THE ZOO



 When the angry looking police officer stopped the long bus; everyone was silent. “wind down your glass!” he shouted to the driver who immediately did.

Where are you taking these kids to?” the officer inquired.

We’re on our way to the zoo uptown” the middle aged driver replied. His name was Peter; the students loved him for his cheerfulness and friendly nature, they usually called him Sir Pete.

                The Police officer walked round the long vehicle scanning it with an air of seriousness. “Maybe his wife offended him” Akin; one of the teenagers said to his friends in a low tune and they all burst out laughing. The police officer starred angrily at the mischievous students; he didn’t know the reason for their laughter, but he found it insulting they laughed the more.  His bald head amused them the more.

                Quiet!!” said Mr. Toyin one of the teachers who was with them in the bus too. “Don’t you know that you’re at a Police checkpoint? The teacher asked them angrily, but it was too late. “All of you come down from that bus!!!” the police man shouted; hitting his wooden baton loudly on one part of the vehicle. It sounded like a gunshot; the students hastily came down; they all looked scared. Sir Pete, Mr. Toyin and Mr. Max went to plead with the officer. “Oga please pardon them, they’re just small children”

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                The journey continued after the police officer succeeded in wasting thirty minutes of their time. “Akin, this should be the last time you’ll ever try this” Mr.Toyin warned; he was their maths teacher and always wore a serious face; more serious than the police officer. “Any other excesses from you, and I’ll cane you” he threatened, bringing out his cane from under the sit where he kept it.

                Akin was a notorious fellow, he was known for his rascality; he always loved troubles. Although being raised by a single parent (Mum) who was strict, she seemed to get tired of his unseriousness. “Please treat him anyway you want” his mum had instructed the school teachers on several occasions. She never wanted to see him; Akin was a thorn in the flesh. When she heard about the excursion to the zoo, she had come to school to beg the principal. “No madam, we can’t let him go with the other students for the excursion to the zoo” the school principal said. Akin’s mum kept pleading; she begged and begged, she didn’t want him to remain at home and make her cry; she knew the kind of rascal he was. She wanted to have peace of mind on the day of the excursion. This could only be possible if Akin was out of sight. She finally had to sign a letter of agreement that she would bear the consequences of any of his excesses.

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                That morning, after the young boy had left for school, Mrs. Lydia began looking for her android phone; she had kept it on the centre table, and it was just her and Akin that lived in the little house. “What is wrong with this boy sef!!?” she shouted, she swore to deal with him once he arrived home. She was shocked and a bit surprised; Akin had never done this before; the young boy’s rascality hadn’t reached this level. Then she remembered that her son was to join the other students to the zoo that morning. “So this is why he took my phone without telling me?” she lamented in pains; she had a lot of important calls to make. “Akin, I’ll deal with you today” she promised.

                Few minutes later, Sir Pete drove the junior secondary school students into the zoo. It would be a long lasting memory for them for they’d never been to the zoo. They all prayed and just before alighting, Mr. Toyin spoke; “Always listen to instructions, most animals here have not been fed for weeks, they could use any of you for lunch if you misbehave.”

“Especially Akin” Nonso, another student voiced out. Mr. Toyin stopped talking; he looked at Nonso, the young boy seemed to be so scared; Nonso regretted ever letting those words leave his mouth. Everyone was quiet for they feared the maths teacher, then Mr. Toyin laughed and laughed. Only then did they consider Nonso’s jokes to be a funny one; they all began to laugh. Akin stared angrily at Nonso. “Big head” he mummured.

As for you Akin” Mr Toyin continued

You will be under my close watch; you shall always walk with me in front of other students” He said. “Please kids behave your selves, welcome to the zoo”.

They all shouted and clapped excitedly. The tour began

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This is where the snakes stay” said the safety guard who was assigned to them; he was on a green and black uniform; he also wore a pair of solid boots.

                Mad oo!!” Akin exclaimed excitedly; he had never seen such beautiful snakes in his life. He found himself moving towards the cage to see if he could touch one of the beautiful snakes. Then Mr. Toyin’s cane landed on his back; “You this boy, where are you going to?!” the maths teacher questioned. Nonso and the other students giggled from behind. The safety guard smiled; “He must be so excited sir” he said to the maths teacher.

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It was time to rest; they had two more hours before leaving the zoo. Then the devil in 13 years old Akin began to manifest.

                After the first tour, they relaxed for about thirty minutes under a tree; they bought some drinks and snacks from shops nearby. The safety guard would join them in some minutes time. Akin decided to explore his surroundings alone, though being a little bit scared; he summoned courage to do so.

                Alright kids, it’s time for the final tour” the maths teacher said; they all turned to the left direction while Akin went right. He planned on playing with the weak and hungry looking lions; there were just two of them left. Akin seemed to enjoy watching them. Not long afterwards, he arrived the cage.

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                Where is Akin??!!” Mr. Toyin asked. Everyone looked confused and alarmed. “Please where is Akin ooo?!!” Mr. Max, the second teacher shouted. They all knew that the young boy was up to another mischief. The safety guard quickly alerted other security personnels; the tour abruptly came to an end. Mr. Toyin instructed all students to go back to the bus while the search for Akin commenced.

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       The wild animals tried roaring, but they looked tired; their tired nature made him feel more confident that they wouldn’t harm him. He went closer; he touched the cage, then he rested on the wire gauze with his two hands. He beckoned on them to come closer; he brought out the android device in his pocket with his left hand; holding the gauze with the other hand. He deemed it fit to take pictures with the hungry looking lions.

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                The guards hastily searched the whole area; “Wetin dey do this small boy sef??” Akpan, the first guard asked angrily. “these type of children need spanking oo!” the second guard added.

                If na my son, I for don kill am since” Akpan said angrily.

They arrived just in time to see a school student struggling with his left hand; the young boy tried to free his index finger from the mouth of one of the hungry animals.

                Mummy oo! Daddy oo! My God!, Dear Lord!” Akin shouted; the pain was unbearable.

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That night at the hospital, Mrs. Lydia walked in angrily. “Where is that foolish boy!!” she asked a nurse angrily. “Sorry ma, we don’t treat mentally retarded patients in this hospital” The lady in white responded gently. “If I meet you there, I’ll blow your head!!” she replied harshly. “Where is Akin!!” She shouted. The startled nurse quickly ushered her to the room where he lay.

                His left wrist seemed to be tied with a bandage. She seemed not to be interested. “You’re a naughty boy, I wish the lions ate the whole fingers!!” she said. He stared innocently at the woman; the expression on his face was as if he hadn’t committed any crime before.

                “Where is my android phone!” she queried. He was silent. “Where is it?!! Or I’ll make them tie you a bandage on the other hand” she asked, raising her voice. “I didn’t come back with it, I’m sorry ma” He said, looking away.

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                A week had passed since it all happened: the excursion; the android phone; the zoo; the lions; the hospital. He was still recovering; his index finger had been badly damaged, but the pains had begun subsiding. He was surprised that none of his friends from school had come to visit him. Akin dressed up that morning,

                As he left the door that morning, “Where are you going to?” Mrs. Lydia asked him. She sat at the dining table. That was the first time she was speaking to him since the previous week; she had not spoken to him since he came back from the hospital. The previous week she had dealt him blows despite his injuries. “That’s for taking my phone without telling me!” she told him. He was really a thorn in the flesh.

To school ma” he replied in a low tune. The woman laughed and laughed. Then she finally spoke; “Chairman, please go back inside your room” she said. He stood at the spot looking confused. He hadn’t gone to school again since after the zoo incident, so why should she say that?. “Go to the centre table and pick up the gift which your school brought you” she said.

He went to the sitting room; he could only see an envelope lying on the table. He smiled; perhaps they had finally remembered him. “It must be Mr. Toyin” he thought. “He must have sent me money” he said, becoming a bit excited; he picked it up; he unsealed it.

It wasn’t Money; it was a letter; a suspension letter.

                 

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