OCEAN FRONT HOTEL
Chris parks his car several meters away from the entrance of the Ocean Front Hotel. He gets out, and Afful appears at his side. They begin to talk, and Afful glances furtively over his shoulder, and quickly directs Chris half-way round the hotel, and they enter through a small side door.
Afful opens another door, and Chris finds himself on a landing that has a steel door marked SECURITY.
Afful taps twice, and the door is opened by a hulk of a man. He is wearing a dark green military uniform, black boots and a cap.
Captain, this is the friend I was telling you about. Chris, meet Captain Bosomtwe. He is the Head of Security here.
Come in then. The two of them are now in the garden.
Chris enters a most impressive security room. It has about thirty CCT screens, arranged in three arced rows. There are some gadgets connected to computers all around and emitting beeping sounds.
The Captain indicates a high-backed chair facing the screens and Chris sits down tentatively. The Captain stands beside Chris, and then he punches a few buttons on the huge keyboard-like control pad lying on the desk.
The screen directly in front of Chris zooms outward, giving Chris a fully-coloured close-up of an aged man and a woman.
They are sitting side-by-side on a garden bench. The man is speaking, and the woman is listening attentively. He is holding one of her hands in both of his.
He is in a suit, and their heads are so close together that it appears they are kissing. They sit up, and Chris has a direct look at her.
She is Effe.
Oh, Lord, no!
Chris’ face screws up with pain.
For a moment it looks as if he is going to faint.
The man checked in last night as Joshua Darkwa. He spent the whole night in there, and the whole of the morning. He left late afternoon today and came back with the lady. He is in Room 209.
Chris watches as Effe lifts a hand and smoothes the old man’s hair in a blatant gesture of affection and the man responds by rubbing her right cheek gently. With trembling fingers Chris brings out his mobile phone and calls Effe. Chris watches as Effe picks up her handbag and rummages inside. She brings out her mobile phone and stares at the screen for a moment.
What’re you doing, man? Don’t let her know you’re here! Don’t give the game away, because there’s more you have to know!
Leave the man alone, Jon. Can’t you see he’s hurting bad?
Effe allows the phone to ring through without picking the call.
Chris redials. On ICT monito he sees the old man urging Effe to pick the call.
Hello, my love.
Angel, are you home yet?
What’s wrong, honey? Your voice sounds strange. Are you okay?
Chris closes his eyes and takes fast breaths in an obvious attempt to remain cool.
Oh, I’m fine. Just checking to know if you’re through with the pastor.
I’m almost through, my love, and I’ll be going home soon.
His tortured eyes grow into enraged slits as he stares at the screen. His jaw works tightly as he breathes hard.
Afful touches his arm and shakes his head with concern, warning him not to give the game away.
Hello, my love. You still there?
Yeah, yeah, Angel. Okay, you take care then. Will see you tomorrow, right?
Yes, my dearest. Have a good night then. I love you!
Chris cuts the call and shakes his head numbly as he watches Effe.
She looks worried, but the old man pats the back of her hand, and presently they both stand up. They hold hands as they walk out of range of the camera, but the Captain indicates another screen, and a moment later Effe and Joshua Darkwa are seen entering the main reception area of the hotel. The Captain indicates a third screen. This camera is a shot of a corridor, and the Captain punches some dials on his control board. The angle of the camera rotates and fixes on a door marked 209.
I’m sorry, young man, but I think they’re headed here now.
Chris’ hands are clenched very tightly.
Effe and the old man soon appear on the screen in front of Room 209.
The man opens the door, and the two of them slip inside. The door shuts.
Chris is breathing hard as he throws his head back to stem the flow of his tears.
Can I stay here for a while?
Sure, sure. I’ll go out for my routine checks now.
He leaves the room, and Afful takes out one of his foul-smelling cigarettes.
No, man, don’t smoke that in here. I can’t take it.
But I can take it, Romeo. And anyway, the scent of my smoke is the last thing you must be worried about now, because, as we speak, that pussy you’re waiting to enjoy on your wedding night is being hammered right now by an old bugger!Shit, maybe she’s even giving him some anal!
In a flash and with an enraged growl Chris is out of his chair.
With his right hand he knocks the cigarette out of Afful’s hand and grabs the fat man’s lapels in his left hand.
His voice is filled with fury as he addresses Afful.
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You shut your foul mouth. You don’t want me cutting you up to pieces now, and believe me, nothing in the world will give me more pleasure!One more shit out of you and I’ll break all the bones in your body!
(holds up his hands in a supplicatory manner)
Easy, man, easy.
Chris holds him a moment longer, and then he pushes the man away with disgust and begins to walk towards the door.
I don’t think you can take any more shocks, Romeo.
There’s worse. If you confront that girl now, Chris, you’ll never know what she’s really capable of.
But I can’t take it anymore! I’m dying in here! I have to speak to her!
I understand, but you have to get the whole picture first, man. If your girl leaves here, tonight, she’s not going home. I can show you where she’ll be headed next, and believe me, it will blast out your heart. Can you take it? Can you be man enough to wait?
Oh, God, oh dear sweet God. Oh, Effe, what are you doing to me?
He drops to his knees in front of the huge chair and puts his face in his hands. He grips the arms of the chair tightly, and his body begins to shake uncontrollably as the tears are wrenched from his soul and dragged through his shattered heart.
Chris waits at the hotel for three hours, He moves up and down, and he looks deeply agitated. Afful and the Captain sit still, looking at him intently. The Captain speaks suddenly.
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The door is opening. I think they’re done.
Chris bolts upwards and stares at the CCT screens. The door of Room 209 opens fully, and Effe and Darkwa walk out. The old man is now wearing trousers and a white T-shirt. They embrace quickly, and then Effe turns and walks away. Joshua looks after her, and then he makes a victorious sign by punching the air with his right fist. He turns and enters the room, and the door closes. With a groan Chris dashes to the door. He grabs the handle, but Afful runs at him and grabs his arm tightly.
No, man, nooo! Don’t confront her now! There are more things you got to know!
Chris punches Afful, sending him sprawling. Frantically he tries the door again, and this time it opens a crack.
He begins to pull it wide, but suddenly Captain Bosomtwe is on him, pulling him back. Chris shrugs free and pushes the Captain against the door, causing it to slam shut again.
He clamps an arm against the throat of the Captain.
(in an enraged voice)
You keep the hell away from me! I’m going out there to speak to my woman, and I swear by my father’s grave that if you try to stop me, I’ll kill you!
He hurls the Captain away, and reaches for the door knob.
Afful, still rubbing his jaw, reaches into his coat and brandishes a pistol and points it at Chris.
Calm down, you inexperienced fool. Just calm down, or I swear you’ll force me to use this!
Go right ahead and shoot! Shoot now, or I swear I’ll take that gun from you and stick it up your ass so deeply that it’ll replace your twisted backbone!
Afful’s face is filled with fear now. His hands tremble, and he licks his fat lips apprehensively.
He shoves the gun into his belt and raises his hands.
Okay, Romeo, if that’s how you want to play it, fine!
That’s exactly how I wanna play it, punk!Open this gaddemn door NOW!!!!!!
Your girl defamed me, and made me lose my job. I only want you to know the truth about her, and although I know the truth hurts, you got a right to know.
Then why are you stopping me from speaking to her?
I was stopping you because the whole truth hasn’t come out yet. If you confront her now she can deny all the charges. But I want you to witness her shame in reality.
Chris ignores him.
The Captain punches a button, and the door opens.
Chris begins to step out.
Your fiancee is a stripper!
He grips the door handle tightly, and his teeth grate together with uncontrolled wrath. He rushes at Afful and slaps him across the mouth. Afful crashes to the floor, and blood spurts from his mouth and nose.
Hey, man, stop that nonsense! Stop it right now or I’ll have my men tear you to pieces.
Chris does not look at the Captain. He pulls Afful to his feet and draws back his right fist to smash the man’s face in. Afful, voice brimming with fear, begins to speak quickly.
It is true! It is true! She is not going home! She goes to the Gentlemen’s Perk nightclub three days in a week. She strips, and men fondle her. Right now she is not going home! She is headed for the nightclub to make more money as a whore!
(screaming in agony)
YOU BLOODY MOTHERFUCKING LIAR!
Then let me show you! If you doubt me postpone this beating till we go to the nightclub right now, and then you’ll know for real! Let’s go right now!
With a roar of pain Chris flings Afful away from him with distaste. Chris falls to his knees and doubles over, clutching his stomach tightly.
Effe, oh Effe! EFFFEEEE! WHY’RE YOU DOING THIS TO ME? WHY’RE YOU KILLING THIS HEART?
Thirty minutes later Chris and Afful leave the Ocean Front Hotel in Chris’s car.
Afful is driving, and Chris takes out his phone.
What the heck are you doing now? Still calling her?
Shut the fuck up and drive!
He dials and listens.
Hello, Steve boy. Look, pal, I can’t be at home tonight, okay? Something cropped up. Will tell you about it tomorrow. Just listen, man!
He listens for a while again.
Look, simmer down, okay? I’ll tell you about it tomorrow as I said. Listen, I think my house is not locked down well, and last night the security guy called in sick. Think you can go sleep at my place for me? Will be in tomorrow morning, I promise. Thanks, man. I owe you one. Goodbye.