It was Sunday morning and Zahara was drawing a picture in her bedroom. Ding dong, the front doorbell rang. Zahara ran to open the door. It was her granny.
“Hello, Granny,” she said, giving her grandmother a hug.
“I bought a roast chicken from the supermarket,” said Granny. The chicken was packed in a big white packet and it felt warm when Zahara touched it. It smelled wonderful!
“Oh good,” said Zahara’s mother coming towards the door. “Put it on the kitchen counter, and we’ll eat it for lunch.”
“I can’t wait to eat it,” said Zahara. “It smells so yummy.”
“I’ll make some tea,” said Daddy from the kitchen. “You three can sit on the couch and relax. Why don’t you watch TV?”
Just then Zahara heard her father’s cellphone ring and then she heard him talking on the phone.
“I have to go to work,” said Daddy walking to the front door. “I’ll be back later.”
Granny and Mama were busy watching their favourite TV program.
“Bye,” said Mama.
“Bye,” said Granny.
Zahara was drawing. “Bye, Daddy,” she said.
Soon Granny and Mama’s TV program was over and it was lunchtime. Mama went to the kitchen to fetch some bread, salad and the roast chicken. She opened the packet, took out the chicken and put it on a plate. Oh! Mama’s eyes went wide with shock. Something was missing! One of the drumsticks was gone.
“Zahara,” she called. “Come here, right now.”
Zahara knew that when Mama called her in that cross voice, she had to run. Quickly, she put down her crayon and hurried to the kitchen. “What’s wrong, Mama?” she asked.
“Did you eat a drumstick? Someone has pulled off a whole drumstick and eaten it,” said Mama pointing to the chicken.
“No, Mama,” said Zahara. “I promise, it wasn’t me.”
“Are you sure?” asked Mama.
“I’m VERY sure, Mama,” said Zahara looking worried.
Mama didn’t say anything else. Instead, she went outside to where Uncle Joe was mending his car.
“Joe, did you eat the drumstick from the chicken?” she asked.
Uncle Joe had the radio turned up loud. “What did you say?” he shouted.
“DID YOU EAT THE DRUMSTICK FROM THE CHICKEN?” shouted Mama above the music.
“Yes, please, I’d like some chicken, and a glass of cooldrink too,” he yelled.
Mama sighed. She went to the big mango tree in the corner of the garden. Zahara’s younger brother, David, and his best friend, Lebo, were playing in the branches.
“David,” said Mama, “did you eat the drumstick from the chicken?”
“Oh good, is it lunchtime?” said David. “We’re so hungry.”
“Did you eat the drumstick?” asked Mama again.
“No, Mama,” said David.
“He didn’t,” said Lebo. “We’ve been playing in the tree all the time.”
Mama went back into the house. She was very upset. “So, nobody ate the drumstick,” she said. “Then where can it be?”
“Maybe the lady at the supermarket took it,” Zahara suggested.
Mama clapped her hands. “Of course! That’s what happened! The lady at the supermarket who sold the chicken to Granny must have pulled it off and given it to someone else.”
“Oh no,” cried Granny. “I asked her for a whole roast chicken. I paid for a whole roast chicken, and now she has taken some of it. And we haven’t got enough for lunch.” Granny began to cry.
Zahara was so sad to see Granny crying that she began to cry too. That set Mama off. All three of them sat and cried and cried.
So, Mama, Granny and Zahara set off for the supermarket, while Uncle Joe kept an eye on David and Lebo.
“I’d like to speak to the manager,” said Mama when they got there. She used her cross voice, and the manager came running.
“How can I help you, Madam?” he asked.
“Somebody took the drumstick from our chicken!” cried Mama, Granny and Zahara together.
“That is very serious,” said the manager. “I’ll call the woman from the roast chicken counter.” He picked up the intercom and said, “Roast Chicken Counter Woman, Roast Chicken Counter Woman, please come to the manager’s office urgently.”
Mama tapped her foot and waited. Soon the woman from the roast chicken counter came running in. “Can I help you?” she asked.
“This customer says you took the drumstick from her roast chicken,” said the manager.
“No, I didn’t,” said the woman. “I put the whole roast chicken in the packet and gave it to Granny.”
“Oh no, no, no!” said Mama. “When I opened the bag with the chicken in it at home the drumstick was gone!”
The woman quivered and quaked in her shoes. “I didn’t take it, I promise. I didn’t,” she said.
The manager was very angry. “Fetch these people another roast chicken right away,” he bellowed. “Granny, I will give you a whole new roast chicken for free, and a chocolate cake, to say sorry.”
So, Mama, Granny and Zahara went home with a whole new roast chicken in a white bag, and a big chocolate cake in a box.
When they got home, Daddy was back from work. “Where have you been?” he asked. “Why haven’t you had lunch yet?”
So Zahara told him the whole story. She was very surprised to see Daddy looking so shocked.
“Oh no,” said Daddy. “I’ve done a terrible thing. I took the drumstick as I was leaving for work. I was hungry, and it smelled so good.”
“Oh no,” cried Mama. “I got that poor woman at the supermarket into trouble for nothing.”
“And I put the idea in your head that she might have taken it,” said Zahara. “Oh no!”
So, Daddy, Mama, Granny and Zahara packed the second roast chicken and the chocolate cake into a packet, and they went all the way back to the supermarket. When they got there, they went straight to the manager’s office.
The manager was so worried when he saw them – AGAIN! “Oh no, what is wrong now?” he said to himself. “That woman is going to shout at me again.”
But Mama didn’t shout.
“We’re very, very sorry,” said Mama, Granny, Daddy and Zahara.
“It’s all my fault,” said Daddy. “I was hungry. I took the drumstick. Please call the woman from the roast chicken counter.” The manager picked up the intercom. “Roast Chicken Counter Woman, Roast Chicken Counter Woman, please come to the manager’s office urgently.”
The woman from the roast chicken counter looked very scared when she saw Mama, Daddy, Granny and Zahara. “Please, don’t fire me,” she said to the manager. But Daddy took out his wallet and gave the manager the money for the roast chicken and the chocolate cake. Then he gave the woman the packet. “Here you are,” he said. “I’m sorry we got you into trouble. Please enjoy these.” The woman was very pleased to have a chicken and a cake for her lunch.
But Zahara was disappointed. “You gave away the chocolate cake,” she said. So Daddy took out his wallet again and bought another roast chicken and another chocolate cake. After lunch everyone had a slice of cake – Mama, Daddy, Granny, Uncle Joe, Zahara, David and Lebo. But the biggest slice of all went to Zahara, because she was Daddy’s special girl.