Did I tell you how I caught the food thief?
We almost call 911 that day!
Who is eating my food in this house, I lamented to my sister Amope.
Amope, see now, I left twelve strawberries an hour ago when I went for mass, now, it is remaining ten.
How you go dey count strawberries? Which kind juju work be that?
Wor, if you like no believe me, I know wetin I dey talk, person dey chop my food for this house.
Amope exclaimed; na food thief me I no like o. Toyo, you see ehn, if this one na original food thief, na food we go take catch am. Na wetin you go do be this! She hatched a plan.
First , which food have you given them that they like? I said fish peppersoup. She now said okay, so it is the fish pepper soup you will serve them on Easter Sunday. To make it very delicious, put plenty of crayfish and that uziza seed and leaves combo that mummy blended for you…don’t put pepper o; the soup go scent dieeee. Put better shrimps, and let them dine like in a banquette, then serve all of them. The longer throat person will find it irresistible. That is the food thief. I retorted, I cannot be doing wahala because I want to catch food thief o! Amope said, shaddap there!
Second, they won’t know that you will cook another pot and pour so much pepper, pepper that even you can’t eat. Ah, Amope, that would be wrong, nau. So, if I can’t eat it, what is then the point?
No dey do like Mumu, she replied. Pour the one without pepper in the bowl with a green cover and the one with pepper in the bowl with a red cover. Shebi, it is the two types of bowls I got for you. When you want to eat, you will scoop small from the red cover one and plenty from the green one, make you no go die.
Third, you must hide the green pepper-less bowl underneath your things in the fridge and the red pepper bowl, you must to keep it where the eyes can see. Ensure that it has enough fish and shrimp portions doing peekaboo from the surface. If person wan thief your food, e go easy to carry the red cover bowl. Shey, you understand?
Meanwhile, instead of me saying, I understood, I was rather asking Amope, e go work? Taa! E go work she bluntly replied. To clarify, she said, shey you sha understand how I said you should do it? Yes, I understand jare, I replied.
Fourth, she said it would help if you taught them to drink in sizeable gulps from their plates without a spoon. This way, if person dey steal your food, she go wan quickly finish the stolen portions in gulps. Na there e go choke am!
Ha! Amope! I was alarmed at her thoughts.
Finally, she said, Toyo, don’t be dulling. You wan catch food thief or not? They never chop your inheritance finish; that is why you aren’t thinking well on putting an end to this nonsense. When they don chop you enter gbese, you go soji. I concluded that I would do it.
Initially, I was hesitant, but on Easter Sunday, I made the soup as instructed, and my flat mates just kept commending the excellent soup; how so nice, so sweet, what did you put in it?
As I was rolling my inner eyes, that was how I remembered instruction number four. I subsequently told them not to take portions with spoons. The soup is a sign of being kindred with our ancestors; we gulp it or sip it in huge amounts. We don’t scoop this particular soup with spoons especially if you want it to work for COVID.
Finally, I added that the reason for the gulping is to help clear the throat and also keep the body warm, explaining that this soup has a reputation for fighting viruses (one of them had earlier told me this when she made shredded undone egg soup – see, this is the best description I can give not properly cooked eggs in abandoned spaghetti water). We all gulped and sipped the pepper soup while they drank and were very happy in a local Nigerian food joint style. I had initiated them to the spirit of kindred with the African ancestors. E Koshi Danu jare! Eni ton jimi lounje ni mon wa!
Meanwhile, the soup wasn’t so fantastic in my mouth, I later went back to scoop from the red covered bowl, so it won’t look as if I wasn’t happy with Christ’s resurrection.
The Days roll by
Morning came and night came the first day no food thief.
Morning came, and night came the second day and no food thief. In fact, what happened was me scooping from the red bowl to eat, forgetting about the green bowl because it was hidden. Ha! It pained me, I had to pour the soup into rice to make pepper-soup concoction rice, make person no go die ontop say I wan catch thief.
Day 3; Morning came and night came; no food thief.
Morning came and night came the fourth day no food thief.
Day 5; Morning came and night came and no food thief. Giving up in the quest to find the food thief, I called Amope to inform her it was my mind playing tricks and that I was certain there was no one taking my food behind my back. She encouraged me to have faith. In fact, I angrily told her that the person I was suspecting was that my flatmate that use to do her head like white rabbit. I ended the call.
Suddenly, I heard, Help! Help! Help! Gbirigbirigbiri everywhere, kilodeeee! I was wondering from my room, what could have happened. I checked my time, this was around 2 pm on Friday, the 6th day of me not interested in catching the food thief, but just to enjoy watching Bridgerton season 2 on Netflix. The shout resonated like thunder as though someone was about to die, this time I was certain, it was like my own help would be needed in addition to whatever call for help that was already in place. I stepped out of my room and saw the three witches of Macbeth in the bathroom. I didn’t even know who needed the help at first until I saw aunty oni shakara all burnt up with eyes like my red cover bowl.
It didn’t even click the first time. I said what is the emergency number? is it 911? Let us call it o!
Make person no go die here o! All I could see was possible death – I don’t want to be a subject of investigation in a homicide case. I pushed through the witches 2 and 3 to the witch in distress and dragged her straight under the shower. I opened the cold shower on her head. Like shey e stupid ni, she needs water and oxygen, oya move let fresh air blow her.
As I was trying to rescue the mumu, she was pushing me away as if I came to poison her.
Wor, if you want to die, you can die another day, but not today that I am at home and certainly not in this flat. Please! You no go run kiti kiti o! She pushed me again, this time although burning, the water gave some cool. I opened the windows for the chilly breeze and stepped backwards, for the other two witches to salvage whatever it is that they can. Then she started to cry uncontrollably like a bush baby, if there ever was one.
Ahan, what happened? What could have happened? She was gasping for air.
I dashed out of the bathroom to get ice cubes. Guilty conscience made me open the soup in the red bowl. It looked weird because I couldn’t even see the scar of the portion I had scooped from a few days back, neither did it look like someone scooped from it. The soup aligned in the bowl. I almost asked myself if I had two red bowls of soup. However, in the confusion at the moment, I couldn’t investigate the red bowl very well to know what kind of miracle that could have taken place because someone needed the Ice pack. I returned to the three witches.
The commotion wasn’t going down, so I suggested again, should we call 911? What is happening would someone please say something? This time, she just open the shower on her head. Oda o! I’m going to continue my Bridgerton in my room, but sha don’t you dare die. Not today!
As I was leaving, she called me mean and wicked. Me? Abi somebody is standing beside me ni? Are you joking with me?
In the midst of hot tears, she shakingly said, Toyo, you are a wicked girl. Very wicked!
What I do? Wariz all diz?
The remaining two witches clustered around her again. This time they were despicable to me. I remained put where I stood to get to the bottom of it. Worst of all, I threatened them by saying if you all don’t start talking, I will certainly call the landlady that either one of you witches are on drugs or someone has poisoned the other. Meanwhile, I held out my phone as if I was about to call. Although deep inside me, wetin consign me with landlady, I will only call her if I am the one dying, not you witches; I however knew that the threat was needed. The truth began to escalate slowly.
At first, Witch number 1 who was the damsel in distress explained how she use to eat from my food because I always made a full week supply, then, I remembered the red bowl and how weird it looked, I immediately mentally inquired from myself to myself if I had two red bowls. Then she said, I normally defrosts the whole bowl of your food to scoop from it and thereafter, I will put it back in the fridge so that the coolness of the fridge will solidify it back as though no one ever touched the bowl. Apa mi jabo ni sha!
Wait fess, repeat! You mean to say…….the whole scenario played back to back in my head as well as eating over microwaved food. No wonder when I opened the red cover bowl, I was confused. My head banged! I dropped my phone by the mirror cabinet. I said you will die today as I placed both my hands on my head. She continued crying and blaming me for putting poison in my own food and that I attempted to kill her because she defrost the soup and took a mighty gulp. E choke! What????????? You reached into my bowl, stole my food and then blame me? Inside of me was full of happy cheer!!! All my body organs jubilated that ha, Amope don catch thief for me.
Straightening up, without knowing where to start, either to continue my evil mental laughter into reality or keep a straight face. I yelled, Did your mama never teach you not to steal other people’s food? I angrily took back my ice pack and put off the shower, using my small body to block the shower knob so that she could burn very well for whatever effectiveness of the pepper that was left. Then I issued the proclamation, CALL 911.
They started begging me. Mio gba o. she was crying and the other two witches were now begging me. I told her that, do you know every time you do that to my food, you poison me? Do you know, you put my life at risk? Witch number 3 now said she was sorry she always ate my fruits. Witch number 2 confessed to my yoghurts. Ha! Aye ma le o! So I am you girls’ food scholarship board. Mo gbe! Me, that I am managing myself. I said it! I wasn’t crazy afterall.
My brain enter auto-pilot defence mode; I now said, I didn’t put pepper in the food o. I don’t know what you are talking about. Maybe my ancestors came to visit. I feigned complete ignorance. Went straight into the fridge, changed the cover of the bowls, kept the now pepperfilled bowl of soup with green cover under-under and brought out the swapped red pepperless soup bowl. I asked others to taste from it, they didn’t. I tasted from it, I said no pepper. Witch number 2, aunty oni I will get to the bottom of the matter, tasted it and it was perfect, witch number three now had the courage to taste, no pepper.
So, I asked witch number 1, yet again raising my voice and putting off the shower from her head, what are you talking about? Besides, don’t you know we have a spirit that follow us from my father’s side? If you are used to stealing from us, they don’t use to forgive o, they will choose a day to retaliate. Today is your own day. Then you now even have the guts to steal the kindred soup that they bless us for? This is unforgivable! Our gods have come to deal with you today, praise God! I began to thank my ancestors.
Witch number 3 now said to witch number 1, maybe you put some pepper in the plate before you stole Toyo’s soup and didn’t remember the pepper was there, trying to debunk my ancestral story. Wahala ile aye e ni yen. I hissed and turned the shower knob to hot water let hot water rush on her brain and I left the shower area. She screamed again. I laughed. Loro kan more than one month now, not even salt have miss from my food. E ba mi yin oluwa logo! ogo!!!
That was how I caught the food thief and Amope has the credit for being the ingenious Sherlock Holmes and it wasn’t even the person I suspected all along.