The virtual library at Olusegun Oke library in LAUTECH was bee-like in activities that afternoon; students focusing on the monitor screens trying to make best use of the thirty minutes allocated to them, and a stern looking librarian who walked up and down the library monitoring all the websites the student were visiting; ready to query any student who dare visit any social networking site like Facebook, Twitter or Yahoo messenger.
I stared at the monitor’s screen with anguish clearly spelt across my eyes. The other students were busy reading, jotting, or printing from the websites they were visiting. But I was struck! ‘Google’ had been the only website I was visiting since Monday, searching for the solution of the horrendous assignment professor Ige gave us.
“The answers must the hiding somewhere,” I muttered.
The assignment is to be submitted next week Monday, which is roughly three days from now. To me, the assignment was more of a punishment than a take-home assignment; because that day while Professor Ige was lecturing, a gist broke–out from the back of the class; you know those unserious elements who only attend classes just to mark attendance. It happened that one of them was pinging on his Blackberry phone when he came across the gist that ‘Funke Akindele’ just announced the completion of ‘Jenifa 4’, which saw the lovable movie character travel to Jamaica and USA.
In truth, I didn’t join the hype and excitement that ensured, even though I love the ‘Jenifa’ franchise, but the noise that was generated indicted us all. Amidst the noise, professor Ige walked out of the class angrily.
We finally deliberated that the class-Governor should go with two other respected students and beg on our behalf. They were gone for a while, and we thought all was well until the class-Governor and the two other students returned with a horrendous assignment, and a submission date for Monday.
After exhausting my thirty minutes on another fruitless search, I left the virtual library filled with distraught. No sooner had I departed the library did I saw my big-headed class-Governor ‘Aisha’; she was the only female class-Governor in the whole faculty of sciences, so she is one of the most popular figures around.
The wind was blowing gently from the east; its speed was average, and it could be determined with the way it slightly swept Aisha’s waist length hijab backwards.
With a worrisome look and sluggish movements, I approached her,
“Governor, what’s up?” I greeted, stretching hands to shake her.
She refused my hand shake by not drawing out her hand to meet my mine. I had completely forgotten the she was a virtuous Muslim sister who doesn’t shake hand with anyhow guys like me, ”my whole body is for my future husband only,” I remembered her quoting it once.
“Am sorry,” I quickly apologised, “I have completely forgotten.”
“It’s no problem, after-all we are not elephants. Only elephants remember all the time,” she remarked.
“Elephants! Where did you get that?” I asked with a serious tone.
“Agatha Christie, that old talented detective writer from England. She once wrote a novel: elephants can remember”
“Oops… no wonder…I don’t read all those old English books, they lack the fun and grip of all this modern novels”. I said absent minded, feeling really bad about the handshake because she had warned me about it in the past.
We started to descend the library’s terrazzo stairs.
“How far on your 524 assignment?” she asked, with a voice clearly showing that the handshake issue was behind her.
“Ha… 524…hmmm… I am still searching for answers o, even Google doesn’t know the answer,” I replied, while wondering why she asked the question because most class-Governors don’t worry about finding answers to assignments. What they simply do is that they simply copy what the first person to submit wrote, and they usually had a full mark.
“Everyone has similar problem, in fact I have personally checked all the textbooks in the biology section. Plus the reference section, still I got nothing,” she commented
“Maybe we should go and beg professor Ige,” I suggested, shutting the window of my regret.
Aisha stopped descending the stairs as soon as she heard the word “beg”. She turned and
stared at me with serious disagreement.
“You want us to go and beg professor Ige, so that he can add more assignment like he did to the last year’s set.” She continued down the stairs. “I overheard Tayo saying that he has gotten the solution from a textbook. I even saw him showing Ayo a foolscap sheet which he claimed he has written the answers in.”
My heart leapt for joy. “Why didn’t you ask him to show you?”
“Ask him? Don’t you remember that I fought with him over the ‘Jenifa’ thing; you know he was the one that started it”
“That’s true… I better see him then. Where did you see him?”
“He was in the shed before I came to the library; that is some thirty minutes ago. He should still be there because he was betting with his clique by the time I left the shed”
I excused myself from Aisha promising to get back to her once I laid my hands on the textbook containing the solution. I sprinted towards the shed in a Usain bolt styled. Soon I was in the shed.
Breathing heavily, I searched for Tayo amongst the numerous figure-head sited in the shed chairs which were shaded from the sun by a big oak tree in the middle of the shed. I soon found one of Tayo’s cliques. Approaching the guy who was in a mid-ecstatic state, I asked,
“Where is Tayo?”
“Tayo ke. He has gone home. And he just left now o,” the guy replied, letting pity reflect in his voice.
“Please can I have his phone no,” I asked, bringing out my Nokia 1280 phone.
“His phone?” the guy laughed hysterically. “I don chop am. We had a bet just now, and he lost. See it,” the guy continued, bringing out a Nokia N95 phone.
Seeing that my entire possible route had been blocked, I exhale out air exothermically through my mouth alongside the disappointment that was now seeping into my cells. I was silent for a while until it struck me that since the guy was Tayo’s friend, he should have done the assignment.
Wearing a new look like an alluring lady you wouldn’t say no to, I asked the guy,
“Please can I have the solution of the 524 assignment?”
“524…professor Ige; I have de-registered the course this morning. I won’t allow one
course to give me too much wahala”
I wish I could de-register it too, but Professor Ige is my project supervisor… I had no choice but to get the solution to the assignment.
“524 is a wahala course with a wahala professor,” The guy continued, “Many people are already de-registering it, but Tayo has done it, maybe you should go and meet him in his hostel. He stays in room 5B in Mardel hostel at Under-G”
“Thank-you,” I said with a sense of appreciation. I then ran off to mount a motorcycle. The pen knife in my pocket was hitting hard against my thigh, but the assignment priority made the pain look like a prick of needle.
The motorcycle ride to Mardel hostel was like going up Mount Everest; it took forever. The motorcycle sputtered, and died midway our journey. I was tempted to abandon the motorcycle and jog to Mardel hostel, but I was glad I didn’t take that decision as the motorcycle revved to life minutes later.
It was already 5:24pm when I got to Mardel hostel. I ran through the almost deserted passage way until I got to room 5B. I knocked real hard on the door, but it took few minutes before I got a response.
The door opened a bit not enough to allow entrance in to the room, but could permit one to protrude one’s head
“Who is that lunatic?” a voice asked rhetorically from inside.”
“Sorry to disturb you Tayo, it’s Kamal, a classmate.”
The door opened wider and Tayo stood at the doorway with a stern look.
“Ehn en… what is an efiko looking for in the hostel of an unserious element like me,” he asked rudely.
“Em em… Tayo… please I heard you have done 524 assignments. See I don’t want to copy you o, I just need the textbook,” I replied, almost stammering through.
Tayo eyed me with distaste
“Textbook ko, notebook ni?” he said angrily before proceeding to slam the door.
I held out the door with my right hand to prevent the door from closing up. With my left hand I reached out for my Nokia 1280 from my left pocket.
“Here Tayo,” I offered, stretching forth my left hand with the phone through the little space in the door.
The sight of the phone did the magic and he released his hold on the door. The door opened widely and he came out whole bodied with a smile engendering on his cheeks.
“The textbook has a blue cover, and it is in the Architectural section in the library. You would quickly notice it because it is the odd one out there… page seventy-six”
I barked a thank-you at him and sprinted outside the hostel to get a motorcycle. I was lucky to get one quickly. Soon we were blasting amidst the rushing breeze that causes this hush sounds in one’s ears. Soon I had to put my two hands to close my ears…
My brains were in an ecstatic state because the information I got from Tayo was high valued information. The library books that are high in demand are usually kept in other section other than their original section. The location was a top secret controlled by a set of selfish student…
The journey back to school seems to be shorter than when we went going to Mardel hostel. As soon as we got to the school gate, I paid the motorcycle driver his fare and I sprinted to the entrance of Olusegun Oke library.
The Librarian: an ebony lady with a round face, flat nose and a very big mouth all saddled on a fat neck. She had a tribal mark that resembles the minus sign, on both of her busty cheeks. They were quite noticeable even though her curly hairs poured over her cheeks as her bend down working with a pencil and a catalogue.
As soon as I entered, she stared at me with a cyclopic look producing her right hand. I understood what she meant, so I produced my library card.
“What are you doing since morning? We would be closing in the next fifteen minutes,” she
asked rhetorically returning my library card.
I didn’t say a thing. I simply moved out of her sight and quickly walked into the main library.
It didn’t take me long to locate the blue covered textbook Tayo talked about. I opened
page seventy-six, but the solution wasn’t there! I sat down really disturbed and angry on how Tayo had deceived me even after collecting my Nokia 1280 phone. I sat down on a chair and opened the textbook’s table of content. It happened that Tayo made a mistake, the solution was on page fifty-six not seventy-six as he mentioned. I was preparing to start jotting when I realised I didn’t have much time. The library would be closing in the next seven minutes. I had to borrow the textbook.
I proceeded to the counter where the librarian was sited.
“Excuse me ma, I would like to borrow this book ma,” I requested politely, putting the
textbook on the counter.
“You can’t borrow it,” she replied, ‘You can only make a photocopy”
I glanced at the photocopy section. It was closed.
“Ma, can I take make the photocopy outside, the one here is closed”
She looked up, her curly hairs falling behind her ears revealing the tribal marks on her cheeks boldly. Her stable eyes were fixed at me
“Young man, as you can see, I am very busy. You can’t borrow the book, and you can’t take it out. Come back on Monday,” she blurted returning to her work.
I had to submit the assignment on Monday by 7:00A.M. The library opens by 8:00A.M. And the library doesn’t open on weekends.
There is only one way out if I am to do the assignment. I have to steal the book. I couldn’t smuggle the book out with my bag because bags were thoroughly searched while leaving the library. One ideal struck me, so I returned to the main library.
The clock chimed 6.O clock, and as one would expect, there was a mini-commotion as students packed their books and proceeded towards the exit.
I took the textbook and moved close to a window. I produced my pen-knife from my pocket and pretended that I wanted to help close the window. I made a cut on the net and quickly threw the textbook outside through the cut I made. I then closed the window and issued an evil smile.
I joined the other faithful students, and we all marched out of the library after been thoroughly searched.
My both lungs were filled with ecstasy and were waiting to burst into happiness once I picked up the textbook. The textbook as I position it would be by the side of the library facing the printing press workshop we usually see from the library.
I moved towards the window. I couldn’t see the book as I neared it, but I was rest assured that it must have fallen into the flowers that were planted near the window. I got to the window and dug my hands into them… alas… I found the textbook. I was about putting it in my bag when I noticed that a guard was coming closer me… I didn’t even give him the chance to come closer or ask any questions, I simply strapped my bag tight and began a sprint for the umpteenth time…
© 2013… Kay Greins ™