That’s how I wrote the Exam

by - May 04, 2017

Chronicles of Paulinus
Mr Jude is one of the most dreaded lecturers in my school. And when he appears in the exam hall all trembles even the most confident students. He rarely smiles during invigilation except when one tips him. I was late for the exam. My heart raced ahead of me. I sighted him from afar and my strength slumped.
'How am I going to escape this man today?' I knew I had to bribe my way in, else no exam. 'Thank God I still have some money here with me.'

I strode like a cadet; my legs were so heavy to carry me. I dragged it. Something in me told me he would reject it. But never, he's Nigerian and bribery has a way of blinding distorting our logical minds.  
'Good day sir,' I wore a fake smile, panting.
'Why are smiling like a roasted he-goat? Young man, you're late and you know the rule. Go home,' he fired.
It was as if his voice grew hands instantly and shoved me aside. I almost toppled.
'Please sir, I’m just coming back from the hospital, my health has not been stable,' I tilted my head to my right shoulder. But he was rather pacing in the entrance door like a lion that saw its prey. He kept on saying 'you know the rule.' I lifted my eyes and glanced over his shoulder, pouring my gaze into the hall. I saw my friend Ladi. He was making a gesture to me. He riffled with his right middle finger over his palm. I got the message immediately.
'Give him money.'
With raw politeness, I drew closer to him. Dipping my hand inside my trousers pocket, I brought out the only #2000 with me. He stood still, wrinkles crawled through his forehead. His hands jammed into his pocket. He seemed eager to know the amount I was about to bring.
'Sir, please manage this for the troubles, I know it's a wee sum but that's all I have with me,' my right hand extended with a crunched #500 in four notes.
'Get your lazy self into the hall, nonsense,' he snatched the money from me as if he was robbing me. His eyes crisscrossed around to scan for unwanted eyewitness but he was lucky. None.  
I rushed toward a very brilliant guy I thought could help me. It seemed he was so occupied. Mr Jude handed a copy of the exam sheet and answer booklet. Twenty minutes already gone by.
‘You have only two hours forty minute,’ he was looking elsewhere as if he wasn’t referring to me.
I was so uneasy. Even without looking into the paper I knew failure was so close. I had to improvise for my dullness and laziness.  
'Kojo, Kojo, Kojo', I whispered his name but he was engrossed or maybe pretended not to hear me.
'Kojo, Kojo, Kojo.'
'Wetin guy,' he flashed an aggressive look on me.
'Guy nawa o help your brother nah, no be so we dey do am o,' I pleaded.
'Pauly abeg I never write anything,' he raised his blank answer sheet before my eyes. It was ink-free. I meandered through the crowd, avoiding the scouting eyes of Mr Jude. I stumbled on luck when I got close to a girl. She was one of the brilliant girls, or so we thought. But now, she was doing something that was meant for the dull ones. She was having the answers on her iPhone’s screen. The phone was crafty tied to her left thigh. She would bend her head as if in deep thought while she scooped the answers from the phone.
'Hey Oby, abeg make I sit here I no read anything yesterday, help your
bro,' my two palms were outstretched before her while I kept spinning my head from right to left.
'Okay nah, just be smart and snappy' she said reluctantly. She seemed to not have any choice. If she had refused, I would threaten her with what she was doing. Carrying phone into the exam hall is a call for an instant rustication. So, like birds of a feather, she understood my plight.
I wasn't given any additional time to make up for my lateness. Once it was time, I had to submit. The task is to write as fast as my hand could carry me. The brain work had been done for me. I wrote with the speed of Formula1. There was no need to scrutinize the answers. I just simply wrote, clenching my lower lip with my incisors. Sweats were rolling in beads and dropping on my paper. It didn’t bother me. My hand was becoming stiff. The only sound coming from me was my heartbeat and when I cracked my knuckle at intervals to ease the stiffness away. I lost sensation in most parts of my body. I could hardly feel my legs, even as I was squatting for almost two hours.
'Five minutes to submission time,' Mr Jude thundered.
'Heeeeee' the students echoed as if they were just starting. I was still in my expo escapade. It was bad but I needed to pass the exam. There is no morality in the exam hall. I consoled myself that even the most brilliant scientists once did it. Man must always find a way to survive.
'Okay submit your papers, in the next one minute I shall be going and I won't tolerate students rushing behind me to submit papers ‘cos I won’t collect any paper from anybody no matter how skilled you're in the art of begging,' he warned while standing up to show his grotesque potbelly.
I was at the tail end of the paper. Others were now standing with their head bent over their papers still writing. Some were glancing through their papers as they made their way to submit. I was still writing, hoping to submit when the crowd of students must have dissipated from the desk of the invigilator.
'Fast, fast, fast, I don't have all day,' Mr Jude yelled. He started arranging the papers that were being submitted. He was piling them on single file.
'Are you done?' She gazed at me with her face dripping with sweat.
'Yes, thank you so much, you're my Angel today,' I said trying to avoid her gaze that was boring into me.
'You're welcome,' she blushed. She calmly placed the phone back to her lap and stood up to submit her work. I walked behind her in a processional manner. I felt so relieved. It was as if a hedge was uprooted from my heart. The question of correctness didn't bother me. It was from the net and that only wiped away all doubts about correctness.
I walked out of the class beaming with joy. I saw my angel making her way to her hostel.
'Hello, sorry to bother you again I guess I must have given you a dose of it back there,' I said throwing my index finger backward.
'No, no, no, that's no problem to me.'
'Okay, could you give me your contact please; I really need to thank you in grand.'
'As for the number, I can give you but don't bother about giving me anything,' she grinned.
'Okay the number first, until we come to that mountain,' my pen and paper were already sitting on my palm.
'This is it 0808******9, I'll be expecting your call. and again, I'm Christie not Oby,' her hand extended for a handshake.
'I'm Paul. I'll surely do that' I struggling fast to shove my pen and paper into my bag. I held her hand. It felt warm. I thought of the heat from the pen she was squeezing while writing...I wished I was the pen.

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2 comments

  1. Wow! This is stupendously, beautiful and suspense filled, I couldn't stop reading since I started. Please keep it coming 👍

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    1. Glad to see your comment...I value this!

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