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Don’t Eat Food That Just Fell On The Ground - a short story by A.B.King

   Once upon a time in a place called Lagos in the country called Nigeria there lived a little girl named Chioma. She belonged to a nice Christian family. Chioma had two younger brothers. Her mother was a well respected Doctor in Lagos, and her Father worked at an oil rig for the biggest oil company in Africa so even though he was in one of the highest income brackets in Nigeria, he was never at home. However, anytime the oil company gave him a break he always tried to make up for lost time by buying his family anything they asked for and taking them anywhere they wanted to go.
   One day while Chioma sat with her Mum and two brothers at the dinning table. Chioma was too excited because her Mum had just given them the news that their Dad would be returning from the rig in two days time. Even though she and her brothers shouted and jumped out of their seats and their Mum had spent the last 5 minutes trying to calm them down, Chioma was still jumpy and it was in this excitement that when she tried to obey her mother’s instruction and finish her breakfast, the fork in her hand fell to the ground along with the roasted chicken drum stick which was unbelievably delicious.   Now this was sad. No Nigerian likes to eat food without goat meat or cow meat or fish or chicken or turkey. It won’t be like eating food to a Nigerian if none of these things is present in the plate.   Chicken is an all time Nigerian favorite constituent of a meal, so you can understand why this was a sad thing for Chioma. She also knew that there was no way her Mum would get up and go to the kitchen to prepare a brand new chicken drum stick for her. In Nigeria, you pay for the consequences of whatever happens whether it’s your fault or not. Besides even if by chance of a miracle her Mum wanted to help her out and prepare a new chicken drum stick for her, it would make her late for work. And when you are a doctor in Nigeria, being late for work means creating an opportunity for patients to die.   Chioma’s condition was truly a sad one.   There was a kind of silence in the dinning room. It was something in-between giving Chioma time to mourn the passing of her drum stick and also waiting to see what Chioma would do.A few seconds later, Chioma reached out to pick up the drum stick and her cutlery from the floor. She was just about to put the drum stick back into her plate of food just when her Mum screamed like her daughter was about to commit the worst sin in the world.Her Mum told her that she should never eat food that has fallen on the ground. She also told her that it isn’t only bad etiquette to pick up cutlery that falls to the floor while you eat but she should realize that there are now a lot of germs that she can’t see that could now have soiled the cutlery.   Chioma’s Mum gave Chioma enough important info for her not to do that again.   This of cause, resulted in Chioma having to eat breakfast without Chicken.   Chioma’s Mum told Chioma that she has to get to work and that she is leaving her in charge. Normally, their maid was in charge but the maid had been given leave to travel back to her village and visit her family for a couple of days.   Chioma’s Mum told Chioma that she trusts her and therefore knows that she would do a good job. Even though Chioma’s Mum didn’t say it, it was kind of a test for Chioma, but she was confident that her little girl would pass it.   Chioma and her immediate younger brother were on mid-term break and the youngest brother in the family wasn’t even old enough to go to school so the three of them played and played and watched TV until lunch time.   Chioma knew how to work the micro wave oven. Her Mum had showed her a few days ago and anytime her Mum wanted something warmed in the micro wave she called Chioma to do it so Chioma would get accustomed to it. She even told Chioma to hang around the kitchen and watch what she was doing anytime she cooked even though she never let Chioma help her in cooking anything. As far as Chioma’s Mum was concerned she was still too young. For now she should just stick to using the micro wave and the toaster.   Chioma went to the micro wave and warmed the food her and her brothers would have for lunch just fine. They knew their Mum would be coming back later in the evening and she had left that food for Chioma to warm so they would eat it in the afternoon.   Chioma dished out the food for herself and her brothers. Since nobody was there to stop or correct her, she didn’t eat her food in the dinning room like she would have done if her Mum was in the house. She took her food to the living room to eat in front of the TV while her brothers remained in the dinning room.   While eating and watching TV, a scary thing happened in the movie that made Chioma jump in fright. Sadly, when she jumped, the large juicy goat meat in her plate fell to the floor along with a little bit of the rice in the plate.   Oh No! not again. Chioma was angry. Not twice in one day. She just stared at the meat on the floor. She remembered all that her mother said about germs. Then in anger she shoved all her mother’s words in her head to the side and she picked up the meat and put it back in the plate.Chioma had a jolly good time enjoying the movie and enjoying her meal. She was glad that she didn’t throw away the meat.   10 minutes later, Chioma started having some stomach pain. It kept on getting worse and worse and worse. Chioma didn’t need anyone to tell her that it was because of the meat that fell on the ground that she ate.
   Later, Chioma owned up to her brothers and told them that her goat meat fell to the ground and she picked it up from the floor and ate it.It was when for some reason she pointed out the spot on the floor the meat fell that her immediate younger brother told her that he had killed a cockroach on that very spot. He didn’t even clean it up well so apparently she scoped up some part of the insides of the cockroach along with the goat meat and put it all in her plate.   At the hospital, some minutes later, Chioma’s Mum was glad that her daughter is all grown up and must be doing real well with her younger brothers at home. She couldn’t wait to get back home and congratulate her daughter and tell her how proud she was of her. She would probably pick up a new story book on her way home to give it to Chioma as a gift. But 1st things 1st, she had one more patient, her shift was almost up. She asked a nurse to bring in the next patient and guess what? Guess who she saw. It was her daughter – Chioma, holding her stomach and moaning in pain.

The End

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