THE BAWA RESIDENCE – MORNING
Chris opens his bedroom door and comes out.
Elaine is following closely behind.
Chris is well-dressed in an expensive and well-cut suit with a crisp white shirt and a polka-dotted tie.
Elaine is wearing her nightdress but has pulled on a morning gown.
They go down the stairs, chatting softly.
They find Madam Lois in the living-room.
She is dressed casually and has her headgear on.
She is perusing a Bible.
Chrissy love? Are you going to the wedding this early?
No, Mama. He has a meeting with some important people. They’re pleased with his work, and very soon Chris Bawa is going to be a famous household name in fashion!
Oh, thank God for that! Finally, your efforts are paying off. Does that mean you’re not going to the wedding after all?
I’ll go to the wedding when the meeting’s over. Steve will pick Elaine up, and I’ll meet them at the church.
Just then a delighted voice shouts from a doorway across the hall, and Chris turns to see a medium-built handsome young man emerging from one of the rooms.
He is MICHAEL AMEYAW, Chris’ friend.
He has been taking care of the Supermarket when Chris left for Accra.
Chris, my main man! Don’t run out on me, bro!
Chris and Michael embrace warmly.
Mike, bro, damn you’re looking good. Been a while, dude.
When I came in last night you were out cold. Oh, Lord, you look svelte, like a president, man!
You’re probably looking at the man who’s gonna knock Pierre Cardin, Tommy Hilfiger and all the other bigshot fashion gurus off their pedestals! Good to see you, man. I’m very impressed with the returns on the shop. Highly impressive figures! Thank you, Mike.
Yes, I commend him too. He’s running the place better than I ever imagined.
Thanks, folks. But where’re you bouncing off to this early morning? Mommy told me the wedding you’ll be attending is around ten o’clock.
Yeah, right. But I gotta tie a few ends before I get there. We would go back to Accra tomorrow, but when I come back from the wedding I’ll like us to talk about that Colombian rice deal you told me about.
Sure thing, sure thing, bro. But come on, let me see you off to your car!
(feigning mock indignation)
What’s this? I thought I was doing that? You wanna take over my man or what?
They all laugh.
Go back to bed, pretty face. Let me hang out with my big bro a bit!
Laughing, Chris and Michael leave the two women behind.
They engage in chit-chat as they walk out towards Chris’ four runner.
Chris climbs into the car.
Just a moment, bro. Almost forgot. Me and a few friends are going to the beach this afternoon. I was wondering if I could use your camcorder.
Yeah, why not? I wouldn’t be needing it today. Elaine will give it to you.
No, not that one. I’m talking about the one in the house.
You’ve lost me. Is there another one in the house? I know nothing about it.
I found a Sony camcorder under one of the living-room furniture about two years ago. I gave it to your Mommy.
Oh, I remember now. Yeah, Mom gave it to me. Actually it belonged to Effe, you know, a lady I went out with four years ago. I bought it for her, but it seems she forgot it in the house. No sweat, man. I don’t think she needs it now. Trouble is, I don’t remember where I put it.
It is in the living-room, locked away with the other equipment.
Take it and keep it, boss. No sweat.
Thanks, bro. Hey, hurry back, okay? Looking forward to a little jaw to jaw with you.
They wave, and Chris drives out.
SLASH DESIGN BUILDING, TAKORADI – MORNING
There are four men in the plush conference hall.
Mr. John T. Tamakloe, the owner of Slash Designs.
The South African Minister of Trade.
The CEO of Black House Creations, South Africa.
They are all happy, and they are laughing.
The meeting has gone on well, and ended very satisfactorily.
Chris’ FURY Collection has evidently impressed them very much.
Mr. Tamakloe looks at his watch and stands up. He informs them that he has to be at the wedding.
They all shake hands and congratulate Chris profusely. They leave the Conference Hall.
They are seen emerging from the lift and a few seconds later coming out of the sliding glass doors of the building.
The South Africans are seen entering a sleek Mercedes Benz and Chris and Mr. Tamakloe are waving at them.
Chris chit-chats with Mr. Tamakloe as they walk towards their cars.
A uniformed chauffeur takes Mr. Tamakloe’s bag.
Chris and Mr. Tamakloe are chatting when a white car enters the park, passes, stops and reverses slowly.
The driver’s door opens and a handsome young man steps out.
He is holding a brown envelope.
He walks towards them.
Chris stares at the approaching man with an expression of shock and instant hatred.
What’s wrong, Chris? You look like you’ve seen a ghost!
The man approaching them stops, smiles and begins to speak.
With a snarl Chris steps forward.
His fist flies out, crashing into the man’s temple, sending him sprawling heavily to the ground in a daze.
Mr. Tamakloe screams with shock.
MY GOD, CHRIS!!! WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU, BOY?
He holds unto Chris tightly.
Chris tries to push Mr. Tamakloe aside.
The young man struggles to his feet, and his eyes flash angrily at Chris.
He stands shakily, still dazed from Chris’ blow.
Let me go, John, please!
But why? What’s come over you? Calm down, boy, calm down!
Chris points an accusing finger at the enraged young man staring at him.
That man is Effe’s lover, sir! A little over four years ago she withdrew a lot of money out of our joint account and gave it to that son-of-a-bitch! They are con artistes! They stole my damn money!
Are you crazy? What drivel are you spewing?
Not drivel, sir, but unadulterated fact! It is one of the reasons I left Effe. She was meeting with this dirty bastard at the Takoradi Sports Club where she hands over my money to this fool!
(looking at Mr. Tamakloe in utter shock)
You know him?
Of course I know him, you hothead! He handles some investments for Rupert! I’ve known him for a while. He is a fine gentleman.
Bright Koffie handles investments for Rupert Henderson, Effe’s soon-to-be husband?
Yes! The one and only Rupert I know.
Now you see what I was talking about? Effe managed to get him to work for Rupert! They’re playing him for a fool! They’ll con him out of his wealth! You better warn that old man to open his eyes, sir, and not be fooled by these liars!
MR. Tamakloe begins to speak, but turns away with a strange sound of indignation and approaches Koffie.
Are you okay, Bright?
The young man nods, but his furious eyes drive into Chris with venom.
He bends down, picks up the brown envelope and approaches the fuming Chris.
You’re lucky I have so much respect for Effe, and for Mr. Tamakloe! I would gladly have met you blow for blow, Chris! You’re the big fool here if you believe all that shit about Effe!
Chris rushes towards him again, but Mr. Tamakloe steps between them, pushing them apart.
Stop that, stop this at once, both of you!
Chris and Koffie glare at each other, but they step back.
Chris, I don’t understand you. Bright here’s been working for Rupert for a while now. What nonsense were you saying about him? That he stole your money? Did you steal his money, Bright?
(handing over the brown envelope to Mr. Tamakloe)
You know something, Chris? I’ve spent the past four years feeling sorry for Effe because things didn’t work out between you two. I got the impression that you were the perfect guy for her, but after meeting you today, and from what I have seen, I can say Effe is better off without you. I am totally convinced that Effe is the lucky one. You don’t deserve an angel like Effe!
(gesturing with the brown envelope)
Bright? What’s this?
Accounts of Chris’ investments with us. That’s the documentations for his money, the money he claims Effe stole. All the deposit slips and statements of investments are in his name. Please give it to him!
Bright turns to leave, but Mr. Tamakloe hold his arm.
Hold on, Bright. I don’t understand a thing! What’s all this? What are talking about?
Sir John. You see, four years ago, Effe and I were both lucky to leave the orphanage. Thanks mainly to this man, Chris Bawa! Effe and I were like brother and sister…
The hell you were, you stupid liar! They were lovers! They still are, John!
(face tight with anger)
I’ll tell you this, Mr. Bawa, and only this once. Effe and I are friends, very close friends. Maybe you saw Effe and I together, maybe the way we relate so each other suggested to you that we were intimate, but it was nothing. It was a show of affection between a brother and a sister. A deep love between siblings, for that’s the love I feel for Effe. What’s got you so riled up anyway?
Because she stole my money and gave it to you, idiot!
(taking a shuddering breath)
I’m trying to remain calm and civil here, Mr. Bawa. You better stop those insults because you’re really making me angry. Effe never took a pesewa from you, Mr. Bawa. Her father, Mr. Opoku, found work for me at the African International Bank many years ago. I was a clerk then, and we had just introduced a high-yielding investment account into the system. I advised Effe to sign on to the investment account. She bought the idea and brought you an application form to complete. After completion Effe brought it back to me!
Chris’ eyes narrow.
His mind flashes back to a warm evening.
He and Effe are in his study, filling out an African International Bank account form.
I remember something like that, yes, but I also remember she had a portion to fill too. I gave the forms back to her, but never heard about it again. I forgot all about it, and I don’t think I asked her what happened to the forms.
She filled her part and brought it to me. That investment account wasn’t meant as a Joint Account, so you were the sole signatory. She only filled the emergency contact section of the form. Shortly afterwards, I was transferred to the Cape Coast Branch. I however came to Takoradi weekly or so for official purposes. I met her at the Sports Club where she gave me the deposits for the account, YOUR account, because everything was in your name, not hers. All the monies I received from her on my weekly visits were deposited into that account, and she could not withdraw from that account because EVERYTHING WAS IN YOUR BLOODY NAME!
(voice now low, devoid of fury. He seems confused)
But she never mentioned you. Not even once. If you were like siblings, how come she never mentioned you?
She did. I was known at the Orphanage as Kofi Panyin, a name I couldn’t use when I got employed. I began using Bright Koffie only as an adopted name when I got the appointment. Not all of us grew up knowing our parents, Mr. Bawa!
Oh, Lord! You’re Kofi Panyin, her brother at the orphanage? She mentioned you all the time! Yes, we were coming to Cape Coast to visit you one day…oh, God! But why the Sports Club? Why didn’t she bring you home instead?
It was because I was time pressed. The Takoradi sports Club was one of our biggest clients and I managed their accounts too, so I was coming to the Sports Club every week to go over their investments portfolio with the Chief Executive. Besides, you were not home during the weekdays. So that’s it. I deposited all your money into the new account. She told me you were saving it for your marriage. She only made deposits into the account. Not a pesewa was taken from the account. So the money she gave me, YOUR MONEY, grew even after you were separated.
(shaking his head dizzily)
Oh, no, no, oh no!
Yes, Mr. Bawa. When the two of you broke up, I was then attached to the Kumasi office. Effe was so hurt that she never informed me about the break up. When I came back to Cape Coast, after two years, I assumed that you might have withdrawn the money, you being the sole signatory. A few weeks ago I was privy to our Internal Auditor’s report, and I realized that the money was still in the account, untouched. I notified Effe and she asked me to give all the documents of the investment to your mother, but I could not make the time. Later, Uncle Rupert told me you would be meeting here this morning. I manage some accounts for Uncle Rupert, so he gives me a lot of info. When I heard you would be here I went for your account documentations two days ago. They’re all in that envelope. All your statements, deposit slips, account details, everything! They’re all in there. Effe never stole a pesewa from you, Mr. Bawa.
So, the money Chris thought Effe was stealing and giving to you is all here?
Yes, everything. The envelope has all the deposit slips, and since no withdrawals have been made, and the amount was re-invested quarterly, it has now earned very impressive interests.
MR. Tamakloe tears open the bulky brown envelope.
He rummages in there and finally withdraws what looks like an account statement.
He looks at the entries, opens to another page, and then he whistles silently when he sees the current closing balance
Chris, you’re a rich man!
Chris’ face is twisted with shock and pain.
There is sweat all over his face, and he is trembling.
For several moments his eyes dart from Bright’s face to the sheet in Mr. Tamakloe’s hand.
Oh, God! Oh, Lord no! Oh, God, oh God, oh God!
Oh, man, don’t tell me you really didn’t know! How can you even think Effe can ever steal from you, or con you? Are you mad? That girl loved you! She worshipped you! You were her world! She wanted you to be proud of her.
Chris loosens his tie.
He cannot speak.
His face is so shocked.
Wordlessly Mr. Tamakloe puts the accounts statement back into the envelope and hands it to Chris.
I have to run now. You look genuinely shocked, so I wouldn’t hold it against you. My question is, why didn’t you ask Effe about the money when you were convinced she was stealing from you?
Chris still cannot speak.
Bright shakes his head sadly and gets into his car.
He drives away.
Is this why you broke off with Effe, Chris, my son? You thought she was stealing from you and giving it to her lover?
I am scared, John! Within a few hours I’ve had shocking revelations. I’ve found out that two of the reasons I had for breaking off with her are false! Sure, they’re nothing compared with the other reasons, but Lord, I’m scared! I’m scared to the core!
Did you ever speak to Effe about your reasons for ending your relationship?
No, no! I was too overwhelmed! I can’t tell you what happened, but it wasn’t nice! But now, faced with these, maybe I should’ve spoken to her!
Do you still love her?
I’ve never stopped loving her. Yet I’ve done nothing but hate her. I will never stop loving her, that’s a fact, but she hurt me so much that I hate her!
Chris. That’s some damn crazy talk if you ask me. Listen, kid, I’ll give it to you straight, man to man. You got to get your act together. I’m beginning to think that maybe you broke off with Effe when lies were flying all around you. You didn’t take time to know whether she was really doing the damn things you assumed she was doing. Your mistake, I think, was that you didn’t confront her, or talk to her about the whole caboodle.
Maybe you’re right, yeah, about some of the reasons, anyway. Maybe I let my heart rule my head, yes. But then, maybe there was no other way considering the circumstances. If only you knew the kind of things she did, you would award me for staying sane all these years. At the time there was no way else but to call it off.
There’s always a way, boy, there’s always another way. Listen, your girl is going to get hitched in a couple of hours. Whatever your reasons for hurting her…
She hurt me John! She damn hurt me, not the other bloody way round!
Maybe she did, boy. Listen, I’ve been a tad longer on this earth than you, and I still say you got to get your act together. I’ve just been privy to how you thought she stole money from you and how it just turned out that she didn’t do nit! Maybe, just maybe, you might be wrong about your other reasons too!
No, Sir. The other reasons, the REAL reasons for the break up, I WITNESSED, okay, saw with MY OWN EYES. She just acted bitchy, that’s all she’s always been. I’ve found out two shocking misconceptions I had about her, but the rest, she is as guilty as Cain, Boss!
Okay, if you say so, boy. But, maybe you shouldn’t come to the wedding. Maybe you have to go home!
Go ahead, Boss. I need a little time. Oh, God!
Tamakloe nods, squeezes Chris’ shoulder affectionately, and then he turns and heads for his car.