The Black Soldiers

They match in thousands, climbing over barriers. Nothing seems to stop them. They are strong willed and determined. They work in groups, and that makes them stronger. When they want to punish an offender, they do so in thousands, some even say millions. They make sure they get every bit of the offender, and he has a lot to lose if he escapes in one piece. This is a fact because it has happened to me before, and I was lucky to escape in one piece. This is what happened.

It was my final year in school, the last week in January. My father had called me to tell me that my monthly allowance would be delayed by a week. It was really no problem for me. I still had enough money to prepare a soup that will last me till he sends my allowance.

With every other thing done, I left for Sabo market that evening with my friends. Buying things in group made it cheaper. That’s one of the disadvantages of capitalism; the rich gets to buy something cheaper, while the poor buys at a high price, so unfair. The first stall we approached was the Abubakar’s. He sells pepper, then tomatoes before we dropped them to be ground. We then went to buy palm oil, some seasoning before we turned to the stall where meat was sold. Everyone bought their meat, I bought mine too, but I made sure the butcher sliced my meat into ten pieces so that it could last five days. Next was the woman selling fish. I allowed my friend buy theirs first before making a decision.

“Please don’t cut it,” I told the woman

“Why,”

“Because you can’t cut it the way he wants,” one of my friends answered jokily.

It might be a joke, but it was a fact. I couldn’t bear the way the woman wielded her knife cutting the mackerels into twos and threes. I would cut the same fish into a minimum of five pieces.

Having bought the fish, we returned to pick up our ground pepper, and we got ready to leave the market. Some of my friend bought plantains and yams as extras. I didn’t have money to cater for that, and I hated borrowing because it only gives you a pseudo-relief. By the time you want to refund the debt, the troubles of deficit will return.

We left the market, pulling several polythene bags filled with the many things we bought in the market. We argued about the upcoming match between Arsenal and Manchester United, plus the effect the departure of Ferguson had on Manchester united team. Some said Ozil would be the star of the night, while I felt Mata would be. We argued till we reached our different hostels.

I went straight to the kitchen, and soon I was boiling the meat on the electric cooker. By the time 30 minutes passed by, my soup was ready. Its aroma was thick in the air that it diffused out of the room, and no one passed by my room, even females, but opened their mouth to praise my mastery of cooking.

I ate eba with the soup that night before I slept, not knowing I had being marked as a target by the black soldiers. When I woke up the following day, they had made their arrest. My offense was very simple: having a pot of soup with a lot of palm oil and sizeable pieces of meats and fishes. To cap it all, they arrested my stew because it was sweet.

They covered my pot that I couldn’t even see my soup, all I saw was black. I tried to carry it, but tens of them climbed on my hands and bit me that I cried…

“Help me…” I screamed, then I ran out of my room towards the hostel passage shouting, “Soldier, Soldier…”

Some of my hostels mate had stepped out of their rooms, when they heard my screams, and they wore a fearful look

“Which Soldier? Who did you offend?”

I stopped, breathing out, I managed to say, “It’s soldier —ants… they’ve covered my pot.”

No one said anything. I just heard hisses, and they all returned to their rooms.



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