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THE JAILBIRD (Episode 88)

THE JAILBIRD EPISODE 88
© Aaron A. A

EDEN HOSPITAL – EXECUTIVE MALE WARD 3
Chris Bawa can feel a weight on his che-st, and he can feel the middle f!nger of his left hand gr!pp£dloosely.

He is in darkness, and it takes a moment later for him to realize that his eyes are closed.

He opens his eyes slowly, lazily, by degrees.
He is lying on a be-d, big and comfortable.

He can feel a dull pain in his right th!gh, and slowly he recalls the amazing thing that had happened and how he had almost ended his own life.

Now it seems he is in a hospital, because he can see a white ceiling and the ceiling-fan that has the black inscription: EDEN HOSPITAL.

The ceiling-fan is not rotating because he can feel the cool comfort of the room, a modulated temperature from the air-conditioner.

Chris lies very still.

The window blinds are drawn, and the room is relatively dark, telling him that night has crept in.

For a moment his sane mind re-lives the horror of Junior lying so still in Ward 7, and in the darkness a pained grimace pas-ses over his face.

A moment later he realizes that the weight on his che-st is a head.

Someb©dy is lying by his side, and that someb©dy’s head is on his che-st, and that someb©dy is holding his big f!nger!

Sadness spre-ads throu-gh Chris’ heart.
Only Junior can hold him like that, and Junior is still fighting for his life!

He gives a tremulous sigh as he feels the tell-tale sting in his eyes that tells him that once again tears are not far from his eyes.

CHRIS
(painfully)
Oh, Champ!
The moment he whispers he hears an indrawn breath, and then the fluorescent bulb in the ceiling comes on immediately.

Chris shuts his eyes ti-ghtly against the glare, and from far away he heard the choked-off sound of a muted cry.

The pressure leaves his f!nger, and he feels the weight lifting off his che-st, and then Chris opens his eyes slowly, and finds himself looking into the handsome face of Junior.

Chris st©ps breathing.
He goes absolutely still!
Surely, he is dreaming!
Surely this cannot be right!
Surely this is just an extension of his warped and diseased [email protected], a halo conjured up by the inner cravings of his heart.
He closes his eyes, opens it, and Junior is still there, looking down at him with a slightly-puckered brow, that peculiar look of his that says he is confused by something.

CHRIS
(whispering)
Champ?
Junior changes the angle of his head and slowly reaches up and holds the bushy beard on Chris’ face, giving it a gentle tug.

JUNIOR
(disapprovingly)
Oh, Daddy! Why is your face so full of Bonny M hair? I really really really don’t like it at all! You look like a terrorist!
And that is when Chris begins to shake.
His whole b©dy trembles violently, and he reaches up with unsteady hands and t©uçhes his son’s cheeks, and then he cannot really see Junior because his eyes are rendered sightless by his tears.

CHRIS
(whimpering)
Oh, Champ! Oh, Champ! Oh, Champ!
His great arms come off the hospital be-d and he crushes his son to his che-st in an effusive [email protected], and his hvge b©dy begins to shake as he weeps.

After a while he feels Junior struggling.

JUNIOR
(voice muffled)
Hey! Hey, Daddy!!

CHRIS
(weeping)
Champ!

JUNIOR
(giggling)
Do you think I’m Crankson? I can’t breathe, Daddy! You’re killing me!

Chris re-leases his son immediately, and the boy rears up above Chris again, and his little face is filled with happiness as he ru-bs his face with mock seriousness.

CHRIS
(tremulously)
Champ! This is a miracle!

JUNIOR
Have you got knives in your beard? The hair was cutting my face!

Hey, Mommy, your husband is awake? You can do the l!çk!ng-face now, if you want!

He looks down at his stunned father and continues to giggle.

JUNIOR
When you were asleep Mommy was doing the l!çk!ng -face thing, and I told her to st©p because I wanted to lie on your che-st, and she wasn’t really really really happy about that!

Chris turns his head slowly.

Effe is sitting on a chair beside the be-d.

She is the one who had switched on the light.

He sees how strained her face is, how beautiful she is, how loving those eyes are.
They look at each other, and in that space of time something hidden pas-ses between them.

It is a reaffirmation of love, the realization of the horrors that has plagued them, of paradise tottering on the brink of extinction, of love reigning supreme, of silent pledges to fight for a love that has been buffeted from all angles by really abnormal winds of destruction.

JUNIOR
(giggling)
Oh-oh, oh-oh, oh-oh! No-no, no-no, no-no! I know when you are goggling eyes like that! This is a hospital, Mommy and Daddy, and I’m really really really here!

Effe and Chris smile at that, but they do not break eye contact.

Effe raises a hand and brush tears from her cheeks, and her rings glitter in the light.
The rings. His rings. Wedding rings.
His wife.

CHRIS
(lovingly)
My Angelface. I have wronged you. I have hurt you so badly.

Effe bites her lowerl-ip, and although her tears fall unchecked now, she maintains eye contact with him.

EFFE
(tenderly)
Chris-Love! I hurt you more. In so many ways. I allowed my pain to take over by reasoning capabilities.

Chris slowly reaches out for her with his right hand, and Junior gently moves across Chris’ b©dy and lies down on his left side, in the crook of his arms, his little dear face awash with embarras-sed curiosity and expectation.

CHRIS
Angelface. plea-se, forgive me. I’m so sorry!
Effe leans forward and gr-abs his hand, her f!ngerscurling ti-ghtly around his, her b©dy shaking as she stands up with a little sob that dissolves all her fears and horror!
She carefully slides over the be-d.

EFFE
My love! Chris-Love! Forgive me too! Just forgive me, my love.

Junior clamps both hands across his face and shudders.

JUNIOR
(abashed)
Oh boy! Here it comes! The l!çk!ng of faces! Disrespecting me, your only son!
They do not mind him.

Herl-ips cover his, and their tears mingle, and their heart sigh in that most powerful moment.

Theirl-ips seal, a healing balm that finally care-sses the seething pain in their hearts.
Their k!ssis gentle and sweet.

After a while Effe leans back and falls into the crook of his right arm.

EFFE
(softly)
You still stink, Chris Bawa!

Junior giggles insanely and tosses his legs in the air.

JUNIOR
Yes! I smelt it, but I really really really didn’t want to say it!

It is coming from his beard! It stinks like a skunk!

The three of them giggle.

Chris draws Effe into a fierce [email protected]

CHRIS
I made a promise to God. I begged Him to heal Junior, and I’ll become a dedicated Christian.

There is a silence between them, a coldness that suddenly freezes them.

EFFE
If you did that, why did you pick up a gun, Chris-Love?

Stan [email protected]£ to you and found you lying in a pool of blood this dawn. I was having some painful contractions at the same time. He called Jon Fii, and they brou-ght you
to the hospital in the prison ambulance. You would’ve bled to death, my love. At that same time when I was having the contractions, Junior also [email protected]£ out of the coma.

Junior gr-abs his father’s middle f!nger ti-ghtly.

JUNIOR
(sadly)
No more guns, Daddy! Ever ever ever again, my Daddy.

Chris sighs miserably.

CHRIS
I was so lost, my dears. It was a really dark time for me, I guess. But it’s not a solution to any problem. You have to confront your demons in life head on. Killing yourself is not an option. It is a promise. No more guns, ever again!

They lie in the be-d, the three of them, silent and brooding, and suddenly Chris j£rks, startled, as he feels a gentle kick in his ribs from Effe’s bulging belly.

Effe laughs happily, filled with a buoyant joy.

EFFE
That’s the bulge, Chris-Love. The scan confirmed that we’re going to have a girl.
Junior scrambles across his father’s b©dy fast, his face all excited.

JUNIOR
([email protected])
Ohhhhhh! My sister! Lemme see lemme see lemme see lemme see!

He ru-bs his little hand over the bulge in Effe’s belly as her baby girl strains against her belly, as if she also wants to be a [email protected] of the conversation.

CHRIS
She’s going to be a feisty one, I can tell.

EFFE
Yes, stubborn. As stubborn as her father, no doubt.

CHRIS
(giggling)
Stubborn is good. But she’s going to be beautiful too, as beautiful as her mother.
Junior falls back into his father’s left side, and he heaves a sigh of relief.

JUNIOR
(giggling)
Hm. Hm….hm. Hm!

EFFE
Say it! Go on! Say it and st©p behaving like humming frog.
Junior giggles.

JUNIOR
So, my baby sister is going to be born soon?

CHRIS
Yes, my Champ. I can’t wait to meet her.
They are quiet for some time, each lost in the magical moment of their happiness, each hoping it will go on forever.

JUNIOR
(sombrely)
So. There’ll never be a divorce?

CHRIS
No, Champ. Never.

EFFE
We’re going to be together, as a family, and remain a family, yes, my Prince.

JUNIOR
Till you’re both old and talkatives like granpas and grandmas?
Effe and Chris giggle.

CHRIS
Yeah, Champ. Your Mommy and I used to talk about that a lot. Walking-Stick love. Yes, I’ll love that very much.

Effe runs a hand tenderly down his throat and, out of the sight of Junior, gently tweaks his right n!ppl!.

EFFE
Yes, Chris-Love. Our ‘Poma’ Love.

JUNIOR
So, it’s like, my sister is going to have a flat d!¢ky like all girls, right?
Chris laughs at that, so loudly that Effe reaches up and puts a hand across his mouth.

CHRIS
Damn, Champ! Yes, but you can’t call it a d!¢ky!

JUNIOR
(giggling)
But how would we call it? A flato?

CHRIS
(laughing) That sounds like some damaged car.

JUNIOR
(laughing)
Alright. Flatter. We’ll call her d!¢ky a flatter!
As both of them laugh, Effe shakes her head.

EFFE
(smiling)
Silly fools!

To be continued

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