NADIA: Someone might think our plan was all we needed. I won't deny though; it was brilliant. In no time, we swung into action.
Daniel played his part of the puzzle very well; within a day, his fame got to the president. He was summoned immediately.
DANIEL: Brenda began to avoid me like I was a plague, right from the minute my fame began to spread to every nook and cranny of the academy. I was summoned by the president. I had never seen him before; it was a rare opportunity, and I wouldn’t miss it for anything, although I was a bit nervous.
"Come in!" he said.
He was stricken old, but not of old age; he appeared sick. I’m pretty much sure his ailment had caused him to age.
"Good evening sir!"
I greeted and held my hands behind my back.
"Oh! have a sit, my son."
I smiled within myself; since when did I suddenly become someone else’ son?
"I heard you are the heir to the head kitchen."
I nodded in affirmation.
I frowned. I sat right in front of him, yet he didn’t see me when I nodded my head countless times.
"What is a man of such caliber doing in our little academy? I can't help but wonder why."
I was rhetorical in my reply;
"How can I tell the taste of a good food, if I can't prepare it? I am here to learn and build myself up".
He was highly impressed.
He added, “I've only heard of Mr. Wilson; seems you've been hiding in the dark."
My mind flashed back on what Joyce had said a day before; she was indeed true.
"He is my uncle, the manager."
"Oh! I understand now. We hope you rule and patronize our services in the nearest future."
I smiled and thanked him.
"Pass me my green tea, please."
I handed over to him a packet of green tea and a cup beside it.
"Here you go, sir."
His hands were reaching me from a totally different direction; I had to hold his hand and place it where he can reach it. There and there, I understood two things: he was partially blind, and he was being poisoned to die slowly.
NADIA: Lessons resumed. Just as Joyce had presumed, Brenda followed us to the next grade as our supervisor. The moment she walked into our new lesson hall, she could hear everyone murmur.
One particular Warri guy blurted out;
"Ah, ah, you na Moses? You wan follow us reach promise land?"
Everyone burst out laughing.
Some others replied.
“I tire oh."
She ignored and waited till the uproar died down, before she kicked off.
"In this grade, we would learn more about food designs, and American dishes."
She paused to look at myself and Joyce's direction. We were whispering amongst ourselves. We had a traitor in our midst, so we had to keep our plans secret from the rest of the crew.
"Nadia will prepare this meal after I finish teaching the theory.”
Joyce gave me that look that says ‘I told you so’.
I waited till she was done, then she called on me.
"With all due respect Ma, I can't prepare this meal."
I could see fire lit in her eyes.
“You dare flout my orders? Do you want to get expelled?"
She spread her wings wide like I didn’t know my rights. It seems the ‘Ma’ I added to my statement somehow managed to block her sense of reasoning.
"Brenda, since when does a supervisor teach only the theoretical part of a lesson and instructs a student to perform the practicals of what she hasn't taught? Abi, I am now a supervisor? Or is this a competition? You have not even taught us the practical aspect of this food. How do you expect me to prepare it? I’m not some cook machine, I learn when I am being taught."
For a moment, the hall was engulfed with a solid form of silence.
She allowed my words sink into her brain before she replied in a calm tone;
"Have your sit!"
Daniel and Joyce threw a satisfied wink at me.
She prepared pizza. And we all took a bite.
Daniel followed us up when the lesson was over.
"There is big problem, Joyce."
Our ears paid close attention.
"I think someone is poisoning the president."
Joyce opened her eyes wide.
"His tea cup was altered with little grains of lotus flower; it’s like a poison that kills slowly. You would hardly notice. And he won't know, because he is partially blind."
I began to think Daniel’s discovery was the reason behind Joyce’s sudden dizziness; but then I realised it was something else. She lost balance, but I was quick to hold her.
“What’s wrong, Joyce?".
She sniffed the pizza Brenda had made.
"Oh no, cherries! I’m allergic to che..."
She couldn’t drop the word, she passed out.
Continued on next page...
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