Wednesday, 16 May 2018

THE JAILBIRD (A ChrisEffe Classic) Episode 66-70

HIGH COURT
Judge Ossom’s gavel raps harshly, angrily, bringing the two emotionally-mad lovebirds cruelly to the present.
Chris and Effe breaks apart and look into the enraged face of the Judge.
JUDGE OSSOM
(fiercely)
You’re ten seconds away from the stiffest charge of contempt of court, Lawyer Kedem! That is the most inane and grossly inappropriate sight I’ve ever witnessed in my court. In case you forgot, this court is in session!
Effe is suddenly aware of her surroundings, of witnesses, of cameras, of live feeds… and an expression of severe discomfiture seizes her.
She is principled and firmly responsible, and would have condemned a similar spectacle from any couple… but then again it is Chris, a man whose mere look can rob her of all inhibitions.
Looking severely flustered, she looks at the displeased judge humbly.
The court room, shocked into silence a few minutes ago, is now filled with low murmurings of disapproval, of mirth, of anger, and of understanding from a few observers.
EFFE
(contrite)
A million apologies, Your Honour. May I please approach the Bench?
JUDGE OSSOM
YOU better, Counsel!
Effe sighs miserably and approaches the Judge. Quickly Jeff Atakora stands up and follows her.
Effe looks up at the Judge, who covers the microphone on the desk with his left hand.
JUDGE OSSOM
(firmly)
You don’t have to say anything, Effe. You’re off. That was absolutely unacceptable.
EFFE
(levelly)
Thanks, Your Honour. I’m sorry, but I can’t prosecute him. I love him. I was very hurt, and blinded, but I love him.
JUDGE OSSOM
(tightly)
You’ve disappointed me, Lady. Jeff, can you proceed, or you need time to prepare? I can postpone, you know, in the wake of that appalling and ludicrous behaviour of Lead Counsel.
Jeff Atakora looks quickly at Effe.
He licks his lips.
ATAKORA
We built the case together, Your Honour, I can continue. Sorry, Effe.
Effe nods humbly.
Sudden tears simmer in her eyes.
EFFE
(agitated)
Your Honour, I’ve reliable sources that shows that the Defense Counsel is just here as a mere stooge, and will not offer anything good to the Defendant-
JUDGE OSSOM
(hissing angrily)
Don’t dare, Effe, don’t even go there! The answer is NO, you can’t and will not defend that man. You know better! Snap out of that madness, Effe!
Effe is a picture of dejection as she looks at the judge with impotent fury.
She is to be blamed for this. She had been so hurt and bitter that for a moment she had forsaken the man she loves.
EFFE
Can I speak to the accused, Your Honour?
JUDGE OSSOM
(hissing)
Are you aware, Effe, that you’re on live television? Every goddamn person who matters is watching us. Why the hell do you want to compromise my hearing? You’re damn lucky I didn’t send you to jail for that silly scene you pulled earlier. Now get the hell out of my sight!
EFFE
(imploringly)
Please, I beg of you, Your Honour. I know I erred, but I’m sorry. I couldn’t help it. Understand, this is not easy for me. Mr. Buabasah is just there to make things legal, but you know he’s not going to defend Chris. How fair is that? Please, let me speak to Chris. Just for five minutes, please, I beg of you.
The Judge glares darkly at her, evidently unhappy. He turns his gaze on Atakora.
JUDGE OSSOM
Are okay with that?
Atakora looks at Effe, and there is pity on his face.
ATAKORA
Yeah, yeah, I’m cool, Your Honour.
Judge Ossom removes his hand from the microphone.
JUDGE OSSOM
Will the Defence Counsel and the accused please approach the Bench?
There are murmurings from the crowd as Buabasah and Chris stand up and walk towards the bench.
JUDGE OSSOM
(irritably)
Would somebody please take off those handcuffs?
Cuger scowls darkly, but he steps forward and unlocks the handcuffs on Chris.
Chris flexes his wrists and stands besides Effe. She turns to him, and with tears in her eyes she points at Baaba.
EFFE
(tremulously)
She was beaten, Chris. She had your semen in her. There was cocaine in your bloodstream. She had lacerations that point to rape. I love you, Chris-Love, and I now realize I can’t live without you. But if you did all that to her, then you deserve to be punished, because no man should treat a woman like that. If you did, I’ll applaud your sentence, but I’ll wait for you no matter how long. The lie detector showed she spoke the truth. Did you do that to her, Chris, my love?
Chris looks at Effe with haunted eyes. He suddenly takes her hands, kisses her knuckles, and speaks desperately.
CHRIS
(painfully)
I don’t remember, my love, believe me. That day you left for Takoradi, she came to see me. She wanted to make love, but I told her you and I were back together. I showed her the diamond-encrusted bands I had bought for me and you to start our love afresh. I told her to get out, and she still insisted she would never let me go. Already, I was hurting, and I remember yelling at her to leave me alone. The next thing I realized was that the police was all over the place, and I was arrested. I don’t remember what happened, my love, but believe me, Angelface, I’ve never ever in my life done cocaine. Never.
Effe stares at him, shattered. Her heart is in pain as she suddenly hears Eyram’s voice:
Her head is not screwed on right… screwed on right…
EFFE
(dazed)
My God!
She raises a hand and places it on Chris’ chest. Tears drip down her face.
EFFE
(painfully)
I believe you, Chris-Love. I don’t know how, my love, but I’m not going to allow anybody to do this to us.
She turns and quickly walks towards the Lawyers’ Entrance and leaves the courtroom.
Judge Ossom heaves a troubled sigh.
JUDGE OSSOM
Enough of this nonsense already. Sit down, sit down. Let’s restore some sanity here. Counsel, ready for your opening statement?
When everyone is seated and an uneasy silence reigns, Jeff Atakora stands up and approaches the jury.
He looks at their grim faces for a while, sighs, and begins to speak.
ATAKORA
Your Honour, Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, my mission here is a simple one. I don’t expect this to be a long-drawn case, because the hard facts are there, and there are no ambiguities whatsoever. I don’t want us to glorify a criminal, albeit a most popular citizen we all love because of his prowess in the ring.
He was the husband of my friend, and I personally like him, but wrong is wrong, and should be condemned no matter who commits it, because no one is above the law. Today the people are charging Mr. Chris Bawa with violations of the Criminal Offences Act with the wilful, deliberate and absolutely inhumane rape of Baaba Brooks.
We are going to prove beyond doubt that Mr. Bawa is a heartless rapist who deserves no mercy. We will call three witnesses. One of them is Chief Inspector Danso Cuger, the policeman first to arrive on the scene, an unbiased government official who examined the accused’s house, and he will testify about the state he found the victim and the accused in.
Then, we will call Doctor Kenneth Pintos, the medical practitioner who examined the victim, and he will testify that indeed, Miss Baaba Brooks was brutally penetrated without her consent according to the forensic and medical examination. We will also call Miss Baaba Brooks, and live her ordeal right here. Today we are going to prove that Mr. Chris Bawa is guilty, and deserves the maximum imprisonment punishment of twenty-five years. Thank you.
There are murmurings again, silenced by the Judge’s gavel hitting the sound block sharply.
Atakora calls Baaba Brooks to the stand.
Her face still shows the ordeal she had been through.
Her ribs are still bandaged under her dress, and her left wrist is also bandaged.
She is helped into her seat by a young policeman.
She is sworn in on the Bible.
As she sits dejectedly in the witness box she shakes, and any time her eyes fall on Chris she shudders.
ATAKORA
(solemnly)
Thank you for being here, Miss Brooks. Are you sure you’re ready to do this?
Baaba smiles bravely, but there are tears in her eyes.
BAABA
(tremulously)
Yes, please.
Atakora takes her through the questioning, covering the period she arrived at Grand Castle Prison and how she had felt sorry for Chris.
Baaba narrates how she sometimes cooked for Chris inside the prison and how they became friends.
She tells them of the phone she bought for Chris when he was released from prison and driving him around and finally taking him to Madina.
ATAKORA
You must have liked Mr. Bawa very much.
Baaba shudders, and tears come to her eyes and spills down her cheeks.
BAABA
Yes, I did. I loved him. I wanted him to be my husband.
ATAKORA
(tightly)
Baaba, there was an incident that happened prior to the final unfortunate rape ordeal. You lodged a complaint against Mr. Bawa for assault, and he was arrested. Later you changed this story and he was released. Would you mind telling us what happened?
Baaba narrates how she invited Chris to her apartment, and how he had tried to make love to her, and when she refused he had gone berserk and thrown her through her French glass windows.
BAABA
(sobbing)
He was like an animal! I thought he was going to kill me. When he saw I was badly hurt he calmed down and rushed me to the hospital.
ATAKORA
(shuddering)
So if you suffered so much why did you change your report and let the police release him?
Baaba wipes tears from her eyes, and this makes everybody in the audience extremely sad, all except Wailer Vroom and Eyram who are sitting just behind Chris, and looking at him with pity.
BAABA
(softly)
Because I was in love with him. I thought he would change.
There is a low murmur of anger in the courtroom, and people shake angry fists at Chris.
COURT ORDERLY
Orrrrrder, Orrrrrder!
Next Atakora takes Baaba through her friendship with Chris.
ATAKORA
Baaba, before the incident, did you ever willingly sleep with Mr. Bawa?
BAABA
(nodding)
Yes. I once spent the night with him at the residence his sister-in-law gave him. He was having a terrible time, and I couldn’t leave him. I shared his bed, and we made love. Afterwards I told him it was best we didn’t make love again because I wanted to save myself for the man I marry.
ATAKORA
And what did he say to that?
BAABA
He agreed, and promised me he wouldn’t do it again without my permission.
ATAKORA
And you believed him?
BAABA
Yes! I was in love with him! And I trusted him! But he is a beast! A beast!
She breaks down, and begins to weep pitifully.
The courtroom is shocked into silence.
All eyes turn to Chris.
The members of the jury regard him with blatant hatred.
Ben Buabasah shifts his chair a little further away, and looks at Chris with a contemptuous curl of his lips.
JUDGE OSSOM
(compassionately)
Are you okay, Miss Brooks? Can you continue, or you want a little break?
BAABA
(in a tiny voice)
I can continue, please.
Atakora sighs and walks back to his seat.
It is very evident that he is terribly affected.
He gets up and approaches Baaba after a while.
ATAKORA
That brings us to the morning of April twentieth, the day the sad incident happened.
He takes Baaba through the time she arrived at Chris’ house.
BAABA
He called me the previous day that he has a package for the prison Chaplain, Jon Fii. I passed through to take the package.
She describes how she had seen Chris sniffing cocaine on the kitchen counter and she had tried to stop him, and when he wouldn’t she had scattered the cocaine.
This prompted a rage in Chris, and he had attacked her severely, beating her up badly and then raping her viciously.
Afterwards, as he was trying to fix himself another cocaine fest she had hit him with a dumbbell, and when he fell unconscious she had crawled to her bag, taken out her phone and called the police.
Chief Inspector Danso Cuger and his team arrived a few minutes later.
ATAKORA
(turning to the jury)
She lay there, torn and bleeding, seriously hurt by a man who knows how to use his fists. Maybe she might have been dying. Torn, broken, helpless. And what does he do? He tries to fix himself cocaine. I must add, Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, that my colleague, the esteemed Effe Kedem, questioned Miss Brooks using a lie-detector process before we came to court. It showed she told the truth.
He turns slowly and faces the judge.
ATAKORA
No further questions, Your Honour.
The silence is electric.
Judge Ossom sighs deeply and looks at Ben Buabasah.
JUDGE OSSOM
Your rebuttal, Counsel?
Ben Buabasah gets to his feet.
BUABASAH
No cross-examination, Your Honour.
He sits down, and some of the people in the audience laugh briefly.
Baaba is helped out of the witness box, still weeping, still pathetic.
Some of the people in the audience are weeping now.
Eyram wipes tears from her eyes, and Wailer scowls at her.
WAILER
Hey. Weeping for her?
EYRAM
No, no, not for that lying witch. For CB, my love.
WAILER
(sadly)
Yeah. Looks bad for him.
The crowd hurl insults at Chris, and no amount of warning from Judge Ossom can silence them.
Judge Ossom has no other option than to call for recess.
BAWA RESIDENCE
They are watching the court case on the television.
Mrs. Lois Bawa is weeping and unsuccessfully drying her tears with the edge of her cloth.
STAN
You see what I said, Pop? We should’ve enforced that he doesn’t use the Bawa name before this trial! Now look at the shame he’s brought us!
MRS. LOIS
(sadly)
Shut up, Stan! You can never change his blood, son! Criminal or not he’s still your brother!
DIANA
(angrily)
That’s what you always do, Mom! Protecting him, shielding him, defending him! Are you proud of what he has become? A drug addict who can’t control his habits and rapes people who try to help him? Jeez, Mom! Let him go! This time they’re going to lock him up for twenty-five years, and he deserves it!
Mrs. Lois Bawa looks at her grim-faced husband.
MRS. LOIS
(agitated)
Brand! Won’t you say anything? Are you going to let this hatred fester in our family?
The Reverend Brand Bawa stands up, and he looks sadly at his wife.
REV BAWA
I don’t know where we went wrong with that boy, Lois. He is rotten, and he is perhaps my cross to bear. He is wicked, and I regret the day I ever spawned that oaf of a lad!
MRS. LOIS
(screaming)
BRAND!!!
The man of God turns away from her and leaves the living-room.

EPISODE 67
HIGH COURT – FEMALE WASH ROOM
Eyram carefully applies makeup to hide the tear marks on her face. She picks up her lipstick, and looks into the huge 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 under a lot of strain, and she is suffering terribly.
EFFE
(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 the lipstick back in her bag.
EYRAM
(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 her lip, and then she bends her head.
When she looks up tears are shimmering in her eyes, but she fights it back furiously.
EFFE
How’s Junior, Rammy?
Again, Eyram looks at her sister for a long time before replying.
EYRAM
He’s doing fine. He just didn’t want to go to school this morning. I think the other kids are saying nasty things about his father.
The tears slowly spill down Effe’s cheeks.
EFFE
(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 stop 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 assaulting Baaba, and I believe him. But she beat the lie detector! How on earth could she do that?
EYRAM
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.
EFFE
(shaking her head)
She passed 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 vagina, Rammy, and she had bruises inside her vagina indicating forced entry! Parts of his skin were found under her fingernails! There was cocaine in Chris’ blood, Rammy! Can you explain that? She must be a disturbed girl, but these are hard facts, Rammy, and I WORK WITH FACTS, and that’s what blinded me. But I believe Chris now, and so I need to find out how Baaba pulled this off, otherwise Chris will be in prison.
Eyram slings her bag across her shoulder, and looks sadly at her sister.
EYRAM
I can’t explain how she pulled 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 gasps, and she takes a step back as if from a physical blow. Her face is screwed up with shock.
EFFE
(whispering)
What?
EYRAM
You heard me, Ef. The IVF, with Steve’s sperm and my egg. He knew about it. He asked about it that morning.
EFFE
(in pain)
Oh, Lord no! Oh, dear Lord, no! Why didn’t you tell me, Rammy?
EYRAM
(sadly)
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.
EFFE
(weeping)
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 sperm. And Chris didn’t know I became pregnant and so I didn’t go through with it! Oh my God! Oh Chris-Love!
EYRAM
(softly)
Yes, I’m sure it triggered Chris’ inner demons, and he reacted savagely towards Baaba. We need 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 passion 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 needs to see Chris and clear that misunderstanding.
She shudders and looks at her haunted face through the mirror.
Everything is spiralling out of control. She is losing her man, and her son.
She must do something about it…and fast!
HIGH COURT
Chief Inspector Danso Cuger now takes the witness stand.
He is sworn in.
He is led under evidence by Atakora.
Cuger describes how Baaba’s call was received and how he was dispatched to attend to the distress call.
CHIEF INSPECTOR CUGER
(calmly)
We found Mr. Bawa on the floor of the kitchen, with a gash on the back of his head. Miss Baaba Brooks was lying on the floor, barely able to move. She had deep wounds on her face and she couldn’t move her arms. She was naked, 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.
ATAKORA
And did you find any evidence of hard drugs?
CHIEF INSPECTOR CUGER
Oh, yes. On the floor were white powdery substances we suspected was cocaine. We found some around Mr. Bawa’s lips and nostrils.
ATAKORA
And what happened next?
CHIEF INSPECTOR CUGER
We radioed for an ambulance and sent 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 raped, and so we formerly charged him with the crime.
ATAKORA
But the powdery substance? You couldn’t possibly identify it, could you? Thinking it was cocaine was just an opinion, wasn’t it?
CHIEF INSPECTOR CUGER
Well, the Forensic experts came in with the Crime Scene Investigators, and their reports indicated that indeed it was cocaine.
ATAKORA
Thank you, Chief Inspector. No further questions, Your Honour.
Judge Ossom clears his throat and looks at Ben Buabasah, and people begin to laugh.
JUDGE OSSOM
Defence Counsel, are you ready to cross-examine?
Ben Buabasah gets to his feet.
BUABASAH
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.
STEVE
He’s cooked now, isn’t he? Twenty years at least. Enough time for me to win Effe back.
AFFUL
He’s getting the full twenty-five. He’s a goner. You got your pussy back, bro. You’re the man, dawg. The pussy is yours.
They both laugh and bump 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’ passionate 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 camera swings to him, and it highlights the tenseness in his face.
JUDGE OSSOM
Is the Prosecution ready to proceed?
Atakora looks up slowly, and then he turns and looks at Chris again.
He sighs and stands up.
ATAKORA
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 forced entry into Baaba, confirming rape. He confirms the sperms found inside her matches the DNA of Chris.
ATAKORA
And you also run tests on the accused?
1. PINTOS
Yes. It is standard procedure.
ATAKORA
And your findings?
1. PINTOS
(sadly) We found significant amounts of cocaine in his streams. Tissues on his fists also showed he used blunt force in hitting Miss Brooks.
ATAKORA
(hesitating) Do you think, in your professional view, of course, that the accused, Mr. Chris Bawa, was acting under the influence of drugs and might not have been fully aware of what he was doing?
1. PINTOS
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.
ATAKORA
(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.
JUDGE OSSOM
Counsel?
The crowd suddenly comes alive with a loud answer.
CROWD
No questions!
Even Judge Ossom smiles a little as a roar of laughter fills the courtroom.
He holds up a hand and bangs down with his gavel repeatedly on the sound board. After a while the laughter die down.
Looking extremely embarrassed, Ben Buabasah stands up and shakes his head.
BUABASAH
No questions, Your Honour.
The courtroom erupts with gales of laughter and catcalling that go on for some time.
JUDGE OSSOM
Will the Prosecution be calling any more witnesses?
Jeff Atakora stands up.
ATAKORA
No, Your Honour.
JUDGE OSSOM
Will Counsel call witnesses now?
BUABASAH
No, Your Honour.
JUDGE OSSOM
Alright. We’ll call it a wrap 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 passes through 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 sending Chris to prison again.
There is no doubt about it.

EPISODE 68
EYRAM’S RESIDENCE – MORNING
Effe knocks on the guest room door.
EFFE
(tenderly)
My Prince, please open the door. I know you’re angry with me but please hear me out.
There is absolutely no movement from within, and Effe’s heart sinks. She is so traumatized. Junior had been her only fortress for so long, and she can’t bear to lose him.
His rejection is really killing her.
She wipes tears from her eyes as she slowly sits on the floor and leans her back against the wall.
EFFE
(anguished)
I stopped prosecuting your Daddy, my prince. When you told me to love him if I really really really love him, I listened, because I really really really love that man. It’s just that when I met him, I had never done that licking-face thing with any man. But he was doing it with other women, and it hurt my heart so bad. But he has promised to stop. So we’re in love again, Prince. Today they’ll take him to prison and it will break my heart!
Effe stops because her tears are uncontrollable. She hugs herself and weeps, her soul breaking.
After a while she sits up and grits her teeth.
EFFE
That Auntie Baaba said Daddy beat her, so they’re taking Daddy to prison. I will appeal for Daady, but I need to be strong. I can’t be strong if you’re angry with me, My Prince.
Again, Effe’s tears choke her, and that is when the door opens, and Junior comes out.
His face is broken, awash with tears.
JUNIOR
(weeping)
I’m sorry, Mommy. I really really really didn’t want to make you sad. Forgive me Mommy.
Effe cannot speak.
She holds out his arms and Junior runs to her. They hold each other tightly in their pain and darkest hour, giving each other strength.
JUNIOR
(voice muffled)
Transformer Baaba can lie! Daddy will never beat her. She’s a woman! Daddy will never hit a woman!
EFFE
Yes, my love. But the people don’t believe Daddy.
JUNIOR
THAT’S because she changed to Transformer Baaba. She is very wicked oh, like really really really evil like Megathron. But when she changes to cool Baaba she’s really really really nice like Optimus Prime.
Effe freezes.
Slowly she pushes Junior back and stares at him, her breath bated.
EFFE
(cold)
What’re you talking about, my Prince?
JUNIOR
Aunt Baaba is like the Transformers, Mommy. She can change oh! She can change into good Cool Baaba and also into really really wicked Transformer Baaba, especially if she’s angry. See, see, Mommy, if she wanted to do licking-faces with Daddy and Daddy says no, she will change into Transformer Baaba at once whiiiiiiiiiim!! The other time I spent the night with Daddy and she came here, she changed to Transformer Megathron Baaba and was screaming aaaaaaahhhh, oooooooohhhh, yeeeeeeessss, oooohhhhh!
Junior is giggling, but Effe is staring at him, dazed and very cold, her mind working overtime….
Suddenly everything makes sense now!
EFFE
(stunned)
My God! That is it! That is why she beat the lie detector! She suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder! My dear God!
JUNIOR
Disso what? Eh, Mommy! But I know how to make her change from Transformer Baaba to Cool Baaba –
EFFE
(cutting in sharply)
How? HOW DO YOU DO THAT?
JUNIOR
(pompously)
You just need the key, okay? The key is what made her angry, ok?
As Junior speaks Effe begins to tremble.
She stands up shaken.
EFFE
(floored)
Come on, my love. Let’s go and save Daddy. I have a terrible plan!!
AFFUL’S RESIDENCE
Jonathan Afful turns away from the full-length dressing-mirror and smiles at Elaine.
She is still lying naked in bed, tired from their dawn love-making which had been violent and wild, both of them excited about the upcoming incarceration of Chris Bawa.
Afful is fully-dressed in a flowing white agbada, and he sits on the side of the bed, bends and licks her left nipple and runs a hand between her thighs, caressing her tenderly.
She closes her thighs on his hand and giggles sexily.
ELAINE
Go, Jon. The boys have been waiting long enough.
AFFUL
You sure you don’t wanna see him sent to prison, Sweety?
ELAINE
No, darling. I’m preparing a special edition tonight. Found a man who’s going to expose even more filth about Chris.
AFFUL
(giggling)
Ohhhhh! What’s it going to be? Go on, tell me!
ELAINE
(laughing)
Oh, you’ll find out tonight. You would be in the studio, wouldn’t you?
AFFUL
(chuckling)
Does the Pope has a useless dick? Of course, I’ll be there! Wouldn’t miss it for anything in the world! Alright, see you then, baby.
He gets up and leaves the bedroom.
Elaine stares at the ceiling, and she sighs heavily.
ELAINE
Oh, Chris! We could’ve been so happy together. Now look at what you’ve brought on yourself, for choosing Effe!
Steve, Crankson and Nana Bosomtwum are waiting in the living-room.
Afful shakes the hand of a subdued Crankson.
AFFUL
Hey, cheer up, Bro! That stupid dude is getting twenty-five years in the can today, and the GojuFist Grandmaster title will be stripped from him. We’re back in business, bro.
CRANKSON
Yeah man! Let’s go. Don’t wanna miss the sight of that crazy asshole being marched off to jail!
Steve shakes a little cocaine unto the back of his right hand and sniffs, and then he whoops with absolute joy.
STEVE
(screaming) Whooooooooraaaaah!! Isn’t today a happy day? Mr. Fucking Bawa off to prison for twenty add years, more than enough time to bang that pompous lawyer’s sweet ass! She’ll come crawling to me, mark my words!
AFFUL
(laughing loudly) The pussy is yours, bro! You won the pussy back! Marry her and slam her like a boss! Let her be your bitch, man!
Crankson takes the glass phial from Steve and shakes some cocaine unto the back of his left hand and sniffs it clean.
CRANKSON
(in bliss) Shit, this shit is good! Yeah, Steve, marry Effe and give her some damn anal! She’ll know who’s the boss!
Afful takes the phial and they walk out, still talking and laughing loudly.
THE BAWA RESIDENCE
Stan climbs the stairs and opens the door.
He walks into the spacious living-room and sees his parents there already.
His father is watching events on the television with old Reuben Essel.
His mother is dressed in a dark kaba and slit with covering cloth, and Stan sees from her puffy face and eyes that she has been crying a lot.
Stan stops and looks at his mother gravely, then he walks forward and hugs her.
STAN
Stop killing yourself over that boy, Mama. He will send you to your grave. Let it go.
Fresh tears glisten on her lashes.
MRS. LOIS
Sure, sure, son. Just like I should also let you go if you get into trouble, right?
Stan scowls darkly.
STAN
(warily)
That’s hitting below the belt, Mom.
MRS. LOIS
(sadly)
Is it, Stan? For years I allowed myself to be swayed by your hatred, Stan, and by my husband’s apparent dislike of Chris.
REV BAWA
(looking up angrily)
That’s absolute nonsense, Lois! What’s gotten into you? That boy has always been a rebel! He made his damn bed, let him lie in it! Stop dragging us into the mire with him!
STAN
(tightly) I don’t hate him, Mama!
MRS. LOIS
(fiercely) Oh, you do! You do hate him so, Stan! You and Diana! You’ve hated him because Roland loved him more than any other member of this family, and you couldn’t take it, could you?
The door has opened now, and Diana comes in. She stops and looks at her mother with shock on her face.
DIANA
What’s going on here?
STAN
(hurt badly) Mother thinks we hate Chris, and she alone loves him. Can you believe that?
DIANA
What? Mama!
MRS. LOIS
(weeping)
Don’t Mama me! You wanted Chris to be cut off from this family. We’re a Christian family, the core of the Church, because your father is the pastor. We couldn’t forgive that boy, and we couldn’t even pray for him! We’ve never ever forgiven him for Roland’s death, myself included, and so we made him the Black Sheep of this family.
We’ve abandoned him, and we’ve disowned him. For years, he has never known the love of a family! He only relied on the strength of the love between him and Effe… but now what do we see? Even Effe left him, and he was all alone, but she has done the right thing, in the end, and showed him some love.
We all failed, except for the love of his little boy who stood in church and did what we should all have done as a family: he stood up for Chris. But not anymore for me, okay? You can go on hating him! You can go on disowning him! But whatever you do you can’t change the blood running through him! He’s a Bawa, your brother, and YOUR SON, Brand! I may not see him again, because I know he’s going back to jail, but I’m going to the court, and I’m going to support him, because he is my son!
She leaves the room hurriedly, brushing angrily past Diana in the doorway.
Stan sees that his father is deeply affected, and he looks haunted. He sees sudden tears in Diana’s eyes, and he sees that Diana’s lips are trembling violently.
She turns away and reaches for the door.
STAN
(in a choked voice)
Di! Where are you off to?
Diana does not respond. She bangs the door behind her and races after her mother.
DIANA
(weeping)
Wait! Mom, please wait!
Mrs. Lois Bawa stops and turns, and her heart is so crushed that it shows on her face.
MRS. LOIS
Please, Diana, don’t try to stop me!
Diana stops in front of her mother and embraces her fiercely as tears course down her cheeks.
DIANA
No, Mom! I just want to go and support my brother too!
The two women are now weeping fiercely, and slowly they walk to Diana’s car.

EPISODE 69
HIGH COURT
Jeff Atakora is speaking.
He has been giving his closing statement for about five minutes now, facing the jury as he speaks clearly and concisely, basing his final arguments on the overwhelming evidence against Chris Bawa.
The courtroom is hushed.
The television cameras are rolling, alternating between the stony-faced jury, Judge Ossom Annor, Chris, Baaba and the spectators.
ATAKORA
…so, as you can see, Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, we’ve proven to you beyond reasonable doubt that Mr. Chris Bawa did brutally force himself on Miss Baaba Brooks against her consent, and not only raped her, but beat her up mercilessly as well. You have heard from our credible witnesses who have nothing to gain by lying, and how their stories were consistent with each other.
It is a very important principle that people in our society be held accountable for their actions, and in this case Mr. Chris Bawa needs to be held totally accountable for his undesirable actions against Miss Baaba Brooks. We are a nation of laws, and everyone must follow those laws, and it is part of what makes our nation great.
The notion of accountability has a great place in our criminal and justice system, and we have to face the consequences of our own actions. Maybe the Defendant had a bad day, and maybe he was stressed beyond comprehension. Maybe he was drunk, or even under the influence of drugs, but I would ask you, in conclusion, that you find him accountable for what he did to a fellow human being, a woman who could be your sister, your daughter or even yourself… and that is, guilty of rape. Thank you.
He feels weak, a bit dizzy, and has to hold on to the guardrail in front of the jury stand for a moment to get his bearings.
This has been a most difficult case, because there is still that gnawing sensation in his guts that something just is not gelling.
He turns, and he does not look at Chris.
Chris’ eyes are half-shut as he sits silently.
The silence and the tension is thick.
Judge Ossom leans forward and looks at the jury.
JUDGE OSSOM
The Defence Counsel has intimated that he will make no closing statements. Mrs. Helen Boateng and your fellow jury members, it’s now time. We go for a recess as we await your verdict.
A severe-looking woman sitting in the middle of the jury gets to her feet.
HELEN BOATENG
Thank you, Your Honour. We are all of a mind that our decision shall not take more than a few minutes. So, if you’ll indulge us, kindly hold on to the recess as we have a short discussion right here.
JUDGE OSSOM
Alright, Mrs. Boateng. You’re excused.
There is absolute tension as the jury members get up and go through a door behind them.
And then there is excited chatter everywhere.
Junior, snivelling, is sitting between Effe and Eyram a couple of rows behind Chris.
Rupert and Wailer Vroom are sitting behind them.
JUNIOR
Please, can I go to Daddy now?
EFFE
(brushing tears from her cheek)
No, no, not now, my dear. Just a little longer.
The minutes drag slowly.
Soon the time will come, and Chris will be taken away, and that will be the end.
Effe finally turns her head and looks at Chris.
Her face is already tortured, but when she sees how torn he is, how painful his face is, how hurt he is, how absolutely crushed he is, and how his soul is on his face as he cries silently, she feels a sudden tearing pain in her heart, and she bows her head as she fights the urge to go to him and take him in her arms.
Sitting beside Atakora is Baaba Brooks. She reaches out and touches his hand gently.
BAABA
(sadly)
I know this is not easy for you, Mr. Atakora. But I thank you very much for doing this for me.
All sounds die down as the door opens and the jury members troop in.
They take their seats, and their eyes focus with hard intents on Chris Bawa.
Judge Ossom sighs and sits forward.
He raps sharply with his gavel, and the silence in the room is complete.
JUDGE OSSOM
(calmly)
Has the Jury reached a decision?
Mrs. Helen Boateng gets to her feet.
HELEN BOATENG
(gravely)
Yes, we have.
JUDGE OSSOM
Have you written it down as I requested?
HELEN BOATENG
Yes, Your Honour, we have.
JUDGE OSSOM
And your verdict?
Mrs. Helen Boateng unfolds the little paper in her hand, and her hard eyes focus on Chris Bawa for a moment.
HELEN BOATENG
The jury finds Mr. Chris Bawa guilty on all counts, and requests the stiffest, maximum punishment for him. Other recommendations for monetary and other compensatory packages for Miss Baaba Brooks are contained in our brief.
There is rapturous applause and screams in the courtroom.
JUDGE OSSOM
Thank you, members of the Jury. Can I please have your brief?
The paper is handed to a Court Clerk who takes it to the Judge, as people still continue to applaud.
Judge Ossom bangs his gavel down repeatedly on the sound board until there is absolute silence.
He looks at the sheet of paper, and then he sets it down and looks down at Chris.
JUDGE OSSOM
Will the accused please rise?
Ben Buabasah stands up, and after a while Chris stands up too.
The judge fixes him with hard eyes.
JUDGE OSSOM
Do you have anything to say, Mr. Chris Bawa, before I pass judgement?
Chris is no longer crying.
His cold eyes meet the Judge’s, and he speaks slowly.
CHRIS
Do your worst, Judge.
Even the Judge gasps.
It is unthinkable how he shows no remorse and is so rude even now. Everyone is shocked.
Effe sees the proud angle of his head, his proud shoulders, a man who will never bow to another man, and she smiles sadly to herself.
That is her man.
JUDGE OSSOM
(harshly)
In all my career, I don’t think I’ve met any man as cold and as evil as you, Mr. Chris Bawa. I’m tempted to think that you’re not quite human. You were given a presidential pardon, and instead of using your freedom to put your life back on track, you turn around like a pig and returns to the bog. I don’t have words to describe you, and I’m tempted to think words are wasted on you. So be it. For this heinous crime against Miss Baaba Brooks, and having been found guilty by this court, I hereby sentence you to twenty-five years of hard labour at the Nsawam Prisons. Get this filthy man out of my sight!
There is more applause and more screams as two policemen approach Chris.
One is Danso Cuger, and the other McBaiden.
Danso smiles nastily as he puts a hand on the butt of his holstered gun, and McBaiden handcuffs Chris’ hands behind his back.
In the audience Afful, Steve and Crankson are laughing.
Mrs. Lois and Diana are weeping.
Eyram is weeping as Rupert holds her tightly.
Effe is cold.
She can barely move, and though she fights hard, tears slowly well up in her eyes and spill down her cheeks.

EPISODE 70
HIGH COURT
Sergeant McBaiden has taken hold of Chris’ arm and is leading him away.
Chief Inspector Cuger is following with his hand still on the butt of his gun.
Judge Ossom has closed the file and is preparing to stand up.
JUNIOR
(weeping)
Mommy? Should I do it now?
Effe, heart beating, shifts her body for Junior to stand up.
EFFE
(anguished)
Now, Junior, my Prince, go!
Suddenly the shrill voice of a little boy startles the crowd, and the Judge looks up to see a little boy running down the walkway towards the front.
JUNIOR
(weeping, screaming)
DADDYYYYYY! DADDYYYYY! WAIT DADDYYYY!!
All eyes turn to him.
Junior rounds the table and approaches Chris, who has now stopped and is looking at Junior with horror all over his face.
CHRIS
(hoarsely)
Dear Lord, Champ! What’re you doing here? You shouldn’t be here!
Junior wraps his arms around his father’s thighs.
JUNIOR
(weeping)
Don’t leave me, Daddy! Please don’t leave me!! Please, please!!
CHRIS
(agonised)
Get the boy away from here! Please!
Cuger holds Junior’s arm and tries to wrench him away roughly.
Without warning Chris spins and crashes a foot into Cuger, and he flies back and smashes the floor heavily.
Sergeant McBaiden, suddenly scared, steps back and pulls out his gun and aims it at Chris’ head.
Eyram and Effe have both come near them now, and both are weeping.
Danso gets to his feet grunting with pain, and he has drawn out his gun and approaching Chris with evil intents in his eyes.
There is a shocked silence in the room, and the television cameras are capturing it all.
Judge Ossom shouts suddenly.
JUDGE OSSOM
(sharply)
Hey, hey! Put those guns away! Put them away immediately!!
The two policemen exchange looks, and then they look at the Judge, and they reluctantly holster their guns.
JUDGE OSSOM
Alright, Effe and her sister, kindly take your seats, now!! Are you responsible for this shit, Effe? I swear that if you are I’m gonna lock you up too!
Effe hesitates.
EFFE
(tremulously)
Your Honour-
JUDGE OSSOM
(sharply)
Sit down, Lawyer! You too, lady!
Effe nods, turns on rubbery feet, and goes back to her seat. Eyram reaches out and touches Chris arm as her tears flow, and then she turns and goes back to her seat.
Junior moves forward again and wraps his arms around Chris’ thighs again, and he is still crying.
JUDGE OSSOM
(gently)
Hello, little man. Please look at me.
Junior looks up at the Judge.
JUNIOR
(heartbreakingly)
You’re a very very very bad man! You’re taking my Daddy from me!
Judge Ossom’s face becomes sad immediately.
He gets up and slowly walks out behind his dais and walks down to join them.
JUDGE OSSOM
I’m really sorry, young man. Please what’s your name? I’m Ossom Annor.
JUNIOR
I’m Chris Bawa, Junior.
Judge Ossom holds out his hand.
JUDGE OSSOM
Pleased to meet you, Junior.
Junior shakes his head violently, still weeping.
JUNIOR
I don’t wanna! I don’t wanna shake your hand! You’re mean to my Daddy! You wicked bad old man!
Judge Ossom sighs.
JUDGE OSSOM
(sadly)
I know you’re really hurt, Junior, and I understand you love your Daddy. Will you be okay if I allow you to speak to your Daddy for a few minutes?
Junior looks at him hopefully.
JUNIOR
Yes, please! Oh yes, please! Can I?
The judge smiles sadly.
JUDGE OSSOM
Yes, Junior, go ahead.
Junior steps back and wipes his face with the back of his hand.
Chris’ hands are still handcuffed behind him, and he drops slowly to his knees and looks at his son.
He cannot take this.
He is a hard man, a warrior, a fighter who has never had it easy in life, but his one weakness is his son, and he cannot take it when his son is hurt.
Junior moves forward and throws his arms round his father’s neck, and he weeps bitterly.
CHRIS
Hey, hey, Champ. It’s okay, my boy. You gotta be brave for me, son. If you’re not strong Daddy cannot be strong. Remember our motto?
JUNIOR
(sadly)
Dom spiro spero, once we breathe we hope!
CHRIS
Yes, Champ! I’ll always love you Champ, but you gotta be strong for me now, otherwise I’ll have no hope.
Junior stands back and looks at his father. He speaks in a soft lost voice.
JUNIOR
You promised me, Daddy, that you will never ever ever leave me! You broke your promise to me Daddy!!
CHRIS
(face torn)
No, no, no! Champ! I’ll never break my promise to you! You know that! I’ll never do that!
JUNIOR
(shouting)
Then why’re they taking you away? Why did you do this bad thing and they’re taking you away again? Why, Daddy? Please, why??
Many in the spectators are weeping now.
Judge Ossom shakes his head sadly.
JUDGE OSSOM
Jesus, Mr. Bawa! Just look at how you’ve broken your son’s heart! Are you proud now? You disgust me!
Junior turns harshly on him.
JUNIOR
Hey! Don’t insult my Daddy!!! It’s between us, Senior and Junior! Please don’t let me tell my Daddy to Goju your face!
The Judge smiles sadly and holds up his hands.
Chris takes a deep breath, and then he grits his teeth and speaks gently.
CHRIS
Listen, Champ. You need to go home now, please. Later you can come and see me, and I’ll tell you everything, okay? I promise.
JUNIOR
(screaming)
No, no, no, Daddy! I want to know now!! Tell me now! Why did you break your promise, Daddy? Don’t you love me, Daddy?
CHRIS
(painfully)
I never broke my promise, son! I’ll never break a promise to you!
JUNIOR
So please tell me what happened, Daddy? Please, okay, please please please please please plea-
CHRIS
(resignedly)
Okay, alright, Champ. You remember the day Mommy was travelling and she said goodbye to me?
JUNIOR
Yes, Daddy. I left with her. She dropped me at school.
CHRIS
Yes. Well, immediately you left with her, Steve came to see me.
JUNIOR
(softly)
Uncle Steve? He’s a very bad man. He wants to marry Mommy. The other time I heard him telling somebody on the phone that if he and Mom gets married he will let me go and stay with Grandpa and Grandma.
Effe’s face expresses deep shock.
EFFE
(agonized)
What?
She gets up and approaches them.
JUNIOR
Yes, Mommy, Uncle Steve said that!

To Be Continued…

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