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The Simple Instruction - a short story by A.B.King


   Once upon a time in a place called Nigeria, there lived a 14 year old girl named Ngozi. She had a little sister named Ada. They were raised by their Mum under Christian principles. Their Dad had passed on a long time ago but Mum’s faith had seen Mum through the darkest of days and all was going quite well now.
   One day, before Mum leaves to visit a friend she gives Ngozi the simple instruction to remember to cover the pot after she finishes dishing out her and her little sister’s food.
Ngozi says, “Ok!”
   When Mum left,Ngozi went outside with her little sister to play with the other girls in her neighborhood. When lunch time came and all the kids went home to eat, Ngozi and her little sister went home too.
   Instead of Ngozi going to the kitchen to dish out the food herself she told her little sister to do it while she went straight to the living room to watch TV. Ngozi knew that she was the one supposed to do all the stuff in the kitchen but she figured why should she do it when she’s got a little sister that can do it who she can boss around?
   Ada went to the kitchen as instructed. She dished out the food and set the table while Ngozi was busy relaxing in front of the TV.
   Since Mum wasn’t around, Ngozi decided to do things a little differently – she decided to do things her way. She told her little sister to bring the food in trays and set them on stools in the living roomright after her little sister had just finished suffering to set the plates on the dining table.
Ngozi knew it was unfair to treat her little sister that way but she was too busy enjoying not doing all the work herself to care that much.
After Ada finished doing all that she was instructed to do,Ngozi and Ada ate happily why watching TV at the same time – something Mum would have never allowed.
    After eating and resting to her satisfaction Ngozi told Ada to clear the dishes then she (Ngozi) rushed back outside to play.
   Mum returned late at night. There was no electricity in the house because in Nigeria the constant electricity that other countries take for granted is not constant. In Nigeria, the company called PHCN  (formerly called NEPA) takes and brings electricity at will whether you’ve paid your electricity bill or not. It’s been that way since 1960.
   Anyway, now there was no electricity and the only sources of light in the house where from two kerosene lamps. So as you can imagine the house wasn’t that bright but Nigerians are used to such – they are used to suffering.
Ngozi rushed to the kitchen to warm the food for her Mum. That was when she noticed that the pot wasn’t covered.
Ngozi was like, “Uh – Oh!” But then again, it was no biggie. She quickly covered the pot and put the pot on the fire. All the while the one true source of light she was using came from only one lamp which she left near the kitchen door. While her Mum was using the other lamp to find her way around as she settled back in from her outing.
   When the food finished warming, Ngozi put out the fire of the kerosene stove, dished out the food into a plate and then set it on the dining table for her Mum.
   Her Mum was very pleased with her and started to eat in the semi – dark dining room that was only illuminated by one lamp which stood some distance away. Then Mum noticed that there was something different about the food … something crunchy … something gooey.
   Mum asked for a lamp to be brought closer to the food so that she could see the food properly.
   “AAaaaaagghh!!!”, Mum screamed as she saw what was in her food.
   Mixed with the food where some cockroaches.
Cockroaches were dancing upside down in her food. What she had tasted was a cockroach. This was certainly the worst day of her life… Ever.
   It turned out that when the pot was left open; cockroaches which normally roam about when it’s dark in Nigerian households, had roamed into the open pot.
Ngozi got the spanking of her life that day. It was a spanking that could be heard for miles away. And to say that Ngozi also got grounded for the rest of her life would be a major understatement.
   The bible warns us to honor our father and our mother so that our days would be long. It also tells us to treat others how we like to be treated. I’m sure that if Ngozi was her little sister and her little sister was (her) the big sister,Ngozi wouldn’t want to be bossed around. If Ngozi treated her little sister the way she herself would like to be treated she would have dished the food, set the plates and cleared the plates herself. And perhaps if she did she would have remembered to cover the pot and won’t be grounded today.
THE END.

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