A PARTING GIFT BORNE OUT OF PASSION

Submitted into Contest #57 in response to: Write a story about someone who’s famous for something they never actually did.... view prompt

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Creative Nonfiction

Things started falling apart when St. Bridget's students started smuggling in foodstuff like rice, spaghetti, noodles, raw eggs and yam, instead of biscuits, corn flakes, golden morn, rice crispies and other beverages. They cooked with immersion heaters in small thick aluminium buckets and they learned how to insulate themselves from electric shock pretty well in case of faulty immersion heaters. The metallic buckets were amalgamated with plastic buckets and the plastic spoons used in stirring food were still held with a fabric. The major activities in St. Bridget's dormitory were sports and bullying – advanced bullying that even the bullied would forget if there were few house masters living in the school premises. And subsequently, they'd derive joy from having being bullied, though they most probably, would take it out on their junior ones later – a cycle. Studying there was fun – the happy and sad times were a pleasure. 

David's appetite for moi-moi propelled the need for the construction of manual blender run by a battery. He thought that if he could make a simple fan with a motor, wires, blade and battery, he could still make a blender; they had similar mechanical operation. Coincidentally, they were going to have their exhibitions on the tenth week of that term. So, he decided to make two. On the eight week, after they had returned from a week mid-term break, David brought everything he needed to make them. This time, he brought raw beans, too. He wrapped it in a nylon and sandwiched it in a big loaf of unsliced bread, smeared with butter on each side, so they could stick and still look like a fresh loaf of bread. 

Michael was a cool guy in the hostel, he was hardly ever seen, but for classes, dining hall and debate society where he usually worked as the timekeeper. For once, no one had seen him debate before. David and Michael were bunkmates, barely discussed, but for one thing, they liked each other – they helped each other out. Their interests were different, but for the fact they shared a bunk, they were brothers. When it was time for sports, John who was also in Tech. club decided to assist David in his construction, and they were both permitted to go to the Physics Lab. Extension to do their work. Michael followed them, too pretending to be part of the group, though he felt nausea, but didn’t want to go the infirmary. John made a replica of whatever David did. He set the motor, battery and blade, then, carved out plastics as an improvise for glass walls. Michael observed and David was the brain behind it. The next Saturday, Michael smartly followed them again and they completed the job, but It took longer than expected. Measuring and expanding plastics to fit the size of the engine took longer than expected. They missed their lunch and Michael missed fellowship, too and he was sure that Kingsley, the Students' Follow-up Coordinator would look for him to know where he had been or what he was doing during the fellowship, but he had planned to tell him that he was weak and slept off at the infirmary. Truly, he slept off when everything got boring – when David was measuring, carving and expanding the plastics. At that time, John had gone for backyard runs – exchange of tissue papers and soaps for food with the kitchen staff. Michael had thought earlier the need for John's coming with bucket, he didn’t know that it was for the backyard runs. They ate the jollof rice John had brought from the bucket before leaving the laboratory.

David wrapped the blenders he had constructed in different cartons, unzipped his back pack, created a room for it but only one entered. He gave the other one to Michael to put in his backpack because John was carrying nothing, but a dirty bucket. “Michael, put this one in your locker, I'll collect it whenever I want to grind beans”. David said to Michael; his locker was filled with foodstuff that he had hidden in cartons of corn flakes and Cabin biscuits during check-in.

“Will the energy generated be enough to crush beans? This will just be good for pepper, onions and crayfish, but not…”

“I have super-alkaline batteries with me. I’ll grind it multiple times and it’ll be good.” Michael knew that one of them always looked out for an intruder – house masters, when cooking and he wondered the horrible times and how often those times would be when David would be preparing moi-moi that he barely ate.

It was the Year 1 Junior boys’ turn to sweep the dining hall. They went there after night prep ended and Michael who was assigned to sweep a certain portion forgot to come along with a broom. He didn't want to be seen, so he removed his yellow day-wear shirt, covered it with his folded arms, now shirtless, only wearing his black shorts walked beside the wall of the classroom block and jumped the window that led to a cubicle where the house captain stayed. The cubicle had a door, but with no lock. Immediately, Godson came in to check if anyone hadn’t come to clean the dining. Michael lay flat under the bunk and watched him throughh the door opening. He dipped his leather belt in water and wiped it on someone lying on Michael’s bunk – the upper one where David occupied. He groaned in sleep, half-woke. It was actually David, even with his humming, one would recognize him; he had a very conspicuous voice. Within the milliseconds he reached for David's eyes, realised that he was shirtless and wondered the kind of pain he felt. He turned and stretched out his arm, trying to interfere with the sharp convergent rays of light emanating from Godson's torchlight. With rage, Godson now stood on the lower bunk adjacent and close to David's and flogged him intensely on his abdomen, very close to his chest. He responded to the pain, shifted, fell and hit his occipital region hard on the floor. Michael heard the sound, he almost screamed. He wasn’t sure if David was still alive. He feared that if he came out, Godson might even kill him out of fear because he behaved like a junkie when filled with rage. Godson, now seemed terrified and walked out of the hostel with fast pace. As the Dining Hall captain, he went back to the dining to inspect how the cleaning of the dining hall and kitchen was going on.

Michael rushed towards him, but David was motionless, he reached out for a bucket of water which Godson had used to dip his belt. He heard footsteps from behind. It was John. “What are you doing with my water?” He asked, then saw David lying flat. 

“It was Godson.” Michael poured him water on his face and chest, David now regained consciousness and slightly lifted his head which was badly hurt, now swollen like a huge boil filled with plasma and pus. John opened his mouth agape and covered it with his left hand.

“That guy's a beast.” John said.

When David touched the back of his occiput, he cried and said in whimper, “It was Godson, right?” 

John looked at him, perhaps with much satisfaction now at who did that to him. “Yes, he’s the one,” they both said. John applied a cold compress on his head with an iced sachet water he bought before the canteen closed which had almost completely melted. David demanded fresh air as they held him to the verandah, they continued walking and stopped near the central tap. 

The infirmary was already locked up and they confidently sat with David as they raised their voices discussing; from the injury to accidents and bullying. 

“Godson is a dead fowl.” Michael said.

“I won’t report him. Let it go.” They were stunned at what he said. Michael just gave a wry smile. They caught the boys' attention as they talked loudly in such an open space at night, and from their physical nature, they were junior boys. Michael made sure that two gossips who would spread the story heard that it was Godson who did it.

In the wee hours of the morning, John’s eye problem worsened. He complained that his eyes hurt pretty bad and it seemed they were dust particles in them. He stayed in the infirmary till his mother came and took him home. David's father, too came later in the afternoon to pick him. Their classroom was just opposite their hostel and Michael could see his corner from where he was sitting, though blurry because the mosquito nets were a slight interference. Michael saw David and his dad move his cupboard and his travel bag. He stood and waited for him almost at the entrance of the hostel. He greeted David's dad, then. David whispered to him, “I’ll be the one to kill Godson in this world. It may take long, but I’ll make sure of that.” Michael watched David enter his father's car from a distance, they waved at each other – David left for good.

After lunch, Michael went to the hostel to drop his plates and realised that one of David's blenders was still with him. He thought for a while and ran to the coordinator to make a room for his presentation the next day on what David had constructed. 

Many students’ presentation in Tech. club were incomplete. They just brought up ideas which could be carried out with resources. One of the students made a simple periscope and Michael – a blender.

“Out of my love for moi-moi and in a country where there's always power interruption, I constructed this…” He used David’s line to begin his presentation which made the audience see the passion in him, but Michael didn't like moi-moi and had a mediocre knowledge about simple constructions generally. He mainly read novels during his free time. He constructively presented everything he knew about David's construction. They knew that he wasn’t a regular member at Tech. club, but the pseudo-passion-driven presentation – that seemed real made roughly hundred students in the club laud him. He won the first prize, a bonus from the Vice Principal Administration and money that the teachers slipped into his front pockets and palm. Before he got to class to sit for a test, they had already started discussing him. Before the day ended, he became the most popular Junior Year 1 student in school. Thereafter, he thought that nobody would care about whatever John would say when he returns.


September 04, 2020 22:43

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1 comment

12:31 Sep 10, 2020

This was enjoyable to read. One thing I would say, though - the characters don’t get any development and we don’t learn anything about them, which makes it harder to become interested in the story. Would you mind looking at one of my stories?

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