This Chapter is Dedicated to Tilapia Garden & Bar in Utako Abuja. Tilapia was opened a few days ago by one of our fans. Life on the Run will visit Tilapia soon.
“Excuse me, two of my friends came looking for me here last night but the battery in my phone died. They couldn’t reach me. They left this morning. I need to call them from a pay phone because my battery is dead. Can you please give me their numbers from the register” I said as i pushed a €20 bill towards him. He had taken over a few minutes ago from the receptionist who worked the night shift. He looked at me for some moments and decided that there was no harm in giving out the phone numbers to me.
I went closer to him as he opened the register where the previous night’s activities were recorded.
“What are their names?” he asked as my eyes already moved fast down to 12:40 am, it was the first entered time after 12:28 am. I had figured that if they rented a room in the hotel for the night, which was most likely, they must have done that after Esther left.
Since Esther left by 12:28 am, i concentrated my search from 12:28 down.
There was only one registered name between 12:28 and 12:40, it just said ‘Henry E- Paris – Male – 12:40 – 066******’.
“Henry, that’s his name” i said as i i pointed to his name. He watched as i copied Henry’s phone number with my Nokia. After copying the number, i saved it with ‘H-Paris’, then i scrolled down and dialed Another Henry from Holland who was a friend while i was there. I greeted the new Henry as i walked out of the hotel. Down the road from the hotel, i found a cheap guest house and walked in.
“How much is a room for one night?” i asked the dirty old receptionist.
He didn’t understand English but he pushed their room price card towards me. After looking it up and down, i pointed to a room of €25/day. I gave him money and picked up the keys after writing my data down. I got up to the new room and called Nonso Ukeh. I told him that i was in Paris and asked that we meet in the night. He asked where i was and i told him to stay wherever he was, “Don’t worry, i will find you when i am ready” i said and hung up. I called H-Paris.
“Hello, Who is this?” He asked as soon as he picked up the phone.
“Pay attention Henry, this is the first and the last time i am going to warn you. You came to my hotel yesterday without my invitation. I want…” i was saying.
“Solomon, how did you get this number” he interrupted.
“I want to tell you this; if you disturb me in this Paris, you will either end up in Police net or in Africa. Stay away from my business. Tell whoever hired you that you are no longer interested in me. I repeat, this is the only warning you will get. If i see you near my hotel once more, i will make sure that you won’t see the city of Paris for a long time. Tell Aunty Franca that i am in Paris for real and that i will have a meeting with her when i am ready. Goodbye” i said.
He had interrupted me again and was issuing warnings of his own. According to him, i was just a small boy and won’t escape from Paris like i did during the time i was running from Efosa.
After bragging of how he was going to teach me a lesson I will never forget in my life, he cut off the phone call.
That was one problem with black men, they usually called everything bluff. They never believed that anybody could defeat them on anything.
I called Esther next. “I will tell you where i will sleep this night but if you try once more to tell Aunty Franca and her shake up boys, i will punish you for that. I want us to meet later tonight and make sure you come alone” I said.
She said she had become scared of me but will try to come.
I spent the rest of the day plotting on how to go about the latest Paris troubles. I didn’t expect things to get hot so soon. At the back of my head, i had planned to stir up the problems when it was time to leave Paris again but one thing led to another and before i could say Jack, the thugs had already started knocking on my doors. One thing i was sure going to avoid was being captured, that could cause lots of trouble for me
At about 6 pm, i called Nonso Ukeh. He said he was at his place near St. Dennis station. I told him to wait for my next call. I walked to the road and stopped a cab. “take me to St. Dennis” i said. The cab man drove me to the Parc des Princess stadium near the St. Dennis station where i asked him to stop me.
In the black neighbourhood near St. Dennis station, there were three places where the blacks gathered every day. The first was a bar owned by an Ivorian where he sold all kinds of drinks, he also had a big hall where he arranged seats and two large Televisions. The second place was a restaurant owned by Nwanyi Ogidi, a woman who sold all kinds of Igbo dishes. The third was a betting house where people placed bets on all kinds of sports including horse races, which i was sure the Nigerians knew nothing about. The three places where within 500 meter radius of each other. I felt that Nonso Ukeh would be in one of those places, therefore i walked from where the cab stopped me to the restaurant first. There were many people there but Nonso wasn’t among them. I left the place and went to the betting house, he was there. However, there were many other people whom i didn’t know. I had watched the betting hall from outside and felt that it was dangerous to enter since i didn’t know everyone in there. Nonso may have joined forces with the bad guys and it was important that i suspected everybody; that was the only sure way I was going to be safe in Paris. I left the betting hall and walked across the road to a small shop were used toys were sold. The old woman who owned the shop was busy explaining the importance of toys to kids while i brought out my phone and called Nonso.
“I am at the St. Dennis station now. Please come there, i am waiting for you” i said.
As i watched from the toy shop with a toy Elephant in my hand, i saw Nonso and two other strange men walked out of the betting house quickly. I dropped the toy and followed them. About two hundred meters to St. Dennis station, the two strange men took the left while Nonso took the right. I watched as they moved into the station. My phone rang.
“Hello Nonso” i said.
“Where are you in the station? I am there” he said.
“We will meet again tomorrow, i have just decided that St. Dennis Station is dangerous for me” i said and switched off my phone.
I didn’t want to talk too much on the phone. It was obvious that Nonso was up to some mischief, he wanted me out of Paris but unfortunately for him, I knew why. I was going to stretch him to the limit.