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A Wink in the Dark – Episode II

Dale could not concentrate in class; his fate at break is known to all and apparent for him. He is the least person that wanted any confrontation with anyone worst of all Tosan.

Tosan is notorious for his savagery, and not many want to cross his path even among the teaching staff. Tosan has been a pain in the neck to the school administration with his serial failures and waywardness. His mates are all in SS3, but Tosan remained stuck in JS3 and terrorised every student in the school.

The only people that could bring him to equity are the Man ‘o’ war cadets who matched his pranks, cruelty for cruelty.

The first period was underway, but Dale still had his mind in a maze of possibilities—how best to avoid this confrontation. Apart from the fact that he didn’t want to get into the black book of the school, he had his physical features to worry about.

Soon at break, Iyke crawled to Dale’s locker.

‘Hey, heard you have a score to settle with Tosan, what happened?’

‘Don’t mind those fools. Andrew came up with this prank at the first place. He said he had a dream I had a fight with Tosan. I told him to nip it in the board, but he just wouldn’t let me be.’

‘No one is taking it as if it were a dream; the news out there is that you challenged Tosan for his treatment of Mnegi at dinner on Tuesday.’

‘Who, me? Come to think of it, am hearing this now. Why would I want to do that for her? ‘

‘Seems obvious you have a soft spot for her’

‘Just about as obvious as everyone’s; but is it a good deal to embarrass a girl in that manner?’

‘Well, maybe, some people think your chances are better, so they want you to be battered and disfigured by Tosan. I just want to warn you to be careful around him’

‘This is purely a set up, and I would not allow anyone to intimidate me or denigrate my humanity.’

As this words came out of Dale’s mouth, he looked beside himself to know where it had come from. He was at a loss on what he intends to do in the situation.

‘What do you want to do? Iyke asked in wonder.

‘Do you remember what happened to those who were foolish enough to, stand-up to him? No one is saying you’re a coward, but wisdom dictates you should avoid the savagery of a man who could slap his own teacher.’

The story of Tosan slapping a teacher is almost a myth in Carter Hill School, one of the stories that made even the audacious new classmates of Tosan to revere him. But some seniors who saw the fight gave credence to the story. Iyke vividly remembered how a senior had told him the story.

Tosan had defiantly stayed out of the maths class on that day and rather stoop on a heap of sand on the football pitch.

He heard footsteps approaching him, but didn’t raise his head. Two pairs of legs finally came to a halt at his front. It was Mr Quadri, the maths teacher and Ronke his classmate.

‘He is the one!’ Ronke accused.

Tosan looked up in amusement. Could the maths teacher care enough to seek him out for missing a class? What was it all about. But the teacher descended on him with lashes all over his body.

‘What have I done? What did I do?’ He screamed.

The spanking continued, and a smirk played away on Ronke’s face.

Afterwards, Tosan still asked Mr Quadri what his offence was but he didn’t get a response.

When Tosan got to class, he went to Ronke’s seat.

‘What is it I did to you? What did you tell him I did wrong?’

As she made an attempt to talk a dirty slap landed on her cheek, two hot drops of tears ran down her check. The class stirred in excitement.

Before anyone could recover from the shock, Mr Quadri emerged from nowhere and landed Tosan two successive slaps left and right.

Tosan in disbelief held unto his cheeks but with composure and courage landed Mr Quadri, a swift dirty slap.

The class grew into a graveyard silence.

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A Wink in the Dark

The siren went at 7:45am at Carter Hill School. Students trickled out from various classrooms towards the assembly ground where a prefect was standing barking out orders.

“Double up! Double up!! If you’re standing, you’re wrong!”

Two kids picked up their paces, from across the yard clutching their backpacks tightly with excitement dangling on their faces.

“Are you serious, someone beat-up Tosan in this school? Unbelievable!”

“Yes, I saw it! The bully was humiliated.”

“Where? Who? I bet he won’t be able to come to school today.”

“I saw it in my dreams”

“Ha! Dreams, no wonder. Who can dare?”

“You did, am serious.”

“Well, you said so; it can only be in your dreams.”

“Who are those scrawny little badgers there? Double up here or I’d get fifty laps from you this morning!?”

The prefect’s voice jarred the boys to quickly join the lines on the assembly.

The assembly started for the early comers with songs, drills and a pep talk from the prefect on duty. Soon, the lines grew with the arriving students. At 8:00am, the Vice-Principal administration came and gave an exhortation to the students.

“Today, like other days, we expect you to maintain decorum at all times. If you have a free period, find your way to the library. We shall not tolerate, the loitering and idling around. You’re all born to be great; so, I charge you, go and contribute to that greatness with all your activities.”

As the students dispersed to their classes, Dale noticed the excitement all around the JSS 3 boys. Andrews has obviously been giving them one of his legendary tales.

Soon eyes were glancing his way as if they were sizing him up. Then those set of eyes went the way of Tosan, who was being spanked for turning up late by a Man ‘o’ war cadet.

Suddenly, Dale connected the dots. Andrew has been feeding them in on the dreams he had. Dale had enough worries on his mind than add Tosan’s. He ran to them shouting,

“It’s a lie!”

Everyone in Andrew’s company burst into a laugh.

“So, who thinks it’s true?” a lanky kid asked

“Dave, I swear it’s a lie. How can I beat Tosan?

Dale looked, nervously, the way of Tosan, who was swaggering near having chested the spanking of the cadet. Ladies looked on in admiration and boys in envy. Tosan could withstand any stroke of the cane with showing any pain.

“Dreams are foolish we know. But it would interest our friend Tosan to know the news about his imminent defeat.” Someone suggested from the crowd

“Leke, please don’t do that. Common Andrew, tell them it’s a mere dream, please!”

Leke ran to Tosan as he swaggered into his class. He murmured some things to him and told turn around to look in the direction of Dale and his company.

“We shall decide that at closing, boy!” a bass voice rumbled out to Dale.

__________________________________________________

Now, over to you, what do you think will happen? Take a guess, it’s safe on me and not a damn lottery!

The Game: a short story.

They had been playing the traditional game of Ayo under the sycamore tree across my lodge for as long as I could remember.

Every morning, am roused by the grumblings of a lad whose duty it was to clean the surroundings of the compound and underneath the tree.

When going to the village school, they greeted me amidst banter and gossip about my tribe and my mission in their village.

“Oga Kopa, go well!” some would wish me on my way out

“Oga Kopa, Hungry dey o. Make dem give us something for store?” Others patronize me when I return.

I am a corps member serving as a teacher in a local community in Delta State. I had lived in peace with the petulant people of this community by knowing my bounds and showing them theirs.

Legend has it that most madmen in the community were inflicted with the disease from their sojourn in my native land. But, they never thought to harm me as a result of this; they are a town notorious for having at least a madman in each family, because in most cases my people were justified.

Today, I am going to part take in their game and learn one or two things from their tribe. I am no novice at the game, a fact none in the gang knows which makes them to consistently lure me to participate. Gambling is a social phenomenon here, of course.

After sixteen rounds, I take my winnings and give it to Mudiagha, a son of one of the most useless lot of the gang. I make to leave but am hail down by praises; the village champion is around to avenge them of the wrongs. All they want is a slice of the government allowance I earn.

He comes to seat in front of me, smiling toothily. I smile too. He offers two 25-litres keg of strong palm-wine and the rule of the game changes. We are to take a cup at every touch of the seeds. I laugh, at such petty gimmick to make tipsy and lose the game, if only they knew my background.

To bring fun to the game, for every cup I take, I point it to an individual saying

“It is you that drank this” to which everyone hurls laughter my way

This continues until the fourth round with the village champion and he could hardly lift a finger for he was grossly drunk, he falls and snores away.

I look around in despair; the spectators are all flung in different directions with heavy snoring making a symphony of orchestra in the neighborhood. I stand and stroll to my lodge feeling the strains of twenty victories in my veins.