I have been locked in a cell for days now, feeling dirty, unkempt and itchy. My hairs are sticking out everywhere on my head showing signs of neglect for the past five days. There is no mirror around this disgusting place to take a look at myself but the horrific reflection staring back at me from the window panes is one I will never forget. My eyes have lost its sparkle of light and innocence, looking forlorn and bleak without a ray of hope as the reality of being behind bars sink in everyday. There are dark circles around my eyes from lack of sleep not because I am scared I will get strangled in my sleep or worse of, molested by these scary looking cellmates of mine but from going through the events that led up to this point over and over again in my head to understand what went wrong. I no longer smile, that's for sure, my heart is too heavily laden with burden and uncertainties to feel any bubble of joy or happiness that will resonate into a smile or laughter because this place has a way of taking all that away from you including your dignity and self worth. I am ashamed to be seen like this but I refuse to cry, I am not going to be seen as weak and feeble. I won't break down in front of all these people who troop in everyday to ask me questions and probe me a million times. I will be strong for myself, my parents and Franklin the love of my life. The tears threatened to spill forward as I think about Franklin, my eyes unconsciously stray to my ring finger where the lady warden took my two weeks engagement ring off my fingers as part of the search routine of an inmate. I am supposed to be planning a wedding not preparing for a trial of a manslaughter I did not commit. I couldn't look him in the eye the last time he came to see me because I know the hurt, disappointment and heartbreak I would find in its depth will be heart crushing and my heart pounds every time I think about what the future holds for us as an intending couple, if we would survive this or simply part ways for good asides which I believe death will be my solace if I remain here and endure the stench of this place for much longer. The warden's voice filters through the cell blocks as she shoves another inmate into her cell,the grating and nerve wracking sound of the cell doors closing jars me back to the day my arrest was made. The call from Linda came in at 6:15pm on a Friday night while I was lying down on my sitting room sofa, happily daydreaming about my recent engagement to the best man in the whole world. Linda and I are only friends because of my inability to get drunk and my strict beliefs about chastity. I picked my buzzing phone as her name flashes across my screen and I groan inwardly knowing it's going to be her yapping about another gig she has and wants me to ride shotgun with her as usual. "Hello Linda, what's up" I say to her as I slide the receive button. "Hi Grace, I have a party organized for tomorrow by 8:00pm and I need you as my plus one for safety" she gushes in one breath and I forget myself and make some silly noises I knew she would hear. "Please Grace" she continues, the gathering is for the elite and my baby is going to be there, the pay is very fat and you know the deal is 10% if you agree. I brush her aside knowing fully well that "baby" meant her latest sugar daddy.  "How much are we talking here?" I asked, curious to know and she blew me away by saying two hundred thousand naira is my ten percent if I ride with her. I happily agreed to be her escort to the party the next day largely because I have been doing it for a while now notwithstanding the fee. Linda is one of those girls you tag a call girl. She is not the regular ones you see on the street all night looking for their next client. She is among the top girls who have their own exclusive client list, run errands for big shots in the country, go on trips as companions, organize exclusive parties for their seedy events and get heavily paid for it. Linda is a perfect picture of what we tag a big girl. She is filthy rich, using the latest gadgets, driving the latest 2019 model car, has houses in six happening states and lives a luxurious life. One thing that is common with all these parties is the tendency for something to go wrong and the police swooping in and picking up everyone involved except the affluent men who would be carted away before the ruckus goes sideways.  Linda hates the word "Police Station '', she regularly affirms that the police is not her friend therefore the need to be as far away from them as possible. She is a heavy drinker and smokes everything which makes her cranky, bitchy and often end up in fights with other ladies especially those who fix their sight on her latest catch. That's where I come in. Ride shotgun with her and be her Guardian Angel.

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