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At dawn the next day, Kelechi woke up and washed his face with water after he had said his morning prayer.  It was a Saturday.  The day of the Egwu mmanówú acrobatic display he had long anticipated.  On this very day, the Egwu mmanówú display was indeed very spectacular.  In short, it was a barrel of monkeys.  Many natives and inhabitants of Nnewi Town trooped into the Nnewi mini-town stadium to watch the spectacular moves of seasoned dancers.  It was also an occasion for amateur dancers to learn the dance.  Kelechi, Nonso, Chibuike, Ugochukwu and Ebuka were among the dancers.  As the hurry-scurry for seats unfolded, the Umpire blew the kick off whistle and the first group of dancers began.  Kelechi and Ebuka were in the same group while Nonso and Ugochukwu were in another group.  Chibuike was in yet another group of dancers.  Ngozi and Ogechi were already seated in the mini-stadium which had a seating capacity of over 500.  The boys danced very well to the delight of all in attendance.

At the end of the contest, Chief Hygaenus Nze, the Nze 1 of Nnewi was called upon to present a prize to the winning team.  Kelechi’s team came first.  The other teams were also given consolation prizes.  After the contest, Ngozi ran to meet Kelechi and gave him a hug.  With that, she was able to keep up the pretence that she still loved him and would never do anything to hurt him.  She also offered to help him carry his dance wear and walk home with him.  Before they left for home, Ngozi whispered to Ogechi.  

                “Don’t forget to meet me tomorrow at my house so we can go together as planned.” 

                “I won’t forget,” Ogechi replied.

The next day at 9:30 am, Ngozi and Ogechi were already at the chemist’s.  Oluebube owned the chemist’s and she was a friend of Ogechi’s.  Although hesitant at first, she agreed to help them with a drug in its most potent form and in large quantities.  They collected the drug, paid the money and left for home.  With her cell phone, Ngozi put a call through to Kelechi.  She begged him to visit her so that she would serve him pepper soup and two bottles of beer.  Kelechi agreed and promised to visit her the following day.  She was happy that her plan was going to work after all.  She did not want the drug to be discovered by anyone, so she ground the tablets and kept the powder in a container which she kept in a hidden place in her room.  The following day, when Ngozi’s parents had gone out in the morning, she quickly prepared the pepper soup with bush meat and turned the whole powder inside the soup, happy that no one was at home.  When the soup was ready and Kelechi had not arrived, she decided to walk down the street to get the bottles of beer.  At about the time she was still preparing the soup, her father who was almost at his workplace noticed that he didn’t have his spectacles with him.  He was already 56 years of age and could not read well without his artificial eyes, as it were.  Hence, he decided to return home.  As Ngozi took the front door out to get the bottles of beer, her father came in through the same door about two minutes after she walked out.  As he walked in, he could smell a savoury scent which quickly aroused his curiosity.  He quickly made for the kitchen and went straight to the pot from which the scent was emanating.  Opening it, he took a teaspoon and sipped the soup five times. 

                 “Ngozi must have prepared this with me in mind,” he mused to himself.

  Then he quickly went inside, took his spectacles and went out through the back door.  In the twinkle of an eye, Ngozi returned with the bottles of beer which she placed on a stool.  Few minutes later, Kelechi arrived.  Without wasting time, Ngozi served him the pepper soup with the two bottles of beer which were already on the stool.  Kelechi did not also waste time.  He guzzled the soup and the beer instantaneously.

Kelechi was elated at what just happened and concluded that that was his best moment with Ngozi; he did not know that the liquid servings were a poisoned chalice.  He thanked Ngozi, gave her a kiss and left for home.  Ngozi’s father had walked quite a distance when his whole body started to scratch him.  He scratched and scratched but the situation remained the same.  When he realized that the itching would not stop, he decided to return home.  Nevertheless, his situation was not as worse as Kelechi’s.  Kelechi was just half a kilometer away from Ngozi’s residence when he felt as though insects had entered his eyes.  He scratched his eyes and body but the situation got even worse.  Soon he started shouting and some persons came to his aid.  Eventually, a twelve years old boy by the name Chigozie, led him home since he could no longer see clearly.  At home, his parents were sad and could not believe that their son was in such condition.

After telling them what happened at Ngozi’s house some days ago, how she apologized, and how she treated him some minutes ago Kelechi’s mother sparked.

            “I have the feeling that Ngozi is behind this.”

            “I don’t think Ngozi could have had the effrontery to put me in this condition.”

            “Nóró Nwanyó!  What do you know about women?  They are so jealous and could do anything funny.  I have told you time after time to keep that girl at arm’s length but you wouldn’t listen.  Even this drinking habit…… Now, see where it has landed you.  Our people say: ‘ó buru na nwata enpu isi óga ataa ahúhú.’   If a child is not humble, adversity will teach him to be,” his mother retorted.

Pa Onyeabor then decided to take Kelechi to hospital to remedy the situation.  Ngozi’s father had also returned home earlier scratching his body all over.

             “Nna m, gini mere?”  Ngozi had asked him.

            “My body itches me all over,” was his reply.  “I don’t know what is wrong.”

            “Did you take anything on your way to work or at work?”

             “No, I forgot my spectacles and so returned home when I was not too far from my workplace.  The only thing I can remember I drank was the Pepper soup I ran into in the kitchen.  By the way, is it still remaining?”

               “No…no Sir,” she replied with her heart in her mouth.

               “Ha!  You drank the whole soup?”

               “No Sir, I actually prepared it for….”

               “Prepared it for whom?”

               “I prepared it for a friend.”

               “Does the friend not have a name?”

               “Kelechi…I prepared it for Kelechi.”

               “I hope you didn’t put anything in that soup?”


               “What’s ehm ehm?  Did you or did you not?”

               “I did not put anything in the soup,” she lied.

               “I wonder what is responsible for this itching,” Papa Ngozi said as he continued scratching his body all over.  “I think I should go to the hospital.”

Papa Ngozi went to the same hospital where Pa Onyeabor had taken Kelechi to.  When he arrived there, he met Papa Kelechi who was a friend of his.  Pa Onyeabor told him that Kelechi also had the same experience after he had visited his daughter.  They then held prima facie that Ngozi had put something in the soup they both drank.  The doctor on duty attended to Ngozi’s victims.  He gave drug prescriptions and advised them to purchase the drugs immediately before they ran mad in the buff from scratching their bodies.

When it became known to both families that Ngozi was behind what happened, she was called upon to testify firsthand.  She agreed to the claim but said that her friend, Ogechi, encouraged her to execute the plan and even took her to the chemist’s to purchase the drug.  Kelechi, who was most disappointed, could not hide the shock he felt from what he heard.

                “So Ngozi you could do this to me after what we’ve shared together?  Oh no!  I can’t believe this.”

               “You still cannot believe what?  Did I not warn you to be cautious in your dealings with women?  Now see what has happened!” his mother said with some asperity.

              “Enough!  You are not going to have a war of words here,” Kelechi’s father corrected.  “Now Ngozi, the onus is on you, so apologize to your father and to Kelechi.”  Ngozi knelt down before her father and Kelechi and begged them to forgive her that it was the Devil’s handiwork.  Ogechi, the accessory, who had already been summoned also apologized to the victims and promised never to repeat such a wicked act.


The meanings of Igbo words and expressions as used in this story are given below.

Nna m, gini mere?  -----------------------My father, what happened?

Biko ----------------------------------Please

Egwu mmanowu -----------------------------Igbo masquerade dance

Na odika isi kwue! ---------------------------------------Amen! (so be it; surely)

Noro nwanyo!  --------------------------Keep quiet!

Nwoke m! --------------------------------------Young man!

O buru na nwata enpu isi oga ataa ahuhu --------------- If a child does not humble himself, he will                                                                      suffer adversity

Nwaanyi a!  ------------------------------This woman!

Nwanne, idi sharp! -------------------------------------Smart guy! (a hail word)

Ibu ajo mmadu! --------------------------- You are a bad person!

Chineke m! ------------------------------- God (as used- my God!)


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