Few days to the concert, there were talks on campus about certain student disciplinary cases. Toks heard from a course mate that Beatrice was spotted in the ‘questioning room’ at the administrative building. She told Wande but Wande dismissed it as a coincidence or mere misunderstanding.
“Perhaps she was at the administrative building on another business. We all go there from time to time for one thing or the other,” Wande said.
“My course mate said she saw her in that particular room.”
“And what was your course mate doing there? Imagine the pot calling the kettle black.”
“She was called in as a witness. She was just there to testify,” Toks protested.
“Perhaps Beatrice was also there to testify, don’t you think?”
Toks scoffed but allowed the matter be since she had no concrete evidence. She silently promised to make it her business to find out.
On the eve of the concert, Beatrice failed to show up at the last rehearsal. When Wande announced that Beatrice had requested to be excused for some cogent reason, Toks and Sope shared mischievous glances, while others looked on without interest.
The Shine Jesus Shine fellowship venue was bustling with activities. Concert would begin in less than two hours. People thronged in from all over the campus and off campus too. The choristers were backstage, putting last touches to their preparation. Beatrice, who had been conspicuously absent, suddenly scurried in.
“Sorry I’m late, guys. I was held back by circumstances beyond control.” She spoke rapidly as she adjusted her uniform.
“I asked to be excused,” Beatrice clarified.
Nonso spoke. “But…”
“Yes, she informed me,” Wande cut in. “Now that we are all here, can we say a quick prayer before we go in?”
“Actually, before we pray,” Sope interjected, “there’s an issue we need to sort out o. In short, we can’t pray yet.”
“The prayer won’t even be answered if we don’t take out the trash,” Toks said sarcastically.
“Sope, this isn’t the time, I beg you.” Wande pleaded with her eyes.
“Why not?” It was Janet’s turn to speak. “Why should we sweep this under the carpet?”
“People,” Beatrice’s voice cut sharply, “we have no time for frivolity. Whatever this is can be discussed later. Right now, the concert comes first, so let’s pray and get on with it.”
“Say what?” Chinwe asked, disgustingly.
“Abeg, abeg, abeg,” Toks chimed, “look who is talking?”
A long hiss echoed in the room.
“Please, guys,” Wande’s voice strained, “the concert is more important at the moment. Let’s not do this now.”
The choristers started speaking all at once, insisting on discussing the issue of concern. No one listened to Wande’s plea to hold off till concert was over.
Aishat came in to round them up. The concert was about to start and the choir had to be seated. She found them in a state of commotion.
“What’s going on here?” Aishat queried.
“Good thing you are here.” Beatrice’s eyes sparked. She really didn’t have time for such outrageous behaviour. “Please speak some sense into these people. No one has time for all these. If we are not praying, then I am going to take my seat.”
“Just shut up! Hypocrite.”
“Where do you think you are going?”
Toks and Sope addressed Beatrice simultaneously.
“What do you hope to gain by this?” Wande rolled her eyes at them. “You’d rather have the concert disrupted?” She shook her head in disapproval.
Toks and Sope were not impressed.
“Puleeeez, let’s not buy any sentiments here biko,” Toks was adamant. “If this happened to another member of the choir, we know what would have transpired by now.”
Wande, Aishat, and Beatrice drew blank stares.
“Really! Y’all want to pretend like nothing happened?” John snickered. “Let’s call a spade a spade joor.”
“What spade?” Beatrice asked.
“The spade that there’s a disciplinary case of examination malpractice against you,” Sope spat.
“And you’re guilty as charged,” Toks added.
“Oh, you think we are not aware?” Tricia’s voice was laced with sarcasm. “I can’t believe that they are actually trying to hush this, chai!”
“It’s not like that, please. No one is hushing anything. We were going to deal with it, but after the concert.”
“No way!” They all echoed at once.
“Beatrice can’t sing with us. As of this moment, she’s on suspension till further notice,” Toks asserted.
“That’s not for you to decide, Toks.” Wande was clearly exasperated. She didn’t expect this gang-up from the choristers. They were supposed to be one another’s keeper, not ganging up against one another…especially not now. “It’s my call and I am not making it until the concert is over.”
Toks broke the silence. “That’s fine. Go on with your concert then. I am out of here.” She went in search of her bag.
“Me too. Enjoy your damned concert but count me out,” Sope spoke angrily.
John followed suit. “I see that some people are above the law…iiissh!”
One after the other, members of the Shine Jesus Shine fellowship opted out. It was either Beatrice got suspended right there or the concert could go to flames.
Wande and the excos had to come to a quick decision. The situation was clearly out of hand and it was obvious that Beatrice had to be excused or the concert would simply not hold anymore. They were not thrilled with the choristers’ gang-up but they understood where the anger they expressed came from. Beatrice had constantly dealt with them highhandedly – always quick to hack them at any given opportunity. Now, they were bent on giving her a taste of her own medicine.
“In everything, treat others as you would want them to treat you, for this fulfills the law and the prophets.” Matthew 7:12 (NET)
“Treat others in the same way that you would want them to treat you.” Luke 6:31 (NET)
© 2016 AyotundeElegbeleye
Jesus is LORD!