The four Italian Police men were standing in the corridor with their badges in their hands when i opened the door.
“What is the problem Officers?” I asked.
One of them rushed inside the bathroom and came out immediately, then he shook his head signifying that there was nobody there.
“Do you understand Italian?” one of them asked.
“No, We don’t live here. We came for a vacation from France. Only my friends live here” I said.
They asked Fred if he understood Italy, he said he understood a little. They asked for his permit and he gave them. While they were examining Fred’s papers, they asked him some questions about how he knew us. He Said we met in the street that morning and became friends. They asked what i was doing in Monza, i told them that i was there to look around the city.
“Officer, i know why you people are here. We are not drug dealers. You can search us however you want. I am just here to look around with my woman, there is no need to start going in circles” I said.
Esther was sitting motionless ly on the bed. She had taken asylum in France but that didn’t give her the right to travel to any other Country even the neighbouring Italy or Switzerland. I knew that the cops were eventually going to ask for our papers as well but It didn’t bother me because i had my permit and International passport with me. However Esther had only the asylum permit card she was given in France but i also knew that the worst the Police could do was to send her back to France which wasn’t a big deal. If they did, I was definetly going after her.
“How do you know we are looking for drugs?” one of the Police asked me.
“Officer i am not a child. I have been in this situation before. We don’t deal on drugs, you can use dogs or any equipment of your choice to search the room but i can assure you that you got the wrong people. I started with the drug discussion because I wanted to distract and throw them off balance a bit. They were humans just like us. My second reason was to make Esther gain some confidence before they turned to ask her questions.
They asked for my papers and i handed it over to them. After going through it, they gave it back to me and asked Esther to bring her own.
“I forgot it in France” she said.
Her answer surprised me. I was a little scared that she didn’t know what to say but as soon as she mentioned that she forgot her papers in France, i believed that she will get out of the Jam easily.
They asked her how she came to Italy, she said she came with a train.
“When are you going back?” they asked her. she said we were returning to France first thing in the morning.
“Open your bags” one of them ordered me while another was busy asking Esther some questions. I mentally divided my attention into two; while I opened my bag for search, I also listened to what Esther was telling the Police. A situation could arise where I would be required to answer a validation question to confirm what Esther was saying.
I opened our two bags and after going through them, they found out that we had only our clothes and shoes. There was nothing incriminating.
Before we finished with the bags, a police officer had written a small note on a Police letter heading paper and gave it to Esther. They told her to present it to any Police or immigration officer that stopped her on the road while returning to France.
After satisfying themselves that we were not dealing on drugs, they left the room and walked out.
“We are leaving this place immediately. Look Fred, we are going to another hotel and you are coming with us, get up now” I shouted. We got downstairs and picked up a taxi. I asked the driver to take us to the hotel where i lodged during the invasion of kingsley’s apartment.
“Fred i think your house is not safe this night. I want you to stay here until day break. Someone out there knew that you will be coming home with €2000. We need to throw him off balance” i said. Fred agreed. I took him up to the old room which i already paid for earlier, then Esther and I rented a new and bigger room.
As soon as we got to the new room, Esther fell on the bed and started sleeping. She was tired and so was I. I removed my clothes and walked to the bed as well. It was time to sleep.
As i lay on the bed, i wondered why Kingsley have not called me. He must be staying over somewhere in Milan for the night because he should have called. It wasn’t something i should worry much about, therefore i suspended myself to nature and left the World of the living into that uncertain World called Sleep.
About 6:00 hours the next morning, Fred called and said he was going home. According to him, he had cooked soup and didn’t put it in the refrigerator. He needed to return home and warm it on the gas cooker.
“Remember you are traveling in two days, go and make the necessary arrangements. If we don’t meet again, have a safe Journey and call me when you get to Lagos” I wished him good luck and he left the hotel.
I opened my phone and called Franca in Paris. She said that Kingsley complained that his apartment was broken into and his laptop and phones were stolen.
“Did you have anything to do with that?” She asked.
“Franca i called to tell you that i am expecting the money this morning. I will start to expect your message from 8:30 to 9 am this morning. If i don’t get it, i may switch off my phone and the next thing i would do will be too bad for you. Don’t ask if i broke into Kingsley’s apartment again because i don’t have his keys” i said and cut the call.
“Get up Esther, we need to talk now” my voice was a little high. I had woken up with anger on my mind because i needed to tidy up every business i had in Monza and leave the city. The more i stayed there the more danger i faced. It was true that i left the hotel where i held Basil hostage, he didn’t know where i slept but Fred knew. And as along as a third party knew your secret, it was no longer a secret. He could be forced to reveal where i was and that would be bad for me.
“Talk about what?” she said.
“I am done petting you, its time to get strong and tell me how you came to Europe and where your people live in Africa, they need to know that their daughter is safe. I want to know who you are, if you have siblings, the name of your village and every other information that will help us bond together. If you don’t tell me now, i am going to leave you and you will return the €1000 i gave you. You can then go ahead and make yourself Sharon Stone, afteral she is popular” My voice remained high.
“I am not telling you anything Solomon. You can leave me here if you want, i never begged you to help me” She shouted back.