THE JAILBIRD – Part 36

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The Jailbird Episode 36

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© Aaron Ansah-Agyeman

Junior will not stop pushing. He does not understand why his parents cannot accept his plan.

He is sure his Dad will make a good Chef and get a lot of money if things are done right.

He has done his own little research since the idea crossed his mind.

He is sure it is the way to go.

JUNIOR

(wagging a finger at him)

No-no, no-no, Daddy. If you go to Google you’ll see that the most famous chefs are men! Your food is nicer than the food at TASTE BUDS, which made me poopoo the whole night. Daddy, please please please please I don’t want you to fight, please please please promise me you won’t fight!

CHRIS

Hey, Champ! That’s what I know how to do! I’m not going to fight! I just need to set up a training school and find talented guys and train them. That’s what I’m good at.

Effe sees Chris’ exasperation.

She walks up to him and stands gazing into his tortured eyes.

EFFE

He’s right, Chris, and you know it. You need money to set up a Goju training school again, and think of all the training equipment you need in there. This eatery is available. You might not even have to cook yourself. You can hire cooks and instruct them. And, I must admit, your noodles was something else.

Chris’ eyes harden, and he looks at her bitterly.

CHRIS

What do you care, Effe? Don’t pretend you care about me! You have your Steve, stick to him and leave me alone!

Effe gasps as if he has physically slapped her.

JUNIOR

(disapprovingly)

Daddy!

Chris turns and walks away. He goes to stand in front of the eatery and looks into the glass for a long time.

He passes a hand across his face, and then repeatedly runs a hand through his hair. He sighs heavily, stands up straighter, turns and walks back.

He stands in front of his son, and then he smiles wanly.

CHRIS

Alright. For you, Champ. I’ll do it. Thank you.

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Tears fall down Junior’s face.

He walks forward, puts his arms around his father’s thighs and hugs him tightly.

Madam Didi exhales deeply, and brushes tears from her eyes.

MADAM DIDI

Well! Such love! I’m so proud to be part of this moment.

Effe feels a lump in her throat looking at her son and the man who used to be her husband, the only man whose single look either made or broke her joy.

Oh, Chris! Why did you have to rape Elaine? I can forgive you every other thing but that! Oh, dear, I miss you, you don’t know just how much I miss you!

As if he has heard the words in her heart Chris looks up suddenly, and his eyes locks with Effe’s.

He gently puts Junior aside and walks slowly towards Effe.

Effe begins to shudder as tears form in her eyes. She knows that walk, that look, that moment.

In the past, sometimes it happened like that. It didn’t matter where they were…at home, at a restaurant, in town, at the office…

Whenever their eyes met like that, whenever that loud silence passed between them, and he began to look like that, to walk like that, to live the mood like that, they always ended up finding the nearest private spot and making tender love.

She can see it in his eyes now, and she is sure it is reflected in hers. She gasps, her lips part, and it takes all her effort not to run to him and feel his lips crushing hers.

He stops in front of her. His eyes are half-slits, and she feels him making the most herculean effort not to take her in his arms.

CHRIS

I’m sorry, Effe. Didn’t mean to speak to you like that.

She nods, and a couple of tears roll down her cheeks.

EFFE

(whispering)

That’s alright, Tiger.

Tiger!

The endearment she used to call him, only on very special moments when their love has been fulfilled by the most intimate of touches, or the sweetest of looks, or the most enchanted magical moment.

It startles both of them, and they stare at each other, the power of the tension so strong that she knows that if something doesn’t happen soon they would be lost in that craziness.

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It is Junior who suddenly pops up between them.

JUNIOR

You two are not really really really going to do that licking face thing here, are you?

His voice breaks the web, and Effe looks down with a little sound.

Chris turns from her, and slowly forces himself to approach Madam Didi.

He is trembling, and realizes just how much he has missed her.

His soul yearns for her, craves for her, needs her! His love for her is tearing him apart. He extends his hand to Madam Didi.

CHRIS

Thank you. Thank you very much.

She does not take his hand. She rather gives him a sudden hug and sighs deeply.

MADAM DIDI

Ah! Let’s sit down and talk details then. You have a wonderful son, Mr. Bawa.

CHRIS

Please call me Chris. Yes, yes, I know. He’s an angel.

Chris feels Junior’s hand on his left middle finger, and he looks down and smiles a wolfish grin into his son’s face… and the boy has exactly the same wolfish grin on his face.

Effe, being a top-shot lawyer, agrees to work on the documentation for the change of ownership of DIDI’S.

She drops off Junior at home. She has to be in the office, and for the first time in many years she wishes she didn’t have to go.

Junior, not surprisingly, convinces his father to stay with him a while.

Chris, evidently, does not want to stay because Ivy Kedem is around, but in the end Junior has his way, as usual, and takes his father to his room.

Effe quickly walks out to the car again, and she feels elated that Chris is with Junior.

Her mother follows her to the car, and there is a look of great concern on her face.

IVY KEDEM

(placating)

Listen, Ef, my darling, I don’t want to be the overbearing mother, but I believe you’re making a great mistake. You shouldn’t entertain that man here!

EFFE

(exasperated)

Mama! I’m not entertaining him! Junior wants to be with him. He’s his father! I don’t see anything wrong with that.

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IVY KEDEM

I know, my dear. But how would you explain it to Steve? You spent the whole morning out. I don’t even want you leaving him alone with Junior. The man is a drug addict, abuses alcohol, raped your friend, assaulted an old man, probably killed his senior brother, he even-

EFFE

(aghast)

MAMA! Please!

IVY KEDEM

Just warning you, dear, just warning you. You shouldn’t leave that boy alone with that man!

EFFE

He’s not a stranger! He’s my son’s father, and he loves Junior fiercely, and one thing I’m certain of is that he’s not ever going to do drugs in front of the boy!

IVY KEDEM

I’m just telling you to be careful. You’ve got something beautiful going with Steve. I saw how devastated you were when Chris broke your heart. He’s not capable of loving you as you should be loved. Just be careful, my love.

EFFE

(sighing)

Alright, thank you, Mama.

Effe gets angrily into her car and drives to her office.

She works at SLOAN, MENSAH AND KEDEM.

She spends two hours in a meeting with her senior partners.

She had started as a lawyer at the firm, handling their corporate portfolios. She had been ambitious, smart and extremely resourceful.

She had taken her cases seriously, and so far had never lost a case in court.

The Attorney-General had started pushing sensitive and vital cases to her, and she has won all. With the growth in her resourcefulness and competence, she had eventually made partner.

After the meeting she meets with some European, North American and Asian clients for an hour, and then she quickly goes to her luxurious office and calls home.

Her mother informs her that Chris and Junior are still in the boy’s room.

IVY KEDEM

They went to the kitchen and ate, then they went back to Junior’s room.

EFFE

I see. Anyway, I’ve finished what I came to do. I’m coming home so that Chris can leave.

IVY KEDEM

Hurry up then, dear. I want to send some lunch to your Dad.

JAILBIRD continues

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