Emeka picked up the pair of shoes and handed it to me.
“I am joking” I said and laughed.
“Well i am not joking” He said.
I looked into his eyes and found out he was serious.
His friend was also standing there.
“Take the shoes baby, he is loaded” His friend said.
Whatever made him think i was about money.
Well, i was about money. What else was i doing in Europe.
I took the shoes from him and walked to the counter.
He paid 65 Euros for them and followed me outside.
I told him my name was Jennifer and that i came from Italy to visit my boyfriend.
He asked who my boyfriend was and i told him about Basil.
He said he knew Basil but insisted that i give him my phone number.
I gave Emeka my Italian phone number and promised to see him before i return to Italy.
When Basil called and said i could return, i walked back home.
The apartment was 7 minutes walk from the Amsterdamspoort.
I thought about Emeka on my way back. It seemed that only the Igbo boys were much interested in dating me.
In as much as i liked the shoes Emeka bought for me, i hated how his friend told me he was loaded.
Money was very important but it must be spent wisely.
There was absolutely no need reminding me that Emeka was loaded.
If i had genuine intention of dating Emeka, there was no way i would have gone ahead after what his friend said.
But i had no intention of dating Emeka. Since they made it clear that there was money to spend, i would play the game with them.
The only thing they could do was to have sex with me.
Sex was what i did for a living.
I liked Igbo men. They knew women needed love but they knew that women in Europe needed money much more than love.
African women, especially those from Edo state didn’t need much love, we needed money.
From day one, we were configured to look for money, not love.
It was very good when money came with love but if money and love were kept apart, we usually went for money.
“Nice shoes” Basil said as soon as i brought them out of the yellow nylon bag.
He picked the leather one up and said it was Italian.
“This is original Italian leather. 65 Euros. I gave you only 50 Euros” He said as he stared at the price tag.
“Someone bought it for me” I said.
“Who bought it for you Maria?” He asked.
“One Igbo boy. He said his name is Emeka” I said.
I believed i might be revealing information i should not have revealed but i also knew that Basil wasn’t going to do anything to me.
“Emeka, Emeka. How did he buy shoes for you, did you know who he was” He asked.
“Nope. He walked into the shop where i was and said he liked me. He said i could take any shoe i like, so i chose this one” I said.
“You shouldn’t be accepting things from strangers” Basil said.
“Yea, my mother told me something like that when i was a kid. I am an adult now Basil. I know why you have reservations but trust me, Emeka or whatever he called himself will not see me again around here because after this Norway deal, i would be going Down to Italy” I said.
Basil didn’t say anything. He knew that stretching that issue could lead to some kind of argument which could end up stopping me from going to Norway the next morning.
Secondly, we were not married. If he didn’t want me to have any private meeting or contact with any other male, he should have asked me to marry him.
Ironically, i felt i was free to get married then. No serious thing was holding me back again.
It wasn’t like when i was a slave to Madam Philo.
Basil knew better than to argue too much. Of course the jealous factor was there but somehow, i felt that there was more to his objection and reservation.
Drugs was a serious business that required so much secrecy.
Basil may have thought that i could reveal vital information to other Igbo men in Amsterdam if i start to associate with them.
I may not have known but revealing information wasn’t difficult.
I knew this because prostitution business wasn’t so different from drug business.
After thinking of the things that could happen if i began to associate with other Igbo men, i walked to the room and saw Basil on the bed.
“I am sorry for what i did” I said.
I knew that men liked it when women begged or apologized to them.
Basil wasn’t going to be different.
He kept quiet.
“I think what i did was wrong” I continued.
I went on to tell him that i didn’t think it was risky to deal with Emeka. But that i just wanted to check if he was serious.
“Did you give him your phone number?” He asked.
“Yes i did but i don’t think …”
“You don’t think what Maria? You are now involved with drug business. You cannot just associate with anybody you want. A lot of money is involved in this business. I do group business which you are now part of. I know this Emeka. He is from Anambra State. He can easily set us up through you and the bad Suriname boys would come here with guns. If they come here, your life is also in danger. I gave you money to go and buy whatever you like, only to go there and start making new friends”
Basil was raising his voice as he said all the things he had to say.
To make him feel that i was really sorry, tears started to fall from my eyes.
He got up and hugged me.
“Its Ok, just don’t take his calls if he ever call you” He said.
I nodded as if i was going to do just that.
The truth was that i wanted to shift the drugs to Norway first.
Then after that, i would take my money and go to Italy.
I knew that there was nothing Basil could do to me when i return to Italy.
He wasn’t going to know who i called and who called me.
I didn’t eat that night. I was going to eat Balls of Cocaine. There was no need packing up my stomach with food.
I slept in the sitting room and set my alarm to wake me up by 6am, i was going to start eating my Cocaine then and by the time it would be 8am, i would be done and start moving.
However, we were yet to buy ticket for the journey but since several flights flew from Amsterdam to Norway everyday, i knew that i would be fine.