Celebrating East African Writing!
Sile furiously knocked on the large iron gate of Bridges High school and staggered drunkenly a few feet back. The gate vibrated with a low heavy vibration like that of humming bees. The sound of the vibrating gate got to his ears in an irritating manner pricking into his inner auditory nerves as if somebody was inserting toothpicks into them. There was no response. Sile heavily moved forward again and gave the gate two strong well spaced bangs and moved to his left. He wondered what was a miss with the watchmen at the gate. It was only a few minutes past nine.
The yellowish light of the enormous bulbs on either side of the gate shone incessantly and he could see the silhouette of his body on the ground spread with gravel. The silhouette was faint but visible. His oversize yellow, woolen, handknit pullover looked dangerously distorted. The sleeves that hang below his elbows looked horribly magnified giving him a feeling of deception like his whole life had seemed now as manifested by his name which had been truncated from teacher Silas to simply Sile.
This was Mr.Sile, a former teacher now a plain Sile after his life was eroded by the weathers of life. He was formerly a high performing high school teacher of science but too much science got to his head rising from the alcoholic concoctions he prepared in the laboratory for his science lesson into the head. That was about seven years ago. Sile had developed a drinking habit that got worse that he couldn’t go through a day without tasting alcohol. It got a better part of him that he stayed constantly on the drink but unfortunately this was against the work ethics. The head teacher of the school he was teaching at tried to make him quit the habit but he got stubborn that he quarreled with him several times.
He was given several warnings of dismissal but this didn’t change him any little. One day he came to school early in the morning but too drunk to go to class. Apparently he hadn’t gone home the previous evening but headed straight to a nearby local breweries station run by a certain elderly woman. He came to school straight from the drinking place and the head teacher was alarmed to find him dozing on top of a table in the staffroom. The headmaster shook the table from the other end avoiding the smell which was wafting from his half open mouth. He startled into life and plunged into a quarrel with the head teacher for ‘spoiling his good sleep.’ That was his last time in school. He was sacked.
After that he embarked on temporary menial jobs just to quench his now rampant thirst for alcohol until a local school which had recently been started employed him from his reputation widely spoken of in the locality. He was now representing the school in the science conference organized annually by some foreign sponsors. Unfortunately due to a nasty incident the previous year whereby a stranger who had sneaked into the school pinched another mans suit with all his documents as he took a shower in the washrooms rules had tightened. The man had been thoroughly bewildered and had strayed to the administration block with the towel roughly wrapped around his loins. The delegates attending the conference had followed him thinking he had suddenly run mad. Fortunately the thief was arrested as he attempted to escape through an opening in the fence. That is when the tough rule of 9:00 p.m with identities was introduced.
Sile checked on his wrist watch again. It was seven minutes past nine. His friend who had taken him to the bar had sent him a head to keep the watchmen waiting a little bit as he cleared the bill. Now infuriated he turned round and gave the gate three heavy kicks and turned to face the direction of the bar. He wondered where his friend had remained. He debated against going back to the bar for he wanted to return home sober the following morning. The thought was still lingering in his dizzy head when his friend appeared hurrying across the road.
“These men won’t open the gate.’’ Sile shouted to him with an air of impatience. His friend was still some feet away. “It’s only some few minutes after nine.”
The statement was hardly out of his mouth when the small door at the side of the gate flew open and two hugely built men emerged. One of them was Mr. Mwego, the chief security guard or security consultant as he liked being identified. He normally never appeared at the scene of any commotion except on very serious cases. At the sight of Mr.Mwego, Sile’s friend just made an about turn and walked back the way he was coming from leaving Sile rooted at the spot.
“What do you want here?” Mr. Mwego shouted advancing menacingly towards him. “This one here is not one of the delegates!” he added addressing his partner. “Look at his pullover.”
“But …..” Mr. Sile began. Mwego didn’t wait to hear anything from him for in lightning speed blows began raining spontaneously on him as if from a supersonic machine. A kick send him reeling backwards and on seizing his composure, he never waited to be given a hearing. The blows had sobered him. Sile ran at an incredible speed across the road narrowly escaping being run down by an over speeding lorry. His tapering shoes which looked as if the leather had been firmly welded on the sole which had extended outwards seemed perfect shoes for running that night.
That was the end of his rampant drinking habit.
©PETER YIEKO NDIWA 2009
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