Kooko with a hint of Armed nuts
A short story by Benjamin J. Obeng
“Everyone on the floor now!”, one of the four men shouted above the commotion in the bank. He was a big guy, well built, and had a thick foreign accent. You could tell he was from one of our neighbouring countries. He waved the automatic rifle in his hand threateningly at anyone who dared disobey the command. His companions, all in ski masks and wielding similar rifles, rounded us all into the centre of the banking hall. One man was left to watch us; about fifteen in all, whiles the other three gunmen disappeared through a staff only door.
A few minutes passed and beads of sweat began to form on my forehead. Our captor kept watching us with hawk-like attention and you could tell that any wrong move would have been rewarded with a bullet.
I don’t know from where the courage came to open my mouth but what came out didn’t sound like my voice. “B…Boss”, I started. The gunman walked over to me suspiciously. He placed the barrel of his gun squarely against my temple. Let’s just say, if he had shot me there and then, the mess would not have been pretty. “What is it?” His voice was hoarse and slightly muffled by his mask, but I could tell I was irritating him. My fellow kidnapees (if that’s not a word, it is now. *grins*) turned to look at me wondering what I was going to ask him.
I gulped to try to slow my heart rate,”You dey like kooko?”. The kidnapper blinked in confusion for a second then his eyes narrowed in anger. I didn’t have time to react before the butt of his gun hit me above my right eye. I winced in pain as blood began to flow from the cut. “You are not a kooko fan I suppose”, I muttered under my breath. He glared at me then raised his gun again, preparing to strike some more sense into my head…
Let me rewind.
My name is Kofi. Yup, just Kofi. The rest is not important. I have a simple ritual I carry out every Monday morning. On my way to work on Monday mornings, I buy Hausa Kooko, a delicious porridge made from millet, from a lovely woman who everyone simply calls Hajia( only buy from an elderly Hajia or a Daavi, I guarantee their kooko will be like cocaine. #kookotips ) I buy my porridge from this particular spot for two reasons; her kooko is one of the best, and its just a few metres away from the bank from where I usually withdraw the money I will need for the entire week. The thing about frequently buying Kooko from a particular location is that you tend to make lots of acquaintances and some of these acquaintances become friends. One such friend I made was John Asiedu. Coincidentally, he too would often withdraw money from the same bank as I and thus we struck an easy friendship since we kept bumping into each other. It took many months before he finally told me an important secret; he was a plain clothes police detective. So why am I telling you all this?….
Let’s fast forward to my present predicament.
“Wait!” I raised both my hands above my head. The gunman paused, wondering what I possibly had to say, so I continued ,”I have Kooko in my bag!” I pointed to the pile of belongings that was seized from us and placed placed a few metres away on the floor. The gunman stared at me like I had lost my mind, “So?”
“So… you can have it. My gift to you before you die.” This threw him over the edge. He pressed the barrel of the gun against my skull, harder this time. My heart rate went through the roof, I knew he was going to shoot me. The words flew out of his mouth like poisoned arrows,”You are dea….”
Now let’s pause here again and recap.
From the moment I called over my captor, I had set him up to fail. He didn’t notice one of the captives pull out a gun. He missed the sound of the said captive removing the safety and he certainly didn’t see it being aimed at him. You can imagine that the bullet was very much a surprise to him.
He never finished that sentence. He fell in a heap to the floor; blood gushing out from a bullet hole in the back of his head. Flowing down his neck like droplets of kooko steadily winding down the sides of the huge pot it is served from(allow allow this is after all a kooko story).John Asiedu was breathing heavily, gun held firmly in his hands. He had been in the bank with me that day and thankfully the robbers hadn’t bothered to search anyone. Our baby sitter of a kidnapper would have noticed if John had pulled his gun from his holster so I created a diversion. I put my life on the line and betted on team kooko (John and I) to win.
In a blink of an eye the banking hall turned into chaos as John led the hostages out of the bank as quickly as possible. I ran over to the pile of bags and personal belongings. I opened my bag and grabbed it. It was in a transparent polythene bag and it was still warm. Kooko is only good when it’s still warm (#kookotips). I was all alone by the time I retrieved it. I began to run towards the entrance when I heard the gun shot. A bullet whizzed past my right ear and hit the top part of the main entrance, smashing the glass into bits. Behind me, I could hear the three assailants shouting in anger. I scrambled through the now gaping entrance into the warm afternoon Accra sun. Outside, police men had set up a perimeter (I know what you are thinking… eiii Ghana police? Yes please.) and had their guns trained on the entrance. John met me outside and led me to safety. I was holding my prized possession like my life depended on it.
It didn’t take long for the assailants to give up and surrender. I had almost finished drinking my hausa kooko when they came out of the bank in a single file, hands raised high above their heads in surrender.
Team kooko 1, Armed nuts 0
To be continued .