Jakusko could not control his eyes, he was too sleepy to concentrate while Mr. Aziati made final touches to Basic Mechanics; a course that continued to leave students in bewilderment every year. Two things could be the reason, the course or the man who fed the unimaginable to his students. Jakusko couldn’t help but compliment a series of yawns with either a partial or a full sleep each time Basic Mechanics was ongoing. But like many of his classmates, he wanted a mark above forty by hook or crook. He being in final year meant no graduation for him if he had to take the course again next year, and there was no guarantee that he’d pass it on the second try.
“Okay, so if there are no more questions… that will be all for Basic Mechanics. Thanks for letting me have this impromptu meeting with the class… I wish you good luck in tomorrow’s paper … and I don’t want to see any of you next year”, Mr. Aziati garnished his closing remarks with a wry smile and left the class. He undeniably was the most unpredictable lecturer any of his students had come across. He could be saying one thing yet meaning the exact opposite. “I don’t want to see any of you next year” could correctly be translated “I can’t wait to see you again”.
Jakusko bought Mr. Aziati’s textbook early in the semester but he never got the courage to open it to study. It would be like an English man reading Greek for the first time. He just did not get the hang of Basic Mechanics. To him, it wasn’t “basic” like its name suggested. His mid-semester exam results were heartbreaking so the only option he had now was to pick up and study the book he so much dreaded if he really wanted to pass the main exam. “I cannot postpone my graduation because of Basic Mechanics… kai it will not happen”, Jakusko said to himself while he walked lazily in search of a trotro to board back to his hostel.
Lying on his undressed bed, he starred at the ceiling trying to concoct a plan that would miraculously help him study four hundred and thirty six pages before a paper that was due 8:30 am the next day. The ceiling fan which he had switched to the fourth speed level was making it very hard to keep his eyes steady. His eye lids got heavy so fast, it was as if he was drugged.
“Okay, I will have some rest… Wake up around 10pm… no 8pm, then I’ll start reading till about… well, till it’s time for the paper… No matter where I get to, God dey give me… Vim nkoaa… Mtcheeeew.. yebe wu nti yenda? Madakraaa…” Jakusko talked to himself half awake – half asleep, you couldn’t tell if he heard himself speak. After a few minutes, he was so far gone, deep in sleep.
Drooling on his pillow, Jukusko muttered… “Four hundred and thirty six…” Ablodey, his roommate got fed up. Jakusko had been muttering the same thing repeatedly in his sleep all morning. “Hey, hey! Wake up… Lazy cocoon! Wake up!” Ablodey hit Jakusko on his right cheek. “Ei how many times does he want me to wake him up?” Irritated Ablodey pulled Jakusko off his bed. Jakusko was disoriented upon feeling the cold floor and begun to gain consciousness.
“Four hundred…” he muttered lastly while rubbing his eyes.
“Eyi thirty thousand!” Ablodey retorted.
“What is the time?” Jakusko asked while trying to accommodate the light that fell in the room through the window.
“The time is four hundred and thirty six o’clock.”
“Oh… be serious.”
“It is forty minutes past eight”, Ablodey said after checking with his phone.
“What!” Jakusko blurted out leaping to his feet.
“Oh no no no no…, this can’t be happening.”
“What can’t be happening?”, Ablodey asked looking very lost.
By this time, Jakusko who had already jumped into his crumpled jeans from the previous day, was in the process of getting his head to enter the neck of a black t-shirt.
“Massa wat dey wrong you?” asked Ablodey looking very confused.
“I have a paper today oo…, I’m 10 minutes late already…, make that 12”, he said looking at a wall clock.
“18 minutes more and I’m stuck in this school for another year.”
Ablodey stood in the center of the room with his jaw dropped as his eyes followed Jakusko erratically move around the room till he finally flew out leaving the door wide open.
Fifteen minutes later, Jakusko was at the examination center panting and drenched in sweat. He tried to gain some composure before he said a word to the invigilator who was busily scanning the exam room for cheaters.
“Extra sheet!” someone called out. The invigilator got up from his strategically positioned seat.
“When you need me, raise your hand! This is not a market place!” He said out loud to the hearing of the whole class.
This bought Jakusko some time to get all set before he requested entry into the exam room. He raised his hand to signal the invigilator who was now on his way back to his seat.
“Gentleman, are you part of us?” asked the invigilator.
“Yes sir, I am.” Jakusko answered.
“You are late.” the invigilator said after a careful check with his wrist watch. “A few minutes more and you would have been disqualified. Go take a seat. You are far behind time!”
Jakusko took a booklet of questions and headed for an empty seat at the very back of the room. He was glad that the 30 minute grace period for late comers did not elude him. Just before he could take his seat he heard “wait, wait… I forgot to check your ID.”
Jakusko’s heart skipped a beat. “My ID card, where is it…?” he said softly. In a split second, his mind raced through questions, he couldn’t answer. He checked his pockets. It wasn’t there. There was no bag pack to check because he did not come along with it. Where was it then? The question beggared an emergency response.
“Young man I’m waiting!” The invigilator pressured.
Jakusko definitely did not take his ID card before leaving his room in a rush, he had left it. Admitting that his ID wasn’t available meant no exam for him and going back for it was not an option. Only his favorite superhero, the Flash could request going back for his ID and still get back in time to write the paper; a paper that he feared was already of no use writing. What had he learnt? Nothing! Absolutely nothing! “Or should I fake a faint…? or a heart attack?… No a seizure will do?” He thought as very random suggestions came to mind.
Just then, Jakusko screamed “Ajei!”. Almost simultaneously, he felt a sharp pain on his forehead. He tried to ease the pain by rubbing it. It was as if something had been hurled at him, but by who? There was uncontrollable laughter all around him too. Then he heard Mr. Aziati ask, “Tell me… What was the last thing I said?” Gradually, Jakusko became aware of his physical environment and saw Mr. Aziati standing right in front of him. He was still in Basic Mechanics class and not in an exam room. Apparently, Mr. Aziati had thrown his marker at him. He found him fast asleep with his head cupped in his hands and had walked all the way to his desk. It became evident, Jakusko realised he had been dreaming the whole time. Relief!