With a reckless abandon, Ebuka and Chidiebere
attacked the white ceramic plate of fufu in front
of them like two long starved prisoners, totally
disregarding the glint of amusement housed in
the eye sockets of other customers who also
came to eat at the busy restaurant. Their
individual mould of fufu blinked so many eyes and slacked some few jaws, especially Ebuka’s. A mould akin to a base ball but nothing was more fascinating as having to watch Chidiebere’s Adam’s apple, move up and down in sublime accordance whenever its giving way to the passage of the big balls. Chidiebere is lean and a little taller while Ebuka is the opposite; plump and stronger. No dulling, so they continued to rush at the food, putting the frail stamina of the only piece of beef inside the scanty looking ogbono soup into constant test. Like kids, the starving boys fought with their balls while they tried to mop up the remaining soup. And to think you have seen or heard it all from the two hungry thespians, the annoying slurp that is left at the wake of each lick of their soup fingers, rend the air inside the small restaurant. They had both drama and annoyance in perfect stassis.
‘Madam, bring another soup abeg’ Chidiebere
impatiently requested, while he watered down a
sachet of ‘Aqua Rapha’ water with his left hand.
‘Soup. Again?!…How many times wey we go give una soup? Eeh?’ one of the sales lady in attendant costumed in a tucked in red polo and a good fit black jean trouser, retorted with a hint of displeasure in her voice.
‘Na the last one be this oo. Make una no call me
again’ she bemoaned as she overturned a small
portion of soup into their ceramic plate.
‘We no buy extra?!’ Ebuka shot back at her,
smearing his ball of akpu inside the fresh soup
but before he could down the swallow, Chidiebere engaged a smart move. He latched unto their only piece of meat, tossed it into his waiting mouth and began to masticate it hurriedly. Well aware that his thick built friend will strong- arm the meat out of him, he stopped chewing and decided to swallow the meat nonetheless. Ebuka upon realisation, lurched forth from across the table with a rupture of energy, and seized him by the throat with his soup stained palm, upsetting the dirty hand washing water that laid on the plastic blue table, which splashed on Chidiebere’s
green well worn polo. Chidiebere instantly
reached out and held Ebuka’s hand, leaving an
oily impression on his right hand, lined with veins. He pleaded for a let go as he tried to yank Ebuka’s grip free, but Ebuka kept his squeeze on. Their theatrics again evoked raucous laughter from across the restaurant. Crazy pair!
“Okwa iche na ima ihe eeh? Gboputa anu ahu
kita!-You think you are smart eeh? Regurgitate
that meat now!” Ebuka thundered with bulged
eyes, affirming his vice grip on Chidiebere whose eyes had totally gone misty red. Lines of angry veins could be seen poking out through the sides of his neck up to his head. The effect of the squeeze was taking a toll on him; a dense of sweat on his dark face that journeyed down his polo, a hurting wind pipe, yet he wasn’t ready to relinquish the piece of meat.
Finally, Chidiebere splayed both palms open,
depicting a surrender but his mouth was still
clamped shut. ‘Gboputa di anu, m’obu mpigbuo
gi hia!-Vomit the meat or I squeeze you to death!’ Ebuka reaffirmed, clenching his teeth. Seeing the gleam of determination in Ebuka’s pale eyes, he slowly opened his mouth and the piece of already masticated meat fell off. And that was when Ebuka’s vice grip came off his neck, restoring air back to Chidiebere’s wind pipe. Relieved, Chidiebere ran his left hand over his hurting neck, coughing up a small spray of saliva but his eyes never swayed past the piece of meat that laid on dirty table. Before Ebuka could assemble his next move, Chidiebere grabbed the meat again, confines it into his waiting mouth and peeled off and like a cop chasing after an outlaw. Ebuka screeched after him, leaving cacophony of laughter at their wake.
“Una never pay me oo!” The lady who served
them tailed behind them almost immediately,
screaming at the top of her lungs..