23: THE COLLISION PLAN

We got down to the hotel reception and handed the room keys to a half-breed African- European young lady receptionist.
” Are you checking out” she asked.

I nodded as I moved towards the exit door.
” Excuse me Sir, its past mid day” she yelled at my back. Jennifer was already outside the hotel.
I didn’t want to create any unnecessary scene by ignoring her. I turned around and asked her what she meant.
She said that I was supposed to pay again. There was no time for argument, I dropped the luggage I was carrying and brought out a €50 bill from my pocket. I handed her the money and picked up my luggage. Jennifer had turned around and was watching us. I moved towards her and motioned her to move fast.
The receptionist was talking behind us, probably about my change. I wasn’t going to let €10 hold me back.

We walked fast out of the lonely street where the Hotel was located and called a cab standing across the road. The driver turned his car around and came to us. My phone had started ringing again inside my pocket. I ignored it. The Porto squad must have met each other in the reception hall of Golden Tulip hotel. I scrambled into the taxi.
” Your phone is ringing” the Taxi driver said as I entered and closed the front door. Jennifer had gotten into the back seat.
” Take us to the Oriente Train station” I said.

I brought out the phone from my Pocket, it was Madam Grace. I allowed the ringing to die. She called again the second time. I didn’t answer.

Jose followed. He called three times without me answering any of them. He sent a short text message to me, it read;
” My friend, Don’t come down now. I saw the Madam here”

I pictured what must have been going on up there in Porto. Jose would be pretty scared as soon as he saw Madam Grace. He would definitely hide somewhere in the hotel bar or even sneak out of the hotel. Madam Grace must have been boiling inside for waiting too long.

I copied out Francis’ number from my phone and switched it off.

I called Francis from Jennifer’s phone, he picked it after just a ring.
” Its Solomon’ why are you not answering my calls” I said calmly.
” I just got the papers now, where are you” he said.

” Tell me where you are, I will meet you there. I said.

He told me to come to Rossio.
Rossio is directly opposite of my escape route.
Rossio was where I had found Jennifer. Rossio was where 80% of Nigerians spend their free time daily.
No, I wasn’t going anywhere near Rossio.
I became suspicious of Francis but I was sure he didn’t know that I had sent Madam Grace and Jose’s teams to Porto.
Or may be Madam Grace had called Lisbon to report what I had done; I expected that.

” Francis Listen Carefully, I am in a Taxi going somewhere and I am in a hurry. I have the whole money here and I need you to come to Oriente station right away” I said.
He hesitated a little and agreed.

There was only one Major entrance to the Oriente train station.
We packed our cab across the road facing the Entrance to the station and remained inside the car.
” Meu Amigo” I said to the Driver.
” Do you speak English”

He nodded.
” Some people are chasing me and my wife. They want to kill us because we refused to sell drugs for them” I said.
” They may follow my friend to this place. If I see them and tell you to go, Don’t move fast, move slowly out of this place. I will pay you well” I finished.
He looked at me suspiciously. I believed he didn’t buy the crap I was telling him but he had no reason to suspect me. He was just a cab driver.

About 12 minutes later, A taxi pulled up at the Entrance of the Oriente station and Francis got out. The cab drove away. He called me through Jennifer’s phone and asked where I was. I told him to enter the Station. He walked down the stairway to the Oriente station.
I watched the entrance for over a minute but detected no suspicious movements.

I called him to return to where the taxi dropped him. I asked him not to cut the line, just hold it to his ears and walk back up to where he had stopped a minute ago.
A minute later, I saw him come out of the station. I told him to cross the road and come to the cab packed opposite the entrance.
He approached our cab and got at the back seat where Jennifer was sitting. He closed the door and we drove away.
” Take us towards the highway” I said to the driver.
I looked at intervals on the right side mirror to see if anybody was following us, there was non that I could see.

We drove to Aguas de Moura, where the four Major highways of Portugal met.
We stopped there and I got down with Francis.

We went to the trunk of the car. Francis handed me the two papers.
I checked my Permit first, it was good. It Looked very much the original based on the ones I had seen.

I checked the look-alike Permit card. It wasn’t Jennifer but it was a close resemblance to her. It would do.

I handed him €3000. He counted it and nodded that it was complete. I gave him another €200 and told him that I was going up North to Coimbra. I told him that I will remain in contact.

I entered the car and told the cab to head North towards Coimbra.

We drove for about five minutes until I was convinced that Francis must have left the highway where we had stopped him. Then I told the cab to turn around and head South to Faro, The Southernmost region of Republic of Portugal..

During our journey down to Faro, I had started a conversation about Portugal with the cab driver. He had said that he came to Portugal since 1991. He had lived in Faro and Coimbra, but now lives in Setubal where he worked as a part time cab driver and a Tailor.
He had convinced me to go to Vilamoura instead of Faro. He said Vilamoura was a new tourist city with football fields, golf courses and many more leisure and attractive places.
I had decided that it was Vilamoura and that was how we found ourselves in the beautiful massive tourist complex.

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