THE JAILBIRD (Episode 67)

® Aaron A. A


Eyram carefully applies makeup to hide the tear marks on her face. She picks up herl-ipstick, and looks into the hvge mirror.
The door opens behind her, and Effe comes slowly to stand beside her.
They look at each other in the mirror.
Effe’s face is pale, and Eyram knows that she is un-der a lot of strain, and she is suffering terribly.

(softly) Thought I saw you coming in here, Rammy. I’ve been in the lounge, watching proceedings on the television.
Eyram looks at her sister, and then she slowly puts thel-ipstick back in her bag.

(bitterly) Hi, Ef. You really did a marvellous job winning Chris back. You deserve a round of applause.

Effe shuts her eyes, and for a brief moment a look of sheer pain crosses her face. She bites herl-ip, and then she bends her head.
When she looks up tears are shimmering in her eyes, but she fights it back furiously.

How’s Junior, Rammy?
Again, Eyram looks at her sister for a long time before replying.

He’s doing fine. He just didn’t want to go to school this morning. I think the other kids are saying nas-ty things about his father.
The tears slowly spill down Effe’s cheeks.

(tremulously) I have been blind, Rammy. Chris just told me he’s never done drugs. Do you remember the first time he was arrested with a lot of drugs in his car? I believed him today, and if he told the truth, it makes me wonder what really happened five years ago. I still love Chris. I’ll never st©p loving him…I just can’t! And if I’ve been wrong about him all these years, I think I’ll die! He told me he doesn’t remember as-saulting Baaba, and I believe him. But she beat the lie detector! How on earth could she do that?

That girl is sick, Ef! There’s something wrong with her head, I keep telling you that, but you simply won’t listen! I’ve no pity for her because, sorry to say this, she’s quite mad! She’s infatuated with Chris! Dear God, she attacked him with a rock once, did you know that? I had to stitch his scalp! And do you know why? It was because Chris told her he loved you and he wouldn’t, as a result, make love to her. That stupid Buabasah wouldn’t put me in the witness box even though I’ve begged him to.

(shaking her head)
She pas-sed the lie detector test, Rammy! No one can beat the lie detector. Her words are the truth! And the ghastly wounds on her? Do you think she inflicted them on herself? Chris’ semen was inside her v@g!n@ , Rammy, and she had bruises inside her v@g!n@ indicating f0rç£d entry! p@rts of his skin were found un-der her f!ngernails!

There was cocaine in Chris’ blood, Rammy! Can you explain that? She must be a disturbe-d girl, but these are ha-rd facts, Rammy, and I WORK WITH FACTS, and that’s what blinded me. But I believe Chris now, and so I nee-d to find out how Baaba pu-ll-ed this off, otherwise Chris will be in prison.

Eyram slings her bag across her shoulder, and looks sadly at her sister.

I can’t explain how she pu-ll-ed it off, Ef. But maybe she provoked Chris too much that morning when Chris was obviously quite distressed. Do you know Chris called me that morning? He was asking me about the In Vitro Fertilization, Ef. That might’ve triggered something in him.

Effe g@sps, and she takes a step back as if from a physical b!ow. Her face is scre-wed up with shock.


You heard me, Ef. The IVF, with Steve’s sp-erm and my egg. He knew about it. He asked about it that morning.

(in pain)
Oh, Lord no! Oh, dear Lord, no! Why didn’t you tell me, Rammy?

I should have, but everything was happening so fast and I forgot about it. They didn’t allow me to see him. I wanted to tell him the truth, that you found out at the last minute that you were pregnant finally, and so the IVF wasn’t necessary.

Oh my dearest sweet Jesus! That must be it. He was shattered! I’m sure Steve told him about the IVF, and I’m sure Steve conveniently left out the fact that I absolutely refused to let Doctor Anaman use Steve’s sp-erm . And Chris didn’t know I bec@m£ pregnant and so I didn’t go throu-gh with it! Oh my God! Oh Chris-Love!

Yes, I’m sure it triggered Chris’ inner demons, and he reacted savagely towards Baaba. We nee-d to help him, Ef.
She walks past Effe and out of the washroom.

Effe stands transfixed, seeing nothing.
Oh dear Lord! Oh, dear sweet Lord!
She now knows Eyram is right.
It explains everything. Chris loves his son with a pas-sion fiercer than anything she had ever seen.

Learning about the In Vitro must have hurt him rather terribly and been a catalyst for what happened.
She nee-ds to see Chris and clear that misun-derstanding.

She shudders and looks at her haunted face throu-gh the mirror.
Everything is spiralling out of control. She is losing her man, and her son.
She must do something about it…and fast!

Chief Inspector Danso Cuger now takes the witness stand.
He is sworn in.
He is led un-der evidence by Atakora.
Cuger describes how Baaba’s call was received and how he was dispatched to attend to the distress call.

We found Mr. Bawa on the floor of the kitchen, with a g@sh on the back of his head. Miss Baaba Brooks was lying on the floor, ba-rely able to move. She had de-ep wounds on her face and she couldn’t move her arms. She was n-ked, just like Mr. Bawa, who was bleeding from the face where Miss Brooks had scratched him.

Atakora hesitates.
It is evident that some of his earlier grim determination has deserted him.

And did you find any evidence of ha-rd drugs?

Oh, yes. On the floor were white powdery substances we suspected was cocaine. We found some around Mr. Bawa’sl-ips and nostrils.

And what happened next?

We radioed for an ambulance and s£nt Miss Brooks to the Eden hospital. By then Mr. Bawa had come out of the unconscious state, so using Miss Brooks’ phone call as a report we detained him at the station for further investigations. When we got a chance to interview her she confirmed she had been R@p£d, and so we formerly charged him with the crime.

But the powdery substance? You couldn’t possibly identify it, could you? Thinking it was cocaine was just an opinion, wasn’t it?

Well, the Forensic experts c@m£ in with the Crime Scene Investigators, and their reports indicated that indeed it was cocaine.

Thank you, Chief Inspector. No further questions, Your Honour.
Judge Ossom clears his throat and looks at Ben Buabasah, and people begin to laugh.

Defence Counsel, are you re-ady to cross-examine?

Ben Buabasah gets to his feet.

No questions, Your Honour.
There is loud laughter now.
Up in the stands a grim-faced Steve is seen returning to the courtroom. He walks detectedly and sits down beside Afful.
Steve leans close to Afful and speaks with hatred.

He’s cooked now, isn’t he? Twenty years at least. Enough time for me to win Effe back.

He’s getting the full twenty-five. He’s a goner. You got your pvzzyback, bro. You’re the man, dawg. The pvzzyis yours.
They both laugh and bu-mp fists.
Chris sits still.

His head is now bowed.
Atakora looks at him as he sits down.
He sits quietly for a long time, and slowly the babble in the courtroom dies down and all eyes turn to him.

He is remembering Chris’ pas-sionate appeal to Effe that he knows nothing of what had happened.

Atakora tries to convince himself that Chris is lying, but still he has an uncomfortable feeling in his guts.
The television c@m£ra swings to him, and it highlights the tens£ness in his face.

Is the Prosecution re-ady to proceed?
Atakora looks up slowly, and then he turns and looks at Chris again.
He sighs and stands up.

We now call Doctor Kenneth Pintos to the stand.

Dr. Pintos is a severe-looking but handsome middle-aged man. Medium build, dark and trim, he is wearing a nice wine suit.
He is sworn in on the Bible.
Atakora then leads him in evidence.
He confirms lacerations and cuts that indicate f0rç£d entry into Baaba, confirming r@p£. He confirms the sp-erm s found inside her matches the DNA of Chris.

And you also run tests on the accused?

Yes. It is standard procedure.

And your findings?

(sadly) We found significant amounts of cocaine in his streams. Tissues on his fists also showed he used blunt f0rç£ in hitting Miss Brooks.

(hesitating) Do you think, in your professional view, of course, that the accused, Mr. Chris Bawa, was acting un-der the influence of drugs and might not have been fully aware of what he was doing?

I think Mr. Bawa knew exactly what he was doing. He didn’t give any indication, whatsoever, that he wasn’t in complete control of his faculties. I may be wrong, and a psychiatry evaluation might show just the opposite, but, sitting here, I’m convinced that he was absolutely in total control all the time, and knew exactly what he was doing.

(sadly) Thank you, Doctor. That will be all, Your Honour.

This time he neither looks at Chris or the jury as he sits down. There is a sheen of perspiration on his face and he takes out a white, perfumed and folded handkerchief and dabs at his face.


The crowd suddenly comes alive with a loud answer.

No questions!
Even Judge Ossom smiles a little as a roar of laughter fills the courtroom.
He holds up a hand and ban-gs down with his gavel repeatedly on the sound board. After a while the laughter die down.

Looking extremely embarras-sed, Ben Buabasah stands up and shakes his head.

No questions, Your Honour.
The courtroom erupts with gales of laughter and catcalling that go on for some time.

Will the Prosecution be calling any more witnesses?

Jeff Atakora stands up.

No, Your Honour.

Will Counsel call witnesses now?

No, Your Honour.

Alright. We’ll call it a wra-p then. We’ll meet tomorrow at ten in the morning to take your closing statements, if any, and hopefully give a ruling. Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.

There is a babble as they all stand up for the Judge to leave.
Insults are hurled at Chris as he stands up, and as he is being led away people scream and hurl paper bullets at him.
Chris’ head is held up defiantly, his shoulders straight as he marches towards the little door.

Eyram can no longer stand it.
She gets up and rushes past a downhearted Wailer Vroom, and then she runs up the walkway and out of the court.

Atakora watches Chris as he pas-ses throu-gh the door, and his hands tremble as a painful  lump rises up in his throat.
He knows, without any shadow of a doubt, that he has succeeded in s£nding Chris to prison again.

There is no doubt about it.

To be continued

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