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DEFENCE : A Short Story - Literature - Nairaland

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DEFENCE : A Short Story by ajil(m): 8:09pm On Dec 10, 2017
DEFENCE

Tade nearly fell at the entrance, his heartbeat increased multiple folds his lungs were about popping out of his mouth and his cheeks kept on fighting a hard battle to keep his tongue and teeth in check. His nerves suddenly became numb unwanted chill ran through his being and at the same time, sweat cascaded the gully of his cheeks.

They were to his left as he entered the office, all seated; the sharp-beak birds -- males and females -- more females than males he thought but he was too preoccupied with the presentation to make proper mental note. The seating arrangement, he presumed, was from the biggest combed rooster to the smallest beaked chick. This too though he was not completely sure but he noticed the biggest rooster for sure.

The biggest rooster, he claimed the biggest seat at the other end of a long table, balanced himself delicately in it and pushed up his shoulders. Air of importance around him and flanked by his leautenants.

Tade's forehead was now a mess of sweat his armpits were dams of damp and his back had about it wetness that he would have loved to do without. He stole a quick glance sideway -- leftward -- and saw one small-beaked chick at the end of a flank her beak, and other's beaks alike no doubt, were freshly honed; ready to tear into fleshes and smeared blood.
But this was not what frightened, unsettled, and unnerved him; he was used to there vices, he was used to hard stone-cold faces, sharp thorn-like tongues, and tell-tale, tale-telling that could render hearts into shreds.

He had just in a wag of tongue been taken to Cornell and back, he had worked, with no small imagination, with an autoclave as giant as the Iroko tree. Tade was a lone cob surrounded by ten's of beaks and in all sincerity, he had had thick skin to their vicious jabs his eyes had been accustomed to the blinding intensity of these suns.

No! They did not frighten him. What frightened him was the woman's face and her welcoming, moon-like radiant smile as she flashed benevolence -- egg-shell white teeth -- upon his being. He did not expect it. He was so much accustomed to being frowned at, shouted at, and manipulated around like a pawn that anything short of these ill-treatments elicited suspicion from him.

She did not desist. He was in for it, seemed she noticed his fright and was intent on frightening him the more for the more frightened Tade was, the more deepening the woman's smile.

He held on tightly to his report to keep his hands from falling off his shoulders.
''Have your seat'', the woman's voice lacked all venom, it was too soft on Tade's skin that it again set his nerves racing. He was used to nerve wrecking thunderous barks.
He felt the seat shaking under his weight.

Acclamatization, few words from the woman and Tade started mellowing down, it seemed she was real afterall! The seat had since stayed put. Oh then! It dawned on him, it was not the seat that had been shaking it was his shivering self that had been shaking the seat. For the first time in about seven minutes Tade felt the cool gentle breeze issuing from the air conditioner caressing his skin.

He felt at home! Was this not how lecturers should be dealing with the students? With the right set-up put in place, there exists a conducive ambience creating the right state of mind needed for studying.

Soon Tade's tongue was setting ossicles oscillating he almost did not believe himself as he all of a sudden turned professional orator, he just went on and on talking about amylase and all as the woman's --the external supervisor -- smile beckoned him on.

A kid who had not before enjoyed the magnificent sight of another man's farm would think his father the best father ever; better farmers resided elsewhere. 'Teacher pass teacher', that is.

One need be sorry for the sharp-beaks now, they were completely sidelined and were afforded no say in the issue at all. Tade developed the right mood to steal another quick glance at them and what he saw held his attention far more than what quick glance should take.

The sharp-beaks, their faces were taut; they all frowned and held him in a long hostile look, their sharpened beaks would be wasted afterall! Little shrieks arose from within the middle of the ranks but as long as his external supervisor did not mind he too would not mind.

Back to the woman, the external supervisor, a mother to the core, Tade thought; she caught him 'glanced' at them but she did not mind. She threw few questions at him about his work and he answered the questions confidently.

When at last she dismissed Tade he was reluctant to leave, he thought it would last forever but then, other students needed to defend also so he rose and, now, he had the audacity to beam a smile upon the countenances of the sharp-beaks.

He knew their gamma sight were tearing at him from behind as he majestically strolled towards the exit but did he care?

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