Chris knows his life has just been totally messed up big time. There is no way out now. He is going back to prison, to lose Junior again, to lose Effe again, to be disgraced again. And this time it will not be for five years…
It will certainly be no less than fifty years… He turns round slowly, and he looks at the man he had believed was his friend.
Kill me, Darlett. Do me that favour. End it all for me.
Sweat runs down Darlett’s face in torrents as he points the gun at Chris’ heart. His face screws up as his hand tightens on the trigger. Chris does not blink. He stands still, looking at the old man. Darlett’s hand is shaking as he primes himself to shoot, and then suddenly he screams and drops his hand. He laughs shakily and shakes sweat out of his eyes. He looks at Chris and shakes his head.
Shit, kid, this is proving to be tougher than I thought. I must be going soft.
The police sirens are now deafening.
More police cars and jeeps and pick-ups have entered the yard. Chris turns towards the window again and slides it open, ignoring Darlett’s warning shout. He looks out. Down below he can see there are a great number of police personnel, heavily armed, running towards the building. He turns round again without shutting the window.
Go ahead, Darlett. Kill me.
(shaking his head)
No, no, kid. Remember our prison slogan? Dom spiro, spero: once we live, we breathe. Let the cops take you, kid. Once you have life, you can always turn this round.
Chris speaks with all the venom and disgust he feels.
Kill me, you damn bastard! I’m not going through another trial. I’m not going to lose my son again, or my wife. I’m not going to spend years in prison knowing my son is growing up hated because of his father, or Effe going through life being hated because of me. So, you go ahead and kill me.
Chris can hear the cops on the stairs now, their heavy boots and shouts reverberating around the room.
He begins to walk towards Darlett, and the old man raises the gun again.
Stop, kid, goddamn it! Stop or I’m gonna kill you!
Go ahead! Kill me, shoot now!
He does not stop walking, and he sees the great conflicts going on inside Darlett on his face, and he knows that any moment now the bullet might hit him. Suddenly Darlett lowers his gun. His face and arms are drenched with sweat now. Sweat pours down his arms, and he begins to shake.
Damn you, kiddo. Always knew you got balls. Shit, fell in love with your son, boy. That’s one great boy you got there. And Effe… damn, you see the ass on her? Jeez, hugged her once and it was sweet. Would’ve given anything to knock that ass up….. mmmmm-hmmm!
Chris stops. There is something in Darlett’s voice that sends cold shivers down his spine. Darlett looks up at Chris, and he smiles wanly.
I’ve had a good life, kid. Shit, I’m old. You’re young, you got the rest of your life ahead of you. At least, you’ve given me a conscience. I’m sorry I put you in this shit, kiddo. Listen, you can’t go out there. They’ll kill you. Your only chance is that window. If you can jump out far enough, you can land in that pool of water, or maybe in the mud. Anywhere else and you’ll break into more pieces than humpty-dumpty. That’s your only chance.
Go, kid. Goodbye. Say hi to Effe and Junior for me. Them two just about saved your life today. And hey, kick that Crankson’s ass good for me. Git, kid, out the window! NOW!!
Darlett whips round, opens the door and suddenly fires two shots.
Tears form in Chris’ eyes as he sees that the old man is giving him a chance after all. Darlett is sacrificing his life to save Chris.
Damn you, Darlett, you bastard!
He turns round and runs, gathering his momentum, and then he sails through the window, catapulting his body far out as his GojuFist training takes over, his excellently-con
ditioned reflexes coming to serve him once more. He hears the sounds of heavy shooting, and hears a scream
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He splashes into the pool of water. For a moment he is dazed as he sinks deep into the pool, and then he sees Junior’s face, and feels Effe’s kiss. He forces his body to move, propelling himself out of the icy water. He swims to the far end..Luckily it is still quite dark, and he gets out of the water. The cops had been very sure of themselves, and they had all gone in.
Chris comes out of the water and begins to run towards the entrance. There are police jeeps, sedans and pick-ups parked everywhere. The engine of the last sedan is still humming, its lights flashing.
Sergeant McBaiden is leaning against its side, flicking images on his phone.
The moment Chris sees him it all clicks in, and he is convinced that somewhere inside that building is Danso Cuger.
Chris comes out of the shadows silently. McBaiden begins to turn, and Chris slams a fist into his jaw. The cop drops like a sack. Chris pulls the unconscious cop into the shadows.
He picks up McBaiden’s phone because he knows his own phone will not be functional after being submerged in the pool. He gets into the police car, reverses fast and then spins it around. As he races through the unfamiliar roads he puts off the flashing lights. He picks up McBaiden’s phone, but the screen is locked, and a password is needed to unlock it.
Damn, damn, damn!
He guns the car till he emerges on the main Lapaz road. He can hear sirens behind him now, a little far off. He guns the police car, running the red lights and speeding towards Madina.
When he gets to Okponglo he spots a young man with a backpack seated on a motorbike with his phone to his ear.
Chris parks the car with a screech of tyres. He gets out of the car and approaches him. The young man looks at Chris with sudden fear.
(trying a smile)
Sorry, gentleman. Police business. Can I please use your phone? The young man wordlessly cuts his call and hands the phone over. Chris dials, the phone rings and rings with no answer. He tries and tries, and on the fifth attempt Effe picks up.
Hello. Who’s this, please.
Chris? Good Lord, what-
Something bad happened, my love. Please, I need to be there with you. Can you meet me somewhere? I’m using a police car I need to leave it behind.
Yes, yes, my darling. Anywhere! Where can I pick you up? The young man suddenly touches his arm.
Chris freezes, and looks at the man, stunned.
Hey, man, I recognized you. I’m a fan. My name is Joe Duncan. A wet Chris Bawa in a police sedan at dawn, two days from a fight? I think you’re in trouble. If you need to ditch the police car you can hop on my bike. I’ll take you anywhere.
Chris stares at the man for a moment, and then he puts the phone to his ear.
Effe is shouting out questions.
My love. Just open the gates. Will be with you in a few minutes. But I’ll use the small back gate. I don’t want your security guys to see me.