“How much do you pay girls here?” i suddenly asked Uncle.
We had finished having sex and i felt it was time to talk business.
“It depends” He said.
“I am listening Sir”
“Dont call me Sir, Look Baby, there is a way we do things here. We dont pay salaries, we pay according to what each girl makes. So if you make 1000 Euros in a week, we give you 50 percent and take 50. The good news is that i will be getting you men who pay well” Uncle said.
The truth was that i preferred the Uncle’s line of work to the one we did back in Domitiana.
In his place, i was going to sit in a big parlour and drink, eat or sleep until a customer showed up.
The customer would either take me to a hotel or to his place.
The standard rule was that nobody had sex in Uncle’s place, except him of course.
Most of the time, the customers just made calls and the girls would be sent to wherever they wanted them to come.
It was a secured way of prostitution. The only negative way in the whole process was that if the Police or other Government authorities invaded the Restaurant, the run girls would not have a good excuses to defend why they wore sexy clothes and stayed there all day and night.
“What name would you want to be known here?” Uncle had asked.
“Maria is OK” I said.
When i returned with Uncle to the bar, numerous girls had arrived. Some were smoking while others drank.
I had walked back to the bar and demanded for the same small bottle of the Russian Poison called vodka.
The Antonio guy didn’t ask questions this time, he just handed the thing over to me and when i brought out money to pay, he said the bill had been taken care of.
I didn’t ask who paid for me, i figured it must have been Uncle himself. He had just finished having sex with me, he was supposed to do something for me. I was a prostitute.
Four days Earlier.
I had woken up and took my bathe. The Italian government paid us some small money monthly. It was a program designed to monitor us and know when we left the country. The money was just enough to transport myself from Castel Volturno where i was, to Venice, the submerged city in the North East of Italy.
I had gone to the train station that early morning and took a train to Napoli, then from there, i found a train going all the way to Venice Via Bologna. The transport cost was 67 Euros since it was a weekend.
I didn’t change trains on any city since the one i took was going all the way to Venice, though we stopped in many cities along the way.
When i got to our social welfare house, I saw Aunty Vivian, my roommate.
She was older than me but was also a prostitute, though a senior one. She liked me a lot and had asked where i had been all along.
I told Vivian that i found work in Milan. She wanted to know why i wanted to do menial jobs when i could just join her in sleeping with men for money.
She also said that the social payment time had passed but volunteered to take me to the foreign office where i could get my own money. On our way to the foreign office, Vivian gave me the most shocking news of my life.
She said that some people came looking for me that very day at the welfare building but that they were told that i didn’t come for my money.
“They spent hours waiting for you until the social people finished paying everybody and left.
“What are you talking about? Who are they?” I had asked.
She said they were two young men and a lady.
After describing them, i had no doubt who they were.
Ano and his friends were in town, he had been released from police custody and he had started searching for me.
I was lucky not to have been in Venice earlier but one thing had been on my mind ever since; it was that they could come looking for me in Venice.
Ano knew that i was posted in Venice. Julia, the Ghanaian friend of mine at the McDonald also knew that i was posted there.
I had always had in mind that they could come to search for me there.
The news from aunty Vivian had confirmed it.
My heart beat faster as we alighted from the Gondola boat and walked towards the foreign office building.
I felt that Ano and his friends could be hanging somewhere waiting for me.
Since they had the Mind and time to come looking for me at the Welfare building, it was also important to think that they could be waiting for me at the foreign office.
Ano was also a foreigner who could have known how the asylum system worked.
I had told him everything about me when i thought that we had a future. I didn’t hold anything back, i told him where i was posted, the date that we got paid and how we got paid.
I also told him that everybody was excepted to come for his or her money on that day since the Italian authorities also used the program to know the movements of the immigrants.
“Aunty, what if i decide not to take my own money?” I had suddenly asked.
We were still some hundred meters away from the foreign office.
“Why? Its not a big deal. Many people usually take their money from the foreign office” She said.
“I am scared that they might detain me and may be deport me back to Nigeria” I lied.
Aunty Vivian said i should not fear anything since she herself had collected her money at the foreign office in many occasions.
We were still arguing it until all of a sudden, i stopped in the middle of the walkway and said, “Aunty, i am not going there”.
“Why are you such a fearful girl Maria? If you dont need the money, you can get it and give me. We can’t just go back after getting this far” She had said.
As i stood there and scanned the territories ahead of us, i saw three people standing along the road in front of the foreign office. We were still a little far away from them but it was not difficult for me to conclude that it was Ano and his group.
It was them but due to the fact that it was cold up there in the North, they had worn heavy clothes and Two of them covered their heads with jacket caps; Ano and the lady with them.
It was them alright.
“I am going back” I said and turned back towards the Gondola Seaport.