"Oh my Gosh, what a beautiful mermaid I see over there!" exclaimed Babida, his axe in hand, taking a minute break from timber cutting. The cause of his interruption: a thin and black-skinned eighteen-year-old maiden with curly hair, holding in her right hand a basket of mushrooms. Her name was Suzie.
She was sent to the woods by her grandmother, big momma - like she tenderly called her - to fetch mushrooms for the dinner soup.
She had her back turned when Babida noticed her. She was worry-free searching for the white Button species and sorting them out. She was throwing away those that cause sickness and putting the ones she was bringing at home into her rubber-made basket.
She bent graciously to pick the mushrooms up and while doing so, her pink silk mini-dress moved upward, exposing, even more, the charms of her hairless legs. The skirt featured cords at the waist fastened on the front side in the form of a butterfly knot.
Babida was subjugated and the minute pause he had taken mutated into an eternal moment of infatuation. The steel axe he had held in the palms of his Herculean hands for the past two hours ended its course on the ground covered by green herbs.
"Hi, there!" He suddenly shouted from the top of his lungs.
Struck, Suzie looked behind her, her eyes wide open and her left hand on her chest, then deeply sighed, and took two steps back.
In front of her, a giant bodybuilt black man in his thirties, shirtless, sweating, with pecs as massive as mount Everest, and nurtured biceps displaying intersecting roads of veins.
"Who are you?" Suzie cried out in panic.
"What are you doing here?" She added.
"Sorry Miss, I didn't mean to frighten you. Pardon my manners!" Babida replied to her.
Not sure how to react to the stranger's assurance of coming in peace, Suzie chose to walk away.
"Anyway, I am leaving now." She said to him.
"A moment, please! May I know your name?" Babida responded while flashing a bright smile.
"What for? I said I am on my way. Did you not hear me?" Suzie retorted then started moving, her basket full of mushrooms in her hand.
Babida extended his right arm in an attempt to stop her but it was too late. Suzie had run away as fast as she could.
Disappointed, he sprung, fists closed, then screamed.
Back in the center of Ekule, one of the most incredible villages of the Batang empire in Africa, Suzie released her breath. She had escaped from the unknown.
She continued her walk home where her grandmother had long been waiting for her to prepare the mushroom soup.
"Hi, big momma!" Suzie said as she was getting inside the house.
"I am back home." She pursued while heading to the kitchen. She laid the basket of mushrooms in the sink.
"Where have you been, you little blighter?" Suzie's grandmother asked her upset.
"Big momma, I am sorry!" Suzie mumbled while rushing to hug the old lady in an attempt to calm her down.
"Today there were so many mushrooms across the forest. I had to make sure I took home as many as possible. I also had to be very selective so I could bring the healthiest ones for your preferred soup." She explained.
"Hmmm, now you are flattering me. You know every time how to appease me, especially when you bring at home my favorite chow." Grandma answered back in a mild tone of voice.
Suzie returned to the kitchen. She removed the mushrooms from the basket and placed them in a pot. She opened the tap to get some water, then tidied the white Buttons up.
And then…! The memory of what had happened in the woods popped up.
"Big momma, let me tell you the strange thing that occurred when I was in Ekule's forest!" Suzie declared to her grandmother sitting on the rattan chair in the parlor.
The sexagenarian who was airing herself with a floral folding hand fan glanced in the direction of her granddaughter and uttered "You again with your stories, what's up this time, little tattletale?"
"No big momma, it is not the usual gossip about the people in the village." Suzie contradicted her.
"I was stalked by a man in the forest. It seemed like he was a lumberjack but I did not have time to check." She asserted.
"What? What am I hearing here?" Grandma expressed herself, astonished.
"Who is this impertinent individual who endeavored to harm my precious angel?" She doubled down.
"No big momma, I was not hurt. I was just unpleasantly surprised at his sight. I thought I was in the woods all by myself." Suzie described to her infuriated nanny.
"Whatever! This should not repeat." Big momma reacted, firmly sweeping away her little daughter's euphemism.
Suzie whisted and resumed the cooking of mushrooms. She poured the pot's dirty water into the sink and grabbed a fresh one from the tap.
She salted the white Buttons, then added chopped parsley, minced onions, and ground garlic. Finally, she laid the pot of mushrooms on the firewood that was gently burning down.
Half an hour later, grandma started smelling the delicious aromas of her forever-loved dish.
"Hmmm, Suzie, you are making me salivate already. How long is it going to take before you serve me?" Big momma asked impatiently.
"Just ten more minutes to simmer the soup a bit and it's ready." The granddaughter answered smiling.
"Alright! But be fast! I am starving now." Grandma told her.
Ten minutes later the mushroom soup was ready. Its perfumed odor had spread all over the chalet. Suzie put a fair portion in big momma's assigned plate and brought it to the dining room.
"Dinner is served!" Suzie yelled. Big momma jumped out from the rattan chair and hastened to the eating table. She pulled her Windsor seat and sat.
"Yummy! Once again you have nailed it my dear darling. I am savoring it." The elderly woman praised.
"Thank you, big momma! But now it's time for me to have some rest. I had a fastidious day." Suzie responded, then climbed upstairs to go to her bedroom.