Professor Faustus

Shortly before midnight, Professor Ibak Ndom arose from his bed and put on his occult cloak. He picked up The Seventh Book of Moses that lay on the mahogany desk in his bedroom. It is one of the spiritual implements needed for the task at hand. Next he picked up the book that supposedly belonged to Dr Itoro James. He called it ‘point of contact’ in the occult world. He had sent a student-informant-spy of his to ‘borrow’ it from Dr Itoro James to effect the deed. Next he removed his magic wand from his academic gown and checked its efficacy by waving it at the blue light bulb in the bedroom. The bulb came alive despite that there was no electricity in the room and would have woken the bed’s only occupant if not that she was under a spell. His beloved wife, Martha, slept on, spiritually programmed by her husband to wake up one hour after he had returned from the witches’ meeting.

Professor Ndom had an important assignment which must not fail. He must teach that rude boy a lesson. For the 35 years he had spent as a lecturer in Adversity University, he had ensured that no one ever insulted him and lived to tell the story. Thirteen students and five lecturers. That’s the total number of the people he had pied and he always made sure to attend their funeral and make huge contributions to the burial cost.

What the rude boy did not know yet was that Professor Ndom had informants among students and members of staff. One of them was Mr Iso Udia who occupied the same office as the rude boy. He was the easiest to motivate because of three reasons; he had inferiority complex and always wanted to please his seniors for validation, he was always hungry and he thought that snitching on other members of staff was the easiest means of getting promotion. Give him a little shoulder-patting approval and he would sing for you. If you add some money, he would dance for you. Best of all was if you carried Mr Iso Udia in your car whether to or fro from work. This would be when his full talent in ratting would be displayed as he settled back to sing and dance, weaving sinister tales of all the times Professor Ndom’s name had been mentioned by any member of staff.

Professor Ndom was hurt beyond repair when Mr Iso Udia breezed into his office that afternoon to report what Dr Itoro James had said about him. There and then, Professor Ndom decided that Dr Itoro James must be added to the list of his pied victims. ‘I am just 80 years and he calls me an old professor for forgetting to report the department’s needs at the last Senate?’ Professor Ndom fumed. ‘Yes, Prof. He said you should retire and go home instead of slowing down the department’s growth,’ Mr Iso Udia fanned the embers of Professor Ndom’s fumes. Not thinking that he had said enough, he added, ‘Prof, Itoro is very arrogant. He is so insolent. He has to be taught a lesson in this school.’ Professor Ndom watched the fool before him and said in his mind: this one is a novice in emotional intelligence. He is a danger to himself. I must know my boundaries with him. Aloud he said, ‘Don’t worry about that, Iso Udia. I am offended but I don’t think that teaching him a lesson is the solution. You know Itoro is new to the system. He is still a small boy. With time, he will learn. I will continue to hammer on respect for seniors in this job at every meeting in the department and hope that he will change, including all those who indulge in his kind of act. Until then thank you for caring so much about me, so much so that you couldn’t keep still but had to come and report to me. You are the type of staff that we need in this institution and I will make sure you have a smooth ride to the top. Just keep doing a good job. Take this for your lunch.’

Mr Iso Udia took the money and flew on an eagle’s wings back to his office. He didn’t walk but flew because of the lifting words of Professor Ndom. He was happy with himself for the service he had rendered to the professor. Meanwhile, Professor Ndom had already begun in his mind the methods he would use to eliminate Dr Itoro James. His own was becoming too much.

Professor Ndom took a torchlight and groped his way to his garden. As he passed by the store, he picked up the spade which he would use to dig the spiritual grave for Dr Itoro James before commanding his insolent soul with The Seventh Book of Moses into the grave. Immediately he finished the grave, he received a spiritual summon. That was when he remembered an important occult meeting at the ruined house opposite Paiko Boutique at Wellington Bassey Way, Oron. His mind was failing him again. He dropped everything and obeyed the summon as he disappeared into the elements and reappeared at the venue of the meeting which was now a well-lighted mansion and not the house that accommodated lizards and other rodents like the office that Dr Itoro James and Mr Iso Udia occupied at Adversity University. He had ensured that they stayed there because he hated them with passion for not being from his ethnic group. Even though Mr Iso Udia shamelessly warmed his way to him with gossips, Professor Ndom hated him too well in his heart because his intelligence told him that characters like Iso Udia were worthless human beings who could not be trusted.

Once the emergency meeting ended, Professor Ndom returned to his assignment of ending Dr Itoro James’ life. He had to hurry because daylight was travelling fast from the east and could disrupt the proceeding if one did not stay ahead of it.

Everything was set up and Professor Ibak Ndom began. ‘Dr Itoro James appeaaaaaaaar! Dr Itoro James appeaaaaaaaar! Dr Itoro James appeaaaaaaaar!’


Professor Ndom waited. Yet nothing. He repeated the process. Still nothing. He became frustrated and, in his senility, kept shouting ‘Dr Itoro James appeaaaaar!’ until his wife came out in shock at 5.30 a.m. to drag him into the house. Professor Ndom’s occult ritual had failed. He had forgotten that the poor victim’s name was Dr Itoro Ubong, not Dr Itoro James. The book which he used as point of contact did not belong to the kind academic. And there was no just spiritual reason for Professor Ndom to seek to destroy Dr Itoro Ubong’s life based on the exaggerated lies of Mr Iso Udia. Unfortunately for Professor Ndom, the Grand Master appeared to him the following night; his life would be reduced by five years over this spiritual rascality.

Prayer Point: Lord, may they fail like Professor Ndom in Jesus’ name. Amen!

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