Thursday 19 August 2021

RSS Mischief I - Yikes! A snake

Idle hands and fiery minds

I had a box of matches, and I was ready for mischief in one of those sinister acts of naughtiness invisibly perpetrated out of boredom and a sense of adventure in secondary school. I went to Remo Secondary School (RSS), Sagamu, Ogun State, the Class of 1981.

Much as I do not retain enduring friendships or associations with alumni from my secondary school, it does not suggest that my time there was not memorable. We were up to a lot of stuff, some probably unprintable because that could span the spectrum of the dastardly to just downright criminal. The tall prepubescent innocent-looking boy with a funny accent cannot be responsible for many things and there were things we did not do.

The long bamboo grasses

The annual inter-house sports day had us combing the dense jungle around the school for thick bamboo grass shoots like trunks and palm fronds to build the schoolhouse gazebos at the back of the sports field, that was part of the competition along with the field and track games for which in total points my schoolhouse, Adedoyin came last for 3 years.

Not far from my dormitory was a large bamboo grass bush that rarely yielded much but had grown from the cutting and extraction of bamboo stalks over the years. That we were rarely fearful of the possibility of dangerous elapine species lurking in bushes was probably one of innocence rather than bravery or daring.

Light it up and walk by

The grass beckoning to an arsonist’s urge in me was like tinder begging for the role of cinder and irresistibly, a lit match flew out of my hand to the inflammable grass, starting with a smouldering without rising into a conflagration, as I walked by my deed, it appeared it was going to be a slow burn. This was sometime around 5:00 PM.

After lights out, there was some commotion, someone had stepped out from the dormitory hall probably to take a leak and saw a snake, he raised alarm and a tumult resulted, sticks and clubs to hand they chased after the homeless reptile and send it to snake heaven. The principal, Mrs Adebambo, unaware of what caused the fracas came out of her home and nabbed some of the boys with the view to suspending them the next day.

Preserved from punishment

I was not part of the melee, how could any of that have been as a result of what I had done earlier even as it did occur to me that it might have been my deft handiwork?

The morning came and as the principal was about to unleash her fury, she was presented with yellowish-green cobra laid out in front of the staffroom. That was the end of her intentions; the snake was picked up by our motorbike riding Irish biology teacher and preserved in a large bottle of formaldehyde as an object of study, interest, and fascination.

Now, I dread the thought of what could have been if that snake had bitten anyone and at the same time one had indirectly acquired a biological objet d’art for the school.

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