Emeka, Goodluck, and Femi were the biggest boys in the class, and also held the record of scoring big in failure in examinations.
While other students engaged in various forms of preparation for the upcoming promotion examination, the trio went about chewing biscuits and looking for troubles they didn’t keep. They have never been scared of any exam, at least, since they realised they could never pass.
This was their second year in the same class, and they remained just unperturbed about it. While Emeka had the trophy of the oldest boy in class, Goodluck held the medal of the loudest noisemaker, and Femi held the record of being the class Mike Tyson. The three of them were a perfect definition of boys you would not go near.
They had a special seat at the back of the old primary four class. Nobody dared trespassed their property, except those that needed some wounded flesh and broken bones.
The class master, Mister Ken, had breathed out threats regarding the exams. He had boldly proclaimed severally that some students would repeat the class. The strong boys of the class knew there and then that he was referring to them. So they had a conference at a place they had coveted, and deliberated on what to do to ensure they sit Mr Ken down, and teach him a lesson it would take a visit to heaven to forget.
So while some others were burying their face in their books, and others rigorously training their necks and eyes for the act of copying from others, they strolled around, and went hunting for lizards they would later bury a shallow grave.
The exam came with its weights. Those that studied their books well enough had something to write, and those that didn’t either employed their skill of copying from others or resorted to chewing the cover of their pen or doing arithmetic with the dirty ceiling.
Emeka, Goodluck and Femi were always the first to submit throughout the examinations. Sometimes, they submitted blank sheets or just copied the questions. At other times, they displayed their skill of drawing cartons and caricatures.
After the exam ended, and everyone awaited their results, the three friends decided to go write their own kind of examination.
Mr Ken lived a stone-throw from the school, and majority of students knew his place. So, his house was the chosen venue for their self-proposed examination. On that fateful Saturday morning, Femi knocked on Mr Ken’s hard door. Mr Ken opened the door almost immediately as though he was expecting a guest.
“Good morning, sir!” Femi muttered, almost stammering.
“Yes, what is it?” Mr Ken quizzed with a grin on his face as usual.
“The Headmistress needs your presence in school right now.” Femi breathed out like a police officer arresting a suspect.
“Isn’t today Saturday?” Mr Ken asked rhetorically. “Where did you see the headmistress?”
“In school. Yes, in school.” Femi quickly replied.
“And what did you go to school for on a Saturday morning?” Mr Ken asked, obviously doubting Femi’s claims.
“I went there to collect my football I left in school yesterday. I saw her with some teachers. She was about sending Miss Judith to come over here when she saw me and sent me the errand instead.” Femi narrated so brilliantly.
“What did she say I was coming to school for?”
“I don’t know. She didn’t say. It’s better you go and find out yourself.” Femi replied and left, hoping he was convincing enough.
Mr Ken had never trusted the likes of Femi, and he didn’t want to trust his claim now, but it was so convincing. So he dressed-up, and hurried off to school with a plan to teach Femi a callous lesson if everything he said turned out to be lies.
Emeka and Goodluck came out from their hideout, and joined Femi after Mr Ken was so out of sight. They were right in choosing Femi for the job. Though they were not brilliant academically, the were undoubtedly brilliant in mischief.
They got to the door of Mr Ken’s small house, and the baton fell on Goodluck to unlock the next phase of the action plan which was unlocking the door. With a folded sheet of copper, Goodluck did something close to magic with the keyhole, and pushed the door open.
That was another success for them, and they congratulated one another. The entered into Mr Ken’s living room, and found exactly what they were looking for on the table in the middle of the room. It was their exam scripts.
They were right after all for choosing a Saturday to carry out their plans. If it were any of the weekdays, Mr Ken would have taken the exams scripts to school. And they didn’t want to carry out their plan on a Sunday because it was a holy day.
Emeka got the can of kerosine, and a box of match from the kitchen. Within seconds, the entire examination scripts of the primary four students went up in flames. They burnt everything right at the center of Mr Ken’s living room.
They rendered into the air their sarcastic laughter. If they were not going to pass, then nobody was.
When everything was completely burnt, they quietly left the house with happiness dancing on their faces. It was mission accomplished for them.
Mr Ken came back from the school in fury. He had allowed a little boy like Femi to mislead him. On his mind were showing up different degrees of punishment he was to give him come monday. He met his door wide open, and he tip-toed in, expecting to catch a burglar. Instead he found a mountain of ashes in the middle of his living room.
His eyes narrowed to the table, and everything was gone. He sat flat on his buttocks and wept sore. He was a definition of pain and anger. He needed no prophet to tell him that Femi and his crew was responsible for this.
Also, he needed no prophet to tell him that his days in Community Primary School were numbered.
“These little boys are going to pay for this!”