“Mummy, I’m hungry” Jennifer said as she dropped her school bag on the cushion, dumping herself on it.
“See this girl oh, my friend, take your bag to the room and remove that smelling uniform of yours before I slap you. By the way, who is your house help, you don’t know the way to the kitchen? You are here opening your big mouth to say ‘Mummy I’m hungry’. You didn’t even greet me sef.”
Jennifer proceeded to her room to change into her ‘house clothes’ as her mother continued her rant,” Children of nowadays don’t even have respect again. In my days, I’ll come back from school, fetch firewood, and still cook food. These ones will expect you to cook, serve them, and feed them again. Chei, Jehovah…”
“Mummy, did I say you should feed me? I was only saying I was hungry.” Jennifer replied from her room.
“You saying you’re hungry means what eh? No tell me, abi I don’t understand English again. See, you are a girl, let me tell you. I don’t want to hear you crying ‘I’m hungry’ in this house again; If you’re hungry, go to the kitchen and fix yourself up. The only person permitted to cry about hunger in this house is my husband. As for you and your brother, I don’t have your time.”
Jennifer stormed out of the room to the kitchen murmuring through the living room in anger. Her mother who was polishing her nails replied,
“If you like swell up and be doing ‘hum hum hum’, na you go burst. I no even get your time.”
As Jennifer opened the pot, she was greeted with a very sweet-smelling savour “Rice and beans!” She exclaimed.
“With plenty meat on top. If I chop only one, make I know wetin cause am.”
With that statement, she picked two large pieces of meat and used them as the foundation of the food, then she used the rice and beans as the building, and picked one last meat to be the roof of the food. She walked majestically to her room to eat her food.
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Her brother, Tony returned and followed Jennifer’s ways even though she had not mentioned it to him; and even after they had eaten their unlawful portions, they still passed by the kitchen many times, picking a piece of meat each time they passed.
That night, as their father returned, Mama Jenny went to dish out her husband’s food and she received a rude shock; staring at her were two, miserable pieces of meat. She almost screamed out her children’s names, but then she decided against it, smiling to herself as she devised a better way of disciplining them.
That night, with the help of her husband, she woke them up with a very terrible trashing. She took her ‘six-mouth koboko’ and whipped them seriously, all the while saying “I refuse to raise thieves in my home.”
When they woke up the next morning, they were in severe pain and with swollen eyes due to beating and weeping.
They refused to go to school but one stern look from their father said everything; So they chinned up, hid sunshades in their bags and wore them as they went out of their gate. Jennifer arrived her school and the first teacher she encountered was Mr. No-Nonsense.
Immediately, he seized her shades and gave her some lashes for putting on contraband. Tony also encountered the uniform prefect and I know you can guess the outcome.
Such a sad day it was for them “Because of ordinary meat,” Jennifer said to herself. During recess, Jennifer sat with her squad and as they threw questions at her regarding her eyes, she asked them a question that had been on her mind throughout the day, “Can you boldly say you have not stolen before?”
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