THE JAILBIRD (Episode 64)

© Aaron A. A

There is absolute silence in the room as Eyram tries to speak, but instead tears of anguish well up in her eyes and spill slowly down her cheeks.
Herl-ips tremble, and she raises a trembling hand to her cheeks and brushes her tears away unsuccessfully.

We’re twins, Ef. I’ve never envied you for anything, and I’ve always wished you well. The only thing I have ever wanted, and envied you for, is Chris. I know it is sick, and I know it is bad, incestuous even, and so I’ve fought it, and hid it. But yes, today I plead with you, as a twin sister only can, by the special bond we share, that don’t do this to Chris, plea-se. You may have a choice with Steve, but yes, I love Chris.


(shaking his head)
Ken Kedem does not speak.
Effe raises trembling f!ngersto herl-ips, and she takes an unsteady step forward. She looks de-eply into Eyram’s eyes, and when she speaks her voice trembles.

Have you sle-pt with Chris, Rammy?
Eyram does not bat an eye. She returns her sister’s look.

No. Chris did not want to. He loved and respected you too much to stoop that low.

RAMMY!! YOU tried to s£dûç£Chris?

Yes, dear sister, and not only once.
Effe’s hand flies out, and she sl@ps Eyram across her right cheek.
The sound is nas-ty, causing her parents to scream with shock.
The sl@p makes Eyram take a step back, her head spinning.
Steve gr-abs Effe and holds her ti-ght.
Effe’s hand is outlined plainly on Eyram’s tender skin now.

Get out of my sight, Eyram! You get out of my sight before I kill you! GET OUT! GET OUTTTT!!

Eyram picks up her bag and slings it across her shoulder.
Her tears are flowing h0tly now.

My God, Eyram! How could you? That’s disgusting!

No, baby, darling, no!!
Eyram raises her head and looks at them.

I’m not sorry about my love for Chris. I don’t think Effe loves him. I’ll tell you all this, if Effe manages to get him locked up in prison, I’m going to be with him. Do you hear me, Effe? If you marry Steve, I’ll take Chris!

Effe tries to get at her sister again. She is screaming and her hands are out, but Steve holds her ti-ghtly.
Without another word Eyram leaves the house.


It is the Sunday before the famous trial begins.
It has been a week of uproar in the nation.
The news and the impending trial has gr!pp£dthe nation by the throat, and has even attra-cted international audiences.
The fact that an ex-wife is leading the prosecution has raised a whole lot of debates during the week.
Whilst some people see it as something good to s£nd a message of warning, others are of the view that it is unethical and dangerous.
The suspicious see it as a way of aiding a ha-rd ened criminal to go scot free.
As the debate continued, Judge Annor had had no option than to announce that proceedings are going to be carried live on television for everyb©dy to witness, and this had settled the uproar, and now people are looking forward to the trial with real anticipation.
Discussions rage on television, radio and social media. Most newspapers are churning out daily upd@t£s.
The fever has gr!pp£dthe whole nation, and although everyb©dy knows it will be a short court case, they still wait patiently, interested only in the number of years that the judge will hand down to Chris Bawa.
Judge Ossom Annor has remanded Bawa in cells, and he is not allowed any visitors.
That faithful Sunday the press descends, without mercy, on the church premises.
Curious members of the public also attend church, and so the church auditorium is filled to capacity.
The Bawa family has not made any public pronouncements on the issue, and so the press has come to church to see if the man of God will say something about the furore surrounding his youngest child.
Effe, Steve, Afful and Elaine are sitting at their usual places. Junior, who has been with his grandparents ever since the sad news broke out, sits still besides his grandfather in the middle row, and he makes no attempt to go to his mother, as he usually does, and this single act hurts Effe very much.
Eyram is also in church, but surprisingly she sits very far away from Effe, and does not even look in her direction, which other members of the congregation who know them find very strange.
For several years the twins have always sat together in church; they have been that inseparable.
After the Bible Studies, there was time for testimonies, and then there was worsh!p, and praises, and now it is time for the man of God to preach.
The Reverend br@nd Bawa, resplendent as always in a superb wine suit and white shi-t, mounts the podium.
His expression is that of de-ep regret and sorrow.
Around that same time Junior gets up to go to the gents, and his grand-father gets up to go with him.
The reverend looks pious and wise as he stares emptily into the air for a moment, and then he sighs and adjusts the microphone downward a bit.

(sad and hurt) I might as well get this over with before I continue. All of you know that my youngest son, Mr. Chris Bawa, has been arrested again for a very heinous crime against an innocent young woman.
There are great sighs in the auditorium, and all sounds die down. Junior st©ps suddenly and turns to face the pulpit.
Ken Kedem tries to take his hand and lead him away, but the boy draws his hand back and stare up at the man of God.

I have loved that boy, and I’ve done all that a father could do, and more. I’ve prayed, fasted and gone down the road of ashes for him. Alas, drugs and alcohol continue to rage throu-gh the veins of that boy, and it has come to a point where I can only sustain him in prayers. I’ve asked the good Lord to t©uçh that boy’s heart, and bring him home, if it is the will of the Lord. Until then, we as a family, regretfully wish to inform you that we have asked him to st©p using our surname. Chris, he is called, but we are unable at this time, in the face of this atrocity, to allow him to use the name BAWA.

There is ra-pturous applause from the congregation.

God bless you, Father!
We support you, Father!

Long overdue! May the Lord heal him!
And there are other cries of support from the congregation as the applause goes on.
The journalists are having a field day. Their c@m£ras had been recording, and now they snap away, taking numerous pictures.
And then, as the man of God holds up one hand, and uses a handkerchief to wipe tears of sorrow from his eyes, he looks down, and sees Junior standing in front of the pulpit, looking up at him.
There are microphones lying on the raised podium, left there by people who had given testimonies and sang to the glory of God.
The podium is a bit raised, and so with Junior standing on the floor just in front of the raised p@rt, the microphones, still turned on, are r0ûghly in direct alignment to his mouth, and so when he speaks the microphones carry his words throu-gh the speakers, and everyb©dy in the church hears him loud and clear.

Are you saying my Daddy is no longer your son, Grandpa?
His unsteady voice, filled with unshed tears, carry round the church, stunning everyb©dy into silence.
Effe stands up, aghast, and tries to get out of the seats to get to her son.
The man of God looks at the little boy, and Mrs. Lois Bawa puts a hand to her heart.

I didn’t say that, Junior. That’s not how I meant it.

(voice trembling)
No, you did! You did, Grandpa! Sunday School teacher says we shouldn’t lie, but you’re lying now. You’re really really really lying now!

That’s enough, Junior!
He tries to hold the boy’s arm, but again Junior shrugs free.

That means I’m also not your grandson, isn’t it?

No, no, no, no! Junior, I love you, I’ll always love you. It’s not as you’re taking it!

(weeping now)
You’re still lying, Grandpa! Sunday School teacher says Jesus went to look for the lost sheep that got lost! It’s one of my really really really favourite stories! Jesus looked for the sheep until he found it and brou-ght it back to the herd, see? Sunday School teacher says the sheep is like sinners, okay? So, Jesus looks for sinners! You know what I think, Grandpa?
I think if you’ve been Jesus you would’ve left that lost sheep and you never would’ve looked for it and you’ll have just said it is not your sheep again and you’ll pray for it to come back home! But I know you can’t pray for lost sheep to come home. Just like Jesus you have to search for it in really really really awful places before you can find it and bring it home. You’re not like Jesus! You just want to leave that lost sheep to die!

The boy is hurt, and he is weeping, and he standing stiffly and speaking, and as his voice carries throu-gh the church it t©uçhes hearts, and it freezes everyone.
The reverend br@nd Bawa slowly drops his hand, and on his face is a look of stunned incredulity.
Stan Bawa stands up, quite embarras-sed by the whole spectacle, and quite angry with the little spoilt br@t who has never been held in check.
He glares down at Junior and speaks in harsh angry tones.

Now st©p that nons-en-se, Junior! This is adult talk, and you’re too young to un-derstand! St©p being so impertinent! Go back to your seat right now.
And then Junior points a tiny accusing f!nger at his uncle, and his little face is filled with such pas-sionate emotion as his tears fall, that it rattles Stan greatly.

I know it is you, Uncle Stan! I know Grandpa would never never never really really really have said that my daddy is not his son if it hadn’t been for you! You’ve never really really really ever ever liked my Daddy! I know it is you who suggested this! You don’t like my Daddy, Aunt Diana does not like my Daddy, Grandma Lois does not like my Daddy, Grandpa br@nd does not like my Daddy! Why, Uncle Stan? Why do you hate my Daddy?
Stan cannot utter a word.
He is stunned that the little boy can pinpoint so accurately that he has been the instigator of the man of God disowning his last son.
Sweat  suddenly forms on Stan’s face and fall down his face, and in his shame he takes out a hvge handkerchief and wipes his face.

To be continued

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