A sink full of plates
I had been eyeing the pile in the kitchen for a number of days. But unfortunately by the time I get home I am too beat to do more than eye it again, take a drink from the fridge, and go lie down on my bed.
But despite the fact that I got home late last night, with my cousin’s visitor in tow, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I was tired but I just decided enough was enough.
The title may give you an idea of what I am going on about. When you have three working-class guys in the same apartment, some things are definitely going to slip under the table or remain in the sink until they are well and truly “ripe”.
Once I got on a roll, I couldn’t stop till I had done justice to it. I decided to tackle the plates in the sink and scattered all over the kitchen first. Most of them had little bits of soup, oil and left over food on them. Not too bad, I started throwing stuff in a big black refuse plastic bag: in goes the half-drunk plastic soft drink bottles after emptying their content into the sink. Followed by bits of food scraped off several plates. It was all going relatively well until I got to the bottom of the pile. One plate face-down on another. On opening it, I was faced with a decomposing mixture of cooked yam and fried eggs about 3 or four days old. The smell was something else. I managed and went on. A couple of pots with charcoal in them from someone burning whatever they were used to cook. Those went on the floor with water in them to soften the burnt stuff. Probably half a dozen dirty plastic food containers. Got as much of the content into the waste and stacked on the floor. Washed maybe another half dozen.
Since I had to finish what I had started, I dug around in the freezer compartment of the refrigerator. Electricity is a still a curiosity in Nigeria. I gingerly opened the covered plastic bowl containing what I knew was catfish pepper-soup. I almost gagged at the smell of rotten fish that had dissolved into something slippery and mushy.
On the gas cooker was a pot I was almost sure had leftover cooked rice in it. I took off the lid and was confronted by a smelly slurry of something – the grains were no longer discernible – just a slowly flowing smelly white mess. Then there was the plastic bowl holding the leftover mixture of garri, milk and groundnut someone had left in the fridge for several days. The milk had of course cuddled, it smelled bad but not as bad as some of the earlier stuff I had encountered. Then there was the egusi soup and a separate bowl of stew that was more or less a waste of money because nobody ate it. They had been OK until the previous day or so when there had been no electricity (as always) and we hadn’t really put on the generator long enough to keep the stuff in the fridge cold. I was loathe to throw them away. I opened the egusi bowl first and sniffed at it. Couldn’t really make out any off smell, but it looked as if some of the fat had congealed unto one side of the bowl and thinking of the fact that it had spent a day or so sitting in a warm fridge, I guess it would be a dodgy affair to eat any of it, so into the waste it went. The soup was next. Still looked OK, but I was almost sure I could perceive from the odour that it was slightly off. So it followed the egusi into the waste as well.
I still cannot understand how people cannot finish a 50CL pure water sachet. That’s the stuff of booby-traps over here. Half sachets litter the whole house and even in the fridge: “keep your laptops and receipts off the tables or they are bound to get a dunking”
I emptied several half sachet of pure water into the pots that needed soaking. Managed to go through the plates, several plastic bowls, practically all the cutlery in the house and most of the cups as well. Well, the kitchen was looking decidedly better. I had offered the cousin’s visitor dinner: “Sorry for keeping you. Work and Lagos traffic. There is egusi soup and maybe you can make eba”. He gratefully agreed (he had been travelling all day and had to then wait for me some ice cream outlet for probably three hours or so). Note that this was freshly made equsi soup (separate from the one I had thrown in the waste) from a nice little homely restaurant in Ikoyi called BC Gardens. In fact, Nneka showed up with who I guess must be the love interest (some other artiste I believe) while I was there with the cousin. The place is in the home of the late Ben Enwonwu (a renowned artist). There is also an arts gallery there that you can peruse before or after your meal. It’s not so large but some interesting artworks were on display. Check out a couple of them below.
So now the kitchen was looking somewhat respectable, I thought I had better put some water on to boil for the eba (garri stirred into hot water). Tried all four cooking points a couple of times – nothing. Bent low and sniffed at them with the gas knob turned on, no smell. Hmmn. Went outside and adjusted the control on the top of the gas cylinder thinking OK, maybe just this once, someone had decided to turn it off. Went back in and tried to light the points again. Nothing. Ok. This is getting serious. Went back outside again and lifted the cylinder. It was as light as a feather.
Went back in. To the fellow’s room and told him about my dilemma. “Em. Sorry. There is soup but unfortunately no gas. I have never tried boiling water with a microwave though. Maybe you could soak garri along with the soup?”
The fellow said not to worry. That he would eat the following day. He was almost asleep when I went into the room anyway so I guess he probably was just too tired to bother.
Went back out. Tidied up some more in the kitchen. Went to my room, took a shower, got the last can of malt from the fridge and settled down to watch the last quarter of a movie titled “Coherence.”
Which finally leads me to my encounter with the mouse.
I had almost stepped on the little critter in the dark (note that I had seen him around the house several times). There was some frantic squeaking and so I put on the light in the kitchen.
There he was sitting on his haunches, looking up at me, his mustache quivering violently and his two paws together. I wasn’t sure if I was dreaming because he jabbed one finger in my direction and a sequence of squeaks of different length streamed out. Well, I couldn’t help laughing for the life of me. I didn’t speak “mouse” or “rat” but I could picture the thing going on:
“Big bruv. Watch where you place those over-sized feet would ya?”
“How about a little something something for the little fella?”
“Oh? It’s like that eh? It’s like that?”
“There you are throwing good food away and I ask you for just a morsel and you stand there laughing at me huh?”
“You fur-less son of a gun!”
“So that’s how it be? That’s how you wanna play it?”
“You stingy hairless son of a whatever you are!”
After that it turned its back on me, raised up its tail and dropped one solitary scat (dropping). It then turned around again, looked at me balefully and said “Take that you! It’s on bruv! I tell you, it’s really on!”
And since I am not one to back out of a challenge (obviously when size is in my favour), I responded with “Bring it on bruv! Any time, any day!” and with that we both turned our backs and went our different ways.
But I am so gonna get that rat!