It was a hot Thursday afternoon. 12.35pm to be precise. We had just finished a paper and still had about 20 minutes before the next would begin. The paper we just concluded was generally enjoyed and everyone was high on something, or so it seemed. Chairs were turned to face one another to form groups in the class. Each group talked nineteen to the dozen about different topics. Some guys discussed football while others discussed movie, fashion and the likes.
“Hnnnn, hnnn”. It was the angry grunt of some students that jolted me from my chair. I had held my PASS, studying my data on it as if it had just been handed to me. I looked around to see the injured expression on the faces of my classmates. Someone had farted of what smelt of decayed cooked beans and egg.
Everyone started throwing tantrums. I sat on my chair, indifferent. I had never reacted to the smell of farts in the class, not even for once had my facial expression showed discomfort. This made people wonder if my nostrils were functional. I would just sit on my chair and run my fingers on some book page.
“This is mercilessly terrible. It is absolutely unbearable” John, the grammar guru in my class angrily ejaculated. “Whoever did this is dead. They just have not buried him” Someone else lamented, and the rants seemed like eternity.
“You will eat everything that comes your way, how won’t you be farting like someone whose stomach needs fumigation? How?” a girl asked, as if she would behead the farting culprit if she found out who it was.
“It is beans”. Someone said convincingly. “And rotten egg” Another person added in the analysis of what could smell so bad. I didn’t smile, though I wanted to; for I concluded that it was plain dumb to debate the makeup of a fart instead of avoiding the smell itself by any means possible.
“Bosun will not even say anything”, someone referred to me. I placed the voice as Juliet’s. I didn’t respond, for the girl didn’t fear anybody, and she could beat up anyone who defied her. She was the record notorious girl in our class. Once, she had been suspended for fighting and twice for disrespecting a teacher.
“Leave him alone o” another girl seconded Juliet. “Does he even have a working nose? Let him be romancing his PASS as if it is American Green Card” Still, I didn’t talk, neither did I raise my head. The class burst into a laughter that lasted a while until a teacher’s cane banged a table three times to get our attention. It was time for the next paper. Everyone adjusted their chair and silence resumed its reign in the class. I assumed the smell had escaped the class through the windows but I doubted my judgement because I could see the clean-cut supervisor expand and contract his nostrils like a rabbit smelling its feed, this in turn raised and lowered the silver rimmed spectacles that sat on them.
“Did any of you fart?” he asked, menacingly. His nose twitched and written on his face was the determination to make a scapegoat of anyone he was led to believe was the culprit. Everyone in the class looked around, as if the topic in the man’s question was alien to them.
“I will forgive you for this. If anyone tries this nonsense again before I leave this class, I promise to make him rue the day he was born. Understood?”
“Yes sir” We chorused.
“Now keep away all books and get ready for the next paper”.
Hell was let loose towards the end of the paper as the pungent smell of fart filled the class. I was calm; knowing that there was no way the culprit would be fished out. The supervisor allowed us finish the paper before he dealt with everyone but me and two other gentlemanly looking boys, because, in his words, it couldn’t have been cool boys like us who never talked since he had entered the class.
It was a cool evening, a warm one rather, but its temperature was mild, compared to the one earlier today in school. The full blown golden yellow light of the sun radiated on the windscreen of a car that went past me and the rays directly hit my eyes. The passengers of the car couldn’t have experienced what it felt like to be out under the glorious effect of Mother Nature. I drew this conclusion from the fact that, as I perceived, the car was a brand new one, two months old or there about. It moved slowly in a silent sound, almost unheard and no smokes came out of its exhaust pipe. So I looked at the car and willingly lured myself, in few seconds, into a world of reverie. I envisaged a day when I would be in a better car, possibly with my wife and a beautiful daughter as a first child.
This daydreaming had made my aimless journey worthwhile. I only wanted to be out because nobody was at home and our dear brothers – PHCN, had held their belonging; power. So there I was, on a street in Ibadan, dawdling and looking out for anything interesting that could happen – just anything.
“Dear brother”. It was the voice of an old woman that snatched my attention from the moving car, and my imaginations. From what I inferred, it wouldn’t be too rude to say that the woman would not have been considered if she had entered an audition for a beauty pageant in her youthful days. A black beret perfectly sat on her head, the revealed part of her head was covered by rough gray hair that placed her above fifty. She was clothed in a pleated gown that must have served her for some years.
“May I have some minutes with you brother?” She asked. I gave a consenting nod. She continued her speech but not before she handed me a handbill. I had gone through this before and readily understood what her message would be. I could only pray that she was not as boring as the ones I had met before, you know, those ones who would argue and argue with you until you give them a noncommittal ‘yes’.
“My brother, do you know there is another world apart from this?” I nodded, focussing my eyes on the pit in her shoulders. It seemed someone had attempted to dig a well on both sides of her neck. The pit there could hold two eggs each.
“For everyone to enjoy the luxury of this new world, they must give their lives to Christ”. Hadn’t I guessed right? Hadn’t I?” She continued her admonitions. It was an encounter that would have been nothing short of boredom if she had spoken longer than I could cope with.
When we departed, I started to read the bill she had given me. It talked about sins and related vices; stealing, lying, fornicating, mischief, wickedness, malice etc etc. I was forced to stay by a corner to digest the content of the tract. I found myself strangely affected by the tract, for I had indeed been guilty of every sin stated in it. It ended my adventures for the evening. I went home, sank myself into a couch in our sitting room, drew my knees to my chest, and then started a playback on my life…
What could I have done anyway? Our meals at home consisted of beans, eggs and other variations of beans for Wednesday nights. We had been gifted a sack of beans by grandfather and mom considered it a personal calling that we must consume the sack by Christmas. With this development, who was I to control the effect of the carbon in beans? I could not bear the disgrace that would follow confessing to being the Thursday Farting Master in the class. I knew my classmates; it wouldn’t be long before someone would coined a nickname for me, something like “BOSUN THE FART MASTER”. I knew what to do. I knelt down and followed the instruction on the handbill, asking God for forgiveness.
I am @me_ablad on twitter.