Later, Wakayima was waiting for Ngiri outside the science room.
“Ngiri, you and me have to talk. What is this I hear about you still bullying my friends? I thought we ended that nonsense.”
Ngiri was not a very talkative person. He tended to speak in short sentences and with few words. Like, “What?”
“Last time you were taking everybody’s lunch and we stopped that. Now I hear you have moved on to pencils. Ngiri, I don’t mind telling you that you are about to make me quite mad.”
“I said, you will make me quite annoyed and I will have to come in to stop your behaviour.”
Ngiri looked at Wakayima. Wakayima was at least a foot and a half smaller than Ngiri. Not to mention the fact that Ngiri had broad shoulders and muscly arms. Ngiri asked, “You? How?”
“You want to find out how?” Wakayima looked up at him with the same expression. You would have trouble guessing who was threatening whom.
“What will you do?” growled Ngiri.
“Touch Roger’s pencils again and find out,” said Wakayima. Then he turned round and walked off.
Next day in art class, Wakayima walked past Ngiri’s seat. He could see Roger sitting ahead. Roger had actually tried to sit as far away from Ngiri as possible, but it would not help. You know how bullies are. If they want to find you, they will look for you no matter where you are.
But the problem is that Wakayima knew how bullies worked so he was able to make sure he was keeping an eye on Ngiri.
“You!” he hissed at Ngiri. “You are going to steal my guy’s sharp pencils again, eh?”
“You can’t stop me,” growled Ngiri.
“You like sharp pencils, eh? You like sharp things eh? Well, today you will learn and see just how much you like sharpness,” said Wakayima.
Ngiri looked across the class at Roger and as soon as he had seen that Roger had sharpened his pencils, Ngiri got up and strode over.
“Hey, dude! Come on!” complained Roger. “At least leave me with one pencil. You can’t take all of them!”
Roger looked helplessly at Wakayima while Ngiri snapped up all the sharpened pencils and began to march off. Wakayima just grinned and winked.
Ngiri sat down at his table and got his art book out.
“Today we are going to draw what is called a still life. A still life, okay? A still what? A still life, okay,” Teacher Jolly, the P.E. teacher, who was also the Art teacher, began. “Now a still life is what? A still life is a form of art. A form of what? A form of art. Who can tell me what a still life is a form of?”
Wakayima wanted to put up his hand and say, “You can tell us. In fact you already have,” but the last time he said that sort of thing he got into trouble because the teacher thought he was being cheeky. He ended up sweeping the corridors for three days muttering, “Humans are crazy” under his breath.
Teacher Jolly walked into the centre of the class with a bag and began to pull things out of it. There was a mango, a coffee mug, a leaf, a gourd, and a big hardcover book.
She then arranged them around each other in a neat circle.
She stepped back.
All this time Wakayima was thinking, “What is going on? Who is going to eat the mango? Can I eat the mango? That looks like a juicy mango. And what are those other things for? Who cares? That mango has to be mine.”
Finally Teacher Jolly finished arranging the items and said, “This is the subject of the what? Of the art today. Today we are going to draw still life of the subject. Still life of the what? Of the subject. And the subject is what? This is the subject. We are going to draw the subject. Everybody prepare to draw the subject. To draw the what?”
She actually kept quiet there for a second and it took another second for the class to understand that she was actually asking them to answer this time. Eventually they answered, “The subject!”
Except for Wakayima who answered, “The mango and stuff.”
Then Wakayima walked over to Roger and handed him a couple of pencils.
“Thanks Wakzi, you are the best,” Roger began to say, but Wakayima stopped him.
“That’s just a loan. I want them back when Ngiri returns yours.”
“But he never returns mine…” Roger started to say, when Wakayima pointed.
There was Ngiri looking at the still life subject. He squinted his little eyes and pursed his mouth as if he was concentrating. Which was honestly a waste of time because everyone knew that Ngiri could not draw. Everything he drew came out looking exactly the same: like two giant eggs on a broken table. But he was concentrating as if he wanted to draw the mango, the mug and the leaf exactly.
When he finished looking, he squinted again, then he picked up one pencil and prepared to start.
“Hey, Ngiri!” called Wakayima.
“What?” snapped Ngiri.
“Be careful with sharp things. Like that pencil,” Wakayima said.
Ngiri ignored him and began to draw.
No sooner had he drawn one line than he suddenly winced in pain. He drew another and winced again. He tried to draw a third line and this time the pain seemed to increase.
He put that pencil down and picked another one of Roger’s pencils. He began to draw the book. But just after one line, he went, “Ouch!” He tried another line and again, “Wweewwch!”
Roger was seeing all this and looked at Wakayima. Wakayima was trying not to laugh out loud but it wasn’t working well. He was making sounds like, “Pffrrrrrssssttttheheheheheh” over and over again into his uniform sleeve.
Every time Ngiri would touch a pencil he would end up wincing and squincing and going “Ouch!” And “Eeuch!” And even once he went “Ngweeech!”
Roger looked at his friend, “Wakzi, what is going on?”
“Psfffffsssthhehehehe! He wanted sharp things, he got sharp things!” Wakayima replied, “Some of the sharpest things in school! Prrrrrssffffgtttheheheheheheh!”
When Ngiri finally realised that it was when he touched a pencil that he felt pain, he put the pencils down and leaned back, looking confused.
“Hey, Ngiri,” called Wakayima, “Maybe if the sharp pencils keep hurting you, you should try your own lousy, blunt, unsharpened pencils, the ones you are always chewing on instead of drawing with. Maybe try that.”
Ngiri did not take that as a taunt, and instead thought it was actual advice. He put away Roger’s pencils and grabbed his chewed up old pencil and began to draw with it. He paused for a moment after drawing one line as if waiting to see if it would hurt. Nope. No pain. He drew another. Nope. No pain. So Ngiri happily drew away for the rest of the class. It still looked like two giant eggs on a broken table at the end, but at least he had finished the assignment without any more pain. When class was dismissed he ambled over to Roger and tossed his pencils back. “Your pencils, suck!” he growled. “I don’t want them anymore.” And, being a bully of few words, he strolled away.
Roger looked at Wakayima and had to ask, “You had something to do with this. How did you do it?”
“Why would you think I had anything to do with it? I was right here with you the whole time! Huma… I mean, you are crazy!” Wakayima replied.
But of course, it had all been Wakayima’s plan. Later that day, after school, he was sitting by the school wall eating part of the mango. Yes, he had got the mango. But he was only eating part of it, because he had to share it with his friends, the ants, aka the Nsanafu Squad.
“You guys did a great job. You really put that bully in his place,” said Wakayima.
“It was fun at first, but after a while I got tired of biting him every time he touched a pencil,” said one ant.
“But it worked. It made him think that every time he touched a sharp pencil he would feel a sting of pain,” said Wakayima.
“Yeah,” said the ant, “But his skin is kind of rough.”
“True,” said another, snipping at a bit of mango with its fangs (which are called “mandibles”, by the way, in case you were acting like Oblong during Biology class) “And when you bite him, you taste a bit of him and he doesn’t taste nice.”
“Usually humans taste okay. Oblong tasted fine when we bit him, but, you know what, dude, this one, this one tasted different,” said a third ant.
Wakayima asked, “Wait. You called him ‘dude’. What happened to ‘captain’ and ‘sergeant’ and ‘corporal’?”
“That is only for when we are in a line looking for food,” said the first ant. “But now, as you can see we are not in line. We are in a crowd swarming all over the mango. The food has found us so we don’t need any ranks.”
“So, when are you getting us more mangoes?” asked another ant. “Me, I don’t mind biting Ngiri, even though he tastes kind of leathery, as long as we get to enjoy mangoes after that.”
“I don’t think there will be another time. I don’t think Ngiri will be back bothering Roger,” Wakayima said.
“What do you mean he won’t be back? If he won’t be back, we have a problem,” said one ant.
“What problem,” one of the other ants asked.
“Has anyone seen Nakaluma?” asked the ant.
“Come to think of it, where is Nakaluma?”
“Yeah. I haven’t seen her since we left the class. I saw her hanging on Ngiri’s school tie. If Ngiri doesn’t come back with that tie, I don’t know how Nakaluma will get back here,” said the ant.
“Relax guys,” said Wakayima, munching a bit more mango. “There is school every day, so tomorrow, I am sure your friend will be back. In fact, I think we should save some of the mango for him or her. Is Nakaluma a he or a her?”
“We are worker ants so we are all female,” said the ant. “And Nakaluma had better get back here tomorrow because she has some explaining to do.”
When the next day arrived, and Nakaluma returned, she had a whole lot of explaining to do. A loong and shocking story. But I won’t tell you that story today, let’s wait until next time.
And by a shocking story, believe me, I mean a shocking story. You don’t want to miss this next one!
The adventures of the cheeky, cunning hare that sneaks into the human school continue. Thanks to the Kuonyesha Art Fund for supporting this! Visit bazanye.com/wakayima for all episodes. Stay tuned!