Tricking the masters
Back at school , life was not that easy yet not so hard but too challenging. The layman would say that it was at the middle….Eight years in primary school was such a long time full of activities , ups and downs. As I began school I had the cheerfulness and my spirit was high for tendering to school routine As I proceeded on I was twisted with the routine yet came a time when I yearned for golden opportunities to form basis of avoiding school for a day or two. It was during third term in class four ; the fourth year in primary. Learning had set pace , teachers were harsh and too strict . Our Mathematics teacher; a bulky no-nonsense man who would send you flying with fear by the utterance of a mere word of warning ; had promised war over the Math test we had just seated . “come tomorrow , all the papers will be ready and I wont comply with your stupidity . Any mark below fifty percent – five strokes of the cane would be your reward and their shall be an additional scheme of two canes for every question one wrongs , “ there was an unnecessary pause before he finally went on . “Mark you no one has got a mark that is appealing to my eyes ,” he concluded with firmness and stood seemingly waiting for reactions . The reality which I bet he knew was that no one would react to this. Even though it sounded like a joke in itself nobody would widen his mouth to let loose laughter over it as it would have been the case with any other teacher . I shivered like a mosquito on a feeble twig , my heart skipped a mighty beat and throbbed vigorously like the West Ashanti tom-tom drums . A cold chill of wet sweat ran down my soft round cheeks . I had not taken the test with the seriousness it deserved and my instinct readily alerted me that I could obviously not manage to perform any higher than the strict bounds .. I had to believe it beyond no doubt poor had I not known that things would turn this sour .I swallowed hard at this realization. Sooner than never , I found myself murmuring a prayer as I pondered over my next course of action . Luckily enough an idea struck my mind . I had to scheme up a survival plan for indeed man must live.
As I walked home that evening, I felt uneasy with weariness .I was worried about the day to come .Deep in my mind I was planning to hide my shirt and pair of shorts for school uniform so that come the next day, I wont be forced to go to school . This was the only magic plan I had keeping in mind that no one was allowed at school in civilian clothing . The dreaded day finally came. I was waken up by my mum as soon as the first cock-crow filled the air. Mummy insisted that I carry out some private studies before preparing and leaving for school . I became suspicious for at no any other day had mother been that concerned with my academics. Obviously , something was cooking up “but how was she reading my mind ??,” I wondered. She made me sweet delicious heavy breakfast. After taking a cold shower I came in to look for my “missing”school uniform . She too became very concerned and sympathised. “who really can have taken away your school uniforms from the house if not for your own carelessness ?,”was the long non grammatical question she directed to me with stern eyes and for the first time being very tough on me. I treated it as a rhetorical one and tried my best to remain firm so that she could not realize my trick by any means especially when I noticed her study my eyes.
When the search was futile ,although late ,she still insisted that I put on my faded sky blue t-shirt which was not washed either and the old patched school pair of shorts which I had ceased using long ago. This cropped up more trouble . I became perplexed and mesmerized doubting whether to proceed to school and face the music or call it quits with life . The later was not even near to the solution for my parents had devoted to seeing a new product of me through education and would not be in a position to put up with such a stupid choice. Leave alone hearing of it.
As I entered the main gate to the school , the last person that late , the atmosphere was tenseful and a glance towards the staffroom created a picture of hell in my mind . I felt guilty. Already tears were streaming down my face like river Sio flowing into Lake Victoria. I gathered courage , wiped the tears off my face and marched majestically towards the deputy head teachers office to explain myself which I did between shivers. At least the law of the land had taught me that I was innocent until proven guilty . Luckily enough , what he promised was heavy punishment in the course of the day and sent me off to the class . I found my colleagues settling down for the English paper to mark the start of end term exams and end of lessons for that term . I was as happy as a lark and joined them without wasting the smallest fraction of the minute.
*An Excerpt from SEVERAL YEARS: Winston Eboyi Tony