**The story narrates the beginning of a string of events which the normal folks wouldn’t understand or be aware of**
Not so many people knew how it was going to go down and even fewer people knew how long it would take and one of such people was Ameh Ishima.
He sat as comfortably as he could on the classroom desk assigned to him, looking straight at the board and repeatedly reading what was written on it:
Start 10: 00am
As he starred at the board, he unconsciously continued to pull at the hair on the underside of his right arm. This was one thing he did whenever he was nervous and now his nerves were a bit scraggy but then, he had learnt not to show it…facially or bodily…with the exception of the habit of pulling at his hair.
His seatmate was a lady in glasses. Ameh had always disliked glasses and glass-wearing people. His sight was close to be being perfect for a young man of twenty-eight. He could read size twenty fonts from six meters with no problem and when he was farther than that, all he had to do was concentrate and hold his breathe for a minute or more and project his sight.
The big clock that hung on the wall of the exam hall had the time at twenty four minutes past ten. The exam was supposed to start by ten but there was no sign of the examiner. This was how things were run, but Ameh knew it was a matter of time before change came, so he closed his eyes and allowed his mind wander off a bit.
The clock struck ten-thirty when a burly man walked into the hall bearing a big brown envelope. It had ‘question papers’ boldly written on its side. The man dropped the envelope with a loud thud on the top of a classroom desk that had been set up for him such that it faced the class. He pulled out a white hanky which had turned a shade shy of brown and whipped his face clean of sweat. He was a rotund man with a large stomach, his trousers were well above his waist, somewhat close to his chest; and it only made him look very funny.
Ameh looked at him with disgust. He was just a number that made up a statistic but Ameh was sure that he didn’t know it. The burly man after looking at the class for a while and getting over what looked like a momentarily confusion, raised the envelope up for the class to see. He muttered an apology for coming late and then some few words about the envelope holding the exam papers being sealed before tearing it open and distributing the papers. He fumbled from seat to seat and when he was done, he had broken out into a massive sweat. He cleaned the sweat off his face, stated the time to be twenty minutes to eleven; reminded the class that they had just an hour before asking them to start.
The noise in the big hall that could hold five hundred people but contained not up to a hundred people irritated Ameh’s ears as people turned over their question papers and started scribbling. Ameh didn’t turn his over, he waited.
The next fifteen minutes saw his seatmate sweating. Ameh wasn’t sure if it was because she found the exam harder than she expected or if it was just in her nature to sweat that much. He didn’t bother to ask, he couldn’t have cared less; all he did was wait.
The exam was an entrance prerequisite for candidates who applied for a master’s degree in public health and unknown to most people; this was his first public move.
When the time said fifteen minutes past eleven, Ameh heard footsteps outside the hall. The footfalls were light, but he picked it up easily. He stopped at looking the board and turned to the door. He watched as a man dressed in a near immaculate white suit with receding gray hair walked into the hall unannounced. Ameh looked at his time piece and pulled out the knob.
Ameh liked the authority with which the man carried himself. He watched him closely, not missing a beat as the man walked up and down the hall, pausing only to speak briefly to the invigilator who wouldn’t stop smiling and cowering like one seeking favour.
The minute hand of the clock struck twelve and placed the time at twenty-three minutes past eleven. People didn’t hear it, but Ameh did; very clearly, mostly because he was listening and waiting for it. He brought up his watch again and pushed the button back in; his wait had ended.
An ash jeep pulled up in front of the hall. Nobody knew where it came from and nobody would be able to tell where it would go to, but Ameh knew. It was his business to know.
Two figures jumped out of the jeep leaving one behind the wheels. They were dressed in black suits and moved in quick strides. They were very fast but not fast enough for people not to notice them, but then nobody did except the man in the white suit. Ameh scanned the class quickly; it amused him how everybody had to choose this moment to be busy and why no one bothered to look up, even for a minute, least of all, the burly invigilator.
A minute was all that was needed for the figures to approach the man in suit, shake his hands and march him out of the hall. He turned in the direction of Ameh and Ameh could see how glazed his eyes had become and he felt a slight pity for him. A pity that died immediately the man in the white suit was driven off.
It was thirteen minutes to the end of the exam. Ameh turned his question paper over and wrote non-stop for five minutes before getting up to submit. He had his name boldly written on his answer sheet. He liked how it looked. It was a name that was going to go places. That was what happened to people who had answers.
The burly invigilator, the class and very soon, the whole school would begin to wonder and ask questions about what happened to the Dean of the school of Public Health, but it didn’t matter to Ameh. What mattered was that his body was going to found soon and it would kill any chance of him being the Vice Chancellor next year. That was how it was meant to be; dramatic.
Ameh knew this was how it would all begin. He felt an itch in his right arm where he usually pulled at his hair. He opened his eyes as he came out of his reverie. He turned to his seatmate and then stretched to look at the class. They didn’t know what was about to happen, but he did. Five years from now, he was going to be the youngest Vice Chancellor of this school and three years after that, the President of the country and a year later, he would rule the world.
That was the plan of those that knew. That was how they operated and he was the right candidate. Ameh looked up at the clock as the seconds hand ticked away. When the time reached ten thirty, Ameh turned to the door as a burly man walked in carrying a brown envelope. Ameh smiled, because he knew it had begun.