It was the first day of resumption, just after the third-term break. A whole month of consistent dedication to fun and playing pranks had disappeared into thin air. The excitement I felt about getting back to school couldn’t be unrivalled. The thought of seemingly endless hours of listening to the good news as declared by my teachers; serving punishments and dealing with brain-draining assignments made me more than ready to resume my academic duties.
Having had breakfast and collected my pocket money for the day, I left the comfort of my father’s house with my mum’s routine words of wisdom: Remember the son of who you are…A good name is better than gold… Mothers and their troubles, I sighed. They never get tired of telling you what and what not to do.
Rather than going towards the main road where I get a bus to school, I decided to take the narrow and bushy path. After all, narrow is the way… The motive behind my decision was very simple. Smart folks won’t spend money on fare when they can simply save it by working a couple of kilometres to school. First, there were lots of goodies to buy which only my pocket money could’t afford. Second, by taking a walk, I end up getting to school to time rather than on time. Why should I get to school early only to end up sweeping the class or running unfruitful errands for teachers. Most importantly, I get to exercise myself, burn excess calories and keep fit. Wisdom, the scripture says, is profitable to direct.
As soon as I was a mile away from my school premises, I began to apply finishing touches on my outlook. I pulled out my sparkling white pair of socks and put them on. A couple of hours was all it needed to turn brown anyway. Then came the turn of the overall of a school jacket. But for the severe punishment melted out to students who don’t wear them, I won’t even consider taking it out of my wardrobe. It was just too thick and big for my liken. After I was sure that I was physically set, I approached my school with confidence.
Just as I stepped into the citadel of knowledge, I saw Paul, the timekeeper, grab the bell and made his way to the school field to ring it for morning assembly. Paul’s parent could’t have been more precise with the choice of name for their son. Just like the biblical Paul, many were his afflictions. The principal never spared him for any error committed in his bid to perform his duty. If he rang the bell a minute before or after the set time, he got five stokes of the whip. There was a day he got punished for ringing the bell for two minutes non-stop.
I had barely dropped my bag on my chair when the bell finally went off. There wasn’t a moment left to say hi to my classmates. Everyone, except I, was in a hurry to get to the school assembly and join the Indian file. Woe betides anyone who gets there a minute after the principal shows his face. As for those who were foolhardy enough to come late to school, only Harry Porter’s magic wand could rescue them from their certain travail.
Jumoke, the assembly prefect, climbed unto the podium to usher the students into God’s presence with praise. As predicted, the song good morning Jesus good morning Lord… was the first song that came out of her high soprano voice- more of sonorous than melodious . The whole assembly took her cue and switched seamlessly from one song to another. How we come to agree, albeit unconsciously, to the sequence and common selection of songs never cease to amaze me.
As soon as we were done praising and worshiping, uncle David, our never-smiling accounting teacher took the podium to share the word of God with us. Now, not only was he the tallest teacher- about 4 foot 5, he was also the most pious. The students call him uncle woe art thou because of his tendency to pass harsh judgements and make everyone but him feel guilty. Anyway, Uncle David exhorted with a message titled: The Blank Cheque. Your life is a blank cheque, he said. God has given you the choice to fill it with whatever you desire. Your speech, thoughts and actions determine what you write on it, which will consequently make or mar you… Cool, I mused as I began to imagine been given a real blank cheque and asked to write whatever amount I desire on it.
Then came the great moment we all awaited- the entrance of the senior man. At the mention of whose name you must receive brain. The name Soje (principal of my prestigious college) carried a message of warning to any self-respecting student. I knew of a JSS2 student who peed on his pants just because he was told the principal wanted to see him in his office. The poor boy literally dragged himself the man’s office only to be informed that he had been nominated to represent the school in a spelling competition.
Such was the awe and authority our principal commanded. You can then imagine the atmospheric condition of our minds when we saw him approaching the podium. Seeing that he wore a smart-looking native attire, we relaxed our minds a little. Today seems to be a good day for us, I whispered to Josh. You can’t be too sure, he replied. We students had a way of projecting his mood based on his dress sense. If he happened to make it an all-cooperate affair, he was not in a good mood and we were ultimately not safe. However, if it was one of those days he woke on the right side of his bed, he wore a casual outfit.
He let out his usual opening greetings: good morning students, to which we all chorused good morning sir. Afterwards, he stood silently for a minute. Meanwhile during his routine one long minute of silence, he would carry out a survey of the entire assembly in search of any unscrupulous element: students with dirty pair of socks or those without their jackets on. Interestingly, nobody fell into his trap that morning. Being made a culprit on the first day of resumption isn’t a good omen for one’s blank cheque.
He formally welcomed us back to school; enquired about our stay at home and expressed positive thoughts about the activities of the new term. While he was delivering his monologue, a fierce battle was going on within me. My digestive system was having issues processing the meal of beans I had taken as breakfast. I began to regret the fact that I didn’t take it with some garri. That combination had a way of delivering me from indigestion.
Things got worse when I started to feel an awkward sensation along the region where you let out stuff into the air. I had the urge to fart! Obviously, the problem was not farting since my excretory system was well conditioned to carry out such assignment. The problem was the kind of sound the farting will produce: either a loud or a silent one. I’ll be lucky if it emerged like a still small sound that draws no attention or be damned if it made a public announcement.
Unable to control my urge any longer, I put my soul into the hand of the good Lord and let it out. Alas! It came out with a trumpet sound and pierced the silence created by principal’s speech. The unique sound brought about a sporadic burst of laughter, first from those close by then to the entire assembly. The laughter from the students made my principal abruptly stop whatever he was saying. An abomination just happened.
Silence! He bellowed. That single word of command brought the assembly to order. Should a pin have dropped there and then, everyone would hear the sound loud and clear. Now, can someone tell me what brought about the burst of laughter, he enquired. Or maybe I’ve been sounding like a clown all along. Obviously, he didn’t hear the sound that caused the excitement. All eyes were now fixed on me. You wouldn’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that I was the culprit. I felt a chill run down my spine as he fixed his gaze on me. All hell was about to be let loosed.
Akinkunmi, he called me by name surname. Yes sir, I responded timidly. Step forward, he ordered. I made my way from the rear to the front of the assembly, just a couple of yards from the principal. He went straight to the point by asking me what exactly did you do? Although the question elicited a simple answer, I just couldn’t find the voice to explain myself. In a quivering voice, I replied I -I- I farted, sir. The assembly shook with another round of laughter. For a short tormenting moment, he gave me a sympathetic look and shook his head. You never cease to amaze me, you know? Your urge to fart was so strong you couldn’t control it. He then ordered me to sit on the bare floor and face the entire assembly.We’ll decide what to do about your case later, he added. As i lowered my buttocks to the floor with my legs erect, another fresh burst of laughter rose from the assembly. This time, it wasn’t as a result of any sound i made but from a revelation they saw. Their attention was focused on something inbetween my legs. Baffled, i looked down to see what the thing was. I discovered, to my greatest humiliation, that the part of my trouser-between my thighs-was torn…
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