We had just moved from class 2 to 3, and it was in that class that the school bell rested. That meant that the next bell boy would automatically come from my class.
Our class teacher felt that since none of us had the experience of ringing the school bell, the boys in the class would do it one after the other so that the best ringer would hold that position. I sat on the first dual desk right by the door with Frank. He was closest to the door and therefore was first to begin the bell ringing duties. In fact, he rang the bell like his life depended on it at various times of the day. “Change lesson pleeeeeease”,he would shout.
I wasn’t that bothered. I felt I would do even better the following day -practising in my head how i would swing the bell and edit some of the instructions and all.
The next day, I think i probably arrived at school before the gateman even bathed to come to work. It was my big day and I was leaving no stone unturned. When our classroom was opened, I didn’t see the bell on our teachers table. I felt a lump spring up in my throat. I swallowed and tried to calm myself. It was probably an error…maybe the headmaster was repairing it for me or something, who knows? So the sweeping and other things went on as usual and i wasn’t bothered till I saw Frank walking to the middle of the compound with the bell under his armpit and looking at his new watch.( That CASIO wristwatch with the ‘Water Resistant’ inscription at the back).
“Assembly pleeeease” ,he shouted, tolling the bell with all his strength. I must confess I was depressed. But that wasn’t the craziest part. The craziest part was when classes had started and it was time to ‘change lesson’,i readied to go pick the bell n))),the teacher was like,” Since Frank did so well yesterday, he should continue today as well”.
I tell you, my brains nerve endings started twitching like a faulty electrical cable. And my heart started beating like the fontonfrom drum. And i started feeling hot. Herrhhh, disappointment paaa nie? At least let me ring it today eh. Physically, I was just sitting down, but inside me, a storm was raging. It raged and raged and then it cooled.
Come to think of it, Frank was the best for the job. His mother sold yam and kontomire stew and fruits just around the school gate- they literally lived there. And really, how could i compete with the owner of a new CASIO watch?
Wherever Frank is, I hope he works at CASIO or the Time Warner Company. Post kaya!