Fly Away

The teacher moved hysterically across the blackboard, looking for space to add more notes and explanations. Mwangi took a deep sigh from the far left corner of the classroom. He was not amused. The class had become too boring and the teacher didn’t seem to tire of adding more notes. Veroh had also missed school that day, adding more to the gloom. It was the first time she had gone missing without telling him, even though the previous night date had ended well. He started pulling back his chair as he prepared to stand up.

“No, no one leaves the class till it is break time.” The chemistry teacher did not even turn. She only looked at her watch and continued drawing diagrams that only she could understand. The edges of her white lab coat slapped the backside of her brown thighs as her hands moved vigorously on the black space.

Mwangi slumped back in to his metallic chair and made a loud noise as he laid his arms horizontally on his desk and rested his chest horizontally on his book. He began drawing a human pig below the incomplete volumetric flask. A few girls around him giggled.

She turned and created silence with the mere slow sweep of her slit eyes across the room. They finally rested on the Bunsen burner tube on her desk, and the liquid silence condensed into a tangible cold fear. Legs could be heard shaking under the desk as her nail polished finger felt the smooth end of the red tube. The hasty movements of pens on paper and the keen eyes of the students on the board convinced her to continue with her work.

Mwangi removed his Nokia 3310 from the inner lining of his trouser and started dialling Veroh’s home number with the right hand as he added stiletto high heels to the pig with a human head with the left. He inserted the phone in the arm of his woollen pullover and placed it in his ears. He breathed faster with each monotonous beep, waiting to be rewarded with Veroh’s sweet voice.

“Hello”, the hoarse voice took some wax off his ears. His right hand moved fast to press the ‘end call’ button, but was interrupted by a sharp pain that joined his shoulder blades. He let out a sharp cry that cut the silence in the room into bleeding halves, as his hand involuntarily let go the phone. It hit the rough cement with a blunt sound and separated into three parts. The main body rested face downwards between her long curvy legs as the simcard and the battery rolled for some distance to find shelter beneath shaking trousers and skirts.

The free end of the Bunsen Burner tubing danced victoriously in the air, celebrating the damage it had done. Her black miniskirt rolled up behind the white lab coat to reveal more brown skin as she bent to pick the main body of the phone. Wangeshi and Mwaura gladly surrendered the simcard and battery that had taken refuge below their desks, anticipation dripping in mouthfuls on their smiley faces as they went back to their desks. Her long fingers mastery re-assembled the phone, her eyes fixed on Mwangi’s back.

A dry twig held the place of the ‘on’ button. She pressed it and was welcomed by a bright yellow light, together with a loud irritating tune that took her by surprise, tempting her to turn off the phone instead of proceeding.

“What is the pin number?”

She traced the number on the worn out keypad, and left a tint of red nail varnish on four digits.

“I would like to know who you were calling now before-“

The vibration of the extra large phone in her hands swallowed the rest of her words. The name that flashed on the screen lit a smile on her face, revealing an even set of well polished teeth.

“Hello, this is Veronicah’s father. You just called me a few minutes ago then went dead.”

“Hello, this is Madam Villanova, the form 3B chemistry teacher. I caught one of my male student’s trying to call you during my lesson.”

“That must be very interesting because my daughter missed school today due to a minor problem that I’m on my way to solve. I guess it has to do something with whoever was trying to call me. Please bring him over to the office. We will be there in a few minutes.”

She held him by the back of his trouser and marched him out through the door. The rest of the student’s were glad that the lesson had ended early and assembled by the meshed windows, their eyes trailing the incongruous couple up the winding path that led to the principal’s office.

“Maybe he made her pregnant.” Wangeshi’s voice was ecstatic as she nudged the girl next to her.

“Hell no, he may be stupid, but no one can dare mess with the Chief’s daughter.” Mwaura retorted.

*****

The chief was a voluminous man who was always led by his stomach. He didn’t have to push the blue wooden door with his hands, his stomach did. Veroh dragged behind him in a short red miniskirt, sleeveless white brown top and shades of lipstick that had been hastily wiped off. Her free hand carried a brown wanucappi handbag, with a pair of large shades hanging from its flap. The headmaster had expected no visitors. He peered keenly on the intruders, his gaze concentrated on the point where the chief’s arm firmly connected with Veroh’s hand.

“It is considered rude for people with big stomachs to enter into small offices uninvited. You should have booked an appointment earlier so that we could have hired a contractor to expand our offices.”

Veroh looked down on the floor, and wished that his head teacher could shelf his sick sense of humour for some time.

The door creaked, then blew open as Mwangi’s red stripped tie first appeared, hastily followed by the rest of his body and his captor pushing him from behind. Madam Vilanova had to remain standing outside, as only the big toe of her right leg could find some space. She, however, kept a hand on Mwangi’s back. Veroh was leaning too heavily on his father’s stomach, rapidly increasing his breathing. It was becoming impossible for him to speak or reach out for his administration identification card.

“Hello, I’m just a new headmaster here and I’m having trouble with uninvited visitors in my office. Can you please link me up with someone who can help me deal with security issues.”

“Yes sir, I can give you the chief’s number. I am sure he will be of good help to you.”

By this time Mwangi could already sense the trouble in the room. He could smell it in the chief’s raw sweat, that of someone who had walked hurriedly and angrily from his home. He could see that the usually jolly dimples on the headmaster’s face had disappeared, and the lines moved to take an angry shape on his brow. He felt Madam Vilanova’s sharp nails dig deeper into his soft back and he leaned more heavily on Veroh. The chief moaned loudly as the Veroh’s elbows dug into his stomach. He momentarily forgot the discomfort that Veroh’s well rounded behind was causing his groin.

The chief’s phone rang and vibrated in his breast pocket making Veroh’s back itch badly, but she couldn’t scratch it. Rose Muhando’s ‘Nibebe’ crammed the small room, but no one danced. Only their thoughts intermingled freely in the little space. The headmaster waited patiently for his call to be picked. He dialled several times, cursing the operator’s request for a voice mail message each time. He at last banged his big China phone on the top of the table and tightened the loose flaps of his green khaki jacket around his body, his lips contorted to form an ‘O’ shape and his eyes squinted.

Madam Vilanova saw this as the appropriate chance to intervene. She knew that their headmaster was just about to dance in front of the esteemed visitor if nothing was done about the situation. She held Mwangi by his left wrist and tried to pull him out. He did not bulge and she kicked his left ankle with the front part of her stilettos. He limped outside, groaning in pain.

Mwangi limped across the verandah, and rested his hurt foot on the mud scrapper outside. He bent low and rubbed it while producing a hissing sound. The cool breeze patted softly his bare back beneath the tucked shirt at the point where Madam Vilanova’s nails had dug, soothing away the pain. He caught sight of the vast green fields and huge trees and imagined all the freedom they carried. He wished he were like the birds that jumped from one tree to the next, and mated whenever they wished. He heard each of their different songs take a part of his brain and made his body move; each limb in its own direction as the music tickled down through his blood. He could feel his arms grow like the branches of the distant giant trees as he lifted them to stretch, the wind lifting his spirits as he stepped on toes to see the farthest he could reach.

“Mr Kamau, the chief paid you a call because his daughter and the boy I caught here are having an affair, which is against our school rules.”

Mr. Kamau took out a pen and a piece of paper to note down all that Madam Vilanova was saying.

The chief was the first to see him, as he zigzagged across the field in a jolly mood, half flying and half walking. Sometimes he stood, lifted up his arms, shook his head and jumped in a celebratory mood, then dashed again at a supersonic speed.

“Hey, there is the boys who slept with my daughter yester night running away.”

He tried to reach for the door, but Veroh’s half dead weight impeded him. He slapped her across the face hard and pushed her away roughly.

“It’s not him, dad!”

He reached the door before the words did, but his big stomach knocked the door first and he fell backwards, flat on the ground. Madam Vilanova took a few steps and aimed to reach the door in one jump, but landed squarely on top of the chief. Her sharp stiletto dug a small hole on his chest, before she came tumbling down in one heap, face downwards. Mr Kamau aimed his small body and succeeded in a big athletic jump through the window, his spectacles falling in the process. He chased in the direction opposite to which Mwangi had gone, deaf to the desperate calls by the chief to change direction. Both the chief and Madam Vilanova stood up simultaneously, just to catch a glimpse of Mwangi disappear over the school fence.

Mwaura and Wangeshi were the first to react. The voices of the students’ voices joined the music made by the birds as they followed the disappearing heels of their chemistry teacher and the chief. Veroh took a deep breath and dusted herself. She sat on the head teacher’s desk and poured out the contents of her bag on the table.