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Eketi @eketiette
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Household accidents.

Cut a finger while chopping onions or grating coconut. Pour hot water on your body while trying to fill up the water flask.

Normal stuff.
Except when it came to me. My own accidents had to be spectacular.

Accidents enh? Let me thread carefully.
As careful as I should've been when I was 9 years old.

It was after school and we were at the dining table - my siblings, our maid and Mama. We were eating garri and soup.

Then without warning, from nowhere, a voice told me to do something I'd been planning to do for a while.
The voice asked me to swallow the same size of fufu as my father.

I'd always been fascinated by the size of my father's fufu balls. He'd cut a small portion, mould it with his fingers, and roll it into a perfectly rounded ball as big a newborn baby's head.
Then he'd make and indent in the middle with his thumb, dip the ball in the bowl of soup, and along with the soup, expertly attach a piece of dry fish or meat to the fufu.

He'd then raise it to his mouth. Each swallow was always accompanied by a kpuooood sound, as the fufu....
...went down his throat.

Anyway, that day, I decided o do as he did.

I folded the ball of eba to just the right size, made an indent, scooped up a periwinkle, put it in my mouth and tried to swallow.

The thing refused to go down. I tried again.

That's where wahala started.
The ball of eba got stuck in my throat. It would neither go down nor come back up.

I couldn't cry. I couldn't breath. I couldn't call out to anyone at the table.
I just sat there, my mouth open, turning blue. Silent tears rolled down my cheeks.
Thankfully, Mama raised her head at that point and saw my face.

"Why are you crying?" she asked, perplexed. "And why is your mouth open like that?"

Weak and dizzy, I managed to point at my mouth and shake my head.
Alarmed, she scrambled from her chair, and rushed around to my side. Laying her hand on my back, she gave me one sharp smack. The ball of eba flew out, periwinkle in tow.

I lived.

Until the next time, when I used my own hand to send myself to the other side.
As usual, it was an accident.

You see, I'd just finished dusting and tidying my house and was hurrying up to get to an appointment with a dear friend.

I was exhausted but determined to keep my word.

Dressed up, I headed to the door and almost swooned.
My stomach balefully informed my head that it had been without any form of solid nutrition since the previous day.

To pacify my gut, I decided to rustle up a little pack of noodles before heading out.

You know how we do noodles in Naija.
Boiling water - check.
Noodles - check.
Carrots - check.
Spring onions, green peas, crayfish, fried fish, a dollop of stew, gbogbotigbo...check.

Except for the pepper. I searched and searched, until I espied a little container that had black powder inside, like Cameroon pepper.
Now, I wasn't sure it was pepper though because there are other spices that are black like that.

The common sense thing to do would've been to dip a finger in, take a little at the tip and taste it, right?


For that day, common sense was far from me.
Taking down the bowl from the shelf, I opened it and took a little whiff.

It was supposed to be a little o!

But somehow, my nostrils missed the message my brain was sending, leaned in lower than was necessary and took a big whiff of hot, fiery, Cameroon pepper.

In the first few seconds after, nothing happened.

Then a bomb went off in my head!

My eyes watered, my ears sang; my nostrils tingled with sparks and my brain caught fire.
The fire spread to my body and I divested my clothes with urgent alacrity.

Death beckoned.
Suddenly, a voice in my head spoke.

"Eketi, dance! As you do, the heat will go away."

I started dancing. Hop, bend, shoki.

My head burned even hotter.

"Now pour iced water down your nose," it said.

Again, I obeyed. The burning increased as I sputtered and inhaled water.
The voice started laughing.

"Soak your entire head in water."

I almost obeyed o! But I thought of my perm and rejected the idea.

"You don'twant to do that one?" It asked. "Oya jump."

I jumped.

I prayed.

Nothing was working.
By then, I was breathing through my mouth and all the pores on my skin.

That's when I heard another voice. It was faint, but I could make out what it was saying.

"Ekeeetii," it drawled. "Slam your head... on the wall."

My enemies must've been at work, for I immediately did so.
A bright, blinding light flashed and just like that, I was transported to a place where fire was burning everywhere.

Immediately, I knew I was in Hell.

In front of me was a big throne. On it, a huge, ugly man sat pointing and giving orders to his minions.
I followed the direction of his outstretched hand and saw more minions dancing round a small fire, cackling.

They were roasting a gigantic nose.

"My nose!" I screamed in anger. "HOW DARE YOU?! GIVE IT BACK!"
They stared at me and laughed. Then poured Cameroon pepper on my roasting nose.

I ran to rescue it. As I got closer, I slipped, fell, and hit my head.

I woke up with a start. My nose still burned but not like before. Curiously, my head was in the freezer. How, I can't say.
I heard birds chirping. Outside, a neighbour scolded her child. Fresh tears rolled down my cheeks, melting the previous frozen ones.

I took cold, deep breaths flavoured by the aroma of burnt noodles, and listened to my heart beat.

I was still alive.

Pepper - 0
Eketi - 1000
The End.

I do hope you enjoyed reading this. Let me know if you did. Laugh, like, retweet and's quite easy, I tell you.

I hope your Monday is going well.

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