The students of junior class Two A gathered in front of the music room after they had received summon from their social studies student-teacher, Tonia.
“Will you people keep quiet or do you want me to use the cane on you?” said a teacher that was teaching in a class next to the music room.
“We’re sorry sir,” they chorused and kept quiet and waited.
Tonia went outside to where the students were gathered and handed a sheet of paper to the class captain and told him to read out the names on the list. She instructed that the students whose name gets called were to to wait while the others should return to their class. The boy read out the names, those concerned left leaving seven students standing. Tonia instructed them to kneel; she asked why their assignments were not submitted with the others.
After the unsatisfactory murmur, Tonia implored Julia to whip them as she sat each one down to do the undone assignment. By the time all these were over, it was their recess time and Tonia released them to go for it. She however instructed them to complete their assignments and bring it over before they’d go home. Tonia stretched and yawned. It had been a very hectic day and she felt tired.
“You these born-teachers are always easy to identify,” Julia observed while eating ground nuts and pop-corn, “If you want me to help you beat your students next time you have to pay.”
“Thanks for the compliment,” Tonia replied, “Yes I will pay. You know I can’t beat them.”
“Look at me. I don’t even have to go to my class regularly. Mr. Dairo takes care of it,” Julia concluded and cat walked to her table.
“Well, everybody knows you have nothing to offer these students anyway. The better for them if you just stay away,” Lola commented and moved away before Julia could compose herself to reply.
“Did she just say that? Lola, don’t you ever insult me. I wasn’t talking to you, was I?” Julia replied angrily and pointed a finger at Lola who had started reading a soft-sell magazine she had picked up a table.
“Na you know,” Lola replied without looking up.
“Busy body,” Julia said and hissed.
Later, Nike and Lola started to copy some numbers from the magazine and they teased each other as they did so.
“What’s so interesting?” Tonia asked, peering into what they were doing.
“Well come to think of it. You can write out the website too Tonia,” Lola said.
“What website? I don’t get you,” Tonia replied still confused by it all.
“There is a Nigeria Pen pal or is it dating website advertised in the magazine; and you never can know, you may find someone you like,” Lola explained. Tonia snatched the magazine and started to read.
“Who are these people? What gave them the impression that they’d find someone that’ll suit them by displaying themselves on a website,” Tonia complained.
“Nike and I will be buy data on her modem so we can register on the website and see how far it gets us. Well, hopefully we’ll get a Mr. Right through it,” Lola said typing something into her phone.
“What? I thought you have a Mr. Right?” Tonia asked, looking at Lola with a questioning look.
“He has been suspended until further notice. This is an international dating site, International men,” Lola concluded.
“Oh I see. Well, it’ll be fun, let me in on it too. It can be a good past time but I still think it’s a facade,” said Tonia.
“Try it and wait,” Nike replied, “What will you write about yourself?”
“Listen to this. ‘I’m a beautiful angel with a nice body, cute stature, kissable lips…,” Julia read from her phone.
“What is your problem? Are you trying to lure all these unserious guys with sex on their minds?” Nike asked eyeing Julia scornfully.
“You are crazy in the head.”
“It’s none of your business,” Julia replied, “Why are you always on my case?”
“Put a touch of spice, Tonia. Play around this thing and have fun. Let Sam’s eyes pop open when he sees you’re not being miserable as he thought you would be,” Nike said and smiled at Tonia ignoring Julia’s question.
“I will like to see the look on his face when he finds out that I’m actually not crying my eyes out for him,” Tonia replied as she nodded.
“That’s my girl,” said Lola.
“You did broke up with him, but keep up the spirit,” said Julia, “As for me, I want the macho ones.”
“Useless girl,” the other girls said.
“Whatever,” replied Julia and she rolled her eyes. “No be Abuja we dey?”
They all laughed as she started cat walking round the room.
The friend’s teaching practice came and went and they went back to their school campus.
Tonia and Nike were standing in front of Nike’s room when Lola came over to join them.
“Hey girls, what’s up? Have you girls received any calls yet?” Lola asked as she walked over to meet the other girls.
“Not yet. I on my laptop till 11 last night and there was not even a hint of anything coming,” replied Nike, “I think they didn’t find us interesting.”
“I told you girls that it was just a façade,” said Tonia smiling, “But it was fun then anyway.”
“I was really looking forward to having new phone pals you know,” Lola said sadly, “Abuja guys are boring.”
“I was looking forward to that too actually. It would have been nice to make new friends,” replied Tonia, “Let out some steam.”
Nike shot her an appraising look and Tonia grinned, knowing that it would catch Nike off guard to hear her say such a thing. Tonia loved doing the unexpected. Tonia looked over Nike’s shoulder and saw Julia approaching, swaying her hips seductively as usual.
“I hope you will not break this hip,” Tonia said in a bid to taunt Julia.
“I have an unbreakable waist. Is there anything interesting? What’s new about the pen pal thing? I know I’m unlucky with things like that,” Julia replied and hugged the girls. This was her normal way of greeting.
“Hey there,” the others greeted.
“I visited the website and no one took any notice of me,” Julia complained as she dabbed her lips with a lip balm. They all filed into the house as the sun smiled wider.
“No one has received or heard anything yet,” Nike said as she poured herself some juice from the table by her side.
“No?” Julia could not believe her ears, “You mean not even miss spice who actually displayed her phone number.”
Instead of being insulted as was Julia’s intent, Tonia laughed heartily.
“I’ll say one thing for you Julia. You’ve got spirit and flavor but I wonder how that hasn’t helped you yet,” Tonia replied.
“True talk,” chipped in Lola as she pulled at Julia’s sling-bag.
“Okay, it’s understandable,” Julia said and sat down on the only vacant chair and reached for the extra can of juice on the table, “To think that all my sexy, juicy details were overlooked. I should sue those people for this.”
Tonia’s phone began to ring at that same time.
“It’s probably Sam with his stories. Can you girls believe that he called me this morning to tell me to come over to Onitsha,” Tonia said, looking at the other girls who just looked on with disbelief.
“It’s a big lie. He wouldn’t dare such a thing. Let’s just hear what he has to say. I think you should use the speaker mode,” said Nike, adjusting her seat. Tonia nodded.
“Hello,” said Tonia into the mouthpiece.
“Hi,” a voice replied. Tonia looked at the girls, puzzled. The voice was not Sam’s voice.
“Who is this? Can I help you please?” asked Tonia, looking inquiringly at the other girls.
“I’m Tunde. I saw your profile and number on naijaconnect.com and decided to call you,” the voice said.
“What?” the ladies shouted. Nike motioned for them to be quiet and urged Tonia to keep the guy talking.
“Oh yes… Okay. How are you?” Tonia said.
“Are you alright? You sounded shocked or something. Don’t tell me that I am the first lucky guy to call you,” the guy said.
“Well, not really. So you are Tunde. Please can I have a little more of introduction,” Tonia said.
“I’m Tunde like I said. I am a civil engineer; I live and work in Canada. You are Tonia right?” he asked. The girls looked on as the guy talked about himself, oblivious that he was talking to a room full of girls with tricks up their sleeves.
Minutes later, the guy disconnected promising to call later, the girls cheered.