It was on December 26. I had gone out to a Sports bar to watch an English premier league match. I had just settled down on a sofa and ordered for a glass of whisky when someone tapped me on the shoulder. As i turned around, i saw Sule with one other guy standing behind me.
”Come outside” Sule ordered.
There were a lot of people in the bar, mostly the Ivorian young men who had either came to support Manchester United or Arsenal.
”Come out to do what, don’t you see the game is about to begin” i said and remained where i was.
”I want to ask you something, come out now” He said again.
The bartender had just came with my glass of whisky as i stood up and shouted:
”Get out from here, i want to watch this match”
”This man here is disturbing me and i am going to call the police if he continues” i turned and shouted at the bartender.
He saw that i was angry, then he ordered Sule and his friend to leave the bar. Some Ivorian young men had turned towards us and was telling Sule and his friend to leave now. Some where calling them bad names such as ‘419 Nigeriana’.
They sensed Danger and left. As soon as they stepped outside, i got up and stepped out too. I looked from the entrance door and saw them walking down the right side, then i waited for them to go far before i walked out through the left.
I got to the end of the walkway and found out that the road ended there. The place was a close. The only way out of the place was to jump the dwarf fence. As i place my hands on the fence to jump, i saw two dogs walking inside the premises where i was supposed to jump into.
I got down and walked slowly back to the bar. At the entrance of the bar, i stood and thought about my next move.
‘Don’t panic, think, there is always a solution to every man-made problem’ my mind told me.
The two immediate options that came to me was to either find a way to call the Police to the bar or simply walk down and face them.
Facing them alone was dangerous since they could have gone to regroup or could have been waiting for me somewhere knowing that i would definitely come out after the football match.
‘There is always another option, think’ my mind said again.
I went into the bar and sat down near three Ivorian men who had called Sule and his friends bad names.
”Monami, do you speak English” i asked one of them. He nodded and said ‘little’.
From the T Shirt he was wearing, i figured he was an Arsenal supporter. I was a Manchester United supporter but since i had nothing that revealed that on me, i decided to support Arsenal that afternoon. If i was going to make them my friends, i had better started being an Arsenal fan. The consolation was that it was just a temporal support.
”We are going to punish Man U today” i said.
Two of them laughed and shook my hand while the third guy looked scornfully at me, apparently he was a Man U supporter. Well i needed to be more careful but gaining two out of three was still better than gaining one out of three.
”Bartender” i shouted.
The young bartender came to me.
”Give us drinks” i said. I ordered for a glass of whisky while they all ordered for beer. I had figured that if i had to win their support, i better start spending the money from Sule.
I had the entire $450 from Sule with me. Another option that came to me was to just go, if Sule and his group caught up with me, i would simply give them their money. The problem once more was that they would want to fight since their original hopeful plan of stealing $5000 from Audrey had been lost.
As we drank, Manchester United scored a goal. It was from a certain Ryan Gigs. People were jumping up and down, including one of our new four-man Drinking group. I nearly shouted goallll! too but i was acting an Arsenal fan script.
As the match went on, we ordered for more drinks. After over ninety minutes, the game ended. We all cheerfully went outside. The match had ended 1:1. A man named Henry Thiery had equalize towards the end of the game. People were arguing over whether Arsenal should have gotten a penalty. A certain referee named Howard Webb was being accused of being a Manchester United referee. The Arsenal fans were shouting that he denied them a clear penalty.
We walked down through the right side, the same way i had seen Sule gone.
Then we saw them, Sule and his friend. They had been waiting at a small open bar along the way.
They saw me with the three Ivorians and stood up. One of the Ivorians had recognized them.
”See the 419 people” i said while pointing at them.
My new friends had been tipsy after three bottles of beer each. They weren’t interested in what the problem was between me and Sule.
I was going to deny Sule anyway. He didn’t give me any money, he only bought a ticket for Audrey.
I made it clear to Sule and his friend that i was with the three men, by simply laughing and joking with them. We walked past the standing Sule and his friend as they watched me without knowing what to do. We got to a busy area and i stopped a cab. I waved goodbye to my new friends after collecting one phone number from them, then i drove off to my hotel, watching my back at all times to check if i was being followed.
Audrey was home when i got up. She was packing her bag.
”Ich Gehen wieder nach France bei morgen” she said.
I sat down and watched as she packed.
”I am going to miss you so much Audrey” I said.
She stopped what she was doing and hugged me slightly.
I told her that i would be in Europe soon and that i would get in contact with her. She gave me her number in France and her email address.
When she finished packing, she took me down to the restaurant and bought me dinner and drinks. She didn’t ask anything about the Sule money. As a matter of fact, i needed her out of the way. I still had over a week to spend in Abdijan which meant that i was likely going to run into Sule again. I wanted to fight them without Audrey standing in the way.
We got up, went into her room and… Played.