The Clarion Call (Episode 9)

‘Well, I’m the second child in a family of four, we are from Ogun State though we reside in Ibadan. I schooled at Covenant University, a graduate of Economics.’ She shrugged, ‘that’s about it I guess.’

‘Oh come on,’ Bade cajoled, ‘I could get all that from looking at your Facebook page. Tell me something a bit more personal, what are your likes and dislikes, hobbies? That sort of thing. That’s what makes you who you are, not just where you are from.’

She laughed. ‘Okay, fine, I like honesty and obviously I dislike deceit. My hobbies are cooking, reading and dancing. Your turn.’ She concluded.

‘Okay, I’m the first born, family of three, from Oyo state. I schooled at UI, a graduate of Business Administration. I like funny people, I dislike dishonesty, which is just another way of saying deceit, and my hobbies include watching and playing football, both in real life and in video games, I also like Chess.’

You know, I’ve heard all the stories about Covenant, you guys must have lived a boring life.’ Bade continued, changing the topic.

‘Well, I beg to differ. We had a lot of fun in my school.’ Lola replied, feigning indignation.

‘I’m willing to bet you didn’t. Did you guys ever protest? Go on a riot? Make fun of your lecturers?’ Bade asked.
‘Of course not, why would any normal student do such a thing?’

Bade laughed. ‘That’s exactly what I’m saying. What was normal for other students wasn’t normal for you. Okay, you know what, there’s a simple way to resolve this. Tell me about some of your experiences in school. The only criterion is that they must be truly outrageous.’

Lola looked stumped for a moment, as her mind cast around looking for a way to save herself. ‘Well, there was one time when a big snake got into one of our hostels. Made all the girls run out screaming, some were leaping from bunk to bunk before they got to the door.’ She huffed.

‘That’s it?’ Bade asked with his own attempt at righteous indignation. ‘That’s all you got? I once saw a student catch a snake in our hostel and strangle it with his bare hands.’ Bade retorted.

‘Well, I’m sure if I really think about it, I’ll remember something that can top that.’ She said, pretending to be hurt.

‘Yes, do that, and while you are thinking about that, think of something that would top my experience of seeing a naked student walk from the male hostel to the female hostel on a dare. I bet if someone had done that in your school, he would have been expelled.’
Lola looked shocked. ‘Of course he would have. And you call this normal behaviour?’ she asked.

‘Of course, that was the last opportunity we had to do crazy and outrageous things, living life a little. From now on, our lives are going to be quite dull.’ Bade laughed as he remembered something else.

‘And, there was this one time, when my BUS 402 lecturer literally had to run out of the class to use the toilet because he had over eaten at lunch. I mean he literally ran, his heels almost touching the back of his head, and some of us started placing bets as to whether he would make it in time. See if you can beat that.’ Bade concluded.

Lola burst into laughter, and he smiled along with her. When she calmed down, she shook her head,
‘Surely, that’s an exaggeration.’ She said, still chuckling.

‘I swear that all I’ve said is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.’ This got her laughing again.
After a few moments, she stopped as something occurred to her. ‘So, tell me then, Bade, what crazy and outrageous thing did you do personally?’

‘Ah, was afraid you’ll go there. Trust me, you don’t want to know.’
‘No really,’ she said, adjusting her body sideways so that she was facing him fully, ‘I want to know.’

‘Bade scratched his head, ‘Ermm, I hate to disappoint you, but I wasn’t really all that wild and outrageous myself. I was more of a studious fellow.’
‘Haha, I knew it. You are all talk. And you were making fun of my school.’ She said with a triumphant grin on her face.

‘I accept, I’m a hypocrite,’ Bade said, bowing in defeat, ‘though it was nice to hear you laugh.’
‘Thank you, I enjoyed it.’

They spent the rest of the journey talking about nothing in particular while the train sped on its way, the scenery flashing past them without their knowledge, and all too soon, they reached their destination.

By the time the train stopped, Bade had already pulled down his bag and was waiting by the door with Lola. They both got down and walked further down a bit from the train.

There was no sign of the devastation that was rocking the state capital at the station. Young hawkers still carried their wears around looking for buyers. The other occupants of the train had also alighted and were looking for further transportation to complete their different journeys. The sun beat down on their exposed heads as the station had no covering, and there was a dryness in the air that gave the appearance of a desert, but despite this, looking around, Bade could have been convinced that he was still in the South West except for the fact that most of the local men he saw wore robes and were darker skinned, while the women wore purdah complete with the masks, but all spoke in a language that he didn’t understand. There was the usual hustle and bustle of a state capital, vehicles speeding past with horns blaring, a flashing sign on a bill board, the whistling of an old man riding by on a bicycle. He espied a car park with green taxis and nudging Lola, he walked towards it. They found a driver who spoke pidgin and agreed a price with him to take them to the NYSC camp.

Thirty minutes later they were dropped at their destination, facing the sign, ‘Welcome to the Camp of the National Youth Service Corps, Kano.’

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