(Reproduced from Campost, No 212, April 6-13, 1994, p.4).
My good friend Andy ‘Young’ went to one of our favourite chicken parlours in downtown Akwa, Douala, the other day and found the place in turmoil. That in itself is nothing strange for that place. When you have a chicken parlour noted for its unrivalled bevy of ladies, whose see-through dresses and bra-free chests leave little else to the imagination, it is not unusual for the rowdy crowd of chest-thumping young men to end up in violent fisticuffs. It takes just for one of those ladies to ignore the persistent advances of a Don Juan in heat, and smile to another, and the ignored fellow does not hesitate to settle the matter with his rival with fist punches!
So when Andy and a friend walked in, they were not astonished by the uproar on the floor. What shocked Andy, though, was that a man he has always known as meek and humble in his ways, was almost strangling a young girl and shouting at the top of his voice: “Let go of my gizzard! Spit it out, you bitch!”
Plumb, young and juicy!
Andy and his friend had much difficulty unclasping that man’s fingers from the poor girl’s throat, and when they finally did, the infuriated man stormed out of the place. That was when Andy was told the source of the man’s fury that almost led him to commit murder!
The gentleman had invited a friend of his to take a bite of a baked chicken with him, at his expense, of course. His friend decided to honour the invitation, and showed up, not alone, but with one of his latest conquests, whom he paraded about like a walking stick; this one was even much younger than the man’s youngest grand daughter! Don’t we retired, white-haired, sugar daddies, love them plumb, young and juicy!!
As our friends sat in the dimly lit room, sipping a cold drink and chatting over nothing in particular, their minds were lingering on the sweet and enticing smell of the chicken wafting in from the charcoal-grill outside. Their mouths were already watering abundantly before the chicken, beautifully and brownishly baked, finally landed before them.
Almost immediately, the young girl picked up a fork and went exploring among the sliced chicken, pushing aside the breasts and the thighs of the chicken. Intrigued, her boyfriend and his friend suspended their conversation and waited eagerly, thinking the girl was about to serve them. After all, are women not there to serve the men and warm their beds for them? (Andy dixit).
Impatience began to walk its way into the men’s faces as they wondered in silence what she was doing instead of serving them? Then she seemed to have found what she was hunting for. There it was, snugly tugged away between the thighs of the chicken. The two friends watched keenly as she carefully sent her fork and “forked” the gizzard hiding between the thighs of the chicken.
She ate that symbol of manhood!
As the two men watched, intrigued, wondering who of them she was going to honour with that symbol of manhood, the girl picked up the gizzard with her fork and playfully dangled it before the men. Ah, the gizzard! That precious part of the chicken without which a chicken would not be a chicken! That part of the chicken which no woman should ever taste, or dream of tasting, even in the confines of her kitchen; even with no one else around to see her! Yes, that’s what the young lady had there at the end of her fork. The two men watched it sticking there, invitingly enticing.
Then she looked at the two anxious, mouth-watering old men with a provocative smile on her face, enjoying the eagerness in their eyes, knowing fully well that each of them was wondering to himself who of them she would honour with it. Then, the strangest of all things happened! Instead of placing that gizzard with religious care and respect on one of the men’s plates, she – oh, abomination of all abominations!! – threw it into her own mouth instead; just like that! Yes, she did!!! Kai wallahi!, Kefereh! Dangdurunwa! Abuiai!!
Nothing of the sort has ever been recorded anywhere from the time the gizzard entered the history of gastronomy in our land as a male preserve – a true symbol of manhood and virility!! An old man in my village once told me that when a baby is born and you lift it up and find something dangling between its thighs, then that’s who will be entitled to a gizzard later in life. Yes, that’s how serious this gizzard business is!!
Dream or reality?!
And how could that badly bred girl have the audacity to throw it into her insolent mouth hemmed in by a pair of obscenely reddish lips, smeared with nasty-looking lipstick! Were the two men mere victims of some bad dream? Or did they really see that girl eat a gizzard? The friend, on whom lay the heavy burden of picking up the bill for the evening, could actually be seen rubbing his eyes as if he was just waking up from a particularly painful nightmare! Had he actually seen his friend’s girlfriend eat a gizzard?! Did that saucy girl’s mother never tell her that no woman should ever eat a gizzard? Had this country truly gone to the dogs to the extent that women could now eat the gizzard with impunity?!
A murderous rage!
That was when he flew into a murderous rage and rushed for the poor girl’s throat. When Andy and his friends finally freed that poor girl from the furious man’s iron-fisted grip, he stormed out of there, but not before he had said something quite nasty and unprintable about the poor girl’s behind, which, for some strange reason, he thought had to be particularly black in colour; as if a black behind was anything to be ashamed of!! Ah, what some men in this triangle of ours can come up with!!
The man, whose girlfriend committed the unprecedented abomination of eating a gizzard, was left behind to settle the bill for the chicken, which none of them had even had the time to eat. “If you don’t pay, you’re not leaving this place!” was the ultimatum the restaurant staff gave the poor man. He coughed up the cash and rushed out without a second glance at his girl friend, who rushed after him shouting, “Daddy, wait small no! Daddy, ah beg, wait no!” and Andy and his friend could hear a violent quarrel in progress.
Gizzard-defender, well done!!
When Andy told me the story, I strongly applauded that gentleman’s valiant defence of men’s exclusive right to the gizzard. The way some women are now violating age-old traditions in this country is truly alarming. A plague on the homes of men, particularly traditional titleholders, who let women infringe on that exclusive, judicious, time-honoured, male right to the gizzard!!