THE JAILBIRD (Episode 74)

© Aaron A. A

There is a gold-plated embossed name tag on the glas-s door that re-ads:

pri-vate LOUNGE

Effe slides the door open and enters the small but beautiful Lounge.
There are de-ep armchairs, a complex dressing-table, a desk with computer and printer and other fittings.
There is a tall, dark man in a beautiful African wear and black trou-sers sitting comfortably in one of the armchairs.
Elaine is sitting at the dressing-table as three beauticians attend to her.

She sees Effe throu-gh the mirror, and she shoos the women away and turns to face Effe.
She has a happy smile on her face that dies quic-kly when she sees how angry Effe is.

Wow, girlfriend, you look pissed.

Elaine, it’s enough.
With a ti-ght expression Elaine gets to her feet and spre-ads her hands in a gesture of confusion.

Enough? What do you mean, Ef?
Effe plants herself squarely in front of her life-long friend.

Enough about Chris, Elaine. The man is in hospital, fighting for his life. My son too, in case you haven’t heard, is also in a coma. And you don’t care? You just don’t give a damn? You’re going to do another dirty expo-se on him? Are you going to turn him into a beast again? Jesus, Elaine, the boy d@t£d you once. Don’t you think he’s suffered enough?

Elaine’s nostrils flare, and herl-ips move off her teeth in a rather unplea-sant snarl.
All her bitterness and hatred come to the fore.

Chris Bawa is a beast, Effe! Always has been, always will be! Now he’s living like a victim, everyb©dy feeling sorry for him because of that damn mad Baaba! Well, I’m very sorry about Junior, but I don’t give a damn about Chris. I’m going to remind this country once again that the man should be back in prison where he belongs!

Such hatred, Elaine! Such bitterness! Why do you hate Chris so much? I can’t believe it’s only because you claim he R@p£d you!

Claim? Did you say CLAIM? Damn you, Effe! You saw it yourself! You saw my tattered clothes, and you saw him on t©p of me with his damn d!¢k inside me! And you say I CLAIM?

He was your b©yfri£nd, Elaine! You know, Eyram once told me Chris doesn’t nee-d to r@p£ any woman! Well, maybe he did r@p£ you, but he told me that’s the way you liked your S-x….crazy and kinky! You know something? This doubting of Chris has st©pped with me. I’ve pledged to believe what he tells me. I’m going to believe in my man, Elaine, something I’ve stupidly not done all the years I’ve known him. I’ll believe him, trust him, and to hell with you.
He has served five years in prison, Elaine.

He’s out now, and I made his life so miserable! My God, Elaine, I helped the court s£ntence that poor man to twenty-five years in prison because, although I pu-ll-ed out, I prepared the case, and if it hadn’t been for Junior, Chris would’ve been in prison right now! Don’t you think he deserves a little break, Elly? He’s in a coma, Elly! Are you going to let this rot fester in you forever?

Get the hell out of here, Effe! I have new evidence that shows how that beast hit that girl and poked out a police officer’s eye! I’m going to show that to the world, whether you like it or not! I’m going to destroy Chris Bawa, and until he’s rotting in jail again, or dies, whichever comes first, I’m not going to let him have any peace!

Effe shakes her head, stunned by the woman’s pas-sionate hatred.

I pity you, Elaine, I really do. Go ahead, do your worst. But you should know one thing, girlfriend, as ha-rd as you try to destroy Chris, I’m going to love him ha-rder, okay? I’m going to love him so ha-rd , and so pas-sionately, that he wouldn’t give a dog’s as-s what you, or anyb©dy else for that matter, does to him.

So, go on, do your worst, Elaine! No matter what he goes throu-gh, I’m going to be there for him. I’ll cover him so completely with my love that your hatred, and that of everyone else, will be as useless as a wi-nk! But one thing is for sure, Elaine. After this interview, we cease to be friends. I’m going to hate you ten times more than you hate Chris.

She turns to leave, and notices that the strange man in the room is smiling rather mischievously at her.
She makes to walk away, but he stands up and extends his hand.

Hello, Madam Effe. My name is Wach!pa Sey, and I’m sure glad to make your acquaintance.
Effe shakes his hand.

Have we met before?

Oh, no, ma’am. Actually, I’m the man who’s going to be interviewed tonight by Elaine. I’m a bird watcher, you see, and I report to the National Geogra-phic. I watch African migrating birds.

And you saw my husband hitting that poor girl and wounding that policeman?

Yes, ma’am. I saw it all.
Effe shuts her eyes for a moment, and when she looks at him again there are tears in her eyes, but she br@vely refuses to let the tears fall.

Then, Mr. Wach!pa, I beg of you, do not do anything to hurt Chris, plea-se. He has paid for that mistake with five years of his life in prison. Is it the money? Whatever they’re giving you for this exclusive plea-se I’ll double it. Chris has been hurt too much, especially by me. He’s in a coma now, fighting for his life. He doesn’t nee-d to be hated again, plea-se, I beg of you. Don’t do this!

I’m sorry ma’am, but I think the world has to know what happened, no matter how unplea-sant it will be. The world nee-ds to know how evil Mr. Chris Bawa is.
Effe shakes her head, and does not say anything more.

She walks out with her head bent.
Elaine sits down again, and the make-up experts resume their work.
She sighs heavily.

She is shaking with intense anger and hatred, but she remembers Effe’s final words, and suddenly she is filled with dre-ad.

Effe, Eyram, their parents and Rupert are huddled around the be-ds.

Effe k!sses Junior on the forehead, and then she walks up to the be-d where Chris is still lying immobile, the machines beeping all around him.

She has tears in her eyes as she sits on the be-d, leans across and hvgs Chris, putting her head on his che-st.

Her tears fall silently.

Chris-Love… plea-se, live. You and your son…don’t make me go mad, plea-se. I love you very much, CB. I’ll always love you. Live, my love… just live.

Rupert sighs and lays a hand on her shoulder.

He nods at Ken.

Ken Kedem sighs tremulously.

Come, my princess. Let’s go home, dear. You nee-d to rest.

Effe does not budge.

She keeps on speaking tenderly  to Chris.
After a while the others leave the Ward quietly, leaving Effe and her boys.

To be continued

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