Cut a finger while chopping onions or grating coconut. Pour hot water on your body while trying to fill up the water flask.
Except when it came to me. My own accidents had to be spectacular.
Accidents enh? Let me thread carefully.
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.
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.
He'd then raise it to his mouth. Each swallow was always accompanied by a kpuooood sound, as the fufu....
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.
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.
"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.
Until the next time, when I used my own hand to send myself to the other side.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
"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."
Nothing was working.
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.
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.
They were roasting a gigantic nose.
"My nose!" I screamed in anger. "HOW DARE YOU?! GIVE IT BACK!"
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
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I hope your Monday is going well.