Zikoko arrives at a local market where foodstuffs are rumoured to be cheaper. In a corner, a commotion ensues between two traders: Pepper and Cucumber. Customers leave Pepper’s stall for Cucumber’s as the shouting match grows louder. Bystanders watch, with no one attempting to quell the fracas. Out of concern, Zikoko approaches the scene.

Zikoko: Please, take it easy. What’s the problem?

Pepper: Who is this one? What’s your business?

Zikoko: My name is Zik—

Pepper: Abeg, getat. You no go face wetin you come market for?

Zikoko: Ah, sorry. I thought…

Pepper: You thought what? Please, leave this place and mind your business.

(Zikoko turns away, muttering “Na me fuck up” under their breath.)

Cucumber: Hey! Ziko! Abi what did you call your name?

(Zikoko turns back.)

Zikoko: It’s Zikoko.

Cucumber: Sha come. What do you want?

(Zikoko approaches Cucumber’s stall.)

Zikoko: I want pepper. I heard it’s cheaper in this market.

(Cucumber shoots Zikoko a criminally offensive bombastic side eye before speaking.)

Cucumber: Had it been I know you, I for give you a dirty slap.

Zikoko: Ah. What did I do?

Cucumber: So you think you’re better than all these people in front of my stall? Ehn?

Zikoko: No now.

Cucumber: What is no? Oya, go to Pepper now. Let’s see how you’ll use ten pieces of tomato and rodo to make one pot of soup.

Zikoko: But I’m confused. It’s pepper I want and you’re selling cucumbers.

(Cucumber turns away, attending to other customers like Zikoko isn’t there.)

Random customer 1: Boda Zikoko, people are now using cucumber to supplement pepper. That’s why we’re here. It’s cheaper.

Cucumber (cutting in): For now o. For now.

Random customer 1 (continues): …and it tastes just as good.

Zikoko: So you mean I can use cucumber to make soup?

Random customer 1: Haven’t you been seeing the Instagram chef videos on social media?

Cucumber: Help me ask him o.

Zikoko: I thought cucumber was just for garnishing food and making healthy smoothies?

Random customer 2: I even heard some ladies use it in za other room.

(Cucumber leaps into the air, screaming.)

Cucumber: Tufiakwa! Evil people. They’ve come again to spoil the good things happening in my life with rumours and “them say, them say”. Oya, you!

(Cucumber points at random customer 2.)

Cucumber: Vamooze from my sight. Vamooze if you don’t want me to comot your teeth just now.

Zikoko: Please, calm down.

Cucumber: People like that want to ridicule and reduce me to an object of pleasure. They make people ashamed of associating with me in public.

Zikoko: So sorry about that.

Cucumber: Abeg, keep your sorry. You’re not blame-free. 

Zikoko: Me? How? What did I do?

Cucumber: Reducing me to something used for culinary aesthetics and discarded after?

Zikoko: But, isn’t it a good thing to help people stay healthy?

Cucumber: It’s good, but boring. The world doesn’t want boring. Nobody remembers you if you’re boring. It’s like a snake leaving no prints on a mountain. I want to be remembered for being the life of the party; the one people want every day. The one people can’t do without. Not the one treated as an afterthought.

Zikoko: I see. So, you’re getting that now?

Cucumber: Oh yes. I’ve been given a second chance, which is long due, and I plan to ride this wave for a long time.

Zikoko: But are you not getting ahead of yourself here? People still need pepper, even with you as a supplement.

Cucumber: Oh please. That one? Didn’t you see the display earlier on? He who the gods want to destroy, they first run mad.

Zikoko: I’m not sure I get your drift.

Cucumber: Pepper has had it coming for a while. Going into scarcity on a whim and leaving people to spend 100x the amount. The other day, I heard jollof made an off-white outing. Imagine jollof and off-white in the same sentence? Jollof that used to be red with hotness. God, abeg.

Now that people know there’s more to people like us, Pepper is getting jealous. E never see anything.

Zikoko: Sounds like a war is brewing.

(Cucumber’s phone rings.)

Cucumber: Hello? Have you set up the meeting date? We need to sustain the momentum now that the world still has our attention. If Gbigbe refuses to join the coalition, we’ll go to Gigun. If Gigun refuses, we’ll find a way still.

(Cucumber hangs up.)

Zikoko: Who was that?

Cucumber: You mentioned something about a war.

Zikoko: Yes, I did.

Cucumber: That was Carrot. We’re close to signing a deal with Atagbigbe and Atagigun.

Zikoko: Pepper’s relati—

Cucumber (cutting in): Tah! Relatives for where? People only remember them when Pepper chooses to go MIA. They’re seeking an escape and stand to benefit more from this deal.

Zikoko: I see. So the enemy of your enemy is your friend?

Cucumber: Precisely. If Rodo, Tomato, Tatashe and Shombo want to move like the world belongs to them, we’ll teach them a lesson.

Zikoko: I heard you say your price is cheap just for now. That means you want to move like pepper too?

Cucumber: Before? You think I came to this world to count ceilings? I won’t deny that I envy what Pepper has. I want that for myself.

Zikoko: But the people have turned to you because you aim to ease their suffering and offer a cheaper alternative.

Cucumber: For more than a month now, I’ve kept my prices between ₦200-500. But from next month? You’ll see the real me.

Zikoko: So this is how you want to use your second chan—

Cucumber (cutting in): Is that the time? Come and be going, please. I have an appointment with a Fitfam juice company.

Zikoko: But I thought you—

Cucumber: You thought what? That I’ll put all my eggs in one basket? Leemao.

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