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THE JAILBIRD (Episode 62)

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THE JAILBIRD EPISODE 62
© Aaron A. A

SLOAN, MENSAH AND KEDEM OFFICES – AFTERNOON

Effe’s office door opens.
Her office is huge, replete with all the modern gadgets that a state-of-the-art office should have.
Her desk is U-shaped, made of polished mahogany.
The view out of the window is an exquisite sight of the beach front.
There is a door that leads to a finely-furnished sleeping quarters.
The sitting area is furnished with the best settees and a mini bar.
Three men walk into her office, sharply-dressed in suits.

They are HAMMOND SLOAN, senior and founding partner, ALBERT MENSAH, partner and JEFF ATAKORA, the Public Prosecutor.
Effe has just landed that morning. She had cancelled her participation at the seminar and arrived in Accra.
During the night, she had forced herself to follow the terrible news feed about Chris Bawa.
It is now an international viral news item.
The Beast has fed, and suddenly everybody is in arms.
From the clergy to the judiciary to the ordinary man on the street, the cry is the same: Chris Bawa, The Beast, should be punished to the most rigorous extends of the law possible.

She has finished mourning Chris, and the only feeling she has left is a hatred so strong that it threatens to suffocate her.
Effe is dressed in a beautiful black dress as she gets up to meet them. She ushers them to the sitting area and sits down primly.

EFFE
Welcome, gentlemen. Can I offer you something to drink?
They all shake their heads.
Sloan and Mensah look very disturbed indeed, but Atakora, who is a bearded, balding severe-looking portly man, looks directly at Effe.

ATAKORA
You know why we’re here, Effe.

EFFE
Sloan told me you want us to lead the prosecution in my ex-husband’s case, but they declined because of me, and because of conflicts of interest clauses.

ATAKORA
(sadly)
Listen, Effe. Look, the people upstairs want Chris to be locked away and the keys thrown away. He has embarrassed the President for pardoning him, and has done this dastardly thing. I know how difficult this period is for you. I know how much you love Chris-

EFFE
(coldly)
No, you don’t, Jeff. I hate him with every single drop of blood in me. I don’t want you to talk. Frankly, I want that case file. I’m going to lead the Prosecution. I’m going to make sure that Chris never sees the outside of a prison wall again.
Her utterances stuns all of them, especially Hammond, who is a personal friend of Chris.

SLOAN
Jesus, Effe! That’s absolutely preposterous! You can’t do a thing like that! Not to Chris!

EFFE
(contemptuously)
Chris is a pig, Sloan. He could’ve had everything… EVERYTHING! But he chose to return to the mud, like a pig! He certainly doesn’t require any mercy. I’m gonna lock him away, and God help me, I’m gonna take great delight in doing it!

ALBERT
Hey, Effe. Guy is your ex-husband. Talks had been rife that you two are coming together. It ain’t right to prosecute him. Judge wouldn’t buy it!

ATAKORA
(clearing his voice)
Actually, Judge Tamakloe asked for Effe to be on the prosecution team. He believes Effe can present a perfect case, and to hell with unethical interest. He has made sure seven hard women were on the jury.

SLOAN
(stunned)
Good gracious! You guys are gonna bury him! Come on, Effe! Surely, you’re not doing this!
Effe looks at him coldly. There is no spark in her eyes, only the pain.

EFFE
Watch me, Sloan. But first, Jeff, when are we going to court?

ATAKORA
A week. Shouldn’t take long as the country expects justice. I’ll let the Judge know you accepted then I’ll hold a press conference this evening.

EFFE
How’s Baaba? Still in hospital?

ATAKORA
Yes, some of her injuries, especially the blows to her ribs, are quite severe, but she should be up and about in a couple of days.

EFFE
Can she talk? Before I accept I’ll have to speak to her, but I’ll use a lie-detector, if you don’t mind.

ATAKORA
I’ll set it up.

EFFE
Good. Case file?

ATAKORA
In my car.
Effe stands up and picks up her handbag.

EFFE
Can we go set up my interview with the victim?
Hammond Sloan gets to his feet and approach Effe.

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SLOAN
Don’t do this, Effe. Look, I’m not going to stop you, if you want to do this, but please consider your son. He loves his father. Doing this to Chris can really affect that poor boy. You want me to handle it, I will, but in the name of God do not prosecute Chris.

Effe looks at him darkly.
For a very brief moment she cannot hide the pain in her soul, the deep agony that is tearing her apart.
For a very brief moment she trembles, and pain suffuses her, and she almost collapses, but she shakes her head and grits her teeth.

EFFE
Junior will be fine, Sloan. He had the misfortune of being the son of a pig. He will live through it, and it will make him strong, so that he doesn’t grow up to be like that damn man! Let’s go, Jeff.

EDEN HOSPITAL
FEMALE WARD 31

Effe is appalled at the sight of Baaba.
She is propped up in the hospital bed, and her face is badly bruised from where Chris had punched her repeatedly.
Her lips are broken and swollen.
Her hands are bandaged, and her ribs are also bandaged. She speaks with a lot of difficulty.

The lie-detector experts have attached their sensors to her, and the machine is set up.
The man in charge asks Baaba her name and a few test questions which she replies slowly.
Jeff and some police officers and some doctors are in the room too.
Effe sits on the bed and looks at Baaba critically.

EFFE
(sadly)
If Chris has wounded you this terribly, I’m very sorry, Baaba. But I need to hear the truth, and once I confirm it is the truth, I’m going to make sure Chris receives the harshest prison sentence we can mete out to him.

Baaba nods slowly, and tears brim in her eyes.

BAABA
Thank you, Madam.

EFFE
Okay. Can you tell me what happened? If you’re too traumatized, I’ll understand.
Tears spill down Baaba’s bruised cheeks, and a doctor wipes it off with a hankie.
Haltingly Baaba tells her story.
She had seen Chris entering his room. He had called her the previous day to tell her he has a package for Jon Fii, his friend and chaplain at Grand Castle prison.
When she came to the house she saw Chris entering his room, and so she had chased him inside.

BAABA
(tremulously)
I was calling him, shouting out his name. I found him in the kitchen. He had a tube and he was snorting cocaine on the kitchen counter. I was alarmed. I told him to stop it. When he wouldn’t stop I brushed the cocaine off the cabinet. He got so mad. Before I realize he punched me and hit me all over. I begged him to stop, and I scratched him and cried, but he wouldn’t stop. He tore off my clothes and raped me. When he finished, he was preparing more cocaine on the counter. I picked up one of his dumbbells, the one he uses to exercise, and hit him with it. He fell unconscious and I used my phone and called the police.
She begins to cry as Effe sadly gets up from the bed and approaches Jeff.

EFFE
I read the police report. Chris had cocaine in his bloodstream.

ATAKORA
(nodding sombrely)
Yep. A hell of cocaine in his blood. He was doped solid. Scratches on his face, skin under the girl’s nails. She had semen in her vagina, and bruises. Semen and skin matches Chris’ DNA. HE did it, Effe. Guilty as hell. I’m sorry.

Effe shudders.
She breaks down then, and has to walk quickly into the bathroom to wash her face.
Still she cannot stop her tears as the pain tears out her soul.
She hugs herself and slips helplessly to the floor, and her heart breaks again as she weeps bitterly.
When she emerges finally she walks up to Baaba and speaks softly.

EFFE
Just one more thing, Baaba. Before this, have you ever had s£xual intimacy with Chris?
Baaba nods.

BAABA
Yes. I slept over at his place once. He was sad, and he was very disturbed that night, and I can’t actually remember the date. He was so vulnerable, and before I could help it we had s£x. Later I told him I wouldn’t make love to him again, because it is a sin, and I want to keep myself for the man I’ll marry. He seemed to understand! I like him as a friend, that’s all. But.. But…
She cries again, and the doctor moves in hurriedly, a sympathetic look on his face.

DOCTOR
I’m sorry, but that’s enough for today, if you don’t mind. The patient needs to rest.
Effe turns and walks on dead legs to the lie-detector expert. She looks at him questioningly.

He presses some buttons, and a printer whines, ejecting a long sheet of paper. He holds it and tears it off from the printer along some dotted and perforated lines.
The expert shakes his head sadly, his lips grim in obvious anger against Chris. He folds the sheet and gives it to Effe.

EXPERT
Every word she said is the truth, madam. That boy needs to go to prison.
Effe wipes a tear from her cheek and puts the sheet in her bag.

EFFE
(crushed)
There’s no room for error? Is it final? Is it the truth, Gospel truth?

EXPERT
No margin for error, please madam. Absolutely true, every word.
Effe trembles perceptively, and then she turns away, totally broken.
She walks towards the door, and Jeff falls into step besides her.

ATAKORA
(concerned)
You okay, Effe?

EFFE
Fine, fine, couldn’t be better. What’re we up against? Who’s representing him?

ATAKORA
Nobody wants to represent him. I heard he tried to hire some lawyers, but everyone is staying away from him. They’re protecting their reputation. It will be absolutely tragic to rep a guy like Chris in a case like this. The hatred for Chris Bawa right now is so damn high. But I forced a guy called Ben Buabasah to rep him. New from law school, mad as hell for being asked. He’ll play ball.

EFFE
(coldly)
Good. Very good.
When she goes out of the hospital she puts in a call to Steve, and asks him to meet her at her parents’ residence.

To be continued…

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