And so it was, my fate was decided….signed, sealed and delivered! It was almost as though I was staring down the barrels of a double-barrel shotgun or pump-action, so-called in some quarters; just waiting for the trigger to go off and blow up in my face, with the Marksman and Sniper, wielding the ‘arsenal of mass destruction’; being my pesky, plenty insensitive Commandant of course! In that moment, I closed my eyes shut, a gazillion thoughts running through my mind by the milliseconds; and whilst still trying to process, make a complete sense of and more or less; wrap my fingers or head around and ’bout what was ’bout ready to go down, I figured well; it was as good a time as any for a quick dash, a trip down memory lane!
My momma’s sonorous voice echoed through my subconscious and I coulda sworn I heard her scream….’Yemi, laugh like a lady’, as she’s wont to doing; in her usual characteristic manner, as I shared one of a lotta laughs with my brothers, and their friends in our frontyard! At such times, I tend to do a double take and for a little less than two minutes, all’s but silent and peaceful! You’d be correct to say or term that split moment as ‘the calm before the storm’, cause almost immediately, my buddies and I pick up from whence we left off and launch straightway into a tailspin…. a whirlwind of mad hysterics; shattering the nascent tranquility that once was; even if only for a spell!
At this point, our collective laughter’s practically slicing through the calmness of the evening and reverberating in the distance! I mean really, laugh like a lady?! What’s that?! Never quite knew there was a certain way both of the sexes were expected and or meant to laugh! Plus, that’s quite a tacky thing, seeing as laughter for the most part is a spontaneous action; it just happens! Who plans for such and then goes on to rehearsing how it oughta be done right and perfectly in line with one’s gender?! Well, definitely not me! Really, where’s the fun and fulfillment in a planned, ‘ladylike’ laughter where I can’t just let go of my inhibitions and pretty much be myself?! Am always one for a good laugh, so; Nah! I’ll simply have to pass on that ladylike bit! Soo NOT for me!
Okay! Maybe, just maybe I oughta have listened to my momma’s admonition back then! Maybe, just maybe….again, there’s a teeny, pretty tiny bit of truth and a slight chance that mummies really DO know best! Maybe! Why does it always rain on me…Eish!
Standing there like a condemned felon ’bout to be led to the gallows, I wished I’d had more practice at being a ‘lady’ and acting like one! Were mum a witness to these whole set up, she’d definitely say ‘I did tell you so Sweetness, didn’t I?! And sure enough, I’d feel guilty for a bit and then say to her ‘It isn’t over till its over mum, watch me as I take back control and drag myself outta this ‘crisis’! Needless to say, I was not gonna just give in without putting up a fight! I mean, where does this bully get off, dictating to me what I should or should not do?! I’d be sooo damned if I allowed for him carry on in the way he did, without a care; like I had absolutely nothing to say or do ’bout his excesses!
As the time slowly ticked away, and he was getting his little glam squad ready to come work their ‘wonders’ and ‘magic’ on unwilling me, it literally quite occurred to me that I had no costumes! Bingo!!! That’s just what I need! Is this my lucky day or what?! I’ll bet the bully didn’t even stop to think ’bout those! What’s a pageant without costumes and the whole full regalia that goes into making it what it oughta?! I grinned mischievously as this thought fully registered in my mind and then I found my voice again!
‘Sir, I’d really love and consider it a great honor to represent this platoon’,I said, whilst effortlessly lying through my squeaky white teeth; but I didn’t exactly come prepared for anything, least of all a beauty pageant’! ‘You see Sir, I continued on; trying desperately hard not to give away and hide that absolute delight I was feeling at the time; at having stumbled on a winning excuse to hit the road and return back to my life as I knew it; before this whole pageant nightmare thingy reared its ugly head! ‘I don’t quite possess the full regalia I’d be needing for an event of this nature’! ‘I’m very sorry Sir’, I finished, perfectly convinced this was the big break I needed to get outta my predicament! I’d like to see him recover and come back from this shocker I sneered inwardly, I’ll bet he didn’t see that coming! Bullseye!!!
Having acted out my script so well, I’d expected to hear something along the lines of, ‘Oh, that’s true; without a costume, you can’t enter for the contest’, no hassles; you can go now’! Like duh! Wishful thinking! If there was ever a time I desperately wished to have that infamous phrase ‘Be careful what you wish for, for you just might get it’, happen to me, this was as good a time as any! But then, FAT chance! Psst!
Dude was unmoved and I wondered if he’d even heard a word of what I’d said! By the time he spoke up, I was in for a shocker of my own! He dropped the bomb on me that he’d sourced for all of the costumes I’d be needing and I needn’t bother my pretty lil sweet head ’bout a thing! All the bases were pretty much covered to the minutest detail! All I needed do was shut up, show up, go with the flow, smile and be real pretty, after going through a beauty regimen and fitting session to see which of ’em costumes was all ‘me’, as in; the ones that fitted perfectly! Huh?! Rats, what gumption!!! Oh, how very splendidly classy! Oomph!
‘There goes my gazillion pounds plan to elude and wriggle outta this bad episode, but if this Soldier man thinks he’s gotten me boxed into a corner and figured out, then he’s got something else coming’, I muttered to myself! I’ll die first before being paraded and put on exhibition like some piece of artwork or ‘artefact’ for hungry eyes to take in, ravage and make a spectacle of! It should be my call, not his or anyone else’s! Why in the name of all things that he holds sacred, can he not just get it and ‘for-GIT’ it?! Why?!
It was on to plan ‘B’ for me! ‘Sir, I’m sorry but its taboo that I wear other people’s items of clothing, its completely against my beliefs and principles, that I share those with strangers’! I was getting very flustered and frustrated at this point and I’d pretty much hoped he’d just respect my stance and let me off the hook already! ‘Its really nice that you don’t wear other people’s clothes but am also sure that it wouldn’t be taboo to have you sent to a faraway local government area lacking of basic amenities and infrastructure; for your primary assignment’, he said! And just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse off than they already were, he chipped in this…’IN A CANOE RIDE!!!’ Finishing with an air of arrogance and super-authoritative finality! The Sonofagun!
Can he REALLY do that and am I also in the form and mood to find out?! I asked myself as I pondered over my next course of action! Does he wield that much of an influence and power to make good on his threat of having me bundled off to the middle of nowhere or shall I just call his bluff, walk and damn the consequences?! This guy’s dreadful, he sure knows how to play dirty and had pretty much planned everything down to the last detail! Plus, he’d quite anticipated I’d put up some kinda fight and resistance in doing his bidding! What an Eel! Slippery and oh so sly! So, am left in the dumps and at a crossroad…..to be or not to be?!
I thought, a few hours in Hell or a coupla months in HELL?…. suddenly realizing all of my plans had finally hit a dead-end! It really was a no-brainer as I resignedly but begrudgingly accepted to represent my platoon on the big night, which in retrospect was just a very few number of hours, ticking real slowly but steadily away, having settled for the lesser of two evils! ‘Its all for the best’, I comforted myself; better the pageant than some remote far off place off of the world map, where I’d be left hanging out on the rails to dry! The horror!
That was how my little diatribe and debacle with ‘Major Pain’ played out! The next coupla hours was gonna be a real trying one for me, as my whole world was sent plunging on a downward spiral, spinning right outta control! Plus, my perception ’bout pageants and those who are brave enough to muscle up the courage and guts to participate in ’em, was changed forever! Oh yeah!
Images courtesy of flickr.com