The beeper on Effe’s desk chimes, and a moment later the voice of Auntie Joyce, her Secretary, comes over the intercom.
Doctor Ayeh want to see you, please. Here on appointment.
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.
Hey, missed you heaps, Effe.
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.
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?
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.
Yeah, heard about it just today. So sorry, Effe. Steve and Elaine? Damn, that is something else. So damn bad! But he’s not taking it easy at all. Met him here yesterday, at dawn!
Yep. Looked like he slept in his office. Felt sad for him, but I guess he brought it on himself.
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?
(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?
(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.
Did you say Chris Bawa?
Yeah, Chris Bawa! That’s my dear taxi driver’s name.
(face suddenly going pale)
Damn! Oh, damn! 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.
What’s it, Gil? You know him?
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.
(in a high voice)
BUT WHAT HAS THAT GOT TO DO WITH CHRIS?
(in a gentle voice)
Calm down, Effe. I-
Don’t tell me to calm down! Is it Chris? IS THE MAN CHRIS BAWA?
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.
WHAT WARD, GIL?
Lord, Effe! Slow up! Be calm!!
WHAT WARD, GIL, DAMNIT????
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.
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What happened, Gil? Where’s the history?
Gilbert picks up the clipper and hands it to her.
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.
What’s this, Gil?
He peers at the pad, and at the letters.
I don’t know, Effe. Maybe it was already on the paper.
(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
Had he been trying to write Steve?
Effe frantically looks at Gilbert.
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.
Yeah. Accelerating heartbeats, enlarged heart, malfunctioning liver and lungs, pigmented skins, scaly soles, flaky inner thighs-
(shaking her head, fresh tears drowning her)
Oh, my God! Oh, my God, no!
What is it? Effe, what is it?
He hasn’t been here for more than three days, according to you, right?
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.
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.
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