Over here we have the rifle section so everyone move over, please.”
She handed the shotgun back to the janitor, then turned and walked on to the next showcase. The rest of them followed.
The procession went past another uniformed janitor, this one an older woman with a scarf covering her hair, mopping the tiled floor behind a yellow “Slippery When Wet” sign. Segun greeted the sour-faced woman and got a grunt in reply.
This showcase was bigger, much bigger than the last one, about three to four times as wide and still identical in height.
“All the ones we saw before were shotguns. These ones are called rifles. And just so you know, all rifles in this section are military grade. First is the AK-47 assault rifle. I’m sure many of you have seen this one before.” They nodded. Many of them had, in the hands of policemen, though none that looked brand-new, like this one. “Its rounds measure 7.62X39mm and has very rapid fire capability.”
She spent the next twenty minutes showing them different kinds of rifles in all shapes and sizes, with names Chuks— and he was sure none of the others as well —had never heard.
“Finally, we have this,” she said when they had already walked the whole length of the showcase. “This one is called BU-43, short for Bio Universal. It gets its name from something called a Bio-Aim functionality.”
“What does “Bio-Aim” mean?” a female voice asked.
It was a young lady in the middle of the group who had asked the question, a girl who looked like she was white, but with skin that told otherwise. Her skin was the colour of milk— powdered milk, and not the cream colour of liquid milk —borderline white, just not quite white. Half-caste, obviously. Chuks could tell the two apart just fine.
Even though they had been told they could ask questions, no one had. For that matter, no one had even said anything, apart from Keziah at the front when she said her name, so many eyes turned to look at her. Just to see who had spoken, before everyone else turned to the teacher to hear the answer to the question.
But for his friend Segun, it was a different story.
Her voice had shaken him out of his attention to the teacher, as if maybe he had never heard anything quite like it. But he had, in fact. The girl was either British or at least half British, because she spoke English with an accent that was heavier than either Chuks’ or his friend’s, and Segun had more of the accent than he did. Everyone at school had spoken the same way, but here, with everyone and their Nigerian English, it made her stand out, made her look more posh.
She had jet-black hair that made her look almost Latin American, except that it had the shine of British black, and the way she packed into a ponytail, it reached down nearly to her waist. And the way it swished from side to side as she moved her head, Segun seemed entranced. He couldn’t seem to take his eyes off it.
“Good question,” Maryanne said, nodding her head. “Shows that you pay attention. Well, ‘Bio-Aim’ refers to the ability of a fully automatic rifle to select targets completely on its own.”
Many of them “ooh”ed and “aah”ed at that. Mostly the girls in the group. Chukwudi thought it sounded impressive, too, if it didn’t also sound like this teacher of theirs was feeding them a very unconvincing lie.
“Very cool, right? By the way, what’s your name?” she asked.
“Okay, Belinda, there are also sniper rifles which support the Bio-Aim functionality, which you’ll see over there at the next showcase.”
The big showcase was the last on their left, and as the teacher walked across to the ones on the other side, the rest of them moved along with her. “These ones are. . .”
Chuks looked at the hourglass figure that girl, Belinda, had and chuckled. He leaned close to Segun to whisper into his ear.
“You get longthroat o, Segun. See the kind packaged girl you. . . ” That was as far as he got before he realized he was talking to ordinary air. He looked from his right where Segun had been to his left, to see if maybe Segun had moved. But the only person there was a rather fat guy who had been on his left all along. He looked all around the group, wondering where his friend had gone, and then looked back.
That was where he saw his moron of a best friend standing and gaping after Belinda like someone who had lost control of his mouth.
Jesus, which kind idiot be this?
Chukwudi looked around, first thing, to see if anyone had seen him. No one had. He turned and hurried back to where his friend still stood. The guy was so lost in his drooling, he didn’t even see him come. Chuks set him right with a tap on the back of the head.
Segun seemed to come to at that, and he looked in confusion at the group across the hall, then at him.
“What are we doing here, Chuks, look at everybody at. . . I was just thinking about. . . ” He finally understood, and shame and embarassment seemed to ooze off him. “Are you telling me I was just standing here and. . . ”
But Chuks was already walking across to join the rest. He
didn’t have time for his friend’s nonsense. It didn’t seem anybody had noticed they were gone, which was good. He honestly couldn’t believe how stupid Segun could be.
Speaking of Segun, his friend hurried to catch up with him.
“Tell me, bros. Shey na learn you come learn abi na woman you come look?” he asked in annoyance. With his voice low, of course. Everybody didn’t need to know about this disgrace.
“I’m sorry. Jesus, I didn’t even know I was— ”
“Just no come disgrace person for here, abeg,” he said as they rejoined the rest.
He could only hope being classmates with this Belinda girl didn’t mean there would be more of this to come.