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 at 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.
(in an unsteady voice)
What’s going on here, Rammy?
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.
It got missing in this house? That can’t be possible. No one’s a thief here!
(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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
And what exactly do you mean by whatever his name is?
(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.
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.
Don’t be stupid, Effe! That man is a criminal! He has put you under his spell, hasn’t he?
(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.
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!
What? What did he say?
(in a condescending voice)
Please, Ma’am, just take a seat and-
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!
(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.
(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.
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!
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?
No, no, no, no!! That can’t be true! That can’t be true!! You’re lying!
(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.
Shut up, shut up, shut up, please shut up!
Madam Ivy’s hands curl into angry fists as she kneels beside Effe.
I knew he was filth the moment I set eyes on him! He’s going to pay for this, dear, believe me!
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.
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.
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?
(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.
Please, kindly leave, would you? I’m not giving you any information now. I don’t have anything to say.
Come on, dear! That bastard needs to be arrested! He’ll only find other victims to destroy! That fool! I should have killed him when I laid eyes on ……
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.
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.
I’m coming with you.
The Chief Inspector shakes his head.
I don’t think that’s advisable, Ma’am. Let’s get him and take him to the station, then you can come around.
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.
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.
I’m going to see him, Daddy!
The Chief Inspector shrugs.
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.
(in an agonized whisper)
Oh, Chris! Oh, Chris!
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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.
Please. Please don’t hurt him.
Chief Inspector Danso’s face is grim.
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.
Chief Cuger wants us to go inside.
Why? Is Chris really inside?
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.
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 breasts 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.
Is that the pouch your husband gave you, Mrs. Kedem?
Madam Ivy’s face is flushed with seething anger.
That is the pouch! Dear Lord! I hope all the money is in there!
We wouldn’t know till it’s counted. Is this gentleman Chris Bawa?
Before anybody can reply Chris gives a loud laugh.
Oh, yeah! I be Chris Bawa, the best dick 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.
You filthy, nasty human being!
Chris looks at her and winks nastily.
Ah, the nasty mother-in-law wants my dick in her crack, I lie?
Madam Ivy screams and slaps Chris again.
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.
Hey, sweet Effe! Ebe you? Shit, 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.
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.
Hey, Effe baby, you dey miss me?
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.
Hello. I’m Effe. Are you Janet?
Yeah. I am.
(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.
Take your damn 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 shit 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.
(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.
You don’t mean shit 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.
Damn you, Chris, whoever you are! I hope you rot in hell for this!
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.
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, bitch!
Madam Ivy rushes at Janet, but Chief Inspector Cuger Danso holds her back.
You stupid little slut! 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.
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!!!
You don’t mean shit 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.
Damn you, Chris! Damn 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!!
To be continued
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