Story: 45 Days


    written by Aaron Ansah

    Episode 1

    ONE DAY
    EFFE KEDEM HOLLISON pulls down the zipper at the side of her black skirt, and pulls it down her smooth hips. She steps out of the skirt with a smile on her face. She quickly unbuttons her pink shirt and pulls it off her shoulders. She unhooks her bra and drops it on the floor and smiles.
    She is now wearing only see-through black panties that accentuates her breathtaking figure. She walks silently towards the closed door at the end of the office. She slowly opens the door and steps inside with a mischievous smile on her beautiful face. The room is dark and so she fumbles for the switch on the wall and turns on the light.
    There is a bed in the room. On the bed is her husband, STEVE HOLLISON, and he is totally naked except for his black socks. Lying in front of him is ELAINE OPOKU, Effe’s cousin. She is also naked, and she is lying on her side because she is heavily pregnant. Steve is lying behind Elaine and kissing her neck, his left hand gently caressing Elaine’s left b----t as he moves gently behind her in their lovemaking. Elaine’s left leg is thrown across Steve’s thigh, giving him easier thrusts. She is moaning and as she lifts her head to receive his lustful kiss, the light comes on. They both look towards the door. On Steve’s face is a look of complete shock and horror.
    EFFE
    (in a horrified voice)
    Steve…
    She feels faint, and her legs cannot support her. She tries to hold the door for support but she can’t hold it, and she falls down to her knees.
    STEVE
    (shocked, horrified and afraid)
    Effe, Jesus, oh no!
    ELAINE
    Oh, dear Lord…Effe!
    Effe is trying to get to her feet. The room is spinning; her heart is tearing apart with great pain. She crawls from the room into the office. She is crying bitterly now. Her agony is so great that she can’t breathe, but the tears fall down her face thickly, in torrents. Phlegm pour out her nose and mouth. She crashes into her husband’s huge desk. She grabs the desk and pulls herself to her feet. She bends and picks up her skirt and shirt. She stumbles towards the door, and now she is wailing uncontrollably. She flees blindly to the main door and pulls it open. She is now in a well-lit corridor. She clutches the wall and runs in her bare feet towards the far end of the corridor. The office door opens and Steve appears in the corridor.
    STEVE
    Effe! Please Effe! Stop, honey, oh please stop! EFFE!!! STOP DARLING!!!
    Effe is trembling as the tears fall down her cheeks in floods. Behind her Steve is running hard to catch up with her. She reaches the lift. She pushes the button. The double metal doors slide open and she almost falls inside. She punches the ground floor button desperately. The doors begin to slide close.
    STEVE
    (running harder and shouting)
    EFFE!! PLEASE!!! WAIT, EFFE, HONEY, PLEEAASSE!!!
    Effe drops to her knees and clutches her heart. Through her tears she sees her husband trying to stick his arm through the lift doors to keep them open, but the doors close, and the lift heads down. She struggles into her skirt and zips it. She slips into her shirt and buttons it quickly.
    The lift dings as it reaches the ground floor. The door swings open.
    Effe steps out into the main reception area of the EDEN HOSPITAL. A white man in a doctor’s tunic with a stethoscope around his neck is approaching. He is 50 years old, and he has thick iron-grey hair. His name is RUPERT HENDERSON, a South African, and a Paediatrician at the hospital. He takes a look at Effe and his face expresses his shock.
    RUPERT
    (shocked)
    Mrs. Hollison! What’s wrong? Are you okay?
    He tries to hold her but Effe runs past him towards the main glass doors. She pushes them open and crashes into an Orderly who is pushing a wheelchair. Effe falls to the floor, and feels a sharp pain in her right thigh.
    ORDERLY
    (in a contrite voice)
    Oh, Jeez, Dr. Effe, I’m really sorry, didn’t see you coming! I’m sorry.
    The orderly tries to help her up, but Effe gets up and starts to run blindly, crying in agony. She runs into the street. It is very late and only a few cars are around. The glass doors swing open behind her and Steve appears. He looks both ways and sees his wife running hard towards the traffic lights on his right.
    STEVE
    Effe! Oh, sweetheart, darling, please stop!!
    EFFE
    (crying, breathless, almost falling)
    Go away, Steve, just go away!
    The traffic light turns red, and a taxi passes her and stops at the red light. She can hear Steve almost on top of her now. She can’t breathe well. She is breathless. She turns and opens the back door of the taxi and gets in. The taxi driver turns and looks at her with surprise.
    TAXI DRIVER
    (surprised)
    Hey!
    EFFE
    (breathless and speaking in gasps)
    Please take me from here, don’t let him come near me.
    TAXI DRIVER
    I beg, madam, but I close.
    EFFE
    Please take me just away from here, anywhere!
    I’ll pay you whatever you want. Please!
    The door opens, and Steve reaches inside and grabs Effe’s arm. She screams and hits his hand, but he drags her out forcibly.
    STEVE
    Stop this, honey, let’s talk about this!
    EFFE
    (screaming and struggling)
    LEAVE ME ALOONE!!! LEAVE ME
    STEVE!! JUST LEAVE ME ALONE!!!
    STEVE
    Stop it, honey, just stop it!
    Effe pulls free of Steve and falls down. Steve tries to grab her again. The taxi driver is out now, and as Effe tries to get to her feet she notices that the taxi driver is tall and well-built and has dreadlocks and a thick beard. The taxi driver pushes Steve away from Effe, and Steve totters backwards.
    TAXI DRIVER
    (in an angry voice)
    Hey, paddy, the lady say make you leave am alone, you no hear?
    Steve gains his balance and sticks a finger angrily at the taxi driver.
    STEVE
    You better get outta here, you douche bag, before I kill you!
    Effe gets to her feet and dashes for the open door of the taxi. Her husband tries to cut her off, but the taxi driver pushes him back. Steve steps forward and suddenly he swings a blow at the taxi driver. The blow rocks the driver’s chin hard, but he grins and spits out blood.
    TAXI DRIVER
    You dey hit like a nun. I go show you how to hit like a toff, Mr. Man!
    The driver hits Steve, and he crashes hard unto the street. Steve tries to get up, and the taxi driver moves towards him with his fist drawn back to hit him again.
    EFFE
    (alarmed)
    Stop it! That’s enough. Don’t hurt him, please.
    The taxi driver turns to her, and he looks surprised.
    TAXI DRIVER
    (looking puzzled)
    But Madam, this madman be dangerous o! Look how he attack you and me.
    EFFE
    (in a sharp voice)
    Leave him alone, I said. He’s not a madman!
    TAXI DRIVER
    Not mad? But he be naked? You no dey see sey he dey wear only socks?
    EFFE
    He’s my husband.
    The taxi driver looks at her, then he looks at the dazed Steve who has blood running down his nose from the blow, and is trying to get to his feet. He looks confused.
    TAXI DRIVER
    Your husbie? Naked on the streets?
    Charlie, e hard o!
    Effe enters the taxi and the driver slams the door. Steve tries to get up.
    TAXI DRIVER
    Mister, you know sey you be naked?
    Steve gets to his knees and looks down, and realizes that he is still naked, and that the few people around are looking at him. The taxi driver shakes his head and then he takes off his big shirt and drops it on the ground beside Steve. He goes round the taxi and enters, and then he drives away. Steve picks the shirt and wraps it around his waist to cover his nakedness, and he stands like that gazing after the taxi.
    Effe starts to shiver as the taxi moves. She closes her eyes tightly as she relives the sight of her naked husband lying behind her pregnant cousin.
    Her jaw clenches tightly, and she wraps her arms tightly around her stomach. Her face is awash with terrible pain.
    TAXI DRIVER
    Where you wan go, lady? Make I take you to the police station?
    Effe does not even hear him. She leans back in the seat and begins to weep bitterly again. Her body trembles violently as she cries her heart out. The taxi driver turns round and looks at her. He starts to speak, but he closes his mouth again. After a while he sees a bus stop and pulls over. He kills the engine and then he leans forward and takes the box of tissue off the dashboard, and wordlessly drops it beside her. She takes out some of the tissues and blows her nose, and even though she remains silent, the tears still continue to fall down her cheeks. He turns and speaks gently.
    TAXI DRIVER
    Madam, ebe almost midnight. I for go home and rest. Please where make I take you?
    EFFE
    (speaks softly)
    Just shut up, for a second, please, would you?
    He turns away again and shakes his head. He fumbles for a cigarette and puts it in his mouth. He pulls out the car cigarette lighter.
    EFFE
    (sofly again)
    Don’t.
    TAXI DRIVER
    Wetin?
    EFFE
    Don’t smoke inside the car, please. I can’t stand the smoke.
    The taxi driver’s teeth clenches hard. He slowly lights his cigarette, then he pushes the lighter back into its slot. He opens the car door and steps out. It is very cold outside. He looks at his watch. It is thirty minutes to midnight. He smokes in silence for a while, taking his time.
    He looks at his watch again. It is fifteen minutes to midnight. He drops the butt of the cigarette and steps on it. No cars are passing, and there is nobody around. He opens the back door. The woman is lying on the seat.
    TAXI DRIVER
    Madam, you be okay now? Where make I take you?
    She does not answer. He starts to speak again, and realizes that she is asleep. He sighs heavily and shakes his head. He walks to the back of the car and opens the boot. He rummages through a box in there and takes out a folded sheet. He closes the boot and goes back to the car. He spreads the sheet over her. He goes back to his seat behind the wheel and looks at his watch again. It is midnight. He sighs again.
    TAXI DRIVER
    Oh Charlie, e hard o.

    Episode 2

    TWO DAYS
    Effe stirs slowly and sits up. The sheet falls off her. For a moment she looks confused, and then she looks around her and realizes that she is still in the taxi. The taxi driver is not in the car. She looks at her watch and sees that it is a few minutes past five a.m. She opens the door and steps outside. She sees the taxi driver sitting on the boot of the car and smoking.
    EFFE
    (wrinkling her nose with distaste)
    Is that all you do? Smoke?
    The taxi driver gets down, and Effe notices for the first time that he has dreadlocks, and that he is tall and surprisingly very good-looking. He drops his cigarette and steps on it.
    TAXI DRIVER
    You be okay now? I go fit lef?
    Effe looks around. The city is just waking up. Some cars are passing, and some cleaners are already sweeping the streets. Suddenly a look of intense pain crosses her face as she recollects her husband making passionate love to her cousin.
    EFFE
    I left my car at the hospital.
    TAXI DRIVER
    You wan make I take you back to the hospital, madam?
    EFFE
    (shaking her head vigorously)
    No, no. Please can you take me to Dzorwulu?
    TAXI DRIVER
    No fears. Make we go.
    He gets into the car. Effe sits in the back again and begins to fold the sheet he covered her with. He starts the car and moves into the street.
    EFFE
    (in a very soft voice)
    Thank you.
    He looks into the driving mirror at her.
    TAXI DRIVER
    Wetin?
    EFFE
    I said thank you. I fell asleep, and obviously you stayed with me. You covered me with a cloth. You didn’t try to take advantage of a helpless girl. I denied you the comfort of your bed, and maybe put you in trouble with your girlfriend or wife. I’m sorry, and I thank you very much.
    TAXI DRIVER
    Ebe cool. No fears.
    They drive along in silence for a while. Effe leans back and closes her eyes, but immediately she sees the awful picture of her husband and cousin together and so she sits forward and tries hard not to cry again.
    EFFE
    I’m Effe Kedem Hollison.
    TAXI DRIVER
    Wetin?
    EFFE
    (in exasperation)
    Oh, would you please stop that?
    TAXI DRIVER
    (confused)
    Wetin?
    Effe chuckles and shakes her head in spite of herself.
    EFFE
    I said my name is Effe.
    TAXI DRIVER
    Oh, you be Ewe chick.
    EFFE
    You’re impossible, and definitely uncouth. What has my tribe got to do with me introducing myself?
    TAXI DRIVER
    Abeg, reduce English small. Wetin dat? I just mean I no make surprised you be Ewe woman because of how fair you be, and how beautiful you be, Madam.
    Anyway, my name be Chris. Chris Bawa. My paddies dey call me Darling Boy. You go fit call me Darling, I no go mind.
    Effe laughs this time, although very briefly, and shakes her head.
    EFFE
    Pleased to meet you, Chris.
    Soon they arrive at a plush residential area at Dzorwulu. Effe directs him to park in front of a beautiful house with silver and gold gates. She gets down and leans through the passenger window.
    EFFE
    Wait here, Chris. I’ll go inside and bring you some money.
    CHRIS
    No fears, Madam. I dey for you.
    Effe rounds the car, and she sees for the first time what is written at the back windshield of the taxi. It is in stylish yellow writing: DARLING BOY.
    She shakes her head and walks to the gates and rings the doorbell. A huge dog begins to bark immediately. The small gate at the side of the main gates opens, and a security man looks at her and smiles warmly.
    SECURITY GUARD
    Ei Madam Effe! Welcome!
    Effe nods at him and enters, but suddenly she begins to run because tears are flooding her again. She runs up a beautiful driveway, past the parked cars, up a beautiful patio and straight at the ornate doors.
    The door flies open and her mother, Mrs. IVY KEDEM, comes out. She is still in her nightdress, her hair covered. She is still a strikingly beautiful woman.
    MADAM IVY
    (with great concern)
    Effe, my darling, my sweet! What’s wrong? Why are you here this early?
    Everything okay with Steve?
    Effe’s tears fall in torrents now. She throws herself into her mother’s arms.
    EFFE
    (crying uncontrollably)
    Mom! Oh, Mom! My heart! I’m dying!
    MADAM IVY
    (scared and frantic)
    Come on, my Pearl! Stop scaring me!
    What is it?
    A calm voice speaks from the door. It belongs to Mr. KEN KEDEM, 63, Effe’s father. He is of medium build, and a handsome distinguished gentleman.
    KEN KEDEM
    (calmly)
    Let her come inside first, Ivy.
    The two women enter the plush living-room of the Kedems. Madam Ivy gently helps Effe to sit down.
    MADAM IVY
    Effe. I thought you were in Takoradi attending a seminar, and you were supposed to come back this weekend. What happened?
    Mr. Kedem sits down besides his daughter. He slowly takes Effe into his arms and pats her back gently.
    KEN KEDEM
    Stop crying, my Sweet Apple! What is it?
    Why is your heart so broken?
    EFFE
    (holding unto her father tightly)
    I lied that I would come back on Saturday. I wanted to surprise Steve. He was not expecting me until today. I went straight to his office yesterday to surprises him…and… and… I found him in the office with Elaine. They were making love, Mama!
    KEN KEDEM
    (in deep shock)
    Elaine?
    MADAM IVY
    (shaking so badly that she sits down)
    You don’t mean Elaine Boateng, my own sister’s child, do you?
    EFFE
    Yes, Mama! My own cousin Elaine! Steve has been cheating on me with my own sister!
    KEN KEDEM
    (in a very angry voice)
    That’s utterly ridiculous and simply too dastardly to even imagine! Elaine is pregnant, for Heaven’s sake! She is what, nine months pregnant? She is practically going to give birth any day now! What is he doing with an ugly pregnant girl like Elaine? Are you sure you saw clearly, my dear?
    The two women look at each other, and then Effe begins to tremble hard. Her whole expression is one of acute shock and pain.
    EFFE
    (holding her stomach now and crying silently but with great pain)
    Oh no, no, no, noooooo! Oh, Steve, please, please, please, pleeeeeaaassse!
    Oh, Lorrrrd!
    KEN KEDEM
    (looking alarmed)
    Stop this, please, Sweetheart! Did I say something wrong?
    MADAM IVY
    (looking very shocked)
    Effe and Steve have been married for ten years!
    KEN KEDEM
    (shaking his head in confusion)
    And so?
    MADAM IVY
    (tears in her eyes now)
    Effe and Steve don’t have any children. I know Steve’s mother has been pressuring both Effe and Steve to have babies. You may not know this but Effe has even tried artificial insemination, but it didn’t work. Elaine has been living with them for two years now, ever since Steve employed her as a nurse at the hospital. Elaine is now pregnant, and she has never told anybody who made her pregnant.
    Mr. Kedem’s eyes open wide with shock. He looks at Effe’s bent head and pain crosses his face.
    KEN KEDEM
    Oh no! Dear Lord no! You think Steve impregnated Elaine? Effe’s cousin?
    MADAM IVY
    (voice very sad)
    What cousin? They’re sisters, Ken. The b-----d! That heartless b-----d! I didn’t expect him to stoop this low!
    KEN KEDEM
    Oh, my God!
    Effe is on the floor now, weeping uncontrollably, her heart broken. Mr. Kedem sits down besides his daughter, and without another word he pulls Effe into his arms. Effe holds her father tightly and cries her heart out.
    Madam Ivy is shaking, and she sits and watches her daughter’s agony helplessly. Effe cries until no more tears flow, and then she sits still. Her father passes her a box of tissues. Her eyes are swollen and very red.
    She blows her nose, and then suddenly she jumps to her feet.
    EFFE
    Oh, no! Daddy, your wallet, please!
    KEN KEDEM
    My wallet? What for? There, on the glass table.
    Effe takes her father’s wallet and opens it. She pulls out some fifty Ghana cedi notes and runs outside. The taxi is not there. Chris is gone. She looks up and down the street. He is nowhere in sight. She sighs deeply, turns and sadly goes back into the house.
    To be continued

    Episode 3

    Continues
    THREE DAYS
    It is two o’clock in the morning.
    Effe is in her old room in her parents’ house. She has not slept the whole night. Her pain is very great indeed. The television is still on, showing a serial on Telenovela channel.
    On the floor is an empty wine bottle and a slim tumbler with a residue of wine inside, a clear indication that she had drank a full bottle of wine during the night. She gets up from the floor and enters the bathroom. She surveys her face in the mirror. Her eyes are puffy from all the crying.
    She brushes her teeth and takes a cold shower. She swallows two Panadol tablets to ease her acute headache. She slips into her warm bathrobe, wraps a towel around her hair and returns to her room. She stops dead in her tracks when she sees Steve sitting on her bed. He is dressed in crumpled black trousers, stained white shirt and black shoes. His tie is around his neck, untied, and his eyes look bloodshot. It is evident that he has not slept too.
    Effe leans against the doorjamb. Steve gets up from the bed and approaches her. His face is pained, and tears glisten on his lashes. He holds out his arms to hold her.
    EFFE
    (softly) Don’t, Steve, please!
    STEVE
    (his voice trembling) Oh, Honey! I’m so sorry! I never meant this to happen! I never meant to hurt you this way! Please, please forgive me, Honey!
    Steve’s legs suddenly collapse and he falls on his knees. He wraps his arms around Effe’s legs and begins to cry hard.
    STEVE
    Oh Honey! Please, please, please! I’m so sorry, honey! Please forgive me!
    Silent tears fall down Fffe’s cheeks. She disengages herself from Steve’s embrace and walks slowly to the center of the room. She wipes tears from her eyes and turns to face him as he gets to his feet.
    EFFE
    I guess you haven’t been home yet.
    STEVE
    I went home, expecting you to be there, but you didn’t show up, Honey. Called you all night long but you never picked my calls.
    EFFE
    My phone is in my bag in my car. I left my car at the parking lot at the hospital.
    STEVE
    (his voice dropping into a sob) Oh, my love! I’ve really hurt you. I went all the way to Tema, to your sister’s place in case you went there. I didn’t expect you to come to your parents. Your sister called your father, and he said you were here, so I came. Your father told me you were in your room. His expression told me you have told them everything.
    EFFE
    Yes, I did. I needed to tell somebody, otherwise I would’ve gone mad by now, Steve, from the shock and pain you gave me.
    He comes toward, his face more pained than ever, his arms wide to take her in his arms.
    STEVE
    (in a hurt voice) Oh Ef, Ef, Ef! Never meant to make you go through this. Never meant to hurt you like this, Honey! Please forgive me!
    Effe steps away from him. She walks to stand beside the television. He turns and see tears streaming down her face, and the pain on her face is more than he can bear.
    EFFE
    (her voice soft and full of pain) Ten years of marriage, Steve. I never had any reason to doubt you. You have been the epitome of a good husband. The kind of man any woman would wish for a husband. I go for a seminar and came back early to give you a sweet surprise, and see you making love to my own cousin, a woman who is closer to me even than my own sister! Are you the father of the baby she’s carrying?
    STEVE
    (looking ashamed) Honey-
    EFFE
    (shouting and tossing her head) DON’T YOU HONEY ME! ARE YOU THE FATHER OF ELAINE’S BABY???
    Steve bites his lower lip and sits down wearily on the bed. He runs his left hand across his face and through his hair, and then bows his head and begins to weep uncontrollably.
    STEVE
    (speaking through his tears) Yes, Honey! Elaine’s baby is mine.
    Effe shakes as if she has received a physical blow. Her legs shake and she sinks to the floor. She moans as her own tears flow again.
    EFFE
    Oh, Steve! How could you hurt me like this? I know you wanted kids! I’ve been trying to get pregnant for you, Steve! I’ve done everything! I came to your bed a virgin, and I’ve known no other man! Is this how you repay me? Impregnating my own sister? Ahhh Steve!
    Steve shoots off the bed and rushes at her. He falls down on his knees in front of her and clasps his hands in front of her.
    STEVE
    Honey, I’ve wronged you, I’ve hurt you. You’ve been an angel, and you don’t deserve this. I’ve messed up, I’ve been a fool, a demon! Oh, Effe, please forgive me!
    Please, please, please, honey!
    EFFE
    You deserve an Oscar, Steve! When Elaine completed nursing school and I wanted her to come and stay with us and begged you to give her a job at Eden Hospital because you are the CEO, you were set against it! I’ve always felt guilty about pushing her on you, because you barely looked at her! Even at home you never even speak to her. To all intents and purposes, you practically hated her! What a fool I’ve been! It was all an act! You seduced and slept with her! She’s in her ninth month, isn’t she? Have you been sleeping with her for all these two years she’s been with us?
    STEVE
    (slamming his fist repeatedly on the carpeted floor)
    No, no, no! Effe, don’t make me into some sort of monster! I’m not a monster! I adore you, and I love you more than I’d ever love any other woman! I’ll always love you! You don’t understand what happened!
    EFFE
    (shouting) THEN MAKE ME UNDERSTAND, STEVE!!! I’M DYING HERE! MAKE ME UNDERSTAND!!!
    Steve suddenly grabs Effe by the shoulders. His grip is hard, and his pained face is earnest.
    STEVE
    Yes, I’ll tell you the truth! It would make you hate me even more, but at least there would be no more lies in my heart, no more skeletons in my closest! Because, above all things, I want you to forgive me, and take me back into your heart on a clean sheet, my precious darling!
    Effe knocks Steve’s hands off her shoulders and stands up. She rips off the towel around her hair and wipes her face. She leans against the wall.
    EFFE
    (in a tiny lost voice)
    Thrill me, Steve, my DEAR husband!
    Steve stands up and faces her. His face is haggard and puffy too.
    STEVE
    (gives a long forlorn sigh)
    I had a reason for not being happy when you asked me to let Elaine come and stay with us, and to give her a job after her graduation from nursing school. You know why? I’ll tell you why…I knew she was trouble! Ten years ago, on our wedding day, you remember we spent a long time at the reception. We got to the hotel quite late, and you fell asleep almost immediately when you fell on the bed. Elaine was the one who manned the Gift Table, remember?
    EFFE
    (so shocked she could barely speak)
    Are you telling me you slept with her on OUR wedding night? Jeez, Steve, she was what… only fifteen, sixteen years then???
    STEVE
    (almost weeping again)
    No, d--n it, give me some d--n credit, Honey! She came to our room with the cash and cheques donated. You were asleep in your wedding gown. I was in the bathroom urinating when she entered behind me. She slipped her arms around my waist and took hold of my manhood! I swear I thought it was you! Then she giggled and said she was h---y seeing me in my suit, and asked if I wanted a boost…that was exactly what she said, a BOOST! I was so shocked I couldn’t move for a moment, but when she began to caress my d--n d--k, I pushed her away and came back to the room, really shaken up because all along I had thought she was just a kid, an innocent child. D--n it, she was just sixteen years old then! She came back to the room, winked at me, and left. Sincerely, I didn’t like her after that, because I knew she was trouble!
    EFFE
    (putting trembling fingers to her lips)
    Trouble that you couldn’t stay away from! Trouble that you had to follow through! Why the hell didn’t you tell me about that, Steve?
    STEVE
    I didn’t want any family feuds, no family splits! That girl was more of a sister to you than even Eyram! You trusted her, and I didn’t wanna mess that up, quite stupid of me, I should add. Almost a year ago you went to Australia, remember?
    Effe shuts her eyes, and nods, and pain crosses her face instantly.
    EFFE
    (in a whisper)
    Yes, the Sydney Conference, for Surgeons. I was gone for a week. That was when it happened, wasn’t it?
    Steve turns away from her and walks aimlessly to the center of the room. Once again he rubs his hand across his face and sighs heavily.
    STEVE
    Yes, I went out one night, to Harold’s bachelor bash. Got quite drunk. Elaine and I were alone in the house. Your monthlies had not shown for a week before you left, way past the expected time, and I guess you and I were both hoping that you could be pregnant, finally, and we were so excited. You called me that night, when I was still at Harold’s place, and you were quite distraught, because your menses was flowing. I guess I was disappointed and very sad that night.
    EFFE
    (sadly)
    You didn’t sound disappointed. You consoled me on the phone! You gave me the strength to carry on.
    STEVE
    (in great distress)
    What else could I do, my love, as a loving husband? I got drunk, and when I got home Elaine opened the gates for me, I parked in the garage, and when I entered the living-room she was standing there, quite naked. I was drunk, I was sad, I was stupid! There’s no excuse for what happened, Honey!
    Effe closes her eyes tightly, but still the tears of hurt drip down her cheeks.
    EFFE
    Oh, my God! Oh, my God! I can’t take this! And it began from then?
    STEVE
    (his voice really sad and full of remorse) No, Precious! I was sorry for what happened, for allowing her to seduce me that night, for soiling my marriage bed! I told her not to come near me ever again. The following day I had to chair the conference at Akosombo, and so I left. When I came back a week later you were back, and I pretended that everything was okay. A month later she entered my office, said she missed her period. She was pregnant!
    EFFE
    (sobbing heartbreakingly now)
    And you were elated, weren’t you? Finally you had an heir, something I couldn’t give you because, to all intents and purposes, I’m barren! Your mother had been giving us hell because you were an only child, and she needed a grandchild! Your father had been giving me hell because he needed a male grandchild to carry on your name! And so you were so happy Elaine told you she was pregnant that you decided to keep it a secret, even if it would hurt me!
    Steve comes to her and falls to his knees. He reaches up and takes her hands.
    STEVE
    My love, no! I wanted her to get an abortion! I was so disgusted with myself! I couldn’t look in the mirror because I hated myself! I never wanted to hurt you! I told her no! But she went to my parents and confessed! My Mom called me saying she had something important to discuss with me. When I went there Elaine was sitting with them. They were so delighted. The arrangement was that you would not know. Elaine would give birth and the child would stay with my folks!
    EFFE
    (sobbing and wrenching her hands from his grip)
    HOW ON EARTH WOULDN’T I KNOW? DID YOU THINK YOU COULD KEEP SUCH A DASTARDLY ACT A SECRET FOREVER??
    STEVE
    (quite anxious and scared)
    Forgive me, Honey! Oh, please forgive me! I never meant to hurt you, Effe!
    EFFE
    And ever since your Mom spoke to you, the two of you have been sleeping together, haven’t you, Steve?
    He remains on his knees. He can’t asnwer. He begins to sob.
    EFFE
    Answer me, Steve, DEAREST husband!! You have been sleeping together, haven’t you? Constantly??? Just like I saw you in the office, making love to her?
    He still remains silent. Effe walks to him, and speaks softly.
    EFFE
    Have you been making love to her in our bed, Steve? I want you to answer that please, honestly!
    Steve turns to her, and his anguished face is awash with tears.
    STEVE
    Please, Ef, my Precious! Let’s walk past this darkness! We can resolve this, Precious! I don’t want to lose you!
    EFFE
    (wiping tears from her eyes)
    Have you been making love to her on our bed?
    Steve hangs his head in shame and gives a small nod.
    STEVE
    Sometimes, yes, my love.
    Effe gasps. Her heart is tearing apart. She finds it difficult breathing.
    EFFE
    Look at your finger, Steve, dear husband! You are not wearing the ring I put on your finger at our wedding, after we exchanged vows. You have taken it off! Where is your wedding ring, Steve? WHERE’S YOUR D--N WEDDING RING???
    Steve holds up his hands. Tears drop on his ring finger which shows a white outline where his wedding ring has been.
    STEVE
    (trembling with the depths of his tears)
    Elaine, my dear! She doesn’t want to see me wearing my wedding ring whenever we’re together.
    EFFE
    (in a choked voice)
    You mean when you’re making love to her! You d--n hypocrite, Steve! Get out! GET OUT NOW! I DON’T EVER WANT TO SEE YOU AGAIN!!!
    Steve gets to his feet, and tries desperately to hold her. She screams and pummels his chest with her fists. Tears drown her as she shouts and frees herself from his embrace. She throws the door open and flees down the staircase. Her parents are in the living-room. They stand up as Steve stumbles down the stairs after her.
    STEVE
    Effe! Please don’t do this! I don’t wanna lose you!!!
    Mrs. Ivy Kedem reaches out for Effe. Effe holds her mother tightly and begins to cry. Mr. Ken Kedem meets Steve at the foot of the staircase and blocks his path as he tries to reach Effe.
    EFFE
    (her face buried in her Mom’s chest)
    Let him go, Daddy! Get him out of here! I don’t want to see him! Oh Lord! This pain is too much! I’m dying, Mommy!!
    Ivy brushes her daughter’s hair with her hands and holds her tightly.
    MADAM IVY
    It’s okay, my dear girl, my darling! You’re going to be fine!
    Steve tries to move past Mr. Kedem, but the man blocks him again.
    KEN KEDEM
    That’s enough, boy! Let her be for now. She’s distraught. She needs her mother. You should come back when she’s a bit calm.
    STEVE
    (in a plaintive voice)
    Please, Daddy, please! Let us…
    EFFE
    (screaming)
    GET THE HELL OUT!!!
    STEVE
    My Princess…
    MADAM IVY
    (harshly)
    Just go, Steve, just go! Give her space to breathe!
    Steve hesitates a moment. His face is tortured. He sighs deeply and his tears blind him.
    STEVE
    I’m sorry, Effe, darling. Please find it in your heart to forgive me! I wish you would come back home, honey, and let me show you how really sorry I am.
    Mr. Kedem takes Steve’s arm and leads him out of the room. Slowly Madam Ivy guides Effe to a settee and helps her sit down, but still holds her as Effe cries her heart out.

    Episode 4

    Continues
    FOUR DAYS
    INSIDE THE LARGE SOPHISTICATED SURGICAL THEATRE OF THE GIGANTIC EDEN HOSPITAL.
    A group of doctors and nurses are gathered around a patient.
    The overhead lights are bright. In pans are a variety of complex surgical tools. Around the room are beeping machines and monitors. The patient being operated on is a little boy of just two years.
    Effe Kedem Hollison, the surgeon, deftly performs the last stitch on the chest of the baby and then she steps back. She glances at one of the heart monitors. It flat-lines for a moment, causing the other doctors to look up in alarm, and then it zigs and resumes a steady regular rhythm.
    Effe quickly leaves the theatre. A nurse helps with taking off her head cover and nose mask. She shirks her gown and gloves and quickly walks into the washroom.
    Some minutes later she emerges out on the corridor of the theatre.
    The South African Paediatrician, Rupert Henderson and a senior Gynaecologist, Dr. GABRIEL ANAMAN, and a few nurses and doctors are huddled together on the corridor.
    When Effe emerges they begin to applaud, and she stops and nods with a forced smile on her face.
    DR. ANAMAN
    (shaking Effe’s hand)
    You saved that boy’s life, Effe.
    RUPERT
    (hugging Effe briefly)
    You’re the best surgeon in the world, Ef.
    The other doctors also congratulate Effe. She murmurs a few pleasantries to them and moves rapidly towards the elevators. Rupert walks with her. He enters the elevator behind her. They are the only ones in it. The elevator begins to ascend. Effe brushes a hand across her face and sees Rupert looking at her critically. She arches her eyebrows.
    EFFE
    Something on your mind, Rupe?
    Rupert shrugs.
    RUPERT
    Obviously, apart from being a super surgeon, I’m also beginning to see that you’re one very strong woman. I must admit I almost gave up on you showing up today to perform this surgery.
    EFFE
    And why, if I may ask?
    RUPERT
    (gently and sadly)
    Not many women can bounce back that quickly after finally seeing their husbands in a compromised position.
    EFFE
    (sharply, almost angrily)
    Cheating, Rupe, not ‘compromised’. And what do you mean by me finding out FINALLY, Rupe? You knew about it and didn’t tell me?
    RUPERT
    Didn’t know about it, Effe. I saw your husband coming out of the elevator and running out after you into the street stark naked, and I didn’t need Sherlock Holmes to deduce what happened.
    The lift dings and the doors open. Effe steps out and pauses. Tears form in her eyes again. Rupert steps out and squeezes her shoulder gently.
    EFFE
    (a tear falling down her right cheek slowly)
    I’m hurting, Rupe. I’m hurting really badly.
    RUPERT
    I know. You have every right to be hurt. Your husband is a fool, forgive me. But I know you’re going to sail through this. Don’t let it break you. You’re stronger than this.
    He nods and turns away sharply. Effe swallows painfully and heads in the other direction. She is the head of the Surgical Department of the Eden Hospital.
    She sees that her vision is blurred. Her tears are falling faster. She runs the few feet to her office door and pushes it open.
    She ignores Joyce, her secretary, and rushes into the inner office. She hears Joyce speaking but she does not listen. She closes her door and presses her back against it.
    A lady dressed in a fetching white suit is already in the office. She is rocking a baby lying in a blue carrier on Effe’s huge desk.
    The lady turns and looks at Effe. She looks exactly like Effe. The only differences are that she is carrying a little bit more weight than Effe due to childbirth, and she has a little black birthmark on the right corner of her lips.
    She is EYRAM KEDEM AFFUL, Effe’s twin sister, married to JONATHAN AFFUL.
    The sisters stare at each other, and on their faces are expressions of pain which only twins are capable of feeling for each other. Without a word Eyram holds out her arms. Effe moves forward blindly, slowly, haltingly.
    Great sobs rack her body. The two sisters embrace and hold each other tightly. They cry together.
    After a while Eyram leads Effe to a beautiful luxurious sofa in the corner of the room, and they sit down. Eyram picks up a tissue box from the low table besides the sofa and pulls out several tissues. The two sisters wipe their faces and smile sadly at each other.
    EFFE
    (blowing her nose)
    Sorry, Rammy, the floodgates just wouldn’t close. I’ve been crying for four days now. Amazing, isn’t it?
    EYRAM
    (nodding once)
    Let it all out Ef. I spoke to Mom after Steve came looking for you at our place.
    Learnt that Steve has impregnated Elaine. My Lord, Ef! I couldn’t believe it! Elaine? Our own cousin whom you’ve loved more than a sister? Jesus Christ! Steve of all men?
    EFFE
    Yes, Rammy. I wouldn’t have believed it either if I hadn’t walked in and seen them myself. Steve, my Steve!
    EYRAM
    (eyes flashing with fury)
    Elaine! That ungrateful little fiend! If I lay my hands on her I’ll tear off her head! How could she do this? You’ve practically looked after her all these years! She repays you by seducing your husband?
    EFFE
    Can’t blame her, Rammy. Marriage is about commitment, respect and love. Temptations come in all forms, and I won’t say men haven’t approached me, but my principles and total devotion to Steve and this bond called marriage ensured that I was never even tempted once to be unfaithful to him. If he loved and respected me, he wouldn’t have done this to me, with my own blood.
    EYRAM
    But how did this happen? Have you spoken to Elaine? Did Steve tell you why?
    Effe tells her sister everything Steve told her.
    EFFE
    …and that is how it is now.
    EYRAM
    (shaking her head with shock)
    Elaine had the audacity to touch Steve’s d--k on your wedding night, and he didn’t tell you? My God, she’s a d--n witch! And now Steve’s parents are on her side?
    EFFE
    Yes. Steve’s mom has been on me all these years to get pregnant because he is an only child, and they want an heir, to carry on the Hollison line.
    EYRAM
    That nincompoop! If it were that simple to have kids why did she give birth to only Steve? Nonsense. What shows that Elaine is going to give birth to a boy to carry on the Hollison line? For all we know she would lose that baby, or give birth to a legless, handless and faceless turd!
    EFFE
    (with shock)
    RAMMY!! Stop that evil thought!
    Both of them start to chuckle at the same time.
    EYRAM
    Glad to see you smile, Ef. You’re too good to experience this crazy betrayal, darling. What is Aunt Ruth saying now? Is she aware her daughter is now pregnant for your husband?
    EFFE
    I haven’t spoken to her, and I haven’t spoken to Elaine. I just have this pain center that just wouldn’t go away, and I needed to deal with that first. Didn’t want to confront them with pain. I need to be level-headed to take that step.
    The baby in the crib begins to cry. Effe gets up and rushes to the baby. She picks up her nephew, and coos to him. The baby giggles and his pudgy fingers go up and touch Effe’s face. Eyram comes to stand beside them. She touches Effe’s arm tenderly.
    EYRAM
    I don’t know what you’re going to do, Ef. Ultimately that decision is yours alone. I just want to say that, no matter what happens, don’t let Elaine win. No matter how hard it would be, make this marriage work. I’m sure Steve still loves you. That witch trapped him. I’m now convinced that Elaine has been jealous of you for a very long time. Don’t give her the satisfaction. Stay with this marriage. Repair the cracks if you can, and stick to it.
    EFFE
    He hurt me, Rammy. I went to his bed a virgin. I’ve dedicated my life to him. I saw them naked together, MAKING LOVE. That sight will always haunt me. How can I ever forget? How can I ever trust him with my heart again?
    EYRAM
    He still loves you, Ef. He told me he wants you back, still loves you. At least now he’s got his supposed heir. Let it change him. This is a storm you need to ride, baby girl. Don’t let Elaine take it on a silver platter. You don’t know the kind of marriage we are in, the kind of sacrifice we have been making all these years. Sometimes you just pray and move on, a day at a time.
    Effe looks at her sister with sad eyes and shakes her head sadly.
    EFFE
    (getting angry)
    Jon still beats you, doesn’t he?
    EYRAM
    (faint tears in her eyes)
    Would he ever stop? He’s sick, Ef. Now he wants to me to dress like a w---e and put on blonde wigs when he makes love to me. He ties me up with leather straps before he gets an erection. He brings his whores to the house and make love to them in our bedroom and wants me to watch, and when I refuse he beats me up! But I’m still in there, ain’t I? Makes what Steve has done seem like toy play, doesn’t it? He doesn’t hit me above the shoulders and below the waist, so everybody just sees my nice skin, but I can’t ever wear a bikini again because there’s not an inch on my body I don’t have a scar from his sadistic beatings!
    Effe looks horrified. She clutches the baby to her shoulder and draws near her sister.
    EFFE
    Good gracious, Rammy! Has it become that bad? You have to leave him, Rammy! I’ll tell Dad. This can’t be allowed to go on.
    EYRAM
    We’ve been over this before, Ef.
    EFFE
    I know, but you said it yourself. It’s becoming worse, and he’s not ready to stop. You shouldn’t take that, no matter what!
    EYRAM
    (sadly)
    Jonathan Afful is the Second Vice President of the Eden Board of Directors, and we all know Eden Inc is the multimillion Company that owns ninety percent of Dad’s Kedem Industries. Jon approved the loan Capital to Dad when the company almost collapsed.
    Jon has made it clear that if I leave he will pull the plugs, and Dad will lose his Company. If Jon activates the payback clause in the contract Dad would not only lose the Company, but he’ll lose his house and everything, and that will kill him.
    EFFE
    No, no, no! This can’t go on, Rammy. For how long are you going to suffer like this? And at what price? Until you lose your life? Don’t you think Daddy would rather lose his company and his house rather than see you suffer like this?
    EYRAM
    (puts her arms around her sister and speaks softly.)
    Things always work out for the best, Ef. My situation will work out, because I trust my God. First, let’s get your marriage back on track. Steve is a good man. That minx worked in the dark to fill his head with her witchcraft. She has been exposed now. You must take your man back. You still love him, don’t you?
    EFFE
    That’s the problem, Rammy. I still love the son-of-a-b---h!
    EYRAM
    Then go home to him today, Ef. Try to find a way around this crisis, okay?
    Effe nods and kisses her nephew on the cheek. The baby giggles and gurgles, and then gives a wet splotchy fart.
    The sisters laugh and wipe tears from their eyes.
    EFFE
    (still chuckling)
    I think he did the poopsie!
    EYRAM
    (laughing loudly)
    Go on, Doc, you change him. He farts and poops just like his b-----d Daddy!
    They burst into laughter again.
    EFFE
    Thanks for being here for me, Rammy. I love you so!
    EYRAM
    Love you more, Ef. Love you much, much more!

    Episode 5

    Continues
    FIVE DAYS
    INSIDE THE LUSTFUL LIPS PRIVATE CLUB.
    It is night. The club is full. An all-girl music band is playing. The five women in the band are wearing just G-Strings, n----e tassels, white stockings and black long-heeled shoes.
    Girls wearing only panties are dancing in glass booths around the interior. Some well-dressed men are around the booths, watching the women and dropping cedi notes into the booths when the women dance dirty.
    On the dance floor couples are dancing lewdly.
    There is a long bar with tall bar stools where men and women are sitting and drinking.
    There are also glass-topped tables and chairs where expensively-dressed people are sitting, eating and drinking.
    The waitresses who are serving are wearing tiny white skirts and white bras, and their bodies are young, firm and sexy.
    Sitting inside the interior, in one corner, are Steve Hollison and Jonathan Afful.
    Steve is still in his suit, but Afful has taken off his coat and loosened his tie. The first three buttons on his white shirt are unbuttoned. Steve is drinking wine, whilst Jonathan is eating lamb chops and spicy duck meat and washing that down with chilled vodka.
    Steve sighs and pours more Baron de Campos into his tumbler. He uses a long metallic palette to scoop little chunks of ice into the glass. He picks up the drink, swirls it round for a while, stares into it morosely, and puts it back down with a great sigh.
    Afful laughs and almost chokes on a juicy lamb chop.
    AFFUL
    (wiping tears from his eyes)
    My God, Stevo, why are you acting like you screwed the Virgin Mary? Man, youre not the first dude to screw a woman and her cousin. Get over it, man!
    STEVE
    You have done worse before, right? Youve messed with a family before, right?
    AFFUL
    (shaking his head and still chuckling)
    Yep! You know how I play, dude. Was a time, shortly before I married Eyram, when I played a divorced woman and her two daughters!
    STEVE
    (smiling wanly)
    For real?
    AFFUL
    For real, man. When they found out they kicked me out, but to hell with them, I played them. Even wanted to add the grandmother, but I saw she had fake teeth, and her boobs stretched from her chest to her knees and her a-s was like an untarred road. What the hell, I ran for my dear life!
    The two of them laugh very hard, and then Steve drinks half of his wine.
    STEVE
    (sadly)
    But I hurt Effe bad, bro. There I was, intensely making love to Elaine, and suddenly Effe is there, looking at me! Lord, the pain on her face killed me, bro. And when I went to her at her Dads place, her raw pain cut me so bad! Im not like you, Jon. I love Effe, I love her with all my d--n heart!
    AFFUL
    Yeah, so love her. No one is saying you shouldnt love her, but she got to understand shes barren. She couldnt get a belly bulge, and so you got one, not with an outsider, but with her family member. Sure, shes gonna hurt, but she got to settle down and let you make it up to her somehow!
    STEVE
    My God, Jon, youre d--n disgusting! You dont have a heart! Effe came to me pure and unblemished. She hadnt been with any other man but me. She has sustained our marriage, made sacrifices for me, taken care of me, and been there for me all the time. I betrayed her, man. I broke her divine heart, and theres no way I can atone for what Ive done to her!
    AFFUL
    But shes barren , bro. In the end thats all that matters! She cant give you kids, her cousin can. Simple. End of debate.
    Steve drains his tumbler and sets it down. With angry gestures he scoops ice into the tumbler and pours the last bit of wine into it.
    STEVE
    No, thats not all that matters. If I had been sterile, Effe wouldnt have turned her back on me and gotten pregnant with another man. I did her wrong, man. Ive got to find her, beg her not to leave me.
    A waitress approaches their table and puts a plate of steaming assorted noodles in front of Afful. Afful leans back and runs his hand up her naked thighs and under her short skirt. She giggles and leans forward so that Afful can fondle her n-----s with his free hand.
    WAITRESS
    Ohhhhh, Mr. Jon! Dont be naughty!
    Afful pushes a Twenty Ghana Cedi note into the waist band of her skirt, and she leans forward to nibble his right ear and to thank him in a sexy voice. She walks away wriggling her tiny buttocks.
    STEVE
    (indignantly)
    My God, Jon! Is that all you think of? Sex, sex, sex? That girl could be your own daughter!
    AFFUL
    But she’s not, dude, shes not. The younger the tighter, the sweeter, so goes the Players Jingle. But back to you, what about Elaine? You dont love her? Youre gonna abandon her? Shes carrying your son, dude! She also deserves better!
    STEVE
    (sighing and rubbing his face wearily)
    Elaine was an adrenaline rush, man. I dont know what came over me, and of course once it began maybe the thrill of the forbidden kept it exciting, but seeing Effe like that, seeing her pain, seeing how much I hurt her…it was too much. I cant forget that! And I dont know how Im gonna make her trust me again.
    AFFUL
    Youre stressing yourself over nothing, Stevo. Men cheat. Its a story of old. Some are lucky and never get caught, but ALL men cheat. You were unfortunate to get caught, but Effe gotta understand that! Sometimes out of evil comes good things. Now youre gonna have a kid, and your folks wouldnt worry Effe so much, and you two can concentrate on your marriage. So you see, win-win situation for all, except Elaine, of course.
    STEVE
    Goddamn it, Jon! Isnt that a bit too cliche? Would you understand it if your wife cheats on you?
    AFFUL
    Nonsense, why should I understand that? She dares cheat on me, Ill kill her!
    Steve shakes his head in exasperation.
    STEVE
    So why the hell do you want Effe to understand me? Women feel pain too, just like us, and we should protect their hearts! Thats the essence of love!
    AFFUL
    (leaning forward in earnest)
    Bullshit, who told you women feel pain? They can withstand pain, more than us! Look at childbirth! How many men can stand the pain of having a baby pulled out of their dicks? My God, men would go crazy if they go through labour pains! Listen, women are like honey flowers, and men are like bees. A bee can go from flower to flower to take nectar for sweet honey, but a flower that flies in the air from bee to bee would be cut down and burnt, because thats unnatural and an abomination!
    STEVE
    (smiling and shaking his head)
    That is a totally selfish way of looking at things, Jon!
    AFFUL
    Selfish? Did you say selfish? D--n it, Stevo, that is the absolute truth. A man can marry two wives, but a woman with two husband would be an abomination. Now, throw in this angle…do you know the Bible says theres gonna be a time when seven women would take one man as husband? Have you heard that quotation ever?
    STEVE
    (with a little laugh)
    Yeah, I have, but obviously youre gonna misrepresent that quotation to suit your perverse and selfish inclinations, Jon.
    AFFUL
    (taking a long swallow of his drink and banging down the tumbler)
    Misrepresent my a-s! Just wanna draw your attention to a simple computation of that Biblical statement. Seven women to one man, and now do you know what is happening?
    STEVE
    Tell me.
    AFFUL
    Gays! Those homosexuals are messing up the equation. You see, when two men fall in love that means FOURTEEN WOMEN are without men, because the Bible says seven women to a man, right! Add that fourteen to your seven, and what it means is that every man should have at least TWENTY-ONE women, because the more men become homos, the more women are left behind. So, my friend, you’re entitled to seven women, and fourteen more if you know some gays. So, if you made love to only your wife’s cousin, you still have twenty more women to attack.
    Steve bursts into laughter so hard that he spilt some of his drink.
    STEVE
    Jesus, Jon. You’re one crazy fool! That’s simply the worst chauvinistic statement I’ve ever heard!
    AFFUL
    Just giving you a simple analogy, bro. You’ve started a d--n revolution. All men need to emulate you. If I should have my way, Id advice any man to marry all the unmarried women in a family when he goes out to find a wife. Imagine getting married to three sisters and their cousins. You would end up with, hopefully, a mixture of fair, dark, short, tall, slim, fat, medium, beautiful, ugly women who are related and understand each other. No more excuse to cheat because you have a fine d--n collection of women in your bed. It would solve a lot of the problems in the world. So, don’t stress yourself. If you love Effe, stay with her and let Elaine have your baby. If Effe can’t understand that, kick her out!
    STEVE
    (shaking his head)
    You’ve never been faithful to Eyram, have you, Jon?
    Afful looks Steve in the eyes and speaks softly but with great conviction.
    AFFUL
    I can NEVER be faithful to ANY woman.
    Steve pushes back his chair and stands up.
    STEVE
    Im rolling out, Bro. Gotta find a solution to my mess.
    AFFUL
    Good night then. Ill stay a while. There is a new Chinese woman upstairs Im going to roll with her. I paid a lot of money for her, time to get my moneys worth. Bed tumble, bro! I hear the Chinese girls are super in bed, you know, Kung Fu style and all!
    Steve laughs again and takes out his wallet, but Afful shakes his head.
    AFFUL
    I’ve this tab covered, bro. Go home, but remember, don’t let this stress you out. Everything shows Effe can’t give you babies. If Elaine is capable, just explain it to Effe, and if she still fails to get the point, show her the red card and stay with Elaine.
    Steve puts on his coat and sighs. He tries to speak, hesitates, shakes his head and turns away. He takes two steps, stops, and turns.
    STEVE
    (speaks softly)
    I wish I can see things the way you see them, Jon, but I cant. I love Effe that much. And Ill always love her. Goodnight, and good luck with the Chinese a-s.
    AFFUL
    Go to he’ll, bro!.

    Episode 6

    Continues
    SIX DAYS
    It is evening. Effe drives through the beautiful silver gates of her matrimonial home located in the serene neighbourhood of the Airport Residential Area.
    It is a beautiful sprawling house. She is surprised to see two other cars parked beside Steve’s car under the Visitors’ Canopy. She recognizes the Toyota Sequoia her father-in-law drives, and the Prius of RUTH BOATENG.
    Ruth is Effe’s aunt, and Elaine’s mother.
    Effe’s heart begins to beat fast, and she closes her eyes for a moment. It looks like a family gathering, and her heart begins to pain her.
    She parks her car and sits quietly for a while. The pain on her face is very visible. For a moment she contemplates leaving, and then she gives a huge sigh and checks her face in the mirror inside the sun visor.
    She opens the door of her Lexus four runner and walks up the stairs towards the main door. She is aware of the security man closing the gates and greeting her, but she barely hears him.
    She can hear raised voices inside the house when she nears the landing. She stops with her hands on the balustrades and tries to listen.
    After a while she continues up and pauses on the landing.
    Suddenly the main door flies open and out comes Ruth Boateng. She has tears in her eyes and her scarf is almost off her grey hair. She is using a portion of the outer cover of her Kaba and Slit outfit to wipe her eyes. Her back is turned to Effe.
    AUNT RUTH
    (her voice shrill and bitter)
    This is an abomination, Elaine! Ah, how could you do this to this family? How could you do this to Effe, of all people? Ahhhh! No, no, no!! I refuse to be a part of this! I refuse it! Over my dead body, do you hear? Over my dead body!!!
    She turns then, and sees Effe. She freezes in her tracks. Behind her Elaine appears in the doorway. She is wearing a very short maternity dress that accentuates her bulging belly.
    ELAINE
    I don’t care, Mom! I don’t need your permission for this! You have never loved me, have you? It’s always been Effe, Effe, Effe! I’m your daughter, not her! Do you hear me, Mom? You can leave. I don’t need you. I don’t need…..
    She sees Effe and stops. For a brief moment she looks totally guilty, and then she clenches her jaws, puts one hand on her waist, and looks directly into Effe’s eyes.
    Aunt Ruth takes stumbling steps forward and drops to her knees in front of Effe. She bows further and holds both of Effe’s feet, and suddenly great tears begin to shake her body.
    AUNT RUTH
    (crying inconsolably)
    Effe, my daughter, please forgive me! I had absolutely no idea! They just informed me! This is a taboo! Forgive me, Effe, please forgive me and my daughter!!!
    Effe leans down and forcibly pulls up her aunt. The woman is just mourning, and can’t speak.
    EFFE
    (striving to remain clam)
    It’s alright, Mama. I hold nothing against you.
    AUNT RUTH
    This is my greatest day of shame! I’ve been asking my daughter who was responsible for her pregnancy for nine months now! I never imagined she could do this to our family. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I want you to know that I’m by your side, and I’ll never support them. I must go now, my daughter. I have to see my sister! I need to explain! I need to beg!! I need to pray!! Oh, my God, forgive me my daughter!!
    Aunt Ruth turns and flees to her car, and a moment later she drives out of the house with a squeal of tyres.
    Effe walks unsteadily into the house that she has shared with her husband for ten years.
    Elaine is standing near the huge window besides Steve, whose back is turned to the doorway so that he does not see that Effe has entered.
    Elaine’s arm is around Steve’s waist, and her head is on his shoulder. He is wearing black jeans and a pink T-Shirt. His arm is across Elaine’s shoulders, and he is holding a drink in the other hand.
    Effe’s mother-in-law, MRS. IRIS HOLLISON, is setting dinner in the dining-room which is off the living-room in a slightly declined end of the huge space. She looks up and sees Effe in the doorway, and she sets her jaw firmly and looks away.
    CAPTAIN BOSOMTWE HOLLISON, retired army veteran, is standing watching CNN News on the huge plasma television. He is wearing a grey suit. His hair is iron-grey, and he spots a huge moustache that is completely white.
    He turns and sees Effe standing in the doorway. He puts the remote down and approaches Effe with his right arm outstretched.
    CAPTAIN HOLLISON
    (in his metallic gruff voice)
    Effe! Just the woman I wanted to see. Come, come, dear. Let’s get all this mess cleared up. You must have met…erm, your aunt Ruth. She was in a bit of a tiff, I must say. But I believe we can do this civilly, right?
    Steve turns quickly and drops his arm from Elaine’s shoulders. He walks rapidly towards Effe, and on his face is great concern. Effe steps back a little so that Captain Hollison can’t hold her. She also moves forward to meet Steve.
    STEVE
    (in a contrite voice)
    Angel, you’re here.
    EFFE
    (her voice shaking)
    I came here to talk you, Steve. Alone. Is that possible?
    STEVE
    Yes, of course, honey. Let’s go to the bedroom.
    Iris Hollison comes to stand besides Steve, and her eyes are cold as they gaze at Effe.
    IRIS HOLLISON
    (in a flat deadpan voice)
    Is it necessary to go to the bedroom, son?
    STEVE
    (sharply, irritated)
    Mama! Stay out of this! This is between my wife –
    CAPTAIN HOLLISON
    Belt it, boy, don’t bark at your Mama like that! She said nothing wrong.
    Obviously Effe wants to talk about this little situation you have with Elaine, and since we had a meeting about it, I think it is fair if you tell Effe what happened here and what decision we arrived at.
    EFFE
    Oh. You had a meeting. Would someone be good enough to apprise me of this rather fascinating outcome?
    IRIS HOLLISON
    (angrily)
    Spare us the cynicism, Effe. You and Stevie have been married for ten years. He’s our only child, and you haven’t been able to give him a child, our grandchild. Elaine is now pregnant-
    STEVE
    (with anger in his voice)
    Mama, Papa …please! This is between me and Effe! I’ll take it from here, please! May I?
    CAPTAIN HOLLISON
    (angrily)
    Mind your tongue, boy! She’s your d--n Mama! She raised you, b----t-fed you and cleaned your d--n shitty mess till-
    STEVE
    (also angrily)
    PAPA!!! I SAID I GOT THIS!! She’s my wife, still is!! NOW COULD I HAVE A LITTLE PRIVACY WITH MY OWN WIFE, PLEASE???
    Elaine suddenly pushes her way forward and stands in front of Steve and faces Effe. She has contempt, bitterness and jealousy all rolled into one on her face.
    ELAINE
    (her voice spilling venom)
    I’ve told Steve and her parents that I’ll never give birth to a b-----d! I’ll not give birth out of wedlock. He either divorces you and marry me, or he’ll never see his son again. I’ll deny him fatherhood, and that’s that!!
    Effe feels faint. The shock and the pain makes her take a stumbling step back. She shakes her head, and once again the tears of agony brim her eyes and spill down her beautiful cheeks. She looks at Elaine with horrified eyes.
    EFFE
    (tears spilling down her eyes)
    Elaine! Ei! How could you do this to me? I’ve only loved you like-
    ELAINE
    (her voice vicious and like a whiplash)
    Spare me the mega drama, SISTER! You always thought you were better than us! You thought you had all the money, always looking down on me, giving me your old dresses, your old shoes! You and Eyram and your parents thought you were the best of the best, always looking down on my mother, and all the other family members! Now see how the tables have turned, you useless barren fig tree! Your husband loves me, and I love him! Move on, SISTER!! Steve is mine now.
    Effe is blinded by tears. She reaches out to Steve.
    EFFE
    (weeping uncontrollably)
    I’m dying, Steve, honey! Please hold me! Please tell me all this is a dream! STEVE, MY LOVE, PLEEEAASSE!!!
    Effe’s hands touches Steve, but Elaine slaps Effe’s hands away violently.
    ELAINE
    (her voice raised and shrill)
    LEAVE HIM ALONE, YOU BARREN WITCH!!!
    Effe loses it. With a cry of pain she rushes at Elaine, her hand raised to slap her.
    She hears Steve’s parents screaming, and Steve steps forward and pushes Effe so hard that she is flung backwards to smash into the door-frame.
    CAPTAIN HOLLISON
    Relax, Effe!!
    IRIS HOLLISON
    (shouting)
    Effe!! Don’t come and kill our grandson!!
    Effe is on her hands and knees. She can feel blood running drown her neck from the gash that has opened up in her scalp. Mucous falls down her nostrils. She is blinded by tears.
    EFFE
    Steve! STEVE! STEVE!!
    STEVE
    (his face contrite)
    Now look what you made me do, Effe! You were going to strike her! She’s pregnant, Effe. If she had fallen down as a result of your attack the baby would’ve been hurt. I’m sorry for pushing you, honey, but you wanted to hurt the baby on purpose!
    Effe gets to her feet, and stands there wobbling. She looks at Steve and slowly she falls to her knees in front of him.
    EFFE
    (sobbing)
    Steve, my love! Remember the good times we shared. I’ve loved only you! Please don’t leave me like this! I can’t live without you, Steve, my darling, my honey! If you want to have kids with Elaine, fine, I’ll stay with you! But please, please, please, DON’T LEAVE ME, STEVE! I’LL DIE WITHOUT YOU, DARLING!!
    ELAINE
    HE DOESN’T LOVE YOU! He hasn’t loved you for a long time! Leave him alone, aaaba! You’re barren! Deal with that!
    Steve pulls Effe to her feet.
    STEVE
    (speaking softly so that only Effe hears him)
    I’m sorry, honey! Very, very sorry, but please I know Elaine would deny me my son if I don’t do as she says. I need a child, Effe! I really need a child! I’m sorry, but seeing the terrible way things have turned out, we need to part ways for a while. I know I’ve hurt you beyond comprehension, but there’s no going back now! We must get divorced, for a while. Please understand.
    Effe turns and runs blindly from the room. The floor is spinning and her heart is beating so fast that she fears it will rip out of her chest.
    She can’t bear the pain that is suffusing her whole body. She feels like she is dying.
    STEVE
    (his voice filled with fear)
    Effe! EFFE PLEASE WAIT!!!
    He tries to run after Effe but Elaine holds his arms to prevent him. By the time he frees himself and goes outside Effe is already speeding away.
    She drives blindly, tears falling down her face in torrents. She is wailing in pain. She barely sees where she is going. She shoots past cars recklessly, and jumps a traffic light. Other motorists honk angrily at her.
    She is trying to take a curve at top speed when she loses control of the car and smashes into a lamp post.
    The impact throws her forward. Luckily she is wearing her seat belt and so she is spared debilitating injury.
    She feels a sharp pain in her right shoulder first, and then her head smashes into the metal frame of the right window. Everything goes black as she passes out.
    People are screaming. Cars stop and people rush to her aid.
    A beautiful taxi stops first and a handsome man in dreadlocks gets out in a rush. On the back windshield of his taxi are the words: DARLING BOY.
    He rushes to her car and wrenches the door open. He sees her face covered with blood. He releases the seat-belt and takes her out gently.
    A great crowd has gathered now, and talking excitedly. Some are telling him not to move her body and wait for the police. Others offer to help him carry her.
    He carries her to his taxi, puts her down carefully in the back. He runs fast back to her car and checks it quickly. He takes her handbag which is the only item he sees, removes the keys from the ignition, remote-locks the car and runs back to his taxi. He drives away fast, and is relieved when he sees that a police car has turned towards the accident scene.
    He turns back occasionally to see if she is stirring, but she’s still out, and still bleeding.
    CHRIS
    O Charlie! E hard o!

    Episode 7

    Continues
    SEVEN DAYS
    Effe opens her eyes slowly. Her head hurts really badly. She is in a very comfortable bed. She moves her eyes and sees she is in a hospital ward. The room is amazingly beautiful.
    The curtains are pristine sky blue. There is a little fridge, a small cabinet and even a miniature wardrobe. There are flowers in a vase by the window. There is a television mounted on one wall, and an air-conditioner is whirring the room cool silently.
    It looks like a private ward. She can feel the bandage wound around her head and around her right elbow. She stares at the pretty angel murals in the ceiling and slowly she remembers the previous evening, and a look of sheer pain crosses her face, and although she tries hard to still her tears, they began to trail down the sides of her eyes and soak the pillow.
    EFFE
    Oh, Steve! Oh, Steve!
    The door opens suddenly and a buxom nurse enters. She approaches the bed and smiles at Effe.
    NURSE
    Oh, you’re awake. Thank goodness. I’ll let the doctor know immediately.
    She turns and heads towards a telephone mounted on the wall.
    EFFE
    (speaking hoarsely)
    Wait, nurse, please! Where am I?
    The nurse turns with the receiver held to her ear.
    NURSE
    In the Ameyaw-Eden Clinic, Madam. You were brought in last evening. You had been in an accident …hello, Doc. The patient in Ward Twelve has come to.
    She replaces the receiver and comes to the bed.
    EFFE
    Oh. Okay. One of the Eden hospitals.
    NURSE
    Yes, under the care of Doctor Michael Ameyaw.
    Effe’s eyes widen with surprise.
    EFFE
    Mike Ameyaw. Sounds familiar.
    The door opens and a young man in a white doctor’s overcoat enters. His black hair is speckled with grey. He is a little plump and has a small pot-belly, but he is quite handsome.
    He is wearing round gold-rimmed glasses, and his eyes reflects warmth as he comes to the bed and smiles down at her. He looks very familiar to Effe, but she can’t quite recollect where she made his acquaintance.
    DR. AMEYAW
    We meet again, Mrs. Hollison. After the seminar in Takoradi you promised to visit me here. I never imagined it would be this soon, and with blood all over your head.
    Effe tries to smile.
    EFFE
    Oh, yes, so that’s where we met. You told me about this lovely hospital which is being funded by Eden Inc. They wanted to take over your hospital, right?
    The doctor sits beside her and mops the tears from the sides of her eyes.
    DR. AMEYAW
    Oh, we’ve resolved that issue now. Had the privilege of meeting the President of the Eden Board himself, and they’ve agreed to change the takeover clause. So it’s now a loan. I’ve to work hard to repay the loan, and then ownership of the clinic will revert to my family.
    Effe smiles wanly.
    EFFE
    That is good news.
    DR. AMEYAW
    Very good news. How’re you feeling now? Scary and rough day yesterday?
    Effe sighs.
    EFFE
    Very rough, Dr. Ameyaw.
    DR. AMEYAW
    Thought we agreed in Takoradi that I’ll be Mike to you and you’ll be Effe to me.
    Loved your presentation at the seminar, Effe. Now, let’s see. You were brought in yesterday with a concussion, a cut in your scalp and a sprained elbow.
    Luckily, no bones were broken, though you’re going to have a headache for a couple of days, and there’s not going to be any driving for you for a few days yet, until that elbow sprain heals completely. Otherwise you’re fit to go.
    Effe’s eyes turn warm.
    EFFE
    Thank you so much, Mike. I don’t know how I got here. I don’t have my bag here, or my phone. I’ll call my father and sort out the bill. They might be worried by now.
    DR. AMEYAW
    The bill is on the house, my dear. A young taxi driver brought you here yesterday, and from what I hear he brought your bag too, but he kept it, wouldn’t give it to anyone. He’s been to the police station where your damaged car was towed to, and he’s been here since dawn waiting for you to wake up. Quite stubborn man. He’s been on my neck to attend to you although I told him time and again you were doing fine. Chris Bawa he calls himself. Has an annoying habit of smoking and speaking in pidgin English.
    Effe chuckles and shakes her head, amazed.
    EFFE
    (speaking softly)
    He found me? Chris? The Darling Boy?
    Doctor Ameyaw raises his eyebrows with curiosity.
    DR. AMEYAW
    Darling boy? Well now!
    Effe laughs and shakes her head gently.
    EFFE
    Oh, no, not like that. That’s what he’s written at the back of his taxi. A nickname, I guess. I met him a week ago, and I guess I still owe him for his fare that time. Maybe that’s why he’s sticking around. Obviously, he wants his money back.
    The doctor smiles and stands up.
    DR. AMEYAW
    Alright, dear. I’ll send him in with your bag. Your dress was badly soiled with blood when you came in yesterday, so I asked the Laundry Department to work their magic. Nurse, are her clothes ready?
    NURSE
    Yes, Doctor. They’re in the wardrobe.
    Effe looks at Doctor Ameyaw with a mock frowned face. The doctor notices her discomfort and chuckles good-naturedly.
    DR. AMEYAW
    Don’t be naughty, Effe. Nurse Evelyn undressed and put you in the hospital gown. Considering your elbow is still in a cast, maybe she can help you get dressed up again. And do well to take your medication. You’ll have a mighty splitting headache later in the day.
    EFFE
    I’m very grateful, Mike. God bless you.
    They all laugh. The doctor leaves after a few more pleasantries, and the nurse helps Effe to get dressed. The nurse leaves after fetching a glass of water for Effe.
    Effe is sitting on the bed, wincing from the gentle throbbing pain in her elbow when the door opens and Chris Bawa enters.
    He is wearing black jeans and beautiful sneakers. His white Lacoste fits him very well. She notices for the first time how extremely good-looking he is, even with his mane of dreadlocks.
    She has not noticed that the first night. His eyebrows are dark and full, almost feminine, and his lips are sensual. His eyes are heavy and veiled, giving him a most exotic look, and he looks so handsome that for a moment she just stares at him in surprise.
    He is holding her bag in one hand and a tall white rectangular box in the other, with the words LOIS BIT NIPS written on its side. He comes and stands in front of her.
    CHRIS
    (in a slow voice)
    How be you? You fine?
    She smiles in spite of herself and looks up at him.
    EFFE
    Thank you, Chris. Seems you saved me again. Strange coincidence, don’t you think?
    CHRIS
    (his voice deadpan)
    Co nothing. I dey traffic inside then I see you zoom pass, so I turn and follow you. Abi you no pay me the last time, so na I dey come for my dough. Then I see sey you swerve and hit the electricity pole. Wetin dey wrong you la? You wan kill yourself or wetin?
    She is quite taken aback by his abrupt manner, and she scowls at him, her defences up immediately.
    EFFE
    You think I make it a habit of intentionally running my car into pillars?
    Chris sits down beside her and offers her the bag.
    CHRIS
    Sorry. I no talk well. But na I make scared. Like you fit die sef.
    EFFE
    I know. And once again thank you. I was in a very bad situation. I lost control totally and couldn’t concentrate.
    He nods and hands her the tall LOIS BIT NIPS box.
    CHRIS
    You for be careful, Madam. Your life be precious.
    EFFE
    (gesturing at the box)
    What’s this, Chris?
    CHRIS
    Oh. Na food. I was thinking maybe you go be hungry.
    The box is still warm. She opens it and peers inside. She sees noodles and meat bits and other greasy stuff. She wrinkles her nose with distaste, although she is suddenly feeling ravenously hungry.
    EFFE
    I can’t eat this, please. Too greasy. I don’t think it’s healthy.
    Chris looks at her with sudden pained eyes.
    CHRIS
    You know where I drive go before I get the food buy? I almost reach Akuapim. That be Mama Lois Special. Please try am. E sweet pass gogome!
    Effe laughs, and reluctantly removes the wrapper around the plastic fork he proffers. She dips into the box, scoops a forkful into her mouth, chews slowly, and then her eyes widen with both surprise and delight.
    EFFE
    Oh, gracious me! This is sweet.
    CHRIS
    Wetin. I know. Then you wan make too know for my top.
    Effe eats everything, and still isn’t full. She is surprised the food tasted so good. He stands up, digs into his pocket and hands her a little slip of paper on which is written a list of misspelled words.
    It is an account of how much she owes him, including the charter fare she has not paid the first time she boarded his car. She shakes her head with a smile.
    EFFE
    Alright. This is even less than what I envisaged. You’ve indeed been very kind to me. Is it possible for you to drive me to the place you dropped me off the other time? I’ll stop at any Visa ATM and take money to pay you, okay?
    CHRIS
    No P. I go tap you at the reception.
    He gets up to leave and walks to the door. He stops and turns, and looks at her for a long time.
    EFFE
    What now?
    CHRIS
    (in a very calm voice)
    You be the finest woman I ever see, Madam.
    She tries to keep calm, but she feels a certain inner glow at his compliment, and she smiles sadly.
    EFFE
    Thank you, Darling Boy.
    He smiles at that. His smile is broad and creates dimples in his cheeks and is so full of both life and beauty that she marvels.
    When he closes the door behind him she shakes her head again, and wonders at life’s injustices which has denied such a kind-hearted handsome man the benefits of a good education.
    She leaves the ward shortly afterwards. Walking through the premises of the Clinic, she is impressed with how well-designed and how beautiful it is.
    The Eden Hospital, where she works, is one of the biggest and best hospitals in the world, but it lacks the homely atmosphere she is seeing in Dr. Ameyaw’s clinic.
    She is shown upstairs into Dr. Ameyaw’s office. He hands her a little packet in a medium-sized white envelope.
    DR. AMEYAW
    Your medication for two days. I’ll take off that cast three days from now.
    EFFE
    I’m indebted to you, Mike.
    He throws a hand in the air in a gesture of dismissal. He walks round his desk and takes her hand.
    DR. AMEYAW
    Come with me, dear. I want to show you something.
    He takes her outside, walks along the beautiful corridor and stops in front of a brown door.
    He opens it with a key and ushers Effe in. She sees that it is a new office. It is huge and comfortable, beautifully furnished for a doctor.
    She is particularly fascinated with the amazing aquarium that is to the right of the desk.
    EFFE
    (awed)
    You really do things in style, Mike.
    DR. AMEYAW
    (his voice serious)
    This Clinic was built by my father, Effe. It was his life’s work, his blood, his vision. He left it to us to run, but after his death two of my brothers and my senior sister wanted to sell it. I couldn’t let that happen, and so I bought it from them.
    Effe nods, and there is a gentle look in her eyes.
    EFFE
    With help from Eden Inc.
    DR. AMEYAW
    (nodding)
    Yes, my dear. Eden almost took the hospital away from me, but thanks to God, they changed their eighty-percent ownership into a loan. I’m a good Doctor, Effe, but not a very good surgeon. That is where the big money is, nowadays. Recently I’ve started freaking out when I go to the theatre to operate. I’ve developed stage fright, my dear, and you know how dangerous it is if you don’t cut a patient open with confidence.
    His face is haunted and sad. Effe lays a gentle hand on his arm.
    EFFE
    Surely it is not that bad. We all have our bad days now and then. You can pull through this.
    DR. AMEYAW
    It is bad, Effe. It is very bad. Last month I cut someone open for a gallstone op, but he had nothing in him. To make matters worse, I left a pair of forceps in his stomach. Now tell me that’s not bad.
    EFFE
    That is very bad, Mike.
    DR. AMEYAW
    Yes, it is. Lucky he was my friend from the University. I could have lost my license and the Clinic. Bottom line is, I need help here, Effe. I meant to ask you this in Takoradi, but the right opportunity never cropped up. I know I’ll get myself in order, but before then would you consider helping out here on a contract basis? This office is for you, and I’ll pay you a fair wage. I know you barely get spare time at the hospital, but please, would you help me?
    EFFE
    It is perfect, Mike. My life is now a nightmare, and I need a place to lie low for a while, you know, to settle down and see the storm through. This will work perfectly for me. I accept.
    The Doctor gives a whoop of joy and hugs Effe. His relief is evident when he walks her out some few minutes later, and waves as she sits in Chris’ taxi and it begins to move.
    Chris drives her through North Legon towards Dzorwulu. They are both silent for a long time.
    Effe is still reminiscing about how she could have gotten it all wrong.
    She is still wondering how Steve and Elaine have been able to sustain their affair in her presence for so long! How has she missed it all?
    She remembers his words again and again, and each time pain suffuses her. Chris sees a Barclays ATM and swings the car over and stops for her. She gets out, withdraws money, pays him, and then they resume driving.
    She notices that the taxi is new and nice. He has even wound up the windows and turned on the air-conditioning.
    She fishes out her phone and sees a lot of missed calls from her parents, Eyram and colleagues. She calls her parents first and assures them that she is okay.
    Next, she calls her sister and lies to her that everything is fine. She is in the process of calling Dr. Anaman at the hospital when Chris speaks. She looks at him blankly.
    CHRIS
    E no be your husbie dey there?
    They are stuck in traffic and he is pointing out of the window. She looks in the direction he is pointing, and her heart skips a very painful beat when she sees that is indeed Steve.
    He has emerged from a Mother Care. He is holding a bulging package which he is putting inside his car. Behind him is Elaine and a smiling Jonathan Afful.
    Elaine is laughing at something Jonathan has said. Jonathan tries to touch Elaine’s belly, but she pulls away and runs to a smiling Steve.
    Steve holds her and puts a reverential hand on her big belly, and then he bends and kisses her belly.
    Effe looks away as her eyes go blind with tears again. The pain is unbearable for her. Luckily the traffic moves and Chris drives on. She looks at him, and wordlessly he picks up the box of tissues on the dashboard and gives it to her.
    She weeps silently and cleans her face with the tissue.
    EFFE
    Oh, Steve!!
    CHRIS
    Your husbie be crack paa oo! E dey run naked on the street and now e dey smooch pregnant-
    EFFE
    (sharply, painfully, angrily)
    Just shut the hell up, would you?
    He says nothing. After a while she turns to him and looks at his cold profile.
    EFFE
    I’m sorry, Chris. I’m hurting. I’m really hurting.
    He nods but says nothing. Just then her phone rings, and she takes it.
    It is from MR. JOSHUA DARKWA, their family lawyer. Her heart begins to beat extremely fast now. She hasn’t heard from the lawyer in a little while, and she knows without being told that it is about the divorce Steve had threatened her with. Her heart beating with trepidation, she picks the call.
    JOSHUA
    (sounding really disturbed)
    What’s this, Effe, my dear? Just received a letter from Steve’s lawyer. He’s seeking a divorce?
    Effe grips the phone so tightly that her fingers hurt her. Suddenly everything goes black for a moment as she almost passes out.
    The phone drops from her hand and falls. When she looks at Chris he sees a pain so great that his anger vanishes immediately.
    CHRIS
    Hey. Wetin dey wrong you? You be okay, lady?
    EFFE
    (her voice trembling horribly, her tears falling in torrents)
    Don’t take me home again! Please take me somewhere, somewhere I can lie down, please.
    CHRIS
    I no dey understand, madam!
    EFFE
    Take me somewhere, please! A hotel, any hotel, please! I want to be alone! Oh Steve, oh Steve!
    He nods and drives. She cries bitterly besides him. Her phone rings again. She cuts the call and switches off the phone. She is in great anguish and he watches her silently.
    He switches on the radio and begins to play reggae Mellow Melodies on the CD player. A little while later he realizes that amazingly, she is asleep. He shakes his head.
    CHRIS
    Ei Charlie! E hard o!
    To be Continued…

    Episode 8

    Continues
    EIGHT DAYS
    Effe wakes up in the most comfortable bed she has ever slept in. Her eyes fall on a luminous clock on a quaint bedside table with a glass top. It is 10:12 a.m.
    She turns on her back and yawns. She remembers dimly about being in Chris’ taxi for many hours and wondering where he was taking her, but not really minding where they were headed, or even scared of him.
    The pain of seeing Steve looking so happy with Elaine, and being so romantic with her, had almost knocked Effe straight into a coma, and she had not really cared where that taxi driver took her, but she remembers getting out of the taxi finally and following him into a room and falling on a bed…
    She sits up now with a little cry of alarm. What has happened? She remembers feeling hungry somewhere along the journey and the taxi driver had stopped to buy her some Digestives and Pure Heaven Coconut drink.
    She sees she is still in her dress, and that she has not been ravaged.
    She smiles in spite of herself. She has totally abandoned herself into his hands, and she knows a less respectable man would have taken privileges with her.
    She looks around and sees that the room is excellent and luxuriously furnished.
    The bed is four-poster, the three armchairs leather-bound, the carpet impeccable, and the small bar obviously well-stocked. A door opens unto a terrace outside, and to one side is a small but beautiful eating place.
    The ceiling has excellent murals. On the walls are classic art drawings, mostly of rastafarian orientation.
    There is a glass-fronted wardrobe, and a beautiful dressing-table. A huge mirror is set into the wall at the foot of the bed so that lovers can obviously watch themselves on the bed. The television on the wall is tuned to some reggae station, and Bob Marley is singing ‘Could You Be Loved?’
    She gets up slowly. Her movements are hampered a bit by the cast around her elbow, but she goes into the bathroom and is again taken aback by the mini jacuzzi and the pristine look of the accessories and fittings.
    She draws a warm bath and strips down. She soaks in it for a long time. She suddenly realizes that she has not packed any clothes for her impromptu flight from pain.
    She puts on a fluffy white bathrobe and goes to the room. She has absolutely no idea where she is, and to make matters worse she realizes that she has not even bothered to take Chris’ phone number.
    She sees a white telephone on the writing desk, and one fixed in the wall above the bedside table.
    She sits on the bed. She notices a laminated sheet on the table and she picks it up. It is a list of some important numbers and extensions, and on the top of the sheet are the words: JAMAICA RESORT, AKUAPIM.
    She raises her eyebrows. She has never heard of it before. She picks up the receiver and dials ‘0’. It rings twice, and then somebody picks it up.
    FRONT DESK RECEPTIONIST
    Good Morning. You’ve reached the front desk, please.
    EFFE
    Good Morning. I came in last night and was very tired. I don’t know my room number.
    FRONT DESK RECEPTIONIST
    (politely)
    You’re in Hut Twelve, Madam.
    EFFE
    Thank you very much. I came with a… erm, a gentleman. A taxi driver, actually…
    FRONT DESK RECEPTIONIST
    (breaking in politely)
    You mean Mr. Bawa. He asked me to inform him when you wake up, Madam.
    EFFE
    (surprised)
    He’s here?
    FRONT DESK RECEPTIONIST
    He is in Hut Eleven, Madam. The one after yours. You can dial Extension Eleven to get him.
    EFFE
    Oh. Okay. Thank you very much.
    FRONT DESK RECEPTIONIST
    You’re welcome, Madam.
    Effe replaces the receiver gently and looks at it. She had been both hurt and confused the previous day. She had asked him to take her away from the pain. He had obeyed, and he had even stayed the night.
    She tries to tell herself that he had stayed because she had not paid him for the journey, but deep down she knows that is not the case. She is beginning to realize that he is a very caring person indeed.
    She sighs and lifts the receiver a second time and dials Ext 11.
    He picks it on the first ring.
    CHRIS
    (sleepily)
    Who dis?
    She chuckles instantly.
    EFFE
    My word, but you can be very infuriating when you choose to, can’t you?
    CHRIS
    (chuckling too)
    Oh, Madam. You’re awake. I dey come your room pronto!
    The receiver drops with a clatter and she chuckles again. A moment later there’s a gentle ding-dong sound, and she walks barefoot to the door and opens it slowly.
    He is standing there in black jeans shorts, white sneakers and a white T-Shirt. He is holding a huge polyethylene bag in his hand. She steps back.
    EFFE
    Come in, please.
    He does not move. His eyes are riveted on her face, and as she looks at him she is once again struck by how extremely handsome he looks.
    She finds it hard believing that he is just a semi-illiterate taxi driver. He looks every inch a model, or a leading Hollywood movie star.
    EFFE
    What is it? Aren’t you coming in? Why’re you looking at me like that?
    CHRIS
    (in a very soft and calm voice)
    You be the most beautiful woman I ever see, Madam.
    Despite herself she finds herself glowing inwardly at his compliment.
    EFFE
    (with a smile)
    Thank you. Now are you coming in? And do call me Effe.
    He steps into the room. She starts to close the door, then sees the compound of the JAMAICA RESORT for the first time and stares. It is very beautiful. The compound is taken up with great expanses of green grass and royal palm trees.
    The HUTS are brown stone stuccos and spherical white edifices. She sees a great garden, and far off she can make out what looks like a sports complex. She closes the door and turns to him.
    EFFE
    Waow. This place is so beautiful. I’ve never even heard of it. How did you know this place?
    CHRIS
    (with gentle smile)
    I be taxi driver, abi. I know a lot of fine fine places because big big people be my customers. This place is owned by a rasta Dada called Sir Sullivan. He be ma paddy!
    They smile at each other, and for a few minutes Effe forgets about her pain and only thinks of the fact that the world is not as terrible as she feared it is going to be.
    He puts the package he is holding on the bed. She raises her eyebrows quizzically.
    EFFE
    What’s that?
    CHRIS
    (shrugs)
    Oh, I use some of your money buy some things for you because you no bring anything. If you wan stay here then you for buy other things later. They get some nice supermarket around hut one.
    She walks past him and opens the package. She sees black jeans, a red and white blouse, a couple of panties which thankfully are still in their original wrappings and down-heeled slippers. And then there is a bra. She turns and looks at him.
    EFFE
    And you think you know my sizes?
    He smiles ruefully.
    CHRIS
    I guess them.
    EFFE
    (calmly)
    You guessed my sizes? You’re obviously a womanizer, aren’t you?
    The smile vanishes from his face, and his face becomes rigid with sudden anger.
    CHRIS
    My thanks be that?
    Quickly she sees she has hurt him somewhat.
    EFFE
    Oh, sorry. I was just joking with you, Chris. Thanks.
    She goes to the bathroom, locks it from within, and changes. Everything fits like a dream, and when she surveys herself in the mirror she likes his selection very much.
    When she returns to the room he is putting the telephone receiver down.
    CHRIS
    (in a brusque voice)
    They called. They wan know if you dey want some breakfast.
    For a moment, she does not really hear him. She stares at him, and it dawns on her suddenly that he is quite resourceful and awfully caring, unless he is doing it simply to impress her. Try as she can, she simply cannot recollect the last time Steve has really been selfless and chivalrous towards her needs. Lord, she is doing comparisons already?
    She chides herself and gives herself a mental kick to stop the wanderings of her thoughts.
    EFFE
    Thanks for the clothes, Chris. I like them.
    CHRIS
    Ok. I go leave you now.
    She frowns.
    EFFE
    Leaving?
    CHRIS
    Yes. I for go make some rounds. My taxi be work and pay. Every week I dey pay the owner four hundred cedis. When I finish e go be my own. If you be happy here then I dey go.
    She realizes she has not thought about him leaving. She is a bit dismayed when she realizes that she has been dependent on him, and has unconsciously assumed that he will be available.
    Her mind races, and then she walks and stands in front of him.
    EFFE
    (in a soft voice)
    Look, my arm is still not quite healed. The Doctor said he would remove the cast tomorrow. I want you to wait. I’ll pay you for the week. I will even double it if I have to because I obviously can’t drive, and moreover I don’t have my car. So I’ll like to retain your services.
    He smiles, and his cheeks dimples, and she is once again quite taken aback by his sheer presence and masculinity.
    It is as well that he is not highly educated, she thinks, otherwise he would’ve been a very dangerous man indeed…to innocent women.
    CHRIS
    (his voice suddenly excited)
    It is expensive here o, Madam. You can stay here. Me I go go the town inside go find some place sleep.
    EFFE
    Another hotel? There wouldn’t be much difference in charges, would there?
    CHRIS
    (chuckling)
    No hotel. I get some old chick for here. I go go search for am.
    She puts her head to one side and regards him.
    EFFE
    You’re not going to break any girl’s heart again. You’ll stay. I’ll pay for your time, and you’ll stay here.
    CHRIS
    Yes, Commander.
    He salutes, and she laughs, and just then her telephone rings. She sits on the bed and stares at it. It is JOSHUA DARKWA, their family lawyer. She sighs miserably, suddenly reminded of the pain factor in her life. The love of her life lost to her own cousin.
    Oh, Steve! She picks the call.
    EFFE
    (in an unsteady voice)
    Hello, Uncle Josh.
    JOSHUA
    (sounding worried)
    Effe. I need to see you.
    EFFE
    Steve? His divorce?
    Joshua is quiet for a little while.
    JOSHUA
    Yes, my dear. They’re going to court, if necessary. I want to see you so that I’ll know how best to represent you and negotiate your interests to the maximum values possible.
    EFFE
    (sadly)
    I’m not fighting it, Uncle Josh. He wants it, let him have it. I don’t want anything from him. He can keep everything.
    JOSHUA
    (his voice sharp)
    Don’t react with your hurt heart, Effe. You can’t give in like this. I can convince the judge to grant you months for counselling, and even more months for a temporary legal separation, so that you think this over. I can drag this, if you want, and Steve would regret ever messing with you.
    EFFE
    You know what this is about, Uncle Josh?
    JOSHUA
    Yes. Elaine. Your Mama told me she’s pregnant for Steve. This is madness! It’s absolutely cruel. I can rip him apart, Effe. He wouldn’t know what hit him! Just give me the go ahead.
    EFFE
    (softly)
    No, please. If he wants to go, let him go. He can have the house and everything. I’m ok. Please review the papers, and do whatever you need to do. I’ll come and sign them. Just make sure he gets everything.
    JOSHUA
    Effe!!!
    EFFE
    (her voice catching on a sob)
    Please. It’s over. Don’t let him take me through any more pain, I beg of you. Just do it.
    The lawyer sighs deeply.
    JOSHUA
    Okay, Effe, my dear. If that’s what you want, I’ll do it. Oh, before I forget, I’ve also been contacted by your insurers about your car. I’ll deal with that too. I’ll call you later. Take care, dear.
    Effe cuts the line. Her eyes are blurred with tears. Her heart is breaking with pain. She gets up and tries to run to the bathroom, to hide and cry, but in her rush she trips and suddenly falls against the taxi driver.
    He holds her, and her weight and momentum send them both sprawling to the floor. She tries to pull away, but he holds her, not tightly, not crushingly, but gently. She collapses against him, and she buries her face in his chest. And then she cries her heart out.
    He says nothing. He just holds her. Her body is racked by sobs. After what seems like an eternity she calms down, but she remains within the circle of his arms.
    CHRIS
    Your husbie?
    Effe nods, but she does not look at him.
    EFFE
    Yes. He wants a divorce.
    CHRIS
    Oh, Charley!
    EFFE
    He’s with my cousin. She’s pregnant for him. He wants to marry her. I couldn’t give him any children.
    CHRIS
    (shocked)
    So, he hammer your own cousin? Cha, the man wild paa o! Oh Charley, e hard o!
    Without meaning to, without knowing what is happening, Effe begins to tell the taxi driver about her life. When she has finished, she feels relieved. It is as though a great weight has been lifted off her shoulders.
    The tears, however, slowly trickle down her cheeks. She cries for a while, and he says nothing, just lets her cry. After a while she brushes tears from her eyes and exhales.
    EFFE
    That uncircumcised son of a b---h hurt me so bad!
    CHRIS
    (chuckling)
    What you mean uncircumcised?
    Effe laughs and turns in his arms, leaning the back of her head against his chest now. He sits back and holds her.
    EFFE
    Steve comes from a royal line. In the old days Kings in his hometown were chosen from his family line, and Kings shouldn’t have scars and wounds, and shouldn’t be cut in any way. They should be complete men. So, the sons in his family line are always uncircumcised.
    CHRIS
    I no dey understand. If dey be Kings why say them no dey cut their dickies?
    She laughs again and digs an elbow into him.
    EFFE
    I just told you! Because Kings are not supposed to have scars! A King must be a whole man, a virile man. Getting a circumcision means he has a deformity.
    CHRIS
    Deformity! Cutting your dicky no be scar! D--n, so your husbie is a ‘kote bƆtƆ!’
    Effe laughs uproariously this time, so hard that she turns into him and buries her face in his chest. After a while she suddenly stops laughing and lies quietly against him.
    She is first aware, quite suddenly, that there are thick hairs on his arms and up his neck, and that her right arm is practically around his waist.
    She becomes aware too, of his hard frame against her, and is simply aware that apart from her husband she has never been so close to another man. She had never allowed that.
    Alarmed, she moves from him, and suddenly finds her face just inches from his, and notices how sensuous his lips are, and how penetrating his gaze is. She moves quickly from him and stands up. She speaks in a rush.
    EFFE
    We better go and finalize the booking arrangements.
    He stands up slowly and nods. When they leave the room and she locks the door, she walks beside him, and then he suddenly reaches out and takes her hand.
    Her first instinct is to pull her hand out of his, but his big hand holds hers, and after a couple of tugs she stops trying to get free and walks hand in hand with him to the reception.
    To be continued…

    45 DAYS Episode 9
    .
    Continues
    NINE DAYS
    Effe is amazed.
    The JAMAICA RESORT is bigger than she originally envisaged. There are supermarkets, restaurants, a spa, beautiful gardens, bars, sports complex and recreation spots.
    There is even a little zoo where she spends some time admiring a dancing flamingo and some proud peacocks.
    She sees that most of the lodgers are Rastafarians and foreigners.
    In the afternoon, she eats some delicious Jamaican dishes, and then she takes a stroll near a beautiful pond where geese and ducks float gracefully on the serene water.
    On the edge of the pond is a big green field with benches shaded by cute little slate structures. She sits under one and watches Chris feeding the ducks and geese from a pouch he has taken from one of the keepers.
    Soon some pigeons and doves also float down from the sky and settle around him, also eating the crumbs he throws on the grass. She watches him, and she smiles and laughs as the birds settle all over him.
    Twice or more he calls her to come and join, but she shakes her head and just watches him.
    Finally, the pouch is empty, and Chris hands it to the Keeper and chats with him for a while, and then Chris approaches her.
    He sits down beside her, stretches his long legs, and then he takes out a cigarette pack from his top pocket and sticks one in his mouth.
    Effe leans across and removes the cigarette from his mouth, and then she picks the pack and puts it into her bag. He looks at her.
    CHRIS
    Wetin dat?
    EFFE
    You’re going to stop smoking.
    He shakes his head, and his eyes looks confused.
    CHRIS
    I can’t.
    EFFE
    Yes, you can. I’m a doctor, a very good one at that. I’ll help you.
    CHRIS
    E be my life, abi. Why you wan do these things to me, la?
    EFFE
    (She turns to him halfway, and stares at him.)
    Smoking is bad for you, Chris. And yes, one other thing. Why do you speak this pidgin English like that? Surely you can speak good English?
    CHRIS
    The way I speak too be matter now? Aaaba, Madam.
    EFFE
    (looking serious)
    Are we friends, Chris?
    CHRIS
    (He smiles and chuckles.)
    You be my customer, abi?
    EFFE
    Okay, good. And whilst I’m paying you, I don’t want you to smoke, and I don’t want us to speak in that pidgin thing. It is kind of irritating, unless that’s the only language you can speak, then fine. But I’m pretty sure you can string together a cohesive piece of English.
    CHRIS
    You dey go too far, Madam. Wetin too dat?
    She touches his arm, and looks at him
    EFFE
    You went to JSS, SHS, maybe?
    His face clouds for a moment. He turns from her, and looks down. When he speaks his voice is low, and the pidgin English is gone, and his voice is so well-modulated that for a moment she feels like she is listening to someone else, and the amazement registers on her face.
    CHRIS
    Yes. I completed Senior High. Wanted to continue to the University, to do something in Computer Technology. Didn’t get any help, and here I am.
    She smiles and leans back, still looking at him in amazement.
    EFFE
    (gently)
    That’s better. You can speak good English. I like that. This wetin wetin thing was beginning to drive me mad.
    They laugh together, and their eyes lock. He is the first to look away.
    CHRIS
    You know this period is dangerous for you, right?
    She raises her eyebrows.
    EFFE
    Dangerous. How?
    CHRIS
    You’re hurt. Badly hurt. You need to deal with it properly. Otherwise if you allow the pain to control you, you might do something you’ll regret later.
    She leans towards him, teasingly.
    EFFE
    Like what, Chris? Like throw myself at you? Beg you to make love to me? Something like that?
    He turns towards her. She can see he is getting angry.
    CHRIS
    Well, yes. It is possible, isn’t it? Women do a whole lot of strange stuff when they’re hurt.
    EFFE
    (mockingly)
    Oh, an expert in women emotional affairs, huh!
    He leans towards her, and his face is definitely angry now.
    CHRIS
    (almost hissing)
    Yes, an EXPERT in women! A very good expert, Madam! I started sleeping with women when I was just fifteen years old! And I’ve slept with a lot of women, at very high places in society! I was a gigolo, Madam. A male prostitute! And most of the women I was with had marriage problems like you’re having now! So, believe me when I tell you I know stuff like that!
    He gets up quickly and begins to walk away. Effe stares after him, shocked. She sees that she has touched a very raw nerve, and as he walks away she is aware that she is feeling something alien inside, an emotion of resentment that both baffles and unsettles her.
    She stands up and follows him. He walks from the pond area through a gate into a garden, and finally he stops and slowly sits down on a garden bench.
    He lowers his head and regards his sneakers bleakly.
    She sits down very close to him, and then she links her arm through his and puts her head on his shoulder. She speaks softly.
    EFFE
    I’m sorry, okay? Didn’t mean to offend you.
    CHRIS
    It’s okay. I didn’t mean to get angry. I guess I’m a little touchy, and too defensive around you.
    She is quiet for a while. She realizes there is something going on in his life that is giving him pain, much like her situation.
    EFFE
    What you said. This gigolo part of you. Is it true, Chris?
    He nods slowly, and when he speaks his voice is almost muffled.
    CHRIS
    I grew up in an orphanage. I’ve never known my parents, or whether I have siblings somewhere. Nothing! I have no history. The woman that run the Orphanage told me I was found on a rubbish dump! Some homeless people were rummaging through rubbish, and heard a baby crying in a dirty wrapper. They took the wrapper, opened it, and there I was! My mother, whoever she was, threw me away like rubbish!
    EFFE
    (totally shocked)
    Oh my God! That’s cruel. Oh dear! I’m sorry, Chris!
    He leans back and closes his eyes. There is deep pain on his face. It is obvious that a very raw nerve has been touched within him.
    CHRIS
    Theytook me to the police station, and a judge ordered that I should be sent to the Hopelife Orphanage. That’s where I grew up. In hunger, and under a lot of strife. The Governess of the Orphanage was a very wicked woman. She treated us badly, whipped us. Tortured us. As I grew up many couples came to the orphanage, wanting to adopt me, but she never let them. Later, when couples came around she would hide me, and wouldn’t let me be a part of the parade of children. NGOs sponsored our education, and so I got a little education. When I was fourteen years a lady came to the Orphanage. She was a very rich lady. We all gathered around her car, I remember. She had a private chat with Miss Ida Broohm for a long time.
    EFFE
    Ida Broohm?
    CHRIS
    Yes, the Governess of the orphanage. Late in the night she introduced me to the lady with the car, whose name was Sweet Ama Baby. That’s all I ever knew about her. I was elated at first, because I thought finally I was going to be adopted by a rich family, but Miss Ida told me that if I were nice to this lady, I would be given a lot of money, and clothes, and food and would even go the University.
    He falls silent. Effe’s heart is beating. She senses what is coming, and she dreads it. Somehow, she knows a gate has been opened, and that he needs to pour out his soul.
    She suspects it is something he has kept bottled up for a long time, and knows true healing will only come when he pours out the debris in his soul.
    EFFE
    (gently)
    And? What happened, Chris?
    CHRIS
    Oh, nothing much. This woman, Sweet Ama Baby, left. A week later she came back. They made me take a bath and dressed me in good clothes, and then they took me in the car to someplace. I was left in a room with a woman I didn’t know, a middle-aged woman who was very naked. She did a lot of things to me.
    Effe is shocked. She feels him trembling, and she sees the sweat that is suddenly pouring all over his face.
    EFFE
    Jesus. She seduced you? Sexually?
    He nods, and sighs. He tries to draw his arm away, but she holds on tightly.
    CHRIS
    That was how it began. Sweet Ama Baby took me to a lot of women after that. It was… horrible for me. At first, she gave me some money, and I was thrilled. Sometimes she took me to places far from the orphanage and I spent time having sex with strange older women. But soon I began to get very depressed. I wanted it to stop, but they told me if I stopped they would hurt my friends.
    EFFE
    Your friends? In the Orphanage?
    CHRIS
    Yes. There was a girl, a little girl. Her name was Janet. They told me if I stopped sleeping with the older women they would send Janet to horrible men who would do horrible things to her. I was scared for Janet, and so I continued. One night, Sweet Ama sent me to the city. I was alone with her. You know, she used to touch me sometimes, kissing me, fondling me all the time, but she never tried to make love to me. But I began to hate her, you know, very fiercely. But the night she took me to the city, she told me she loved me, and wanted to be only with me. She said she would do good things for me. I was eighteen years old then. She was naked, and she started touching me. I fled from the room. I ran and ran and ran! I stayed in the city to hustle. I hid from her. Later I learnt the orphanage burnt down. Janet died in the fire.
    Effe rubs his hand gently.
    EFFE
    And you never forgave yourself.
    He looks at her. His face is haunted. She can see tears glistening in his eyes.
    CHRIS
    Maybe, if I had not fled, Janet wouldn’t have died. She might’ve lived!
    EFFE
    No, Chris. Maybe it would’ve been worse for her. We can never explain what happens in our lives, and we can’t live in regrets. You had a terrible teenage period! These women exploited you, and you reacted in the only way you could. You have done well to make it this far. You have to live free. You never met Ida and this terrible woman again?
    He shakes his head.
    CHRIS
    No, never saw either of them again. I had saved some of the money Sweet Ama Baby used to give me. I always carried it with me just in case I had a chance to escape. I went back to school, completed, and started hustling. I did all kind of jobs. Later I enrolled as an Auto Mechanic, learnt how to drive. When I passed out from the mechanic’s shop I started driving, and five months ago I was lucky to meet an old customer from the fitting shop who introduced me to the owner of this taxi, and now I’m working for her. When I finish paying it off it would be mine, and life would be a bit better from there, I guess. So, believe me, Madam, I know a lot about women.
    She stares at him for a long time, and when a tear rolls down his right cheek she reaches out and brushes it away.
    EFFE
    (gently)
    You might know a lot about depressed women who sleep with teenagers, Chris, but you don’t know a lot about women, believe me.
    He smiles and shakes his head.
    CHRIS
    I believe I do. It’s because of these depressed women that I’ve never been able to fall in love and have any meaningful relationship. It’s because of those women that I feel so dirty, and I know that no woman would ever love me if she found out what I did in the past.
    EFFE
    Love doesn’t care about the past, Chris. It’s only concerned with the present, and the future. You don’t have to feel dirty. Any woman who genuinely falls for you wouldn’t hold that against you, believe me.
    CHRIS
    (softly)
    I hope so. I pray so.
    She stands up and holds out her hand. He puts his hand in hers, and she pulls him to his feet.
    EFFE
    Call me Effe.
    He smiles. His expression is sad, but she can see relief on his face.
    CHRIS
    I’m Chris.
    EFFE
    People know about your story, Chris? You told others?
    He shakes his head.
    CHRIS
    Nope. It makes me feel dirty and repulsive. I told you, I’ve always been afraid that if people knew they would shun my company. Emotionally and psychologically, it has scarred me for life. You’re the only person I’ve told ever since I fled from Sweet Ama Baby.
    EFFE
    Why? Why me, Chris?
    Their hands are still linked. He looks down at their hands, and he looks at her. At that moment, all the hardness leaves him, and the look on his face is that of a boy. It is sweet, and innocent, and vulnerable.
    CHRIS
    I don’t know, Effe. All I know is that a certain woman entered my car one night without invitation… and I feel like I’ve known her all my life!
    She smiles up at him. He smiles down at her.
    She thinks his smile is probably the best she has ever seen, and she thinks she understands why frustrated women have paid to be with him, and that no man has the right to look so handsome.
    She thinks that if he shaves off his massive dreadlocks and gets properly pruned he would be a most irresistible man.
    He thinks that he has never seen a lovelier woman like her. He thinks that she looks just like an angel.
    The tone of her skin, her incredible figure, her smile, her eyes, her legs, her lips… she is so fabulous, so perfect, so beautiful.
    He thinks that for an obviously rich and well-educated girl, she is yet so humble and chaste. He thinks that not many women in the world, with that level of education, will ever come near a man who came from an orphanage, has basically no education and drives a taxi.
    He thinks that she is indeed a most amazing woman.
    And as the sun casts its last glows in the horizon and silhouettes them in the background, neither of them knows just how beautiful they look as a couple as they stand there gazing and smiling into each other’s eyes.

    Episode 10

    Continues..
    TEN DAYS
    He drives her to the Ameyaw-Eden Clinic first and waits whilst the cast is removed from her elbow.
    Later he takes her to her parents’ house. She hands him a white envelope containing his rental charges, and then she smiles at him.
    He looks at her for a while, and then he takes a packet of cigarettes from his shirt pocket. The cellophane wrapper is not broken yet, and so she knows it is full and he has not smoked any.
    Unconsciously he uses his fingernail to break the wrapper, opens the flap, and extracts one cigarette. He puts it in his mouth and begins to search for his lighter. She just sits still and watches him.
    He suddenly pauses, and without looking at her he removes the cigarette from his lips and puts it back into its packet.
    He closes the flap of the pack, and then takes his lighter and places it on the cigarette box. Still without looking at her he extends them towards her. She takes them and puts them in her handbag.
    CHRIS
    So, you’re making me quit smoking. You already made me stop speaking in Pidgin English. What’re you going to do to me next, Effe Kedem?
    EFFE
    Maybe make you take off your dreadlocks, Chris. I want to see the real you.
    Chris chuckles and shake his head.
    CHRIS
    Actually, the dreadlock is just a wig. I keep it on to make women stay away from me.
    He reaches up, holds the edge of his hairline, and peels off the heavy dreadlocks wig. He tosses it into the backseat, and then he turns his head and looks at her.
    His haircut is quite nice, but that isn’t what makes her temporarily speechless.
    Without the dreadlocks, he looks incredibly handsome, and she can’t help marvelling at the transformation.
    EFFE
    Well. That’s definitely better. Tell me, are you married? Or in a relationship?
    CHRIS
    (shrugging)
    No. There have been a couple of very important relationships, and some short-lived affairs, but they all fell through. I just couldn’t commit, you know. Always blamed myself for Janet’s death, and I’ve never been able to get over that.
    EFFE
    I see. Maybe you just never met the right woman. Maybe you never really fell in love. I pray that it happens for you, Chris.
    She gets out of the car quickly and heads for the gates of the house. When she looks back he is still there, looking at her. She smiles and waves, and goes inside.
    She finds her parents in the living-room, and Joshua Darkwa is also present. They all look at her when she enters.
    Her father comes towards her. He is obviously distraught. He takes her into his arms.
    KEN KEDEM
    My dearest Princess. I’m so terribly sorry! Can’t believe this is happening to you!
    Effe searches her father’s face with very sad eyes, and then she looks at the lawyer. Joshua comes towards her. His face is grim.
    JOSHUA
    Steve filed a petition for divorce, Effe. He cited incompatibility and irreconcilable differences. Got himself a case and a judge. A very crooked judge, I must add. Wouldn’t be surprised if he’s taken some money from Steve. Hearing is tomorrow. I couldn’t reach you on the phone to inform you.
    EFFE
    I turned my phone off. I couldn’t take the pain. I wanted a day of silence.
    Her mother comes to her and touches her face tenderly.
    MADAM IVY
    Joshua told us you don’t want to fight this divorce, darling.
    EFFE
    It’s not worth it, is it, Mama?
    KEN KEDEM
    But it’s so wrong, Princess. So very wrong!!
    MADAM IVY
    Ruth was here. She’s as distraught as we all are. Elaine, my God! What devil got into that girl?
    KEN KEDEM
    I know some important people, Princess. Good people. We can take Steve on. We can make that b-----d pay!
    JOSHUA
    Yes, Effe. If you give me the go ahead, I’ll make that d--n oaf sweat so bad he would regret the day he treated you like this!
    Effe leaves the embrace of her father. She walks forward on trembling legs and stands by the window. When she turns to face them, her face is wet with a few trickled tears.
    EFFE
    I thank you all for your caring hearts. I love Steve. I want him back, but if he doesn’t want me back, there’s nothing I can do about it. I’ve cried, yes, and I’m hurting really badly. But do you know something funny? A week ago, my tears flowed like a waterfall, but today my tears are as gentle as a river. You know what that tells me? It means that there will come a day when my tears from this pain will be as dry as the Sahara Desert.
    She turns and runs blindly up the stairs into her room. She slams the door and leans against it. For a moment, she can’t breathe. Her heart is so much in pain. She gasps, and the tears threaten to burst free, but she fights against it.
    She squeezes her eyes tightly shut, fighting the pain and the tears. She flees into the bathroom and slams the door, and then she falls on her hands and knees and begins to wail. The pain is so unbearable that she feels her heart will explode.
    An hour later she comes out, and puts on a stretchy black spandex and a beautiful cream top.
    She picks her phone and dials. It is picked up. There is a lot of noise in the background. The voice that answers is the voice of a woman, and Effe scowls.
    WOMAN’S VOICE
    Hello! Hello!
    EFFE
    Hello. Can I please speak to Chris?
    WOMAN’S VOICE
    Who? Hello!
    EFFE
    (shouting a bit)
    Chris, the owner of the phone!
    WOMAN’S VOICE
    He’s on the table!
    EFFE
    What? On what table? Too noisy! Can’t hear you well.
    WOMAN’S VOICE
    He can’t speak right now. He’s on the table! Arm-wrestling!
    EFFE
    Arm-wrestling? Where?
    WOMAN’S VOICE
    Madina! Elm’s Bar!
    The line goes dead. Stares at the phone blankly. She can’t really understand what has just happened? Chris? Arm-wrestling?
    She gets up quickly, picks up her bag and heads for the door. She finds them still in the living-room. Joshua Darkwa looks at her.
    EFFE
    I’m stepping out for a moment.
    JOSHUA
    We need to reply to the petition for divorce, dear.
    EFFE
    You said the hearing is tomorrow, right, Uncle Josh?
    JOSHUA
    Well, yes. Nine o’clock.
    EFFE
    Well, kindly tender in any response, but I’m not fighting it. Would you pick me up?
    JOSHUA
    Well, if you really don’t want to fight-
    EFFE
    (interrupting)
    I don’t.
    JOSHUA
    Okay, fine. Then there’ll be no need to go over strategy. I’ll pick you up at eight o’clock.
    EFFE
    Fine with me, Uncle Josh.
    She heads for the door. Her father speaks.
    KEN KEDEM
    Princess.
    Effe turns and looks at her father.
    EFFE
    Daddy.
    MADAM IVY
    Are you alright, baby?
    KEN KEDEM
    Yeah, Princess. Are you gonna be alright?
    Effe sighs, and her face is suddenly agonized.
    EFFE
    I’m trying to live, Daddy, Mom. A second at a time, a minute at a time. Hours and a day at a time. I’m just hoping that I pull through.
    Her parents hug her and her father kisses her on both cheeks.
    She goes out with Joshua and sits in his car. Her parents watch from the window as they drive off.
    Ken Kedem puts his arm around his wife’s shoulders.
    KEN KEDEM
    That b-----d hurt my baby. I can kill him.
    MADAM IVY
    She’ll be fine, honey. She’s a fighter, always has been. She’ll pull through.
    KEN KEDEM
    That’s my prayer, honey. That’s my prayer. Dear Lord, help my baby.
    Joshua drives in silence for a while, and then he clears his throat and turns to Effe.
    JOSHUA
    Listen, Effe-
    EFFE
    (cutting him off gently)
    Uncle Josh. I don’t think I can stand another second of pain anymore, not today, if you don’t mind. I don’t want to speak about Steve. It will drive me crazy.
    Joshua stares at her for a while, and then he returns his attention to the road.
    JOSHUA
    Okay, dear, if you say so. I’ve to go to the office to prepare for tomorrow. Where do you want me to drop you off?
    EFFE
    You wouldn’t happen to know an Elm’s Bar in Madina, would you?
    Joshua looks at her sharply.
    JOSHUA
    Actually, I do.
    EFFE
    Could you please drop me off there, if it’s not too far out of your way?
    JOSHUA
    (looking concerned)
    Wow, Effe. You don’t wanna go there!
    EFFE
    Why, Uncle Josh?
    JOSHUA
    It’s a den for cutthroats! Very bad place. Been having cases from that area of town all the time. Theft, rape, gambling, high-caliber violent cases, all emanating from that Elm’s Bar and its locality.
    EFFE
    (scowling)
    Really? Well, I’m just looking for somebody. Won’t keep long.
    Joshua tries to dissuade her, but she is stubborn, although she is showing a little bit of unease.
    Joshua manoeuvres through a narrow untarred road in the Madina vicinity, through some hostile surroundings and finally stops in front of a glass-fronted bar. Above it is a large sign which reads ELM’S BAR. She thanks Joshua and gets out.
    JOSHUA
    (sounding really worried)
    C’mon, Effe! This is no place for you! What’re you doing here anyway, truthfully?
    EFFE
    I’ll be fine, Uncle Josh.
    She quickly walks towards the glass doors and enters. Joshua stares after her for a while, and then he shakes his head.
    It is a little bit hot inside the bar. There is some hiplife music playing loudly. People are eating, and she can see a flight of stairs leading upwards to another floor.
    People stare at her, especially the waitresses. She approaches the bar where a large woman wearing a pink dress is standing.
    PINK-DRESS WOMAN
    Hello, Sweetie. May I help you?
    Effe tries to smile.
    EFFE
    I’m looking for a man. Chris Bawa. Drives a taxi.
    The woman’s face goes unfriendly immediately.
    PINK-DRESS WOMAN
    He expecting you?
    EFFE
    Yes. He’s a friend.
    PINK-DRESS WOMAN
    Well. He was here, but he left. He would probably come back later. You can leave a message and I’ll make sure he gets it.
    Effe hesitates. She doesn’t know what to do. She is sure the woman is lying. She starts to speak, but just then her waist is grabbed from behind, and she whirls suddenly and finds herself staring into the face of a huge, shirtless man.
    He is bald and has a huge scar down the right side of his face. He is wearing only a pair of khaki shorts and boots, and holding a bottle of gin in his free hand whilst his right hand rests on Effe’s waist.
    She tries to knock his hand off but he holds her tightly and smiles nastily. He drinks from the bottle and his face takes on a sexual leer, and then he pulls her towards him with an ugly and wicked look on his face.
    Effe is suddenly terrified. She looks around for help and sees only fear on the faces around.
    The man tries to grab her right b----t and she knocks his hand off.
    He growls and takes hold of her hair, and as she screams with pain and fear he brings his foul-smelling lips down, trying to kiss her forcibly.
    Effe struggles wildly with terror.
    EVIL MAN
    Now why are you asking of that b-----d taxi boy, little lady? Is he boning you too? He took some money from me, dear. Maybe I’m gonna use his lady as a little payback, right?
    Effe struggles fiercely, but the huge man is too strong, and drags her towards him effortlessly. She is panicking now, remembering Uncle Josh’s warning.
    PINK-DRESS WOMAN
    (angrily)
    Leave her alone, Wailer!
    The big man called Wailer slaps the lady in the pink dress, cutting her lip.
    WAILER
    Shut the f--k up, c--t!
    Totally scared now, Effe pushes Wailer away violently and pulls her hair from his grasp. Blindly she turns to flee, but Wailer grabs her arm.
    Suddenly she hears a voice… his voice, his deep, calm, furious voice, filled with anger, filled with rage… Chris!
    CHRIS
    You b-----d!
    She has never heard such fury, such venom, in a voice before. She turns and sees Chris. He’s also wearing khaki shorts and boots, and he has a black elbow guard around his left elbow.
    Effe sees Chris walk past her, and she remembers the night he had hit Steve, but this time she sees real cruelty in his eyes.
    The huge bully called Wailer lets Effe go, and then he turns towards Chris and gives a most terrible roar.
    He reaches into his back pocket and suddenly a long knife glistens in his hand. Effe screams and tries to move forward, to stop Chris.
    Wailer shouts again and rushes at Chris with the knife extended. Effe stops cold, and she moans with fear. She is sure Chris is going to be cut open right in front of her eyes.
    Incredibly Chris steps to one side like a matador, grabs Wailer’s hand, spins his arm, and then he slams a blow so violently and so hard into Wailer’s jaw that the big man drops to the floor unconscious.
    Effe stares at him. He stands over Wailer, huge and forbidding, that terrible angry look still in his eyes, and then he looks up and approaches Effe.
    He holds her shoulders gently and stares down at her.
    CHRIS
    Did he hurt you?
    She cannot speak. She just shakes her head. An elderly man in a well-dressed suit approaches and hands Chris a white envelope stuffed with money.
    ELDERLY MAN
    Your winnings, Mr. Bawa. Sorry for this scene. Management apologizes for the behaviour of Wailer, the Dragon. He’ll be banned from competing for a year.
    Chris takes the money and stuffs it into his back pocket, and then he takes Effe’s arm.
    CHRIS
    Let’s go.
    He puts an arm around Effe to support her, and they leave the bar. They walk around the building and she sees his taxi parked at the Parking Lot.
    He opens the door for her, and she slumps into the seat, still trembling with terror.
    He goes round to the driver’s side, picks up a black T-Shirt and slips it on, and then he sits down.
    She turns to him. She is horrified, and she shakes her head.
    EFFE
    (tremulously)
    What was that, Chris? Why do you live your life so recklessly? Why?
    He sighs deeply, and when he looks at her his face is sad and remorseful.
    CHRIS
    Sorry, Effe. We have Arm-Wrestling Competitions up there in the bar occasionally. It involves a great deal of money. I beat Wailer today in the finals, and he’s a sore loser. But what are you doing here? How did you know I was here?
    EFFE
    I called! You couldn’t answer. A lady answered and told me you were on the table, arm-wrestling!!! Jesus, Chris! Competition for what?
    CHRIS
    (his voice remorseful)
    For the money, Effe, for the money. I need money to pay off this taxi quickly, and then I can move on with my life as soon as I finish paying.
    EFFE
    And you have to risk your life with dangerous men like that… that Wailer? Jesus! What’s the matter with you? Promise me you won’t do it again!
    He turns to her, his face earnest.
    CHRIS
    Hey, relax! I’m sorry he was nasty to you, but I can take care of myself.
    EFFE
    (shouting)
    Promise me, d--n it!
    CHRIS
    Effe, come on, I-
    EFFE
    (cutting him off angrily)
    Promise me, or I swear I’ll never have anything to do with you again. I mean it, Chris!
    He holds up his hands and looks at her with confused eyes.
    CHRIS
    Okay, okay, okay! I promise!
    EFFE
    I mean it, Chris Bawa.
    CHRIS
    I know you do. I promise, Effe.
    She leans back and closes her eyes. She is still trembling. She has never ever been through such a harrowing experience, ever.
    Her life had been sheltered, but suddenly she is feeling things she has never felt before. And she is scared, because when she remembers how he had moved, how he had dealt so ruthlessly with Wailer for manhandling her, she feels quite dizzy.
    EFFE
    Take me out of here, Chris.
    He drives out and into the main street.
    CHRIS
    You haven’t told me why you wanted me, Effe. I dropped you off and never thought I would see you again today.
    EFFE
    (softly)
    Just shut up and drive, Chris.
    He chuckles, and even though her eyes are closed she smiles. After a while she feels his hand seeking hers, which is lying on her laps and then he holds her hand tightly.
    She puts her other hand over their intertwined hands, and exhales. She can feel his hand on her thighs through the spandex she is wearing.
    She thinks of how nice it is to hold hands. His touch makes her feel things she has not felt in a very long time. Just holding hands with him feels strange, and nice, and she feels like she doesn’t want to let go of his hand. But she still keeps her eyes closed.
    He stares at her profile, and marvels at how incredibly beautiful she is, and how clear and smooth she is, and how her hands on his is making his heart quicken and do cartwheels…

    Episode 11

    Continues..
    ELEVEN DAYS
    The courtroom is quiet now.
    It had been quite emotional at first when Effe arrived with Joshua Darkwa.
    Steve, looking quite miserable, had met her in the corridor. He wanted to speak to her, but Effe had been too distraught to speak to him.
    She had been convinced that if she spoke to him she would begin to cry again, and she did not want that to happen.
    Steve is accompanied by his parents and Jonathan Afful and some of his friends.
    Effe’s parents, Eyram, Dr. Henderson, Dr. Anaman and some of her friends are also in court to give her some support.
    The Presiding Judge is a severe-looking man called John T. Tamakloe.
    The process had been smooth and fast because Effe has refused to contest any of the terms Steve has set out with his lawyer, an obese man called Gabriel Blankson.
    Effe sits beside Joshua. Behind her are her family and friends. Her fingers are interlaced tightly. She refuses to glance to her left where Steve is sitting with his lawyer.
    She is quite startled when the Judge bangs his gavel lightly on the podium and looks up. Her heart almost stops beating. She quite can’t believe that her happy years of marriage to a man she loves with all her heart is coming to an end, just like that.
    Try as much as she can, she can’t stop the sudden wetness that creeps down her cheeks.
    JUDGE TAMAKLOE
    It is indeed a sad occasion to me personally when I have to grant a divorce. It is even more difficult when I see couples go through such pain. Perhaps I am a bit relieved that today I’ve not had the unpleasant task of issuing any restraining orders, contempt of court, child or spousal supports and other little nasty bits of divorces. And so, based on mutual consent of incompatibility and irreconcilable difference, I hereby grant Mr. Steve Hollison’s petition for annulment of marriage between him and Dr. Effe Kedem. Barring any last appeals to the contrary, both parties are kindly requested to sign the final decree of divorce, and that will be it. This court further grants Dr. Kedem the right to remove personal effects from their previously shared residence, in the presence or otherwise of Mr. Hollison. I wish both of you well, and may God be with you.
    What follows is a blur to Effe. She is aware of signing spaces where Joshua indicates, and then turns and heads out of the court.
    She steels herself against the terrible pain. She feels faint. She can barely place one foot in front of the other.
    EYRAM
    (running after her sister)
    Good God, Ef! Hold up!
    Effe pauses in the corridor and turns. Eyram hugs her sister tightly. Eyram is crying. Soon her parents approach, and they hug their children.
    Effe chokes down her tears. She wants to be alone somewhere, to sit somewhere, to grieve somewhere.
    MADAM IVY
    Effe. Dear lord! Come, let’s go home now!
    Effe brushes a tear angrily from her cheek.
    EFFE
    No, Mom. I’ve to pick up a few things first from… from Steve’s place.
    KEN KEDEM
    Oh, no! Princess! Surely not today! Wait till tomorrow, next week…
    EFFE
    No, Dad. It has to be today, or I can’t make it. Don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine.
    Suddenly a voice breaks in. It is Jonathan Afful. He has come to stand behind them. His face is cold as he looks at Eyram.
    AFFUL
    (coldly)
    Come with me now, Eyram. We need to go home. I’m hungry.
    Eyram swings on her husband, her face aghast, shocked.
    EYRAM
    Jesus, Jon! Really? My sister needs me!
    Afful’s voice is a whiplash.
    AFFUL
    Dammit, woman! I also need you! You coming or I gotta drag you out of here?
    Ken Kedem looks darkly at Afful.
    KEN KEDEM
    Don’t you have any heart, Jonathan? What’s the matter-?
    Afful cuts in angrily.
    AFFUL
    Belt it, Ken! This is between me and my wife! Effe is not a kid. She can hold her own. I’m hungry, didn’t take any breakfast this morning. It’s her duty to make sure I am satisfied, isn’t it?
    Madam Ivy approaches Afful and glares at him.
    MADAM IVY
    You think my daughter is your d--n slave, Jonathan? What are you going to do, beat her here too?
    Afful pushes her aside so roughly that she almost falls.
    AFFUL
    Grow up, woman! Remember who you’re talking to. I can pull the rug from under your husband’s business in a jiffy, so stop pushing all the d--n wrong buttons! Your Mom is making me angry, Eyram, and believe me, you don’t want me angry!
    Effe hugs Eyram.
    EFFE
    Go, Rammy. I’m gonna be fine. Really. I’ll call you.
    With tears in her eyes Eyram descends the steps angrily and moves to her husband’s car. Effe also goes and sits in Joshua’s car.
    JOSHUA
    Home?
    EFFE
    No. To Steve’s place. My former house.
    Joshua nods and starts to drive. Effe bites her lower lip tightly to keep the tears away. She grips her upper arms to stop trembling.
    Joshua glances at her often, but he says nothing. His fury against Steve Hollison is so great and he takes his anger out on the steering-wheel, gripping it as if he wants to strangle it.
    There is total silence as he drives on. Each one is absorbed in his or her own thoughts.
    Effe can’t believe her marriage to Steve was over just like that. She is sad that Steve did not stand up for them. She is very surprised he chose a child over what they shared. She knows now that her supposedly perfect marriage was not as perfect as she thought. She reckons she has taken a lot of things for granted. She knew there were times she had had her suspicions about Steve’s fidelity but she has always brushed them aside. She understands now why Elaine suddenly became too cheeky even to her. She saw the writings on the wall but ignored them.
    Joshua on the other hand is angry at Effe for being so modest about the whole thing. He desired so much to give Steve a run for his money but Effe has prevented him from doing that. He believes Steve should be taught a lesson not to mess with people’s feelings the way he is doing with Effe.
    After a while she takes her phone out, dials, and puts it to her ear.
    EFFE
    (very softly)
    Chris? Are you free?
    CHRIS
    Yep. Took some customers to a seminar but I’m free now. Heading home. Around Shangri La now.
    EFFE
    Can you please meet me around Shiashie? I’m going to my husba… to Steve’s place to pick up a few things.
    CHRIS
    Ok.
    She cuts the line. Joshua looks at her, his face intrigued.
    JOSHUA
    Chris. The Elm’s Bar boy?
    She glances at him sharply, and scowls.
    EFFE
    How did you know I met him there?
    JOSHUA
    Oh. I stayed around yesterday after I dropped you off. Told you I wasn’t comfortable. I waited until you came out with that naked boy, then I drove off.
    EFFE
    (smiling wanly and feeling touched)
    He wasn’t naked, Uncle Josh.
    JOSHUA
    He was. Unless you call the hairy chest a vest.
    She chuckles now, and smiles at him warmly.
    EFFE
    He makes me smile. And laugh. And not think too much.
    Joshua nods.
    JOSHUA
    That is the first essential element, I guess.
    Chris is already waiting when Joshua parks his car at the bus station at Shiashie.
    He gets out of the taxi when Effe steps out of the car. She pauses and stares at him. He is dressed in a smartly-cut black suit, white shirt and black tie. He is wearing sunglasses, and he looks absolutely incredible.
    Looking at him, she tells herself he looks more like a Hollywood star.
    She walks slowly towards him, and as he stares at her he thinks he has never seen a more beautiful woman in his life. Wearing a simple knee-length grey dress that nevertheless shows off her sleek lines, curves, wonderful legs and ethereal face, he pauses and drinks in her exquisite beauty.
    CHRIS
    You okay? You look a bit sad.
    EFFE
    I am more than a bit sad.
    Joshua approaches and looks from one to the other.
    JOSHUA
    You must be Chris.
    EFFE
    Oh. Chris, this is Mr. Joshua Darkwa, a family friend and a family member and the greatest lawyer in the world. Uncle Josh, meet Chris Bawa, a new friend.
    The two men shake hands. Darkwa is quite taken aback by the sheer masculinity, charisma and handsomeness of the driver. Suddenly he feels a bit uneasy about Effe being with this boy. He can easily turn Effe’s head because she is hurting.
    JOSHUA
    Pleased to meet you, Chris. Be a genuine friend to Effe, otherwise you’ll find me a very unpleasant man.
    EFFE
    Uncle Josh!
    Chris does not smile.
    CHRIS
    I will be genuine friend, Mr. Darkwa.
    Joshua hugs Effe, and then he turns and leaves. Chris opens the car door for Effe, and they drive into the traffic. He says nothing, and she is grateful. She will tell him in her own good time, but she needs the silence now, and that is why she has called him.
    She directs him inside the house she has shared with Steve for ten years. Steve’s car is parked.
    She gets out, takes a deep breath, speaks to the sad-looking security man, and mounts the stairs. The door is locked, and she rings the doorbell.
    The door is opened by Elaine. The two women stare at each other. Elaine looks defiant, but Effe can see a little uneasiness in the depths of her eyes.
    EFFE
    I came to pick up a few personal things, Elaine, and then you can have everything for yourself.
    ELAINE
    (sudden anger flashing in her eyes)
    You don’t have to be nasty about this, Effe. I didn’t rape your husband, or should I say ex-husband? He came to me, and made me pregnant. Surely you don’t begrudge me fighting for what’s best for my baby, do you? I don’t want my son to come into the world without a father, and neither do I want him to be born outside marriage. Surely you understand that, don’t you?
    EFFE
    I understand that, Elaine. I wish you well. Could I please go and take my things?
    Elaine looks confused. She tries to speak, but nothing comes out. She steps to one side, and Effe enters.
    She feels weak but she forces herself to walk forward.
    This is her home. She had decorated it, planned it, and lived in it for ten years. This could be the last time she walks through its walls.
    The pain is fierce, and for a moment her tears threaten to burst through, but she steels herself and moves from the hall through the corridors and opens the master bedroom.
    Steve emerges from the bathroom and when he sees her tears suddenly come to his eyes. His eyes are swollen, and she knows that he has been crying.
    He walks towards her and his arms are held out.
    STEVE
    Oh, honey! I’m so sorry! I’m terribly sorry. I don’t know how we came to this point! It’s like a dream to me! Never meant to hurt you this much, please.
    EFFE
    You did it for your son, Steve. I couldn’t get you one, and when I suggested adoption you rejected it because you wanted your own blood. Don’t worry, I understand now. I wish you all the best.
    Effe hears voices in the hall, and recognizes the voice of her former in-laws.
    STEVE
    You can have anything you want, Effe. You can have the house if you want. I made it clear. I’ll move out. This is just temporary, darling. As soon as Elaine gives birth and I make the child legally mine I’m gonna leave her and come back for you.
    She stares at him, shocked first, and then suddenly furious.
    EFFE
    What? Did I hear you right, Stephen Hollison? Come back for me? Don’t you dare, Steve, don’t you dare tread that path!
    STEVE
    D--n it, honey, I love you! I’ll always love you. It is you I love! I’m doing this just because of the baby! He’s my son, Effe. I can’t leave him to Elaine! You know that!
    Effe walks past Steve.
    She opens her wardrobe and takes her jewellery box. She takes an empty suitcase and begins to stuff her dresses in. The voices in the hall grow louder, and Steve leaves to check it out.
    Effe packs four suitcases and drags the first one to the hall. She finds her former in-laws in the hall. Captain Hollison comes forward slowly.
    CAPTAIN HOLLISON
    Effe, my dear. Can you ever forgive us? I’m not a man who easily says sorry, you know that, but on this occasion, I feel like my family has really wronged you.
    Effe looks at him. He is a hard man, but he has always welcomed and treated her with a modicum of affection.
    EFFE
    Some things can’t be helped, Sir. At least, your wife is happy now.
    Her former mother-in-law, as usual, takes it the wrong way and walks fast towards Effe, her face furious.
    IRIS HOLLISON
    Watch that arrogant tongue, Effe! What have I done? Am I the cause of your barrenness? Don’t you blame me for any of this! We need grandchildren, and my son needs children. It is not our fault this has happened!
    STEVE
    Mama!
    CAPTAIN HOLLISON
    Be quiet, Iris!
    ELAINE
    Why are you shouting at her? At least she’s on my side! Why’re you all behaving like this? When Steve was always sad because Effe couldn’t give him an heir who comforted him? I did! He fell in love with me! If you feel I’m no longer needed tell me! I’ll leave right now so that Effe can have Steve, but believe me you‘ll never see this baby anywhere near you!
    Effe walks forward slowly and stands in front of Elaine.
    EFFE
    I still don’t understand, Elaine. I loved you, just like my own sister! Now you have taken my husband, my life, my happiness, my everything. I don’t blame you. I wish you well, for yourself, and for your son. It’s pathetic the way you are using him as bait to get what you want. If I were you, I would really examine myself and read the signs on the wall. I would ask myself if Steve would be with me if I were not pregnant? He was with me for ten years, child or no child and that should tell you something. I honestly wish you well. I wonder what your son will think, when he grows up and learns of his history! That his mother seduced her sister’s husband and he came to be. What a way to come into this world.
    Elaine slaps Effe hard, the sound so sharp that it shocks all of them and makes everybody immobile.
    ELAINE
    Keeps your d--n evil mouth away from my baby, you witch!
    STEVE
    Elaine! Jesus! How could you hit her!
    IRIS HOLLISON
    Well, can you blame her, after what Effe said?
    Effe says nothing. She just looks at Elaine through a film of tears. She cannot help it now. Her tears fall down her cheeks freely. Her pain is unbearable.
    She feels as if she is dying. She can’t move, she can’t function. Her legs are trembling; her whole body is vibrating.
    And then his voice breaks the silence. He is standing in the doorway, and his voice reaches her from a long way off, but it breaks the pain, and makes her look up at him.
    CHRIS
    Are you okay, Effe? I heard angry voices.
    They all turn and look at him.
    Chris is leaning against the wall by the door. Effe looks at him, unable to speak as tears course down her face. She sees how Chris’ jaw harden, and when he slowly takes off his sunglasses she sees his anger even through her tears.
    Chris walks forward slowly, deliberately. Steve frowns, suddenly recognizing him as the man, the taxi driver who had struck him down that night Effe had found him with Elaine.
    He walks angrily towards Chris.
    STEVE
    Get out of here! You b-----d! Get the hell out of my house!
    Chris does not stop, but he speaks slowly, and the fury spills from his voice, menacing and deadly.
    CHRIS
    If you don’t get out of my face I’m gonna break every bone in your d--n body!
    Steve stops. He sees the murderous look in the man’s eyes, and feels the danger. Chris walks past him. Steve’s father, always a hothead, moves forward and raises his hand to stop Chris.
    CAPTAIN HOLLISON
    Who the hell are you and how dare you speak to my son like that?
    Chris looks at him, and the Captain, who had been a fierce soldier and dealt with many different types of men, sees immediately that he is looking at a very dangerous man indeed.
    CHRIS
    Your son is a d--n fool.
    Infuriated, the captain draws back his fist to hit Chris.
    Chris smiles but does not stop walking. He looks the old soldier straight in the face and speaks softly.
    CHRIS
    Go on, make my day.
    The old soldier hears the warning in the handsome man’s voice. He sees how coiled up Chris is, and he slowly drops his fist. Chris walks past him and stops in front of Effe. He looks at her, and then he notices the ugly welts on Effe’s cheeks and pain flashes across his face, followed by a terrible rage.
    He reaches out and touch her cheek where Elaine has slapped her.
    EFFE
    Chris. It’s okay.
    CHRIS
    Who hit you?
    Effe is suddenly alarmed by the savagery she sees in his eyes. She remembers how he had floored Steve, and the ferocity with which he had floored Wailer in the Elm’s Bar.
    She reaches out to hold his hand, but he draws his hand back.
    EFFE
    Chris. Please. I’m fine.
    CHRIS
    (in a dangerous hiss)
    Who hit you?
    He turns and his angry eyes sweeps over the four other people in the room, and they settle on Steve whose face suddenly reflects fear.
    Effe holds Chris’ arm.
    EFFE
    Chris. You’re not listening to me.
    Chris indeed is not listening. His eyes settle on Elaine, when she yells that she did and taunted him. He starts to walk towards her. Steve, alarmed, rushes forward and stands between Chris and Elaine.
    Elaine sees the uncontrollable rage on Chris’ face, and her eyes widen with horror. She begins to shake as she cowers behind Steve.
    STEVE
    She’s pregnant, man. She’s d--n pregnant.
    CHRIS
    Pregnant? You b-----d! And you let her hit Effe, your wife?
    He sounds so furious that even Iris becomes frightened. She moves hurriedly to stand beside a trembling Elaine.
    Effe knowing how unpredictably violent Chris can be, and fearing for him should he hit a pregnant woman, pushes her way in front of him, and holds his upper arms.
    EFFE
    We’re no longer married, Chris.
    He stares at her, and then he scowls.
    CHRIS
    Did he divorce you?
    EFFE
    (nodding)
    Yes. Today. It’s over.
    Chris looks darkly at Elaine for moment, and then he turns back to Effe.
    CHRIS
    Are you done here?
    EFFE
    Three more suitcases in the bedroom.
    CHRIS
    Please bring them out.
    Effe nods. She turns and goes back the bedroom and brings another suitcase.
    She sees that the four people are now sitting docilely in the chairs. Chris takes two suitcases out.
    He returns for the other two. Effe walks towards the door, pauses, turns and returns to the hall to stand in front of Steve.
    Effe looks at the two rings on her finger, and slowly she takes them off and drops them on the seat besides Steve.
    EFFE
    Goodbye, Steve. I really wish you well.
    She turns and walks quickly out.
    To be continued..

    Episode 12

    Continues..
    TWELVE DAYS
    Chris opens the door for her. She sits down and he closes the door. He drives out of the house and both of them are silent.
    He drives along the abandoned residential streets, and then he stops the car.
    She turns to him, and there is great pain on her face. He gets out of the car and walks around it.
    He opens her door and holds out his hand. Effe takes his hand and he gently pulls her out of the car. He closes the door. She looks up at him.
    He takes her by the waist and pulls her into his arms.
    She holds him tightly around the waist. Her resolve breaks, and she begins to weep bitterly. He holds her as she cries, smoothing her hair gently.
    After a long time she cannot cry anymore. She exhales and looks at him with a tear-streaked face.
    He smiles down at her gently.
    CHRIS
    Finished mourning?
    She smiles at him shyly.
    EFFE
    Yes. I ruined your suit.
    CHRIS
    Glad to be your handkerchief, beautiful lady.
    She giggles and hides her face in his chest again.
    EFFE
    I’m hungry.
    CHRIS
    For food?
    She laughs then and looks up at him. She sees the mischievous look in his eyes, and shakes her head.
    EFFE
    Yes. Food. Nothing else.
    He nods.
    CHRIS
    Okay. Sit down. Let’s get some waakye to eat.
    He drives out of the Airport Residential Area. They end up inside Legon Area where he buys waakye from a seller by the roadside.
    He beckons to Effe.
    She approaches him reluctantly. The waakye is in green leaves, and he motions for her to sit down on a chair.
    Other people are inside the wooden enclosure behind the woman, eating. They look at them. Obviously, Chris is well-known because some of those eating and the others standing continue to greet him and call him Darling Boy.
    EFFE
    (speaking to him softly)
    Here? You want us to eat here, in public, inside this enclosure?
    CHRIS
    (smiling)
    Please sit down, Effe.
    She looks around and sits down. This is something she never would have done in a million years just two weeks ago.
    He spreads the waakye in front of her. She picks a spoon and looks at it skeptically.
    He laughs and takes the spoon from her, and puts a bowl of water and liquid soap in front of her.
    She washes her hand shyly, rinse it, and then begins to eat.
    It is sweet, and slowly she begins to laugh and eat the waakye with gusto.
    He picks up a particularly juicy-looking cowhide delicacy and she reaches out, takes it, and stuffs it in her mouth.
    She hears people laughing, and when she looks up she sees they’re laughing at what she has just done to him.
    She looks into his eyes.
    EFFE
    I’m happy you’re with me, at this time in my life.
    CHRIS
    I’m happy you’re happy.
    Effe lies in bed and yawns.
    It is morning, and she is surprised she had slept till morning. She has not cried during the night as usual.
    She hears her parents raised voices downstairs and wonders lazily what is going on. She gets out of bed and stretches.
    She makes her bed, shirks her nightie, and pads naked into the bathroom.
    She takes a long bath, revelling in the water. She smiles when she thinks that it is her first day as a divorced woman. She is surprised she does not feel so sad about that anymore. She feels relieved somehow. She promises herself she is going to get over Steve and move on with her life. She is still young and still believe in love. This morning, she even feels she will have children of her own in the near future. She steps out of the bath and looks at herself in the mirror. She admits she is still a knockout. She places her hand on her tummy and smiles. She knows she is not barren. No test had said that she could not have children. It still baffles her why she never conceived in her ten years of marriage. She wipes herself and wraps the towel around her still standing in front of the mirror.
    Her thoughts shift to Chris for no apparent reason. She kind of like the guy. She likes being around him. She feels safe when he is with her. He gives her the strength to do practically anything. She finds herself looking forward to seeing him every day.
    When she comes back into the bedroom she can still hear raised voices, and she frowns.
    She had rarely heard her parents fighting, and so she is a little bit disturbed by the harsh voices.
    Whilst she is dressing she decides to pass through the hospital to reschedule time-based appointments and attend to those that cannot be rescheduled.
    Later she will go to the Ameyaw-Eden Clinic to attend to the urgent cases.
    Dressed in a smashing black skirt suit, she descends to the hall to find that Aunt Ruth is present, and she is with her mother.
    Aunt Ruth stands up immediately and moves towards Effe. She falls to her knees and holds Effe’s ankles.
    AUNT RUTH
    Oh, Afi! Afi, Afi, Afi! Forgive me o! Forgive me o! How I wish I had died before this evil day ever befell me!
    She is crying. Both Effe and her mother reach down and pull the distressed woman to her feet.
    She looks dishevelled, and she is dressed in the same attire she had been in the last time Effe had seen her.
    MADAM IVY
    Come on, Ruth! I’ve already told you we know your heart! We know you’re not a part of what your daughter has done!
    EFFE
    Yes, Auntie. Stop stressing yourself so much. I’m not blaming you. I’m not even blaming Elaine, Auntie. Steve allowed me to be exposed like this. He bears the blame! He allowed this to happen. It’s a bitter experience but at least it teaches you a lot. I doubt he ever loved me. Maybe he felt attracted to me but real love, I think he never did. It’s unfortunate Elaine allowed herself to be caught up in something like this. It could have been anyone. I’m sure Steve had been lying to me all this while. I have been so inexperienced to notice.
    AUNT RUTH
    (wiping her tears with a corner of her cloth)
    But you don’t understand! You don’t understand! They’re getting married now as we speak.
    Effe goes still. The shock almost knocks her down. She has been expecting it, but to be told that Steve, her Steve, is marrying her cousin just a day after divorcing her is more than she can bear.
    EFFE
    (in a pain-filled whisper)
    They’re getting married?
    MADAM IVY
    Yes, dear. Ruth came to inform me. She wants us to go and stop that marriage. They’re at the court house, where we went yesterday. Evidently the same Judge who annulled your marriage is officiating their marriage. And they have planned a reception at your former house. That was why I was arguing with Ruthie. I told her it wasn’t necessary to try and stop the marriage, but she just will not accept it.
    Effe is thunderstruck. Her haunted gaze and wounded look are too terrible to behold, and her mother takes her into her arms.
    AUNT RUTH
    Elly is a devil o! Elly is a devil o! Ahhhhhh, my daughter is a devil!
    Effe turns towards the door. Her mother tries to stop her. She holds unto her arm.
    MADAM IVY
    Afi! Are you okay? Oh, dear! Please take heart, okay? You will be fine!
    Effe nods and hugs her mother.
    EFFE
    Mama, I’ll be fine. I just need a few moments to myself.
    Effe quickly gets out of the house. She takes her phone to call Chris, and then she stops.
    She flags down a passing taxi instead and gives the driver the address to the court.
    She sits in the back of the car and shuts her eyes tightly.
    For a long time she remains like that, eyes closed and as rigid as a piece of carved granite.
    But finally, unbidden, the tears creep beneath her eyelids and trace silent paths of pain down her cheeks. She knew they would eventually marry but she never expected it so soon. She can’t believe Steve is allowing all these things to happen. It’s as if he is not in charge anymore. It was one of the things she loved about him. He was his own man. He was always in charge. He knew exactly what to do and when to do it. He was very caring and considerate with her. Now she has faded completely from his life. He had moved on as if she never mattered and that hurts.
    INSIDE THE COURT PREMISES
    Steve is seen in the corridor outside the Gents. He is dressed impeccably in a white suit and gold shirt, colours Elaine had chosen.
    His forehead is leaning against the wall, and his eyes are tightly shut.
    Suddenly the door at the end of the corridor opens and Jonathan Afful emerges. He is dressed in a white flowing African wear, complete with a white headgear.
    His face is worried. He grabs Steve by the shoulder and shakes him.
    AFFUL
    Goddamnit, man! What the dilly ooo! What’s with you? They’re all waiting!
    Steve’s face is tortured. He looks blankly at his friend for some time, and then he leans back against the wall.
    STEVE
    Things are moving too fast, Bro! Only a week ago I was with Effe, very happy! Now, I’m divorced for less twenty-four hours and about to marry her sister! D--n! This is driving me crazy, man! This doesn’t make any sense. Things are moving too fast. Yesterday Effe took off the rings I gave her on our wedding day and gave them back to me! Can you believe that?
    AFFUL
    (looking incredulous)
    What did you expect her to do? Lean over and ask you to give it to her doggy-style? Come on, you made your bed and it’s time to lie in it! You chose to give your unborn son a home and a mother, not a step-mother! It is bitter, guaranteed, but you got to gird your loins and ride with the storm! What’s done is done. You should have thought of all that when you were sneaking under the sheets with your wife’s cousin.
    STEVE
    (his voice tortured)
    D--n you, Jon! I think Elaine is using this pregnancy to strangle me! I could still be married to Effe, and I could take my son! I can go to court and fight for custody if she proves difficult!
    AFFUL
    Stop the whining, man! She told you she would give the pregnancy to somebody else and make sure you never see the baby! What the hell, if you felt so much for Effe why did you go through with the divorce? If you want her back, go and apologize to her. If you want your son, and his mother, then get the f--k out of this stinking place and let’s go and get your marriage registered!
    AFFUL
    Stop the whining, man! She told you she would give the pregnancy to somebody else and make sure you never see the baby! What the hell, if you felt so much for Effe why did you go through with the divorce? If you want her back go and apologize to her. If you want your son, and his mother, then get the f--k out of this stinking place and let’s go and get your marriage registered!
    STEVE
    (his eyes looking haunted)
    I taught I had it sewn up, y’know! Like I’ll just get married, and when Elaine gives birth, which can be any day from now, I’ll have legal access to my son, and then I would go back for Effe because Elaine wouldn’t dare manipulate me after that.
    AFFUL
    And why can’t you still do that?
    Steve shakes his head wearily and grabs Afful’s arms tightly.
    STEVE
    Because I could be too late, man! You remember that night Effe caught me in bed with Elaine, and how she ended up in a taxi?
    AFFUL
    Yeah, yeah, yeah. The d--n taxi driver gave you a licking, so what?
    STEVE
    (his voice a hiss)
    She’s still with the d--n taxi driver, man! Came with him to my house yesterday to get her things. I didn’t like the body language between them, man! Not one bit!
    Jonathan laughs with genuine mirth and shakes his head.
    AFFUL
    What the hell, man. You think Effe is s------g a d--n taxi driver now? Give her some credit, will you?
    STEVE
    Stop mocking me, man! D--n! Maybe not yet. The dude had dreadlocks that night, I remember. Yesterday the locks were gone, shaved off. He was dressed decently, and he is a very handsome son-of-a-b---h! Effe is hurt bad, and I saw that in her eyes when she gave me the ring. That guy… that d--n guy, he almost hit Elaine yesterday, and I saw the way Effe looked at him! She’s clinging to him through the pain, and anything can happen, man! The guy is trying so hard to impress her and I’m positive he is making headway. You should have seen how Effe looked at him? She’s falling for him because she’s hurting.
    AFFUL
    (breaking in)
    Jeez! Really? He tried to hit Elaine? And you did nothing?
    STEVE
    Elaine slapped Effe! Very regrettable. I should’ve done something, maybe insulted Elaine, y’know, or defended Effe a bit. I couldn’t, but when the guy came in he was all furious and s--t. I saw the way Effe looked at him, man! When she was with me she wouldn’t have looked at another man like that. She’s hurting, she’s vulnerable. She could easily give in to the man, bro! The thought of her loving someone else, kissing him, getting naked, making love to another man… d--n, bro, just the thought kills me! Been thinking about it the whole night! Maybe I’m f-----g up bigtime by marrying Elaine. I’m not sure Effe would get back with me if I go through with this, man!
    Afful shakes his head, and his face is incredulous.
    AFFUL
    You’re amazing, man! You f----d the girl’s sister, impregnated her, divorced her, and now you’re trying to marry her sister, and you still expect Effe to be faithful to you, or maybe become a nun, or maybe commit suicide, or crawl into her room and mourn you for ten years? Stop the nonsense! Who the hell do you think you are? Barack Obama? Get it out of your system! Effe is a beautiful woman. There are probably men queueing up for her affections already, and yes, someone is going to f--k her. Lord, she’s even far sexier than Eyram and has this air of unavailability that has always irked me. Maybe I’ll even try to screw her too!
    STEVE
    (pushing Afful violently)
    Don’t dare, you b-----d!
    AFFUL
    Just joking, man! But you gotta pull your head outta your f-----g butt and take a stand. If you want out, say it right now. I’ll go and end the d--n marriage, but remember, Effe is barren. She can’t give you children. If you want your son, then let’s get out of here and go and sign the d--n marriage certificate, and remember, Elaine loves you. She is also relatively sexy, and can give you some more sons and daughters. Your call, man. Make your decision fast, or I’ll get outta here and go and screw some Chinese whores. I’m fed up with your bullshit! What’s it gonna be?
    Steve stares helplessly at his friend. His face is very confused indeed. He takes several deep breaths, and then he takes out his handkerchief and cleans his face of stressed sweat.
    Afful gently takes his friend’s arm and guides him to the main court room where Elaine and some witnesses are waiting anxiously.
    OUTSIDE THE COURT
    Effe gets out of the taxi and tells the driver to wait.
    She walks up the wide steps of the court and enters the large court yard.
    She sees the decorated white cars immediately.
    She sees that the ceremony is over. There is a lot of noise. She sees Steve and Elaine taking pictures with some of Elaine’s friends whilst the guests scream and shout.
    She recognizes Afful and Steve’s parents, and some of Steve’s friends, but she sees that none of the hospital staff is present.
    Effe’s vision blurs. Her heart is in so much pain that for a moment she feels like she is getting a cardiac arrest. Her steps falter, and she almost falls.
    Elaine looks across the yard and notices Effe standing at the entrance. Elaine smiles to herself, turns into Steve’s arms and offer her face up for a kiss.
    Steve kisses Elaine with a broad smile. Elaine winds her arms around his neck and kiss him deeply as the crowd laugh and cheer.
    Elaine steps back and looks across the space at Effe who is now clamping her chest with her right hand and crying pitifully.
    Elaine lifts her ring finger and shows her diamond-encrusted wedding ring. It glitters in the early morning sun, and she smiles cruelly.
    Steve is laughing, but his gaze follows Elaine’s mocking glance, and he sees Effe standing forlornly at the entrance, broken.
    Steve turns a furious gaze on Elaine, and he shakes his head with disgust.
    STEVE
    (whispering with much anger)
    My God! Why are you so d--n cruel? Do you really have to do that?
    Jonathan, who has been watching Steve very critically, also turns and sees Effe. Quickly he turns and sees that Steve is trying to walk towards Effe and Elaine is holding his arm desperately.
    ELAINE
    (whispering urgently)
    Steve! Don’t you go to her! Don’t humiliate me in the presence of my friends!
    Afful moves forward and plants himself in front of Steve, and his hand lands on Steve’s chest, restraining him.
    AFFUL
    Stop it, Bro. Stop it. Don’t make a d--n scene. Talk to Effe later, but concentrate on Elaine now. Don’t make an a-s of yourself!
    Steve’s face is tortured. He looks at his friend and his new wife, and when he looks at the entrance again, Effe is gone.
    STEVE
    (whispering in anguish to himself)
    Oh, Lord, Effe, Honey! I’m terribly sorry! Please forgive me!
    Effe pays off the taxi driver. She does not sit in it again.
    There are some trees a little farther from the court, and there are people sitting under them on benches.
    She walks to the shade, finds a secluded bench, sits on it, and cries silently.
    Her handkerchief is very wet by the time the fleet of white cars carrying the newly-weds leave the court in a horn-blasting cacophonous procession.
    She wipes the tears from her eyes and bites her lower lip tightly. She stuffs the handkerchief in her bag and stands up. She tells herself that was the last time she was going to cry for Steve. He was history now. She knows it will not be easy
    She takes a shuddering breath, and then she pulls out her sunglasses and puts it on, to hide her swollen face.
    EFFE
    Goodbye, Steve! Never again will I let you hurt me
    To be continued

    Episode 13

    Continues..
    THIRTEEN DAYS
    Effe sits on her bed.
    She is fully-dressed in a most fetching cream skirt suit with short sleeves. Her make-up is minimal, and her jewellery consist of matching chain, earrings and bracelet. She looks very lovely indeed.
    There is a knock on the door, and she looks up, startled for a moment, and then she hears her mother’s voice.
    MADAM IVY
    Afi, dearest, are you okay? We’re running late.
    Effe gets up and surveys herself in the full-length mirror.
    The door opens and her mother enters. She comes and stands besides Effe. Effe looks at her mother and smiles sadly.
    EFFE
    I’m ready, Mama.
    Her mother looks at her with a face full of love, compassion and helplessness.
    MADAM IVY
    Are you sure about this, baby girl? You can choose to stay and not attend this ceremony, dear. If you want, I’ll stay here with you!
    Effe turns and hugs her mother, and then she steps back.
    EFFE
    I’ve always wanted a home for the poor autistic children that pass through Eden Hospital, Mama. I fought for it, laid petition after petition before the Eden Board of Directors. It took years before they decided to put up the Eden Autistic Center. It’s Grand Opening today. I’ll be there, Mama, for those poor children! And you know father has petitioned the Eden Capitals for more loans, and he has been turned down. Maybe the Chairman of the Board would be there, and I’ll get a chance to speak to him and put father’s case across.
    Madam Ivy takes Effe’s hand.
    MADAM IVY
    Isn’t it amazing? Jon, our own son-in-law, is the Second Vice President of the Eden Board, and yet he stands in the way of your father, keeping all of us on a leash. He threatens to call in all the overdue loans, and if he does we’re going to lose the Company, and I know that will break your father’s heart.
    EFFE
    And that’s the more reason why I must be at the launch, and try and speak to the President himself.
    MADAM IVY
    I know, baby. You have a heart of gold. You always have. But you know Steve will be there. And you know Elaine would take this opportunity to be there, to be seen, to be in the spotlight. It can bring you more pain, dear.
    Effe shakes her head.
    EFFE
    We’ve already been over this, Mama. I’m okay. I can’t possibly be hurt more than seeing my husband marrying my sister. I slept last night, mother, so soundly that I woke up late. Believe me, I’ll live through this.
    There are tears in the woman’s eyes as she hugs her daughter.
    Tears of anguish, of love, of pain because she sees her daughter’s pain and can’t do anything to stop it.
    She touches her daughter’s cheek and traces a loving finger down it.
    MADAM IVY
    One day, Afi, just one day, you’re going to find that one man, that particular man, who will love you through it all. A real man who’ll love you till death.
    Effe smiles at that, and it is such a beautiful smile that her mother raises her eyebrows in surprise. Effe walks to the bed and picks up her handbag.
    EFFE
    Let’s go, Mama. We’re gonna be late.
    Her father is driving them in his sleek black Toyota V8.
    Effe sits in the back. Her parents are conversing but she barely hears them.
    She puts her phone to her ears. It is ringing at the other end.
    His voice comes through, slow and close, and she wonders why it sounds so near, so comforting.
    CHRIS
    Precious.
    She takes the phone from her ears and looks at it, shakes her head with a bemused look on her face, and puts it back to her ear.
    EFFE
    And what did you say?
    CHRIS
    I didn’t say anything. I just called you Precious.
    Effe is silent for a moment. She tries to speak, but there is a mischievous look on her face. She does not want him to hear the pleased tone in her voice.
    EFFE
    I’m going to the hospital for a programme. I’ll then go to the Ameyaw-Eden Clinic. Could you pick me up from the hospital in say, a couple of hours?
    Her parents look at each other with curiosity.
    CHRIS
    Alright, Precious. I’ll be there.
    EFFE
    (smiling)
    So. That’s what you’ve decided to call me now?
    CHRIS
    (chuckling)
    Yeah. But not only that. I got a whole lot of names for you.
    She laughs then, and leans further into the seat.
    EFFE
    Really? Okay. Let me hear another one.
    CHRIS
    Doctor.
    She laughs again, and then sees her father watching her with surprise in the driving-mirror, and she bites her lower lip self-consciously.
    EFFE
    I’ll see you then, Chris.
    She cuts the call. She looks up, and her father is still looking up at her. She looks out the window. Her father turns.
    KEN KEDEM
    Well, normally I don’t poke my old nose into the affairs of beautiful doctors, but-
    MADAM IVY
    (cutting in gently and with a smile)
    But you will look straight ahead and drive and not poke your old nose into the affairs of beautiful doctors!
    They all laugh.
    THE EDEN HOSPITAL
    It had been a very colourful ceremony.
    The Vice President of Ghana had been present, together with the Ministers of Health and other powerful personalities.
    Unfortunately the President of the Eden Board had not been able to make it, and in his stead the First Vice President, Mr. Frank Stiles and the Second Vice President, Mr. Jonathan Afful, had been present.
    Effe had sat on the podium with Steve and the other doctors. Elaine had been present and had sat with the guests.
    The launch had been very successful.
    They had toured the beautiful Autistic Center, and marvelled at the ultra-modern equipment that had been brought in.
    The press had been present, and they covered the event splendidly.
    Now it is over.
    The Vice President of Ghana is gone, and so has the First Vice President of the Eden Board who had been in a rush and so promised Effe that he would give her a call later to address her issues.
    They are now eating and having fun. It has taken almost three hours and Effe still has not seen Chris.
    Effe is sitting in a group that includes Doctor Anaman, Doctor Rupert Henderson and his wife, Barbara. Also in the group are Eyram and her parents.
    Effe excuses herself and goes to the Ladies to freshen up. She is standing in front of the huge mirror applying light lipstick when the door opens and three giggling women come in.
    It is Elaine and two of her friends. Effe knows them. They used to come to the house when Elaine was staying with her and Steve.
    One, called Sheena, is very bad-mannered, always being nasty about people. Effe had warned her not to come to her home again.
    The other one, called Rebecca, is a little better-behaved around Effe.
    Sheena pauses now and looks at Effe with a dirty look. She makes a huge bubble with her gum and pops it.
    SHEENA
    Well, well, well! Look at who we have here! Ladies, may I present to you the FORMER Mrs. Hollison, the woman who thought her s--t was perfumed?
    Elaine, pregnant belly bulging, laughs and stands besides Effe.
    Their eyes meet in the mirror, and Elaine slowly holds up a hand and shows the diamond-encrusted wedding ring she is wearing.
    ELAINE
    Hello, Effe. How have you been?
    Effe is trembling as she carefully puts her lipstick back in its case and slowly puts it back in her bag.
    SHEENA
    (with a mocking laugh)
    Mrs. Effe Hollison! I heard you’re barren, and so you lost your dear husband!
    REBECCA
    (looking very uncomfortable)
    Jeez, Sheena, would you just stop it and leave her alone?
    ELAINE
    Oh, but Sheena is right, Becky! My sister couldn’t get pregnant, and lost her husband. Surely there’s nothing wrong with speaking the truth, is there?
    SHEENA
    I don’t think it was just about not getting pregnant. Effe thinks she’s better than everybody! Always filled with pride, because she’s a doctor, a famous surgeon! But obviously she’s like a dead fish in bed, aren’t you, Effe? Just lying there like a piece of wood whilst her husband-
    ELAINE
    (breaking in)
    Excuse me, her FORMER husband!
    SHEENA
    (laughng hysterically)
    Oh forgive me, Mrs Elaine Hollison! I forget you not only gave your man multiple orgasms, but you’re going to give him a son as well! Poor, poor Effe! You lost your man to your little sister! Oh, don’t cry! How does it feel like, Doctor?
    REBECCA
    (her voice plaintive)
    Oh Lord! Let her be, girls!
    Effe smiles bravely through her pain. She looks at Elaine who slowly holds out her hand and shows her ring to Effe.
    ELAINE
    What do you think, Effe? Beautiful ring, isn’t it?
    Effe nods as she looks at the ring.
    EFFE
    Hm, quite beautiful, I must say. Quite prettier than mine. Well done, you deserve it!
    The smile drops from Elaine’s face, and she looks quickly at Sheena, who forces out a laugh and glares at Effe.
    SHEENA
    So what are you going to do now, Doctor with no husband? Are you going to become a nun?
    Effe smiles. She slings her handbag across her shoulder and steps past Elaine.
    ELAINE
    Don’t worry, sister! I’ll name one of my children after you!
    SHEENA
    You kidding me, Elly? Name your child after that witch?
    Elaine laughs raucously.
    ELAINE
    Hell, no! Let her get her own babies!
    SHEENA
    As barren as a racoon! Hey, Effe, barren racoon! Did you hear that? Don’t you think it rhymes?
    Effe steps out quickly. Their taunting is hurting her beyond comprehension. For a moment she is tempted to go back and rip out Elaine’s eyes, but she forces herself to breathe.
    She is glad that her tears do not flow. She makes her way towards her group, and suddenly Steve appears besides her.
    STEVE
    Effe, Effe, please hold on a moment! I want to talk to you!
    She looks at him blankly, and then she tries to step past him.
    EFFE
    (in a very small voice)
    Please, Steve. There’s nothing to talk about anymore.
    Steve reaches out to hold her arm. People are suddenly watching them.
    STEVE
    D--n it, baby! Honey! We can be civil to each other at least, can’t we? Oh, please, PLEASE! I know I hurt you. Look, I’m just bringing you a cheque, your portion of our joint savings!
    Effe snatches her arm from his grasp, and looks at him with bitter eyes.
    EFFE
    I don’t need it, Steve. Use it as my wedding donation to you and your wife! I don’t need anything from you!
    STEVE
    Stop this, Honey! Do you hate me that much? You can’t even stay with me for a few seconds just to converse?
    Effe starts to reply, but just then the door to the Ladies’ Room opens, and Elaine and her friends step out.
    Elaine quickly snatches Steve’s arm and rests her head on his shoulder.
    ELAINE
    Handsome, your son is restless today. He’s moving so furiously! I think within a couple of days he will drop into your arms! Here, my Lord, a bulge! Feel it, Sweetheart!
    Elaine reaches out and takes Steve’s hand and puts it on her belly.
    SHEENA
    Oh, yipee! That’s a grand feeling, isn’t it? A feeling some women would NEVER EVER be able to feel, right, Effe?
    Rebecca and Steve speak at the same time.
    STEVE
    Just shut up, Sheena! What’s wrong with you?
    REBECCA
    Stop it, Sheenie! Oh my God, who is THAT?
    Rebecca is pointing to a man who is walking slowly towards them.
    He is dressed in an impeccable black suit and he’s wearing sunglasses.
    SHEENA
    Wow! D--n, that is the best-looking hunk I’ve ever seen! D--n, no ring on his finger! Could be my Prince Charming at last!
    Effe laughs quietly, and winks at Sheena.
    EFFE
    I doubt it, lady. But keep on dreaming!
    Sheena looks at her, perplexed, until the man reaches them. He takes off his sunglasses and looks at Effe with eyes so filled with adoration that it makes Steve’s jaw tighten as he drops his hand from Elaine’s stomach.
    CHRIS
    You are so beautiful.
    Sheena gasps, and Elaine’s eyes fill up with hate as she sees the way Steve is looking at Effe and that nasty man who had almost hit her the last time she saw him.
    Effe stares at him. For a moment, they forget where they are, and just look at each other. It is as if they are alone in the world.
    EFFE
    You’re late, you know?
    CHRIS
    Nah. I was waiting outside. I hate crowds. You’ve been here for too long, so I came looking for you. Ready?
    EFFE
    Oh, yeah. But come. I want to introduce you to my family first.
    Chris falls into step besides Effe as they walk away.
    She, so absolutely beautiful in cream, he, so absolutely handsome in black, and they look such an incredible pair that people gawk at them.
    REBECCA
    Wow. They look smashing together!
    Steve, Elaine and Sheena speak in unison.
    ELAINE
    Shut up, Becky!
    SHEENA
    Get a life, G!
    STEVE
    Would you shut the hell up?
    Elaine turns to Steve with a face that is suddenly filled with fury.
    ELAINE
    What was that, Stevie?
    He glares at her, and she sees the simmering look of sudden dislike in the depths of his eyes, and it shocks her.
    STEVE
    What’s what?
    ELAINE
    There, in your voice! Don’t tell me you’re jealous? He’s just a d--n taxi driver!
    REBECCA
    I’ll take him over any millionaire any day! Just-
    Elaine and Steve shout at her at the same time.
    ELAINE
    Shut up!
    STEVE
    Shut up!
    Steve begins to walk away. Elaine tries to hold his arm but he shrugs her off.
    ELAINE
    Stevie? Where’re you going to? Steve? Steve!!
    45 DAYS
    A ChrisEffe Romance
    ©The Klever Magg
    THIRTEEN DAYS
    CHRIS
    Wow.
    He turns away and begins to walk fast.
    There are sudden tears in Effe’s eyes as she looks at her fuming mother in incomprehension.
    EFFE
    Wait, Chris, please wait!
    Eyram, speaking to her husband, sees and feels Effe’s distress just like some twins do, and she is alarmed. She turns and begins to move towards her sister.
    Jonathan Afful grabs Eyram’s arm, angry immediately.
    AFFUL
    D--n it, woman, I was talking to you. Get the baby and let’s get out of here. I’ve golf this afternoon with the boys.
    Eyram drags her arm from her husband’s grip.
    EYRAM
    Jon! Just a second. I have to know what happened. Seems Effe is very upset.
    AFFUL
    Don’t make me angry! Get the baby and let’s go!
    EYRAM
    (shouting now)
    Good Lord, Jon! You can leave. I’ll come later! My sister needs me!
    Jonathan is so furious that he hits Eyram hard in the face with his fist.
    AFFUL
    Don’t you dare raise your voice to me, woman!
    Eyram falls to the ground with a cry of pain. Afful’s blow has split her upper lip, and she is bleeding badly.
    Ken Kedem and Rupert approach Afful angrily.
    RUPERT
    What’s the matter with you? How could you hit your wife like that?
    Afful looks at Rupert angrily, and he balls up his fists.
    AFFUL
    You want some, white man? Come and get it!
    Ken Kedem reaches down to help the weeping Eyram to her feet.
    KEN KEDEM
    You’re barbaric, Jonathan Afful! Are you out of your mind?
    AFFUL
    You stay out of this, Ken. This is between me and my wife!
    KEN KEDEM
    And she’s my daughter, d--n you! Is this how you’ve been treating her?
    Effe and her mother has reached the scene.
    MADAM IVY
    (angrily)
    How could you, Jonathan?
    EFFE
    That’s what he’s been doing! He’s been beating her and hurting her! She’s been silent because Dad wants more capital from Eden, and Jonathan threatens her that if she talks he would call up all the conditions on the first loan Dad took, and make Dad lose his Company!
    KEN KEDEM
    And nobody has told me this?
    EFFE
    You’re sick, Jonathan! You d--n coward! If you dare touch my sister again, I swear-
    AFFUL
    What? You swear what? What the hell you gonna do? You better keep your d--n mouth shut or I’ll shut it for you, you disrespectful little witch!
    He is so furious that he is walking towards Effe threateningly.
    He looks up suddenly and sees Chris behind Effe. Afful sees the anger in Chris’ eyes, and he smiles evilly.
    This is a chance to beat up the taxi driver who is messing up with Steve.
    He raises his hand to strike Effe.
    CHRIS
    Don’t you dare!
    His voice is filled with such venom that Afful pauses and looks up, and he sees the huge fist travelling towards his face.
    Chris hits Afful so hard that it throws him to the floor. Afful, through his pain, knows that he has finally bitten off more than he can chew.
    He feels a rattling in his mouth and knows that one of his front teeth is out.
    Blood pours from his nose and split mouth.
    With a roar of shame he struggles to his feet and rushes at Chris.
    He is short but has a very powerful body, and it is his plan to grab the taxi driver and smash him to the ground.
    He crashes into Chris, and he feels the hardness of the man.
    He tries to lift Chris, but the taxi driver is like a piece of rock. He grips Afful around the waist, lifts him up, and slams him to the ground again.
    The pain is so bad that Afful screams and lies on the floor with fear. He is scared his spine is damaged because he cannot move for a moment. Tears of anguish fall from his face.
    Steve is suddenly by his side. He sees the blood pouring from Afful’s mouth and the tears in the man’s eyes, and Steve looks up at Chris, swallowing the words that have sprung to his mouth.
    Steve sees the satisfied gloating look on Effe’s face as she looks down at Afful, and the same look is on the faces of all the people present.
    Steve helps Afful to his feet.
    Afful looks at Eyram with pain as Steve cleans the blood from Afful’s face.
    AFFUL
    (bitterly)
    You see what you have done, Eyram? You’re dead! Your father is dead! He’s losing his Company for sure!
    CHRIS
    He’s losing nothing! You’re rather losing your job!
    Afful looks at Chris with a mixture of fear and contempt.
    AFFUL
    Losing my job? Who’s making me lose my job, you illiterate taxi driver?
    Chris takes out his phone. He looks at Afful with so much fury that for a moment Effe fears he will strike the man again, and she puts a hand on Chris’ arm.
    CHRIS
    You know a man named Mr. Albert Ntim?
    The anger slowly ebbs from Afful’s face at the mention of the name of the President of the Eden Board. Suddenly there is unease on his face.
    Ken Kedem looks from Chris to Afful. There is a sudden hush.
    KEN KEDEM
    Albert Ntim? The President of Eden Inc? You know him, Chris?
    CHRIS
    Not personally. But the car I drive, the taxi, is for his sister-in-law, Mrs. Akua Ayeh, who is very, very close to her sister and her husband. What I’m going to do is call Mrs. Ayeh, and tell her about this stupid little wife-beater called Jonathan Afful. Believe me, Mr. Ntim hates violence against women. By this time tomorrow this wife-beater will be sacked from Eden.
    Everybody sees the sudden fear on Afful’s face now. He tries to smile, to be brave, but suddenly he feels a stony weight in the pit of his stomach.
    Effe is looking up at Chris with very bright eyes.
    AFFUL
    (with a final bravado)
    You’re a filthy liar, you filthy b-----d!
    Chris dials and puts the phone on loudspeaker. They all hear the phone ringing. After a while it is picked up.
    MRS. AYEH
    (in an excited voice)
    Ei, Chris? So I told you to come to my sister’s birthday and you didn’t come? What do you want now? We’re at her residence. Are you coming?
    CHRIS
    (with a short laugh)
    Sorry, Mrs Ayeh. I told you Effe needed me.
    MRS. AYEH
    (laughing)
    Ah, your mysterious girlfriend, eh? When are you bringing her over?
    CHRIS
    (laughing)
    Ah, very soon, Missus. I wanted a favour from you, please. You see, Effe’s father wanted some help from your brother-in-law’s Company. I was wondering if maybe you could let your sister talk to her husband about it. Please?
    MRS. AYEH
    (laughing again)
    Ei, Chris! Now you want to score points, right?
    CHRIS
    You see that thing? I want her father to be on my side abi?
    They both laugh.
    MRS. AYEH
    You see, you didn’t come for the party, and now you want her help. Hold on a bit!
    There are some noises, some laughter, and then a deep voice came on the line.
    ALBERT NTIM
    Hello? This is Mr. Albert Ntim. Chris, right? My sister-in-law says you need help.
    CHRIS
    Yes, sir, boss. But not me. My friend’s father. He’s Mr. Ken Kedem. It seems-
    ALBERT NTIM
    (breaking in)
    Ken Kedem? Of Kedem Imports and Exports?
    Chris looks blank and quickly he hands the phone to Ken Kedem, who looks at Chris with great wonder on his face. He is absolutely dumb-founded.
    KEN KEDEM
    Hello. Hello, Mr. Ntim? This is Ken Kedem, yes, of Kedem Imports and Exports. You have my application. I’ve been trying to meet you for a discussion on it.
    ALBERT NTIM
    (sounding puzzled)
    Are you not Jonathan Afful’s father-in-law?
    KEN KEDEM
    Yes, yes. But-
    ALBERT NTIM
    We approved your loan two or three months ago. I thought that was done? Listen, I’m a bit busy right now. I’ll deal with Jonathan on Monday. I didn’t know that your application is still hanging. I saw prospects in your Company. Please call me on Monday.
    Ken Kedem is shocked. They all look at a shamefaced Afful who is suddenly looking so lost.
    KEN KEDEM
    Thank you, Mr. Ntim. Much appreciated.
    Ken Kedem hands the phone to Chris. The woman’s voice comes on again.
    MRS. AYEH
    Chris, bad boy, are you there?
    CHRIS
    I’m here, Missus.
    MRS. AYEH
    When are you bringing my money?
    CHRIS
    Over the weekend, Missus.
    MRS. AYEH
    You better. Say hi to Effe for me. Bye.
    Chris looks at Afful.
    CHRIS
    (in a very cold voice)
    You touch just one hair on Eyram’s head, just one hair, and you’ll find yourself out of a job and in police custody, in that order.
    Afful cannot speak.
    Chris turns and walks away. Effe, smiling broadly, looks at Afful with scorn.
    EFFE
    Who’s smiling now, Jonathan? You know something? I’m going to befriend this Mrs. Ayeh, through my taxi driver, and I’m going to befriend her sister, and I’m going to befriend Mr. Ntim, and you know why? I’m going to make d--n sure you lose your job for all the pains you’ve given my sister!
    And with that she swirls and runs after Chris.
    Steve watches her, and he feels sick to his stomach.
    His jealousy is so full he finds it hard breathing. Imagining Effe with that man, his hands over hers, his lips on hers, is so painful that he feels it like daggers cutting through his heart.
    Eyram approaches Afful. She sees the fear on his face, the sudden apprehension.
    Suddenly she is revolted by the sight of him. Years of having to swallow his abuse and beatings spill to the fore, and when she speaks it is with bitterness and wrath.
    EYRAM
    You heard your boss, Jon? He approved my father’s application! And you have been sitting on it? You b-----d!
    She suddenly kicks Afful in the balls! Afful screams with pain and collapses to the ground, holding his balls in great agony.
    Steve screams with shock. Ken Kedem and the others laugh.
    KEN KEDEM
    Yo!! That’s my girl!
    Eyram points a finger at the agony-stricken Afful.
    EYRAM
    It is over, Jon. I’m not coming to you again. You will hear from my lawyer, you despicable b-----d!
    She takes off her wedding ring and hurls it at Afful’s head, and then she turns and walks to her mother.
    She takes her crying son from her mother, and walks away.
    Ken Kedem throws his arms into the air and laughs.
    KEN KEDEM
    What a day! What a lovely, lovely day!

    Episode 14

    Continues..
    FOURTEEN DAYS
    They are having a family dinner.
    Madam Ivy has whipped up a most sumptuous palava sauce with goat meat and boiled yam.
    Ken Kedem says the prayer, and when they begin to eat it is just like old times.
    Eyram, relieved and obviously happy, is perhaps enjoying dinner more than anybody else.
    Effe is moody and avoids eye contact with her mother.
    Afterwards the sisters clear the table and wash up whilst their parents sit in the hall and watch a Telenovela with Mr. Kedem holding his grandson.
    With the utensils cleaned and stashed Eyram goes to the hall to b----t-feed and Effe begins to climb the stairs to her room.
    KEN KEDEM
    My Princess, a moment, please.
    Effe looks uncertain for a moment, and then she goes and sits beside her father. Junior stops b----t-feeding and stretches his tiny arms out to Effe and kicks his little legs hard in apparent agitation.
    EYRAM
    (laughing)
    I hate it when he does that. Almost like his fool of a father!
    Effe smiles and takes the baby and kisses his cheeks tenderly, and the tot giggles.
    KEN KEDEM
    I think we need to talk, people. It’s not every day that sisters’ marriages break down at the same time.
    EYRAM
    For very different reasons, Daddy. Two men, two friends, both assholes!
    KEN KEDEM
    (sharply)
    I’m still not tolerating that kind of language in my house, lady!
    EYRAM
    (making a zipping gesture on her lips)
    Sorry, Daddy.
    KEN KEDEM
    Right. I must first apologize to you, Eyram. I didn’t know you were going through so much pain in your marriage, and putting up with the cruelty of your husband because of your fear of what he might do to me and my Company. I am very sorry. Please, accept my apologies and gratitude. I don’t subscribe to divorces. This dawn Jonathan called me. He’s contrite, and he’s sorry, and he wants you back. I think what that boy Chris did to him has brought his mind home. Now-
    EYRAM
    (cutting in firmly)
    Daddy, no. He CAN’T change. And moreover, I don’t love him anymore.
    KEN KEDEM
    (holding up a finger)
    I know, but nobody has a perfect marriage. He was a beast, yes, and acted irresponsibly because he thought he had you on a leash. Now his power has been taken away, and maybe he would turn a new leaf. You have to give him a second chance.
    EYRAM
    (grimacing)
    He can’t change, Daddy. His evil is not restricted to beating me up alone. There are… other things, other bad things. I don’t trust him, and I’m not going to ever feel safe with him again.
    KEN KEDEM
    (sighing)
    I can’t force you, dear. You’re always welcome home. But take some days off to think this through. Take a week, maybe two, and if at the end of that you still feel this way, we would all support you, okay?
    Eyram nods, stands up and kisses her father’s cheek.
    EYRAM
    Fair enough, Dad.
    KEN KEDEM
    Now. Ivy, I think you really surprised us yesterday over your reaction to Chris. Surprising because it’s the first time you’ve shown open hostility to the friends of your daughters. I didn’t want us to discuss it yesterday because tensions were running high. What happened, dear? Effe has been very hurt since then. She’s going through a very bad time, but it seems this boy gives her the right kind of shoulder to lay her head. What happened, Ivy?
    Madam Ivy looks at Effe as she speaks.
    MADAM IVY
    I’m sorry, baby girl. I was out of line speaking so directly to Chris that way. I should’ve waited and had a motherly chat with you. You have to forgive me. But I was overwhelmed, dear. Maybe it is my failure to control your affairs, especially your love lives, as you girls were growing up, that has resulted in such bad marriages for you. I just saw that boy and he looked like a player to me. The kind of man that would sleep with you and leave you. My motherly instincts came to the fore, and all I could think of was to protect you.
    Effe looks at her mother with a bit of confusion on her face.
    EFFE
    (voice hurt)
    Surely, Mama, you must know me by now. I usually don’t do rash things. I know I’m hurting, but that wouldn’t push me to lick the feet of the first man available. Your reaction to Chris really hurt me yesterday. I like him, Mama.
    MADAM IVY
    (her voice earnest)
    Dear Princess, that’s my fear! You’ve had your Degree, your Masters, your Doctorate, and how many other certificates? Uncountable! You’re brilliant, and you have a wonderful future ahead of you, time to meet more people, more suitors. That boy is a taxi driver!
    KEN KEDEM
    Good grief, Ivy! I can’t believe you! When I met you, I was unemployed!
    MADAM IVY
    But you had a certificate, dearest. You were educated!
    EYRAM
    Mama! Look at what our educated husbands are doing to us! I’ll marry an illiterate who would make me happy and who would be committed to me, as long as we can earn enough to live on, and to care for our children! Chris is so handsome, and I don’t believe he’s illiterate. And even if he is, Effe makes enough money. He could go back to school!
    EFFE
    (still sounding hurt)
    I don’t even know why you are behaving like this, Mama. I never said Chris and I are headed anywhere. He’s a friend. I can choose my friends, can’t I, Mama?
    Madam Ivy stands up and sits beside Effe. She takes her daughter’s hands and speaks tenderly and earnestly.
    MADAM IVY
    Don’t say just friends, Effe. Why do you think I was scared? I saw the way you two looked at each other, and I was so scared. That boy is in love with you.
    EFFE
    (softly)
    Wow, Mama! You saw all that? We’re just friends.
    KEN KEDEM
    (smiling broadly)
    Naaah, Princess. That boy loves you. I don’t have any complaints about him. He did for me in ten minutes what none of your husbands could do in ten years!
    Effe looks at her father, exasperated. She looks at Eyram, who smiles mischievously at her.
    EYRAM
    He looks at you as if he wants to devour you. Love and lust were just drooling out of his face.
    MADAM IVY
    That’s what I saw. Forgive me, baby girl, for being so direct and gross. I was just worried for you.
    EFFE
    Trust me, Mama. I’ll be fine.
    She gets up, and hands Junior back to Eyram. They all look at her, at the warm glow on her cheeks and the dancing lights in her eyes. She climbs the stairs with quick steps.
    EYRAM
    (softly)
    Oh-ohh! I think some lady is feeling love bugs!
    Madam Ivy’s jaw sets hard and angrily.
    Back in her room Effe undresses slowly. She runs a warm bath, puts fragrances and liquid soaps in and slips in.
    She lets the sweet scent assail her, leans back in the soapy water, and closes her eyes.
    She sighs deeply. From time to time she looks at the phone lying on a special clipper on a side table beside the bath. She feels the happy bubble lying somewhere deep in her.
    She hears her family… HE LOVES YOU, HE LOVES YOU!
    She feels like a teenager all over again. That special feeling of love, the secret looks, the sweet letters, the gentle touches.
    She has felt them only with Steve, but this has a bit more rush, a strange power that both exhilarates and scares her.
    The phone rings, and even with her eyes closed she smiles and sighs with happiness. She has given him a special tone just that afternoon.
    She gets up, leans over the bath and picks the phone. She dries her hands and picks the call, and puts it on speaker.
    EFFE
    (softly, mischievously)
    Darling Boy.
    Chris laughs. It is a slow, deep laugh, and she imagines the dimples creasing his cheeks.
    CHRIS
    You said you would never use my nickname, Precious.
    EFFE
    (laughing gently)
    Just teasing you, Mr. Jackie Chan.
    He laughs again.
    CHRIS
    I can’t sleep. I miss you.
    She is quiet for a very long time. When she speaks her voice is very soft and sentimental.
    EFFE
    My Mama is right about you, Mr. Chris Bawa. You’re a very dangerous boy. Can’t sleep too. I miss you too, Taxi Driver.
    CHRIS
    (chuckling)
    Your Mama still hates me?
    EFFE
    I think she’s okay now.
    CHRIS
    I’m glad. What are you doing now? Sleeping?
    EFFE
    (a demure look on her face)
    No. Taking a bath.
    CHRIS
    Ah.
    EFFE
    (smiling)
    What do you mean ‘ah’?
    CHRIS
    (very softly)
    Don’t do that, Effe. Please.
    She understands. She imagines him looking serious. She knows it is a serious moment.
    EFFE
    Will I see you tomorrow?
    He is quiet for a long time.
    CHRIS
    There’s something I gotta do, Effe. In the morning. When I finish, I’ll call you. Good night, Precious. Sleep well.
    Effe’s heart beats fast with sudden fear. She suddenly knows, deep down, that something bad is going on, that Chris might be in danger.
    She calls his number, but it is switched off. Suddenly it dawns on her that she has not bothered to find out where he lives.
    She knows deep down, with the instincts of love, that whatever Chris is going to do in the morning could be dangerous, and she has to be there.
    But where is he going to? What is he going to do? Why does she feel this great sense of danger?
    There is only one place she knows of where he has been in danger.
    Elm’s Bar.
    She baths quickly and puts on her nightie.
    She cannot sleep. She feels her fear escalating with each passing minute. She tries to tell herself that she is overreacting. Maybe he has to go and see Mrs. Ayeh. There are a thousand things he could be doing. She does not know that much about him. Maybe he has other commitments.
    But she still cannot rid herself of the fear, of the panic that has gripped her heart for him, the feeling that he is in danger.
    EFFE
    D--n you, Chris! You promised me no more gambling!

    Episode 15

    Continues..
    FIFTEEN DAYS
    Effe wakes up with a little moan and sits up in bed.
    She had had a nightmare! She had seen Chris lying in a pool of blood!
    She looks at the bedside lamp. It reads 5.00 a.m.
    She picks up her phone. There is no missed call, and her heart sinks. She calls his number. The phone is still switched off.
    Her fear begins to mount. She has never given much thoughts to dreams and nightmares in the past, but somehow, she can’t shake off the feeling that Chris is in danger.
    She gets up quickly and takes a quick bath.
    Dressed in a hugging black jean and a beautiful pink and white top with a beaded strand hem, she quickly descends to the living-room to find her mother sitting in front of the television in her nightdress.
    Her Mom looks at her from a face that is cold.
    MADAM IVY
    You’re not dressed for the office, and you’re up early. I’m convinced it is about that Chris boy.
    Effe stills her sudden flaring anger, and goes and kneels by her mother’s side. She strives to remain calm as she looks at her mother.
    EFFE
    Mama, I love you very much. You’re everything to me. You’ve always been the backbone of this family. I have always done my best to please you. I must tell you, however, that this collision course we’re embarking on is really beginning to hurt me.
    Madam Ivy leans forward, her face earnest, almost pained.
    MADAM IVY
    My love, but whatever I do, it’s out of love! I’ve never stood in your way, ever, have I? I just feel this is wrong! He’s the wrong type of man for you!
    Effe shakes her head, confused.
    EFFE
    But why, Mama? Because he’s poor? I have enough money for both of us! Because he’s not highly educated? He can further his studies because he’s still quite young and smart! Because he drives a cab? I can make him stop and help Daddy at the Company! But you know I don’t really care about all these things!
    MADAM IVY
    (sighing, still earnest)
    Do you love him, Afi?
    Effe looks at her mother and shakes her head slowly.
    EFFE
    I care about him, yes. But love… I don’t think so. I just met him two weeks ago, and since then so many things have happened. My divorce, Steve’s betrayal, his marriage to Elaine. Time has passed in a blur, but I can tell you that I didn’t go mad over all that Steve did to me simply because I met Chris. He saved my sanity, and I like him a lot, but I don’t think I’m in love with him. Yet.
    MADAM IVY
    Has he tried to seduce you, make love to you?
    EFFE
    (shocked, outraged)
    Mama! Give me a little respect!
    MADAM IVY
    (remorseful, contrite)
    I’m sorry, baby girl. I’m terribly sorry. But I just want to make sure you don’t make a mistake. Handsome guys like Chris have the propensity of breaking a lot of hearts. Just be careful.
    EFFE
    (icily)
    I will, Mama. Thanks. Can I borrow your car this morning?
    MADAMIVY
    (looking concerned)
    But your arm? Is that not why Chris is driving you?
    EFFE
    Oh, it’s better. I won’t strain it.
    Madam Ivy picks up her car keys from the coffee table and hands it to her.
    MADAM IVY
    Be careful, baby.
    EFFE
    I will. Thanks, Mama.
    She drives on the lonely streets of Dzorwulu and soon reaches Madina.
    When she gets to Elm’s Bar she sees that a lot of sleek cars are parked around the premises.
    There are lights inside and she is surprised to see that there are four huge men guarding the entrance.
    She parks and walks rapidly to the entrance where the four men block her path.
    ONE BOUNCER
    (voice cold)
    Where are you going to, Madam?
    EFFE
    Inside, of course.
    ONE BOUNCER
    We’re sorry. It’s closed. Public entrance opens at ten in the morning.
    EFFE
    (exasperated)
    But there’re people inside!
    ONE BOUNCER
    They’re Gold Members, please.
    Effe opens her bag and brings out two hundred cedis in fifty-cedi notes.
    EFFE
    Please, I have to go in. I’m looking for Chris, please.
    The bouncers look at each other uneasily, and Effe adds a hundred cedis more. The bouncer takes the money reluctantly, and he takes a tag from one of his friends and hands it to Effe.
    ONE BOUNCER
    You’re really putting us in trouble, madam. It’s because you mentioned the Darling Boy’s name that’s why we’re helping you. Put the tag around your neck, please.
    Effe puts the gold-plated tag around her neck.
    EFFE
    Thank you very much. Chris is here, isn’t he?
    ONE BOUNCER
    Yes, madam. Upstairs.
    Effe shakes her head with disappointment.
    EFFE
    Arm-wrestling, isn’t he?
    ONE BOUNCER
    No. Knuckle fighting. He won the last time, but his friend Abdul Adams owes Mrs. Simpson a lot of money, and so she arranged the fight for Abdul to pay off, but he lost. They threatened to send him to prison if he didn’t pay. So, he begged Darling Boy to fight for him to pay off the debt. But madam, I’m afraid for the boy paa o! The man they brought is a Chinese man who can fight Kung Fu. He beat Abdul papa!
    Effe stares at the men with a fear so great that she feels her legs shaking. She shakes her head numbly.
    EFFE
    Wait, let me get this straight. Chris has a friend called Abdul, who owes a Mrs. Simpson a lot of money. This Mrs. Simpson arranges a fight for Abdul to pay off the debt if he wins, and Abdul loses the fight, so he owes Mrs. Simpson more money. And so, Abdul now asks Chris to fight for him, against a Chinese skilled in martial arts?
    The bouncer nods.
    ONE BOUNCER
    Ten rounds. They’re upstairs. It seems Darling Boy is losing. Please don’t tell them I told you this o! If you’re his friend please go up and save him, I beg, because we love Chris paa!
    Effe does not wait for more. She enters the bar. There are tables and chairs, as usual, but there is nobody around.
    She hears commotion coming from upstairs, and she quickly begins to climb the stairs leading up where Chris had emerged from the first time she came to the Elm’s Bar.
    She can’t believe such things happened in Ghana.
    With her heart beating with fear she finds herself on a beautiful corridor. There are two other men at the end of the corridor guarding a door.
    She approaches them. When they see the tag around her neck they open the door for her.
    When she enters she is shocked at what she sees.
    There are a lot of beautiful cushioned chairs around a boxing ring.
    The place is filled with expensively-dressed men and women. She recognizes some of the faces; they are very important people in society.
    Some of them are drinking. Some are screaming.
    Effe’s attention goes to the ring, and what she sees almost makes her faint.
    EFFE
    Oh, dear Lord! Oh, Chris!!
    Chris is wearing only black boxing shorts. In front of the shorts are the words DARLING BOY.
    He has black gloves on his hands. He is in one corner, and a muscular Chinese in red shorts is hitting Chris over and over with his white gloves.
    The Chinese is not as tall as Chris, but he is very squat and very broad.
    There is blood on Chris’ face, and he is holding his arms across his chest to stop the blows from the Chinese man.
    The Chinese fighter steps back and delivers a terrible right hook to the side of Chris’ head.
    The blow flings Chris hard to the canvas. The crowd cheers and screams. A referee in black trousers and white shirt and bowtie begins to count.
    Chris is lying on his back, blood around his face… just like she had seen in her dream, her nightmare… and the tears flow down Effe’s beautiful cheeks unchecked.
    Chris tries to get to his feet, and he crashes heavily to the canvas again.
    The referee is still counting. Chris screams and pushes first to a sitting position, and then he stands up and trembles unsteadily on his feet.
    Suddenly a bell rings, and the Chinese man turns and holds up his arms in victory. The people scream and cheer.
    The Chinese man heads for one corner and sits down.
    Chris begins to walk slowly to another corner.
    His legs are unsteady. There is a bad cut over his right eye and it is bleeding profusely.
    His hands hang limply by his sides, and his head is bowed. He seems to be in a lot of pain.
    He sits down on a chair which a tall muscular man with a huge beard puts down in the corner.
    Chris hangs his head.
    The tears fall down Effe’s cheeks as she runs through the rows and climbs the stairs leading up to Chris’ corner.
    The huge man with the beard is towelling Chris, and then trying to stem the flow of blood on Chris’ face with a towel unsuccessfully.
    People scream at Effe, but she does not mind them. She pushes the hands that try to stop her aside, and then she climbs through the ropes and falls to her knees in front of Chris.
    The man towelling Chris looks at her with sudden shock.
    EFFE
    Are you Abdul?
    ABDUL
    Yes, madam. But who’re you? You’re not supposed to be in the ring, please.
    Effe wipes tears from her face and looks at the bearded man severely.
    EFFE
    You should be ashamed of yourself! Why should you let your friend take such a beating for you?
    Chris looks up slowly, and Effe gasps at what she sees.
    His face is very swollen, and his right eye is almost shut because of the deep cut above it.
    His lips are also swollen badly.
    CHRIS
    (his speech slurred)
    Effe? My God, Precious! What’re you doing here?
    EFFE
    You shut the hell up, Chris Bawa. You’re stopping this nonsense right now! You’re coming with me!
    Suddenly there are two huge men in coats in the ring. They take hold of Effe’s arms and drag her to her feet.
    CHRIS
    (getting up and screaming)
    Hey! Leave her alone, b------s!
    He tries to move forward but Abdul holds him tightly to prevent him.
    ABDUL
    Come on, Chris! She’s in the ring, against the regulations. Just one more round, boy! You survive this round and we’re home dry!
    The men forcibly drag Effe out of the ring. She screams and struggles, but to no avail. She is crying now, calling Chris’ name over and over.
    CHRIS
    (his voice tortured, pained)
    EFFE! EFFE! Hey, leave her alone, you d--n b------s!
    He tries to get out of the ring, but a grey-haired man in a black suit suddenly pulls out a gun and aims it at Chris, his eyes filled with hatred.
    GREY-HAIRED MAN
    (harshly)
    Get back in there, Chris! You flout the rules and I’ll put a bullet through your knee!
    The two men roughly shove Effe into an empty seat beside a woman dressed in a smashing white dress. The woman looks distinguished, but she is a bit old and her expensive make-up can’t hide the crow’s feet around her eyes.
    MRS. SIMPSON
    Hello, I’m Vivica Simpson. Sorry, but you can’t rescue your darling boy until my Chinese fighter cuts him to ribbons!
    She laughs and blows cigarette smoke into Effe’s face.
    Effe stares at her with tears streaming down her face.
    EFFE
    Jesus, who’re you people? You’re very terrible people!
    The woman laughs. Just then the bell rings again.
    Chris is still standing inside the ring, looking across at where Effe is sitting, guarded by the two men.
    The Chinese is on his feet, taking a Kung Fu stance and screaming.
    Effe sees that Chris’ face is suddenly filled with a terrible rage. He turns and faces the Chinese man.
    He begins to walk towards the Chinese man who runs towards Chris and leaps into the air, still screaming, his knee crooked to smash into Chris’ face.
    Chris turns to one side in a flash, catches the flailing leg of the Chinese man, swivels and slams the man into a corner of the ring with such brute force that the Chinese man gives a terrible scream of pain.
    The whole auditorium goes as quiet as a cemetery. The Chinese gains his feet, but he is hurt, and stands tottering. Chris crashes a fist into the man’s face, again with beastly force, and the man falls flat on his back, and blood erupts from his mouth in sprays.
    The Chinese struggles to his knees as the referee begins to count.
    He drags himself up, sways a bit, and then he screams and aims a blow at Chris’ neck, but Chris steps gently to one side and kicks the Chinese man’s right knee.
    This time the Chinese yowls in a blood-curdling manner, and falls down with both hands grabbing his shattered knee.
    He remains down, and the referee counts him out.
    The woman beside Effe screams with sudden fury.
    MRS. SIMPSON
    No, no, no, noooo! F--k you to hell, Chris! F--k you!
    Abdul is screaming with joy as Chris emerges from the ring. He hugs Chris tightly.
    ABDUL
    Oh, God, you did it, Bro. Thank you, and thank you!
    People are on their feet, applauding.
    Effe gets up slowly. She watches as Chris limps towards her, his face puffy and bloody, but a strange look on his face.
    She is crying, and as she watches him coming towards her she knows, without any doubt, that somehow, incredible as it seems, in just two weeks, the reckless, violent, undisciplined man approaching her has done to her heart what no man has ever really succeeded in doing.
    She has been exposed to a world she never knew existed, to excitement, to danger, and to emotions she has never experienced and never believed possible.
    He stops in front of her.
    There are a lot of emotions playing on his bruised face. She tries to stop crying because seeing him so bruised makes her heart pain her.
    He does not speak. He grabs her waist and pulls her into a fierce embrace.
    She hugs him back, fiercely, tightly, desperately, as tears still course down her cheeks.
    She does not mind the blood and sweat that stains her blouse. She does not want to let go, she just wants to be in his arms, within his embrace, forever.
    EFFE
    (whispering against his ear)
    D--n you, Chris Bawa! D--n you to hell! Why do you put me through this? You promised me!
    He steps back. He’s still wearing the gloves, and he holds her face with his gloved hands. His face is remorseful, filled with love.
    CHRIS
    Sorry, Precious. I promised you. I did this for a friend, a promise I couldn’t break. It’ll not happen again. And that’s a promise, and I won’t break it.
    Effe rests her head against his chest for a while.
    EFFE
    Let’sget out of here, Chris, so that I can take a look at your wounds.
    CHRIS
    Yes, Precious. Whatever you say!
    Abdul unlaces the knots of the gloves and pulls them off.
    Chris puts his arm around Effe’s shoulders, and she supports him with an arm around his waist.
    As they begin to leave the auditorium the people applaud again, and some touch Chris’ shoulders admiringly.
    Once outside, Effe gives back the tag, thanks the bouncers, and puts him in the back seat of the car.
    She drives to the Ameyaw-Eden Clinic, cleans his cuts and stitches the cut above his eyebrow.
    She stands back and looks at him. He is sitting on the edge of a ward bed. He stands up, and without a word he takes her into his arms.
    She stops breathing as she looks up at him. The look on his face is that of adoration, of love, of something precious… and she is convinced it is mirrored on her own face.
    EFFE
    (in a whisper)
    Chris.
    His head bends, and when his lips touch hers she opens up to receive him.
    It is gentle, but it sears their souls with the force of a volcano. She puts her hand on his chest, tracing the luxurious hair, and the other arm winds around his neck.
    CHRIS
    (in a whisper)
    Effe.
    His lips burn a searing path down her throat. She trembles, alien primal feelings making her tremble, to want more, to go beyond the borders.
    With the strongest of willpower, she pulls from him and puts a hand on his lips. She stares deeply into his eyes.
    Reluctantly she steps back from the circle of his arms and moves to the door.
    Without a word she goes out, and after a while he follows her.
    As they walk towards the car she reaches out and takes his hand.
    EFFE
    (in a very soft voice)
    You know I can’t go all the way.
    CHRIS
    I know, Precious.
    She does not look at him. But she smiles to herself. She realises that she is happy.

    Episode 16

    Continues..
    SIXTEEN DAYS
    AFFUL RESIDENCE
    Jonathan Afful lies on his expensive matrimonial bed and stares at the expensive ceiling.
    A beautiful European woman is lying naked besides him. Her name is AMANDA BROOKS, a twenty-year-old Companion from the LUSTFUL LIPS PRIVATE CLUB.
    It is not the first time Afful has been with her on the bed. There had been times he had brought her home and slept with her whilst Eyram was in one of the guest rooms crying.
    It is, however, the first time he has failed to get an erection despite Amanda’s best efforts.
    Eyram and Junior have been gone for two days now, after that b-----d Chris had beaten him, and Jonathan is amazed how vulnerable he is feeling.
    He had called his father-in-law to apologize because he had been shocked that Chris chap knew Albert Ntim’s sister-in-law.
    Afful had hurriedly ordered the loan amount to be transferred into the accounts of KEDEM IMPORTS AND EXPORTS. Albert Ntim had been really mad, but Afful had apologized.
    Amanda drapes a naked thigh across him and reaches for him once again. She fondles him expertly, glides down his body and starts doing a lot of things to him down there, but still he remains flaccid.
    Finally, Amanda gets up and without a word goes to the bathroom. She returns a few minutes later and begins to dress up.
    Afful stands up and pulls on his boxers. He picks up a beautiful metal business suitcase, turns the combination, opens it, and counts out some money.
    Amanda turns to him and takes the money. She picks up her handbag and walks to the door. She pauses and looks at him as she pops a gum into her mouth.
    She makes a huge bubble with the balloon, pops it and speaks.
    AMANDA
    You treated her like thrash, even more than thrash, and now you’re pining for her, aren’t you?
    Afful looks at her, shocked at the bitterness in her voice. But her words make him angry, and he points a finger of warning at her.
    AFFUL
    Shut up and get the hell outta my house!
    AMANDA
    Whatever. You better get her back, before you become impotent for life.
    She leaves the room. A moment later he hears her car start up and then she drives away.
    Afful gets up.
    It is true. He has not been able to get an erection two days in a row. He walks to the kitchen. Eyram has stocked the fridge, and although Afful had microwaved some okro stew and warmed some banku, he still could not eat.
    He wanders through the house in confusion.
    He tries to reconcile some accounts in the study, but gives up after a few minutes.
    He pours himself some wine, dumps ice cubes in it and sits down to watch a movie.
    After a moment he curses loudly and gets up.
    Slowly he realizes that he has indeed been cruel to Eyram. Very cruel indeed.
    Apart from the affairs, he had also demeaned her by bringing other women home, beating her and making her dress and behave like a w---e any time they made love.
    Afful picks up his phone, hesitates, and then he calls. It rings and rings without an answer.
    He sighs heavily and picks up another phone. It contains a new sim card Eyram doesn’t have.
    He pours himself more wine, drinks half, and then calls Eyram with the new number.
    After two rings Eyram picks up.
    EYRAM
    Hello?
    Her voice is gentle, sweet, just like he remembers it.
    AFFUL
    Darling, Honey, please don’t cut the call. Please hear me out, please. I-
    EYRAM
    (cutting in coldly)
    Jon, go to hell!
    She cuts the call. Afful calls back, and her phone is off.
    Afful stares at the phone in his hand, and then he begins to shake as sobs rack his body.
    His tears flow hotly down his cheeks.
    He cries bitterly, remorsefully in a mortified way.
    AFFUL
    My dear, my dearest, forgive me, I love you, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry! I’M SO SOOOOOOOORYYYYYY!!
    And in the loneliness of his room Jonathan Afful screams and cries like a baby.
    HOLLISON RESIDENCE
    Steve Hollison parks his car in the garage and sits for a long time. He sighs and gets out of the car.
    He locks the garage door and moves to the door that leads from the garage to the living-room. He reaches out to open the door and suddenly a box on top of an old refrigerator they had put in the garage slips and falls to the floor, startling Steve.
    He looks at the box. Elaine had packed all the framed pictures of him and Effe into that box and brought it to the garage.
    The framed picture lying on top shows one of his favourites. He had taken it himself.
    It depicts Effe standing in the kitchen, in a simple white shorts and black blouse. It is a picture he had kept on the wall in the bedroom. She is smiling, and her whole face is lit up in bright beauty.
    Her skin, so fair and clear, her figure so incredible, so lush, so alive.
    Steve looks at the picture, and slowly he kneels and picks it up. He sits down on the floor and leans his back against the wall.
    He cleans dust from the picture and stares at it, and when it begins to get hazy he realizes that he is indeed crying.
    Tears drop unto the picture.
    Steve sniffs and cleans his face. His hand dips into his pocket and he brings out his and Effe’s wedding rings.
    He looks at the elaborate diamond ring on his hand now, and the simple designed gold ring he had worn for Effe.
    His tears flow faster, choking him.
    STEVE
    Good Lord, Effe. I miss you bad!
    He picks up his phone, cleans his face, navigates to contacts, selects Effe’s number, begins to dial, and then the door opens suddenly and Elaine looks in at him.
    Her stomach is bulging dangerously. She stares at Steve with sudden latent fury.
    ELAINE
    (angrily)
    When you’ve finished mourning your ex-wife maybe you can bring me my d--n prescription, dear husband! I’m in a lot of pain here!!
    She leaves angrily.
    Steve does not mind her. He leans back and shuts his eyes.
    BAWA RENTED PREMISES
    The place is a very large complex built in the form of a C.
    It consists of three stories each. Each room is a Chamber and a Hall, with a kitchen and washroom.
    His room is on the third floor of the middle block, and it is the last room at the end of the cramped corridor, ROOM 444.
    The rooms are comfortable but not big. The kitchen is tiny. The living-room has comfortable furniture, a TV and woollen carpet.
    The bedroom door is closed.
    Chris switches on the ceiling fan and drops his key on the glass-topped center table.
    CHRIS
    Not much. I just want to pay off the taxi, then get a better place.
    Effe drops her handbag and stands facing him.
    EFFE
    I bought an Estate House a year back. With my own money, in my own name. Steve bought one too. We used to joke that if we had two kids we would give one to each. If you don’t mind, you can live in mine, since I’m not using it now.
    He looks at her. His face is still a little swollen, but his smile is still beautiful.
    CHRIS
    Thanks, Effe. I’ll think about it.
    EFFE
    It’s furnished, Chris. In a very respectable location, security guaranteed. It is a better choice, better than here.
    CHRIS
    (gently)
    I know. And I admire your kindness, Effe. I’ll think about it, okay? Welcome to my home, anyway.
    She smiles up at him.
    EFFE
    Thank you for bringing me.
    CHRIS
    The pleasure is mine.
    She looks down for a while, and then she looks at him.
    EFFE
    I had a dream yesterday dawn, CB.
    He raises his eyebrows and smiles.
    CHRIS
    CB. Chris Bawa. Hm. I love it.
    She shakes her head, exasperated.
    EFFE
    I saw you lying in a pool of blood. And when I came to that place I saw you, just like that! Please, Chris, promise. No more fights, no more arm-wrestling, please. I can help you pay off the rest of the taxi. If you need money, let me know. But please, promise me, no more fighting or gambling!
    Her face is earnest, her fear great. The smile leaves his face, and he looks at her tenderly.
    CHRIS
    I promise, Precious.
    He looks at her.
    She looks at him.
    Without warning they move, closing the distance between them, and then they hold each other, and their kiss is volcanic, fierce, demanding, hungry!
    Effe has never experienced such physical and unrestrained hunger.
    She pushes into him, needing and wanting, everything else forgotten.
    His hand covers her left b----t, and a shiver rips through her. She puts her hands on his chest and pushes him back gently but firmly. She steps back from him, panting.
    Chris nods and, trembling, sits down on a sofa.
    She smiles weakly.
    EFFE
    Not yet. The time isn’t right.
    CHRIS
    Yes.
    EFFE
    I’ll prepare something for us to eat. Sit there, watch TV, and don’t come to the kitchen… and please, please, don’t touch me.
    He laughs shakily, and picks up the television remote control.
    CHRIS
    Yes, madam.

    Episode 17

    Continues..
    SEVENTEEN DAYS
    Steve Hollison stops his car in front of the LOVE BED HOTEL.
    The hotel is located at an obscure part of Weija, and because of its remote access, many people, especially adulterous men and women, patronized it a lot.
    Steve blows the car’s horn once. A moment later the black gates are opened by a huge man with a thick beard. The man is wearing black trousers and white shirt.
    He is called ABDUL ADAMS, and he is the Manager.
    Steve drives through to the spacious car park.
    There are other cars parked. He gets out, uses the remote to lock the doors, and then walks hurriedly to the reception.
    Abdul is waiting for him. He smiles broadly.
    ABDUL
    Good afternoon, Mr. Hollison.
    STEVE
    Afternoon, Abdul. How’re you?
    He hands some money to Abdul.
    ABDUL
    Fine o, boss. I beg, Madam no fit come today?
    STEVE
    She stopped to buy some things. She would be here soon.
    ABDUL
    Yes sah, massa.
    Abdul leads Steve to a room. Steve goes into the bathroom as Abdul switches on the television and the air-conditioner.
    STEVE
    Show Madam the room when she comes.
    ABDUL
    Yes sah, massa. I beg, you go need anything else?
    STEVE
    No. You have water in the fridge, right?
    ABDUL
    Yes sah, massa.
    STEVE
    (nodding)
    That’ll be all for now then, Abdul. Thanks.
    Abdul leaves the room. Steve strips down to his boxers and singlet and lies on the bed.
    The room is comfortable, but not luxurious. He sighs, crosses his legs at the ankles and waits impatiently.
    Abdul is busily entering data in a Ledger Book when the doorbell dings.
    He gets up hurriedly and rushes out to the gates.
    He opens the smaller gate on the side of the main gates and looks out, expecting to see Mr. Hollison’s date, but instead Chris stands is at the gate.
    Chris’ taxi is parked along the narrow path. Abdul sees that there’s Elastoplast over Chris’ right eye. Abdul smiles happily and hugs Chris tightly.
    ABDUL
    That be my Iron of Fist Weija! Cha, how be you?
    CHRIS
    (with a grimace)
    I dey well, bro. Just a little sore. That crazy Chinaman knocked me bad.
    ABDUL
    (with a chuckle)
    But you kill am, man. You be the best. See, all the people dey respect you now roff! But cha, thanks for your help man! If eno be you that crazy Chinese go break me like some glass doll!
    The two friends laugh loudly as they enter the yard. They move to the reception area and sit down.
    Chris hands Abdul a little packet. Abdul opens it and whoops with great joy. The packet contains a lot of money in fifty cedi notes.
    CHRIS
    (with a smile)
    Your cut, man.
    ABDUL
    But na I dey think Mrs. Simpson take all the money to pay off my debt.
    CHRIS
    (shrugging)
    Yeah, I bet on me too, double the amount. So she get some, and I got more because e be like no bra bet on me.
    ABDUL
    (whooping with unbridled delight)
    Whooooooo! Sucker punch! You kill dem! You be the Boss! Now Mrs. Simpson go know what’s up! E pain am dread! Ei, women, because you refuse to sleep plus am e go bring that mad Chinese Kung Fu man to kill you and me. Cha, the way you blow am I sure sey by now e still dey hospital.
    They laugh again, and then Chris leans forward.
    CHRIS
    (in a serious voice)
    Abdul, you be my paddy. We get plenty history between us. That’s a lot of money, bro. E go fit cater for you very well if you invest am wisely, bro. You can use it to complete your cold store thing. If you gamble with that too, then it’s your own soup, man. I’m out now. I no go fight or arm-wrestle again.
    Abdul looks at his friend with equally serious eyes. He shakes his head, touches his beard, and leans forward too.
    ABDUL
    I get you, bro. I no go go there again. Ebe over for me too. What make you decide to stop? That shoddy who come pick you that night?
    CHRIS
    (smiling)
    Screw you, rasta! She no be shoddy.
    Abdul stares at his friend, his eyes wide with shock.
    ABDUL
    Dayummmmn! The real deal? You fall for am?
    CHRIS
    I swear, bro. I no know what happen, but I fall for am hard! Too hard. I love am dread.
    ABDUL
    Wetin be e name sef … Effe, right? Cha, she fine pass all shoddies I ever see! D--n! Never thought any kala go fit make you go gaga like this! Dayummmmmn!!
    CHRIS
    She be special, bro. Apart from sey ebe beautiful, brilliant and rich, cha … she be humble, kind, loving, angel, angel, angel! I don’t know how e happen but cha, I wan spend the rest of my life plus am!
    Abdul screams again and smacks his thighs.
    ABDUL
    Dayuuummmmn! Solid! You bang am already?
    Chris laughs loudly and punches his friend on the shoulder.
    CHRIS
    You mad, you better respect. Make you no yob s--t about am like that. She be my Precious Angel, you know!
    They are still laughing when the doorbell dings again.
    ABDUL
    That go be Mrs. Hollison. Excuse me, I dey go send am to e husbie.
    At the mention of Mrs. Hollison Chris’ heart misses a beat.
    He scowls darkly as sudden pain flashes on his face. He imagines Effe walking into the hotel room. Surely it isn’t her! Surely she can’t do that to him, although basically they’re still just friends.
    He stands up, still with a pained look on his face. He can hear a woman’s voice now. He parts the curtains a bit and peeks into the reception area.
    The smartly-dressed woman following Abdul towards a room in the bend is not Effe.
    Chris grips the curtains with deep shock.
    CHRIS
    (with great surprise)
    Oh, my dear Lord!
    He knows the woman.
    In fact she is a white lady.
    A white South African lady.
    A woman who was introduced to him at the Eden Hospital.
    She is Mrs. Barbara Henderson.
    The wife of Rupert Henderson, the South African paediatrician at the Eden Hospital!
    What is she doing at a hideout like the Love Bed Hotel?
    Why did Abdul refer to her as Mrs. Hollison?
    Abdul returns a few minutes later. He is smiling broadly.
    ABDUL
    Cha, you dey feel for some goat light soup? Wifey prepare some. Make we go blow!
    CHRIS
    You say that woman dey come here plus e husbie?
    ABDUL
    Who? The white woman? You see am? She get big a-s dread! I never see white lady with a-s like that before. Oyibo Obolo Ikebe Super, hehehe! Yeah, them dey come here most Wednesday nights come blow blow them body. They go lef in three hours’ time.
    CHRIS
    And her husbie? He be white man too?
    ABDUL
    (shaking his head)
    White for the where? Ebe black man. E name be Steve Hollison. Them start dey come here keep.
    Chris is shocked. He shakes his head numbly. So Steve had been unfaithful not only with Elaine, but he is also sleeping with Mrs. Henderson!
    Poor Effe! Poor Rupert!
    CHRIS
    I know the guy, bro. But I go love see am fiili fiili!
    Abdul looks at him sharply.
    ABDUL
    Trouble?
    CHRIS
    Nope. Cool. I jes wan see am!
    Abdul smiles.
    ABDUL
    That means for the next three hours you go keep me company. Cool. Make we go blow the goat soup first. I hungry dread!
    CHRIS
    Okay, bro. But I no dey like the goat balls, kwasia! The last time your irresponsible wife put the goat balls for my soup inside. I dey resemble person who dey chew goat balls?
    They laugh hard and leave the reception. Abdul instructs one of the boys to take over, and then they go away to eat.
    Three and a half hours later, Chris hears voices, and he parts the curtains slowly.
    Steve Hollison and Barbara Henderson are moving down the corridor!
    Steve’s arm is draped around Barbara’s shoulders. He drops his hand and squeezes her ample buttocks, and she squeals with mock anger.
    He takes her arm, draws her close, and they kiss deeply.
    They move out, and Abdul follows them out.
    Chris sits down slowly in a chair with shock.
    CHRIS
    Oh Charley! E hard o!

    Episode 18

     Continues..
    EIGHTEEN DAYS
    Dr. Rupert Henderson finishes knotting his tie in front of the dressing-mirror. He takes his coat from off the door of the wardrobe and puts it on.
    He turns and sees Barbara still sleeping. She is lying on her back, and he thinks how beautiful she is.
    Her short negligé has ridden, exposing her lovely right thigh.
    For a moment he thinks of undressing again and making love to her.
    Nowadays their love-making is very infrequent.
    He being a paediatrician, loves kids very much. He and Barbara has been married for close to fifteen years now, and they have no children.
    They have tried all avenues open, but nothing seems to work.
    They had seen specialists in South African, London and Germany, and still nothing had worked.
    In Germany, it had come out that everything was okay with both of them, just that for some unknown reason they simply cannot get children.
    Then, he heard of an amazing Gynaecologist in Ghana called Dr. Gabriel Anaman. They came down to Ghana to meet Anaman, and Rupert had been impressed with the newly-opened Eden Hospital.
    Dr. Anaman had finally pinned down their problems: evidently Barbara’s body produces less hormones and other fertile environments necessary for pregnancy, and yes he could work on her.
    The position for a paediatrician had been available, and the salary astounding.
    Plus Anaman could work on Barbara. Rupert had put in an application and had been taken instantly.
    Barbara had been hostile moving to Ghana. Her hostility began when she was told she was more than partially responsible for their inability to have kids.
    Their marriage had begun to slip on rough seas, and there had been a time, a brief moment in time, when she had suggested divorce because she was fed up with Ghana and wanted to return to South Africa.
    No amount of encouragements from Rupert, Effe and Anaman could make her change her mind.
    And then she had tested positive, for the first time, to a pregnancy test.
    Their joy had been over the bounds, and it had saved the marriage. Unfortunately she had miscarried three months into her pregnancy, but they had been positive, sure that it would be possible soon under the expertise of Anaman.
    But lately Rupert has been sensing that there is a change in her, an awkwardness, almost like a coldness, a growing barrier that for almost a year has been getting higher and bigger.
    It is beginning to frighten him because he loves her so much.
    RUPERT
    I’m on my way, honey.
    She opens her eyes and looks at him. She does not smile. She just sighs.
    BARBARA
    Alright, honey. Taken your breakfast yet?
    RUPERT
    Yeah. Housekeeper fixed me something. Would you be passing through the hospital today?
    She turns on her side and raises an eyebrow.
    BARBARA
    Why?
    Rupert frowns.
    RUPERT
    You have an appointment with Gabby today, remember?
    BARBARA
    Oh, yes, yes. Almost forgot. Sure, I’ll pass through then, yeah.
    RUPERT
    Good.
    He leaves the bedroom, and Barbara sighs miserably. She turns on her back and closes her eyes tightly.
    The door opens suddenly and she sits up, and sees her husband is back in the room, looking at her with his sad eyes, the expression that said he is hurt.
    The expression that she has come to see a little bit more often nowadays, and which is beginning to haunt her.
    BARBARA
    Honey? Forgot something?
    RUPERT
    Not me. You forgot something. Found a toll ticket in the garage, next to your car, for the Kasoa Toll Booth. Didn’t know you went to Kasoa yesterday.
    Barbara’s heart skips a terrible beat. Her face flushes a terrible red, and she is sure her guilt must be written all over her face.
    How stupid of her!
    BARBARA
    I … yeah, I wanted to clear my head. Drove around a bit… you know, just to drive this feeling of doom away.
    RUPERT
    Doom? And you drove to KASOA to clear the doom? Would there be another ticket in your car to show when you returned? D--n, Barbs, you told me you went to the Embassy to work!
    BARBARA
    (tears in her eyes)
    Honey, jeez, what’re you insinuating? I’m not hiding anything from you. There’s a perfectly simple explanation to-
    RUPERT
    (shaking his head)
    I’m sure there is, honey, I’m sure there is!
    He turns and leaves her.
    Barbara is too stunned to move for a moment. Her fear is spiralling out of control as it dawns on her that her husband is on to her affair with Steve Hollison.
    She had started the affair with Steve just over a year ago, purely by accident.
    She had freshly miscarried, and she was so very lost. She had been close to Steve because he is the Chief Executive Administrator of Eden Hospital.
    He had also been having trouble over Effe’s inability to have kids. They had been at a staff party when an emergency had arisen.
    Effe and Rupert had left, and Steve had offered to drive her home.
    They had both been drunk at the party. He had touched her thighs on the way home, and then it had started raining, and before they knew what was happening they were in the back seat of his car making love.
    Then they had begun their meetings at the LOVE BED HOTEL.
    It is not that she loves Steve, or that she does not love Rupert.
    She loves her husband very much. Steve is just fun, a way out of her stress, a different body to hold.
    She has been feeling guilty of late, especially since that sad look began creeping into her husband’s eyes.
    She always drives to Kasoa, parks her car, and sits in Steve’s car to the hotel.
    Afterwards he drops her at the Mall where they part ways.
    And now a silly mistake, a toll ticket not thrown away, not disposed of, and suddenly she sees acute pain in the eyes of her husband.
    Barbara scrambles off the bed and rushes out of the bedroom.
    She almost crashes into her stunned housekeeper on her way to the front door.
    BARBARA
    Rupe! Rupe! Please wait, honey!
    The gates are closed and the security guard is already inside his booth again.
    Barbara pauses, and rushes back into the bedroom.
    She picks her phone and calls him. It rings, and rings, but he does not pick.
    She sits still, her panic steadily climbing. Rupert had been in the dark about her affair with Steve, the first adulterous relationship she had had in her marriage.
    She had not known how much she loved her husband, but now that Rupert’s trust in her has taken a dent she realizes just how much he means to her.
    She knows she has to be near him. She has to bring him round. To ignore his sudden festering suspicion will make everything end in disaster.
    She gets up to go to the bathroom. She is going to the hospital to see him.
    But first there is something she must do.
    She picks her phone and sends a message to Steve.
    I’M SORRY.
    CAN’T BE WITH YOU ANYMORE.
    NOW THAT YOU HAVE ELAINE, AND A CHILD ON THE WAY, I BELIEVE YOU CAN LIVE WITHOUT ME.
    I WANT TO GIVE MY MARRIAGE A CHANCE.
    PLEASE DON’T TRY TO CONTACT ME. IT’S BETTER THIS WAY.
    THANK YOU. GOODBYE.
    She waits until the message checks as sent, and then she deletes it from her sent folder.
    She is in the bathroom when she hears her phone ringing. It rings several times.
    When she comes back to the bedroom she checks and sees it is Steve. She sighs and starts to dress up.
    He calls again, and she picks the call.
    BARBARA
    Steve. I’m sorry, but it’s over, really.
    STEVE
    (voice raised)
    What bullshit is that, Barbs? Over the phone? A message? Is that how you do it?
    BARBARA
    Rupe found a toll booth ticket in my car. Moreover, this thing has been haunting me. I pretended I didn’t care, but seeing Effe all cut up because of your betrayal has been getting me really guilty, because she’s a good woman. And now this. Rupe is a good man, Steve. We better stop this before something really nasty happens!
    STEVE
    Hell Barbs!, not now! I really need you now, baby! This issue with Elaine is really eating me up, baby! I need you now more than ever! Please, baby girl! Let’s meet and sort this out. Let’s talk about this, please.
    BARBARA
    I don’t really care, Steve. It was fun with you. We both agreed no strings attached. We had fun, baby boy. It’s now time to move on. I can’t risk losing Rupe. I still love him, Steve. I’m sorry, but it’s over.
    She cuts the call, and does not answer when he keeps calling back.
    When she has finished dressing up she goes out to look for her husband.

    Episode 19

    Continues..
    NINETEEN DAYS
    Chris drives Effe to the Ameyaw-Eden Clinic.
    She asks him to pick her up in five hours, and then he leaves.
    She operates on three patients. The first two were comparatively easy, involving a tumour removal and moulding two titanium legs for a millionaire who had lost both legs in a motor accident.
    The third was a highly complex separation of Siamese twins who shared a common stomach.
    It had been very difficult and had stretched past eight hours, so that by the time she finished Chris had been waiting for three hours.
    Mrs. Ivy Kedem, knowing her daughter usually does not eat when she has surgeries scheduled, decides to take some lunch to her.
    She had been with her husband at the bank to transfer a part of the loan money from Eden Investments to one of their partners in Thailand.
    Afterwards they had shared a lovely meal, and returned to the office with new hope. After work Mr. Kedem decided to go home for the day whilst Ivy drove to the clinic to give her daughter some food before going home.
    She is told Doctor Effe Kedem is still in the theatre. The kind receptionist says she does not know when she will be done, but she can take the food and keep it for her.
    MADAM IVY
    (pursing her lips)
    You believe she would be there for a long time?
    FRONT DESK RECEPTIONIST
    (smiling kindly)
    I wouldn’t be in a position to know, Madam. She was supposed to have finished three hours ago, so I don’t know for how long she would be there.
    MADAM IVY
    Hm. Maybe I’ll wait for a while.
    FRONT DESK RECEPTIONIST
    Alright, Madam. Kindly have a seat. I’ll be finding out the Doctor’s status from time to time and let you know when you could see her.
    Madam Ivy thanks the receptionist, turns and heads for the comfortable chairs, and that is when she sees Chris sitting at the back row fiddling with his phone.
    There are quite a number of people in the reception area.
    An instant look of deep anger and hatred crosses Madam Ivy’s face.
    She moves past all the seats until she is standing close to Chris, who looks up at her and looks into her cold eyes without saying anything.
    MADAM IVY
    Well, well, well. Look what the cat dragged in. A d--n womanizer. Get up, Mr. Bawa, and come with me. I want a word with you, but not here.
    Chris Bawa carefully puts the phone down on the seat beside him.
    He looks at the furious woman standing above him with an expressionless face.
    CHRIS
    Good Lord, Ivy-
    MADAM IVY
    (cutting in angrily, explosively)
    MRS. KEDEM to you!
    Chris holds up his hands in a submissive manner.
    CHRIS
    Yes, yes, you’re right. I’m sorry, Mrs. Ivy Kedem. I’m not going anywhere with you. Whatever you have to say to me, say it right here!
    Madam Ivy leans down so that her furious face is just inches from Chris’ face.
    MADAM IVY
    You know d--n well what I’m going to say to you can’t be said here! You either go outside with me, now, or you tell me where to meet you so that we can talk about this d--n thing you’re doing!
    CHRIS
    (face still cool)
    What am I doing, Mrs. Kedem? Why do you hate me so much? What in the name of God have I done to you?
    MADAM IVY
    I know who you are, boy. I know what you are too! A cheap fraud, an opportunist, a slimy dirty worm who thinks he can squirm his way into my daughter’s heart! I know your type, Mr. Chris Bawa, and believe me, I’m not going to stand and watch you turn my daughter’s life into a nightmare.
    Madam Ivy cannot hide her deep emotional turmoil, and her voice carries to the ears of the people sitting nearby, and they look at her with curiousity.
    CHRIS
    You’re making a scene, Mrs. Kedem!
    MADAM IVY
    (her fury spiralling almost out of control)
    Do I look like I give two hoots about who’s looking at me? Jesus, Chris, why Effe? Why do you want to take her for a ride? Is it for the money, is it to show that a lowdown turd like you can get into the panties of a sophisticated girl? Is it to prove to yourself that a poor miserable wretch like you can have any woman you want?
    Chris looks at her straight in the eyes and smiles sadly.
    CHRIS
    You have a lot of hate bottled up inside you, I can see. It’s not good to keep things bottled up. You should know better.
    Madam Ivy slaps him so hard that even the onlookers gasp.
    The whole reception area becomes cemetery silent. Madam Ivy is trembling with fury. It is evident she is very close to becoming very violent.
    MADAM IVY
    Don’t you dare tell me about hate, Chris Bawa. You don’t know what real hate is, you b-----d! I am not going to allow you to destroy my baby girl.
    Chris still looks at her. The look on his handsome face is almost traumatized for a moment, and then he speaks very softly.
    CHRIS
    I have fallen in love with your daughter, Mrs-
    Again Madam Ivy slaps him, this time harder and nastier, leaving terrible welts across Chris’ left cheek.
    The receptionist leaves her desk and approaches, her face is full of panic.
    FRONT DESK RECEPTIONIST
    Please, madam, you can’t assault a visitor like that, please! If you don’t stop it I’ll have to call security!
    Chris looks at the receptionist with sad eyes.
    CHRIS
    It’s okay, lady. It’s okay.
    FRONT DESK RECEPTIONIST
    Are you okay, sir?
    Chris nods and smiles at her reassuringly. The receptionist gives Madam Ivy a baleful, scornful look, and then she goes back reluctantly to her desk.
    Chris looks at the fuming Madam Ivy. Her fists are balled tightly, and she is breathing hard, as if fighting to remain calm.
    CHRIS
    (his voice now menacing)
    That is enough, Mrs. Kedem. If you hit me again, I promise you it would be a mistake.
    MADAM IVY
    (hissing at him)
    What, you will hit me too? Are you going to assault me like you did Jonathan Afful?
    Chris shakes his head.
    CHRIS
    No. That’s the last thing I’ll ever do. I don’t hit women. But if you do it again I’ll tell Effe, and I’ll tell your husband. Like I said, I’ve fallen head over heels in love with your daughter. I didn’t want it to happen, and I don’t know when or how it happened. I’ve not even told her. She’s hurting badly, and I want her to heal completely, and be sure of what she wants. If it turns out that she can be able to love me back, Mrs. Kedem, then I’ll devote my life to her, and I’ll respect you as a mother-in-law. If she loves me back, and wants me, then I’ll love her with all my heart, and you can’t stop me.
    Madam Ivy draws very near to Chris. She pushes her face almost into his, and when she speaks it is with deep hatred and pent-up fury.
    MADAM IVY
    Over my dead body, Chris Bawa. Even if she loves you, even if she wants you, I’ll make d--n sure that you never have my Effe. I know your type, and I know you’re as filthy as you’re despicable. You’ll never have Effe. Do you hear me, Chris Bawa? NEVER!!
    She turns round in uncontrolled fury.
    Everybody is watching her. She strides to the desk and slams down the pack of food on the desk.
    FRONT DESK RECEPTIONIST
    Are you leaving now?
    MADAM IVY
    Give that to my daughter!
    She pushes the glass doors open violently and goes outside.
    All the people now turn their gaze on Chris. He nods, and then he picks his phone again. Those nearest to him see that his hands are shaking.
    A few moments later he stands up and shoves the phone into his pocket, and just then Effe comes out through a door.
    Their eyes meet.
    She looks very shaken. She walks towards him, but a moment later the door behind her opens again and Dr. Ameyaw emerges with an elderly couple.
    The doctor calls Effe’s name, and she stops and turns. Dr. Ameyaw hugs her, and then the elderly couple also hug her.
    The elderly woman seems to be thanking Effe profusely, but Effe only nods.
    Effe then begins to walk again, but when Dr. Ameyaw calls her again she does not stop this time. When she reaches the desk the receptionist stops her and talks to her, obviously telling her about her mother.
    She extends the food package, but Effe shakes her head, and turns away from the reception.
    She folds her arms across her chest and walks towards Chris. He waits for her, and she stops in front of him.
    He sees her eyes are large, filled with unshed tears.
    She looks like a little lost girl, and the love he feels for her explodes through his heart and unto his face.
    EFFE
    Hi.
    CHRIS
    Hello, Precious.
    EFFE
    Heard my Mama came earlier with some food.
    CHRIS
    Yeah. You rejected it.
    EFFE
    Not hungry. Did she see you? Was she nasty again?
    Chris shakes his head and smiles.
    CHRIS
    Nah. She was a mother. She was being a real, loving mother. She just told me just how much she loves you.
    She nods, tries to speak, and then her whole body begins to shake uncontrollably and tears suddenly burst out of her eyes.
    EFFE
    (through her tears)
    Oh, Chris! I lost him! I lost him!
    Chris reaches for her, her pain cutting him badly. He takes her into his arms.
    CHRIS
    (tenderly)
    Hey, hey, Doc. Take it easy! Take it easy! You lost who, Steve?
    She can’t stop crying, holding tightly on to him.
    EFFE
    No, silly! One of the Siamese twins! I could only save one!
    He does not understand what she’s talking about, but he holds her tightly as she weeps.
    CHRIS
    It’s okay, Precious!
    EFFE
    No! No! I tried so hard to save both of them. They were joined at the stomach but the other one was small, so under-developed! Their parents don’t have any children! She got pregnant at forty-five years! When I separated them the frail one died! It was as if that little tot sacrificed his life so that his brother could live. I tried, Chris! I tried so hard!
    CHRIS
    (tenderly, lovingly)
    Hush, hush, my love, my Precious! You did more than your best, because you’re the best. Any other Doctor would’ve lost both. Is that their parents behind you? They’re so happy. Don’t blame yourself so much, Precious. I’m sure they are very grateful to you. At least they have one son to adore.
    She clings to him and cries bitterly with a breaking heart. Chris holds her and smooths her hair.
    He feels so helpless. He wishes there is something he can do for her, to help her, to take her pain away.
    A man’s name is called out. He stands up. He has been sitting beside Chris. He pauses and whispers to Chris.
    STRANGE MAN
    Is this Doctor the reason why the woman dey tow tow your ears like that?
    Chris smiles and nods.
    STRANGE MAN
    Charley! She be fine rough! Make you no lef am!
    Chris smiles again and nods. The man winks and moves on.
    Effe lifts a tear-streaked face to him.
    EFFE
    Who was that man?
    Chris shrugs and wipes her tears away with a thumb, but more tears drip down.
    CHRIS
    A friend I just made. He was saying goodbye.
    EFFE
    Takeme away from her, Chris.
    CHRIS
    You wanna go home?
    Effe shakes her head.
    EFFE
    No. Not home.
    CHRIS
    (softly)
    Where do you want to go, Precious?
    EFFE
    I don’t know. Just take me somewhere, anywhere I can be alone with you for a while, Chris.
    He looks searchingly into her eyes. He has never seen a more beautiful woman in his life.
    Without a word, he scoops her into his arms and carries her outside.
    He opens the door of his taxi, and she sits down. He closes the door, goes round it, and gets into the driver’s seat.
    A moment later he drives away.
    He didn’t notice Madam Ivy still in her car which is parked a few meters away from where Chris’ car had been.
    She is gripping the steering-wheel so tightly that her knuckles stand out almost white.
    MADAM IVY
    You’re going to pay, Chris Bawa! I’m going to make you suffer for this, you b-----d!!

    Episode 20

    Continues..
    TWENTY DAYS
    Effe’s gloom persists as they drive along. She sits huddled in her seat, slipping in and out of dozes as Chris drives.
    She is a good surgeon, and always delivers more than her best efforts when she dons surgical gear and picks up surgical instruments.
    She is a professional who knows that sometimes some battles in the theatre just can’t be won, and she is strong enough to move on when the unfortunate happens.
    But the other day she has experienced a vulnerability she has never experienced before.
    The Siamese twins had been having it tough. There had been no hope of their survival.
    Seeing their innocent pretty faces, she had been touched somewhere deep in her heart.
    The other baby will be fine, but she had lost the other one. Try as hard as she could, she hadn’t been able to save the tot.
    Maybe it is a mixture of the strong emotions she has been experiencing these past days, and the fact that she is also in desperate need of a child.
    She had spent a wonderful evening with Chris at a recreational garden, and he had later dropped her off at home, but she had not been able to sleep.
    She knew, as the night approached, that she was too restless to be alone, and so she had called him again, and he had come to take her out.
    She had not asked where they were going. He always surprised her, and she loved it.
    She begins to doze again and suddenly the car comes to a stop.
    CHRIS
    Asleep?
    EFFE
    Hm. Almost.
    CHRIS
    Good. We’re here.
    She sits up slowly.
    EFFE
    Your place?
    CHRIS
    No.
    She looks round. It is quite dark. She looks at the time on the dashboard of the car. It is approaching 10.00 p.m.
    She does not recognize where they are. There is an arch-like structure in front of her, and it is the entrance into a place which is fenced by walls so high she is startled.
    It reminds her of prison walls, although this wall is covered with the most beautiful stone designs she has ever seen.
    There is a sign on each side of the arch that says:
    TAXIS AND COMMERCIAL VEHICLES NOT ALLOWED.
    EFFE
    Chris? Where are we?
    He smiles.
    CHRIS
    WaterWorld.
    EFFE
    (with a chuckle)
    What?
    CHRIS
    Come with me and see.
    He is parked at a marked parking space in front of the building. He gets out, comes round the car, and opens the door for her.
    She gets up and stretches, and then sees the beautiful neon-lit sign at the top of the arch:
    WATERWORLD
    EXPERIENCE A SLICE OF PARADISE
    YOU ARE WELCOME
    EFFE
    (in an awed voice)
    What is this place?
    Steve locks the car doors with the remote. He walks with her to the entrance of the arch.
    The doors are glass, but there is a Security Post at the entrance. A large security man appears from the booth and faces them.
    SECURITY GUARD
    Hello, welcome to WaterWorld.
    CHRIS
    Thank you, Boss. May we go in?
    The man’s smile vanishes and he looks grim suddenly.
    SECURITY GUARD
    May I see your membership card, please?
    Chris looks at Effe and smiles sheepishly.
    CHRIS
    I don’t have a membership card. Mr. Bernard Kutin told me I could come here anytime and spend some hours here.
    The security guard begins to shake his head.
    SECURITY GUARD
    Mr. Kutin? The owner?
    CHRIS
    Yes.
    Effe is beginning to feel a little bit uncomfortable.
    EFFE
    What’s this place, Chris? And who’s this Mr. Kutin? Another man whose wife you know?
    CHRIS
    I know him and his wife. I’ve been buying kelewele and hausa kooko for his wife when she was pregnant. I had to drive to Odorkor almost every evening to buy his wife hausa kooko and kelewele. Mr. Kutin told me I could come here anytime.
    SECURITY GUARD
    But that is not done, Sir! You need a Membership Card to enter. It is for members only.
    CHRIS
    Mr. Kutin told me I could come here anytime. Call him and ask him.
    Effe takes Chris’ arm and laughs.
    EFFE
    Let’s get out of here, Chris. You should’ve called this Kutin ahead of time. Now it seems we’re embarrassing ourselves.
    Suddenly a car approaches the entrance. It is a very beautiful and sleek Mercedes Benz. Chris and Effe step to one side.
    The car stops and the window rolls down. The man inside is dressed in an expensive-looking black suit and white shirt with a matching black tie. He is thin and has a shock of iron-grey hair.
    SECURITY GUARD
    Aha, Mr. Katoto, you can help us out here. This gentleman says he’s a friend of Mr. Kutin. He’s here without a membership card.
    The man glances at Chris, takes in his T-Shirt and jeans with disdain and flicks his wrist to look at his watch.
    MR. KATOTO
    Hello. I’m Annor Katoto, General Manager of WaterWorld. I’m afraid you need a membership card to enter WaterWorld. And it is very expensive.
    Chris throws up his hands in exasperation.
    CHRIS
    But Mr. Kutin said I could come any time. Call him and ask him!
    EFFE
    Chris, please, stop making a scene! Let’s go to your place, or take me home, please.
    MR. KATOTO
    Listen, young man, even if what you say is true, Mr. Kutin is out of town. He’s in Paris as we speak. Now, if we had even been able to call him, he would’ve directed us to give you a place at the Economy Tower. All the Economy Towers and the Regular Towers are booked. What is left is the Premier Towers and the Executive Towers.
    CHRIS
    So why can’t we have the Premier Towers?
    The security guard laughs. Effe is now getting very embarrassed. She grips Chris’ arm hard.
    EFFE
    Chris, please! Let’s get out of here.
    MR. KATOTO
    Young man, the Premier Towers are a thousand five hundred cedis a night. If you can come another time, maybe.
    CHRIS
    Why don’t you just call Mr. Kutin?
    EFFE
    Chris!
    MR. KATOTO
    (his voice now harsh, angry and filled with disdain)
    Why don’t YOU call him, young man?
    Chris shrugs.
    CHRIS
    Okay, fine, I will. I didn’t store his number. It’s on the card, I guess.
    He takes out his wallet, opens it, flips some compartments, and then he retrieves a very beautiful gold-laminated card.
    At the sight of the card the security man gasps, and Mr. Katoto’s face is suddenly filled with panic.
    He gets out of his Mercedes quickly and takes the card from Chris.
    MR. KATOTO
    (voice now gentle and a bit unsteady)
    Why didn’t you say he gave you a Gold Pass? Please, did you bring any luggage, Mister….?
    CHRIS
    Chris. Chris Bawa.
    MR. KATOTO
    Sorry, sorry! I’m extremely sorry. Open the gates, Mr. Danso!
    SECURITY GUARD
    Yes, sir!
    The security man presses a button, and the big bar across the entrance lifts up, and the huge glass gates slide open.
    Mr. Katoto opens the back seat of his Mercedes.
    MR. KATOTO
    Please, do sit down. Did you bring any luggage?
    CHRIS
    No.
    Effe and Chris slide into the back of the sleek Mercedes.
    Mr. Katoto climbs in behind the wheel, and drives through the entrance.
    Effe looks at Chris for a long time, and when he looks at her she smiles, and doesn’t bother to hide her profound admiration.
    She has never been this impressed with any man in her life. He is looking at her with a goofy expression on his face, and she smiles with her heart on her face, and reaches out to grasp his hand.
    The car rounds a bend, and she gasps at the sheer beauty she sees.
    It looks like a scene straight out of a fantasy.
    There are administration buildings, well-demarcated car parks, breath-taking gardens and scenery.
    What blows her mind are the buildings on the water.
    It is a rather large expanse of water, maybe a man-made lake.
    The buildings are mostly made with glass, and they are standing right on top of the water on metallic stilts.
    The lake is well-lit with romantic colours. The buildings are not too tall, but they are demarcated by beautiful fantasy figures that rise from the lake.
    EFFE
    (with amazement)
    My Lord! Are you sure we’re in Ghana? This is the most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen!
    CHRIS
    (smiling a pompous smile)
    Are you glad we came here?
    She looks up at him and raises a hand and touches his face tenderly.
    EFFE
    You’re a very bad boy, Chris Bawa! I love it!
    Mr. Katoto drives on a well-lit street along the waterfront, then goes in a curve to another waterfront and then he stops.
    He opens his door.
    MR. KATOTO
    Please, come with me.
    They also get out.
    Effe sees that there are lighted glass booths along the bank of the lake, and little canoes fitted with outboard motors.
    A smartly-dressed young man emerges from one of the booths.
    EFFE
    Waow. I love this place!
    Mr. Katoto addresses the young man.
    MR. KATOTO
    Attah, kindly take our guests to Executive Tower Four.
    Kindly like our page:
    http://www.facebook.com/howtobakeit
    ATTAH
    Yes, sir, Mr. Katoto!
    The General Manager turns to them and smiles sheepishly.
    MR. KATOTO
    (in a humbled voice)
    You can stay for as long as you want, please. You should’ve told me you had a personal gold card from Mr. Kutin. I’m sure you wouldn’t tell Mr. Kutin that we gave you a bad reception.
    CHRIS
    Well, I for one-
    Effe clamps a hand on Chris’ mouth and smiles as she addresses Mr. Katoto.
    EFFE
    You did what a good manager should do, Mr. Katoto. And we’re most pleased with your help. We would let Mr. Kutin know what a great assistance you gave us.
    MR. KATOTO
    Thank you, thank you, Madam. Have a great stay. Let me know if you need anything. Perhaps you would care for something to nibble on? I recommend our special chicken, beef and lamb nibs.
    EFFE
    Hmm, my mouth is watering already. We would appreciate that very much, thank you!
    Mr. Katoto beams with satisfaction, shakes their hands, gives the gold card back to Chris, and then helps them get into one of the canoes.
    Attah starts the engine and drives them across to a secluded C-shaped building on the lake.
    When Effe enters, she is knocked for six at the amazing luxurious interior. It is the most beautiful room she has ever entered.
    CHRIS
    Wow. This is beautiful!
    The curtains are classic venetian blinds, the carpet ankle deep and oriental. The L-shaped seats are of the highest quality leather. The whole decor, complete with a mini-bar, is absolutely classic.
    There is a dining area, a relaxation area that opens unto a porch over the lake, and a small study replete with shiny oak desk, chair, drawers and other office accoutrements.
    An ornate oak door opens into an exquisite bedroom, and the bed itself is from a fantasy.
    Designed from an artist’s best dreams, it is round shaped, draped with the softest spreads, and adorned by a breath-taking spectral lace that flows from the four banisters around the bed.
    The lights, embedded in the ceiling and from splendid chandeliers in the corners, cast a romantic glow on everything.
    The whole right side of the bedroom is glass, giving an amazing view of the lake and its spectacular lights.
    At the foot of the bed is a wall-sized mirror.
    Effe’s mouth is wide open as she heads to the bathroom and sees the full Jacuzzi and the water closet that looks like a miniature bed.
    She goes back with bated breath to the glass wall, and looks at the lake.
    She has never seen anything so beautiful.
    The bedroom door opens and she turns slowly. He’s standing in the doorway. Their eyes meet, and in that moment they know a magic web has been formed, a web of love that is almost going to be impossible to break.
    EFFE
    (softly)
    I love it here.
    CHRIS
    (with a smile)
    It is beautiful, isn’t it?
    She nods.
    EFFE
    Have you been here before? I mean have you brought another woman here, before, ever?
    CHRIS
    No. Precious. Mr. Katoto would’ve recognized me, wouldn’t he?
    EFFE
    (softly)
    I guess.
    There is an awkward tension between them, a strong awareness and charged atmosphere that is almost impossible to bear.
    CHRIS
    Oh. They brought Meat Nibs. Would care to eat now?
    She stares at him without speaking for a moment. And then she shakes herself out of her reverie and speaks softly.
    EFFE
    Come and look at this view.
    She turns back to the scene. She feels him behind her. His hands touch her waist first, and she shivers, her breath short.
    She moves back slowly into him, and his arms go around her, strong, sure, comforting.
    Effe closes her eyes and drops her hands to hold his arms. He draws her closer, and she arches her neck back to accept his descending lips, and her eyes are closed.
    It is a magical moment in a magical room. She couldn’t have wished for a better place to be kissed.
    His lips traces a hot trail down her throat, her earlobes, her shoulder…
    She could feel him trembling slightly.
    For a moment his arms slacken around her and he tries to pull back, but she turns fully into his arms and drapes her arms around his neck, pulling his head down, kissing him hungrily.
    He pulls back.
    CHRIS
    (whispering)
    Effe!
    EFFE
    (breathless, almost crying)
    Don’t speak, Chris!
    CHRIS
    (whispering, urgently)
    Effe, my Precious, my love, my breath… Are you sure? Please, are you-
    EFFE
    Yes, Chris, oh yes…
    He crushes her to him. His mouth bruises hers as he loses all restraints, all inhibitions.
    She meets his fervour with a hunger of her own, her hands sweeping his T-Shirt up, her hands roving his hairy and taut belly.
    She feels his lips on her throat, his hand coming up, loving her b-----s, sweetening her n-----s. Blindly he reaches out and unties the sash of the curtain hooks, making the curtains fall over the glass, covering the glass wall.
    Effe steps from him. She has never felt such unrestrained, base hunger. She unzips her skirt and steps out of it.
    She is not shy, she feels liberated, loved, needed.
    He comes for her as his jeans come off.
    They fall on the bed with fervour, helping each other to undress.
    They both marvel at the depths of the power taking over them. He sits back on his haunches as he looks at her, and on his face is a love and adoration so deep it warms its way straight to her heart.
    Her eyes trail him, and rests on his hardness.
    CHRIS
    (in a hoarse whisper)
    Oh, Effe! You’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen! I love you, Precious, I love you with every breath in me!
    She holds out her arms to him. Her heart is too full of emotions for words.
    Only the tears that creep down the sides of her face tell the story of her heart… and they are not tears of pain this time.
    She knows, as he draws closer to her, that this is it. This is the cut they all talk about. This is love, as it should be.
    Unselfish, beautiful, eternal love.
    She has been able to get over the jaws of pain Steve has given her, but she knows – as his hands expertly roves over her body, revealing spots she has never known existed, waking up pleasure zones she has never experienced – that if this man hurts her there will be no recovery.
    They give each other as they haven’t given before. They are so engrossed, so fitted, so aligned, so fused in each other that it feels almost spiritual.
    She draws him tighter, and he grabs her almost as if he wants to merge their bodies into one.
    And then she begins to tremble, and he trembles with her, and she cries out, and he cries with her, and then he screams, and she can’t scream because she can’t stand the power of the volcano that is threatening to demolish them.
    None of them has known such force, such total magic, the indescribable pleasure of a mutual o----m.
    They scream now in the throes of mutual ecstasy, breathing harshly on the crescent of the love wave.
    They lay panting, unable to speak for a long time, arms still holding each other, limbs still intertwined as if letting go will take a special kind of magic away.
    Neither speak though… in a couple of minutes they are both sleeping as deeply as any human can sleep.
    And some time after, deep in the night, she wakes up, and reaches for him again.
    And later he reaches for her again.
    And again she reaches for him later.
    And again…

    Episode 21

    Continues..
    TWENTY-ONE DAYS
    Chris wakes up and lies on his back. He is quite spent, and he is luxuriously tired.
    His heart is joyfully happy.
    He remembers them having the sweetest breakfast he has ever tasted, courtesy of Mr. Katoto.
    He remembers them starting kissing in the living-area, getting naked in the doorway of the bedroom, and ending up making love, yet again, on the bed.
    He rolls on his side and reaches for her, but her side of the bed is empty.
    Suddenly Chris is alarmed. His eyes fly open and he bolts up in bed, but then he sees her.
    She is fully-dressed, and she is standing by the huge glass wall that gives a perfect view of the lake.
    She is leaning her left shoulder against the glass, her arms crossed under her b-----s, but she is not watching the view.
    She is watching him, and her face is so serious and thoughtful that for a moment he feels a pang of fear.
    CHRIS
    Precious?
    She smiles, a very sad smile that fails to light up her beautiful face as usual.
    EFFE
    Can we go now?
    Something in her voice scares him. He looks at her critically, trying to remember if he had done something wrong to make her angry.
    CHRIS
    (in a concerned voice)
    What’s wrong, Princess? Have I angered you?
    EFFE (almost crying)
    Can we go, Chris, please?
    He is confused, obviously beginning to panic. He pushes the luxurious bedspreads away and stands up. He begins to walk towards her.
    CHRIS
    Effe-
    EFFE
    Put on your clothes, Chris.
    CHRIS
    Hey, Precious, what’s-
    EFFE
    (almost screaming)
    Just put on your clothes, Chris! Pleeease!
    He stops, and he is now very panicked indeed. He holds up his hands and walks around the room, picking up his clothes.
    He enters the bathroom, closes the door, and drops his clothes on the floor. He stares at the door with absolute confusion.
    He turns on the shower and takes a cold bath. He dresses slowly, and then he goes back to the bedroom.
    She is not there.
    He rushes to the living area and finds her standing beside the door.
    They look at each other. She looks absolutely miserable, and it cuts deeply into his heart.
    EFFE
    Can you call Mr. Katoto? I want to leave now, please.
    Chris walks forward and stands a few paces from her.
    CHRIS
    You’re not being fair to me, Effe. We came here last night, I discovered love, real love, and what you’re doing now is killing me, breaking my heart. I can’t hold you if you want to leave, but you should let me know why you’re like this? After what we have shared, why this? Why’re you killing me? Did I do something to hurt you?
    She looks at him with strange eyes that are filled with unshed tears. She raises a trembling hand to her trembling lips.
    EFFE
    You haven’t done anything wrong, Chris. It’s me. I hate the woman I have become, I met you just three weeks ago, and in that time I’ve lost my husband to my cousin. I’m supposed to be hurting, to be getting over him? And yet what happens? I make love to you all through the night! I dated my husband for many years! I went to his bed a virgin! And now just twenty-one days after meeting you all my principles are gone, all my discipline is gone! I made love to you over and over again! It’s not right, Chris! It’s not right!
    He shakes his head with absolute incredulity.
    CHRIS
    Effe, Precious! Lord, my love for you doesn’t know time, or principles, or discipline! It doesn’t feel like I’ve known you for just three weeks! It feels like I’ve known you forever! I’ve changed my life, my ways, and everything for you! I don’t know what happened, or how it happened, but I’m living loving you! I can’t even bear the thought of being without you, Effe!
    She looks him straight in the eye, still unfriendly, still worried.
    EFFE
    That’s the point, Chris! I really don’t know you! All I know is that you grew up in an orphanage. I don’t know anything more! I don’t know your friends, your family, your life-
    CHRIS
    (shouting with sudden pain)
    I don’t have friends! I don’t have a family! I didn’t have a life until you came into my life! I’ve been alone all my life, Effe!
    EFFE
    (shaking her head sadly)
    If you disappear right now, Chris, how would I find you? Things don’t add up, Chris! Who really are you? A taxi driver? Some poor orphan who can get my father his capital loan with just a phone call because he knows someone? A taxi driver who can get access to the most expensive private suites and even holds a magical golden card that gets him this …. this beautiful place?
    CHRIS
    Yes, Effe, yes! I know people, who like me, what’s so bad about that? Where’s this going? Have you regretted making love to me, a mere taxi driver?
    EFFE
    (screaming now)
    Oh please, stop that, Chris! Don’t you dare go there! You know me better than that! You know that has nothing to do with it! I loved the way you made love to me! I couldn’t get enough of it! I see you and all I want is to get you naked and make love to you! You did things to my body, touched and loved me in ways I’ve never experienced before! You gave me more orgasms in one night than I’ve had my entire married life! Who the hell are you, Chris? No ordinary man can make love like that! You’ve had a lot of experience, haven’t you?
    CHRIS
    You’re angry because you enjoyed the way I made love to you? Is that it? My God! That’s a first! You’re the only woman who hates the guy that gives her the greatest lovemaking!
    EFFE
    (coldly)
    Because you know just what to touch, what to do to make me crazy in bed! Because you have been with a lot of women!
    CHRIS
    (almost weeping)
    Effe, why are you doing this to me? I told you I had to satisfy a lot of women when that d--n woman Sweet Ama Baby turned me into a d--n male prostitute. I had to do it to survive. If I didn’t do it the orphans were punished, Janet was also punished!
    EFFE
    (almost scornfully)
    Oh, yes, your sweet love Janet, of course!
    CHRIS
    I was seduced, Effe. I never enjoyed making love to those women. I hated it. No boy is supposed to go through all that. When I fled from Sweet Ama Baby’s room I swore never to make love to another woman again. Love-making sickened me, because it reminded me of that awful period of my life. Yes, there have been some other women since, but I never really enjoyed my time with them. I felt dirty, used, unworthy of love. I never enjoyed love-making until last night and the first part of this morning. Yes, I wanted to please you, to make you happy in bed. It’s the first time I’ve been totally unselfish in love-making! And it is all because I love you so very much, Effe! Please don’t push me away!
    Tears fall down Effe’s cheeks unheeded. She looks at him and shakes her head slowly.
    EFFE
    I did things with you I’ve never done with any man, Chris. Even now, looking at you, all my body wants is to be naked in your arms. But I need time. I’m sorry, I need to know you, know all about you. I need to get to know you better, to love you better, if this is true love. I don’t want to be with you on a rebound. My heart is craving for you, but I have to know Chris Bawa, inside out. Being with you, I am convinced of one thing … if I should lose you, I’ll never be able to get over you. I need a little bit more time, Chris. I want to know that I’m not making a mistake again.
    Chris holds out his arms.
    CHRIS
    Oh Effe, my Precious Angel! Don’t do this! I have been so happy, the happiest in my life! You’re the love I’ve missed all my life! You’re the one! I just want to spend the rest of my life making you happy! Lord, I thought after we leave here I’m going to get the prettiest ring I can buy and propose to you, to make you my wife, to hold and cherish you forever! Don’t push me away, please. Let me love you, Precious.
    EFFE
    I’m really sorry, Chris. I really am! But this … this is a bit too much for me, too hurried! I need to know you!
    CHRIS
    There’s nothing to know, not more than what I told you! You want to visit the Orphanage I grew up in? I’ll take you there! You want to meet the women who seduced me? I can give you a list, but I never knew their real names or real identities! I don’t have a father, or a mother, an uncle, family! I have only you! You may be just another brilliant doctor in the world, but to me you’re the world! My world, Effe! I just wanna love you! Is that too much to ask?
    EFFE
    (crying now)
    I’m sorry, Chris. I’m really sorry. Please, give me time. More time. Let me get my emotions on the right path. Let me know I’m doing this because I love you.
    He tries to hold her, she moves back with a little sob. She opens the door and goes outside.
    Chris opens the door and follows her.
    When Mr. Katoto accompanies them to the taxi, she barely speaks, but shakes his hand and then she enters the taxi.
    She does not sit in front … she sits in the back.
    He drives, his brain and heart in a turmoil.
    Much later when they get to the Kedem Residence and he stops the car she opens the door and runs inside without a word to him.
    He stares after her, wounded, even after she disappears through the gates.
    He leans back in the seat, his heart pounding unbearably, solid pain suffusing his whole body.
    He can’t drive away. He sits there, expecting her to come out again and reassure him that everything is okay.
    The gates open, and Mrs. Ivy Kedem steps out.
    When he sees her he makes a U-turn and drive past her.
    She stares after him with murderous eyes filled with sheer hatred.
    He is very disturbed. His face is very pained, his heart beating with unbridled pain.
    And he is not surprised when he feels a wetness on his cheeks… and realized that he is crying.
    His heart, indeed, is breaking.

    Episode 22

    Continues..
    TWENTY-TWO DAYS
    Effe is driving her mother’s car.
    Sitting beside her is Eyram, who has a paediatrician appointment with Dr. Rupert Henderson.
    Eyram casts speculative glances at her sister. Like it has been the case for so many years, and is peculiar to twins, she can feel her sister’s inner pain and torment.
    Junior is strapped in his seat, comfortably attached in the backseat of the car.
    EYRAM
    Didn’t fail to notice you practically fled into the house yesterday morning, Ef. You were with Chris, right?
    Effe’s mind had been racing, and her sister’s voice brings her to the present.
    She shakes her head absentmindedly and looks briefly at her sister.
    EFFE
    Huh? What did you say?
    EYRAM
    Did Chris hurt you?
    EFFE
    (sighing)
    No. He didn’t.
    EYRAM
    Then why do you look more hurt than before? He’s a good man, Ef. Maybe poor, maybe beneath your class, but I don’t agree with Mom. I know you have a lot on your plate, but if you think there’s a chance to be happy with him, you better take it.
    Effe drives for a while without speaking. On her face is a mixture of worry and pain.
    EFFE
    I don’t judge a man by the size of his pocket, or mind, Rammy. You know that. Just that I don’t know where to put Chris, or how to handle him. You know, when I got out of his car yesterday, I had absolutely no intention of seeing him again. That was it …over, kaput, finished.
    EYRAM
    Why? I know you were with him the other night. Was he rough, unromantic, cruel? What possibly could’ve made you decide not to see him again?
    EFFE
    That’s the problem, Rammy. He wasn’t cruel, he wasn’t unkind. He didn’t even really want to make love to me. He wanted me to be sure, but that night I just wanted to do something different. I was tired of being the nice decent girl. The pain and bitterness Steve gave me played out, and I just wanted to be with Chris, to give myself fully for a few blissful moments, to immerse myself so deeply that I wouldn’t feel the pain in my heart. I knew I was beginning to have feelings for that man.
    She stops speaking to slow down at an intersection.
    EYRAM
    And?
    EFFE
    What?
    EYRAM
    C’mon, Ef!
    Effe smiles wanly.
    EFFE
    He made love to me like …like, I don’t know what to say, Rammy.
    EYRAM
    (smiling coyly)
    He hammered you good, eh?
    They both laugh so loudly that tears come to Effe’s eyes. She shakes her head and looks at her sister with mock severity.
    EFFE
    It was like nothing I’ve ever experienced, sis. And afterwards we did it so many times I practically lost count.
    EYRAM
    D--n! You? I don’t believe that! You? Miss Prim and Proper??? D--n, Chris must be good! Mind if I borrow him for a night?
    Effe laughs again.
    EFFE
    I couldn’t get enough. It’s the first time I kept having …you know …orgasms! I was ashamed, Rammy. Couldn’t believe what I was doing. I was insatiable! Me! The woman Steve always complains about, that I’m frigid! I didn’t even do half of the things I did with Chris on my wedding night!
    EYRAM
    (speaking softly)
    It scared you in the morning.
    They look at each other. Effe does not have to reply.
    They know each other so well that Eyram can practically feel what her sister might have felt.
    EFFE
    It did, Rammy. I was scared, I was confused, I was resentful. Because I still wanted more. I had lost absolute control. And I knew that I had to be careful. I practically know nothing about him. I met him just three weeks ago. THREE WEEKS! Can you believe that? And I knew he could really hurt me, more than any man could, more than what I felt with Steve. I wanted some time, to get myself sorted out, to get my heart to a safe haven.
    EYRAM
    And you told him that?
    Effe nods and sighs miserably.
    EFFE
    I wasn’t nice about it. I think I hurt him pretty badly, Rammy. But at that time I strongly believed I didn’t want him near me. I thought he was too bad, and I hated losing control of the situation. I just wanted to be away from him.
    Eyram nods understandably.
    EYRAM
    But now you miss him.
    Effe looks at her sister with sad eyes.
    EFFE
    I miss him. I miss him bad. I more than miss him, sis. I want to give it a try, and see what happens, but although I want to, I don’t want to sleep with him again, until whatever it is sorts itself out.
    Eyram lays a hand on her sister’s arm.
    EYRAM
    I know you, Ef. We’re linked tightly because we’re twins. I know for a fact that if you had not met Chris at the time you did, this issue with Steve and Elaine would’ve shattered you, maybe irreparably. I feel your inner excitement when you are with Chris. I see the inner glow he brings out in you. This is the kind of love every woman seeks, and which only a few lucky ones get. Don’t let it slip away. Pull this car over and call him now!
    Effe looks sad and unhappy. She swings through the beautiful golden gates of the Eden Hospital.
    EFFE
    I began calling him yesterday afternoon. His phone has been off. In the evening I went to the place he lives. His neighbours said he hasn’t been in the last two nights. I was very cruel to him, Rammy. And it seems I’ve driven him away.
    She parks the car. Eyram reaches out and hugs her sister.
    EYRAM
    He’ll be back, Ef. Love always finds a way back.
    Effe’s eyes are haunted, and sad, and deep in them lurks a certain tint of fear.
    EFFE
    What if I’ve driven him away, for good, Rammy? What if he goes away hating me for what I’ve done to him? He’s an orphan, sis, and he doesn’t have anywhere to go. If he fades out of my life I might not see him again, because he might erroneously think of me as one of the several women in his life who just wanted him for sexual gratification.
    Eyram smiles at her sister and buzzes her cheeks.
    EYRAM
    He’s sounding more and more like my type of man. Can I have him?
    They both laugh.
    EYRAM
    Listen, Ef, he doesn’t sound or look like a quitter. If he fades out of your life then he is not the man I think he is. If he loves you, for real, he wouldn’t let that small setback distract him. He’ll fight for you, because you’re a gem.
    Effe looks almost lost in her misery.
    EFFE
    I hope so. I pray so. I don’t want to live the rest of my life wondering if I let the greatest love of my life slip away because of my fear.
    The twin sisters get out of the car. Eyram picks her bag and Junior, and they make their way towards the hospital building.
    EDEN HOSPITAL
    DR. STEVE HOLLISON’S OFFICE
    Steve’s office door opens, and he looks up slowly.
    Jonathan Afful is standing in the doorway.
    Steve gasps with shock. He has never seen Jonathan looking like this, ever.
    The man’s eyes are bloodshot, and crimson, as if he has not sleep in a week.
    His suit is very dishevelled, as if he had slept in them.
    The inner white shirt is dirty, the collar stained with food oil. His tie is skewed, and his face spots a growth of unkempt hair.
    And to make matters worse he reeks strongly of stale beer.
    Steve gets up with a curse and approaches his friend.
    STEVE
    Good heavens, Jon! What the f**k happened to you? You look like s--t!
    Jonathan rubs a hand on his face and looks at Steve with tortured eyes.
    He ignores Steve’s outstretched hand and slumps into one of the chairs facing the gigantic oak desk.
    AFFUL
    Howdy, pal?
    Steve surveys his friend with incredulous eyes. Surely this cannot be the same suave, womanizer he had been with only a few days ago.
    STEVE
    What the f**k happenened to you, man?
    AFFUL
    (in an irritated voice)
    Are you going to sit down or you’re going to hover over me like a d--n mother hen?
    Steve hesitates for a moment. He is appalled at the drastic change in Afful.
    Apart from the fact that he looks absolutely wretched, there is an unpleasant smell around him, a scent of stale beer, and he appears to have lost some weight.
    Steve sits down and faces his friend, shaking his head.
    STEVE
    You look like s--t!
    AFFUL
    And you sound like a d--n broken record, my paddy …
    like a dumb f**king parrot! You look like s--t! D--n it, Stevo, you don’t have to continue to remind me! I know d--n well that I look like bloody s--t, motherfucker!
    Steve still stares at his friend with shock.
    STEVE
    What the hell happened to you man?
    Afful glares at his friend fiercely for a moment, and then he sighs heavily, leans back and speaks.
    His voice is low, weak, almost weepy …not at all like his usual exuberant arrogant voice, and once again this shocks Steve to the bone.
    AFFUL
    I’m suffering from surprise, man. Surprise, bro.
    STEVE
    Did you say surprise? You’re suffering from surprise?
    Afful gives a manic laugh that sounds like a cough, and leans forward.
    AFFUL
    Yeah, man! Sur-f-----g-prise! I married a woman, loved her, and somewhere along the line I forgot that I love her! Now, she’s out of my life, and surprise, surprise, I find myself experiencing a pain I never ever never never never ever expected! So I’m suffering from surprise …surprise that I really love Eyram to death, surprise that without her in my life I’m practically impotent, helpless and totally dejected! Surprise that I had her beside me all these years and never valued her, the mother of my son, and now I’m suffering from BIG SURPRISE because I need her back, but I can’t have her back because I messed up!
    Steve steeples his arms on the desk, and puts his clamped hands to his lips.
    STEVE
    Eyram hasn’t been home since …since that b-----d hit you?
    Steve is shocked when tears appear suddenly in Afful’s eyes.
    AFFUL
    I’m suffering from surprise. Surprise Myelitis, or Surprise cancer! I took Eyram’s love for granted! I beat her, made love to other women in her presence, in our house, in our bed! I was convinced she was an object, that she’d always be my slave because her father owed Eden Inc. How was I to know that some d--n taxi driver is coming on the scene who knows the sister of my boss? And suddenly I find out I don’t have any power on Eyram again. I call and call, she doesn’t pick up! I’m dying here, bro.
    Steve shakes his head with shock, finding it hard to believe that this is the same Afful who has espoused the theory of the bee and the honey flower a few days ago!
    To see Afful shaken up so strongly really scares Steve.
    STEVE
    Listen, Jon. Get into the bathroom and freshen up. You indeed look horrible. I saw Effe and Eyram coming in. I checked up discreetly and realized Eyram is coming to see the paediatrician, Dr. Henderson, on appointment with your son. Freshen up, go down to the paediatrics office, and get your wife. She will definitely kick your balls in if you go out there looking like that!
    AFFUL
    (looking anxious and excited suddenly)
    Eyram is here? Ok, man, why didn’t you tell me?
    He gets up and heads for Steve’s office bathroom with hopeful steps.
    Steve watches him with very sad and troubled eyes. When the door closes behind Afful, Steve sighs and shakes his head.
    STEVE
    Jesus!
    He opens a drawer on his desk and turns the photo lying in it up.
    It is the photo of Effe, his favourite photo. He runs a hand slowly across the photo, and suddenly a look of pain and torture crosses his face.
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    EDEN HOSPITAL
    PAEDIATRICS
    DR. RUPERT HENDERSON’S OFFICE
    Eyram sits patiently and watches as Rupert expertly attends to Junior.
    There are two nurses in the consulting room who had taken Junior’s weight and temperature and other statistics before Rupert took over.
    Rupert now avoids eye contact with Eyram as he hands Junior, who is giggling happily, to her.
    RUPERT
    He is doing very well, Eyram. You’ve taken very good care of him. You’re a wonderful mother.
    EYRAM
    Thank you, Doctor.
    Their eyes meet and hold. There is a very strong chemistry between them.
    Rupert knows a lot of the things that Eyram has been through.
    She has been talking to him on those lonely days that she needed a shoulder to cry on.
    He is a good man and a good listener. He had always encouraged Eyram to inform her family of the evil she had been going through and leave Afful.
    He had even threatened once to go to the police …and then Chris had come along and put a stop to everything.
    Naturally, the chemistry between them had grown to dangerous levels, but he always treated her civilly.
    Once, a long time ago, when Eyram was about six months pregnant and Afful had beaten her, she had called him and met him in the public park.
    He had consoled her and taken her in his arms. She had felt so comfortable in his arms.
    He had told her that he did not believe in extra-marital affairs and would never be unfaithful to his wife.
    Eyram had been sure he had felt the mutual attraction they had suddenly cultivated for each other.
    She also did not believe in an adulterous relationship, and so she had never done anything to take whatever it was to another level.
    They are both aware that they have been attracted to each other for a long time, but they are both committed, principled and faithful partners, and so they have not allowed that mutual feeling to be born.
    It stayed hidden in both their hearts, even long after she had grown out of love with Jonathan.
    In a way she knows he loves his wife very much, and nothing will ever make him unfaithful to Barbara.
    She admires and respects that. But she still teases him once in a while.
    It is a game they play, a light sort of flirtation that is harmless but which each secretly enjoy.
    She gets up and puts Junior across her shoulder.
    RUPERT
    Going home?
    EYRAM
    No. Not yet anyway. I’m going upstairs to see Effe before I leave.
    Rupert stands up and rounds his desk.
    RUPERT
    Oh, yeah. There’s something I need to discuss with Effe. I’ll ride up with you if you don’t mind.
    Eyram smiles mischievously. She has been aware that something was worrying him.
    She can feel it, just like he can feel her pains sometimes. He wants her company for a little bit longer, but without the presence of third parties.
    EYRAM
    Oh. I don’t mind at all!
    When they go out the door the two nurses exchange looks and smile.
    They make small talk through the reception area and enter the elevator.
    There are four people already inside the elevator, forcing them to stand very close together.
    As the lift rises up Eyram fingers the edge of the brown envelope in her bag.
    She debates with herself whether to tell him what is in the envelope.
    He fingers the toll ticket he has found, now lying in his pocket, and wonders if he should tell her about it, and also about the sudden fears he is feeling as a result of his doubts over the fidelity of Barbara.
    Barbara, his great love, his only love … suddenly he is having very strange feelings about her. He wishes he can tell Eyram.
    She is a good woman, a dedicated woman, a listening woman, his friend.
    By the time they get to the sixth floor all the others have left the lift, and they are alone, but neither make any attempt to move back.
    They still remain standing close together.
    The lift continues to rise. Suddenly he looks at her, and his face is holding a strange expression.
    RUPERT
    Well. Must as well get it out. You know I care a lot about you, Eyram, don’t you?
    She looks at him, sighs and chuckles, shaking her head at him.
    EYRAM
    Ah. It’s finally out! I know, Rupert, just as you know I have feelings for you too. Very naughty feelings, sometimes.
    He looks totally startled. He looks very miserable. He runs a hand through his dark hair, tussling it.
    RUPERT
    Oh, Lord!
    EYRAM
    (still smiling)
    Mmhm. Oh, Lord. But don’t worry. I’m not going to eat you up, at least not when we’re both still married.
    RUPERT
    You know I vowed to love Barbara my whole life, and that’s what I’m doing, and will continue doing. When I vow, I vow. I’ll never be unfaithful to her.
    EYRAM
    I know. You’re that different man who every woman craves for in a husband. I’m not about to make a dive for you and be the femme fatale in your life. I have no urge to seduce you! But it’s nice for a change, feeling wanted.
    She reaches out and touches his right cheek gently.
    RUPERT
    You’re back with your husband, right?
    Eyram looks him straight in the eye and speaks with sincerity.
    EYRAM
    I’m never going back to him.
    He nods.
    RUPERT
    I’m happy about that, at least.
    Eyram suddenly leans closer and brushes her lips across his.
    He gasps and the sudden look of desire, love and need on his face makes her laugh and shake her head.
    EYRAM
    If it had not been your vows, and my vows, I’m sure you would’ve torn off my clothes right here in this elevator!
    RUPERT
    (chuckling with genuine mirth)
    I would, yes, I would’ve done that and more, you little beautiful temptress!
    They laugh nervously, and just then the elevator dings and the doors slide open.
    Afful and Steve have just stepped out of Steve’s office.
    Afful has taken a bath, and he looks clean and presentable.
    He is facing the elevator. He sees Eyram and Rupert standing so close, and the sheer look of happiness he sees on Eyram’s face cuts him to the core.
    It fills him with absolute jealousy, a feeling he has never felt before.
    It makes him green and fills him with so much pain that he acts without thinking.
    AFFUL
    (in a booming angry voice)
    Hey, get away from my wife, you f-----g b-----d!
    He charges on them just as they emerge from the elevator, still smiling into each other’s eyes.
    It takes a moment for Eyram to see the huge figure of Afful bearing down on them.
    Her eyes open with sudden fear, and she screams.
    EYRAM
    Nooooooo! Jon! Nooooo. It’s not what you think!
    Rupert, a man who hates violence, sees the enraged husband charging at him and raises his hands defensively.
    RUPERT
    Oh, no! Mr. Afful! Don’t do this! You’re overreacting! Don’t hit me, don’t hurt me please!
    Steve tries to hold Afful back, but to no avail.
    The screams and shouting have reached Effe, and she opens her office door and looks out.
    What she sees is so shocking that she comes out and runs quickly towards her sister.
    Afful sinks a fist into Rupert’s stomach and follows with a powerful left hook that floors Rupert, causing blood to flow from his nose.
    Rupert crashes to the hard corridor with a grunt of pain.
    EYRAM
    Jon! Have you gone out of your senses? Look what you have done!
    Afful wheels and slaps Eyram hard. She begins to fall and tries to save the baby from hitting the hard floor.
    AFFUL
    Is this why you left me, you shameless adulterous b---h?
    Eyram falls down hard, and the baby flies out of her arms.
    He would have fallen very badly indeed if Effe hadn’t reached them at that same moment.
    Effe groans and leans forward and catches the baby.
    Eyram jumps to her feet. Years of being beaten and tortured by Afful all converge to a head now.
    All the beatings, atrocities and pain are working and searing through Eyram now.
    She takes hold of the fire extinguisher clipped to the wall of the corridor, rips it off, turns round and smashes it on Afful’s head.
    Afful screams, more with surprise than in pain.
    AFFUL
    Eyram, you hit me?
    Eyram again smashes him across the face with the fire extinguisher.
    Afful screams this time and falls heavily beside Rupert.
    Eyram reaches into her handbag and throws the big brown envelope down at him.
    EYRAM
    I filed for divorce! This is a copy of your notice from the court!
    With his face covered with blood, Afful grabs the envelope.
    AFFUL
    No, no, no! You can’t leave me, Eyram! You can’t live without me! You know that!
    EYRAM
    I left you several years ago, Mr. Jonathan Afful. You were so engrossed with yourself that you never noticed I was long gone!
    Eyram reaches across and helps Rupert to his feet.
    Afful bellows like a wounded beast and tears the envelope to shreds, together with the Notice of Divorce document inside, shouting and crying at the same time.
    EFFE
    You guys better come with me!
    She leads Eyram and Rupert into her office.
    Before she closes the door she looks across the corridor.
    Afful is now on his knees, weeping pitifully.
    AFFUL
    No, no Eyram please don’t go! Please come back, honey, I love you!!
    Effe’s eyes meet Steve’s.
    Steve looks at her with deep pain. He ignores Afful and walks towards her.
    Effe enters the office and shuts the door, cutting him off.

    Episode 23

    Continues..
    TWENTY-THREE DAYS
    Effe turns on her side restlessly and her eyes fall on the bedside clock.
    It is 5.00 a.m.
    It occurs to her that she needs to leave her parents’ house very soon.
    They had been a great help during her ordeal, but she feels it is now time to cope on her own.
    Already the crippling pain Steve had given her is almost a dull ache now. She can choose to live in the furnished apartment she owns, or the house she has along the Labadi Beach.
    Her phone rings suddenly and her heart skips a beat. Who is calling her that early? It is not Chris, because he has a special tone, and for a moment she looks at the phone crossly.
    How she wishes he will call, just call. She sighs, picks up the phone, and glances at the screen.
    Steve’s smiling face is filling her screen.
    It is strange, but she can’t remember when she changed the special ring tone she had for Steve and replaced it with the default ring tone.
    Why is he calling her this early?
    She drops the phone on the table and wonders how his call would have made her jump with elation only a few days ago.
    But not now! A lot has happened the last days.
    The phone continues to ring, and she continues to ignore it.
    Finally he stops calling.
    Effe turns on her back and picks the phone. She opens up her call log and dials Chris’ number.
    His phone is switched off.
    Suddenly an uneasy fear grips her heart.
    Has she driven him away? Is that it? Is she not going to see him again?
    The thought of that possibility fills her heart with sudden pain. She sighs miserably.
    EFFE
    (in a whisper)
    Chris. Please. Don’t do this!
    There is a knock on her door.
    She never locks her bedroom door when she is home, and so she waits. The door opens, and her mother pokes her head in.
    MADAM IVY
    Steve is here, Sweetheart. In the hall.
    Effe bolts upright, scowling, her face confused.
    EFFE
    Steve? Here? This early? Why?
    Her mother shakes her head and raises her eyebrows.
    MADAM IVY
    I don’t know, love. The security man opened the gates for him. And he kept ringing the doorbell till your sister opened the door. You better come and see him.
    Effe gets out of bed, still confused. She marvels at how she is feeling a little bit irritated.
    Just a few days ago she would have jumped at the news that the love of her life is in her home, looking for her.
    Not now, though. This dawn, she is not happy about that news.
    She gets up from bed and takes off her sexy negligée.
    She steps into jeans and blouse, brushes her teeth and combs her hair.
    She slips her delicate feet into a pair of feather-topped slippers and goes downstairs.
    Steve is dressed in a most excellently-cut blue-black suit, with a sparkling white shirt and sky dark blue tie.
    He is standing at the foot of the steps looking up at Effe.
    The moment she sees him she is reminded of the day of their wedding. He had been in the same attire.
    She stops three steps up and looks at him with her hand on the balustrade.
    He looks up at her, and he smiles sadly and holds out a hand to her.
    STEVE
    You look more beautiful every day, Honey.
    EFFE
    (puzzled)
    You came here dressed like you’ve just won a presidential election just to tell me I’m beautiful, Steve Hollison?
    A very painful expression crosses his face, so profound that for one terrible moment she is scared he is going to cry.
    He shakes his head numbly.
    STEVE
    You have forgotten, haven’t you?
    EFFE
    Forgotten what, Steve?
    STEVE
    Jesus! I can’t believe this! Did you ever love me, Effe?
    Effe leans against the balustrade and crosses her arms under her b-----s and regards him with very confused eyes.
    EFFE
    What’s wrong, Steve? Are you alright? Why don’t you just tell me whatever you so evidently want me to remember?
    STEVE
    I’m not bloody okay! Today is our d--n eleventh anniversary! You always got mad when I forgot it! You even set a d--n alarm for me so that I’ll always remember! And you’re telling me you’ve forgotten the day we got married? Just like that?
    Effe laughs softly because she is sure she will go mad if she doesn’t laugh.
    She brushes her hair angrily from her face and looks at him with eyes suddenly hard with unbridled anger.
    EFFE
    Who do you think you are, Steve? You still want me to remember our wedding anniversary after you impregnated my sister, divorced me and married her? Who do you think you are, Mr. Steve Hollison? You must think you’re Superman, the best man God ever created, too handsome for this world, too special for women! You must feel you have to be worshipped, a Steve God whose fart is perfumed! You must be very special indeed, and I must bow and kneel in your divine presence!
    Steve climbs the steps and stands before her. His face is screwed up with pain, and she notices that he is trembling with emotion.
    STEVE
    (voice trembling)
    I’m so sorry, Honey! I’ve hurt you beyond human comprehension. The stress of childlessness, the pressure of impatient parents, the taunts of friends… I’m not making excuses, Effe, but those things does get to a man. I messed up big time, and I killed your soul in the process! But I never meant things to go this far! Elaine threatened to take the baby away if I didn’t marry her! I just wanted this to be a mere formality. As soon as she gives birth and the child is legally recognized as mine I’m gonna leave her!
    Effe feels her fury mounting uncontrollably. For one horrible moment she almost reaches for his eyes with her nails.
    EFFE
    Leave her? Are you saying you’re gonna leave Elaine for me after she gives birth? Is that what you’re saying?
    STEVE
    (plaintively)
    Yes, yes! I love you, honey! I’ve never stopped loving you! I’ll never stop loving you!
    EFFE
    (contemptuously)
    Hm, I see. I’ve heard of a game called Musical Chairs. Seems to me you want to redefine it and rename it Changing Sisters! You’re pathetic, Steve!
    Steve grabs her arms tightly, his face suddenly filled with emotion and engorged with the crippling love he still feels for her.
    STEVE
    (speaking through clenched teeth, absolutely emotional)
    I love you, Effe! I’m sorry, Effe! This day is our special day! It’ll always be our special day! Our anniversary, and I don’t want us to fight. I came to take you to hill, our love hill, and watch the sunrise together like we used to! I went through an awful lot to get here this morning. I had to even leave my car because Elaine took it because she remembers what day today is. I don’t wanna be alone today. I wanna spend it with you, my love! Please don’t push me away!
    Effe tries unsuccessfully to disengage her arms from his. She is feeling suffocated all of a sudden and just wants to be away from him.
    EFFE
    Let me go, Steve! You’re hurting me! I’m not going anywhere with you!
    Steve transfers his arms to her waist, holds her tightly, and clamps his lips to hers. For a moment she is shocked and lost.
    His lips rove hers, and brings back memories of fonder days, of loving days, of sweeter days!
    For a moment she relaxes in his arms, feeling his anguish as his tears suddenly flood her face.
    He is kissing her with deep emotion and crying at the same time.
    But there is one thing missing!
    The spark is gone! Her heart is not fluttering, the fire is not burning in her heart anymore. There is no bomb, no explosion.
    It is just a whisper, not a roar, not a boom like she had felt in a certain suite in a certain magical place called WaterWorld.
    The hands roving her body do not have fire in their tips, or ice in their depths… fire and ice, hot and cold, fire and water, mixed into delicious echelons of unbearable pleasure that made her crave for more again and again and again.
    She sees his face, the face of that violent stubborn taxi driver, and suddenly she begins to fight.
    She pushes her face away from his, and pulls back violently.
    STEVE
    (crying uncontrollably)
    Effe! Effe! Please, honey, don’t fight me! Please! I love you, I need you! I want you!
    She pushes hard, and he falls down to his knees. He raises his hands to her, begging and imploring as tears course down his cheek.
    She is crying too as she looks down at him. Oh how glad she would’ve been just a few days ago, before she ever set foot at a place called WaterWorld.
    She shakes her head. She is missing a man quite badly, yes, but that man is not called Steve.
    Oh Chris!
    EFFE
    (with tears in her eyes)
    Go back to Elaine, Steve, please! We’re done here!
    She turns from him and flees into her room. Her tears are still falling, and she can feel his hot lips on hers.
    She smells him all around her. That won’t do at all. She needs to shower, to be fresh, to feel new.
    She strips off her clothes and runs to the bathroom naked. Anguished tears fall down her cheeks as she draws a warm bath and slips into it.
    She is shaking, and afraid, as it dawns on her that in a moment of craziness she has unconsciously made a choice… and it is not Steve she has chosen.
    Steve falls to his knees on the stairs, and his tears fall silently, agonisingly.
    Madam Ivy emerges silently from the recesses of the living-room where she had been standing and listening and watching.
    She is in a belted robe, and has a scarf around her grey hair. She is middle-aged, but she is a strikingly beautiful woman.
    MADAM IVY
    Are you going to sit there and behave like a weasel or you’re going to go up there and fight for her?
    Steve looks round, notices her and quickly gets up. He looks at her, puzzled.
    STEVE
    Pardon? What did you just say?
    MADAM IVY
    You heard me.
    Steve comes towards her slowly, haltingly. His desperate eyes search her face.
    He runs a dry tongue over his drier lips and wipes tears from his eyes.
    STEVE
    You don’t hate me?
    MADAM IVY
    Oh, I detest you with every fibre of my soul. I think you’re scum, and I’ll never forgive you for the pain you gave my baby!
    Steve stares at her, puzzled.
    STEVE
    Then why? Why’re you encouraging me go after Effe?
    MADAM IVY
    Because I believe she’s making a fool of herself. She’s still hurting from what you did to her, and she’s vulnerable… so vulnerable that she’s making a stupid mistake without realizing it.
    Steve nods, and his jaw sets hard.
    STEVE
    That d--n taxi driver, right?
    MADAM IVY
    Yes, that d--n taxi driver. I’d rather have her back with you, no matter how much I hate you, than with that leech who is way below her, and who only want to use her as a fulfilment of his perverse fantasies. I think he might’ve made love to her already.
    Steve reacts as if he has received a physical blow in his belly.
    The air whooshes out of him and his knees wobble. He reaches out in a daze and grasp the balustrade for support.
    He can barely breathe, and his face is screwed up tightly with pure unadulterated pain and high grade agony.
    STEVE
    (in a whisper)
    What? Effe? No, no! She wouldn’t do that! She barely knows him! She’s not that kind of woman! I can’t believe that!
    Madam Ivy looks at him without pity.
    MADAM IVY
    Then you’re a fool, and it serves you right, of course. If you have any sense in your head you’ll go up there and make her see that you two can still have a future together. If you allow that boy to be with her, from now, you’ll lose her forever.
    Steve, filled with furious jealousy, waits no more.
    He bounds up the stairs three at a time, makes the landing, and enters Effe’s room.
    He looks around and sees she’s not inside. He hears the splashing from the bathroom and tiptoes forward to peep into the crack of the slightly open door.
    He sees her lying in the bath, her head resting on a raised upright, her chest bare, her lovely b-----s standing proud, her n-----s taut.
    Her amazing skin is glowing, and she is the most beautiful woman he has ever seen.
    Desire rips through him like an earthquake, and in a flash he rips off his clothes.
    Naked now, he reaches for the handle of the bathroom door…
    Meanwhile, down in the living-room, Mr. Ken Kedem emerges from his room.
    It is now 6 a.m.
    He is dressed in a beautiful African top and crisp black trousers.
    He is going to meet some business partners at eight in the morning.
    KEN KEDEM
    Thought I heard voices.
    MADAM IVY
    Oh, nothing, dear. I was watching television. Are you sure you don’t want any breakfast?
    KEN KEDEM
    Will take breakfast with Mr. Duncan and Crankson, darling. Have to rush. Will meet you at the office.
    MADAM IVY
    Alright, Champ.
    She puts her arms around his neck and kisses him briefly.
    She accompanies him outside to his car.
    He opens the back door and tosses in his little attache case, closes the door and approaches the driver’s door.
    The gate man has just opened the main gates for him, and that is when a man emerges through the gates.
    Ken Kedem’s face lights up with surprise and delight, and he waves to the man.
    KEN KEDEM
    Chris! My boy! Come here!
    Chris is wearing black jeans, white Nike sneakers and a white Lacoste polo shirt and he looks incredibly handsome.
    He greets them and takes Ken Kedem’s outstretched hand.
    Madam Ivy does not respond to him.
    CHRIS
    Good to see you again, Mr. Kedem.
    KEN KEDEM
    I haven’t been able to express my thanks and gratitude to you, boy! How have you been?
    CHRIS
    (smiling)
    I’ve been better, sir. Had a little misunderstanding with your daughter, and I’ve been feeling very blue.
    Ken Kedem laughs and slaps Chris’ back.
    KEN KEDEM
    The women in my pen have that kind of effect on men, boy! Drop by for a dinner this week, and let me thank you properly!
    CHRIS
    No thanks needed, sir. It was a pleasure.
    KEN KEDEM
    Thanks again, son. I have to run now. Effe is in. Go and see her.
    They watch as he gets into the car, waves, and drives out of the gates.
    Chris turns to Madam Ivy, whose poisonous eyes drive into him, and her jaw line is set in an angry thin line.
    MADAM IVY
    You d--n, sleazy b-----d!
    CHRIS
    Wow. That’s descriptive, I think. I’m going to see Effe.
    Madam Ivy smiles mirthlessly.
    MADAM IVY
    She’s sick, and in her room. You can go right up. Come, let me show you her room.
    Chris scowls at her. He is surprised she is not stopping him from going inside.
    They enter the house and he follows her up the stairs to Effe’s door. She indicates it to him, turns, and heads back down to the living-room with a cold, satisfied smile on her face.
    He knocks on the door, and calls Effe’s name softly.
    Steve hears the door, and hears his voice just as he opens the bathroom door wide.
    Effe sees Steve naked, and she gasps with a mixture of surprise and anger, and quickly stands up in the bath.
    Water cascades down her beautiful body.
    Blindly she reaches for a huge towel, and just then Chris opens the door and steps inside the room.
    He sees Steve naked, still with an erection, and he sees Effe standing naked in the bath.
    Effe’s face breaks down with total pain when she sees the sudden agony on Chris’ face.
    Their eyes lock, and she shakes her head numbly.
    EFFE
    (in a pained whisper)
    Chris!
    She sees Chris shaking, and feels his agony, his pain, his tortured spirit plainly on his face.
    CHRIS
    At least you should’ve locked the d--n door!
    He turns quickly and leaves the room.
    Effe snatches the towel and drapes it around her body, and comes out of the bath.
    EFFE
    (shouting)
    CHRIS! WAIT! OH LORD, OH NO! WAIT, CHRIS!!!!
    She tries to go past Steve, but he holds her tight.
    STEVE
    I’m here, honey! Let him go! I’m here, and I love you!
    EFFE
    (screaming)
    Let me go! Let me go, Steve! D--n you! CHRISSSS! OH PLEASE WAIT!!!
    She pushes Steve away, but he is still holding her towel, and it comes off Effe.
    She does not stop.
    Still naked, she opens the door and races down the stairs.
    Eyram’s door slams open and she emerges, still in her nightdress and with Junior clamped to her shoulder.
    EYRAM
    Effe! What’s wrong, Ef?
    Effe reaches the front door and tries to open it. Madam Ivy comes out of the kitchen and pushes Effe back, blocking the doorway.
    EFFE
    MAMA! LET ME OUT!
    MADAM IVY
    You’re naked, dear. The house staff are outside, you sure you wanna go out naked?
    EFFE
    Let me out, Mama! Let me out!
    Madam Ivy holds her as she begins to cry. Eyram enters Effe’s room and sees Steve putting on his trousers.
    EYRAM
    What the hell are you doing here, Steve? What have you done to Effe? I swear to you if you’ve hurt her I’ll personally castrate you!
    She picks up the huge towel from the floor and descends to the living-room where Effe is being held in her mother’s arms.
    Effe is crying bitterly as if her heart is being torn out of her chest.
    Eyram hands her baby to Madam Ivy, and then she covers her sister with the towel and hold her close.
    The agony on Effe’s face sears Eyram to the core.
    EFFE
    I lost him, Rammy! I lost him!
    Eyram, who doesn’t know exactly what is going on, smiles reassuringly at her tortured sister and holds her tight.
    Steve appears on the landing.
    He and Madam Ivy look at each other, and both nod in victory..

    Episode 24

    Continues..
    TWENTY-FOUR DAYS
    Effe parks her car and gets out. It is 3.00 a.m. in the morning.
    She had tried the previous day to come and look for Chris, but just as she finished dressing up a call had come through from Doctor Ameyaw; there had been a serious motor accident, and she was needed urgently to perform life-saving surgeries.
    She had had no option than to rush to the Ameyaw-Eden Clinic where she had performed surgeries throughout the day.
    She had called his phone every chance she got, but it had been off on each occasion.
    She had not even bothered to go home when she left the clinic although she is so tired.
    She had driven straight to his house.
    She sees his taxi and parks her car behind it. There are other cars parked around, but there is nobody around.
    She climbs the steps carefully, walks along the corridor to his door and knock, taking out her phone and trying his number again, and is very surprised when his phone begins to ring at the other end.
    He picks the call, but does not speak.
    EFFE
    Chris.
    CHRIS
    (in a very soft voice)
    You hurt me, in a way I’ve never been hurt before.
    She shuts her eyes tightly as her heart skips a beat.
    She can feel the pain in his soul, and it tortures her heart so much knowing that she is, in a way, responsible for his pain.
    EFFE
    I’m at your door.
    CHRIS
    (shocked)
    What?
    EFFE
    Openthe door, Chris.
    The key rattles in the lock, the handle is depressed, and then the door opens.
    He stands in the doorway with the phone pressed to his ear. He is wearing black shoes, black trousers and a white singlet.
    She steps past him into the room and stops.
    There are two packed bags in the middle of the room. He is leaving! The realization shatters her resolve, and brings her feelings to the fore.
    She turns and faces him.
    Her eyes search his face, and she moves very close to him.
    EFFE
    (softly)
    Don’t say anything more, Chris. I’m going to tell you everything that happened yesterday morning.
    CHRIS
    Effe-
    EFFE
    Chris. Please. Listen to me. You were going to leave without telling me. So just listen.
    She takes his hand and leads him to a seat. She makes him sit down. She sits beside him and takes his left hand in both of hers.
    She looks straight into his eyes, and tells him all that had happened before he walked into her room and saw her naked with Steve.
    When she is done he looks at her deeply, searching her eyes.
    CHRIS
    So, you didn’t have sex with him.
    It is a statement. She rubs his hand.
    EFFE
    I won’t answer that, CB. You should know the answer to that. Do you believe me?
    He brings her hand to his lips.
    CHRIS
    I believe you.
    EFFE
    Why?
    CHRIS
    Because you told me.
    She smiles, reaches out and touches his cheek.
    EFFE
    You believe my words?
    CHRIS
    I love you, Effe. With my soul. I believe you. I know you will never lie about something like that.
    She puts her head to one side and looks at him with strange lights dancing in her eyes.
    EFFE
    I saw your eyes, Chris. The pain in them really cut me up. I will never hurt you, CB. Not intentionally. I went to my marriage bed a virgin, and Steve is the only man I have known intimately before I met you. One thing is certain, Chris. I will never be able to be with two men at the same time, never!
    Steve nods and leans back. His expression is still troubled. He looks away from her and speaks.
    CHRIS
    Your ex wants you back. Can I still trust you with my heart?
    Effe reaches out, holds his chin and turns his face round to face her.
    EFFE
    I’m not thinking about him, Chris. Right now, I’m just trying to figure out how to deal with what is happening between you and me. I’ve never been with a man like you before, CB. You make me feel emotions I’ve never felt before. When we made love you did things to me I’ve never experienced, and you made me behave in a wanton uninhibited way that bothered me! When you’re not with me, or when we fight, I feel a pain I’ve never known. I’ve lost absolute control where you’re concerned. This is something new, Chris, and I have to deal with it, in my own way. That’s why, although I want to make love to you again so much, I must nevertheless ask you to wait. If this is the love of my life, I want it to begin right. I have very strong feelings for you, Chris, I won’t deny that. But then, I have to get to know you better. There’s also the fact that this has happened so fast, and I don’t want to realise later that maybe it happened because I was hurting. And I want you to trust me on this, please, CB.
    He looks at her and his face is very tender, full of a love that almost breaks her down.
    CHRIS
    So you’re not ashamed of me?
    She sees the concern in his eyes, the doubts on his face, the uncertainty, the need to be reassured. His inferiority complex is like a book on his face.
    Effe gets up and gently sits on his laps. She links an arm around his neck and smiles into his eyes.
    EFFE
    I’ll never be ashamed of you, Chris. I don’t mind if you’re my driver. I get paid well, and I have a bit saved, for us. And of course I want to make sure that what happened to Steve and I will never happen again.
    CHRIS
    (raising his eyebrows)
    And what happened? Something you haven’t told me?
    EFFE
    (in a sad voice)
    I can’t have kids, Chris. Sometimes love isn’t enough. You’re young, and you’ll undoubtedly make a very good father. If we’re together, someday soon you would need children, and I wouldn’t be able to get give you even one. I’m barren, CB. You must remember that too.
    He smiles, reaches out and caresses her calves tenderly.
    CHRIS
    When the time comes for that, we’ll adopt. I have no problems with that.
    She looks at him, intrigued, suddenly feeling elated. That is not the answer she had expected.
    She puts her arms around his neck and searches his face desperately.
    EFFE
    You sure, Chris? You would really consider adoption and wouldn’t mind?
    CHRIS
    (his face earnest)
    I love you, Effe. You’re the most amazing woman I’ve ever met. I’ve fallen for you, and I can spend my life with you alone. But I know you’d make a wonderful mother, so yes, we can adopt.
    EFFE
    (smiling sadly)
    I’ve always wanted kids, Chris. I adore them.
    CHRIS
    Then we would adopt, Precious. I don’t ever wanna lose you. I don’t ever wanna make you sad. As long as you would have me, I’ll be there for you.
    Tears glisten on her lashes for a moment, and there is a song in her heart.
    She feels as if she is going to burst.
    EFFE
    (in a choked voice)
    Oh, Chris! Are you for real? Why do you make me feel like this?
    He smiles then, and his cheeks dimple, and that crazy small boy look is once more on his face, the look that makes him so handsome and which kills her heart so totally.
    CHRIS
    And how do I make you feel, Doc?
    She laughs happily, leans forward, and puts her sweet lips to his, kissing him gently, sweetly, tenderly, taking his heart away.
    EFFE
    (murmuring against his lips)
    You fill me with life, CB, you bad boy!
    He crushes her against his chest and kisses her.
    She feels him, and she knows in a second she will not be able to stop it.
    Her whole body is tingling, alive, needing and wanting, thirsty for this amazing love drink that is driving her crazy.
    She holds his hand and with a herculean effort she drags her lips from his.
    She stands up quickly, panting.
    She looks at him with eyes still inflamed with passion.
    CHRIS
    We need to cool down. Until you’re ready.
    She laughs shakily.
    And nods.
    EFFE
    Yes, Darling Boy. I’m now going into your kitchen to find something for us to eat. In the meantime, you better start unpacking. You’re going nowhere. You’re stuck with me forever.
    He laughs gently, happily, and shakes his head.
    CHRIS
    Yes, Doctor. I’ll gladly serve a life sentence for you.

    Episode 25

    Continues..
    TWENTY-FIVE DAYS
    It is late evening.
    Effe sits in her office and gently massages her neck.
    She had carried out two complicated surgeries earlier, and she is tired.
    But she is happy. The previous day had been one of her happiest.
    She feels like a teenager all over again. She smiles and glances at her watch.
    Chris will be picking her up in about an hour. They are going out for dinner.
    She does not know where he is taking her, but she knows it is going to be something unpredictable.
    She feels a tingling in her body as she gets up and slips out of her skirt and blouse.
    She takes them to the inner room of her office and returns a few minutes later dressed in jeans and a fetching blouse.
    She glances at her watch again as she gets out of her office and heads for the elevators.
    She puts her phone to her ear. It rings. He picks up.
    CHRIS
    Hello, Precious.
    EFFE
    (chuckling)
    Darling Boy. Are you here yet?
    CHRIS
    Almost, Precious. Got held up in a little traffic.
    EFFE
    Hurry up. I’m hungry!
    CHRIS
    (laughing)
    For food, or for love?
    EFFE
    (laughing)
    For both, you bad boy!
    CHRIS
    (chuckling)
    Ok. See you soon, Precious.
    Effe rides the elevator to the fifth floor to MATERNAL CLINIC.
    Doctor Anaman had called earlier that he wants her to perform surgery on a baby born with an extra leg.
    Effe wants to see the baby and make an initial plan.
    She emerges out on the reception area and as she walks towards Doctor Anaman’s Consultancy she sees Rebecca and Sheena through the glass door of DELIVERIES.
    They are Elaine’s friends!
    Effe experiences a sudden pang of pain and misery which she quickly tries to push away.
    Suddenly her name is called from behind, and she turns to see Steve and Dr. Anaman walking towards her.
    DR. ANAMAN
    (in a rush)
    Effe. Oh, you’re here. For the profiling of the baby, right?
    Effe nods. She is looking at Steve. He seems so excited as he looks at Effe.
    STEVE
    Elaine’s here, Effe. Her water broke. She’s in the Labour Room.
    Effe nods and pushes down the great leap of sadness and jealousy in her b---m. She pats Steve on the arm gently.
    EFFE
    That’s good. Soon you’ll be a proud father.
    STEVE
    (smiling)
    Yeah. Isn’t that great!
    DR. ANAMAN
    Listen, Effe. Can you wait a little bit? Elaine is fully dilated, and this’ll take a few minutes. I’ll be with you soon so that we can see about little Akwasi’s problem.
    EFFE
    Actually, I’m going to grab a bit to eat, so I’ll see you tomorrow.
    She is suddenly scared. She knows she doesn’t want to be here yet.
    It is suddenly too painful, reminding her forcibly that she can never be in a labour room, can never have a man smiling and looking so happy as Steve is doing now.
    She can never put that look on Chris’ face, and maybe, when the love is aged, he might want that feeling, and not the feeling from an adoption home.
    DR. ANAMAN
    Alright. Just a second. Let me check on her and then we’ll talk, okay?
    He does not wait for a reply. He opens the glass door and goes inside. Steve follows him without another look at Effe.
    Effe feels tears dancing in her eyes, but she tosses her head back and against her will she walks to the glass doors, push them open and walks in.
    Rebecca and Sheena look at her, and Sheena titters and winks at her.
    SHEENA
    Oh, the Righteous Angel is here! Please, Elaine’s going to have her Prince! Don’t you come and put any evil spell on her, Madam Righteous.
    Effe smiles at her and sits down beside her.
    EFFE
    So sweet. Tell me, when are you going to have your baby too? Oh, don’t tell me. You have to get married first, right?
    Sheena’s lips tighten and her eyes go mad with anger.
    SHEENA
    At least I’m not bloody barren, like you!
    Effe smiles again.
    EFFE
    Oh, how do you know? Hundreds of abortions, I guess!
    Sheena glares at her, tries to speak, and shuts up. For a moment she looks very lost, and her eyes look haunted.
    Rebecca smiles secretly and gives Effe a thumbs-up sign.
    LABOUR ROOM.
    It is time.
    Elaine is screaming.
    Steve is standing by her side, holding her hand.
    She is gripping his hand so tightly that he fears his hand will be blistered for life.
    Her legs are propped up with a sheet covering her lower body so that she and Steve cannot see what Dr. Anaman and the two nurses are doing.
    Elaine is screaming and pushing as tears and sweat fall down her face. Steve holds her hand and whispers to her, encouraging her.
    STEVE
    Come on, baby. Push harder! Our son is almost here… my son! Come on, baby! You can do it! I love you, Pumpkin!
    DR. ANAMAN
    (speaking soothingly)
    Come on Elaine… head’s out now …a little push now… almost there …almost there…
    The baby is half-way out. The two nurses look at each other, and then at Elaine, and then at the baby.
    Dr. Anaman catches the baby, and his strident voice soon rings out, clear and strong.
    Steve smiles through his tears.
    He leans forward and kisses Elaine lightly.
    ELAINE
    (weakly, smiling)
    We did it, Steve. Our baby! Our son!
    STEVE
    (weeping uncontrollably with joy)
    Yes, my love! My sweetest Elly, you made me a father! I love you, baby! Thank you, baby! I love you, baby!!
    He is raining kisses on her face. She is giggling and touching his face, crying and laughing with happiness.
    Dr. Anaman looks at them briefly as he expertly cuts the baby’s cord.
    The nurses are cleaning the baby, and they still look at each other.
    Elaine touches Steve desperately.
    ELAINE
    Darling! Darling! I want to see him! I want to see our son!
    STEVE
    (laughing elatedly)
    Yeah, yeah, baby, darling! Me too!
    He straightens and looks at Dr. Anaman, who looks at them and then begins to attend to Elaine.
    Steve walks forward slowly, rubbing his tears of joy away.
    The backs of the nurses are turned as they clean the crying baby.
    ELAINE
    (softly)
    Is everything okay, Doc? You look… you seem quiet.
    Doc Anaman glances at her and tries to smile.
    DR. ANAMAN
    Everyhting’s okay, Elaine. The boy’s just fine!
    Steve pauses behind the nurses.
    STEVE
    Can I see my son, please?
    The nurses look at each other and slowly stand aside.
    The baby is lying on warm sheets, and he is crying.
    Steve looks at him, and slowly the look on his face changes from expectant excitement to incomprehension to absolute shock and then to great fear.
    He shakes his head numbly. His body begins to shake hard, and he takes a horrified step back.
    Elaine is suddenly frightened.
    ELAINE
    Steve? What’s it, darling? Honey?
    Steve looks at Doc Anaman with very terrified eyes.
    STEVE
    What’s this, Doctor? What’s the meaning of this?
    DR. ANAMAN
    (reassuringly)
    Be cool, Steve. I’m sure there’s a pretty good explanation for this. It is very possible.
    STEVE
    (screaming)
    SHUT THE F--K UP!!! WHAT THE HELL IS THIS???
    Elaine struggles to sit up, her face now filled with panic and desperation.
    ELAINE
    What’s the meaning of all this? You people are scaring me!! What’s wrong? Steve? Darling?
    Steve turns with a roar of sheer terror and runs away from the Labour Room.
    Steve crashes the waiting-room door open, causing Effe, Rebecca and Sheena to jump with fear.
    He is screaming as he rips the glass doors of the Reception open and rush out to the elevators. He is so distraught and feels deceived.
    SHEENA
    What’s wrong? Has something happened to Elaine or the baby?
    Effe is also confused. She looks after Steve, then at the doors of the Labour Room. She wonders what in God’s name would make Steve behave like that.
    Fearing the worst, she and the other women look at the Labour Room door with apprehension. Effe is sure she heard the cry of a baby. What she is not sure about is Elaine’s condition. She wonders if something terrible has happened to her cousin.
    Effe feels worried and scared now. It is true Elaine has betrayed her in the worst way possible but she never wish her any harm. She’s wished her nothing but the best after her abominable act with her Steve. Somehow, she has braced the fact that whatever was between Steve and her was not strong enough otherwise it would have survived the test of time and trouble..
    Inside the labour room, one of the nurses is holding the new-born baby and brings him to Elaine.
    Elaine takes one look and screams shrilly, and then she faints immediately.
    DR. ANAMAN
    Take the child to the ward! I need to revive Elaine. Take him out!
    The baby is put in the incubator. The right temperature is set, and then one of the nurses wheels the baby out of the room through the waiting area to the infants room.
    Effe, Sheena and Rebecca look through the glass cover of the incubator at the new boy and are shocked at the sight that meets their eyes..
    SHEENA
    (screaming)
    JESUS H. CHRIST!!!
    REBECCA
    (also screaming)
    OH MY GOD!!! HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE!!!
    Effe looks again and rubs her eyes. She is sure there’s been some mistake somewhere..
    Even she is absolutely shocked.
    The baby in the crib is healthy and big.
    But he’s not black. He is a half-caste.
    He is a white man’s child.
    He has thick black hair.
    He looks like an European.
    Even Elaine’s African blood has not been able to dilute his strong European genes.
    Effe wonders if Steve has British ancestors. She dismisses that thought for she would have known about it.
    The baby simply cannot be Steve’s. There is no logical or scientific basis for him to be Steve’s.
    Effe takes a closer look and realizes he looks a lot like the South African Paediatrician, Doctor Rupert Henderson!
    EFFE
    (with deep shock)
    Dear sweet Jesus!

    Episode 26

    Continues..
    TWENTY-SIX DAYS
    Effe wakes up with an effort.
    It had been a wonderful dinner with Chris the previous day, and although she had enjoyed herself so much, she had not been able to get rid of the sight of Elaine’s strange baby.
    She had told Chris about it, and he had laughed so hard that tears had come into his eyes, but he had not made any comment on it.
    She takes a shower and arrives at the hospital with Eyram, who is picking up a prescription from Dr. Henderson for Junior.
    Chris drove them because he would later take Effe to the Ameyaw-Eden Clinic.
    Effe had told Eyram about Elaine’s baby, and she had been sad, and suggested maybe Effe was exaggerating.
    She wants to see the baby herself, and so she came with Effe to MATERNAL CLINIC.
    When she goes to Elaine’s ward she finds her asleep. She is connected to some machines that are beeping.
    A nurse smiles at her and tell her she can’t stay long.
    NURSE
    She’s been sedated. She was terribly upset, and the stress was making her blood pressure shoot up alarmingly.
    EYRAM
    I see. And her baby?
    The nurse smiles and shakes her head.
    NURSE
    Elaine doesn’t want to see the baby. That’s what’s causing her to freak out. The baby has been taken to PAEDIATRICS.
    Eyram thanks the nurse and goes out.
    She quickly takes the elevator down to Level 3, and enters the paediatrician’s zone.
    She asks to see Rupert, and one of the nurses takes her to the Wards.
    When she enters the room she finds there are quite a group of people present.
    Steve’s parents, Elaine’s friends Rebecca and Sheena, Dr. Rupert Henderson and some nurses.
    Steve’s mother is crying against her husband who is looking shell-shocked.
    Rupert is leaning against a wall at the far end. His sleeves are rolled to his elbows, and his tie is undone.
    He looks very flustered.
    Eyram walks to the crib and looks down at the baby.
    He is very handsome, and he is sleeping peacefully.
    EYRAM
    (deeply shocked)
    Oh, my dear Lord!
    Effe had been right.
    Elaine’s baby is not only white, he looks exactly like Rupert Henderson.
    Eyram feels her heart beating with great disappointment.
    She shakes her head and walks towards Rupert. She stops in front of him and glares at him.
    RUPERT
    No, not you too! Goddamn it, Eyram! Not you too!
    She licks her lips and shakes her head, trying to grasp the implications of what she has seen.
    EYRAM
    Why, Rupe? People talking about it too?
    RUPERT
    Everybody! Steve even had a fight with me! Now I’ve given them blood samples to send to the lab for a DNA test! I don’t know how Elaine’s baby came to resemble me so much, but believe me, I had nothing to do with that girl! And if you don’t believe me then I guess I never really knew you at all!
    She reaches out and touches his arm, and smiles wanly.
    EYRAM
    I believe you, Rupe. But you must admit it is one hell of a coincidence. That baby looks so much like you it’s absolutely uncanny.
    The door opens.
    Effe and Chris enter. Chris walks to the cot and stare at the baby boy. He touches the baby’s cheek.
    Just then the door explodes outward, and Steve enters.
    There is a day’s growth of beard on his face. His white shirt is stained, and his eyes are bloodshot from lack of sleep.
    He is holding a green sheet of printed paper, and his face is livid. He rushes at Rupert.
    STEVE
    (screaming)
    You b-----d! You d--n stupid little white f--k!!!
    He pushes Eyram out of the way and crashes a fist into Rupert’s jaw.
    Doctor Henderson falls down with a cry of pain. He holds his jaw. There is blood on his split lip.
    Steve screams and raises his leg to slam it down on Rupert’s face, but Chris grabs Steve and shoves him back savagely.
    Steve tries to move forward, but his father leaves his mother and grabs him by the arm.
    CAPTAIN HOLLISON
    Hold it, son, hold it! Why are you assaulting this man?
    When Steve speaks tears fall down his face.
    STEVE
    He’s the father of Elaine’s son, Papa. The DNA test just proved it.
    Rupert gets up and his face is incredulous.
    RUPERT
    What? That is horse crap!
    Steve moves forward and throws the sheet of paper at Rupert.
    STEVE
    There! Take a look at it yourself, you son-of-a-goat! You b-----d!
    Rupert takes the DNA sheet and his eyes skim it. His look of shock and incredulity makes the blood drain from his face.
    RUPERT
    Good Lord! This …this can’t be right! I d-don’t understand any of this!
    Steve dashes at Rupert again with his fist raised.
    STEVE
    You d--n f--k! You were with her all this while, fooling me! You two were s------g each other, weren’t you, you piece of white s--t!!
    He tries to hit Rupert again, but Chris pushes him back.
    Eyram and Effe face Rupert. Both of them have accusing eyes.
    EFFE
    Jesus, Rupert! Is this true?
    EYRAM
    Can’t believe you’ll stoop this low, Rupe. You’ve greatly disappointed me!
    Rupert looks at them as he takes steps back and his back comes up against the wall.
    RUPERT
    (tearfully)
    There must be some mistake somewhere. I’ve never had anything to do with Elaine! That child is not mine! Not mine!
    Chris speaks whilst still facing Steve, who is trembling with fury.
    CHRIS
    Actually, Doctor Henderson, that baby could be yours, although I’m sure you had nothing to do with Elaine.
    There is absolute silence in the room as all eyes turn to Chris.
    STEVE
    And what do you mean by that? What do you know, you illiterate moron?
    Chris shrugs and turns to Doctor Rupert Henderson.
    CHRIS
    I may be an illiterate moron like you say but that does not make me stupid, you know? I read somewhere about a black couple who had a white baby. The man was so angry he filed for divorce because he was sure his wife cheated on him. The lady knowing she had known no other man since she got married decided to defend her reputation. After a fierce battle at law it was established that the child was indeed not for the man but the wife had not cheated either.
    STEVE
    Stop the crap, you fool. You are not making any sense. How can that be possible.
    RUPERT
    Let him land, will you?
    CHRIS
    It turned out the guy was uncircumcised and had a lover who was white. The white lover also had a white fiancée. The black guy’s uncircumcised d--k picked semen from the white lady who had had sex with her white fiancée the same day and impregnated his wife with it. Funny huh. I’m pretty sure something similar happened in this situation. Someone here is not telling the truth. I know that for a fact. Does the LOVE BED HOTEL in Kasoa ring a bell to anyone here?
    Steve could not hold his anger anymore. He pounced on Chris and smacked him on the face.
    STEVE
    Shut the f**k up, you nincompoop. What do you know?
    CHRIS
    What do I know? I know you are a cheating b-----d. I know you did not cheat on Effe with only Elaine. There was someone else and that had resulted in this whole mess. You were with that woman at the LOVE BED HOTEL in Kasoa. I saw you with my own eyes. You don’t have to be literate to see what’s going on when you two drive all the way to Kasoa to be together. I saw you kissing her when you left the Hotel. You better own up and clarify the situation. You know exactly how Elaine ended up with a white baby.
    At the mention of the hotel Steve goes very rigid, and his eyes suddenly look scared as he moves towards Chris.
    STEVE
    You shut the f--k up!
    Everyone stairs at Steve expectantly. It seemed to everyone Chris was not making up a story. He knows exactly what he is talking about.
    EFFE
    Steve?
    Steve is mute. He starts to sweat profusely but says nothing. Rupert glares at him in confusion.
    RUPERT
    Aren’t you going to say anything? This is your chance, Steve, to come clean. You hold the key to this puzzle, give us all the peace we deserve. I need to know what happened. My reputation is at stake here.
    STEVE
    You believe this piece of s--t? The guy just wants attention and is spewing forth bullshit and you of all people fall for it? God, and I thought you were smart!
    CHRIS
    You know I am telling the truth, Steve. My friend is the Manager at THE LOVE BED HOTEL in Kasoa. I saw you with ……
    STEVE
    Shut the f--k up, you piece of horse s--t. If you know what’s good for you, you will get out of here right now before I break every bone in your body.
    Chris breaks into a hearty laugh enjoying every minute of Steve’s discomfort and fear.
    Chris turns to him, and there is hardness in the depths of his eyes.
    CHRIS
    You wanna know what happened here, right? I think everybody has a right to know how this unpleasant situation arose.
    At the mention of Kasoa, Rupert suddenly remembers the toll booth ticket he had found in his home and Barbara explaining that she needed to cool off and so drove around. He remembers how tensed she was when he asked about the toll ticket and the fact that she lied to him about her whereabouts when he called her that day. Rupert still didn’t get how the child turned out to be his.
    RUPERT
    And what have I got to do with this hotel, Mr. Bawa?
    Chris turns and faces Rupert, and his face is sad.
    CHRIS
    I was with my friend one day at the hotel when Steve came there with your wife, Doc.
    EFFE
    (screaming)
    Chris! Lord, no!
    Rupert is trembling badly. He shakes his head numbly and waves a trembling finger at Steve.
    RUPERT
    Barbara? She’s having an affair with Steve? No, no, no!
    All eyes turn to Steve.
    He looks away, shame-faced and shocked. He glances at Effe, and rubs a shaking hand across his face.
    EYRAM
    (shaking his head)
    I don’t get it, Chris. Even if Steve is having an affair with Barbara, as you claim, how does that make Elaine pregnant?
    CHRIS
    I think this is what happened. Rupert must have made love to Barbara, nine months ago, and then Steve must have had sex with Barbara just after Rupert. Steve is not circumcised-
    STEVE
    (bitter, hurt, his eyes on Effe)
    What? How the hell did you know that?
    RUPERT
    Wait wait wait! Jesus, Chris, that’s one hell of an assumption, boy!
    CHRIS
    It’s the only logical explanation, Doc. If Steve is uncircumcised, some of your sperms, still inside Barbara, must have been trapped inside Steve’s foreskin when he had sex with your wife. And when Steve made love to Elaine, probably on the same day, your sperms, trapped inside Steve’s foreskin, moved from Steve into Elaine and made her pregnant!
    EYRAM
    Dear me, what madness! Surely that is not possible!
    Effe begins to laugh and shake her head.
    EFFE
    Actually it is possible! Cases like that have happened, and even one has been recorded here not more than a couple of years ago.
    RUPERT
    (shaking his head with wonder)
    Yeah, yeah, that must be it! There was a time, way back in February, almost ten months ago, when Barbara visited me here. I had just returned from a trip and had missed her a lot. We made love in the office that day, but then I had to go into a meeting. Thirty minutes into the meeting I realized I needed some data from my laptop, so I came back to my office. When I was coming back for it I saw Steve leaving my office rather hurriedly. He was tucking in his shirt as he went. It was night, and I remember wondering about a possible affair between them because Barbara looked flustered when I entered the office. I’m sure they had a quickie that night, and I almost caught them! I’ll be damned!
    Steve is shaking his head, and there is devastation on his face. He looks absolutely crushed. The reality finally hit him. He remembered that incident quite well. When he went home that day, Effe was at the theatre and Elaine seduced him into sleeping with her.
    STEVE
    Oh no, no, no! Oh. Lord, no, no, no!
    Eyram is laughing too.
    EYRAM
    This is some crazy s--t! Rupe’s sperm gets trapped inside Steve’s uncircumcised d--k and makes Elaine pregnant? Oh, my God! That is poetic justice of the highest caliber!
    Rupert takes two quick steps forward and suddenly lands a hard fist into Steve’s face, right into his nose.
    Steve yelps with pain as blood spurts from his nose. Rupert also shouts with pain because his knuckles hurt from the blow.
    RUPERT
    You hypocrite! You hit me because you thought I was with Elaine, meanwhile you are the one sleeping with my wife!
    Steve sinks to the floor, clutching his bleeding nose, and his father growls and makes a move for Rupert, who retreats with fear.
    The Commander draws back his fist to hit Rupert, but Chris steps forward and glares at him.
    CHRIS
    You better not.
    The Commander looks at Chris defiantly, sees the hardness in there, and then he turns to his son with a curse.
    Effe stands in front of Steve and shakes her head wonderingly.
    EFFE
    Steve! Elaine wasn’t enough? You were cheating on me with Barbara, a married woman too? The wife of your colleague? My God, did I know you at all?
    Steve falls to his knees in front of Effe and grabs her legs.
    STEVE
    Effe, honey, please, please, please forgive me! I’m so sorry, baby! Effe, please, you know I never loved any of them! I don’t know what came over me. Please find some space in your heart and forgive me. I love only you. This is all a great punishment for me. Please, we can have our life back! All that is in the past. I’m never going to look at another woman again. I give you my word.
    Without a word Effe turns and leaves the Ward.
    Rupert grips Chris hand and shakes it hard.
    RUPERT
    Thanks, partner. Thank you very much.
    CHRIS
    It’s cool, Boss.
    He turns and runs after Effe.
    Rupert is looking down at the baby, and a huge grin splits his bleeding face.
    RUPERT
    My son! My son!!
    Eyram comes and stands beside him.
    EYRAM
    He’s very handsome like his father. You inally got your child after all, without really enjoying the act.
    He looks at her laughing eyes, and they both laugh, and stare at each other..

    Episode 27

    Continues..
    TWENTY-SEVEN DAYS
    Elaine can’t stop crying.
    She is devastated.
    She is with Doctor Anaman and her friends.
    The shocked doctor has just finished explaining to her how she had ended up giving birth to Dr. Rupert Henderson’s son.
    DR. ANAMAN
    (in a kind voice)
    I’m sorry, Elaine. I’m very sorry. That’s how it happened!
    Elaine cannot speak, and she cannot stop crying. Dr. Anaman sighs deeply and for a moment he considers sedating her again to calm her down, but he decides it will be best to let her cry.
    Sheena tries to hold and console her, but Elaine pushes her away.
    REBECCA
    Please, Elly! Be strong! Please!
    But Elaine just can’t stop.
    The door opens and a nurse comes.
    She is pushing a cot; Elaine’s new born baby is lying in the cot.
    At the sight of the baby Elaine screams shrilly and gets off the bed.
    She runs to a corner of the ward, sits on the floor and cowers with fear and rage.
    ELAINE
    (screaming)
    SEND HIM AWAY! I DON’T WANT TO SEE HIM! TAKE HIM A AWAYYYYYYYY!!
    They try to calm her, but suddenly she picks up a flask on a low table and hurls it at the cot.
    DR. ANAMAN
    Jesus! Calm down, Elaine!!!
    ELAINE
    TAKE HIM AWAYYYYYYYY! I WILL KILL HIM! TAKE HIM AWAAAAYYYYYY!!!
    Luckily the flask misses the cot and crashes into the door, and hot water pours out of it.
    DR. ANAMAN
    (gesturing to the nurse)
    Take him out.
    The nurse wheels the baby out of the ward.
    The door opens again and Steve enters.
    Elaine flies at him, hands raised, and she begins to scratch at his face.
    ELAINE
    (still screaming)
    STEVE! B-----D!! YOU MADE ME CARRY THAT BEAST IN ME!! BASTAAAAAAARD!!! YOU WERE CHEATING ON ME WITH THAT WOMAN!!! BASTAAAAAARD!!
    Her fingers have opened a couple of deep cuts on Steve’s face.
    Her friends drag her back. She takes off her wedding ring and throws it at Steve.
    STEVE
    Elaine, dammit-
    ELAINE
    GET OUT STEVE!! I DON’T EVER WANT TO SEE YOU AGAIN. OUUUUUUUTTTT!!!!
    Luckily Dr. Anaman injects her then, and a few seconds later she goes limp and they put her on the bed.
    STEVE
    (in a depressed voice)
    Jesus, Gabby! What’s wrong with her?
    Doctor Anaman looks at Steve with sudden intense dislike.
    DR. ANAMAN
    Are you asking me? You’re also a d--n Doctor, Steve! She’s suffering from postpartum psychosis! You see the harm your undisciplined penis has caused?
    STEVE
    Postpartum psychosis? Oh, Lord! No!
    SHEENA
    (in a worried voice)
    Please, what’s this postpartu thing?
    DR. ANAMAN
    She is temporarily insane. She needs to be taken to our psychiatric section.
    Doctor Anaman walks out in a blast of fury.
    THE HENDERSON RESIDENCE
    Rupert Henderson enters the living-room.
    Barbara gets up and approaches him. She is wearing a very short pair of blue jeans and a halter top.
    She looks sexy and very beautiful indeed.
    She stands up and approaches him.
    She makes a mock face at him and puts her arms around his neck and kisses him gently.
    BARBARA
    You still have that lost-boy look you had yesterday, sweetheart. What’s ailing you?
    Rupert drops his attache case into a couch and walks to the bar to pour himself a drink.
    They are showing CHEATERS on the television, and he smiles sadly as he picks the remote and lowers the volume.
    RUPERT
    Elaine gave birth yesterday, Barbs. A very handsome little boy. And it turns out he is my son.
    Barbara stops suddenly, and her face go very cold with a sudden explosion of jealousy.
    She speaks through furious lips.
    BARBARA
    I don’t understand, Rupe. What do you mean “your son”?
    Rupert sits down slowly and takes a sip of his drink.
    RUPERT
    Actually, it shocked all of us yesterday. The boy is white and bears a striking resemblance to me. Steve was furious, and yesterday we had to take a quick DNA test, and it showed that I’m the child’s biological father.
    Barbara’s hands turn into claws at her sides. She stares at her husband with unrestrained hatred.
    BARBARA
    You impregnated Elaine, that s--t?
    Rupert waves his drink at her, then drains the glass.
    RUPERT
    Oh, nothing as dramatic as that! You remember that time, ten months or so ago, when you came to the office and we had a quickie? You were so d--n h---y, I remember, and we were so into it. And you wanted more but I had to step into a meeting. Well, guess what happened! It seems Steve came into my office and had sex with you too, that same day, a few minutes after I left you.
    Barbara’s face drains of blood. She begins to tremble.
    She swoons and almost crashes to the ground. Rupert looks at her without pity.
    She takes tottering steps forward and falls down on her knees. She tries to speak, and tears just fills her eyes.
    BARBARA
    (in a choked voice)
    Oh… Rupe…
    RUPERT
    (voice now filled with pain)
    So this is what happened. Steve is not circumcised, right?
    Her lips tremble, and she shakes her head numbly.
    BARBARA
    Rupe!
    RUPERT
    (deep agony on his face now)
    Well, some of my sperms got trapped under Steve’s foreskin when he made love to you, because he’s not circumcised. Now when he left you he went and had sex with Elaine, and my sperms, trapped in his foreskin after he made love to you, fertilized Elaine’s eggs, and she got pregnant. Ha, Steve thought he was the father, the sterile son-of-a-b---h! Now that is crazy, isn’t it? In the end, you succeeded in giving me a son after all, Barbs!
    Rupert is in so much pain, and he is squeezing the glass so hard that it breaks, and the shards cut his palm, and blood begins to flow, but he doesn’t appear to feel it.
    Barbara is crying uncontrollably now. Her whole face is a picture of wretchedness, a reflection of bitter remorse.
    BARBARA
    (bitterly,remorsefully)
    Oh, my darling! I’m so sorry! Never meant to hurt you! Please forgive me, darling! I’ve called it off! I broke off with him, my love! It began in a moment of insanity! I’m sorry, darling! It’s was nothing! Just nothing! It is you I love!
    RUPERT
    (screaming)
    STOP LYING! A HOTEL? THE LOVE BED HOTEL, RIGHT? YOU WERE HIS W---E!!! GODDAMN YOU, BARBS!!
    She tries to hold on to him.
    BARBARA
    I’s so sorry! Please forgive me, Rupe. Oh, I’m so terribly sorry! I broke it off!!
    Rupert pushes her away from him and enters the guest room.
    He locks it behind him, and although she cries and hammers on it for a long time, he pays no heed to her.
    He notices the blood trickling from his hand for the first time, and as he walks towards the bathroom door to get it cleaned, his legs begin to tremble, and when he enters the bathroom he falls to his knees and begins to weep in a heartbroken manner.
    THE HOLLISON RESIDENCE
    Jonathan Afful and Steve Hollison enter the living-room.
    They are both very drunk.
    Steve’s parents are huddled on the couch. His mother gets up, and there are dried tear trails on her face.
    She tries to touch her son, but he moves back from her.
    IRIS HOLLISON
    Stevie! Oh, my boy-
    STEVE
    (in a very hurt voice)
    No, Mama, no! You and Dad, you wanted your heir, YOUR GRANDSON … and now see what happened? Your d--n meddling nose robbed me of the love of my life!
    His father gets up angrily.
    CAPTAIN HOLLISON
    Hey, boy! Watch how you speak to your mother!
    AFFUL
    (laughing drunkenly)
    But it’s true! You guys messed up his life pretty good! Now you have your heir… a white boy! How are you going to explain that to your friends and family?
    The Captain shakes his head.
    CAPTAIN HOLLISON
    We’ve all wronged Effe! Getting drunk will not fix it. If you have any sense left in your heads, boys, you would both go and beg those sisters to take you back.
    And with that he storms out of the room.
    IRIS HOLLISON
    (fresh tears in her eyes)
    I ruined your life, Stevie, my son! And I’m very sorry! It was wrong of me, sorry!
    AFFUL
    (snickering)
    Technically, you didn’t ruin his life, Mama. He was already slugging Elaine way before you came on the scene. It was only when she got pregnant that you sensibly asked him to do the right thing and stay with her. How were you to know he was carrying some white man’s schilazoo under his d--n foreskin? The way I see it, he dug his own grave, and lost Effe, just like I dug my own grave and lost Eyram. But what I don’t understand is why this fool has remained uncircumcised for all these years! F**king idiot! Royal blood my a-s! Now look at all the trouble that extra skin on his d--n d--k has gotten him!
    Steve tries to speak, but then he slowly shakes his head as tears fill his eyes.
    STEVE
    Oh, Effe, Effe, Effe! My love! My true love! I’m so sorry! Please forgive me!!
    Jonathan Afful laughs stridently, but Iris Hollison takes her son’s hands and speaks gently.
    IRIS HOLLISON
    I’m sorry, my son! Don’t worry, I’ll make it right! I’ll go to Effe and beg her!!
    Steve takes his hands from her and goes to stand at the window. His lips tremble as silent tears fall down his cheeks.
    STEVE
    (in a tremulous voice)
    I had it all! A good job, a very talented beautiful wife! Life was so good, so full of life! She was an angel behind me, shielding me from the pains of the world! And what did I do? For want of a child I hurt her, cheated on her with her own sister! I hurt her, humiliated her, and killed her soul! FOR WHAT?? I divorced her and married Elaine. FOR WHAT? I was carrying a b-----d man’s juice in my stupid foreskin! A royal man? Jon is right … look at all the trouble that d--n foreskin got me! D--n, I’m getting circumcised tomorrow!! And now I’ve lost Effe and put Elaine in a d--n mental institution! For what, Mama? FOR WHAT?
    Jonathan Afful goes and stands beside his friend.
    He lifts a bottle of scotch to his lips and drinks long, and then he gives the bottle to Steve, who also takes a pull.
    Iris Hollison puts a trembling hand to her lips as she sees the pain of her son.
    AFFUL
    (slurring drunkenly)
    We’re two fools, my paddy. We thought we were invisible, that we’ve permanently conquered the hearts of those twins, but it turned out they’re way stronger than we thought. Me, I’ve gone d--n impotent. Now if Eyram asks me to lick her toes, I’ll obey! But I’ve lost her trust, I’ve lost her love… and I’ve lost her body! And do you know something funny? She took my d--n d--k along! I can’t get a f**king erection!!!
    The two friends begin to laugh loudly at that, but suddenly Afful sits down and begins to weep bitterly.
    Steve sits beside him and says nothing, but when he raises his head Iris sees tortured tears pouring down her son’s face too.
    She goes to sit down beside him, and then puts her arm around his shoulders and draws him close.
    IRIS HOLLISON
    It’s a difficult time, my dear love. But it’s not over yet. You and Effe divorced just a few days ago. She might still be hurting, but this is the time to pursue her again, and make her see how sorry you are.
    STEVE
    (bitterly)
    There’s another man in her life, Mama!
    Iris shakes her son hard.
    IRIS HOLLISON
    A taxi driver, son! You’re the CEO of the best hospital in Africa! You were her first love, her husband, the man who broke her virginity! You have ties over her that no man has, and which certainly wouldn’t be easy for an illiterate taxi driver to cut! Have your drink, go to sleep, and tomorrow you’re going to pursue Effe like you’ve never done before. You can have her back, son! I’m very sure of that. Nothing is impossible under this planet.
    STEVE
    (hopefully)
    Really, Mama? You believe that?
    IRIS HOLLISON
    I know that, son.
    AFFUL
    (laughing raucously)
    Hogwash! F**king hogwash! He’s lost her forever! That taxi b-----d gave it to her like a toff! She ain’t coming back for you, my paddy! She’s gone for good.
    IRIS HOLLISON
    (in a hard voice)
    Shut up!
    Jonathan falls silent.
    Steve wipes tears from his eyes.
    STEVE
    I believe you, Mama.
    IRIS HOLLISON
    You should, my dearest son. You’re going to have the love of your life back. Don’t you worry!
    She leaves the two drunken friends and pick her phone.
    She leaves the living-room and goes out to the back porch, and then she dials a number.
    MADAM IVY
    (icily)
    I’ve been expecting your call.
    IRIS HOLLISON
    (remorseful)
    I was wrong, Ivy. But I’m a mother, and I did for my son what you would’ve done in my stead. But I admit I was wrong. For that I apologize to you. Being a mother, I also know you wouldn’t let your daughter marry that wretch of a taxi driver. My son is available, and only your daughter can heal him now. It seems we both have a common goal.
    MADAM IVY
    You’re a real b---h, Iris. You’ve always been. If it had been any other man apart from that Chris Bawa, I would’ve let my daughter go and let your son rot in hell. He doesn’t deserve Effe!
    IRIS HOLLISON
    I know, Ivy. I know. I’m more to be blamed, forgive me. Like I said, I’m truly sorry. But here we are, and it’s that taxi driver. We have a common enemy. The old adage is a fact in this instance: the enemy of my enemy is my friend!
    Ivy Kedem is silent for a while. When she speaks her voice is serious and ice-cold
    MADAM IVY
    If Effe and Steve come together, there’ll be the same problem. Effe still might not be able to give you grandchildren.
    IRIS HOLLISON
    (with a long sigh)
    I know. I know. After the shock of what happened with Elaine, I guess we wouldn’t mind so much if they adopt. I’ve spoken to the Commander. We’ll support them to adopt. I’m being serious and honest with you, Ivy.
    MADAM IVY
    Alright. Talk. I’m listening. What do you have in mind

    Episode 28

    Continues..
    TWENTY-EIGHT DAYS
    There is a loud pounding on Effe’s door.
    She wakes up and looks at the time sleepily.
    It is just past four in the morning.
    She groans and reluctantly gets out of bed.
    She is very tired and sleepy.
    She walks to the door in her negligee and opens it.
    Her mother is standing there, already dressed, and she is holding her phone. Her face is very agitated indeed.
    Effe is instantly scared.
    EFFE
    Mama!! What is it? Is Daddy okay?
    MADAM IVY
    It’s your mother-in-law, Princess.
    Effe looks puzzled.
    EFFE
    My what?
    MADAM IVY
    (sounding distraught)
    Iris, Steve’s mother. Seems Steve took some pills. Iris says he was drunk last night, and was weeping, and calling for you. And then just a few minutes ago she went to check on him and found him lying on the floor, with some pills all around him. He’s not responding to any of her attempts to revive him. She called an ambulance, and then she called me.
    Effe’s heart gives a lurch of fear.
    EFFE
    Oh, no! Dear Lord. I’ve to go over!
    Madam Ivy watches as Effe flies into her clothes and then snatch up a satchel that contains emergency first aid medications and equipment.
    Madam Ivy walks into the room and sits on the bed, and then she removes Effe’s phone from its charger.
    Madam Ivy quickly walks into the bathroom and removes the battery from the phone.
    When she returns to the room she sees Effe feverishly lifting her bedsheets.
    MADAM IVY
    Anything wrong, baby?
    EFFE
    My phone. It was right here, charging. Now I can’t find it. Please call my line and help me locate it.
    Madam Ivy takes out her own phone from her pocket, dials Effe’s number and puts it to her ear. She shrugs innocently.
    MADAM IVY
    Switched off, dear. You can take mine, if you want. I’ll look for it later, because I’m sure every second you waste here puts Steve in more danger, my love.
    Effe lifts her pillows, and then she sighs heavily.
    EFFE
    Alright! I’ll go. Can I use your car?
    MADAM IVY
    Of course, Princess. It’s out of the garage already.
    They leave the room together.
    When Effe is seated in the car she looks at her mother warily.
    EFFE
    I wanted to call Chris, Mama. He’s coming to pick me up. Please let him wait for me when he comes in case I’m not back by that time.
    MADAM IVY
    Sure, darling. I’ll do that.
    Effe looks at her mother for a long time, and then she speaks softly.
    EFFE
    Mama, I know you don’t like Chris. I know you don’t want me dating him. But he means the world to me, Mama. I care for him a lot. Please let him wait for me no matter what.
    Madam Ivy raises her eyebrows.
    MADAM IVY
    Lord, Sweetheart. Steve is in danger and all you care about is that boy? I thought we spoke about that and laid that issue to rest.
    EFFE
    We did, Mama, but I still don’t understand why you made him come into my room when you knew Steve was also there. That could’ve ended whatever we had if Chris hadn’t trusted me. Please, don’t let me lose faith in you, Mama.
    Madam Ivy nods and speaks in a placating voice.
    MADAM IVY
    I’ll make him wait, my love.
    Effe speeds out of the house.
    Madam Ivy returns to Effe’s room and puts the battery back into Effe’s phone and puts it on charge, but she does not turn it on.
    She hears her name being called from downstairs and goes down to see her husband already dressed.
    She serves him breakfast and sits with him whilst he eats.
    He gets up to leave and then hands a large bag to her.
    KEN KEDEM
    That’s the money from Alhaji Bimbilla, honey. Kindly deposit it in the account for me this morning. I’ll go first to the Tema Port to see about the clearing of his shipment.
    MADAM IVY
    One hundred thousand Ghana Cedis, you said?
    Her husband nods.
    KEN KEDEM
    I was uncomfortable with it, as you know. Told him next time he should make a bank transfer. I don’t know why that man wants to deal so much with currency.
    MADAM IVY
    Don’t worry, dear. I’ll go with Eyram to deposit it.
    When her husband leaves, she puts the large bag on the couch and goes into the kitchen to wash the plates her husband had used.
    Much later the doorbell rings, and she goes to the door.
    Chris, looking incredibly handsome, is standing there. He looks at her warily.
    CHRIS
    Good morning, Mrs. Kedem. I came to pick up Effe. The security man said you have some information for me, from Effe, so I should see you.
    Madam Ivy looks into Chris’ eyes for a long time, and there is no disguising the fact that there is much hatred in her.
    MADAM IVY
    Do come in. Come and have a seat.
    Chris shakes his head.
    CHRIS
    If Effe is not here, I’d rather not come in, Madam.
    MADAM IVY
    Why? Am I going to eat you up? You can leave then.
    She closes the door.
    After a moment of hesitation Chris takes out his phone and calls Effe again, but her phone is still off.
    He sighs deeply, opens the door and goes in.
    Madam Ivy is sitting at one end of the couch. She looks at him coldly.
    MADAM IVY
    Sit down, Chris. I want a word with you.
    CHRIS
    I’d rather stand, Madam, if you don’t mind.
    MADAM IVY
    Suit yourself. Tell me this, you have slept with my daughter, haven’t you?
    Chris looks levelly at her, and then he sits down slowly next to her. He takes one of her hands in his and speaks gently.
    CHRIS
    I’m not going to answer that, Madam. However, let me say this for the very last time. You love your daughter very much, as I can see. Somehow, I’ve fallen in love with her so hard. She’s the only woman I’ve ever loved, and I’ll always love her. You can’t stop that. You can try to be civil with me, and I’ll give you every little respect and adoration you deserve as the mother of the woman I love. I’m begging of you, Madam, don’t let us pull Effe in two different directions. I love Effe. With all my heart. Please let me love her!
    Madam Ivy snatches her hand from his and stands up. She looks at him with fury and rage, and her hands curl into cruel fists.
    MADAM IVY
    Well, she doesn’t love you. Love is no longer that sentimental crap you young people want it to be. That kind of love only exists in books and in movies. Nowadays you must have a certain level of social standing of affluence, charisma and financial clout, to date women in a certain category of sophistication. For starters, you’re way below her – socially, financially and educationally. You were just a distraction for her, at a time of need. Now her husband is free, and they’ve decided to try again to make it work. She spent the night with Steve, and hasn’t come back yet. That’s something, isn’t it?
    The look of raw pain and terrible torture on his face almost make her balk, and quickly she leaves him in the hall, climbs upstairs, and stands at an upstairs window.
    Moments later she sees him in the courtyard, walking fast, his shoulders drooped.
    He is a picture of abject misery.
    She turns from the window and goes to her room, and there she sits on her bed and holds herself tightly as she remembers Effe’s warning to her.
    THE HOLLISON RESIDENCE
    Effe picks her bag and races up the stairs to the front door of the luxurious house that used to be her home.
    The door flies open before she can get to it, and she is faced by the contrite face of her former in-laws.
    CAPTAIN HOLLISON
    Oh, dearest me! Do come in, come in!
    Effe enters.
    EFFE
    Where’s he? Where’s Steve now?
    IRIS HOLLISON
    (voice remorseful)
    We’re so sorry, Effe. He’s in the bedroom.
    The Captain is speaking again, but Effe dashes past him and goes straight to the bedroom where Steve is sitting on the edge of the bed, dressed in a flowing white gown.
    Effe comes to a crushing halt, and her face screws up with sudden anger.
    STEVE
    Please, honey, not that look. It’s all my fault. I went on a drinking spree with Jon last night, and I had a splitting headache. I got up in the night to get some medicine and I’m afraid I was too drunk and fell down on the floor, and the bottle fell, and the pills spread all over me. My parents found me and were concerned. The ambulance from the hospital came, and revived me. We tried to call you that I’m okay but your phone was off.
    CAPTAIN HOLLISON
    So sorry, my dear. We called your mother, but she said you left without a phone. We’re terribly sorry, dear.
    Effe looks from one to the other, and she tries very hard to fight down the strong anger that is trying to overcome her.
    Maybe it is just coincidence but she is getting a funny feeling that she has been manipulated by these people with the connivance of her own mother.
    But she trusts her mother explicitly, and is convinced that she has been an innocent victim.
    She knows the Captain well, and is aware he will never agree to any such scam, and so she decides to give them the benefit of the doubt.
    EFFE
    Well, since you’re so fine, save for a possible hangover, I think I must go now.
    Iris Hollison steps forward and suddenly she falls on her knees in front of Effe.
    IRIS HOLLISON
    (in a contrite voice)
    Maybe God brought you here, Effe. So that I can render an apology to you. I’ve been a most horrible mother-in-law to you. Please, please, Effe, forgive me. Forgive me for ruining this wonderful love you had for my son! I’m so sorry, dear!
    Effe is shocked and knocked for six.
    She had not expected that from Iris. She is a hard woman who had indeed been the cause of most of Effe’s heartaches in her marriage.
    To see the woman so remorseful affects Effe very much. And to compound it, the Captain also begins to kneel down.
    Effe shouts and holds him up.
    EFFE
    No, no, no! Please don’t knee before me! I beg of you!
    CAPTAIN HOLLISON
    But we have done you wrong, my daughter. We have done you so wrong! We ruined a wonderful marriage! Please forgive us and forgive our son and take him back. We will never worry you again.
    For a while they apologize to Effe despite all her efforts to stop them.
    Steve even kneels and begs her. In spite of her resolve Effe is affected, and she also finds herself crying again.
    But she realizes that her tears are not tears of pain. They are tears of freedom, tears of vindication.
    EFFE
    It’s okay! I spent more than ten years with you all. I can’t hate you, and I can’t hate Steve. Whatever happened was for a reason. I’ve forgiven you. I’m not holding anything against you.
    Steve holds her hands in his, and looks at her with love on his face.
    STEVE
    (plaintively)
    Come back to me, Effe, please! I beg you! I’ve always loved you! I’ll love you forever! I’ve learnt a great lesson! Please, my honey, my love, let’s give this love a second chance!
    Effe snatches her hands away and steps back from him, appalled.
    EFFE
    Steve! Elaine is out there, suffering from postpartum psychosis! You don’t even know where your son is, do you?
    A look of terrible rage crosses Steve’s face.
    STEVE
    (painfully)
    He’s not my son! He’s Rupert’s son! Dammit it, Effe, don’t bring pain to my heart!
    EFFE
    I will! Because it seems to me you have no heart! No matter how badly Elaine behaved, she still believed she was pregnant with your child! You brought foreign material into her, and now she is insane, a condition that could become permanent if we don’t show her love and understanding! Please don’t you dare speak about love now, not when she’s suffering so much! Have a heart, Steve!
    STEVE
    I never loved her, Effe! It’s unfortunate things turned out this way, but it’s you I love, you I’ll always love! I’ll be there for her, of course, but please, please, please, it’s you I want, need and love!
    EFFE
    No, Steve. No. I can’t take this. Not now, please.
    STEVE
    Is it because of that d--n taxi driver? You don’t know him! You don’t know anything about him! You know me, you know my strengths, my weaknesses, and my soul! I betrayed you, and I messed up! But you can decide to forgive me, give me a second chance! We can adopt a baby, some babies, as many as you want. But what about him? He may profess love now, but what happens in the future when he also decides he wants children? He may leave you! I’m going to be faithful and dedicated to you. I’m going to adore you, from now on! Please, Effe, give us a chance!
    The Captain holds Effe’s hands.
    CAPTAIN HOLLISON
    He’s right, you know. Men who go out and gain the pain of being scalded stick forever. Believe me, my dear, I know.
    IRIS HOLLISON
    Effe, dear! We’ve all learnt a bitter lesson. From now on I’ll leave you alone! I’ll become the loving mother-in-law you’ve always wanted. Things can go back to normal, for a better happier family! Please, consider it!
    Effe walks aimlessly to the huge wardrobe and leans against it. Her eyes are haunted.
    She is confused momentarily.
    Steve has learnt a great lesson. He has changed! His parents have also learnt their lesson. If she accepts Steve now, she can have a better future, and count on his adoration just as he promised.
    Her fear is that Chris is a new entity. She hasn’t known him for a month and yet he has swept her principles clean into the waters, and has made her feel things she has never ever dreamt of.
    He has been a child gigolo. He has known women, even if he had been blackmailed by a vicious prostitute.
    She is not certain of a future with him. She is not even certain if what she feels for him is love.
    She is not certain of anything. She is so confused.
    She wants to leave, but they persuade her to stay and have breakfast first.
    She helps Iris prepare the breakfast, and lays the table.
    They enjoy a super breakfast, the best she has ever had with Steve and his parents.
    Iris is full of fun, exhibiting a great show of love and remorse, so much so that Effe marvels if she is the same woman who had been so cruel to her.
    Steve sits next to her and fawns over her. He is so loving, so caring, so much the Steve she fell in love with.
    Soon it begins to dawn on her that Chris will be waiting for her at home.
    It dampens her spirits immediately.
    She clears the table fast, washes up, and inform them she is leaving.
    CAPTAIN HOLLISON
    Alright, dear, but do think over what we asked of you. We need you back.
    IRIS HOLLISON
    Let us begin on a clean slate. There is no marriage without bitter battles, my dear.
    EFFE
    I will think about it.
    They go out with her. She descends the steps with Steve at her side. When she gets to her car, her back is turned to the main gates.
    Steve looks across Effe’s shoulder, and then hep takes her into his arms.
    Suddenly the small gate swings open, and Chris enters. His jealous eyes picks up Steve’s parents on the landing, laughing and happy.
    He sees Steve in his morning white gown taking Effe into his arms.
    Of course Steve has seen Chris, and he knows Effe hasn’t seen him enter.
    He takes Effe in his arms intending to kiss her cheeks, but then he kisses her on the lips.
    Effe, confused and totally not able to take in all that is happening, allows him to kiss her.
    She even opens her lips to receive him, but the moment his lips touch hers she knows!
    She knows that she is no longer his. She knows that he will never bring back the spark, the passion, the fierce love and the excitement she feels for another man, a semi-literate taxi driver.
    She knows, beyond all doubts, that she will not be able to hate Steve, but he will become just a friend.
    She knows that she is no longer confused. She knows that she is no longer afraid of the man Chris Bawa. She reasons that at one point in time Steve was also a total stranger too. She took a chance with him and they we’re happy together until the Elaine saga.
    If Steve thought his kiss will enslave her, it rather did the opposite… it set her free forever.
    Suddenly she knows this is the very last time Steve will ever hold her, or touch her.
    Suddenly all she wants to do is rush home and throw herself into Chris’ arms and tell him she is no longer afraid, that she has accepted his proposal, that she wants to marry him, and make love with him forever.
    She steps away from Steve and shakes her head gently as tears fall down her cheeks.
    EFFE
    I’m sorry, Steve. It’s over. I love that taxi driver! He is a stranger just like you when we first met. I love him with my whole being. Sorry, but you and I are done. We are history.
    Steve’s face screws up with both pain, rage and jealousy, and as his eyes move across her shoulders she knows, even before turning, that something horrible has just happened.
    She whirls round, and sees Chris for the first time.
    His whole body is trembling, and he can barely stand. The pain on his face cuts into her heart like a hot knife through butter.
    It strikes her with such agony to see him in so much pain.
    She takes stumbling steps towards him. Chris starts backing out wearing his pain on his face.
    EFFE
    Chris! Darling! No, it’s not what you think! Please, Chris!
    He turns away, but not before she has seen his tears falling.
    She runs after him, but when she goes out his taxi is already speeding away.
    She screams out his name. She races after the taxi, crying in agony, calling him, pleading, her voice going hoarse…
    He does not stop.
    He is gone.

    Episode 29

    Continues..
    TWENTY-NINE DAYS
    Effe sits up slowly in bed.
    She had gotten in late the previous night.
    After Chris left she had wanted so much to go and search for him and explain the situation to him, but as always her work had been an urgent factor she could not ignore.
    She had surgeries scheduled at the Eden Hospital, and she had finished quite late.
    Afterwards she had gone looking for him everywhere she thought he could be, but she had not seen him. Since her phone was still not with her, she had used the hospital phones to call him, but his phone had been off.
    She went to his house a first time, and then went there again late in the night, but his door had been shut, and his next-door neighbour had informed her Chris had not come back since he left in the morning.
    Effe had come back home almost close to midnight, and had gone to her room dejectedly.
    She had experienced the worst night of her life.
    Sleep had failed her, and she had tossed and writhed on the bed for a long time, and had finally drifted into a troubled sleep at dawn.
    But now, as she sits on the bed, she is almost calm.
    She is no longer wondering why she is hurting so much.
    She now knows without any shred of doubt that she is completely head over heels in love with the strange taxi driver who had slammed into her life at a time she felt the world was ending.
    She knows that no matter what it takes, no matter how long it takes, she is going to find him, and she is going to make him know that there is no man, and there will never be any man, apart from him.
    Slowly she becomes aware that there are loud voices coming from the living-room, and she can hear her mother’s voice at its most shrill.
    Effe’s jaw tightens almost perceptively.
    She is convinced that her mother might be the brain behind Chris’ sudden appearance at Steve’s residence the previous day.
    She heads to the bathroom and freshens up quickly, and then she slips into a jeans and a blouse and descends to the living-room area, intent on having the truth from her mother.
    She comes to an abrupt stop on the staircase and surveys the living-room area.
    Her parents are there, and so is Eyram.
    There are two other men with them.
    And they are wearing police uniforms.
    One of them is standing near the door, feet apart, hands linked behind his back.
    His cap is pulled low over his forehead. He is a huge, tall, muscle-bound man.
    The other is in the uniform of a Chief Inspector.
    He is short and slight, and has bloodshot eyes that seem to rove continuously.
    He is sitting beside Ken Kedem and speaking, urgently whilst Ken shakes his head almost continually.
    For no apparent reason, Effe feels very scared instantly.
    For no apparent reason she is convinced that the presence of the policemen in her house that early in the morning has something to do with Chris.
    Eyram stands up quickly when she sees Effe and climbs the stairs to stand in front of her sister.
    Her eyes are both scared and worried as she looks at Effe’s strained face.
    EFFE
    (in an unsteady voice)
    What’s going on here, Rammy?
    EYRAM
    Oh, Ef! Something really terrible happened! Daddy lost an awful amount of money yesterday. One hundred thousand Ghana cedis to be precise. It’s the cost of some goods he imported for a certain Alhaji Bimbilla. He gave the money to Mom to deposit into an account yesterday, and Mom claims she forgot about it on the couch.
    EFFE
    (puzzled)
    It got missing in this house? That can’t be possible. No one’s a thief here!
    EYRAM
    (in a trembling voice)
    Mom called the police. She says Chris was here yesterday, and she left him in the living-room alone. She’s convinced Chris stole… no, no, I didn’t mean that, Ef. Mom is saying Chris took the money!
    EFFE
    (outraged)
    Preposterous!!
    She steps past her sister and descends to the living-room.
    The Chief Inspector stands up and faces her, and Effe sees for the very first time that the man has no hair on his face.
    He has no moustache, no beard, no sideburns and, shocking of all, no eyebrows or eye-lashes.
    It gives his face a very disorienting and bizarre look that is absolutely unsettling.
    Effe instantly dislikes him furiously.
    She faces him, but before she can speak her Mom stands up quickly.
    MADAM IVY
    Chief, this is my other daughter, Effe. Sweetheart, meet Chief Inspector Cuger Danso, and Sergeant Ato McBaiden.
    Effe gives her mother a very hurt look, and shakes her head with disappointment.
    EFFE
    How could you, Mom? How could you? Chris is not a thief! He didn’t take that money! Why are you doing this, anyway? Why do you hate him so much?
    The Chief Inspector holds up his hands, and smiles slyly, but it does not reach his eyes.
    CUGER
    Woah, Missy, relax. No one is calling Mr. Bawa, or whatever his name is, a thief! That is the work of a Judge. We’re just here to investigate a robbery, and catch the culprit if we can!
    Effe turns to the man with furious eyes.
    EFFE
    (harshly)
    And what exactly do you mean by whatever his name is?
    CUGER
    (smiling slyly again as if he is greatly enjoying himself)
    I was in the process of explaining that to your father when you came down. Would you mind sitting down for a while, Missy? Let’s all try and be calm as we try to solve this crime.
    Effe walks to where her father is sitting dejectedly. She looks earnestly at him.
    EFFE
    Please, Daddy, Chris didn’t steal that money. I know that for a fact. I love him very much Dad! I want to spend the rest of my life with him! He is a good person. He is not a thief.
    MADAM IVY
    (angrily)
    Don’t be stupid, Effe! That man is a criminal! He has put you under his spell, hasn’t he?
    EFFE
    (looking at her coldly)
    Mama, you and I will talk but not now! Dad, Chris didn’t take that money!!
    Ken Kedem’s eyes move from Effe to his wife to the policeman, and he shakes his head as if dazed.
    KEN KEDEM
    I was also quite furious at first when your Mom said Chris could’ve taken the money, dear, but then the Chief Inspector began saying all those horrible things, and I got so confused!
    EFFE
    What? What did he say?
    CUGER
    (in a condescending voice)
    Please, Ma’am, just take a seat and-
    EFFE
    (interrupting angrily)
    I don’t need to take a seat to listen to you, do I? Besides, there’s nothing you can say to convince me Chris took that money!
    CUGER
    (shaking his head understandably)
    I’m not surprised, Ma’am, that you feel that way. Actually these have been the exact first sentiments of many women who have fallen victims to that boy who calls himself Chris Bawa, Clement Boat, Charlie Boateng, Charm Biko, Claudius Bawuah, Charles Baisie … always with the CB initials. Everywhere he goes, all over Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, he breaks women’s hearts because, excuse my language, he is very good in bed and can be very romantic. He uses that to trap unsuspecting rich women!
    The words shatter Effe so much that she begins to tremble. The Chief Inspector’s words go straight to her heart, cutting her up terribly, so terribly that tears spring to her eyes, and she finds it hard to breathe.
    For a moment she is so dazed that she totters on her feet, and her father reaches out to steady her, but she slowly lowers herself into the seat beside him.
    EFFE
    (in a grave whisper)
    What? What did you say?
    The Chief Inspector sits down, and looks at Effe with fake emotion that does not reach his eyes.
    CUGER
    The man you know as Chris Bawa is a fake, a vicious criminal wanted all over Africa by Interpol. The file on him is as huge as a car. He preys on lonely unsuspecting rich women. He doesn’t care whether they’re married or not. It is said that he is very good in bed and he uses that to his advantage. He makes women fall in love with him quickly. He wins their trust in no time. He introduces himself as an orphan, or a cancer patient with just a little time to live on earth, or a man whose wife cheated on him and took all his possessions! He has a lot of fake stories that make women feel sorry for him. And then he takes their money and vanishes into thin air! But he always uses names that have CB initials. He is always assisted by his girlfriend of many years called Janet.
    Effe shakes her head as if to ward off the terrible words from the policeman.
    She can’t believe it!
    She can’t accept it!
    Lord, no, not Chris!
    But she remembers him telling her about his sad life at the orphanage, how he had fled from one Sweet Ama Baby, the evil woman who had introduced him to child prostitution!
    She remembers how he told her the orphanage had burnt down at one time, and his friend Janet had perished!
    Chris Bawa!
    Can it be true? Could he have played her so smoothly, so completely and made her fall so hard in love with him?
    Effe’s mind goes to his pained expression when he had seen her with Steve. She was sure he had been genuinely devastated! Can he feign feelings like that?
    EFFE
    No, no, no, no!! That can’t be true! That can’t be true!! You’re lying!
    CUGER
    (shaking his head sadly)
    Unfortunately, it is all true. I didn’t mean to hurt you like this, Ma’am, but whatever that boy has said to you, they are all vicious lies. I can get you the addresses and phone numbers of the numerous women he has used and ruined here in Ghana. Sometimes some of his escapades have ended tragically. So far, seven women have committed suicide because of his nefarious activities. Two in South Africa, two in Nigeria, one in Ghana, one in Togo, one in-
    Effe clamps her hands to her ears.
    EFFE
    Shut up, shut up, shut up, please shut up!
    Madam Ivy’s hands curl into angry fists as she kneels beside Effe.
    MADAM IVY
    I knew he was filth the moment I set eyes on him! He’s going to pay for this, dear, believe me!
    KEN KEDEM
    My God! That boy is a demon!
    Eyram sits beside her sister. She can’t bear the agony on Effe’s face.
    Effe avoids her mother’s hands and instead she goes into Eyram’s arms.
    As her crushed soul explodes out in agonized tears, Eyram holds her and her hatred for the boy called Chris Bawa grows into mountains.
    CUGER
    Your mother reported the theft of the one hundred thousand Ghana cedis, but when she mentioned Chris Bawa the case was transferred to me, since her description matched some of his descriptions on his Interpol profile. He’s a master of disguise, but fortunately we had a tip-off, and some of my men are working on it as I speak. We’ll have him soon, I promise you.
    Eyram looks at the Chief Inspector with distaste.
    EYRAM
    That’s okay for now, Sir. My sister is hurting, and we’ll sure give you any help we can, but for now, could we please get some privacy?
    CUGER
    (shaking his head sadly)
    I understand what your sister is going through, Ma’am, but we need a statement from her, especially when things are fresh in her mind. Any information she can give us would help greatly in arresting this infidel!
    Effe sits up and glares angrily at the man with tears streaming down her face.
    EFFE
    Please, kindly leave, would you? I’m not giving you any information now. I don’t have anything to say.
    MADAM IVY
    Come on, dear! That b-----d needs to be arrested! He’ll only find other victims to destroy! That fool! I should have killed him when I laid eyes on ……
    EFFE
    Mama!
    EYRAM
    Mama!
    KEN KEDEM
    Ease off, dear! The poor girl is hurting already!
    Madam Ivy sets her jaw angrily, but just then the Chief Inspector’s phone rings, and he puts it to his ear, listens, walks away from them and speaks softly.
    When he comes back his face is grim.
    CUGER
    Good news. Looks like someone’s cup is full. My men traced Chris and his girlfriend to a secret location at Ablorh-Adjei. I told them to hold off until I get there. We’re going to arrest him now.
    Effe gets to her feet and quickly wipes her tears from her face.
    EFFE
    I’m coming with you.
    The Chief Inspector shakes his head.
    CUGER
    I don’t think that’s advisable, Ma’am. Let’s get him and take him to the station, then you can come around.
    EFFE
    No. I want to see him, now. I want to see you arrest him. I want to talk to him before you arrest him. I want to be sure.
    KEN KEDEM
    My dear, I think the Inspector is right. If this man is who they say he is, he can be dangerous. He is a thief. He stole my money, and he could do worse things.
    EFFE
    I’m going to see him, Daddy!
    The Chief Inspector shrugs.
    CUGER
    Okay, Ma’am. You can come with us, but remember to do as I tell you.
    They all leave the house.
    Effe rides in the back of the posh police Nissan pick-up with Eyram and her mother.
    In the front are Sergeant McBaiden, who is driving, and Chief Inspector Cuger.
    Chief Cuger constantly speaks into his walkie-talkie as they drive, issuing out instructions.
    Effe is silent as her heart bleeds. She is in deep agony, and she feels that if it turns out that all the terrible things the Chief had said are true, she will certainly die.
    EFFE
    (in an agonized whisper)
    Oh, Chris! Oh, Chris!
    SOMEWHERE ON A NEW SITE AT ABLORH-ADJEI
    The house has a really dirty exterior.
    It is not painted, and there are a lot of wooden and metal debris lying around, as if work is still ongoing on the building.
    The ground is covered with overgrown green grass. There are stagnant pools of water all around.
    When Effe gets out of the car she sees Chris’ taxi parked in front of the building, and her heart sinks. Tears spurt into her eyes again, but she bites her lower lip tightly and fights them off.
    Chief Inspector Cuger speaks into his walkie-talkie again, and immediately black-clad policemen seem to materialise from the bushes.
    Effe counts about ten policemen, wearing helmets and bulletproof vests, and all of them armed.
    Her heart begins to beat with fear because she knows how violent Chris can become, and what a good fighter he is.
    He will put up a fight, and they might shoot and kill him.
    She reaches out and holds the Chief’s arm.
    EFFE
    Please. Please don’t hurt him.
    Chief Inspector Danso’s face is grim.
    CUGER
    Please stay here. We’ll try not to hurt anybody, but it’s not a promise.
    Quickly the policemen advance on the building.
    Some are covering the back, others the windows, whilst Chief Inspector Danso and Sergeant McBaiden advance on the front door.
    Effe is trembling, and Eyram holds her.
    The policemen disappear into the building. After about five minutes Madam Ivy’s phone rings, and she puts it to her ear.
    She listens for a moment and then turns to her daughters.
    MADAM IVY
    Chief Cuger wants us to go inside.
    EFFE
    Why? Is Chris really inside?
    EYRAM
    Only one way to find out, Ef. If you want to, that is. If you don’t want to we can wait here.
    Effe shakes her head dazedly.
    EFFE
    Of course I want to. I need to speak to him.
    The three women pick their way carefully through the pools of water and the weeds, and go through the entrance of the building.
    There are policemen all around, and they indicate a door to their right.
    Effe follows her mother through the door, and then she comes to a complete halt at what she sees in the room.
    The interior of the building belies its dirty exterior.
    It is painted nicely, and the room itself is furnished with the most beautiful U-shaped leather chairs Effe has ever seen.
    The plasma TV, the gadgets, the incredible carpet, the blinds, glass-topped middle table …everything in the room is expensive and beautiful.
    Lying in the centre of the room is Chris Bawa.
    He is wearing only white boxers. He is lying on his back, and his eyes are glazed and unfocused.
    Even then he looks extremely handsome.
    Lying beside him with a defiant expression on her face is a beautiful girl wearing only a pair of white lacy panties, and she has an incredibly perfect figure, and she has crossed her legs and covering her b-----s with one hand and an arm, whilst her other hand is lying across Chris’ genitals.
    The bulge in his boxers clearly tell Effe that they have been having sex.
    Effe’s soul screams with unbearable crushing pain.
    There are empty alcohol bottles on the floor.
    On the center-table is a white powdery substance, and some crushed weeds and strips of paper.
    She knows without a doubt that the white powder is cocaine, and the weeds can only be marijuana.
    Perhaps, worse of all, is the pouch lying on the chair, opened and displaying a lot of brown five-hundred cedi notes.
    Chief Inspector Cuger points at the pouch.
    CUGER
    Is that the pouch your husband gave you, Mrs. Kedem?
    Madam Ivy’s face is flushed with seething anger.
    MADAM IVY
    That is the pouch! Dear Lord! I hope all the money is in there!
    CUGER
    We wouldn’t know till it’s counted. Is this gentleman Chris Bawa?
    Before anybody can reply Chris gives a loud laugh.
    CHRIS
    Oh, yeah! I be Chris Bawa, the best d--k in the yard, abi? Any of you women wan make I give you some hot screw this afternoon?
    Madam Ivy cannot hold herself back anymore. She steps forward and slaps Chris hard across the face.
    MADAM IVY
    You filthy, nasty human being!
    Chris looks at her and winks nastily.
    CHRIS
    Ah, the nasty mother-in-law wants my d--k in her crack, I lie?
    Madam Ivy screams and slaps Chris again.
    EFFE
    Mama! Stop it! Just stop it, please!!
    She rushes forward and picks up a cloth from the floor, and throws it at the girl lying beside Chris.
    CHRIS
    Hey, sweet Effe! Ebe you? S--t, I miss you pass! I love your body roff! Charley, the way you dey move on top of me be too much! You dey like the way I make you scream?
    Sergeant McBaiden steps forward and drives a fist into Chris’ face.
    Chris crashes onto the floor, his lips cut in several places, and he starts to laugh even as blood drips from his mouth.
    The girl screams and dives at the Sergeant, trying to scratch out his eyes, but the policeman slaps her hard.
    Effe turns furiously on the man.
    EFFE
    What’s wrong with you? Is this how you treat suspects? Do that again, to any of them, and I’ll personally make sure you’re out of a job!
    Chris gives a whoop of joy and tries to get up.
    CHRIS
    Hey, Effe baby, you dey miss me?
    CUGER
    Lay off, Ato. Let the girl dress up!
    The woman picks up some clothes and under garments from the floor and disappears into the bathroom.
    Effe avoids Chris’ outstretched hands and follows the lady.
    She waits outside until the lady emerges, fully-dressed.
    She stares balefully at Effe.
    EFFE
    Hello. I’m Effe. Are you Janet?
    JANET
    Yeah. I am.
    EFFE
    (her voice sad)
    Chris told me you died in a fire that razed down the orphanage you grew up in.
    Janet snorts and walks past Effe.
    Effe turns and runs after her, and when they get back to the living-room Effe grabs her arm.
    Janet whirls violently and knocks Effe’s hand off.
    JANET
    (viciously)
    Take your d--n hands off me! There was no orphanage, there was no fire! Chris does not love you, he just used you! Like all the other silly women! You don’t mean s--t to Chris!
    The room almost goes dark for Effe.
    It has all been lies! He had just lied to her!
    She whirls on Chris.
    The police have dragged him to his feet now, and they have put handcuffs on him.
    He is still wearing only his boxers, and he is swaying with glazed eyes.
    She walks up to him and stands facing him.
    She raises a trembling hand and places her hand flat on his chest, and she looks deep into his eyes, trying to see the old Chris in there, the man who had loved her, the man who had revealed secrets about her body to her.
    The man who has captured her heart for eternity, the man who loves her … the man of her life, the man who has totally eclipsed her heart, the man she will love for eternity.
    EFFE
    (voice completely broken)
    Chris. My love. Tell me they’re wrong. Please tell me they’re wrong, and that you still love me!
    Chris giggles nastily and looks at her with eyes glazed with alcohol, marijuana and maybe cocaine.
    CHRIS
    (voice slurred)
    You don’t mean s--t to Chris!
    He laughs cruelly and evilly.
    Effe steps back with a little cry of unbridled agony.
    Eyram rushes forward and takes her sister in her arms, and she hisses at Chris.
    EYRAM
    D--n you, Chris, whoever you are! I hope you rot in hell for this!
    EFFE
    CHRIS!!!
    CUGER
    Take them away! He makes me want to puke!
    Sergeant McBaiden drags Chris away. They put handcuffs on Janet too.
    As they lead her away she stops in front of Effe, and speaks with a contemptuous curl to her lips.
    JANET
    You think you’re special? He’s been my husband for more than twenty years, and he’ll remain my husband forever! Go find your own husband, b---h!
    Madam Ivy rushes at Janet, but Chief Inspector Cuger Danso holds her back.
    MADAM IVY
    You stupid little s--t! Say that to my daughter and I’ll rip your throat out!
    They lead Effe out.
    She sees Sergeant McBaiden opening a police jeep’s doors for Chris.
    Effe rushes to him, and stands squarely in front of him.
    He stands there swaying. When she begins to speak her voice is broken up, and her tears are tributaries of rivers that pour off her face.
    EFFE
    You have crushed my soul, Chris. You made me love you in a way I’ll never love any man again. You toyed with my very soul. I still love you …hell, I’ll probably love you forever, but I hate you, Chris. I hate you with the very core of my heart, and I’m going to teach myself to forget about you! I hope you enjoy the prison waiting for you, Chris. I don’t ever want to see you again! Do you understand? Never!!!
    CHRIS
    (giggling)
    You don’t mean s--t to Chris!
    They push him into the jeep, and it moves away.
    Effe sags weakly against Cugar’s Nissan. She is trembling so much that it seems she is in a gale. Sweat roll off her body in torrents, and her heart is beating fiercely.
    She barely knows what is going on. Her heart is broken into a million pieces, and she knows that she will never recover from this great deceit.
    She has fallen for his lies. He has been an angel, but deep inside he is a most terrible monster!
    The worst thing is that she is still madly in love with him.
    EFFE
    D--n you, Chris! D--n you to hell!!
    Her tears flow unchecked …and in her heart is a terrible continuous pain that keeps growing and growing and threatens to shatter her heart!!

    Episode 30

    Continues..
    THIRTY DAYS
    Effe’s door opens and her father, dressed in a smart three-piece black suit, enters.
    He sees his daughter sitting at the window, staring out.
    His heart beats with anger at Chris Bawa when he sees that his daughter is still hurting badly.
    She had not gone to the office. She had been in her room the whole day, and not even Eyram had been able to draw her out.
    She is sipping a glass of water. He is convinced she has not eaten the whole day.
    He approaches from behind, picks up a small metal stylized stool and sets it besides her and sits down.
    He proffers to her the can he is holding.
    It is a can of mixed nuts, a favourite for both of them, their secret pleasure because Eyram and Ivy hated nuts.
    KEN KEDEM
    (in a gentle voice)
    Discovered a new one, baby. Contains a lot of cashew nuts and less of that terrible root nuts.
    Effe turns her head, looks at the can of nuts, and smiles sadly.
    She reaches out, scoops a handful of nuts, and pops them into her mouth.
    She chews slowly for a while. When she speaks her voice is unsteady.
    EFFE
    They brought your money back, Dad?
    He scoops a hand of nuts and hands her the can.
    KEN KEDEM
    Yes, baby. Less by twenty thousand cedis.
    EFFE
    I’ll pay the difference. I don’t want him charged with the theft of the money, Dad. I’ll be grateful if you don’t press charges against him.
    KEN KEDEM
    Baby, I was never going to press charges against him. That man may be an infidel, but at least he freed this family from the grip of Jon Afful, and gave my business a new direction. I hate him for what he has done to you, though. I really hate him for that.
    She puts more nuts in her mouth.
    EFFE
    I want to hate him too, Dad. I really want to hate him, and wish him evil, and hope he rots in hell.
    KEN KEDEM
    But you can’t?
    She turns a very sad face to him.
    EFFE
    I miss him, Daddy. I miss him very much.
    The desolation and pain in her voice touches him deeply, and tears almost spring to his eyes, but he fights it down.
    He knows he must remain strong for her.
    KEN KEDEM
    Oh, my dear baby!
    He pulls the stool closer to hers, and takes her in his arms. She clings to him and weeps silently.
    EFFE
    So, they’re going to process him for court soon?
    KEN KEDEM
    Yeah. I went there today from the office. I really wanted to tell him just how much he has messed up my family, but Chief Inspector Cuger didn’t let me see him. They’re compiling the case against him, liaising with Interpol to bring all the women he swindled together. That’s what Cuger said anyway. He told me they might have to extradite him to South Africa because most of his crimes were committed there. Learns he even stole a valuable heirloom from a royal palace. He was sleeping with the Queen mother.
    EFFE
    Oh, God no!
    KEN KEDEM
    Oh, sorry, dear! Forgotten how much you’re still hurting. I’m sorry. Forgive me.
    EFFE
    Why do I love him so, Daddy? Why can’t I just forget about him? I hate the love I have for him, Dad!! I hate the way I’m feeling right now. All I want is to be with him even after all the nasty revelations.
    He pats her back lovingly.
    KEN KEDEM
    True love is always like that, my darling. I can only hope that this will not end your life. I know you’re a fighter, and I know you will move above this. With time, everything will be fine. Time will heal the broken heart and you will love again.
    She nods and squeezes him tighter.
    Her phone rings, and Ken looks at it, and notices it is Steve.
    EFFE
    I will move on. But I’ll never forgive him for this, Dad. He had no right to tear my heart apart like this. No right to toy with my feelings this way!
    KEN KEDEM
    Steve is calling, dear.
    EFFE
    FuckSteve.
    The profanity shocks both of them, and they burst into laughter at the same time, and Effe sits back and shakes her head.
    Steve’s call comes through again, and both stare at the phone.
    KEN KEDEM
    F--k Steve.
    They burst into fresh laughter, and Ken knows his daughter, scarred badly, will get over her wounds.
    He stands up, tussles her hair, and heads for the door.
    EFFE
    Dad?
    He stops and turns with his hand on the doorknob.
    KEN KEDEM
    Yes, my darling?
    EFFE
    Thank you. You’re the best.
    He smiles at her and leaves the room.
    Effe sits and chews the nuts for a while, sipping water in-between.
    Suddenly she gets to her feet and rushes into the bathroom. She draws a hot bath, tests it with her fingers, and then she slips out of her clothes and enters the bath.
    She leans her head back.
    Memories of the Jamaican Resort and WaterWorld come back to haunt her.
    Her body remembers their frenzied lovemaking, his passion, his gentle hands, his evil-bad-good-terrible-sweet hands all over her…
    And now he would be sent to South Africa, tried, and imprisoned, and she will never see him again.
    Effe shuts her eyes tightly against the pain.
    Her phone rings again …Steve again.
    The tears flow down her cheeks.
    EFFE
    D--N YOU, CHRIS! D--N YOU TO HELL!!

    Episode 31

    Continues..
    THIRTY-ONE DAYS
    Effe descends the stairs early in the morning.
    It is just a few minutes past six.
    She hears voices from her parents’ room, and a moment later they both emerge, dressed for the office.
    They pause and look at her.
    MADAM IVY
    (with a sad smile)
    Effe, my darling. Glad to see you down. Going to the office?
    EFFE
    Yes, Mom. I realized I can’t stay in Chris’ prison forever. My heart is permanently broken, but it will beat again, beginning today.
    MADAM IVY
    That’s my girl. I’m proud of you. Should I fix you some breakfast?
    EFFE
    No, thanks. I’ll take breakfast with Rupert. Dad, can I use your other car for today?
    KEN KEDEM
    Sure, sure, baby. Use it forever, if you want.
    Effe picks up the car keys from the tray they all keep their keys. As she heads out she stops and speaks.
    EFFE
    Oh, Dad! I want more of those nuts. They are delicious!
    KEN KEDEM
    Sure, sure, baby. I’ll get you the whole store if you want!
    Eyram emerges from the kitchen with Junior on her back, and they all laugh as Effe leaves.
    MADAM IVY
    She’s going to be alright.
    KEN KEDEM
    Yeah. She’s going to be just fine.
    EYRAM
    (softly and to herself)
    I doubt it. What’re you up to, Ef? Where are you really headed this morning?
    Effe drives out of the house.
    She does not stop until she is at Ablorh-Adjei.
    She stares at the house with her heart beating with unease and a little bout of fear.
    She had tossed and tossed in bed the whole night, and she had not been able to get the image of Chris lying on the floor inside that building – doped up and saying painful things to her – out of her mind.
    She does not know why she has come here, or what she is looking for. All that she knows is that she needs to be here. This is where he has been hiding.
    Maybe there is something here that will shed some light on the monster who has come into her life, lit it up, and destroyed her so completely.
    It is still quite early in the morning.
    Only a few people are passing by, but they are a little far away from the building.
    Effe gets out of the car, looks around furtively, and then she picks her way carefully to the building.
    The legs of her trousers are wet and dirty by the time she enters through the entrance and turns right towards the door that leads to Chris’ secret room.
    The door is closed, and she holds the knob and pushes down, expecting it to be locked, but it isn’t.
    The door opens, and she steps into the room.
    She is taken aback at how neat the room is.
    Someone has come and cleaned it up.
    She looks around with mild surprise, wondering if the policemen had the time to do all that, or maybe there is another person living with Janet and Chris.
    She looks around the living-room, but apart from the luxurious furniture and gadgets, there is nothing of interest there.
    She walks out of the living-room into a short corridor, past the bathroom Janet had used to dress up, and sees a slightly-open door. She goes in, and sees that it is a bedroom.
    The first thing that strikes her is that it is not a man’s bedroom, but a woman’s. The lacy sheets, the decorations, the mats on the floor, everything points to a woman.
    She sees that the wardrobe is ajar, and the drawers are open.
    There are three big suitcases on the bed. Two are full and zipped shut. The other one is open and half-full with clothes, artefacts and other personal titbits.
    It seems someone is trying to leave in a hurry.
    Effe looks around, confused. She approaches the suitcase and peers inside. She sees an album lying open inside the case, and recognises the sweet beautiful face of Janet instantly in the two photos displayed by the open pages of the album.
    Intrigued, she reaches for the album and suddenly a door that leads to the master bathroom opens, and Janet emerges, dressed in an immaculate white dress and holding a little pouch filled with her toothbrushes and make-up kits.
    She stops abruptly and stares at Effe as if she has seen a ghost.
    Effe looks at her with a shock so profound that for a moment she can barely speak.
    JANET
    You! D--n! What the hell are you doing here?
    EFFE
    (shocked)
    What’s going on here, Janet? They arrested you! They put you in handcuffs! They told me the two of you are criminals, in this whole sordid business together! You should be in a cell too! Why are you here? Why did the police let you go? Did you escape?
    Janet walks forward quickly, but not before Effe sees a look of fear in the depths of her eyes.
    She dumps the pouch into the open suitcase and turns to Effe.
    JANET
    You still can’t let him go, can you? Well, he’s mine! All mine! So stay away from him!
    Effe faces Janet’s furious stare with a fury of her own.
    EFFE
    Theyarrested you! What’re you doing here, Janet? Answer me! Why are you leaving? Where’s Chris?
    JANET
    Get out of here, woman! I’m not going to answer any of your stupid questions. If you want answers go to the police station!
    She tries to zip up the suitcase, and Effe moves forward to stop her.
    EFFE
    You’re going to answer me! You’re not leaving until you answer me, Janet!
    Janet struggles with Effe over the suitcase.
    JANET
    (stridently, anxiously, fearfully)
    Leave me alone! Get away! Leave me alone!
    As the girls continue to struggle the huge suitcase suddenly falls off the bed, and some of its contents fall out and litter the floor.
    One of them is the album, and when it lands it displays one of the last pages.
    Effe’s eyes fall on the album, and the pictures it is displaying.
    The first picture shows a huge rectangular building with gates in front, and it is an old picture.
    The gates are open, and a group of children dressed in grey clothes, and wardens dressed in blue uniforms are posing for a group photo in the old brownish-antique colour of old photos.
    There is a name above the building, and Effe experiences a terrible jolt of shock when she falls on her knees and looks at the name.
    It reads:
    HOPELIFE ORPHANAGE.
    Tears of anguish spring to Effe’s eyes as she looks up at Janet, who is now sitting on the edge of the bed, panting, and looking at Effe with fear now.
    EFFE
    (in a pained whisper)
    The Orphanage, Janet. Hopelife Orphanage, just as Chris said, the place he grew up! He wasn’t lying! You lied to me! You told me there was no orphanage! Chief Cuger also told me Chris lied, he never grew up in an Orphanage! What’s the meaning of this? Is Chris telling the truth?
    Janet stares at Effe but does not answer.
    She gets up and walks to the window. She picks up a pack of cigarettes, puts one in her mouth, and lights it with a golden lighter.
    Effe looks at the second picture now.
    It shows a man and a woman, with two teenagers standing beside them.
    They are standing beside an old Datsun Sunny. Something about the man makes Effe look closely at him, and then she gives a sudden gasp of shock and fear when she recognizes all the people in the picture at once!
    The man is a very younger version of Chief Inspector Cuger!
    The young girl is undoubtedly Janet!
    The young boy, skinny and not smiling, but with bushy hair and an incredibly handsome face, is Chris!
    The woman in the photo is tall, elegant, well-dressed with a wide-brimmed hat on her head, white gloves reaching up to her elbows, her face beautiful and smiling, wearing a pretty petal-designed dress.
    Effe knows that dress because she has seen that woman before, dressed in the same dress, inside her own house!
    It is an old picture of no one but her own mother!
    Effe is making horrified noises as she rips the cellophane cover off the picture and claws it out of the album.
    She notices blue handwriting at the back, and turns it over!
    Janet has inscribed the picture in her neat feminine handwriting.
    It reads:
    ‘Me, Darling Boy, Mr. Danso Cuger and Sweet Ama Baby’.
    Effe screams then. She moves away from the album and drops the picture.
    She moves back until her back hits the wall.
    She can barely breathe!
    Sweet Ama Baby! SWEET AMA BABY!!!
    The woman who had introduced Chris to child prostitution at the Orphanage!
    The cruel woman who had teamed up with the wicked Orphanage Governess Ida Broohm to let the inmates sleep with elderly men and women!
    Sweet Ama Baby!
    The woman who had tried to make Chris sleep with her, whom Chris had escaped from, is no other woman than Effe’s own mother, Mrs. Ivy Kedem!
    Ivy Kedem, now a respectable married woman, had been a terrible pimp, the madam of a terrible, sordid brothel…
    And she had known Chief Inspector Danso Cuger even then!
    The policeman is not a strange man!
    He and Mrs. Ivy Kedem has known each other for a very long, long time!
    JANET
    (bitterly)
    Shocked? There’s an adage that if you persist in trying to find out what lies beneath the eyelids of a corpse, you will eventually find worms.
    Effe shakes her head as the crushing bitter truth slams into her and paralyses her completely.
    EFFE
    (crying bitterly)
    No, oh no, oh no, oh no! Please tell me it’s not true! Please tell me Sweet Ama Baby is not my own Mom! Please tell me that!
    Janet looks at Effe without speaking for a long time, just puffing on her cigarette, and then finally she squashes the cigarette viciously against the side of the building.
    She walks up to Effe and gazes into her tortured eyes.
    She extends her hand, and Effe places a trembling hand into Janet’s hand.
    Janet pulls Effe to her feet.
    Janet looks at Effe’s shattered face, and sees the horror in the depths of her beautiful eyes.
    JANET
    You really love Chris, don’t you?
    Effe can barely breathe, and her voice is choked up.
    EFFE
    With all my soul, Janet! Please, please, for the love of God, help me out here! I’m going mad, Janet! Please, give me relief! Explain things to me! I don’t understand any of this! Please, you people shouldn’t torment me this way!
    Janet turns and sits on the bed. She reaches into her handbag, brings out a wedding ring, and slips it on her finger.
    Effe’s eyes widen with fresh pain, and Janet notices it.
    JANET
    Oh, no, don’t be like that. This is not from Chris. He’s always been like the brother I never had. He was so fiercely protective of me. He told you about Sweet Ama Baby?
    Effe nods numbly.
    EFFE
    Yes, and also about you. He was scared you died in the fire that gutted the orphanage, and he’s never been able to forgive himself for leaving you.
    Tears come into Janet’s eyes.
    JANET
    Sweet, gentle, wonderful Chris. He was so good to me. He was my guardian angel at the Orphanage. He never allowed anybody to hurt me. After he escaped, your mother and Ida were furious. They forced me into prostitution too.
    EFFE
    Oh my God! All this while, even when she married my father and had Eyram and me, she was doing that? I just can’t believe that!
    JANET
    Well believe it! She owned the best brothels, and she worked with Cuger. Much later I think she fell in love with your father, and maybe because she saw you growing up, her conscience worked at her and stopped the prostitution business.
    EFFE
    Dear Lord! My Mom was a prostitute?
    Janet shakes her head.
    JANET
    Never. She might have been, maybe before she met your father, but I’m not sure about that. She just owned us, but she was never one of us. She owned the business, and run it like a professional. Her only love was Chris, I guess.
    Effe cleans tears from her face and speaks contemptuously.
    EFFE
    Love? That can’t be love! That’s sickness. He was young enough to be her own son!
    JANET
    Yeah, well, let’s call it obsession then. Chris told me she used to touch him, you know, in …sensitive places.
    EFFE
    Oh, Lord! Oh, Lord!
    JANET
    Anyway, like I was saying, she stopped that business and concentrated on her family. She was able to get one of our clients, who was a police chief, to take Cuger into the police service. She stayed in touch with me, and let me meet a sweet young man called Tony Assif. We fell in love and got married. She left me alone, until five days ago when she came to visit me with Chief Inspector Cuger. They wanted me to help them.
    Outraged tears fall down Effe’s cheeks unchecked.
    Her pain is compounded by her mother’s unfeeling betrayal.
    EFFE
    Of course. They wanted you here, to play out that disgusting scene and frame Chris!
    Janet hangs her head with shame.
    JANET
    I learnt for the first time that Chris is still alive. I was so overjoyed. This place belongs to Chief Inspector Cuger. It is an unfinished building, but they set it up quickly and fitted it with all those gadgets, and then they brought me here and let me make a call to Chris, who was so happy to hear my voice that he came over immediately to see me. Chris was very shattered after he witnessed you with Steve-
    EFFE
    You know about Steve?
    JANET
    (nodding)
    Chris told me everything, about how much he loves you, and about the dilemma he is in because he found out too late that you’re the daughter of Sweet Ama Baby. He was devastated when he saw you kissing Steve, and he stayed here with me, thinking this place was mine. You see, your mother threatened me that if I didn’t go along with her evil plans she would let my husband and son know that I was a prostitute. I couldn’t say no, and so I agreed to help them. Cuger gave me some Tremors to put in Chris’s tea when you people set out from your house to come here.
    EFFE
    (in a whisper)
    Tremors?
    JANET
    Oh, yeah, the drug I laced with Chris’ tea. It’s a terrible drug. It makes people drunk, weak, and makes them hallucinate. It makes them disoriented and makes them speak crap. It messes up their brains and memory, so that they behave in a totally bad way, and later they wouldn’t even remember what they said, or how they behaved. Chris didn’t know what was going on that day!
    EFFE
    Dear sweet Jesus, so that was why Chris was behaving like a monster that day! Oh, dear God! Chris! Oh, Lord! What have I done to us?
    JANET
    Yes. It was worse because he has never taken Tremors before. When the effects wear off, he wouldn’t remember any of the things that happened here, or what he said to you!
    EFFE
    Oh, Chris, oh my love! What have they done to you? And the cases of theft and women he has destroyed in South Africa, Nigeria and other places?
    JANET
    All false, my dear. They wanted you to hate him. After our arrest, they let me go. I’ve been here for almost a week. All this while I’ve been lying to my husband that I was visiting my sick Aunt Ivy. I came here to pack and go back home. My family is at Tema.
    Effe bends and picks up the incriminating photo.
    EFFE
    Oh Chris! I betrayed you, my love! I should’ve believed in you, my darling!
    JANET
    No, Effe, please! You can’t take that picture! If your Mom finds out I told you about her, or let you see that picture, she’ll destroy me! She’ll destroy my marriage.
    Effe looks at Janet, and there is real anger on her face, and in her voice.
    EFFE
    Go to your husband and son, Janet. Believe me when I tell you my mother will never be a threat to you ever again! But when we came in that day, with you and Chris on the floor, it appeared he still had … well, as if you the two of you just had sex!
    Janet nods unhappily.
    JANET
    Oh, Cuger pushed something into Chris’ boxers just before you entered. I didn’t see what it was, but it gave the illusion that Chris had an erection. Please, save Chris. He’s suffered too much at the hands of Sweeet Ama …your mother, I mean. Please save him, and tell him I’m sorry!
    EFFE
    I’m sorry too, Janet. Sorry for the atrocities of my own mother, her sins that affected your life so much. I’m terribly sorry. Please, on behalf of my family, accept my deepest regrets. Now, if you don’t mind, I have to go save my man.
    Janet gets up and hugs Effe. Their tears fall freely now.
    JANET
    You make Chris happy, Effe. If any man deserves real love and happiness, it’s that boy!
    EFFE
    (in an emotional voice)
    I’m going to drown him in love, Janet. I’m going to show him he’s never been loved before. Im going to drown him with unadulterated love from now on.
    Still holding the incriminating photo, she leaves quickly.
    Shaking violently, still unable to believe what she has seen, she stops the car and dials her mother’s number, but the phone is off.
    She calls her father.
    KEN KEDEM
    Darling, everything alright?
    Effe strives to keep cool.
    EFFE
    Dad, I’m fine. Just wanted to speak to Mom. I called but her phone is off.
    KEN KEDEM
    Oh, yes! She was called to that Women’s Society group she heads. Seems they’re going to meet the First Lady of the country at Cape Coast. It was impromptu. She says she would be back tomorrow. Her phones battery was low when she left.
    Effe can taste the bitterness and disappointment in her mouth.
    She wants so much to speak to her Mom, to put that most disturbing discovery between them, and understand how a woman she loves so much could in the same breath be the repulsive Sweet Ama Baby..

    Episode 32

    Continues..
    THIRTY-TWO DAYS
    It is a cold basement.
    The walls are solid concrete, with no windows. Stone steps lead upstairs to a door.
    There is nothing else in the room except a rickety standing fan, a water closet toilet and a single 100 watt bulb that burns in the concrete ceiling.
    The room is stinking.
    Chris Bawa is sitting on a metal chair.
    He is still wearing only boxer shorts, and his hands are tightly tied to the metal arms of the chair.
    His feet are also tied to the metal legs of the chair. His face is so swollen that his eyes are almost closed.
    There is blood on his chest, around his nostrils and on his lips.
    Standing over him is Sergeant Ato McBaiden, who is wearing military fatigues and has hard leather gloves on his hands.
    He is sweating from continuously hitting Chris with his fists.
    Chris is shivering, and his chin is resting on his chest.
    McBaiden grins evilly and bends to look at Chris.
    MCBAIDEN
    Cuger said you were a tough guy, but s--t, you’re just like a weak little p---y! You’re not dead, are you?
    Chris raises his head with some difficulty, and when he gives an evil smile there are blood stains on his teeth.
    CHRIS
    (speaking with great difficulty)
    I’m still here, Mary!
    McBaiden’s jaw tightens with uncontrollable fury, and he stands back and swings a huge right fist into Chris’ face.
    The blow makes Chris moan with pain, and it flings him back so that he crashes to the floor, still tied to the chair.
    MCBAIDEN
    You f**king a-----e! Call me Mary again and I’ll kill you!
    Chris chuckles and spits on the floor as blood pours out from fresh cuts on his lips and nose.
    CHRIS
    You hit like a frog, Mary Adobea!
    McBaiden screams and swings his leg. His heavy boot strikes Chris in the chest.
    Again Chris groans and coughs out blood.
    He can barely breathe, but once again he chuckles weakly.
    McBaiden wipes sweat from his forehead.
    MCBAIDEN
    (voice dangerous and nasty)
    You have balls, I give you that. But I’m going to break you, yes, body and spirit. Thirsty, little boy?
    CHRIS
    (weakly, in great pain)
    Adobea Mary! Mary Ekua Adobea McBaiden!
    McBaiden laughs nastily.
    He goes to the corner where a bottle of water and a plastic cup are on a little plastic table.
    He picks up the cup, unzips his fly, and urinates into it. He laughs, and picks up the water.
    He pours some into the urine, shakes it to mix, and then he approaches Chris, who is still lying on the floor.
    MCBAIDEN
    (in a sing-song voice)
    Loverboy is thirsty! Loverboy is thirsty!!
    He sets the cup down, and then he lifts the chair to a sitting position.
    He picks up the cup again and looks at Chris, and he sees an anger so terrible in Chris’ eyes that for a moment he balks.
    CHRIS
    (in a hissing voice)
    I’ll tell you this, man, if you dare put that urine mixture anywhere near my mouth, I’m gonna kill you!
    McBaiden roars with laughter and shakes his head.
    MCBAIDEN
    Let me see you try. This ain’t urine, boy. It’s called Urishandy! Special drink, boy, and you’re going to drink every little drop of it!
    He grabs Chris’ head and begins to bring the evil drink to Chris’ mouth!
    Suddenly the door at the top of the steps opens, and a woman and man’s voices are heard.
    McBaiden steps away from Chris and puts the cup quickly on the small table.
    A moment later Madam Ivy and Chief Inspector Cuger come into the basement.
    Cuger is in black jeans, black T-shirt and a black police cap.
    Madam Ivy is wearing a pretty ash suit that makes her look very attractive indeed.
    She walks on high-heels to Chris’ side and looks down at him with eyes filled with hatred.
    CHRIS
    (with a little chuckle)
    Hello, Sweet Ama Baby, my adorable mother-in-law.
    Madam Ivy slaps Chris, again and again.
    MADAM IVY
    You b-----d! You b-----d, Chris! You d--n b-----d!! You dare sleep with my daughter? You d--n B-----D!!!
    She steps back finally, and Chris spits a ball of blood onto the floor.
    CHRIS
    Waow. What a welcome, Sweet Ama Baby! The last time I was alone with you, so many years ago, you were quite naked and begging me to make love to you! Remember?
    Madam Ivy spits into Chris’ face.
    MADAM IVY
    You filthy little pig! I trusted you, all I needed was a loving touch, and you humiliated me! Drugged me and fled! Didn’t see you again and I settled into my marriage as a devout wife, and then you appeared …WITH MY OWN DAUGHTER! Is this your revenge? Is this how you planned to hurt me? To mess up with my daughter?
    CHRIS
    Believe me, the first time I met Effe I fell for her. She’s the only woman who has been able to capture my heart like that. However, if I had known she were your daughter, I wouldn’t have come near her a second time. By the time I finally met you, I was already completely in love with her.
    CUGER
    Liar!
    He backhands Chris across the face, and the ring he is wearing opens up a huge cut across Chris’ forehead, and it starts to bleed.
    MADAM IVY
    You’ll never have her, Chris!
    CHRIS
    You can’t keep me away from Effe, dear Sweet Ama Baby! You know, all those years when you were blackmailing me to sleep with those despicable evil women, and whilst you were abusing me, touching me, forcibly kissing me and fondling me, I never even once suspected you had a husband, and daughters who were almost as old as me! How could you be so callous? I’m going to tell Effe everything. I should’ve told her a long time ago, but I was scared of losing her. But now I’m gonna tell her all about you!
    Madam Ivy kneels down besides Chris and uses her handkerchief as a compress to stem the flow of blood from his forehead.
    She touches his cheek, and runs a finger gently down his chest to his g---n.
    Her hand disappears into his boxers, and although he struggles furiously, she grabs his manhood and begins to fondle him.
    MADAM IVY
    Poor, poor Chris! Do you sincerely think I’m going to allow you to mess up my daughter? She now hates you, because she believes you’re a thief and a terrible beast who sleeps with women and steal from them. When I framed you with Janet, the money and a shot of Tremors in your blood, didn’t you hear her say she never ever wants to see you? And there’s something even more beautiful. She and Steve have decided to come back together. She’s now in his house, and they’re making love each night, Chris!
    CHRIS
    (with deep pain)
    Take your d--n hand from my boxers! You evil woman! You’re lying! Effe is too decent to betray me without speaking to me first!
    MADAM IVY
    (cruelly)
    In your dreams, lover boy! She doesn’t give two hoots about you. You were just a passing fancy, a calm after Steve’s betrayal! She has gone back to the man she truly loves, lover boy!
    Chris raises his face to the roof. He is so hurt that tears squeeze past his tightly-shut eyelids.
    CHRIS
    Oh Effe! How could you do this to me? Why, Effe, Effe? Oh, why, oh, why, why, why, oh why Effe??
    They all chuckle, and she finally leaves his manhood and removes the handkerchief from his wound.
    CUGER
    Do you sincerely think you’re going to leave this basement, Chrissy boy? Of course we’re going to tell Effe that you were extradited to South Africa to stand trials for your crimes. You’re going to remain in this cellar until Effe reconciles with Stevie, or another man. You’re a prisoner here, boy! And by the time we release you, you would probably be mad!
    CHRIS
    (with a dangerous little smile)
    You can’t keep me here. You can’t break me. Effe and I are going to be together.
    Madam Ivy touches Chris’ right cheek almost tenderly.
    MADAM IVY
    Poor, poor, Darling Boy! Do you think Effe will accept you once she knows that you slept with me, her own mother?
    Chris snarls at her.
    CHRIS
    I NEVER SLEPT WITH YOU! I DRUGGED YOU AND FLED FROM YOU, REMEMBER?
    Again Cuger and Madam Ivy laugh.
    CUGER
    You’re a fool, Chris. Don’t you know that Madam Ivy, the powerful Sweet Ama Baby, always gets what she wants?
    Chris, suddenly gripped by a terrible fear, look from one to the other, and it is evident his cool is deserting him, and he is beginning to be stressed out.
    CHRIS
    What are you talking about?
    Madam Ivy leans closer to him. She puts her mouth to his ear and speaks softly.
    MADAM IVY
    Oh, poor, poor, Chrissy boy! Haven’t you wondered why I was so jealous when I saw you with my daughter? You’re the only man …well, you were a boy then …who made me feel like a woman! Haven’t you wondered why I love you so much? You made love to me and I loved it so much!
    Chris strains at the ropes binding him as his face screws up with abject horror.
    CHRIS
    YOU’RE LYING! IT’S A LIE!! I NEVER SLEPT WITH YOU! NEVEEEERRR!!
    Madam Ivy kisses the side of his lips, and he cringes from her.
    MADAM IVY
    Hm. Poor boy. Do you remember Miss Baaba Sarpong? The woman who always met you at Beach Road, always in a dark room, always silent, and who was so kind to you and always gave you so much money and food and clothing? You liked Miss Baaba, didn’t you? You were sorry for her too, because she was a deaf mute who preferred to stay in the dark.
    Chris shakes his head numbly with mounting horror!
    He remembers being taken to see the mysterious Miss Baaba Sarpong. He was told by Madam Ida, the Governess at the Orphanage, that Miss Baaba was deaf and mute.
    She always met Chris at her apartment at Beach Road always in a very dark room!
    She never spoke, and the room had always been very dark.
    She would take Chris to bed. She had been gentle and understanding.
    She always gave him money secretly, and clothes for his friends at the orphanage.
    Chris had trusted and liked her. Later, when he fled from Madam Ivy, he had tried to locate the mysterious Miss Baaba but to no avail.
    It seemed she had vanished from the earth.
    But all along it had been Madam Ivy! Sweet Ama Baby again… once again at her evil best, destroying him, destroying his life!
    Anguished tears suddenly fall down Chris’ face.
    CHRIS
    (weeping uncontrollably)
    No, no, no! Ivy, please, please, please! I beg of you! Don’t say it! Please, don’t say it!!
    Madam Ivy leans forward and puts her arms around his neck.
    MADAM IVY
    (tenderly)
    Do you remember these arms, Chris, Darling Boy?
    She touches him slowly, tenderly, and Chris moans with disgust and pain …she is right! Baaba Sarpong had touched him like that!
    Ivy Kedem had tricked him! She had been Baaba Sarpong, the woman he had made love to countless times, always in the dark.
    CUGER
    Ah! Look at his face, Ivy! Priceless! The boy is in agony!
    Madam Ivy stands up and looks down at the weeping Chris.
    MADAM IVY
    Yes, Chris. I disguised myself as Miss Baaba Sarpong, and made love to you in the dark, without speaking! So you see, you’re the only man that ever made me unfaithful in my marriage! I carried that horrible cross, and each time I look at my husband, guilt tears my soul apart! But it happened … you slept with me, even though you didn’t know it was me, and you’ve slept with my daughter! That’s a taboo! An abnormality! And when Effe finds out, she’s going to hate you forever! If you insist on seeing her I’ll tell her what happened between us, and believe me, she would d--n and hate you for the rest of her life! She would probably hate me too, but it’s a price I’m prepared to pay to keep you away from her!!
    Chris’ body is shaking with sorrow and agony.
    CHRIS
    Oh, Madam Ivy! You’re evil! You’re so evil! Why have you ruined my life like this? Oh, Effe, my Princess, my Angel, my breath! Forgive me, Effe! Dearest, please forgive me!
    His heart is breaking!
    His anguish is so deep and complete that for a moment the smile of triumph leaves Madam Ivy’s face, and she knows finally that this handsome boy really loves her daughter.
    MADAM IVY
    Chris-
    CHRIS
    (shouting)
    KEEP AWAY FROM ME! YOU ARE EVIL. KEEP AWAY FROM ME!!!
    Before anybody can speak again the door crashes open suddenly.
    Madam Ivy screams with fear when six huge men come down the stairs, all of them holding guns.
    Cuger tries to pull his pistol from its holster, but the man in the lead swings his gun on him.
    ABDUL
    Give me a reason to cut you into two! Hands up, everybody!
    Shaking with fear, the three of them raise their hands above their heads.
    CUGER
    Whoever you guys are, you’re going to regret this. I’m a Chief Inspector, and I’m going to use every resource within my power to hunt you down.
    Abdul Adams smiles and crashes the butt of his pump-action rifle into Cuger’s face, breaking his cheekbone and two of his front teeth.
    Cuger screams and falls hard to the ground, and as blood pours down his face he is suddenly terrified.
    ABDUL
    Sure, come after me, fool!
    Madam Ivy has gone very pale with a mixture of fear and rage.
    MADAM IVY
    Who’re you guys?
    Abdul turns to Chris, and sees how badly hurt he is.
    His gaze turns to the defiant-looking McBaiden, and he approaches the Sergeant with his butt raised again.
    CHRIS
    Stop! That b-----d is mine, Abdul!
    ABDUL
    Yeah, Rasta!
    Madam Ivy’s face crumples with sudden fear. She grabs Abdul’s arm suddenly.
    MADAM IVY
    Please! Oh, please! Don’t release him! Whatever he’s paying you, I’ll give you five times more!!
    Abdul smiles mirthlessly.
    ABDUL
    You can’t buy Chris’ friendship, lady. Hey guys, cut the Captain lose!
    One of the six men cut the ropes binding Chris, and some of them help him to his feet.
    He looks over at McBaiden, and the look in his eyes suddenly drives terror into Sergeant McBaiden’s heart.
    He tries to smile, but he quails inside!
    Chris walks forward slowly with a nasty smile on his face, and he stops in front of McBaiden.
    CHRIS
    I’m not going to tie you up, boy. You beat me bad when I was tied up. You almost gave me some UriShandy, or whatever the hell it is. It is over there on the table. Go and drink it, and I’ll forget and forgive you for all your misdeeds.
    McBaiden snorts and shakes his head.
    MCBAIDEN
    You have your goons here, so you’re acting tough and brave! What about you and me going at it man to man, mano-a-mano, if you have the balls?
    Again Chris smiles nastily.
    CHRIS
    What else did you think I was going to do to you? I’m going to beat the living bejesus outta you!!
    Suddenly McBaiden swings a fist, but like air Chris parries it, and then he sinks a terrible left hook that sends McBaiden crashing to the floor.
    The policeman whimpers with fear, and then outrage.
    He springs to his feet with indignation, and rushes at Chris, who spins and crushes a knee into McBaiden’s face.
    What follows is a terrible punishment as Chris begins to beat McBaiden with terrible finesse and power.
    After just two minutes McBaiden is sure his bones might be broken.
    He tries to defend himself, but he is no match for Chris’ expertise.
    Very soon McBaiden’s face is all cut up badly and pouring with blood.
    He begins to whimper and beg Chris for mercy.
    Cuger and Madam Ivy are huddled together in one corner.
    A final blow flings McBaiden to the floor, and he holds up one of his hands in supplication to Chris.
    MCBAIDEN
    Please, please! I give up! I’m so sorry! No more, please! No more, please!
    Chris smiles nastily.
    CHRIS
    You drink the UriShandy, and I’ll leave you, otherwise I’m gonna kill you!
    Whimpering with fear, McBaiden crawls to the table, picks up the cup containing the mixture of urine and water, and drinks almost everything, his face filled with disgust and pain.
    He gags and almost drops the cup, but when Chris raises his foot the corrupt policeman drinks to the last drop.
    Chris nods approvingly.
    CHRIS
    Lovely!
    ABDUL
    What the hell was that, Bro?
    Chris chuckles.
    CHRIS
    Urishandy, Bro.
    ABDUL
    (puzzled)
    What the f**k be Urishandy?
    CHRIS
    Mixture of urine and water.
    ABDUL
    (eyes opening wide with shock)
    That dude mix wee-wee and water for you?
    CHRIS
    (nodding)
    Yep. He urinated into the cup and mixed it with water and had the audacity to offer it me to drink.
    ABDUL
    (angrily, with disgust)
    Motherf**ker!
    He steps forward and crashes a boot into McBaiden’s stomach.
    The policeman screams and vomits all over the floor.
    Chris turns his back on McBaiden and walks to Madam Ivy and Cuger.
    Cuger, having witnessed how terribly vicious and savage Chris had been when he beat McBaiden, suddenly falls on his knees and speaks with tears falling down his eyes.
    CUGER
    I’m sorry, Chris! Please don’t hurt me!!!
    CHRIS
    You d--n coward!
    CUGER
    How did your people find this place?
    Chris smiles, and touches the locket on a silver chain around his neck.
    CHRIS
    I have a lot of enemies, Cuger, so this locket around my neck contains a tracking device and an alarm. When I press a hidden button behind it, it sends an alarm to my friends. It is also embedded with a GPS Locater, and so they just follow the signal to wherever I’m being held. Cute, isn’t it?
    He kneels down beside Cuger, who raises his hands defensively, his face once again filled with fear.
    CUGER
    Chris! Please! Don’t hurt me!
    Chris grabs the front of Cuger’s shirt and pulls him close.
    CHRIS
    I’m not gonna hurt you, Cuger! I’m just gonna make sure you spend time in prison, because you’re a disgrace to that uniform. You’re going to prison, man. Believe that.
    He pushes Cuger back and gets to his feet.
    CHRIS
    Make we roll, boys.
    The six armed guys follow Chris.
    He pauses at the top stair and looks at Madam Ivy.
    She looks contrite and devastated, and tears of failure fall down her cheeks.
    MADAM IVY
    D--n you Chris! You slept with me! You can’t be with my daughter!! She’s happy with Steve now! Go away and let her enjoy her happiness!!
    CHRIS
    I can’t face her, Ama. The evil things you made me do will always make me feel dirty and unworthy of Effe’s love. I’m going far away, Ivy. I feel dirty, used, and absolutely unworthy of her love. Effe’s clean. Effe’s an angel. She doesn’t deserve any less. I feel worthless in her eyes now. You have ruined the slice of happiness I tasted since my birth. I hope you are satisfied now. Better let her hate me, and my memory, than to let her know that I was ever intimate with her mother. It’s very sick. If I had known, I would have fought this feeling with my last breath just not to hurt her. I know she’ll be shattered to learn what happened between us. I’ll never get over her. I’m going to die slowly because I love her so, but you win, Ivy, you win. You should go and adorn yourself with your victory clothes and accessories. You win. Goodbye forever, Sweet Ama Baby! I curse the day I met you. And you better believe this, I didn’t hurt you today because you’re the mother of the woman I love. But, if you ever come after me again, and I dare you to, I’m gonna peel the skin off your body! You’ll find out just how mad I am! Perhaps it is better that Effe is now with Steve. If she loves him, and used me on the rebound just to please herself and hurt me, she can have him. I’ll learn to hate her too, and perhaps in doing that, my heart can find some peace!
    With that he and his men go through the destroyed door, and vanish from view.
    Suddenly Madam Ivy’s legs give way, and she falls on her knees in the room, and begins to weep bitterly.

    Episode 33

    Continues..
    THIRTY-THREE DAYS
    Mrs. Ivy Kedem closes the door and leans back against it.
    She closes her eyes tightly, sighs deeply, and then walks forward slowly into the luxurious living-room.
    She drops her handbag in a chair and sits down warily.
    She hears footsteps from the stairs and looks up slowly.
    Her husband, dressed in a long white gown, is descending the stairs.
    Ivy’s eyebrows raise as she looks at her watch.
    MADAM IVY
    Honey, you couldn’t make it to the office today?
    Ken Kedem leans down and brushes his lips across hers, and then he sits down beside her.
    KEN KEDEM
    No, dear. I couldn’t go. Went in to see Effe in the morning, and the poor girl was so heartbroken, crying her heart out. I couldn’t leave her, since you were also not here. Decided to stay with her.
    MADAM IVY
    (sadly)
    That bad?
    KEN KEDEM
    (nodding)
    Worse. She really loves that boy. She was telling me Chris is innocent, that he didn’t steal the money, and that the stories about him and all these other women are false. Blaming herself for not believing in him.
    Ivy Kedem’s heart beat with sudden fear and dread.
    MADAM IVY
    What’s wrong with her? She was there herself! She saw the drugs, the money, and his accomplice, that Janet girl! Why on earth is she saying he was framed?
    KEN KEDEM
    I don’t know, dear. I don’t know. But for her sake I wish it’s true that boy is innocent. She’s hurting too much!
    MADAM IVY
    Is Eyram here?
    KEN KEDEM
    Nope. Took Junior to see Dr. Henderson. Junior is acting irritable. Not taking his food. Seems to be coming down with a cold.
    MADAM IVY
    (getting to her feet)
    I think I better check on Effe.
    KEN KEDEM
    Yeah, do.
    Effe appears on the landing then, and she pauses, and looks at her mother.
    Madam Ivy looks up, and her eyes meets Effe’s.
    The look of sheer pain, anger, accusation and disgust on her daughter’s face suddenly hit Ivy with the force of an earthquake.
    Her face crumbles with great fear and distress because she knows instantly that Effe knows!
    Has Chris Bawa told Effe everything? Dear Lord, no! Madam Ivy begins to tremble, and her husband looks at her with sudden concern.
    He gets to his feet, and notices his daughter for the first time, and sees the look of sheer loathing on her face as she stares at her mother, and Ken also becomes scared immediately.
    He puts an arm across his wife’s shoulders as Effe descends the stairs slowly, her eyes still fixed on her mother.
    EFFE
    (coldly)
    I want a word with you.
    The coldness of her voice shocks them, and they look at each other anxiously.
    MADAM IVY
    Right, dear. Go ahead, I’m listening.
    Effe shakes her head, and teardrops fly off her puffy face.
    EFFE
    With you! Alone! Dad, please excuse us a moment!
    MADAM IVY
    (sadly, with a choke in her voice)
    Go ahead, dear. There’s nothing your father doesn’t know about me. We share everything!
    EFFE
    (in a very hurt voice)
    Really? Everything? Are you sure he knows EVERYTHING about you? Believe, he doesn’t know what I’m going to talk to you about!
    Ken Kedem sighs deeply and drops his arm from across his wife’s shoulders.
    KEN KEDEM
    Are you going to talk about Sweet Ama Baby, my dear?
    Effe’s mouth fall open with shock. She looks at her father with desperate trepidation.
    EFFE
    You know? You know about Sweet Ama Baby, about Mom’s past?
    Ken Kedem suddenly looks very old and haggard. He shakes his head numbly and walks to a sofa and sits down.
    KEN KEDEM
    (in a tired voice)
    This is a day I’ve dreaded my whole life!
    MADAM IVY
    (looking at her husband with tortured eyes)
    Oh, honey!
    She goes and sits beside her husband.
    He looks at his wife and smiles wanly. He takes her hands in his and kisses her fingers. He speaks without looking at Effe.
    KEN KEDEM
    I don’t know how you found out, Effe, my dear, but yes, I know all about your Mom’s past. When I met her I was a struggling Bank Clerk. My girlfriend had just jilted me, left me for a wealthy old man. I was hurting, and my friends took me to a brothel, thinking if I spent some time with another woman I would get over my girl. I met your Mom there. I spent a night with her, and another night, and another night. I spent my whole month’s salary with her. I fell in love with her, and after three months I asked her to marry me.
    Effe sinks weakly into a chair.
    She is shocked to her very bones. She sees just how painful the memories are for her parents, and for a moment she cannot speak, and tears fall down her cheeks again.
    MADAM IVY
    (silent anguished tears spilling down her cheeks)
    Eventually I stopped the prostitution, and married your father, but we had great debts to clear. You see, he took a loan from the bank he worked at, to set up a transportation business, and his girlfriend took the money and ran away. We needed to pay off that money, and so although I stopped prostitution, I set up a business, making some girls work for me.
    Effe nods silently, bitterly.
    EFFE
    Not only young girls, Mama. Young boys too, isn’t it?
    Ken Kedem springs to his feet, and he looks at his daughter with fierce eyes.
    KEN KEDEM
    (shouting)
    Don’t you dare judge your Mama, dear! Yes, she did some bad things, but she sacrificed for this family! I didn’t know she had a brothel going until much, much later, when she confessed to me! By that time you girls were growing up. I made your Mama promise to put an end to it, and she did, and we’ve been happy ever since!
    EFFE
    I’m sorry, Dad! I’m really sorry!
    Ken Kedem takes a deep breath and exhales slowly.
    KEN KEDEM
    Sorry for shouting at you, sweet cake, but I don’t want this family to fall apart! We’ve dreaded this moment, about you girls finding out about this. Every family has its dark secrets, baby, but we should learn to stick together, and be strengthened in our weaknesses. But how did you find out, baby? Who told you?
    Wordlessly Effe takes out the photo she has taken from Janet’s album, and hands it to her father.
    EFFE
    (sadly)
    The girl in that picture knew Mom. She told me all about her!
    Ken Kedem takes a look at the photo, and his face breaks down so completely that he almost falls down.
    He turns a thunderstruck face towards his wife, and Madam Ivy gets up with a cry of concern.
    MADAM IVY
    What is it, honey? Please, what’s it?
    KEN KEDEM
    What in the name of Jesus is this, Ivy? You knew Chris? You knew him all along? And Cuger? You knew the Chief Inspector too? Oh, come on, Ivy! Did you lie? Did you frame Chris with the missing money?
    Madam Ivy looks at the incriminating photo, and she drops slowly into a chair. Her face is devastated. She begins to tremble with sudden fear and panic.
    Madam Ivy raises a face filled with remorse and humiliation and holds her husband’s legs.
    MADAM IVY
    I knew them, honey. You remember my friend Ida? She was the Governess of the orphanage. I used to visit her. Cuger was her brother. I took that picture several years ago, and when I saw Chris again I recognized him as the boy from the orphanage. That was why I didn’t want our daughter to have anything to do with him! Forgive me, dearest, please!
    Effe stares at her mother with absolute consternation.
    Her mother is lying! She has never told her father about the things she did with young children, especially with Chris!
    Tears spring to Effe’s eyes, tears of shame, of betrayal, of bitterness, and of hurt.
    KEN KEDEM
    But if he grew up in an orphanage so what? My Lord, dearest, she loves him, and he loves her! We have money! Effe has money! We thought Steve was a good match, but look what he did to the poor girl? Did you frame Chris, you and this Cuger fella?
    Madam Ivy is weeping miserably now. She holds her husband tightly around the waist.
    MADAM IVY
    Forgive me, darling! Please forgive me! I was wrong! I was so wrong!
    KEN KEDEM
    (in a devastated voice)
    I’m so shocked, dear! To go to that extent is unpardonable! You know I worship you, and of course I forgive you, and I’ll stand by you through death! It’s your daughter you have hurt! Make it up to her!
    He holds his wife tightly, comforting her, patting her.
    Effe turns away and quietly walks up the stairs to her room.
    Trembling with the effects of her shock, she picks up a suitcase and begins to pack some of her stuff into it.
    A few minutes later the door opens, and her mother comes in.
    She closes the door behind her and turns the key in the lock.
    She looks haggard and beaten.
    She sits down gently on the bed and looks at Effe.
    MADAM IVY
    (her voice small)
    Please. If your father finds out about Chris and me, it’ll kill him. Please, Effe.
    Effe looks at her with absolute shock and disgust.
    EFFE
    Don’t worry, Mom, I won’t tell him, or Eyram, for that matter. You have to promise me, Mama, that you wouldn’t do anything to harm Janet or her marriage.
    Rage suddenly fills Madam Ivy’s face, and she explodes.
    MADAM IVY
    Janet. She dared to do this to me?
    EFFE
    Leave Janet alone, Mom, otherwise Dad will find out all that you did with Chris.
    MADAM IVY
    I don’t want to lose you, my dear!
    Effe turns on her mother, and her face is bitter.
    EFFE
    Lose me? After all that you did to me? You drove the man of my life away from me!
    MADAM IVY
    (intensely, desperately)
    But you can’t be with him, dear? Don’t you understand? I did it for you! The relationship between you two was a taboo! I couldn’t let that happen!!
    EFFE
    (in distress)
    Why, Mama, why? Do you still want him? Do you still want to sleep with him? He ran from you! He spurned you, and God has brought us together. I love him, Mama! I just want to be with him! Surely, whatever you felt for him, all those years ago, is over now! We can move on from here, can’t we?
    Madam Ivy stands up and approaches her daughter.
    She takes her hands in hers, and bitter tears wets her cheeks.
    MADAM IVY
    I don’t know what that boy did to me, Ef, my darling! I wanted him so bad! I couldn’t keep off him! I fought it, heaven knows I fought it, but to no avail. When he continued to say no to me, to spurn me, I adopted a new ploy. I disguised myself as a deaf-mute woman, and Ida brought him to me, at night, in darkness!
    Effe snatches her hands out of her mother’s own, and walks backwards, shaking her head with horror as fresh tears drown her!
    Her face is so horrified that Madam Ivy can hardly watch it.
    EFFE
    (sobbing)
    No, no, no! Mama! Don’t tell me you seduced him! Please don’t tell me you cheated on Dad with Chris! Please, no! Please, please, please, no!!
    MADAM IVY
    (weeping too)
    I’m sorry, baby! You don’t know how sorry I am, how much I’ve regretted this! But that is what happened! I cheated on your father, and yes, I slept with Chris, although he didn’t know it then! When I saw him with you, I almost died! I was sure it was a sign from Heaven, a punishment for my evil days! I couldn’t let you be with him, dear! Not him, not the boy I slept with!! Not the only man I cheated on your father with!! Aside from reminding me of my greatest sin, it also is a taboo!
    EFFE
    (in a horrified whisper)
    MAMA! LORD, NO! OH NO, MAMA!!!!
    MADAM IVY
    Chris didn’t know about it, but I told him yesterday. It hurt him very much!
    EFFE
    Mama! Where’s Chris? WHERE’S CHRIS, MAMA???
    MADAM IVY
    He left, Ef. He couldn’t take it. He said he’s dirty, and that he’s going away. And he wouldn’t ever see you again. Much as I regret this, much as it’s unfortunate, it has to be this way, Ef. Please, find it in your heart to forgive me!
    EFFE
    It was no fault of his, Mama! You took advantage of a poor orphan, and you destroyed his life! If he had known it was you, posing as this deaf-mute woman, he wouldn’t have had sex with you! But that is all past now, Mama. It’s all past. He didn’t know, and so there’s nothing to forgive him for. He isn’t the one at fault here. You are. You will have to forgive yourself and move on. I love him, Mama, and I’m going to be with him! It doesn’t really matter what he did in the past. What matters now is what we feel for each other. I’m going to look for him and make him feel like he’s never been loved before. I’m going to heal his heart with all the love I feel for him.
    MADAM IVY
    He’s gone, baby, forever!
    EFFE
    I don’t care how long it takes, or how hard it will be, or even how much he hates himself, but whatever it takes, I’m going to find him, Mama, and I’m going to love him, and drive the pain in his heart away! I’m going to right all the wrongs you have caused in the life of that poor boy, Mama!
    MADAM IVY
    You can’t, Effe! He saw my nakedness! We were intimate! True, I seduced him, and he didn’t know it was me, but he was like a drug, something I couldn’t keep away from! He’s the only man I ever cheated on your father with, and he’s been my shame for so many years! Seeing him again, with you, was so terrible for me, bringing back painful memories! I can’t stand him with you, Effe! Please, it would be better to give Steve a second chance, than to be with Chris! Please, don’t imprison me with this, don’t crucify me! Please!
    EFFE
    (with tears in her eyes)
    I love him, Mama. And I’m going to have him, and love him! It doesn’t really matter if he slept with you willingly or forcibly. It’s a past act, something I can never hold him with. He hadn’t met me yet so I can’t hold it against him. You hurt him, Mama! He was a poor child, and you introduced him to child prostitution! It hurt him, and made him feel worthless all his life! Perhaps, it is poetic justice that he should fall in love with me, so that I can love him, and heal the wounds my own mother opened in his soul! You stole his childhood from him, Mama. Nobody should grow up like that!
    Madam Ivy shakes her head sadly, and her eyes are haunted with horror.
    MADAM IVY
    Please, my dearest! He’s gone! When he learnt about what happened between us, he was willing to sacrifice the love he had for you! You can’t find him, Ef! You can’t waste the rest of your life looking for him!
    EFFE
    First, I’m leaving this house, Mama. I’ll go to my estate house! And then I’m going to find him. I’ll find him, Mama! I won’t stop until I find him.

    Episode 34

    Continues..
    THIRTY-FOUR DAYS
    EDEN HOSPITAL, PAEDIATRICIAN’S OFFICE
    Rupert Henderson kisses Junior on the cheek.
    The baby giggles and gurgles with delight, and Rupert hands him over to Eyram.
    RUPERT
    Sorry I wasn’t here yesterday to check him out, Eyram. But he’s fine.
    A very mild infection that’ll clear by tomorrow or the next.
    EYRAM
    (smiling)
    Learnt you were at the airport. Thought you were travelling and didn’t tell me.
    RUPERT
    (throwing a hand up in despair)
    No, no, no! It was Barbara. She was leaving, and I was trying to talk her out of it, but in the end she didn’t listen. She left, Eyram, she left.
    EYRAM
    (alarmed)
    Oh, but why? Don’t tell me it was about Elaine’s baby!
    RUPERT
    What else can it be? Elaine is still at the Asylum, being treated for post-partum psychosis. Three days ago, the court decided I could take charge of the baby until Elaine is well, you know. The baby should have gone to Steve, as the legal husband of Elaine, but Steve doesn’t want to see him. So, I told Barbara I was bringing the baby home, and she freaked out. She doesn’t want me near the baby. She wanted me to disown him, or she would leave me.
    EYRAM
    (surprised)
    How selfish could she be? Her infidelity brought life to this child! She should’ve embraced him, and be grateful!
    Rupert shakes his head sadly.
    RUPERT
    She fought with me. I told her this could be the baby we’ve been waiting for all along, but she was adamant, but much as I love her, I couldn’t turn my back on the poor child, can I? After all he’s my son, and I need to take care of him.
    EYRAM
    (smiling)
    That’s sweet, very sweet! So, she’s gone?
    RUPERT
    Yes, gone. Yesterday.
    EYRAM
    And the baby?
    RUPERT
    (shrugging)
    At Maternity, with the nurses. I’ll take him home when I close.
    EYRAM
    Want me to go home with you, and help you with your son?
    Their eyes meet, and they did not smile.
    They are both aware that it is not an innocent question.
    It is a pregnant question that has other implications.
    RUPERT
    Yes, Eyram. I’ll love that very much.
    EYRAM
    Good. I’ll see you then.
    She stands up and heads for the entrance.
    She turns, he is watching her. He looks away quickly, and she smiles.
    RUPERT
    I’ll see you then, Eyram.
    EYRAM
    Okay. And one more thing, stop looking at my butt!
    He chuckles and shakes his head. She laughs and walks out.
    HOLLISON RESIDENCE
    Steve takes the phone from his ear, stares at it for a long time, and then puts it back down on the seat.
    Jonathan Afful emerges from the kitchen with a bucket of iced cubes.
    He uses a metal spatula to scoop ice into two tall tumblers, and picks up a bottle of soda and pours some into both tumblers, and then he takes a bottle of fine vodka and pours portions of that too.
    STEVE
    (chuckling drunkenly)
    That’s some poisonous combination, man!
    AFFUL
    It’ll keep your sorrows away, bro!
    STEVE
    Called Effe again, man. Same thing. She didn’t pick up!
    Afful takes a long pull at his drink and tops up with more vodka.
    AFFUL
    Story of my life. Eyram doesn’t wanna see my shadow. D--n Kedem sisters!
    STEVE
    (taking a sip from his tumbler)
    No, Jon. D--n us, d--n you and me. We had it all. We had gold, and we went chasing after chaff.
    AFFUL
    (angry)
    What the hell are you talking about? We messed up, yes, but d--n it, we’re men! Men mess up all the time! Hell, there are men who have done worse things than us, but when they apologise, it is the duty of the women – wives – to accept!
    STEVE
    Look who’s talking! Have you forgotten your famous bee and flower talk? You hurt Eyram bad, boy. Bringing women home to bang in your matrimonial bed is the worst kind of s--t you can throw at a woman, bro!
    AFFUL
    Worsethan banging your wife’s sister under her own nose, bro? F**k you! We are all swimming in the same s--t, you motherfucker!
    Steve begins to speak, but his phone rings just then.
    He looks at it, and his face lights up with delight.
    Trembling, he picks the call.
    STEVE
    Hello, my sweetest Princess.
    EFFE
    Steve. Sorry, I missed your call.
    STEVE
    Been calling, darling. I call every day. I just wanted to tell you I need to speak to you, Effe. We really need to talk.
    EFFE
    I’m sorry, Steve. If it’s about something else, sure, we can talk. But if it’s about us coming back together, then no. I love him, Steve. There’s not going to be me and you ever again.
    Steve grimaces like he has been stabbed with a hot knife through the heart.
    STEVE
    That is very painful, darling. But I need to speak to you. About other things. Can we meet now?
    EFFE
    (sighing)
    No. I’m a bit tied up now. But if you insist, I’ll be in the hospital tomorrow. Scheduled for surgery on a nun with brain tumour. We can talk after the surgery.
    STEVE
    Oh, perfect. Would be bringing my Dad to the hospital tomorrow too for his medical check-up for the quarter. I’ll see you then, my love.
    EFFE
    Okay. See you then.
    She cuts the line.
    Steve is trembling, and he looks at his friend with glazed eyes.
    STEVE
    Says she doesn’t want me back. But I’m going to win her over, bro. A little at a time. She has been the angel I threw away. I’ll let her see how much I still love her. She’ll come around. You’ll see.
    AFFUL
    Kwasea like you! Keep believing a fantasy like that at your own peril! That taxi driver has probably given her multiple orgasms. She’s hooked on him forever!
    STEVE
    (angrily)
    Shut your f**king beak, my paddy! Her mom called me this morning. It seems the taxi driver has left the scene forever! It’s up to me to win Effe back! I’m going to play by the book and get Effe back.
    Afful drains his tumbler, puts more ice in it, and then cracks open a bottle of Hennessy.
    He pours some into his glass, drinks, and then leans back and belches.
    AFFUL
    We live to see, bro. We live to see!

    Episode 35

    Continues..
    THIRTY-FIVE DAYS
    It is morning.
    Ken Kedem turns into the huge and well-demarcated parking lot of the Eden Hospital.
    Sitting beside him is Ivy Kedem, and in the backseat, are their daughters.
    Eyram is going to buy some clothes and other things for Junior and Henderson Junior.
    Effe is unusually quiet, and this makes Eyram concerned, but she resolves to speak to her sister later in the day.
    The previous day she has stopped Effe from moving out of the house, although her sister had been very adamant.
    Eyram had pointed out that moving out would hurt their father very much, and so Effe should wait a while, but she knows Effe will move soon.
    When Ken stops the car, they notice that Doctor Gabriel Anaman is speaking to Steve and his parents a few metres away.
    Effe opens the door and gets out. She is dressed in a simple white and black dress that shows off her amazing beauty.
    EYRAM
    See you in the evening, Ef!
    EFFE
    Okay, Rammy.
    Eyram notices that Effe smiles at her father, but does not look at their mother, and this further intrigues her.
    KEN KEDEM
    I’m going to say hello to Anaman. Hasn’t seen him in a while.
    MADAM IVY
    Yes, I want to say hello to Iris too.
    EYRAM
    Seriously, Mom? After all that she did to Effe?
    Madam Ivy turns and smiles reassuringly at her daughter.
    MADAM IVY
    People learn from their mistakes, Eyram. Iris is now a changed woman!
    EYRAM
    (with a curl to her lips)
    Yeah, right, only because it turned out her grandson is actually a white man’s son! If Elaine had given birth to Steve’s son I don’t think she would be a changed woman, Mom!
    Ivy shakes her head and gets out.
    They all head towards the small group of people.
    Eyram stays in the car and plays with her son.
    She sees Steve calling Effe’s name and running after her.
    Doctor Anaman and Mr. Kedem shake hands. Ivy Kedem and Iris Hollison embrace, and Captain Hollison puts on his glasses and nods at Ken Kedem.
    Effe turns towards Steve. She sways suddenly and raises a hand to her forehead.
    Eyram feels a sudden twist to her heart, and she turns and looks at Effe.
    Effe takes a couple of steps towards Steve, and then she suddenly collapses and falls rather heavily on the ground.
    Eyram screams, which startles Junior and makes him start crying.
    Eyram gently puts Junior in his car seat, and opens the car door hurriedly. She runs towards the crumpled figure of Effe.
    Steve is already bending over Effe.
    Ken Kedem and the others are running towards her too.
    DR. ANAMAN
    (anxiously)
    Dearest me, what happened to her?
    STEVE
    She just fainted.
    KEN KEDEM
    (in a scared voice)
    Effe, baby, darling, are you alright?
    Eyram kneels beside Effe.
    Effe is pale and unresponsive.
    EYRAM
    (almost crying)
    Ef! Ef! Ef! What’s wrong, Sis?
    Doctor Anaman is feeling her pulse.
    DR. ANAMAN
    She’s fine. Please get her to my consulting room!
    IRIS HOLLISON
    Oh, goodness! What’s wrong with her?
    CAPTAIN HOLLISON
    Must be a sugar problem. Maybe her sugar level dropped!
    Steve lifts Effe up.
    Doctor Anaman has called for some orderlies, and very soon they bring a stretcher and put Effe on it.
    They began pushing Effe towards the restricted exit reserved for staff of the hospital.
    MADAM IVY
    Oh, Lord! She’s stressed! My poor baby!
    Eyram hurries and picks up Junior from the car. She races for the entrance and for the lifts.
    In a few minutes, she joins her parents and the Hollisons at the Visitors Lounge of Doctor Anaman’s consulting room.
    The glass doors open and a breathless Rupert Henderson and some other Doctors appear, all of them looking very concerned.
    Rupert approaches Eyram and he looks very worried indeed.
    RUPERT
    What happened? We heard Effe collapsed.
    EYRAM
    Yes, at the parking lot. She just fell down. She’s in there with Doctor Anaman now. Oh, Lord! Rupe, I’m so scared.
    RUPERT
    (kindly)
    Don’t worry. She’ll be fine!
    They all wait anxiously, and a few minutes later Doctor Anaman appears and approaches them.
    His big face is flushed, and he is looking far from worried.
    Ken Kedem approaches him and holds his arm.
    KEN KEDEM
    Is she okay? What’s wrong with my baby? Is she going to be okay?
    Doctor Anaman holds up his hands, and then takes off his stethoscope and folds it.
    DR. ANAMAN
    She is fine. Just a little hydrated and weak. She’s not eaten well, and not drank enough water. She has also not slept well, and it appears she is very stressed up. All these factors are not healthy for a normal human, but for a pregnant woman, they are very bad signals!
    The whole place is suddenly so shocked that absolute silence reigns.
    It is an electrifying moment. No one can speak.
    It is Mrs. Ivy Kedem who speaks first, hoarsely.
    MADAM IVY
    What? What did you say, Doc?
    DR. ANAMAN
    Effe is pregnant. Just a few days pregnant, not even a month. But she’s pregnant!
    KEN KEDEM
    (in a fierce whisper)
    Dear Lord!
    Eyram begins to laugh, and tears of happiness suddenly blast out of her eyes.
    EYRAM
    You bad boy, Chris! Oh, you bad, bad, bad boy!
    RUPERT
    (screaming)
    YEAAAAHHH!! OH, YEAAAHHHHH!!!!
    The other Doctors are cheering, and Doctor Anaman is laughing too, loudly, happily!
    Steve holds on to the walls to prevent himself from collapsing with sudden abject misery.
    He is trembling violently, and his whole body is covered with so much sweat that it looks like somebody has thrown water on him.
    Captain Hollison shakes his head numbly.
    Iris Hollison looks at her son, and she wordlessly goes to him.
    IRIS HOLLISON
    (concerned)
    Son? Stevie love? Are you okay?
    STEVE
    (shouting)
    LEAVE ME ALONE! JUST LEAVE ME ALONE!!
    He unbuttons his coat buttons and pulls off his tie.
    His face is filled with so much pain and bitterness and jealousy that for a moment Iris fears he will have a heart attack.
    CAPTAIN HOLLISON
    (sadly)
    We blamed Effe! We gave her hell! We ruined her life for being barren, but all along it is our son who is sterile?
    Ivy Kedem is trembling.
    She walks away from the group, and her heart is beating too fast, and she feels faint.
    She reaches for a seat and drops weakly into it.
    Chris! He has impregnated Effe! Hot tears fall down her cheeks and her hands ball into jealous fists.
    MADAM IVY
    D--n you, Chris! D--n you to hell!!
    Eyram sees her father disappearing into Doctor Anaman’s office, and she pulls away from Rupert and follows.
    They find Effe standing at the window, looking out, and then she turns slowly.
    She looks at them, and there is such a look of sheer happiness and love on her face that it turns her into a really ethereal woman.
    Her lips tremble, and this time the tears that flow freely down her cheeks are tears of joy.
    The pain is gone, and the bitterness is gone. She is reduced to just a picture of a beautiful, vulnerable, happy woman.
    KEN KEDEM
    (with tears in his eyes)
    I’m going to be a grandfather again, my dearest!
    Effe nods rapidly, and runs a trembling hand across her belly.
    EFFE
    (in a small girl voice)
    Yes, Dad! I’m not barren! I’m going to have a baby! Chris’ baby! CHRIS! My Darling Bad Boy! He made me a woman, Dad! He made me a woman!!
    Suddenly she is crying very loudly, and she holds out her arms, and Ken Kedem and Eyram ran to her, and they all hug her tightly.
    And Effe cries…
    And cannot stop crying…
    And calls out Chris’ name over and over again.
    And she is so happy that she feels she is going to explode very soon with happiness!!

    Episode 36

    Continues..
    THIRTY-SIX DAYS
    Effe stands in her bathroom.
    She is naked, and she stands halfway in front of the huge mirror.
    Her stomach is incredibly flat, save for a little bulge under her navel.
    She runs her hands gently over her tummy, and then she looks at the seat of the water closet where about ten pregnancy test kits are lying.
    She has used them all, and all of them are showing two solid maroon lines…
    POSITIVE!
    She remembers the ten years she was married. Test after test, month after month, whenever her flow delayed, and always the same result …one solid strip;
    NEGATIVE!
    She had convinced herself she was incapable of conceiving
    .
    Until this!
    All of them shows POSITIVE!
    She giggles, and her heart sings with joy.
    EFFE
    Oh, Chris! My love! My man! Where are you? Come and rub my belly. You’re going to be a father. I am going to be a MOTHER! A mother, Chris, a MOTHER! Where are you, my love? I’m not giving birth outside marriage, Darling Boy, precious taxi driver! Come and marry me!
    She stays like that for a long time, looking at her belly and at the ten PTKs on the WC cover.
    Finally, she takes a long, slow bath.
    When she gets out she puts on a white bathing robe, belts it, and sweeps all the kits into a little pouch.
    She giggles when she looks down at them, and shakes her head in wonder.
    When she enters her room, she finds her mother standing by the window, her back to Effe.
    Effe stops and looks at the sloping shoulders of her mother, and the grey hair on her head.
    Ivy Kedem turns slowly, and Effe gasps at how haggard her mother’s face is.
    It is the face of someone who is suffering emotionally.
    There are deep lines on her mother’s face, as if she had not had a good sleep.
    Effe looks at her warily.
    EFFE
    You have not come to hurt me more, have you?
    Ivy Kedem shakes her head, and films of tears dance in the depths of her eyes.
    She walks forward slowly and stops in front of Effe.
    MADAM IVY
    Look at me, Effe. I’m a bad woman! I’m a disgraceful wife! And I am the vilest mother that ever lived!
    Tears come to Effe’s eyes immediately, and her compassion for her mother rises to the fore.
    She shakes her head numbly.
    EFFE
    Please, don’t say that.
    MADAM IVY
    (desperately)
    But I am! What kind of mother feels jealous over her own daughter’s pregnancy? Tell me, tell me, Effe!
    Effe licks her lips and looks extremely sad.
    EFFE
    You are still obsessed with him, aren’t you?
    MADAM IVY
    (sobbing)
    Oh, this is bad, so ugly! Effe, I don’t know whether it is because he spurned me, or because I can’t forget the way he was in my bed! For ten years you were laughed at, ridiculed, and now it turns out you’re not barren after all! Chris has made you pregnant, and all I feel is pain! Oh, what madness! But I’m human, my dear. Your father will die if he finds out I’m having these evil feelings! But I’m not going to let this destroy the love I have for you, dear! You’re right, I’ve treated Chris badly! I destroyed his childhood, and I did a lot of harm to him. He told me just how much he loves you, Effe! And how he’s never going to get over you, and yet he decided to stay away because he found out he had sex with me, and the knowledge made him feel unworthy of your love.
    Effe touches her trembling lips with her trembling fingertips, and tears roll down her cheeks.
    EFFE
    I love him, Mama. I need him so much.
    MADAM IVY
    (wiping her own tears away savagely)
    I’m going to be your mother, Effe. First, I apologise to you for all the harm I’ve done you. Secondly, I’m not going to let this thing eat at me. I’m going to push my evil feelings for that d--n boy aside. I’m going to love you, and my grandchild you’re carrying! I’m going to be the best wife to your Dad, and the best mother to you and Eyram. I’m going to be the best grandma, and I’m going to be a good mother-in-law to your husband. And I’m going to help you find that boy again.
    Effe nods wordlessly, overcome by emotions.
    Madam Ivy suddenly falls to her knees in front of her daughter, grabs Effe’s feet, and begins to beg to be forgiven.
    EFFE
    No, Mama! Don’t do that, please!
    She drops to her knees and holds her mother’s arms.
    Madam Ivy, such a strong woman, is crying bitterly now.
    MADAM IVY
    It’s just lust, Effe! I see that boy and my whole being is corrupted! Please forgive me, okay? Everything is going to be alright. That sickness is gone! It’s all behind me. Please, let us begin on a fresh page, my love. And forgive your poor mother for all the pains I’ve caused you!
    EFFE
    Of course, of course, Mama! I forgive you!
    And on the floor, mother and daughter hold each other and shed tears that washes the bad blood between them.
    They are tears that freshens the water, tears that washes out the bad, and makes their bond stronger.
    And much later, the door opens, and Eyram comes in with Ken Kedem, and they see mother and daughter holding each other on the floor, and they smile at each other.
    Suddenly Effe feels nauseous, and as she gets up to go to the bathroom to retch, the small pouch falls down, and all the pregnancy test kits fall out, all of them showing positive.
    Her family stare at them, first with curiosity, and then with real amazement, and then they all begin to laugh as Effe throws up with real pleasure in the bathroom.
    Madam Ivy looks at her family members, at how happy they are, and she sighs miserably.
    She had not been able to tell Effe that she made Chris think Effe has gone back to Steve, and is staying with Steve.
    She knows that will hurt Effe beyond reason, and she might not forgive her for that.
    MADAM IVY
    (softly to herself)
    Oh, Effe, my dearest, please forgive me! I’m so sorry!

    Episode 37

    Continues..
    THIRTY-SEVEN DAYS
    It rains almost the whole day.
    Lawyer Joshua Darkwa picks up Effe’s new car from the offices of the insurance company, and drives it to Effe’s house.
    Effe carries out more pregnancy tests, and they all show positive, and she laughs with happiness and cries to God to make a way so that she finds Chris again.
    Eyram visits Rupert and the rain traps her there almost the whole day. They share a first tender, shy and awkward kiss in the kitchen whilst their children sleep in their respective cots.
    Jonathan Afful gets roaring drunk and finally gets an erection and makes love to an old Chinese prostitute on top of the deep freezer in his kitchen, and afterwards he breaks down and weeps bitterly, calling Eyram’s name over and over. The Chinese prostitute leaves with all the money in Afful’s wallet whilst he lays snoring and giving off great thunderous flatulence on the floor of the kitchen.
    Mr. and Mrs. Kedem make quick love in their room, the first in a very long time, and Ken falls asleep but Ivy lay there trying to stop her tears and refusing to think of Chris.
    Steve stays in the office and watches Chinese Kung Fu movies and gets so drunk that he vomits on his desk and falls asleep on the floor of the main office.
    And on the slippery road of the Tema Motorway, very late in the night, almost close to midnight, a man on a motor cycle speeds violently on the road.
    His motorbike suddenly skids and shots into the air.
    The man crashes down on the hard surface of the road and skids off the motorway into the bushes.
    He lies there with a huge gash in his head, because he is not wearing a helmet.
    His arm feels broken, and he begins to bleed badly from his wounds, but he is unconscious.
    There is no vehicle around, and no car around because it is so late.
    He lies in the bushes unconscious and slowly bleeding to death.
    THIRTY-EIGHT DAYS
    Steve steps out of his office.
    It is 2:30 a.m.
    He is unshaved and looking haggard.
    He locks his office door and walks to the elevators.
    It descends rapidly and stops on the tenth floor.
    It opens and a young Doctor enters. His name is Gilbert Ayeh, one of their promising surgeons.
    He is talented and extremely dedicated, and is in his second year at Eden Hospital.
    He looks surprised to see Steve.
    DR. GILBERT
    Good morning, Doc. Hollison
    STEVE
    Morning Gil. You on night shift today?
    DR. GILBERT
    No, sir. Got called in. An emergency. Guy got slammed off his motorbike on the Tema Motorway. A patrolling team of policemen found him and brought him here, almost dead from loss of blood. Nasty crack in his head, multiple serrations and a dislocated right shoulder. Thought he was dead myself until I found a weak pulse.
    STEVE
    I see. Reckless young men nowadays. Always messing around on their motorbikes. He was probably overdosed on alcohol and drugs.
    DR. GILBERT
    You know it. Lucky guy.
    The elevator stops at the ground floor, and they both get out.
    Gilbert is going to sign the log book whilst Steve is headed for the Executive Car Park.
    A nurse approaches the elevators and speaks to Doctor Ayeh.
    NURSE
    Excuse me, Sir. The accident patient, should we book him as a John Doe? We didn’t get a name to put on his sheet.
    DR. GILBERT
    (yawning)
    There was a wallet in his pocket with a driver’s license. I saw it in the ward, on the cabinet. Chris Bawa or something, I think. You’ll see it when you get there.
    NURSE
    Okay, Doc. Thanks. I’ll look for it then!
    Steve stops suddenly when he hears Chris’ name.
    His heart begins to thud irrationally. Has he heard right? Chris Bawa?
    Is he the accident victim Doc. Ayeh had operated on?
    He takes out his phone and pretends to make a call, all the while watching Gilbert, who signs the log book and then heads for the stairs that leads to the underground parking lot reserved for staff of the hospital.
    Steve quickly gets into the lifts and punches the tenth-floor button.
    He emerges on the tenth floor and makes his way hastily towards the ICU Wards.
    He sees the nurse emerging from Ward 5, and he quickly leans into a doorway.
    When the nurse walks into the adjacent ward, Steve quickly enters Ward 5.
    There is only one patient lying on one of the beds.
    Steve, heart beating, goes near the bed, and he gasps with shock when he sees Chris on the bed.
    There is a bandage around his head, and his right upper shoulder is in a cast.
    His eyes are closed, and his face looks a little swollen.
    He has received a lot of transfusions, evidently, and now there is a Normal Saline drip feed in his arm.
    Steve stares at Chris with loathing.
    Here is the filthy taxi driver who has not only seen Effe naked, but has made love to her, and impregnated her.
    Here is the man standing between him and happiness with Effe.
    Steve’s face contorts with hatred as he looks at Chris.
    STEVE
    (in a sinister voice)
    Why didn’t you die? Why the f--k didn’t you die, you d--n motherf**ker!
    He is trembling uncontrollably now, and his hands are holding the bed posts tightly.
    He turns away suddenly when his phone rings. He sees through the glass that the nurse is coming back to the ward.
    He quickly goes into the washroom and closes the door, leaving only a crack.
    He takes his phone and sees that it is Jonathan Afful calling.
    He waits until the nurse leaves the ward, and then he calls Jonathan back.
    AFFUL
    Hey, you sleeping? Guess what, I’m healed! Got myself a Chinese w---e last night, and my d--k finally stood high and mighty! Old hag stole all my money but she was worth it! D--n! I’m back, dawg, I’m back!
    STEVE
    (his voice unsteady)
    Funny you’re back on a day like this, bro. Good for you. But you wouldn’t believe just what happened to me too!
    AFFUL
    Effe is back? Or Elaine’s baby is yours after all?
    STEVE
    No, nothing as sweet as that.
    AFFUL
    (intrigued)
    So, what’s got your pecker up like this? The taxi driver is dead?
    STEVE
    (in a very unsteady voice)
    Not dead, but he’s here, in the hospital, right now. Had an accident with a motorbike, and he was rushed here. He’s on the bed, and I’m in the ward with him.
    AFFUL
    So, kill him.

    Episode 38

    Continues..
    THIRTY-EIGHT DAYS
    Steve steps out of his office.
    It is 2:30 a.m.
    He is unshaved and looking haggard.
    He locks his office door and walks to the elevators.
    It descends rapidly and stops on the tenth floor.
    It opens and a young Doctor enters. His name is Gilbert Ayeh, one of their promising surgeons.
    He is talented and extremely dedicated, and is in his second year at Eden Hospital.
    He looks surprised to see Steve.
    DR. GILBERT
    Good morning, Doc. Hollison
    STEVE
    Morning Gil. You on night shift today?
    DR. GILBERT
    No, sir. Got called in. An emergency. Guy got slammed off his motorbike on the Tema Motorway. A patrolling team of policemen found him and brought him here, almost dead from loss of blood. Nasty crack in his head, multiple serrations and a dislocated right shoulder. Thought he was dead myself until I found a weak pulse.
    STEVE
    I see. Reckless young men nowadays. Always messing around on their motorbikes. He was probably overdosed on alcohol and drugs.
    DR. GILBERT
    You know it. Lucky guy.
    The elevator stops at the ground floor, and they both get out.
    Gilbert is going to sign the log book whilst Steve is headed for the Executive Car Park.
    A nurse approaches the elevators and speaks to Doctor Ayeh.
    NURSE
    Excuse me, Sir. The accident patient, should we book him as a John Doe? We didn’t get a name to put on his sheet.
    DR. GILBERT
    (yawning)
    There was a wallet in his pocket with a driver’s license. I saw it in the ward, on the cabinet. Chris Bawa or something, I think. You’ll see it when you get there.
    NURSE
    Okay, Doc. Thanks. I’ll look for it then!
    Steve stops suddenly when he hears Chris’ name.
    His heart begins to thud irrationally. Has he heard right? Chris Bawa?
    Is he the accident victim Doc. Ayeh had operated on?
    He takes out his phone and pretends to make a call, all the while watching Gilbert, who signs the log book and then heads for the stairs that leads to the underground parking lot reserved for staff of the hospital.
    Steve quickly gets into the lifts and punches the tenth-floor button.
    He emerges on the tenth floor and makes his way hastily towards the ICU Wards.
    He sees the nurse emerging from Ward 5, and he quickly leans into a doorway.
    When the nurse walks into the adjacent ward, Steve quickly enters Ward 5.
    There is only one patient lying on one of the beds.
    Steve, heart beating, goes near the bed, and he gasps with shock when he sees Chris on the bed.
    There is a bandage around his head, and his right upper shoulder is in a cast.
    His eyes are closed, and his face looks a little swollen.
    He has received a lot of transfusions, evidently, and now there is a Normal Saline drip feed in his arm.
    Steve stares at Chris with loathing.
    Here is the filthy taxi driver who has not only seen Effe naked, but has made love to her, and impregnated her.
    Here is the man standing between him and happiness with Effe.
    Steve’s face contorts with hatred as he looks at Chris.
    STEVE
    (in a sinister voice)
    Why didn’t you die? Why the f--k didn’t you die, you d--n motherf**ker!
    He is trembling uncontrollably now, and his hands are holding the bed posts tightly.
    He turns away suddenly when his phone rings. He sees through the glass that the nurse is coming back to the ward.
    He quickly goes into the washroom and closes the door, leaving only a crack.
    He takes his phone and sees that it is Jonathan Afful calling.
    He waits until the nurse leaves the ward, and then he calls Jonathan back.
    AFFUL
    Hey, you sleeping? Guess what, I’m healed! Got myself a Chinese w---e last night, and my d--k finally stood high and mighty! Old hag stole all my money but she was worth it! D--n! I’m back, dawg, I’m back!
    STEVE
    (his voice unsteady)
    Funny you’re back on a day like this, bro. Good for you. But you wouldn’t believe just what happened to me too!
    AFFUL
    Effe is back? Or Elaine’s baby is yours after all?
    STEVE
    No, nothing as sweet as that.
    AFFUL
    (intrigued)
    So, what’s got your pecker up like this? The taxi driver is dead?
    STEVE
    (in a very unsteady voice)
    Not dead, but he’s here, in the hospital, right now. Had an accident with a motorbike, and he was rushed here. He’s on the bed, and I’m in the ward with him.
    AFFUL
    So, kill him.
    Thanks for reading.
    It continues tomorrow.
    Kindly like our page:
    http://www.facebook.com/theklevermagg
    [07/04, 10:07 pm] Eunice Ansah-Agyeman: 45 DAYS
    A ChrisEffe Romance
    ©The Klever Magg
    THIRTY-EIGHT DAYS (Continued)
    STEVE
    (shocked)
    What? WHAT THE F**K DID YOU SAY, MAN?
    AFFUL
    (coldly)
    Don’t act dumb with me, man! It’s on your mind. I know you’re thinking about it. The dude’s in your face. He took your wife and knocked her up. He humiliated you, dawg. Now everybody knows your d--k ain’t got impregnating skills. Now the guy is right there with you, sick, in your d--n hospital. You’re a Doctor, and you know how to kill a human being with a drug, so that nobody would know. Go ahead. Do him. Kill him. He’s worthless anyway. With him dead you can have Effe back.
    STEVE
    (licking his lips)
    You’re talking murder, bro. You want me to murder a human!
    AFFUL
    Come off that crap. I don’t want you to murder s--t! YOU WANT TO MURDER HIM! From the moment you saw him in your goddamn hospital you wanted to kill him. You just need the right words from me to settle your conscience. You want Effe, and the solution is right there with you. Kill him. Kill the taxi driver! You know you want to do it, so do it, right now! Kill him.
    Steve is silent for a long while. Suddenly there is sweat all over his face, and he is trembling.
    STEVE
    I don’t know, bro. Not like I don’t want him dead. I do. But I wonder if I can live with it, you know. Taking a human life ain’t easy, you know.
    AFFUL
    (irritated)
    Stop behaving like the Pope, rasta. Kill the d--n taxi driver!
    STEVE
    (breathing hard)
    I’ll get back to you, bro. Thanks anyway.
    He cuts the call and quickly leaves the Ward.
    He gets into the lift and rides up to the Executive Floors, and enter his office.
    He goes straight to a huge and beautiful vault in one corner, and quickly works the complex combination.
    He pulls the heavy metal door open, and stands looking at the contents.
    There are files, stacks of money, a pistol, and some valuable jewellery.
    On the top shelf, however, are vials, capsules, tablets and other rare medicines.
    He reaches for the back of the shelf and takes out a white packet, and on it are the words: STRATOCIDAL COKATIS.
    He closes the vault and carries the packet to his desk.
    He sits down slowly, and sweat starts to pour off his face.
    He licks his lips and shuts his eyes tightly. His jaw works, grinding tightly.
    Suddenly he leans forward and opens the packet. He takes out a single ampoule and a syringe.
    He breaks the neck of the ampoule, extracts the syringe, dips it in, and fills the syringe with the deadly liquid.
    He puts the packet and the covers of the syringe and the empty ampoule into a brown envelope and puts it into his pocket, and then he holds the syringe in his hand and leaves the office.
    He rides to the tenth floor and enters Ward 5.
    The nurse is watching television in the Nurses’ Lounge.
    Steve knows that the security cameras are on him, and so he walks boldly without trying to disguise himself.
    After all he is the Chief Executive Officer of Eden Hospital.
    He approaches the bed swiftly.
    Chris’ eyes are open, and he looks at Steve with sudden surprise.
    Without hesitating Steve holds Chris’ arm.
    Chris struggles feebly because he is so weak, and then Steve plunges the syringe into his arm and depresses the plunger, pumping the deadly Stratocidal Cokatis into him.
    Chris’ eyes blaze furiously at Steve.
    Steve steps back and looks at Chris, and then he smiles and speaks gently.
    STEVE
    Listen, pal. I didn’t mean to do this to you. Truth is that I called Effe, and spoke to her about it. You came between two people who love each other. Listen, Effe found out she’s pregnant, and that baby is mine. She feels that your presence would inconvenience us, so she suggested I get rid of you by injecting you with one of the most lethal injections ever known, because she loves me, and she doesn’t want you meddling in our lives. So, in thirty-six hours you will be dead. Don’t worry, it wouldn’t be painful. After you’re gone, Effe and I can enjoy our marriage. Goodbye, Chris. No hard feelings, bro.
    Chris is lying helplessly on the bed, but he has heard everything.
    The pain and the torture that Effe is pregnant for Steve, and now wants him dead, are too much for Chris.
    Tears squeeze down his eyes.
    Effe, Effe, Effe!
    Oh Effe! How can you do this to me??
    Chris closes his eyes slowly!
    Everything is growing dark for him, and he is very helpless. And then, darkness covers him, and he doesn’t feel anything again.
    Death is knocking at his door!
    Steve puts the syringe in his pocket, and then he quickly leaves the ward.
    He rides the lifts down, picks his car, and drives out of the hospital.
    He stops once, when he is well clear of the hospital, and vomits on the street pavement.
    He knows he has committed murder.
    He has just killed Chris Bawa!!!

    Episode 39

    Continues..
    THIRTY-NINE DAYS
    The beeper on Effe’s desk chimes, and a moment later the voice of Auntie Joyce, her Secretary, comes over the intercom.
    AUNT JOYCE
    Doctor Ayeh to see you, please. Here on appointment.
    EFFE
    Oh, yes, send him right in.
    A moment later the door opens and Gilbert enters.
    He looks wan and tired as Effe stands up and hugs him briefly.
    DR. GILBERT
    Hey, missed you heaps, Effe.
    EFFE
    (smiling)
    Missed you too, Gil. How was Paris? Hope you enjoyed your holidays! I’m sure Akua and the kids loved it.
    Gilbert laughs and sinks into a chair.
    DR. GILBERT
    It was the best time of our lives, as a family, I guess. Thanks for nominating me for the Board’s approval for the sponsorship. How have you been, Effe?
    EFFE
    (chuckling)
    Crazy month of my life, I guess. Went from being the betrayed wife to the divorced wife, and in between there some really crazy things happened to me.
    DR. GILBERT
    (sadly)
    Yeah, heard about it just today. So sorry, Effe. Steve and Elaine? D--n, that is something else. So d--n bad! But he’s not taking it easy at all. Met him here yesterday, at dawn!
    EFFE
    Who, Steve?
    DR. GILBERT
    Yep. Looked like he slept in his office. Felt sad for him, but I guess he brought it on himself.
    EFFE
    (sadly)
    Yes, Gil, he made his own bed, sad as it seems, and he needs to sleep in it. He divorced me and I got pregnant within a month. Crazy, isn’t it?
    DR. GILBERT
    (whooping with joy)
    Oooooooohhhh! Yeaaaaahhh! Heard about it, all over the place! Knew you weren’t barren! How’s he taking it now, knowing he’s the cause and not you? Heard you got yourself a real hunk, a very handsome man! Heard all the girls drool over him! You have to let me meet him soon. Some akonta sikan for pai, abi?
    EFFE
    (with a sad smile)
    He went AWOL on me. Missing. But I’m gonna find him, and he’s gonna make me Mrs. Chris Bawa, and then you’re gonna meet him.
    Gilbert sits forward suddenly, and his face looks grave.
    DR. GILBERT
    Did you say Chris Bawa?
    EFFE
    Yeah, Chris Bawa! That’s my dear taxi driver’s name.
    DR. GILBERT
    (face suddenly going pale)
    D--n! Oh, d--n! Oh, sweet Jesus, no!
    Effe is suddenly scared.
    She jumps to her feet as her heart performs a crazy waltz that make the room spin.
    EFFE
    What’s it, Gil? You know him?
    DR. GILBERT
    Remember I told you about meeting Steve here yesterday dawn? I was called in to perform an emergency surgery on a young man. Obviously, according to the police patrol team that brought him here, he had a motorbike accident on the Tema Motorway. Everything went okay, and I was expecting him to be up by yesterday afternoon, but when I checked on him last evening his body stats were dropping! I couldn’t find anything wrong, but it seems he’s slowly dying. He went into a sudden coma I cannot understand.
    EFFE
    (in a high voice)
    BUT WHAT HAS THAT GOT TO DO WITH CHRIS?
    DR. GILBERT
    (in a gentle voice)
    Calm down, Effe. I-
    EFFE
    (cutting in)
    Don’t tell me to calm down! Is it Chris? IS THE MAN CHRIS BAWA?
    DR. GILBERT
    Well, I don’t know if it’s your Chris, but the name on his driver’s license is Chris Bawa, and I learn no relative has shown up yet.
    Effe goes around the desk and practically flies past Gilbert.
    He gets up too, alarmed, and races after her.
    He screams out to her to stop, but she is beyond hearing him.
    She flies into the lift, and he sticks a foot into the entrance to prevent the doors from sliding shut.
    He joins her as the lift rides down to the tenth floor.
    She is out before the doors are completely open, and she races into the reception area.
    EFFE
    (shouting)
    WHAT WARD, GIL?
    DR. GILBERT
    Lord, Effe! Slow up! Be calm!!
    EFFE
    (angrily)
    WHAT WARD, GIL, DAMNIT????
    DR. GILBERT
    Five. Ward Five!
    Effe blasts into the Ward.
    There are two nurses standing beside the bed, and she pushes them aside.
    Chris is lying inertly on the bed, as if asleep.
    Effe pulls up dead.
    For a moment she almost falls, but Gilbert catches and holds her. She slips out of Gilbert’s arms and rushes to the bed.
    She puts her forehead on Chris’ face and holds him tightly.
    She is trembling very hard, and she is aware that she must not allow herself to slip into panic.
    She forces her tears away, biting her lower lip tightly.
    She can cry later, but right now she needs to be a Doctor for the man who has captured her heart so completely.
    She takes deep breaths to calm herself, and when she looks at them her face is awash with tears.
    EFFE
    What happened, Gil? Where’s the history?
    Gilbert picks up the clipper and hands it to her.
    DR. GILBERT
    Just standard procedure. He had a semi-fractured skull and a dislocated right shoulder. There was no internal bleeding. He had lost a lot of blood before the police brought him in. Would have bled to death if he had been brought in ten minutes later. Took him to the theatre and patched him up. Transfused him. He was supposed to be okay, but suddenly his system is shutting down. No matter what I do, we’re losing him. Never seen anything like it. He’s quite healthy and strong, but it seems something is shutting down his immune system.
    Effe’s eyes scan the sheet of paper rapidly, and then she sees something.
    It was the letters: S T E
    The letters had been written in spindly, trembling handwriting. She shows it to Gil.
    EFFE
    What’s this, Gil?
    He peers at the pad, and at the letters.
    DR. GILBERT
    I don’t know, Effe. Maybe it was already on the paper.
    NURSE
    (clearing her throat)
    Erm, yesterday morning when I came to check on him, around five in the morning, the pad was on the bed and he had a pen in his hand. I think he was trying to write something!
    Effe gasps suddenly!
    Her eyes open in horror. She remembers Gil telling her he had met Steve the previous day at dawn!
    Had Steve heard about Chris being on admission?
    Chris has written S T E
    For Steve?
    Had he been trying to write Steve?
    Effe frantically looks at Gilbert.
    EFFE
    Please, Gil, have you run other tests on him since then?
    Gil moves forward and picks up a second sheet lying on the little ward table.
    DR. GILBERT
    Yeah. Accelerating heartbeats, enlarged heart, malfunctioning liver and lungs, pigmented skins, scaly soles, flaky inner thighs-
    EFFE
    (shaking her head, fresh tears drowning her)
    Oh, my God! Oh, my God, no!
    DR. GILBERT
    What is it? Effe, what is it?
    EFFE
    He hasn’t been here for more than three days, according to you, right?
    DR. GILBERT
    No, Effe. He was brought in yesterday, at dawn. I told you.
    Effe turns around without replying.
    She flees from the room and straight to the elevator.
    She takes the elevator to the topmost floor and runs straight into her office and to a vault that looks similar to the one in Steve’s office.
    She is trembling as she inputs the combination, and then she opens the door and reaches blindly into it.
    She brings out a package with STRATOCIDAL COKATIS printed on it.
    She tears the package open. There are two ampoules inside.
    She picks up the black ampoule, tears it out and breaks the neck.
    She puts in the syringe and draws the dark liquid. When she turns both Gilbert and Aunt Joyce are in the doorway, looking at her with a mixture of fear, compassion and puzzlement.
    Effe extends the syringe to Gilbert.
    EFFE
    Please, I can’t run anymore. Take it, inject directly into his heart, please!
    Gilbert takes the syringe and rushes out of the room.
    Effe walks forward slowly. Her legs can barely support her.
    She is so dizzy, and feels so weak. She feels a deep pain in her lower belly, the kind of pain she usually feels prior to her menses.
    There are tears in her eyes as she sits down again, the pain too severe for her to bear.
    She can see Auntie Joyce speaking, but she cannot hear what the kind woman is saying.
    And then she feels a wetness down her right leg, and her horrified eyes see the thin line of red blood trickling down her leg!
    Effe screams then as the agonizing pain grips her belly, and she falls flat on her face on the desk.
    She knows she is losing her baby, and she clamps her thighs shut tightly, and she weeps with the agony of a broken heart.
    Auntie Joyce, screaming hysterically, calls Doctor Anaman.

    Episode 40

    Continues..
    FORTY DAYS
    Effe opens her eyes slowly.
    She is lying on a big bed in an air-conditioned room.
    She knows instantly that she is in the Executive Ward of the Eden Hospital.
    Sunlight filters in through the huge tint glass windows because the Venetian blinds are pulled and tied back with golden sashes.
    She sees that she is in a hospital gown.
    Her parents are sitting on each side of the bed, and Eyram and Rupert are standing at the foot of the bed.
    She can hear voices to one side of her, and when she turns her head slightly she sees that Doctors Anaman and Ayeh are in deep conversation.
    A nurse is tucking the edge of the bedspread back inside, and she stands back suddenly.
    NURSE
    Doctor! She’s up!
    They all crowd around Effe, and she sees the concern and love on their faces.
    DR. ANAMAN
    Please, stand back a bit, would you?
    When they give him space he bends over Effe and quickly checks her pulse and heart rate.
    He checks the heart monitor, and then he stands up and wordlessly unplugs the monitor and the wires attached to Effe.
    Effe’s eyes fill up with tears when she remembers the events that has brought her to the ward.
    EFFE
    (voice trembling)
    I lost my baby, didn’t I, Doc?
    Doctor Anaman sits down on the edge of the bed.
    DR. ANAMAN
    (in a firm voice)
    Either you’re a very lucky woman, or that child is one strong warrior. Running up and down and getting stressed out like that, with your first pregnancy, at your age, is not good for you, young lady! The baby’s attachment to the walls of the womb got shook up a bit, and your stress transferred to him. Hence the slight bleeding. Luckily, he’s still in there. Tired, abused, but still hanging in there.
    Effe exhales heavily, and her agony turns to unbridled joy.
    EFFE
    Oh! Oh, my God! I was so, so scared! Oh, thank God!
    DR. ANAMAN
    You have to take things easy from now, young lady!
    They all hug her, and kiss her cheeks, but Effe is still in turmoil as her eyes search Gilbert’s face frantically.
    EFFE
    Chris? How’s he, Gil?
    Gilbert looks at her strangely, and then leans forward and kisses her forehead.
    DR. GILBERT
    That injection you gave me, whatever it is, did the trick. He’s gonna be fine. All his vitals are really good now, and he’s stabilized, but still pretty weak.
    EFFE
    Please, I have to see him. How long have I been in here?
    KEN KEDEM
    Since yesterday morning, my love.
    DR. ANAMAN
    I saw it best to give you a mild sedate, Effe, to make you rest and bring down the stress. You and the baby needed it.
    EFFE
    Can I see Chris now, please?
    DR. ANAMAN
    I don’t see why not. Just take it slow, and gentle.
    EYRAM
    Oh, Ef! You scared me so much!
    MADAM IVY
    (softly)
    All of us. You scared all of us, my love!
    Effe tries a brave smile.
    Her family hug her again, and then the men step outside whilst she gets out of bed and Eyram helps her back into her own clothes.
    They make light conversation as they emerge from the ward and make their way to the elevator.
    When they get out on the tenth floor they see that it is crawling with a lot of people in the Visitors’ Lounge.
    Effe walks close to Gilbert.
    EFFE
    Gil! You kept everything quiet?
    He looks at her with furious eyes.
    DR. GILBERT
    (in a tight voice)
    I’m no fool, Effe, dear! I can easily put two and two together. Steve found that Chris was on admission here, and so injected him with a poisonous drug, a drug whose name I’ve never heard before. You spoke of the number of days he had been on admission, meaning if it had gone beyond a certain span of time Chris might have died. Luckily, you had an antidote to that d--n drug! What is it anyway?
    EFFE
    (gravely)
    An experimental drug, Gil, from our labs. Developed by Dr. Sey Wachipa and Dr. Simi Simpson, aimed at curing the virus that causes AIDS. It’s quite lethal, still in its formative stages, and can kill within thirty-six hours if injected without being mixed with a measured dose of its female dose, the one I gave you. Please, it’s a secret. Only a few of us have the first samples.
    DR. GILBERT
    D--n it! This is murder, Effe! Chris evidently saw Steve, and tried to write down his name! You need to let the police know. Steve should be arrested immediately!!
    EFFE
    (sadly)
    I couldn’t believe he would go that far, Gil. But what’s important is that we saved Chris’ life. As for calling the cops, I’ll wait for Chris’ decision. But thank you for keeping it under wraps. I appreciate it!
    DR. GILBERT
    I don’t like it, Effe. This is the most insane thing I’ve ever heard! He’s a Doctor, sworn to protect all lives! He tried to murder the boy, pure and simple. I understand your dilemma. You were married to the guy, and naturally you might not want to put him in the soup, but we can’t sweep this under the carpet either! It is a most wicked thing to do. If you had not shown up, if that three-day bench had elapsed, Chris would’ve died. Have you thought about that?
    EFFE
    (in a sad voice)
    I’m more outraged than you are, Gil, that I can tell you. What Steve did was absolutely unpardonable. But I love Chris, with all my heart, and I want us to talk about this, and decide on what to do.
    Before Gilbert can reply the glass doors swing open, and more people come in.
    Effe is shocked, to say the least, when she sees that Mr. Albert Ntim, the President of the Eden Board, Mr. Frank Stiles, First Vice President, and Jonathan Afful, Second Vice President, are all present.
    She sees three grey-haired doctors, and some grim-looking nurses following.
    Preceding them are about four huge men in impeccable black suits and dark glasses.
    Effe recognizes one of the Doctors as one of the most talented in the country in surgery, Doctor Ralph Setorwofia.
    She has attended a highly-profiled seminar chaired by the famous surgeon.
    She remembers he is the Chief Executive of the Eden Research and Scientific Centre.
    Behind them is Steve Hollison, who pauses in the doorway for a moment, and then follows the delegation forward, his face filled with unease, guilt and fear.
    MADAM IVY
    What’s happening here?
    DR. ANAMAN
    (puzzled)
    I don’t know, really. Can someone tell us what’s going on here?
    RUPERT
    I think I’m gonna find out.
    He pushes his way through the throng, but suddenly the door of Ward 5 swings open, and a sophisticated power-operated stretcher is wheeled out, and lying on it is Chris Bawa, his eyes closed.
    On either side of the stretcher is a huge man in black suit, whilst some preceded the stretcher.
    The doctors and nurses are following, and standing attentively to one side are the three top officials of the Eden Board.
    Doctor Ralph Setorwofia comes out last, and he has Chris’ records and diagnosis sheets.
    Suddenly scared, Effe pushes forward and blocks the stretcher.
    EFFE
    (in an unsteady voice)
    Where are you taking him? You can’t do that! Who’re you people anyway?
    Two of the black-suited huge men step forward and try to push her back, their faces grim.
    BLACK-SUIT 1
    We don’t have time for this, Madam. Kindly step aside.
    DR. GILBERT
    (coming to stand beside Effe)
    You can’t talk to her like that, my friend. What’s going on here anyway? That man is my patient, and you can’t just enter and take him away! The proper procedures have to be followed! I have to sign a release form. Somebody, get Security, please! You need to show us some identity, mister!
    BLACK-SUIT 2
    Please, please, don’t let this turn into an unpleasant situation. Listen, if you want explanations, speak to your superiors, okay? Please kindly step aside and let us through!
    EFFE
    No! You’re not taking him out! What’s this anyway? This is beyond comprehension! Where’s Security anyway? Would someone please call the police? Is he in some trouble with the law? Even if that’s the case there must be proper documentation. You can’t just budge in here and start taking patients away. Rupe, please call Security!
    Four of the huge men in black approach Effe and Gilbert, and they grab them by the upper arms, and begin to push them away from the path of the stretcher.
    That is when the president of the Eden Board suddenly speaks.
    ALBERT NTIM
    Leave them alone, please. I’ll explain things to them! You can’t manhandle the staff here like that! They have every right to know what is going on!
    Every eye turns to Mr. Ntim.
    EFFE
    (voice puzzled, scared)
    Mr. Ntim? You know what is going on? Has he done something wrong? Is Chris in trouble?
    She shrugs free from the grasp of the man holding her and walks anxiously towards Mr. Ntim.
    Mr. Ntim takes a deep shuddering breath and smiles kindly at Effe.
    ALBERT NTIM
    Please, let them pass. We didn’t want to say anything, but it seems, quite admirably, that you are professionals and wouldn’t let anybody mess with your patients, so I have no option than to give you the explanations you seek. These men, all of them, from the security detail to the nurses right down to the Doctors, work for Mr. Bawa. The doctors and nurses are his personal health attendants. They’re taking him to his personal hospital. Please let them through.
    STEVE
    (voice full of contempt)
    Personal medical staff? What the hell are you talking about, boss? You must have that guy confused with somebody else! That boy is a d--n taxi driver, for Christ’s sake! He is a d--n-
    Mr. Ntim turns to Steve and his voice is like a whiplash.
    ALBERT NTIM
    You keep your d--n mouth shut this minute!
    The men in black now push the stretcher towards the entrance.
    Effe, face distraught and still filled with fear, reaches out and holds Chris’ hand tightly.
    She does not understand one word of what Mr. Ntim had said, and just like Steve she is absolutely floored.
    EFFE
    Please, Mr. Ntim! Say something! I can’t let them take him away like this! His personal hospital? I know him, please, and he doesn’t have a personal hospital!
    ALBERT NTIM
    (exasperated)
    Please, Effe, let them take him. That man is not who you think he is. Please, let them take him away right now. That’s what he wants, so let it be.
    The men push Chris out of the entrance, and the medical staff follow him out.
    EFFE
    Mr. Ntim? What do you mean Chris is not who we think he is? What’s going on, please? Let me know! I’m going out of my mind with worry, please!
    DR. ANAMAN
    (face concerned)
    Effe! Keep the stress down, please! It’s not good for you in your condition! Albert, you better give us something sensible, and fast, excuse my language, but I’m concerned for Effe!
    ALBERT NTIM
    (softly)
    That man’s real name is Chris Eden Bawa.
    EFFE
    What? Eden? Chris?
    The silence in the room is so complete that if a paper had fallen down it would have sounded like a bomb going off.
    The total shock, disbelief and amazement is like an electric shock that runs through all of them, most of all Effe.
    KEN KEDEM
    (in an awed voice)
    Surely you don’t mean Eden as in Eden Investments, Eden Capitals, Eden Hospitals, Eden Technologies, Eden-
    AFFUL
    (laughing forcefully, his voice scared)
    Cut that crap, old man! Are you crazy? Are you saying we work for him? That he pays me? That guy is just a d--n taxi driver!
    The First Vice President of the Eden Board turns a cold face towards Afful.
    FRANK STILES
    Shut up, Jonathan!
    Mr. Albert Ntim turns towards Jonathan Afful and gives him a baleful look.
    ALBERT NTIM
    He was driving a taxi because he fell in love with a woman, and didn’t want her to know who he was. He wanted to win her over first. Chris Eden Bawa owns EDEN INC. He’s the richest man in Africa, and one of the richest in the world. Yes, Mr. Afful, you work for him, and yes, he pays you. We ALL work for him. Satisfied now?
    KEN KEDEM
    (in awe)
    My God!
    MADAM IVY
    Oh, sweet Jesus!
    EYRAM
    Crikey!! I’ll be damned! Chris? Jeez!!
    RUPERT
    I’ll be damned! He’s my boss?
    AFFUL
    (looking absolutely sick)
    What the f**king s--t is this? Jesus H. Christ! Oh, Lazarus!! No, Mr. Ntim, tell me you’re f**king joking!
    Eyram looks at the absolutely shocked Jonathan Afful, and she bursts into laughter.
    Steve reaches for a chair and sinks weakly into it. He wishes the ground will open up and swallow him.
    STEVE
    Oh, dear Lord! What have I done? What have I done, Lord?
    Effe is shaking her head, trying hard to assimilate all that she has heard. Her trembling hands fly to her mouth.
    EFFE
    Chris? He owns Eden Inc? But how, I can’t believe it! Please, how can it be possible? The richest man in Africa? He is an orphan who grew up in an orphanage!
    ALBERT NTIM
    Yes, my dear! All that is true, but he is a fighter, and he came out of the harsh life he was given as a child. He left the orphanage and came to the city. He had a little money saved, and he enrolled in a free computer programme sponsored by the United Nations. The facilitators saw his immense skill and talent, and gave him a scholarship to further his IT training. Have you heard of Orphan Logik?
    EFFE
    (nodding)
    Who hasn’t? A world-famous brand in computer technology.
    ALBERT NTIM
    (nodding)
    That’s Chris’ first Company. He developed the programme for Orphan Logik, and it was taken on by the UN. He got a lot of money from that, and went on to develop many more apps and software for computers and phones, creating world-class apps for android and iPhone platforms. Shortly afterwards he created his antivirus software, OrphanLock, and it became a world best. He went on to create the best computer environments that were bought and incorporated into Microsoft and Apple computers, and later even Samsung, and that catapulted him to riches. Later, he sold Orphan Logik and OrphanLock and established EDEN INC, and the rest is history.
    MADAM IVY
    (looking absolutely sick)
    Jesus!
    EFFE
    (shocked, dazed)
    It all makes sense now! The Jamaican Resort, WaterWorld, his ability to get my father’s loan approved…
    ALBERT NTIM
    (with a little laugh)
    He owns the Jamaican Resort. He owns WaterWorld. He owns a lot of things.
    EFFE
    (almost weeping)
    But why? Why the deceit? Why the lies? Why did he do this to me?
    ALBERT NTIM
    (shrugging)
    I don’t know, Effe, dear. I’ve known that boy for almost twenty years. He’s always kept his identity a secret. He bought that taxi for a total stranger, a poor man who found Chris’ mobile phone and wallet and brought it to him. You see, when he bought and registered that taxi, he brought it here that night to pick me up. He wanted to go with me to the young man’s house and give the taxi to the man. I was here that night, and he was coming to pick me up, but when I came out he was gone. Later he told me a mysterious lady who was being chased by a naked man entered the taxi, and the next moment he turned himself into a taxi driver, driving that woman all over town. He bought another taxi for the young man and continued using the first taxi. Chris is like that. Sometimes I don’t understand him myself.
    Later he told my sister-in-law to pretend she’s the taxi owner, and a whole lot of other nonsense. He has money, and so he can do anything he wants, I guess.
    Effe is nodding, dumbfounded.
    EFFE
    He lied to me. He kept his identity a secret! He made me think he was a poor man! Oh, Lord!
    Mr. Ntim is looking at her, puzzled, and then slowly a light of understanding came into his eyes.
    ALBERT NTIM
    (in a hoarse voice)
    Dearest me! Are you the mysterious lady, the one he only calls Precious? Jolly me!
    EFFE
    (nodding)
    Yes, Sir!
    Mr. Ntim shakes his head and looks absolutely disturbed.
    ALBERT NTIM
    Look, something happened! I don’t know what it is, but Chris thinks you deceived him! He thinks you want him dead! That’s why I sent for his doctors!
    EFFE
    (shocked)
    What? what are you talking about?
    Steve wishes he can just disappear. He looks on miserably and with great fear, his heart thumping with terror.
    Mr. Ntim grabs Effe’s shoulders and speaks anxiously.
    ALBERT NTIM
    I don’t know what happened, my dear. Chris let one of the nurses call me. When I came, he was delirious. He was still not completely awake, but he kept repeating that Precious betrayed him, Precious wants him dead, Precious planned to murder him! I don’t know what he’s talking about, maybe it is because he’s still not fully out of the coma. I was concerned. I didn’t know he was referring to you. That’s why I sent for his medical team. And his VISA was ready. He was leaving the country. He was going to Switzerland. He told me he would be there for a long time. His flight was scheduled for the next night after the accident. If he had not been hurt in that accident he would’ve been out of the country by now.
    EFFE
    (completely scared now)
    No, no, no! It must be some misunderstanding! Please, I must see him! Now! Please, let me speak to him! Please!
    ALBERT NTIM
    Yes, yes, yes! You have to go to him. I didn’t know it was you all along. I believe you. Please, let me go and see him first. As soon as he’s much better and stronger, I’ll give you a call and let you see him, my dear!
    He moves quickly towards the entrance and gets into the elevator.
    Effe is trembling, and winces when she experiences a sharp pain in her lower abdomen again.
    Doctor Anaman rushes to her side and lets her sit down.
    DR. ANAMAN
    (concerned)
    Effe! What’s wrong with you? Sit down, sit down! Too much excitement!
    When Effe sits down, surrounded by her shocked family, Mr. Frank Stiles faces them and speaks.
    FRANK STILES
    (grimly)
    Well, I must also leave, but before I go I must tell you people about a couple of changes Mr. Chris Eden Bawa has ordered. First, with immediate effect, Mr. Jonathan Afful is dismissed from the Eden Board. Doctor Steve Hollison is also dismissed as Chief Executive Officer of this hospital. Their entitlements would be computed and paid to them. Doctor Gabriel Anaman is appointed the CEO of Eden Hospital, and Doctor Rupert Henderson will be his assistant, with immediate effect. I’ll bring you all the legal documents tomorrow. Have a good day.
    Jonathan Afful collapses immediately and crashes to the floor besides Steve, whose eyes are suddenly filled with unshed tears, jealously, rage, surprise and fear.
    He looks so shell-shocked that his posture is absolutely that of a suddenly old pathetic man.
    Doctors Gabriel Anaman and Rupert Henderson stare at each other and smile with sudden happiness and perverse glee.
    Gilbert leans over the sprawled body of Jonathan Afful and loosens his tie.
    He feels for a pulse and, satisfied that Afful is in no danger, he props Afful comfortably and calls some of the orderlies to send him to a ward.
    Rupert then walks over and stands in front of Steve.
    DR. GILBERT
    (speaking softly)
    I’ve never liked you, Steve. Heard what you did with Rupert’s wife, and with Effe’s cousin. You b-----d! Serves you right! Better look over your shoulder, because when that Chris man cools down, I’ll talk to him, and make sure he sends you to prison for attempted murder! How could you, man?
    Effe can still not understand it.
    It is as if she is dreaming, and suddenly she feels very scared! She knows that suddenly she is losing Chris.
    Why is Chris feeling she wants him dead?
    Why? What happened?
    She looks at Steve, and it begins to dawn on her that maybe Steve said things to Chris before injecting him with the dangerous drug.
    Her eyes fall on her mother, and she sees guilt in the depths of the older woman’s eyes, and again it dawns on Effe that maybe her own Mom had told lies about her to Chris too!
    Tears blaze down Effe’s cheeks slowly. She cannot speak as she slowly convinces herself that her mother and Steve have combined to poison Chris’ heart against her.
    Tears slowly come into Madam Ivy’s eyes.
    She sees just how much she has hurt her own daughter. She speaks silently, her mouth forming the words.
    MADAM IVY
    Forgive me, Effe! I’m so sorry!

    Episode 41

    Continues..
    FORTY-ONE DAYS
    Effe rides the elevator to the ground floor.
    Eyram and her father are beside her.
    She has just been discharged by the new CEO of Eden Hospital, Doctor Gabriel Anaman, and asked to take things cool and slow.
    She is still terribly worried.
    Mr. Ntim has called her early in the morning that Chris would be discharged from his private hospital that evening.
    He said Chris plans to travel outside the country the next night for a very long time. Mr. Ntim promised he would come for Effe and take her to see Chris early in the morning.
    When they get to the ground floor they exit the elevator, cross the reception and go outside towards the car park.
    KEN KEDEM
    Wait here, my dears, whilst I go and bring the car.
    EFFE
    (smiling)
    I’m okay, Daddy. I’m fine!
    KEN KEDEM
    You stay put, young lady! Let that granddaughter inside there rest for me!
    Effe and Eyram both laugh.
    EFFE
    I don’t want a girl now, Daddy! First a boy, a junior for my Chris, and then a girl!
    KEN KEDEM
    A girl! A girly! Girly, girly, girly, girl!!!
    They all laugh, and then Effe’s eyes fall on the huge, pink building across the car park.
    The EDEN ASYLUM
    The laughter dies from her face and her face suddenly becomes sad. She looks at her father and sister.
    EFFE
    Can you guys wait for me, for a while? There’s something I must do.
    EYRAM
    (looking concerned)
    What, Ef? Something about Chris?
    EFFE
    No, Rammy. Elaine. I haven’t seen her since she was taken to the Asylum for post-partum psychosis. I think I must see her. She’s still family, you know? I’m going to see her!
    KEN KEDEM
    (horrified)
    My sweet pumpkin, are you absolutely out of your mind? That girl hated you, even when she was sane! Now that she’s raving-mad, the sight of you could make her go absolutely bonkers and attack you!
    EFFE
    Dad! She’s not mad! She’s just sick!
    KEN KEDEM
    What sick? The hospital is for sick people. Asylum means madness! She can hit you with something! Look, we’re all sorry for her, but come on… don’t do this!
    EFFE
    (sadly)
    I must, Dad, I must. To err, they say, is human, and to forgive, divine. I’m going to see her! She needs all the love that she can get. That’s the only medicine for her condition.
    Eyram and Ken exchange glances, but they know nothing will distract Effe once her mind is made up.
    KEN KEDEM
    Fine, fine, fine! But I’m coming with you!
    EYRAM
    Yeah, me too!
    They pass through the formalities at the EDEN ASYLUM.
    Since Effe is well-known and loved, they are ushered into the serene gardens of the asylum.
    Some of the inmates are here, being attended to by caring nurses.
    The doctor in charge is a portly fifty-eight-year-old veteran called Dr. JOE DUNCAN.
    JOE DUNCAN
    I’m glad you’re here, Effe. Elaine’s malaise is a very complex one, and I believe you’re key to her healing. I left voice messages for you. I even booked an appointment with your Secretary, and she fixed me for tomorrow.
    The garden is very beautiful indeed. The objects are few, but the green park is wide and well-kept. There are benches and huts, and miniature animal statues.
    EFFE
    Really? Sorry. Things have been a bit hectic for me.
    KEN KEDEM
    You sure Effe is safe here, Doctor? I don’t trust the people here at all! I just saw a woman screaming in the corridor that her penis is missing!
    EFFE
    Dad!
    EYRAM
    Daddy!
    JOE DUNCAN
    (unsmiling)
    Really, Mr. Kedem!
    KEN KEDEM
    But it’s true! See that man over there with the bald head who’s looking over his shoulder and trying to see something at his back? I asked if I could help him, because I thought his back was itching him, or there’s something there! Do you know what he said? He told me he’s just trying to kiss his buttocks and see if his buttocks will marry him! What kind of madness is-
    EFFE/EYRAM
    DAD!!!
    Joe Duncan stops walking and looks at Ken Kedem with barely restrained anger.
    JOE DUNCAN
    Do you realize, Mr. Kedem that you’re INSIDE an ASYLUM, and things here are a bit different from what pertains outside this building?
    KEN KEDEM
    That’s what I’m talking about, Sir! Is this place safe for my daughters?
    JOE DUNCAN
    I can assure you, Mr. Kedem, that your daughters are perfectly safe!
    Effe puts a hand on Dr. Duncan’s arm.
    EFFE
    Please, doctor, don’t take my father’s words to heart.
    Joe Duncan nods and gives Ken Kedem a very dark look.
    JOE DUNCAN
    Here, Elaine is just over there.
    They find Elaine dressed in a pretty pink dress, and not one of the white gowns of the inmates.
    She’s sitting under the shade of a tree, and she is making drawings in a drawing book.
    She does not look up when the little group of people reach her.
    Effe sees that the drawings are all pictures of headless babies, and her heart immediately goes to Elaine, and gentle tears p---k her eyes.
    EFFE (whispering)
    Can I speak to her?
    JOE DUNCAN
    (nodding)
    Elaine, dear, look who’s here to visit you.
    Elaine does not mind him, but turns a new page and starts sketching another baby.
    EYRAM
    (gently)
    How’re you, Elaine baby?
    She still does not respond.
    KEN KEDEM
    Well, we tried. Can we leave now, before somebody comes and tries to marry my buttocks?
    JOE DUNCAN
    (irritated)
    What at all is wrong with you, mister?
    KEN KEDEM
    (irritated too)
    I’ve never seen a more impatient doctor like you ever!
    Effe slowly sits down besides Elaine, and speaks.
    EFFE
    Elaine, hello!
    Elaine goes rigid suddenly. Her whole body becomes so still as if she is carved from stone.
    She remains like that for a very long time, and she does not look up.
    Effe looks at the doctor, concerned.
    Joe Duncan motions to her to go on speaking.
    EFFE
    Well, I’m sorry I’ve not been able to come and see you until now, Elaine!
    Elaine grips the colour pen she is using so tightly that veins stand out on her arms.
    Suddenly she begins to tremble quite violently, and she shakes her head fiercely.
    KEN KEDEM
    (scared)
    She’s starting, Effe! She’s beginning to CHARGE, dear, you better-
    JOE DUNCAN
    (angrily cutting in)
    Oh, just shut up already!!! Haaaaba! If you can’t stand the heat just get out!
    KEN KEDEM
    (also angrily)
    Are you sure you’re a doctor? Are you sure your patience level is apt for an establishment like this?
    EFFE
    You’re still my sister, Elaine. Yes, I was angry at you at first, but it all turned out beautifully, and I came to say I love you!
    Elaine looks up suddenly, and her face is screwed up with emotion! She is remorseful, she is scared, and she is crying.
    ELAINE
    No, Effe, you don’t love me! You don’t miss me! I’m terrible! I did you wrong! You hate me! Go away, you hate me! YOU HAAAATE MEEEEE!!
    Effe is crying now, and she holds out her arms to Elaine.
    EFFE
    Oh, Elly! I don’t hate you! I can never hate you, dear! I hate seeing you like this! I love you, Elly! I love you! Whatever happened is behind me now, and I can’t hate you, dear!
    ELAINE
    (shaking her head violently, weeping)
    Nooooo! Noooo!! NOOOOOOO!!! DON’T LOVE ME! HATE ME, EFFE, DON’T LOVE ME. HATE MEEEEE!!!!
    She moves away from Effe, scrambling on her buttocks, shouting and screaming.
    Effe feels a touch on her shoulders and looks up. It is Eyram, and she’s pointing at Doctor Duncan.
    The doctor is standing behind Elaine, holding a piece of paper on which he has written some words hastily in block letters: TELL HER YOU HAVE FORGIVEN HER.
    Effe leans forward and grabs Elaine’s hands.
    EFFE
    I forgive you, Elaine! I’ve forgiven you!!
    Elaine goes very still, but the tears are like great rivers that fall down her cheeks.
    Effe has never seen such a torrential outpour of tears ever in her life, and it burns her heart to the core.
    ELAINE
    (in a little lost voice)
    You forgive me, Effe? You really forgive me?
    EFFE
    Oh, Elly! Yes, yes, yes! I’ve forgiven you!! I’m not holding anything against you!
    ELAINE
    And I’m still your sister, Effe? Am I still your favourite?
    EYRAM
    (scowling)
    Huh?
    Doctor Duncan touches Eyram’s arm.
    JOE DUNCAN
    (whispering)
    Please. Please.
    EFFE
    You’ve never stopped being my sister, Elly. But you know Eyram is my fav! That one I’ve never lied to you about that! But you’re my second fav, as I always tell you, Elly!
    Elaine suddenly smiles, and it is a beautiful smile, but the tears still flow, like a burst dam that cannot be plugged.
    ELAINE
    Yes, Rammy is fav, then Elly is second fav!
    EFFE
    (also smiling)
    Then you, Elly, then you!
    Suddenly Elaine rushes forward and hugs Effe fiercely, and she begins to bawl very loudly in a heart-breaking way.
    KEN KEDEM
    Ei! Why is she screaming like that? What have you been giving her?
    ELAINE
    Effe! I sinned against you! I was greedy and ungrateful and evil! Forgive me Effe, please forgive me!! I took your husband! Forgive me, please forgive me! I slapped you! Forgive me Effe, please forgive me! I insulted you! Forgive me Effe, please forgive me! I –
    KEN KEDEM
    Ei! My God! She can’t stop!!
    JOE DUNCAN
    (shouting)
    Mr. Kedem! You’re really trying my patience!!!
    Effe pats Elaine’s back and hugs her tightly.
    EFFE
    I hold nothing against you, Elaine!! I’ve forgiven you! I love you.
    Even Eyram is crying now.
    Doctor Duncan takes out his hankie and dabs at his eyes. Ken Kedem squints at the doctor with an expression of shock on his face.
    KEN KEDEM
    What? Are you also crying? Are you kidding me? What’s the matter with you? Are you sure you’re a qualified doctor?
    There is sudden applause, and Effe realizes quite suddenly that they are surrounded by quite a number of the staff.
    ELAINE
    Thank you, Effe! Thank you so much!!
    JOE DUNCAN
    (heaving a great sigh)
    Well, that’s the end of the battle.
    EFFE
    (wiping her tears)
    She’s okay. Right?
    Elaine takes a look around her, and suddenly she scowls slightly.
    ELAINE
    Where am I?
    JOE DUNCAN
    Well, come with me, dear. I need to have a little conversation with you.
    ELAINE
    (looking suddenly scared)
    What’s happening, Effe? Where am I?
    EFFE
    (hugging Elaine again)
    Trust me, go with Doctor Duncan. He can explain better.
    ELAINE
    (uneasy)
    You will be here, please?
    EFFE
    I’m not going anywhere without you, Elaine. I’ll be waiting right here.
    Doctor Duncan takes Elaine’s hand and slowly walks away with her.
    The staff present applaud again, and they begin to shake Effe’s hand one after the other.
    Ken Kedem is staring at one woman in particular. She is a tall, slim staff, and she is extraordinarily beautiful although she is elderly.
    Her eyes are very sad indeed, and she turns away slowly.
    When she begins to walk away, Ken quickly grabs Effe’s arm.
    KEN KEDEM
    (in an awed voice)
    Effe, Effe, darling, did you see that woman?
    He is pointing, and Effe looks at the back of the retreating woman, and a little frown breaks her face.
    EFFE
    No, Dad. What about her?
    KEN KEDEM
    Come with me! Come with me quickly!!
    The woman is headed for a little hut where an inmate, a woman, is trying to lick her own elbow.
    Ken Kedem quickly catches up with the woman, touches her arm, and stops.
    The woman turns around slowly, and when Effe sees her face she goes cold all of a sudden, and goose pimples cover her whole body.
    Eyram, who is also following, gasps with absolute shock!
    EYRAM
    My God! My Sweet Jesus!!!
    The woman looks at them with uncomprehending eyes.
    STRANGE WOMAN
    What’s wrong now?
    The three people cannot speak at first.
    The woman’s face looks exactly like Chris Bawa.
    Effe knows, even before speaking, that she is looking at the mother of Chris Eden Bawa.

    Episode 42

    Continues..
    FORTY-TWO DAYS
    Effe has never seen anything like it.
    The car that is in the parking lot of the Eden Hospital is a cross between a sedan and a limousine.
    It is black and huge, with an exquisite sleek-edged design. It is the most beautiful car she has ever seen.
    As she goes closer she sees the brand name of the car:
    BAWA CRUIZER, and it is in gold plates.
    The crown, she sees, is a miniature head bust of Chris on a white background.
    She stops and gazes at it with frank and undisguised admiration.
    The front door opens and one of the huge men in black she had seen in the hospital the other day gets out.
    He walks to the back and opens the door, and Mr. Ntim Albert gets out.
    He walks towards Effe with a sad smile and reaches out to hold her hand.
    ALBERT NTIM
    Effe. How’re you now?
    EFFE
    (smiling)
    I’m fine, Mr. Ntim-
    ALBERT NTIM
    (wagging a finger)
    No-no! Call me Albert now, or Uncle, or something fancy. No Mister stuff!
    EFFE
    (forcing a smile)
    I hear you, Uncle Albert. Thank you so much for letting me see him.
    He holds her shoulders and smiles reassuringly at her.
    ALBERT NTIM
    He’s waiting in there, Effe. I’ll be in the hospital. There are some things I need to discuss with Doctor Anaman.
    Effe nods and takes a deep breath as Mr. Ntim walks away.
    She approaches the car. The big man holds the door open for her, and she enters.
    She almost gasps at what she sees. It is not the interior she had expected to see.
    It is like a mini living-room. There is a cylindrical leather-bound settee, little glass-topped tables, television sets, a little bar and a lot of customized perks that simply take her breath away.
    Chris is sitting silently at one end of the interior. He is dressed simply in black jeans, white sneakers and a white T-shirt, but he is perfectly groomed, and looks so handsome that her heart pounds, and all she wants is to go into his arms and kiss him forever.
    He looks at her unsmiling, and his eyes are both hurt and angry.
    They look at each other for a while, and then he speaks, his voice cold and unfriendly.
    CHRIS
    Albert tells me you want to see me. I must tell you, I’m here only because I respect him a lot.
    EFFE
    (nodding slowly)
    I can imagine. He tells me you’re travelling tonight.
    CHRIS
    Yeah. To Switzerland.
    EFFE
    To stay.
    CHRIS
    Yeah. I hold Swiss citizenship. I have business entities there. And I own some houses there. Nice country. I love it there.
    Effe’s heart beats with pain, and for a moment she looks away quickly so that he cannot see the abject misery his words are causing her.
    EFFE
    I see. Then I won’t keep you for too long. I just need a little information from you. I hope you would provide that information, for my own peace of mind.
    His face goes grim now.
    CHRIS
    I’m listening.
    EFFE
    It is true then, that you have a lot of money. You even have your own customized car. So why the pretense? Why the fights? Were you just fooling around with me?
    CHRIS
    (his jaw tightening perceptively)
    I never fooled around where you were concerned, Effe. When you entered the taxi that night, you got into my blood. I’m convinced now, that I fell in love with you that night. The fights? I was fighting way before I met you. I was doing it for fun, not money. I grew up in the orphanage, and I was suddenly a millionaire, but I was lonely. I had no friends, and the women I knew were only interested in money. You were the only one who treated me differently, and accepted me completely even though you believed I was a poor taxi driver. You were different, and I loved you like no heart can ever love a woman!
    EFFE
    (fighting the tears)
    Okay, I’ll be gone in a moment. Chris, did my mother tell you that I spent the night with Steve that morning you saw him kissing me?
    CHRIS
    (sighing)
    Yes. Your mother told me that. She added that you and Steve had decided to come back together.
    EFFE
    (softly)
    And Steve also told you that I wanted him to kill you, that night he injected you?
    Pain crosses his handsome face, and for a moment he cannot speak.
    Sweat glisten on his face despite the air-conditioned interior, and it is evident that he is recollecting the horrific experience all over again.
    CHRIS
    Yes. He also said you were pregnant for him, and that you were together, and that he called before injecting me, and you gave him the go ahead to kill me, and that was why he did it.
    Effe bites her lower lip tightly. She is in very deep pain, and it sears her to the core.
    EFFE
    So, you believed my mother, and you also believed Steve. You believed that I used you for fun and jumped into Steve’s bed at the least chance. And you also believed that I was capable of killing you just to stay with Steve, didn’t you?
    He looks searchingly into her eyes, his eyes looking troubled, his expression that of a man in pain.
    CHRIS
    (in a taut voice)
    Stop playing games with me, Effe! You’re here, you tell me if indeed you did all that!! I told you once that whatever you tell me, I’ll believe it. You tell me!
    EFFE
    (sadly)
    That’s not why I wanted to see you, Chris.
    CHRIS
    (exploding)
    So, tell me why you wanted to see me!
    EFFE
    I found your mother.
    CHRIS
    (shocked, thunderstruck)
    What?
    EFFE
    I found your Mom, Chris.
    CHRIS
    The woman who dumped me on a rubbish heap? The woman who made me suffer all these years? The d--n wicked woman I have been looking for all my life?
    Effe shakes her head, and once again his agony touches her deeply, because she loves him so much that she feels his pain almost physically.
    EFFE
    She didn’t dump you on a rubbish heap, Chris.
    CHRIS
    (explosively)
    WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? SHE DID, D--N HER TO ASHES, WHOEVER THE HELL SHE IS!!!
    EFFE
    (gently)
    She got pregnant, Chris, with a young man she loved! The man was diagnosed with a bad heart condition. Your mother had got admission to enter a nursing school. She was in the village, and her father didn’t like the young man she was seeing, but they were so much in love, and he was dying. She got pregnant, and her father wanted her to abort it, but she didn’t, and she was thrown out of his house. Your father died in her ninth month, in her arms, and she went into labour. She was in the village, and she was attended to by the village maternity nurse, a corrupt woman who obviously was bribed by your mother’s father. Evidently the nurse hid you, and informed your mother that you died, because your mother passed out after giving birth to you. Your Mom, crushed that she lost the man she loved and her baby on the same day, was inconsolable. Later your mom’s father took you from the maternity nurse, travelled to the next village, and dumped you on a rubbish heap. Years later, when your Mom was passing out of nursing school, her ailing father called her, and confessed the terrible story to her and begged for forgiveness. Your mom forgave him, but that was two years after your grandfather dumped you on the rubbish heap, and although she went to the village to ask around, no one could confirm hearing of any case like that. Heartbroken, she convinced herself that her baby died, and she has been living in that nightmare ever since. She works at the Eden Asylum now, and we found her when I went to visit Elaine.
    Chris Eden Bawa is trembling. He raises unsteady hands to his face, and his tortured eyes shift restlessly, and a moment later great tears form in his eyes and roll down his cheeks, and although he clamps his lips shut tightly, he cannot stop the moans, and he cries bitterly.
    CHRIS
    Oh my God! I’ve spent my life cursing and damning my parents! Where’s she? Where’s this woman?
    Effe is trembling too, unable to contain her feelings, and she cannot speak because her tears choke her.
    Without a word, she gets out of the car and walks forward a little and signals.
    Madam EWURA AKUA OHENEWAA emerges from behind a royal palm and stands looking at Effe uncertainly.
    The door of the Bawa Cruiser opens and Chris steps out.
    He looks after Effe and steps forward unsteadily, his tears stemmed now but the agony still on his face.
    His mother sees him, and she looks incredulous. She takes quick steps towards him, and suddenly pauses in front of him.
    Mother and son look at each other, and time seems to stop still.
    The woman takes a faltering step backwards, her hand flying to her trembling lips, and she moans deep in her throat as the realization hits her that yes, this is indeed her son that was cruelly ripped from her life at birth.
    CHRIS
    (in an incredulous voice)
    Dear lord! Mama? My Mama??
    The woman raises a trembling hand to his face and trace a hand down his cheeks.
    OHENEWAA
    (her voice shaking)
    When my papa said he threw my son away… I asked him … I said, “Papa, if my son is not dead, Papa, and if I ever I see him again, how can I recognise see him?” And my papa, he told me, “Ohenewaa, he looks just like you, and he is not dead, because when I took of his wrapper and dropped him, I saw he is a lion, and a conquering survivor… I saw the mark of a birthmark on his right hip, and it looked like a lion!”
    Chris takes a shuddering step forward.
    He unbuckles his belt, opens the button of his jeans, pulls down the zip, turns and pulls down the boxers across his rip hip, and there, lying black and proud, is the black birthmark that looks like a roaring lion!
    Effe gasps. She has made love to him, but she has not noticed that.
    CHRIS
    Mama!
    OHENEWAA
    (going into sudden wailing and mourning)
    My son! My lion! Oh, Attah Yaw Nyamekye! Come and see your son! Attah, my love, come and see your handsome son!! I’m calling you, Attah, my love!! Answer me! Your son is here, your son needs you, my dearest!!
    Chris catches his mother, and he hugs her fiercely!
    The woman holds him, and her sobbing is deep and from her soul.
    Effe sighs and shudders, and she uses her hands to wipe teardrops from her eyes, and then she turns and begins to walk away.
    CHRIS
    Effe! Wait! Please wait!
    She turns. With his arm across his mother’s shoulders, Chris approaches her.
    EFFE
    Whatdo you want, Chris?
    CHRIS
    Stop it, Effe. We have to talk, you know that! There are things I need to know too!
    EFFE
    (shaking her head sadly)
    It’s over, Chris. Let’s leave it that way.
    Chris looks shattered and shocked.
    CHRIS
    What’re you talking about? There’s a lot we have to talk about! Why, are you telling me what your mom and Steve said are true?
    EFFE
    (looking sadly into his eyes)
    That’s the reason why it’s over, Chris. I love you. Of course, I’ll always love you, but if you believed I jumped from your bed straight into Steve’s, and that I’m also capable of trying to kill you, then you’re not the man I thought you were, Mr. Chris Eden Bawa, or whatever your name is. You can go to Switzerland and stay, with your Mom, but for me, it’s over.
    CHRIS
    Come on, Effe, please! I’m sorry. Of course, I was confused, but that does not mean you have to throw this away! You’re carrying my son!
    Tears flow down Effe’s eyes, and she takes rapid steps backwards.
    EFFE
    I’m sorry, Chris. But it hurt me! It hurt me really bad! Goodbye, my love!
    She turns and runs away from him, and even though he calls her name and she hears the agony in his voice, she does not stop running!
    OHENEWAA
    (sadly)
    My dearest son, it is true I’ve found you, but that lady found me. She’s an angel, my loving son. You have to go to her. I don’t know what it is, but I can see just how much she loves you. You have to go for her.
    Chris smiles down at her, and he gently kisses her on both cheeks, and on her forehead.
    CHRIS
    She’s an angel, Mama. I love her with my very soul, and I’m not sure I can live without her. But come, my dearest Mama, let me show you love! I’ll go for her soon enough!
    He gently guides his mother into his customized Bawa Cruiser, and then he stands back and looks at the empty space where Effe had been.
    There is great pain on his face, and tears glisten on his eyelashes as his heart beats with love and craving. He speaks to himself softly:
    Oh Effe, Effe, Effe! My love! My dearest love! You don’t know how wrong you are!
    I’m not letting you go because I believe bad things about you. I’m letting you go because of what happened between your mother and me. Her she lied to me, dear! She pretended to be someone else, and I made love to her unknowingly! It is a taboo, my love, and I know if you hear about it you will hate me, and I can’t stand you hating me! Goodbye, my love!!

    Episode 43

    Continues..
    FORTY-THREE DAYS
    It is evening.
    The taxi stops and Eyram, Elaine and Aunt Ruth get out of it.
    They approach the beautiful bungalow, and the front door opens and Rupert Henderson steps out uncertainly.
    He comes forward to meet them as Eyram pays off the cab.
    Elaine looks at Rupert hesitantly, and there is sweat on her face, and wordlessly she reaches out for her mother’s hand.
    Aunt Ruth puts an arm around her daughter and gives her a loving hug.
    AUNT RUTH
    It’s alright, my dear, it’s alright.
    Rupert extends a welcoming hand.
    RUPERT
    Hello, Elaine.
    Elaine only nods, and Rupert shakes the hand of Aunt Ruth, and then he and Eyram hug briefly.
    Eyram notices that he is very uneasy, and she squeezes his hand reassuringly.
    EYRAM
    (gently)
    You’re good, my friend.
    RUPERT
    Do come in, come in! It’s chilly out here.
    They enter his living-room, and Eyram notices that the wedding pictures of him and Barbara which had adorned the walls are now off, and she raises a questioning eye at him.
    The baby is lying in a beautiful cot, and he is moving his pudgy limbs in an irritated way.
    Suddenly he begins to cry shrilly, and Elaine screams and tries to leave the room, but Rupert catches her and speaks softly to her, reassuringly.
    AUNT RUTH
    It’s okay, sweet Elly! He is yours, my grandchild! He’s white, though, but he is yours! I love him all the same! No matter what colour he is. He is still ours.
    Elaine is shuddering, she looks at her mother with blazing eyes then she calms down.
    ELAINE
    Mom! He’s my son! My baby!
    RUPERT
    Yes, yes, Elaine! That’s your son, your crying son! He’s never tasted his mother’s b----t milk, and I think he wants it! Come, come near and see!
    Elaine tries to shake her head and step back, but Rupert holds her firmly and brings her to stand beside the cot.
    Elaine looks at her wailing son, and suddenly an expression of tender love crosses her tortured face.
    Rupert, seeing it, reaches into the cot and picks up the baby, and then he hands him to Elaine.
    Elaine is trembling with fear, but she takes the baby, and suddenly tears well up in her eyes because the baby stops crying the moment Elaine takes him, and his lazy curious eyes roam her face, and then he grabs one of her fingers tightly.
    The baby smiles and makes a funny sound.
    Elaine laughs, and cries, and smiles, and then she sits down, and takes out her b----t, and sticks it in the baby’s mouth!
    She laughs up at them, and they laugh back, and then she sheds tears of happiness.
    ELAINE
    (looking at Rupert)
    You’re a wonderful man! You will be his father?
    RUPERT
    (smiling)
    I’m his father, Elaine. I’ll always be. I love him, and if you try to keep me away from him, I’ll fight you. Don’t mess with me!
    Elaine laughs and smiles at him with tears in her eyes.
    ELAINE
    I want you to be there for him, Doctor Henderson. I want you to be his father. I want him to grow up with you!
    RUPERT
    (looking mischievous)
    That’s the greatest news I’ve heard today, Elaine. Plus, I received my legal separation letter yesterday. My wife is divorcing me, and I want it that way. Eyram here is also divorced now, as at this morning when the court granted her application for divorce. The way I see it, as soon as my divorce is over, I’ll propose to Eyram, and we would all be one happy family!
    Eyram stares at Rupert, her expression amazed at first, and then her face looks amazingly happy as she takes a step towards him, grabs his shirt, pulls him close, and then she plants a sweet long kiss on his lips.
    The baby looks at them and splutters.
    He sprays Elaine’s face with b----t milk, and they all laugh.
    RUPERT
    Well, I can say it now, I guess. I love you, Eyram Kedem!
    EYRAM
    Well, I can’t say if I love you that much. I mean, I positively do like you, a lot. I know, though, that you won’t be unfaithful to me, if I accept you, and I’m definitely not going to be unfaithful to you, so yes, I want to marry you, Mr. Vice President, and fall in love haaaaarrd with you!
    ELAINE
    (cleaning b----t milk from her face)
    I’m sure you wouldn’t want me to stay with you, huh?
    They all laugh again, this time longer, and the happiness is real and sweet all around them.

    Episode 44

    Continues..
    FORTY-FOUR DAYS
    INSIDE THE LUSTFUL LIPS PRIVATE CLUB
    Steve Hollison sits at the gambling table and watches his empty wallet.
    He has been drinking and gambling for almost two hours, and he is aware that he has lost a sizeable amount of money.
    He is wearing a blue shirt, and he cannot even remember where he put his coat and tie.
    He looks at the expensive Rolex watch around his wrist and begins to remove it.
    Jonathan Afful steps forward and grabs Steve by the arm.
    AFFUL
    C’mon, man! Are you gonna gamble with your watch too?
    STEVE
    F**k off, Jon, you giver of bad and dangerous advice!!
    Jonathan looks at the croupier, and speaks tightly.
    AFFUL
    He’s out, pal. He’s not gambling anymore.
    The croupier nods grimly and turns to the other players.
    STEVE
    (drunkenly)
    F**k you, Jon! Who appointed you my father, you son-of-a-b---h!!
    Afful holds Steve’s arm and drags him away from the gambling table.
    He steers him to an empty table and pushes him down.
    The Club is full, already in the night mood. Waitresses wearing only G-Strings and high-heels move among the patrons with fixed smiles on their faces.
    Voluptuous women are dancing naked in glass booths, and a buxom dark-haired American singer is performing an off-key edition of Whitney Houston’s “I’ll Always Love You.”
    A waitress bends over to take their orders, and Steve orders more drinks.
    AFFUL
    Pull yourself together, man! You’re getting pretty plastered here!
    Steve glares angrily at him.
    STEVE
    And what’s wrong with that, man? Of course, I’m getting plastered! What else is there to do?
    AFFUL
    Losing your wife is not the end of the world, bro!
    STEVE
    (angrily)
    F**k you, dickhead!! Effe wasn’t a mere wife I’ve lost! I messed up bigtime! And too late, I realize that I can’t f**king live without her! I love her, man, I love her so much! And I miss her!!
    AFFUL
    I know you do, man! And losing her to that Chris b-----d is a croc, no doubt. Guy turns out to be our boss, fires both of us! I got served with my divorce documents too, bro. I lost my job too, Steve! But life goes on! I more than love Eyram, but hey, she’s gone, probably to screw that white buffoon of a doctor, but that’s life, man! You wanna do something to take your mind off the pain? Come with me upstairs and meet those Chinese little girls! They’ll blow your mind away!
    STEVE
    (screaming at Afful)
    F**K YOU, JON, F**K YOU TO HELL!! I DON’T WANNA BANG ANY CHINESE CHILDREN! I JUST WANT EFFE, DO YOU HEAR, I WANT MY EFFE BACK!!
    Some bouncers approach their table and look at them with raised eyebrows.
    BOUNCER
    Everything cool here?
    AFFUL
    Yes, we’re cool here.
    BOUNCER
    Then let your buddy keep his voice down. He’s distracting other customers.
    AFFUL
    Yeah, cool. We’re good.
    The bouncers move away. Afful orders lamb chops and a drink. When they are served they drink and eat in silence.
    Steve looks at his friend, and sighs miserably.
    STEVE
    We messed up, bro.
    AFFUL
    (nodding)
    Yep. We messed up big time. You should be lucky you’re not in prison. That guy could’ve nailed you.
    STEVE
    Guess he was scared. I told him Effe asked me to poison his system. Probably doesn’t wanna send me to prison and risk Effe being implicated.
    AFFUL
    I don’t think that’s true, man. I have sources. I have been told that dude let the cops arrest some crooked cops, one Chief Inspector Danso Cuger and a Sergeant McBaiden. They’re now in police cells, man. That boy can let you disappear. Hell, he’s rich enough and powerful enough to order your execution, and you would’ve died. I think he wants you here to punish you.
    STEVE
    Punish me? How?
    AFFUL
    He’s gonna marry Effe, and have kids with her. I don’t think you can stand that.
    Steve’s face crumbles with abject dejection and misery. He shakes his head numbly, and his pain is like a living entity.
    STEVE
    No, I can’t take that! That will kill me!
    AFFUL
    So, what you gonna do? As for me I have a little saved up. Been talking to one of the Chinese guys. Heard there are great avenues and openings in China. Next month I’m headed for China. Avenues are open for doctors also. You can come along, bro, and let’s chart new courses!
    STEVE
    I don’t know, bro. I feel like I need to fight for Effe, you know, see if I can have her back.
    AFFUL
    Forget it. I see the way she looks at that b-----d. It’s the same way my Papa used to look at my Mama, and she messed him up big time, cheating on him left, right and center. Growing up, I promised myself I ain’t ever gonna look at a woman like that, ever! It is the look of stupid love, bro. She never looked at you that way. Believe me, her heart is gone. You’ve lost her, forever!
    Steve drinks, and slowly tears fall down his cheeks as Afful’s words hit him, and make him realize that indeed, he might have lost Effe forever.
    After a while he fumbles out his phone, and dials. It rings several times without an answer.
    He doesn’t give up. He calls again and again, until finally she answers.
    EFFE
    Hello, Steve.
    STEVE
    Effe, honey. Just wanted to know. Is there any chance for us, ever, at all? If I decide to fight for you, will I eventually win you over?
    There is a very long pause, and Steve starts to entertain hopes; at least she is thinking about it.
    EFFE
    I respected you, Steve. This is not about Elaine, or any other woman you cheated on me with. I gave you my all, and I didn’t know the difference between admiration, and love. Seems what I had for you wasn’t really love, Steve. What I feel now, for Chris, is forever. I may not marry him, but it’s over for you and me.
    STEVE
    Oh, Effe! Forever?
    EFFE
    Forever, yes. We’re friends, Steve. Nothing else. I’m sorry.
    STEVE
    (voice unsteady, pained)
    I’m sorry too, Effe! For breaking the heart of an angel like you. Forgive me, forgive me.
    EFFE
    I’m not holding anything against you, Steve. Good night.
    The line goes dead. Steve sits still. He looks at his phone for a long time, and he cries silently.
    Afful does not speak. He waits it out, eating lamb chops and drinking. When he has finished off his meal he empties his glass.
    AFFUL
    Well?
    STEVE
    (taking out a hankie and wiping his face)
    Seems we’re headed for China.
    Afful nods and smiles ruefully.
    AFFUL
    What about Elaine? Heard from her? Is she still mad in the brain?
    STEVE
    Not mad, man, come off it. Yeah, heard Effe went to see her at the asylum, and she healed quickly. She’s now reunited with the baby, but she doesn’t want to see me ever again. Says she hates me. Wasn’t going to see her anyway. I hate her more than she does me. She wrecked my marriage, man!
    AFFUL
    (with a silly chuckle)
    Oh, yeah, I remember! She was naked and was chasing you and screaming “bang me, Steve, make me pregnant”, and then you tripped, fell down and landed on top of her. Right?
    STEVE
    (grimly)
    F**k you.
    Afful laughs heartily and gets up.
    AFFUL
    Well, that’s pretty wrapped up then. Eyram got her divorce and doesn’t want to see me. I don’t give a f**k anymore. D--n, there are millions of meats in the world waiting to be hammered. As for my son, well, she can keep him. The little brat even looks too much like her, anyway. Maybe he’s not even mine. Maybe I went somewhere, and some man’s juice got stuck on my d--k and I impregnated Eyram with it. What do you think?
    Steve looks darkly at Afful, and his face takes on a very pained expression that makes Afful regret the joke.
    STEVE
    You f**king dickhead! What was that for?
    Afful claps Steve on the shoulder.
    AFFUL
    Sorry, bro. Maybe I’m just telling you it’s time to get a d--n circumcision, bro. This royal line thing is f**king stupid, if you ask me. If you go to China and use your kote boto to take one man’s juice and dump it into another woman, charley, they would Kung Fu your d--n a-s! Get a d--n circumcision, bro.
    STEVE
    (chuckling)
    Yeah. First sensible thing you’ve spewed out all evening, Jon. I’ve booked an appointment for it. Getting off the foreskin this weekend.
    AFFUL
    (shouting)
    Yoo! What the dilly-yoo! That’s massive! That means you will be out of action for some time, bro, as the wound heals. Let’s have a pre-cutting d--k celebration. Wanna join me upstairs for some Chinese thighs? You might as well get used to China meat.
    STEVE
    (softly)
    F**k off, Jon. I don’t need any woman now.
    He orders more drinks. Afful shakes his head and walks away.
    He ascends the stairs to the landing above where a door opens and two teenage Chinese prostitutes emerge out of a door and walk towards him.
    He grabs the b-----s of one whilst kissing the other one fervently.
    They giggle and grab his crotch. He grabs one’s buttocks and squeezes hard, and then he fondles the other one between the legs.
    He looks down over the balustrade and sees that Steve is crying bitterly again, and he is holding a picture of Effe.
    Afful shakes his head sadly and follows the Chinese prostitutes into a room.
    AFFUL
    Steve!You dickhead. See what you’re missing!
    He watches as the prostitutes slowly undress, and then they fall on the bed and strike sexy poses at him.
    Afful flies out of his clothes and, naked, walks towards the bed.
    The women reach out for him and start caressing him. He positions himself between the spread legs of one of them, and reaches out for the b-----s of the other.
    AFFUL
    Oh, the sweet things I have to do to heal my broken heart!

    Episode 45

    Continues..
    FORTY-FIVE DAYS
    Doctor Anaman removes the stethoscope from his ears, folds it, and places it carefully on his desk.
    He looks quite shaken as he looks at Effe.
    Effe and Eyram watch him apprehensively as he blows air through his lips and stands up.
    Out in the reception their parents are waiting with Elaine, Aunt Ruth and Rupert, all of whom had decided to accompany Effe to her first official ante-natal appointment with Doctor Anaman.
    EFFE
    (concerned and uneasy)
    Gabe? Is everything okay?
    DR. ANAMAN
    Mm? Oh, yes, yes. Just want to be sure of something. Please, come here a moment, would you?
    He is indicating the state-of-the-art examination bed in his huge office.
    He pulls the curtains off and when Effe approaches him uncertainly he tries a tight smile and indicates the bed.
    Effe lies down, and the attending nurse covers her lower abdomen and legs with a clean sheet, and draws up Effe’s blouse, exposing her beautiful belly.
    Doctor Anaman puts on gloves and then puts on the scanner, smears a lubricant on Effe’s lower abdomen, and then places the convex probe and starts a gentle but firm enquiry.
    Eyram, sensing there might be something amiss, stands beside Effe and takes her hand, sharing stress and giving strength just like twins only know how.
    EFFE
    (a little afraid now)
    Gabe?
    Doctor Anaman punches on the keyboard, and a printer is activated and starts printing.
    He extracts several tissues from a box and cleans Effe’s belly thoroughly.
    He takes off his gloves and throws them in a bin, and then he picks up the printed material, looks at it, and hands it to Effe.
    EYRAM
    (sharply)
    D--n it, Doc! You’re scaring us!!
    EFFE
    Rammy!!
    DR. ANAMAN
    (smiling gently)
    Let her be, Effe. Well, I just wanted to be sure. And it is confirmed. Seems to me you’re going to need extra care and handling, my dear. At your age, and seeing this is your first pregnancy, twins will involve a little bit more extra care, don’t you think?
    Eyram could feel Effe’s fingers squeezing her hand strongly, and when she looks down she sees the absolute shock and wonder on her sister’s face.
    EYRAM
    (in a mischievous voice)
    Well, now I believe that boy really rocked you well!
    Effe looks at her sister, and even though she begins to laugh, tears also well up in her eyes, and at that moment the beautiful soul she has in her merges with her external beauty, and she looks incredibly astounding.
    DR. ANAMAN
    (in a gentle voice)
    I agree with you, Eyram. If that boy can make confirmed barren women get pregnant with twins, then I guess I should refer some barren women to him, since Effe here does not want him anymore!
    Effe sits up, her lower lip between her teeth, and pulls down her blouse.
    Her eyes are filled with wonder, and she shakes her head slowly.
    EFFE
    (in a little voice)
    I guess, with two children, he has to lend a hand, doesn’t he, that bad boy? I mean, I can’t clean all that poop alone, can I?
    EYRAM
    You have to call him.
    EFFE
    Could be in Switzerland now, Rammy. Haven’t heard from him after I snubbed him the last time we met. But I can’t go on without him, Rammy. I miss him. I miss that d--n bad Darling Boy. I’m no longer angry at him. I just want to love him, and marry him, and have his two big-headed children. I miss his arms around me so much!
    EYRAM
    Yeah, you do, Ef. He really rocked you good.
    Effe starts to laugh at that, then suddenly she begins to cry softly, overcome with emotions, and Eyram goes to her, and hugs her, and smiles as her sister’s tears of happiness fall gently.
    The door slams open, and Ken Kedem enters, his face flushed and excited.
    He stops, struck by the force of the emotional clout in the room.
    KEN KEDEM
    And what is going on here? Hey, Gabriel Anaman, what have you done to my grandchild now?
    DR. ANAMAN
    Grandchildren, Ken, grandchildren. Effe is going to have twins.
    KEN KEDEM
    As in two babies? My good gracious, girl! Now I love that boy even more! He’s got a straight penis! Not a crooked one like Steve’s!
    EYRAM
    (bursting into uncontrollable laughter)
    Daddy!!!!
    KEN KEDEM
    Well, they say men with crooked dicks can’t shoot straight.
    He goes to Effe and hugs her tightly.
    EFFE
    (drying her eyes and chuckling)
    I love him, Dad. I love him so much. But I let him go! I lost him!
    Ken Kedem’s face turns into an excited mask all over again.
    KEN KEDEM
    Yeah, yeah! That’s why I came in! I couldn’t stand you standing there mooching and dark all day and night long. I called him yesterday and told him you know everything. I told him we discussed the Sweet Ama Baby thing. He told me he didn’t believe all that your Mama and Steve told him about you. He just thought you despised him for something he refused to tell me, and I told him you love and want him the way he is. And now he’s out there in the sky! Flying and dropping pictures around!
    EFFE
    Who? Chris?
    KEN KEDEM
    Who else? Yes, your taxi driver! He’s flying in the sky shooting pictures! Come, come and see! Oh, wait, I think you can even see it right here!
    He rushes to the huge French windows and sweeps the drapes to one side, and Effe gasps at what she sees!
    There is a helicopter hovering in the air outside the window, and a lot of white A4-sized white papers are flying out of it.
    And trailing from the tail of the helicopter, is a huge heart-shaped red poster, and on it are the huge white words:
    I’M SORRY, EFFE. PLEASE FORGIVE ME!!
    Effe walks towards the window as if in a dream, and her trembling fingers touch her lips.
    Her hand reaches out, and she opens the huge windows and steps unto the protruding terrace beyond.
    DR. ANAMAN
    Effe! Be careful!!
    The rotors of the helicopter blow more of the papers unto the terrace, and she reaches out and catches one, and looks at it.
    It is a picture of her, taken at the Jamaican Resort.
    She is standing, and somehow, a photo of Chris on his knees has been photo-shopped into the picture, and he is holding up a most beautiful diamond-encrusted ring.
    And below that picture are the words: WILL YOU MARRY ME, MY PRECIOUS EFFE?
    EFFE
    (laughing, crying, her heart full with emotion)
    Yes, yes, yes, my love, my wonderful sweet taxi driver, YES!!!
    She looks at the helicopter, and it swings in her direction, and glides upwards until she cannot see it anymore, and just as she begins to turn back into the room a rope ladder suddenly appears over the terrace.
    She stares at it, incredulous, immobile, shocked.
    She takes halting steps towards it, and a moment later Chris appears, climbing down the rope ladder.
    He is wearing only black jeans, black Nike sneakers and a white singlet.
    CHRIS
    (shouting and smiling)
    I was watching you through a binocular, and I saw you saying yes, yes, yes, YES!!!
    Effe is still laughing and crying, and the look of sheer love and adoration on her face sets his heart alive, and he has never known such happiness.
    EFFE
    Is that ladder attached to the helicopter?
    CHRIS
    Yep.
    EFFE
    (suddenly scared)
    Oh, dear, come down here, Chris, please get down!
    CHRIS
    I was scared, Effe! I thought if you knew what I did, with her, you would find me repulsive! I never believed you slept with Steve, or that you tried to kill me! I was just scared of what you might think of me if you knew about … about …
    EFFE
    Oh, Chris! I knew! All along! I know you didn’t know! It was no fault of yours, my darling! All that is behind us now, my darling!
    CHRIS
    Do you love me?
    EFFE
    Yes, yes, yes, and I want to be with you. Please get down here!!! You should stop these things, Chris, darling, please! You’re going to be a father …to two kids!
    Hanging unto the rope, his face becomes beautiful with a look of sheer delight, and transforms him completely, and she is amazed that her joy can be so much reflected in him!
    CHRIS
    Twins?
    She nods profusely, and puts trembling fingers to her lips.
    EFFE
    Yes, my love!
    CHRIS
    (smiling mischievously)
    Oh! My Precious! You see, you didn’t want to sleep that night! You wanted to do it again and again and again… now see what’s happened!
    Effe breaks into uncontrollable peals of laughter, and then he jumps unto the terrace, no longer smiling, but his face filled with a love so deep, so complete, so divine, that she knows this is IT, the love every woman seeks, but only a few lucky ones find.
    He looks at her, and she looks like an angel, and he knows, deep down, that this is IT, the love his heart has sought, the love every man craved but only a he, the lucky one, had found.
    This is the woman he is going to love for the rest of his life.
    He catches her, draws her near, and gives her a torture of a kiss… that goes on and on and on…
    And when he finally stands back, and looks at her with his heart on his face, she moves forward, and catches him…
    Again…
    The helicopter soars over the most beautiful land Effe has ever seen.
    It is an island. The gentle sea surrounds it, lapping gently on its shores.
    The tall royal palms and well-pruned greens gives the beaches an exotic look.
    On the northern part of the beach is a little harbour, and moored along its edges are two luxurious boats, a few powered canoes, water skiers and other machines she has never seen before.
    The helicopter banks and the pilot hovers over a mini-airport.
    When they get down Effe can see another luxurious helicopter and a jet plane in their hangars.
    EFFE
    You have your own island? Your own harbour and your own airport?
    Chris smiles down at her and leans over to kiss her long and gently.
    CHRIS
    Not me, my darling. It is for us now.
    EFFE
    (in awe)
    My lord!
    When the helicopter lands, she is whipped through the airport to an incredible carport, where they sit in a sleek black mini-limousine.
    They drive through the most incredible land Effe has ever seen.
    She sees his personal hospital, his laundry, his filling station, restaurant, and a banking hall.
    They are surrounded by natural vegetation, and when they leave the hub of buildings behind they travel through the most beautiful landscape she has ever seen.
    She screams suddenly when she sees two lions roar out of the nearby bushes, and moments later she sees a gigantic anaconda gliding past, and then, incredibly, the limousine takes a bend and she sees an amazing garden.
    It is covered in green. There are pools, little rivers, waterfalls, hills, valleys, and all around many other species of animals. Giraffes, cheetahs, sheep, orang-utans … all of them milling around gently. Suddenly a terrible-looking giant dinosaur appears and run along the sides of the limousine, and she clutches Chris’ arm with a little cry of fear.
    Chris holds her and smiles lovingly into her eyes.
    CHRIS
    Relax, my darling. They’re not real. I got some Hollywood designers to create all these synthetic machine replicas of animals. They’re like robots, but with advanced functionalities.
    EFFE
    (with great amazement)
    Dear Lord!
    Chris tells the driver to stop, and then he winds down the window.
    The dinosaur lowers its head, and sticks its giant mouth and terrible teeth into the car.
    CHRIS
    This is Helen. Say hi.
    Effe sticks her hand out, a little fearfully at first, because the giant animal is so real.
    The dinosaur nuzzles her hand, and then it turns and runs in the other direction.
    CHRIS
    They are all programmed to give them life-like movements. Look over there! That’s where we’ll be married in a week’s time!
    It is the most exotic location she has ever seen. It’s like a glass dome sitting on top of a river.
    It has an incredible waterfall falling gently on one end, and a most incredible garden to its western end.
    Angels seem to be floating all around it, real-looking beautiful angels with golden halos that takes Effe’s breath away!
    EFFE
    (voice trembling, tears in her eyes)
    What’s this place, Chris?
    CHRIS
    (tenderly, lovingly)
    Our home, my Precious. Welcome to Eden’s Garden.
    Effe nods wordlessly.
    EFFE
    It is more than I ever imagined, my love!
    The car moves through the breath-taking landscape, and as the road goes around an amazing railroad station and down a most incredible playground that is as huge as a town, looking even more incredible than Disneyland, she shakes her head numbly.
    EFFE
    (tremulously)
    You have that playground all along and you told me you didn’t need children?
    CHRIS
    (laughing gently)
    I never said I didn’t want kids, my love. I said if we couldn’t have kids of our own, we’ll adopt. When I was growing up in the orphanage, I told myself that one day my children will have a real playground, and all the joys I never had as a child. I created this just for fun, and now it seems I’ll have kids in it! My own children, our children, from a woman I was born to love!
    And then, moments later, the scene opens up, and she sees it ….
    Nestled in the gardens, with huge golden gates and glass walls that have beautiful paintings all around, is a huge amazing mansion that is absolutely stupendous!
    The courtyard has a spectacular fountain in the middle of a green turf. To its eastern end is a moat on which floats spectral angelic creatures with glittering appendages that serve as lights.
    The moat ends in a canal at the western end, like those serenading canals in Paris.
    Effe can see a garden as splendid as it was majestic just after the canal.
    The mansion itself is an edifice hewn into a magnificent hill, and its northern wing is taken up with one of the most spectacular waterfalls she has ever seen, and the endless greenery spreads as far as the eye can see.
    It is a thing of such beauty, the sight alone unimaginable, that for a moment Effe can’t breathe.
    EFFE
    (in a strangled whisper)
    You live here? In a place like this? And you rented a small place and drove a taxi just to capture my heart?
    CHRIS
    Yes, my darling! The famous, qualified doctor who was ready to love a poor semi-literate taxi driver. You’re amazing, a woman in a million, and this is our home! But if you like, I can give it up for you. I can live in a rented chamber and hall and drive a taxi, if you want.
    She looks at him, and tears trickle down her cheeks.
    EFFE
    (gently, lovingly, tenderly)
    Do you think I’m mad?
    He laughs then. A happy, exploding laughter that fills his very soul.
    The golden gates of the mansion are opening, and she sees her parents, Eyram, Doctor Anaman and Albert Ntim, Rupert and Gil, and Chris’ mother coming out to meet them.
    Mr. Albert Ntim had brought them earlier.
    EFFE
    You said we’re marrying next week? That’s too close.
    CHRIS
    Don’t worry, my Precious. Make it happen. I believe you can make it happen!
    EFFE
    (almost breathless)
    Of course, I can make it happen! But why next week, my darling? Surely, there’s no rush?
    CHRIS
    (looking at her with loving eyes)
    Next week is your birthday. On the day you are born, my heart will be complete!
    EFFE
    (reaching for him)
    Oh, Chris!
    CHRIS
    Effe! My heart, my breath, my all!
    He takes her in his arms, and does not stop kissing her even when the people surround the car and Rupert and Gil start hammering on the windows….
    .
    THE END

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