“I am writing names of noisemakers ooo”. Kamal screamed. I silently observe him from my seat which is located at the back end corner of the class.
He shouts some more as he tries to overshadow the combination of several noise and laughter coming from the different angles of the classroom.
“Everybody stop making noise!” . Adaora joins , collaborating with Kamal on his attempt to quieten the class .
“Everybody stop making Noise ooo!”. Yetunde adds with a louder voice and several bangs on the table.
The noise dies down but it doesn’t last long as an angry Chika stands to confront Yetunde.
“You that you’re saying somebody is making noise and you’re banging the table like a market woman,who is the noise maker now? “. Droplets of angry spit pours out his mouth as he makes his point,shouting.
Yetunde retaliates and an argument ensues between them.
Personally,I don’t see the purpose of Chika shouting. He should have Just calmly corrected Yetunde instead of raising his voice. “Razz boy” I murmur.
“Number one on my list Yetunde and Chika!”. Kamal announces. He scribbles their name furiously on a single sheet of paper torn out from a 40 leaves exercise book.
This catches everyone’s attention and the class becomes extremely quiet.The silence is such that you can hear an angel pass and then a drop of sweat hit the ground from a person’s body.
I know the consequence of having a name on the list of noise maker. I don’t think my friend ,Yetunde who had only tried to help Kamal by re-echoing his message to the class be in trouble because of one stupid person that always sees the need to shout just because he is fat and has a loud voice.”bully”.
“Kamal I don’t think you should put Yetunde’s name on that list. She was only helping you announce to the class. Moreover Adaora also shouted the same way Yetunde did and you did not include her name …”.
“Ehn did I just hear my name?”. Adaora jumps from her sit cutting me off. She pulls the lobe of her right ear and taps her feet rhymically on the floor,daring me to answer; as if I didn’t know better.
If she had waited for me to finish what I had to say, she would know that I was about to suggest to Kamal to write a fresh list of noise makers
“What is your problem Tamuno?” She squints her eyes. I wonder what’s she’s trying to achieve my squinting her eyes like an Albino exposed to sun.
” I dunno ooo”. Nkechi supplies from no where, sarcasm heavy in her reply. She eyes me then purses her teeth to produce a strong,long hiss .
I am a really skinny person who can easily be blown away by the force of a sneeze. I try my best to stay out of trouble so I don’t get beaten and crushed like a used tissue.
Yetunde jumps in my defense. She turns to Nkechi “Ode.Is it because Adaora is sharing her food with you that’s why can open your mouth to speak without allowing your brain do the thinking abi?”
I notice Nkechi’s yellow pawpaw face turn red .She’s too embarrassed to speak back at Yetunde who had caused the class to burst in laughter by her statement.
“Why are you all lauging like a jackass?” Adaora shouts to get the attention of the class and maybe the victory of the battle.
This is when the class splits. Each side throwing their reasons and point of views simultaneously to defend who is right and castigate who is wrong.
I watch in amazement as the entropy level of the class increases.
A sudden loud sound shakes me out of my amusement and accelerates not only my heartbeat but the heartbeat of everyone in the class.
Apparently, the source of the big bang had come from the impact of a thick long cane in the firm grip of our class teacher,Mr.Stephen on our wooden desk.
“Why are you all shouting like animals?” He roars. His eyes pierces each of us as he moves gently between the rows of our seats,like a lion looking to capture an unsuspecting prey only that we were very much at alert.
I guess no one had an answer to his question because no one answered him. Even I did not have an answer …
” Can I have the list of noise makers?”
Kamal presents the list to him with shaky hands. I know this from the way the paper vibrates.
Mr Stephen takes the paper which is now crumpled. He looks at the list with disdain “Only two people???”. He questions with a raise of his left eyebrow.
Kamal fidgets. He mumbles something incoherent.
“Getout” Mr. Stanley says in a stern voice that causes Kamal to stumble off.
“You..” . His baritone voice vibrates around the classroom.
I look around to see who has befallen this …
“You “. He repeats impatiently. I wonder who the ‘YOU’ is that has the audacity to ignore Mr.Stephen especially when he is holding a cane.
I decide to lift my head and I see Mr.Stephen starring straight in my eyes. A deep frown on his head.
My heart beat doubles. I find my hand on my chest. It’s a non – verbal communication to ascertain if I was the ‘YOU’ he was referring to.
“I need you to write me a list of noise makers within five minute”. He tells me in a no nonsense voice. “Five minute”. He reiterates before he leaves.
I can only nod.
All eyes fall on me as I slowly tear out a sheet of paper off my jotter. I don’t bother to look up, I already know the people who will be on my list.
Mr.Stephen returned to the class in less than five minute. I give him the list immediately he comes in.
I smell fear in the air. I bubble with Joy at the power that has been given to me albeit temporarily .
I am joyous not because I am wicked but for the first time I am at the other side of the table. This time I am not the one in fear that my name maybe in the list instead I am the one determining whose name goes in the list.
I see several pleading eyes on me . Some of them I interprete as questions such as ‘is my name there?’, ‘Tamuno I did not make noise oo’, ‘Tamuno how many people do you have on the list? ‘
“Kamal,Adaora,Nkechi,Chika,Hamzat come out now!”Mr Stephen bellowed.
The sound of the whip and the yelp of pain causes me flinch.
As soon as Mr.Stephen leaves the class ,Kamal comes to my desk. He tightens his left fist and he points at me with the index finger of his right hand.
I am confused, I don’t know if he’s going to punch me or poke me in the eye.
“You will regret ever writing my name on that list. I can assure you that ” . He delivered in a gnarled tone.
I don’t need anyone to tell me that he is going to carry out his threat, after all he is the class captain and I was just lucky to be selected that day to write the list of noisemakers.
Nkechi throws daggers at me from where’s she’s sitted . I roll my eyes at her,I am not tempted to stick my tongue out.
What they don’t know is, I wouldn’t be coming to school after the weekend or the day after. My parent had told me the previous day that I will be resuming at a new school by Monday
Yellow pawpaw: fair in complexion.