Mr. Decker, our Maths teacher came to my class that morning, wearing his oversized black trouser and blue faded shirt. On his right hand was his long cane, which he often puts inside a bucket of water and well dried in the sun. It was a Monday morning and the first period of our class. No one dare absent himself from his class except he has a cogent reason. He dropped his old Maths text book on our class teacher's table, brought out a chalk from his right trouser pocket and scribbled the topic on the black board.
“Today we will be discussing Circle Geometry.” He gave a whimsical laughter. He had earlier given it as an assignment. Though, I had done my research but still don’t understand it. Maths has not always been my friend. He drew an object on the board and pointed at Ovie, my sit partner to solve it. At first, my mind exploded because he pointed towards my direction. I could see the rivulet of sweat drifting through his nerves. I wanted to laugh knowing fully I was bad at Maths but he was worse. He knew what he was in for. If he fails it, he would be flogged and must wash the toilets for two days. As he handled, the chalk, his hands wriggled and his heart pounded. He watched calmly. After fumbling with the chalk, he told him to stand on his left. It was a popular ritual for someone who fails his test.
Everyone was afraid. Then, he walked a bit between the classes.
“You!” He pointed at me.
There was no way I could ever solve such complex figure. I began seeking for inspiration. However, I stood boldly and pretended I could solve it. Deeply, I had no idea. I took the chalk and began solving for my life.
“Young man, what do I call this equation?"
I had no idea whatever.
“Both of you get prepared to wash the toilets. I trust your pals are waiting. “He laughed risibly.
By our pals, he meant the poop from students and staff. So, he kissed his cane and gave us six strokes each on our buttocks. I could barely sit. It was like my buttocks were embalmed with hot iron.
During closing hours, we began washing the toilets. The smell alone could resurrect the dead as swarms of crickets danced on our heads. We were ridiculed by our class mates to wash them well. Suddenly, we stopped. My friend came up with the idea to deal with Mr. Decker. He said when everyone is asleep, we should puncture his car tyres. I wondered how he came up with such ingenious idea. I agreed. After washing, we returned to the dormitory. That night our house master came to check on everyone. He ordered that the lights should be off. We allowed everyone to sleep off before secretly jumping out of the window. It was an adventurous plot, but, we knew what we were in for. We wanted to teach him the lesson of his life. We watched carefully, ensured no one was looking before puncturing the four tyres. Thereafter, we crept back to the dormitory. The snoorings from my room mates was deafening.
The next morning, Mr. Decker was fuming as he spoke. He told us that someone flattened his car tyres last night and vowed to fish out the culprits. We were laughing in our minds, a kind of wicked laughter. There was no way he could ever know because we left no traces whatsoever. In the afternoon, he called a mechanic to fix it.
Nevertheless, he went from class to class trying to find the culprit. Some suspects were caught and punished. Though, we weren’t done. That same night, we sneaked again. This time adding salt into his engines. The next morning, we saw him fumbling with it. He complained bitterly and promised to beat every student. He went from class to class flogging everyone. But knowing his plots earlier, I and my friend pretended to be ill. We went to the sick bay. After he had finished flogging, we returned to the class. Everyone was lamenting and prayed the culprits should be apprehended.
We had just finished our first term exam when our principal addressed us. But the worse news we heard was Mr. Decker will no longer be with us. It came like a ball of fire. In fact, no one expected it. There were uproar and cries. Even though, we knew him as being strict, he was equally special and always make his class interesting. The principal admonished him to say his farewell. He came up the podium almost lost of words. I had never seen him in such condolence mood. He struggled to say some few words with tears. We were touched. There was no denying he was our best teacher. After the assembly, we all marched to his office to show our gratitude. It was an ambience of memory, love and togetherness. I wanted to confess our crimes to him but I felt there are some secrets one would die with in life. But I cherished my moments with him and his good advices but I knew someday, our paths will cross again.