch some water last night; he must have calculated that the tank stand would be rowdy. I imagined boys of my age fighting and exchanging blows with girls or other female students at the tank stand, on who to fetch water next. And then a senior student would come with his/her bucket and chase them all away while he/she fetched with pride and magnanimity.

I found it hard to fall asleep, I just lay still with my eyes opened. I raised my left hand to check the time. Nothing hung on it. 

"Gracious!!" I exclaimed and quickly checked if it hung on my right hand. I felt nothing on it.

"Gracious!!" I exclaimed louder; my wrist watch was gone. I knew I didn't pull it off, before I slept off. I decided that I would ask Tom about it; I felt he must have kept it safe for me. I relaxed a bit, and then...

Something fell down from above me.

"Gracious!!" I exclaimed; it wasn't an object or a thing, it was a human, it was Ted. I wondered how he rolled out of the upper part of the bunk where he lay. Suddenly the power supply came on; illuminating the room to its fullest. I watched as Ted stood up rubbing his fore head; he must have landed with it.

"Are you okay?" I managed to ask him. His eyes seemed to be closed; he ignored me and climbed up to his bed to probably have another round of sleep.

"Please don't fall on me, Ted" I pleaded in a low tune. I knew he was still trying to fall asleep and that he probably would hear me. I didn't want a situation where I'd be bending down on the floor to do one thing or the other and then he would fall straight on my little spine; Ted was way heavier than I was and I didn't want to risk it. 

I noticed that more boys arose from their beds and left the hostel with their buckets. I had estimated that we were about 35 students in the hostel. I wondered why I still lay in bed not knowing what to do next. 

"Mon Amie" the voice said. 

Without turning to know who it was, I could easily tell. 

"Good morning Tom" I said, turning to look at him; he seemed to be holding an empty bucket and he seemed to be dripping wet, from his hair down to his toes. Perhaps he just finished having his bath.

"You have to prepare for classes, time is running out" he said. Yes, he was right; it was a Monday. Tom smiled again, revealing his set of teeth whose colors I'd already gotten used to. 

 I had no bucket with me, and the one Ted had lent me, was already broken by the senior prefect.

"Can I use your bucket to fetch some water?" I asked. He was about handing it over to me and then he spoke;

 "You seemed to be soaked"


"I guess you've taken your bath already" he said, smiling.

"Ah, please stop this joke Tom" 

I touched my clothes; they were so wet. I wondered how they go so wet. My mind went back to yesterday; I'd been ask to lie on the cold ground twice, but my clothes weren't as wet, as they were, this morning. I still had my polo and a pair of boxers on. 

I pulled the wet cloth to my nose in a bid to sniff it; still looking confused.

"Argh!" I exclaimed

"What is it?" Tom asked.

I couldn't say; the soaked cloth smelt of urine. I had  stopped bed wetting since I was six, what could be happening? I moved to my bed and ran my hands across it; it seemed to be damp.

"Urine, I can perceive the smell of urine" I said to Tom who stood looking at me with curiosity. He laughed loudly.

"Don't tell me you still bed wet at your age Mon Amie" he said. I shook my head, it couldn't be me.

"You have to believe me, It's not me" I said with all seriousness.

He was quiet for some time and then spoke; 

"It could be your bunkmate, who knows" he said, smiling.


If someone ever told me that Ted, at his age and size could still bed wet and also fall off from his bed, I wouldn't have believed the person. 

"I'm sorry, man" he said smiling; his bed was directly above mine, and as he bed wetted, the fluid seemed to drip downwards to my bed.

"I looked at him with disgust" he shouldn't have been allowed into senior secondary school with these habits. For a moment, I kept staring at him with pain in my eyes. I hissed and took my foam outside.

After taking my damp foam outside, I went to fetch my self some water. I could see the sun rays popping out from corner of the clouds. I knew it would be a tug of war trying to fetch some water, and sure it was. There were only two major tank stands in the school. The one at the center seemed to be functioning effectively and was the closest to both the Male and the Female hostels; the other tank stand was situated close to the security building area; it functioned once in a while. I wondered how the security men where coping with such issues. The kitchen area was strictly out of bounds for students because it had its own special tank which supplied them water for cooking, daily.

"Go and join the queue!" A female, An older senior student who seemed to be in charge, instructed me; I had barely arrived and stood, watching the crowd hopelessly; they'd been instructed to form their buckets into a long queue and watch it from a distance until it was fetched. I watched as each owner would go and pick it up when filled, and move to the hostel.

The buckets were all arranged into two lines; I moved forward and dropped my bucket in the line which moved faster; It was the bucket which Tom had lent me that morning. Then I stepped back.

"Are you a girl?!!" The senior student barked at me from where she stood. Everyone became quiet and all eyes turned to my direction. 

Of course I wasn't a girl. Well, it took me a while to understand why she asked me the question.

The buckets had been arranged in two lines; one for the boys and the other for the girls. I must have placed mine in the line meant for the girls.

"No ma" I said amidst the silence; and then everyone burst into laughter. As I went to switch the bucket to the line it was meant to be in, I kept wondering why the crowd laughed at me.

"Don't call me Ma, call me 'Senior'!" She said, pointing her blood thirsty cane towards me. I could tell she was ready to flog the living daylight out of me if I messed up the second time. Using the word 'embarrassed' was an understatement; I felt humiliated; the worst part of it was that everyone kept staring at me, ten minutes after the whole scene had died down. 

"You must be new" a voice said behind me. 

I wasn't surprised by the question; I knew, that was what everyone had in mind as they stared at me with pity.

The voice sounded so soft and pretty; it was a female. I turned to look at her; I nodded. She smiled to me, and then she went on; 

"You boys aren't going to be lucky today" 

"Why not?" I asked; feeling a bit curious. I hushed my tension aside and relaxed a bit after concluding from her innocent appearance that seemed to be my age mate or a bit younger than I was.

"The 'Water Prefect for Girls' is on duty today, so all girls will fetch water before the boys" she said.

"Wow" it hit me hard; Little wonder the girls Line seemed to be moving faster. I concluded that Tom was right; the school actually valued the girls over the boys. 

"Where is your bucket?" I asked.

"Over there" she said pointing to the 25th bucket in the line meant for the girls. I turned to count how many buckets were left in the boys line before I'd fetch mine; there were 89 more buckets to go: I felt like giving up. The owners of the buckets, boys, of my age, stood at different points discussing in low tunes and waiting eagerly to carry their buckets after they'd been filled with water. I consoled myself with the fact that my bucket wasn't the last in the line; about 50 more where lined up behind mine; I felt happy and satisfied; The owners of the 50 would have to wait just like I did.

I had this urge to ask about her name; I'd never done this before, I felt it was a mature thing to do and I strongly believed Tom would be proud of me. 

"Please what's your....." The pretty young girl was gone. 

I scanned the environment hopelessly for her; I knew it was of no use, I'd lost her. It would be odd for the crowd to see me run after her just to find out her name at such a period when everyone stood quietly watching the buckets being filled with water. Besides I was a new student; I didn't want the Water Prefect for girls or any other older senior student to find me guilty of another crime which I didn't know about, just because of talking to a random girl whom I didn't know. From where I stood, I watched as school functionary whipped a female student on her hands. I decided to respect myself. And stand still.

I sighted her shortly; the pretty girl who's name I wanted to inquire, from a distance; she was carrying her bucket filled with water. She moved in the direction of the female hostel.

Suddenly a group of girls came to the tap where we were all stood; they seemed to be chattering excitedly. They were on their complete school wears. I knew for sure that they had taken their bath that morning, and were already set for classes. Their body fragrance soon circulated the environment; it smelt so sweet and girly. 

Well, The Water Prefect for girls, made sure the noisy group of girls filled their buckets with water, while I and every other boy, stood watching them painfully; our line still moving slowly.

"They're gonna store it under their beds!" One of the boys said with a raised voice; he seemed to be so pained. 

"And we've not even fetched the one we'll have our bath with, this morning" another said.

"What a Wicked Water Prefect" yet another said. 

From where I stood, I counted how many buckets stood before mine; they were 78.

I couldn't tell, but I knew that time was running out. I raised my left hand to check my wrist watch; nothing hung on it; I hissed; I had forgotten to ask Tom about it when he came to my corner that morning. 

"Please what says the time" I asked a boy who stood close to me. He seemed to be so engrossed, fondling with the beautiful time device which hung on his right hand while he waited for his turn to fetch some water.

"It's not working" 

"Are you serious?" It took me a while to understand what he meant. I wondered why someone would be wearing a device which wasn't functioning, with great ease.

I didn't want to get frustrated; I could tell that I'd been standing for over thirty minutes and counting.

"You have five counts to leave this place!!" A voice sounded from a distance. It occurred to me that I was really in a boarding school. 

"Who is he please?" I managed to ask the boy who stood close to me with a Non-Functioning wristwatch.

"Are you new, don't you know it's the Water Prefect for Boys"? he replied, picking his bucket hurriedly and then he left.

"One!" The voice echoed; I watched as boys picked up their empty buckets and ran to the hostel. 

"Two!" It echoed even louder; this time, I could see the owner of the voice. He seemed to come closer and stood under a tree close by. His uniform was well ironed and his hat seemed to conceal his face partly. The environment smelt of his evil presence. I could tell that the fragrance he used, was really a strong one.

"Three!" He shouted; he seemed to be boiling in rage. I watched as he tightened his grip on the cane which he held. 

Anyways, I didn't want to be a victim for the third time in a space of just 24 hrs; I picked up my empty bucket and ran to the hostel.

By the time he counted FOUR, the whole tap was deserted; even the girls ran for their dear lives. The Water Prefect for girls was long gone; I wondered how I didn't take note of it.

I shook my head in discomfort; as I walked hopelessly to the hostel.

"Here, have this" Tom said, as I arrived in front of the hostel. The young boy seemed to be holding a blue bucket which was filled with water.

"How did you fetch it?" I asked; I couldn't believe Tom would actually come through for me. 

"Never Mind Mon Amie" he said, smiling.

"Quick, you must go use the bathroom now!" He said, collecting my empty bucket and handing me the one filled with water.


The bathroom area was another heartbreaking environment. I'd quickly gone inside the hostel and pulled off my clothes. I came out shortly, with a towel tied to my little waist; my soap dish floating happily on the water contained in my bucket.

 As I launched forward to the bathroom, I could hear voices; boys chattered and laughed; suddenly one of them ran out naked.

I quickly closed my eyes so as not to see whatever it was that defined his nakedness; To me it was an eye-sore; I believed that everyone should be accorded respect.

Well the boy didn't seem like he cared about respect; he ran out to the courtyard dancing and shouting, still with no clothes on; his private property dangled like a primary school bell. And then he got chased to his hostel by an older senior student.

I hissed and spat out; it was so disgusting; I wondered how senseless humans could become.

I pushed the door to the bathroom lightly and peeped. Everyone seemed to stop and look my way.

I knew I had to act like a man; it wouldn't be right for me to fidget once more again;

Moreover the boys looked like my age mates, so no doubt they could be my classmates and I didn't know. I walked in boldly. The long space smelt of stagnant water, urine and soap all together. I spat out again; The floor seemed to be littered with wraps of tissue papers and soaps which had been squeezed mercilessly into the floor. I wondered what a roll of tissue paper could be doing in the bathroom; the toilet was some meters away from the bathroom tho. 

"Hey you, leave this place!!" One of them said to me.

The others seemed to be smiling; 

"Can't you see that your seniors are bathing?!" Another said to me, trying to pull a serious face. I almost made up my mind that it was a prank but then one of them who stood close to me raised his hands and faked a slap at me.

 I quickly ran out of the bathroom, with my white towel still on my waist. Then he landed his hands on the wall, and everyone laughed.

"They're your classmates Mon Amie, don't mind them!" I heard Tom shout from where he stood, watching.

I walked back in and feigned a smile. They laughed, I pretended to laugh, though it wasn't funny. 

I watched as everyone scrubbed without any worry or concern; some laughed loudly, others barely smiled. They all had no clothes on. I spat out in disgust, I knew I couldn't escape such a disgusting scene. The bitter truth was that I just had to get used to it.

"The older senior students will be here soon" one of them said and seemed to scrub quickly; his eyes closed as he tried to wash away the soapy foam from his face.

I found a fairly clean spot, and then dropped my bucket on the ground. It was time to untie my towel. 

It was kind of funny, but I wasn't used to this kind of Public-Privacy. At home, everyone bathed behind closed doors; I wondered why the school didn't make provisions for such. I took in a deep breath and decided to untie my towel no matter the outcome. 

The moment I began untying it, everyone seemed to stop scrubbing.  I couldn't tell, but I knew they were all looking in my direction. They looked at me with a "BARRY STRONG WE MUST SEE YOU NAKED" expression.

I untied it finally and hung the white towel on a nail which had been halfway buried inside the wall close by. They all stared at me and laughed loudly, 

"Small stick" one of them said; I knew he was referring to me. Everyone burst out laughing, one almost fell on the dirty wet floor. I felt embarrassed; I had never insulted a naked person, I wondered why I was a victim that morning. I hissed and turned, facing them with my posterior then I began scrubbing.

"You have 2 minutes to leave this place!" A voice said at the doorway. 

I could tell easily that it was an older senior student. Well I was grateful for the fact that, at least it was 2 minutes, not 5 counts or 10 counts to leave, just like other older senior students would. 

I can't explain, but I marveled at how I finished having my bath under one minute; whether I had my bath properly or not, it mattered less to me at that moment. My life, my back and buttocks were more important to me; I had to save my self from being a victim of any bloodthirsty cane again that morning. The older senior student still stood at the door looking at his wrist watch and yelling at an interval of 20 seconds.

"Twenty seconds gone!" He would say.

The moment I tied the white towel to my little waist, I heard him say "1 minute, 20 seconds gone!"

The moment I stepped out of the bathroom, I noticed that the sun had risen a bit higher from where it lay; the atmosphere seemed to be illuminated by its yellow rays. I still didn't know what time it was. 

"Please senior what is the time?" I asked the senior student who stood by the bathroom door looking steadily at his watch and counting for the ones who remained inside.

"Do I look like your school father?" He asked. 

I wondered how it related to the question I asked him, but to me, it sounded offensive. 

"No senior" I said, and walked briskly to the hostel; the blue bucket in my right hand and my soap dish inside it.

"Are you with my wrist watch?" 

"Me?, No" Tom said, widening his eyes in curiosity.

I looked at him suspiciously; not that he stole it, but that he might be trying play a prank on me. 

"When last did you see it?" 

"Before I slept off last night, it hung on my left hand" I said. 

"Ah! It is gone Mon Amie,"

"To where ?" I asked

"Farewell to your dear wrist watch" he said.

Well, no matter how I imagined it, I just had to swallow in the reality of it all, as Tom explained to me that it had been stolen from my hand where it hung.

"Most of our hostel members are criminals" he said to me, as I pulled out a lotion to apply on my body; my white towel still on.

"I'll tell my parents to get me a new one" I said, trying to cover up the pain.

The sound of the bell was heard from a distance. 

"What's it for?" I asked,

"Morning Portion" 

"What's that?"

"Similar to the chores you carry out at home every morning"

"Oh I see" I said.

"Does it still hurt?"


"The marks on your back" 

He must have sighted the marks I received last night from the senior prefect's blood thirsty cane and that of Sir Paul.

 "It's fine, don't worry, I'll be fine" I said, smiling. He was really a good person.

"Hurry, you should be on your school uniform by now, the senior prefect and his crew will be here any minute" Tom said and left. I guess he went to put on his shoes or get something.

"It's 6:57am!!" A voice echoed from the door. It sounded so familiar; yes! It was the senior prefect; it was the exact voice that spoke to me the previous night. I couldn't describe him facially, but through his voice I did. I tried to move forward to see his face, but on a second thought I concluded that there was no need for that. I concluded further that the faces of wicked people didn't need to be seen. From where is stood, I listened as he spoke. 

"After your Morning portions, go straight to the Cafeteria and then straight to the assembly ground!!" He seems to pause and then he shouted.

"Is that clear?!!!"

"Yes senior" everyone echoed and I joined in the second one.

"Is that clear?!!!"

"Yes senior". 

As he left, another older senior student spoke; "Ten counts to leave this hostel!!"

I had my brown trousers on already; I quickly put on my sleeved shirt; it had a carton color. I placed my neckerchief and my light brown hat on my empty bunk.  I'd taken out my urine-soaked  foam earlier. 

As I hurried to leave, Ted ran in, dripping wet from head to toe. I wondered why he was always late.

"Strong, I've been looking for you, man" he said, quickly drying his wet body and changing into dry clothes. 

"I went to fetch water at the Tank stand" I replied.

"What of my red bucket?" He asked.

"Seven!" The voice at the door sounded, this time so loud. 

I scratched my head; I didn't know what to answer him.

 "Hey bro, we have to leave, the Sanitary Prefect is counting!" Tom said. I was so grateful to God for sending Tom at that moment. Not that I was scared of Ted; I just didn't know his personality and temperament. The last thing I wanted was, someone dealing me blows because of a random red bucket.

"Strong!" Ted shouted.

"Sorry, I can't hear you!" I replied as I made for the door. 

"Nine!!!" The voice  shouted.


We all gathered outside and waited to be divided into groups for the Morning portion to commence.

"Why was Ted shouting your name" 

"His bucket" I said.

"And what about it?" Tom asked 

"It's the one that was broken by the senior prefect yesterday night" I explained.

We watched as the door to our hostel was closed and the Older senior student began to whip the ones who remained inside. 

Some boys managed to jump out through an open window in a bid to escape the senior's blood thirsty cane. Then I sighted Ted; he walked out from the hostel slowly, he seemed to be wriggling his hands in pain. He must have been flogged so badly.

Oh I see" Tom said and then he smiled

"I don't know what to tell Ted" 

"Are you scared of him?" Tom asked

I shook my head.

He was quiet for a while and then spoke.

"No boy has a personal bucket in this school"

"What do you mean?" 

"I've never used the same bucket twice" Tom said smiling and then he continued;

"Sometimes we covert"


"Yes, we turn peoples bucket filled with water into our empty buckets" he said grinning 

"Ah! Common man, that's called stealing" I replied.

"That's how you were able to take your bath this morning" he said.

"With stolen water?"  I became speechless; I knew it wasn't right, but I'd already taken my bath with it; the stolen water; the deed had been done. Well, I felt sorry for the victim or whoever it was;  I wondered how he would react, seeing his empty bucket lying hopelessly on the floor.

Soon. We were divided into groups. I and four other boys were assigned to sweep the walk way; we were handed some brooms to commence immediately.

"Where is Barry Strong!!" It was Sir Paul the hostel administrator calling. 

I quickly dropped the broom in my hand and went to meet him. 

"Here" he said, handing me his small android device; it seemed to be disfigured with cracks all over the screen. I concluded that it was due to constant usage and carelessness, or even old age of the phone. 

"Your Dad wants to speak with you"

I froze, as I collected the device from him; I feared he must have told dad about my dangerous adventure last night and the whippings I received from him.

Well, I was ready for the worst.

"Hello son" Dad sounded from the other side.


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