Previously on Festus’ Diary FDs: Season 1
He was about sharing his personal experience when the bell was rung for us to take our seats for the Mock. A long silence of digestion followed. We were stuck in our seats, immobile. We were all swept away by his sermonette. Maybe, that was the morale we needed for the exams!
Festus Diary Season 2
The Mathematics paper was served hot and uncommonly fast, about a minute after we were seated. Mr. Kargbo, the subject teacher as affectionately called, seemed to be in a calculated haste. We found it quite surprising, but we just brushed it off and hoped against hope that the questions wouldn’t be as difficult as he had promised us in class. The Mr. Karbo we know was one who will never break his promise; he never disappoints! True to his promise, the questions today were unsolvable. Perhaps, that is the commonest word that could be used. Do you know the kind of questions that you can solve only one sub question under all the sections? And usually you are not even sure which one to begin with? That is the crisis almost everyone faced! You could stare blankly at the questions and tears would stand in your eyes. This was the physical expression of wickedness! The most brilliant Mathematics students were sinking under the load of frustration and confusion, so why should I even talk about the sudden ailing condition of Senior Alligator, Biggie, Escoba and their buddies? They looked like fish which had been taken from water, gasping for last breath. Mr. Kargbo had successfully cut them to size.
Earlier, Alligator had told me that after the paper he would like Alusine and I to accompany him to the vice principal’s office to apologize on his behalf. But now that these bantamweight questions have punched him in his face, I don’t know if he would still have a face to show when we go to Mr. CT Khanu. I wouldn’t dare remind him.
In the examination hall, wonderful things were happening. Those who were not sleeping on their papers were either feeding on their inedible pen caps or giraffing all around with their eagle eyes, which was an exercise in futility anyway, because it was either they would see an empty answer sheet, or not-too-sure-faintly-written answers. The examination hall was dead in silence. Time was crawling like a toddler, and that was the most annoying part. It was as if we were in one of the many mouths of hell. Our bodies were screaming but they couldn’t be expressed by our mouths. Nobody had expected this kind of questions. Our hope was dashed when we saw some friends take supplementary answer sheets. “What is going on here? Are we writing the same paper?” I quizzed! These are the same guys who will tell you they can’t answer the questions when you asked them for help. Betrayers! Nation wreckers! Most of us stopped writing at this point; we were as good as asleep!
As the exams hours wore on, Mr. Kargbo was pacing the examination hall like Noah awaiting the floods. It was obvious that he couldn’t wait for the end of the paper. I scanned his face the few times our eyes made contact, and I discerned that he was disturbed but he tried to hide it. He appeared startled whenever we made eye contact, but I wasn’t minded to know why. Then a quick thought flashed through mind … but I discarded it.
About fifteen minutes to the end of the paper, we heard what sounded like a commotion at the school’s main gate. Our examination hall was the third and recent building building in a linear count from the gate, so the voices piercing through our room were indistinct. The most frustrated ones among us were more interested in the ruckus at the gate more than the Mathematics paper. After all, we had nothing to lose! What was there to write? We wouldn’t miss out on a good pass in the exams and still miss a glimpse of the fast approaching Hollywood drama scene. We couldn’t suffer twice! We waited in anticipation. When the echoes of the voices drew closer, we could hear, “Where is he? Where is he?” Almost everyone stopped writing, and we wondered who was being sought for. We couldn’t find the answers, but everything pointed to the fact that someone was in deep trouble. Mr. Kargbo looked like a bat of out hell. He was sweating profusely even though, ordinarily, the cold weather wouldn’t permit anyone to sweat that much. He looked diminished at once. The school authorities had been informed about the sudden invasion, so we could see them racing to the scene. How we wished we could join them at this time! The whole school, especially our classroom, bounced back to life again. We refused to let the exams bury our sense of inquisitiveness. We all rushed outside the classroom, and to our surprise, we saw a group of well-built men, about six of them, coming in our direction, with Zainab Abdulai, one of our mates, sheepishly leading them. What could be the matter? Most of the students were clueless but it appeared Mr. Kargbo had an idea.
Mr. Kargbo, on sighting Zainab Abdulai, took to his heels but he didn’t know that where he was running to was a dead end. We couldn’t laugh. We didn’t know how to feel. Most of our colleagues were wondering why he would run, but I knew why.
Earlier when I sensed distress in the mood of Mr. Kargbo, my mind was taken to the horrible incident I had bumped into yesterday at the staff room. Alusine, our class prefect, was copying some notes on the board so he told me to go to the staff room to inform Mr. Kargbo that his class, which was our last class for the day, was due in ten minutes. I was about entering the staff room when I heard a female voice, “Leave me; I said leave me! Is it by force to say yes?” Then a male’s voice replied, “I will give you the questions.” I paused. I leaned by the wall and carefully positioned my rabbit ear where the window was. They bandied the same words over and over. I grew anxious, and my eyes became jealous of my ears, so I compensated my eyes by tiptoeing to see what was going on. I almost screamed at what I saw. I saw Mr. Kargbo and Zainab Abdulai engrossed in what looked like a clinched fight of frenemies. The cause of this encounter was unknown, at least, for now, but the scene was hilarious at first sight. Mr. Kargbo was trying to grip Zainab Abdulai by the waist of her checkered uniform skirt but she was slippery, so he fell. His head hit the edge of his desk. He was bleeding from his forehead. When he realised that he was losing the fight, he picked his mighty cane, and whipped Zainab Abdulai like an animal. Her face, arms, and almost everywhere received their share of the brute. What looked like a hilarious scene had turned into a bloody one. I couldn’t stand on my feet anymore so I stormed into the staff room. Mr. Kargbo was startled! I got in-between the two, with my focus more on Mr. Kargbo, in an attempt to take the cane from him while sheltering Zainab Abdulai at my back. Where I had got that courage from, I couldn’t believe it myself. I had my share of the canes but I couldn’t care less. I held onto Zainab Abdulai, but she broke away and sped off towards the gate. I didn’t hear from her again until this morning when she showed up with these angry men.
By any standard, Mr. Kargbo was such a horrible runner. And he didn’t have any tricks in the art of dodging, too. At least, I knew something he didn’t know. Didn’t he play “Hide and Seek” when he was young?! We were disappointed in his athleticism. It’s no wonder he had refused to train with the school’s athletics team. Why couldn’t he even use his knowledge in transformation, angles, bearings, and vectors to work out some magic when he opted to run? It was a hilarious scene! His heavy body couldn’t support his mosquito-like legs. No sooner had he run about 20 meters than he was caught by the men. The whole compound was charged with frenzy. The principal and his assistant were helpless. They pleaded with the men to take it easy with him but, like the devil, they were merciless. The school’s security man had taken ill the previous day and most of our male teachers hadn’t come to school yet, so it was an open and shut case: Mr. Kargbo would be taken to wherever these angry men desired. For us students, we could only hoot and clamour items, but it had little or no impact. They bundled our very own Mr. Kargbo like a sacrificial lamb and headed towards the first building. A section of the Form Three students was happy that the invasion had come to rescue them from Mr. Kargbo’s torture, but others were empathetic.
The angry men had barely reached the first with the ensnared Mr. Kargbo when suddenly we heard sirens of police patrol cars tear the atmosphere apart with deafening noises.