The Jailbird-Episode 1

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GRAND CASTLE PRISON

The small metal gate at the side of the gigantic main prison gates opens, and a tall huge man emerges from the prison.

He stops for a moment and looks around him with hard bitter eyes.

His face is incredibly handsome, and he looks absolutely powerful as he stands there surveying his surroundings.

He is wearing a pair of black jeans, an old pair of loafers, and a threadbare checked shirt.

His name is CHRIS BAWA, and he is thirty years old.

He has been in prison for five years, and he has just been released.

His handsome face is grim, and his eyes are bitter-hard as he walks forward slowly.

There are a few prison warders around.

Since it is not a visiting day, the car park of the Grand Castle prison is virtually empty save for about five cars belonging to some of the prison officials.

Chris looks at the long road that descends from the Grand Castle Prison towards the roadside.

It is quite far, and he has a long way to walk since no one has come to meet him.

He hasn’t really expected anyone to be present, anyway.

He breathes the air of freedom very deeply, and then he starts to walk away.

A few of the prison wardens greet him and wish him well.

He is about fifty metres away from the main prison entrance, walking towards the roadside, when a black police jeep suddenly appears, coming from the direction of the main road to the prison.

The jeep veers and covers the width of the road, blocking his path, and immediately a tall bald-headed man wearing a police Chief Inspector’s insignia and rank braids emerges from the jeep.

He is wearing a police cap, and a black eye-patch across his left eye. He is obviously one-eyed.

The Chief Inspector pulls out his pistol and points it at Chris, and he has a nasty look on his face.

He is Chief Inspector DANSO CUGER.

CHIEF INSPECTOR CUGER
(hissing angrily)
And where the hell do you think you’re going, you little piece of shit? Trying to escape, right? Get down on the ground right now before I pump my bullets into you!

Chris stops and looks calmly at the policeman, but his eyes are very dark with fury.

He makes no attempt to obey the man’s command.

CHIEF INSPECTOR CUGER
Get down now, Chris Bawa! On your damn face! This is your final warning! I’ll shoot you dead, motherf***er! Down on the ground, hands behind your back! NOW!!!

CHRIS
(calmly)
Go ahead. Shoot.

His calm voice infuriates Cuger beyond measure. He draws back the hammer on his revolver, and just then he sees two prison officers coming hard towards them from the prison.

One is a beautiful prison warder, 30-year-old BAABA BROOKS.

The other is the portly bespectacled fifty-five year old prison chaplain, Chief Superintendent JON FII.

Both of them look totally alarmed when they see Cuger covering Chris with his gun.

BAABA
(shouting)
Put down your gun, Sir!

JON FII
(alarmed)
Good heavens, Cuger! What do you think you’re doing?

CHIEF INSPECTOR CUGER
(sounding a little confused)
I saw this inmate leaving, Sir. To the best of my knowledge, he still has five years to serve. He was given ten years imprisonment, Sir! He’s served only five! Why did you let him out?

JON FII
(indignantly)
Really, Chief Inspector! Remember you’re just a resident Police Officer, and not part of the top-level issues that we handle here. You’ve been off on your annual leave, and some few things have changed since you’ve been away! Mr. Chris Bawa has been released!

Cuger Danso’s face darkens with a mixture of incomprehension, shock and hatred.

CHIEF INSPECTOR CUGER
(hoarsely)
Released? He’s been released? But… how? I mean… why? What happened?

JON FII
Holster your gun, Danso! Yes, he’s been released! His case has been under review for some time now, and whilst you were away, he was part of the prisoners pardoned by the President of the country!

Cuger shoves his gun angrily into its holster and regards the chaplain with hard eyes.

CHIEF INSPECTOR CUGER
(angrily)
Are you sure, Sir? This man was imprisoned for using cocaine and being drunk on alcohol, and for causing a terrible road accident! He was also convicted on aggravated assault against his uncle, and against a man of the law, and that’s me! He made me blind in my left eye, Sir, when I was arresting him, in case you’ve forgotten. Goodness me, cases involving hard drugs do not receive presidential pardons! I suspect foul play here!

JON FII
Don’t be silly, Cuger! Mr. Bawa had cocaine on him, yes, but it was proved he was using it personally, not selling it, and he certainly wasn’t a cocaine supplier! As for making you lose your left eye, that was unfortunate, but you can see he served five years, and he’s a changed man. He’s been released! If you have any problems with that you can go to the Commandant to verify and peruse the release documents!

Cuger regards Chris darkly for a moment, and then he walks forward deliberately.

He takes off his police cap and rips off the eye-patch covering his left eye.

The eye is busted, and so it is shut, and the skin of the eyelid looks very black and disfigured.

He stops in front of Chris and speaks through clenched teeth.

CHIEF INSPECTOR CUGER
(voice spilling with hatred)
It’s not over, you damn piece of menstrual clot! You’re not reformed. You will NEVER be reformed, boy. You are, and always will be, a criminal. You don’t belong to society, Chris Bawa. You cost me an eye, and I’ll make sure you pay for it. As the saying goes, an eye for an eye. I’ll be behind you from now, boy. Every step you take I’ll be there. If you sneeze I’ll be there. If you shit I’ll be there! I’ll bring you back to prison, motherf***er, if it’s the last thing I ever do!

JON FII
(with indignation)
Chief Inspector! That’s an awful thing to say! That’s quite inappropriate! I’ll make sure the Commandant hears about this!

Cuger gives the Chaplain a very dirty look.

CHIEF INSPECTOR CUGER
Run along and tell him, Sir!

He gets into his jeep and speeds angrily away, leaving the Chaplain and Baaba to stare after him with absolute shock.

BAABA
(shaking her head sadly)
I’ve always known that man hates Chris, Sir. You’re privy to the bad things he did to Chris inside that prison, aren’t you?

The Chaplain nods, his face still reflecting his shock.

JON FII
I’m flabbergasted! I’m perplexed! Such hatred all bottled up inside that man, eating him up like a corrosive acid! I’ll make sure the Commandant hears about this!

BAABA
He never forgave Chris for making him lose his eye, Sir. That’s what has made his anger and hatred fester for so many years.

Chris begins to walk away again.

Immediately the Chaplain steps in front of him.

JON FII
Hold on, Chris, my son. I came after you to give you this.

He proffers a white envelope towards Chris, who looks quite startled.

CHRIS
(calmly)
What’s that, Sir?

JON FII
Oh, a little pocket money. Something to get you through today, if need be, son. Nothing much. Just pittance. Two hundred Ghana Cedis, boy. At least it can buy you some food for today.

Chris reaches out and takes the envelope, and sticks it into his back pocket.

CHRIS
(in his soft, deep voice)
Thanks, Sir. That’s very much appreciated.

The two men shake hands, and Chris starts to walk away again.

Baaba reaches out and takes his arm.

He looks at her without expression.

BAABA
Chris, my shift has ended. I’m headed to Achimota. I can give you a lift if you’re going in that direction.

CHRIS
(softly)
I would appreciate that very much, Miss Brooks. I’m going to Madina, and so I can drop off on the way.

BAABA
(smiling now)
Okay then. Wait for me and let me get my car.

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When she walks away the Chaplain draws close to Chris, takes his upper arms and looks earnestly at him.

JON FII
You have been through hell here, Chris, during these five years you’ve been here as a prisoner. I saw how Cuger and his bad friends tried to break your back, but you remained strong, and today the dear Lord has seen it fit to listen to our prayers, and you have your freedom back. It is a new beginning, my boy. I’ve heard terrible things about you, prior to your imprisonment, and I tried my best to make you a good man. Don’t disappoint me, my son. Go out there and live a clean life. Make me proud. If I see you coming back to this prison, let it be because you’re visiting me, and not because you’re coming back as a convict. May the good Lord be your helper!

Chris nods, and he sees tears glistening in the Chaplain’s eyes.

CHRIS
Thank you, Sir. I appreciate all that you did for me in there.

The Chaplain nods, squeezes Chris’ arms, and then he turns and quickly walks back into the prison yard.

Baaba’s Toyota Corrolla pulls up, and Chris opens the door and slides into the air-conditioned interior.

As she drives away neither of them sees Cuger emerging from the shadow of the visitors’ lounge and glaring after the car as his teeth grind together angrily.

He takes out his phone and dials. The phone is answered on the third ring.

CHIEF INSPECTOR CUGER
(through clenched teeth)
Hey, McBaiden, where are you?

The voice at the other end belongs to Sergeant ATO MCBAIDEN, another police attachment at the prison, and Cuger’s best friend.

MCBAIDEN
(jovially)
I dey Auntie Mansa e der. I dey chop some fufu, my paddy, plus some serious goat meat.

CHIEF INSPECTOR CUGER
(angrily)
You were right, bro. The people released Chris. He just left!

MCBAIDEN
(explosively)
Shit! Hell no! For real?

CHIEF INSPECTOR CUGER
For f***ing real, man! Took me completely by surprise. Charley, this thing irks me so f***ing bad, man!

MCBAIDEN
(voice low and sinister)
Dude, you think he’s gonna be a problem?

CHIEF INSPECTOR CUGER
Chris Bawa will always be a problem, my paddy. I want you here ASAP, man. I think we must do some planning. That boy took my f***ing eye, and I’m going to make him pay big time.

MCBAIDEN
I dey on my way dey come. The fufu sef no dey sweet me again. f***ing Chris… like we for kill am. But it’s never too late, bro, never too late!

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to be continued