“Here is the plan. We are going to make Madam Grace believe that you and I fight each other every day. Since she believes that Olokun has the power to even wake up the dead, we are going to use that against her. I will call her in the morning and tell her that I am sending you back. While I talk on the phone with her, throw insults at me. Shout at me with curses and abuses. Don’t worry, I won’t hold it against you later,” he said.
I laughed. “What am I going to say?”
Solomon told me to call him bad names. “Call me wicked man, thief, whatever bad name you call your enemies. Make sure you are loud enough for Madam Grace to hear you. We only have one genuine attempt at this. If we fail to convince her that I really want to send you back, she will know it’s a trap. Remember she is scared of me now,” Solomon said.
First thing the next morning, Solomon called Madam Grace. The phone was on speakout mode as always.
“Madam Grace,” he said and kept quiet.
“Who is this?”
He raised his voice a bit. “I told you to stop asking silly questions.”
“Look Solomon, I am still on my bed. I didn’t know it was you.”
He smiled at me before he continued. “Better, if you still want Jennifer back, you need to call me when you are tired of your bed.”
“Wait Solomon, what do you mean?” Madam Grace said.
“God will punish you, useless man. After everything you did to me, you want to send me back to Lisbon. It will never be well with you,” I shouted over and over on background.
I was close enough to the phone to ensure that Madam Grace heard everything I was saying.
The plan was working because Madam Grace suddenly became alerted and asked what Solomon wanted her to do.
“I will send her back to Lisbon tomorrow. I am tired of her and I don’t want anything to do with her again. You didn’t tell me she is a witch,” Solomon continued.
“It’s your father that is a witch, not me,” I kept shouting until Solomon made a sign for me to stop.
I guess he feared I could give us away.
“I will come and pick her up. Are you still in Porto? I don’t trust that girl.” Madam Grace said.
Solomon affirmed that we were still in Porto before he killed the call.
It was time to call Jose. “This one is going to be tricky. I need you to stay quiet and listen,” Solomon warned me.
I nodded as he dialed Jose and switched the phone on speakout.
Despite us being in danger, I was enjoying the entire tactical intelligence being displayed by my boyfriend. I was simply proud of him that moment.
Jose was calm on the phone. He asked where we were as expected.
“We are still in Porto.”
He asked what happened. Solomon told him that Madam Grace came to Porto with some thugs. “It was the reason why I disappeared with the money immediately I got it from her. I have your share with me. You can send me your details so I can forward it to you through Western Union.”
Jose didn’t allow him to finish what he was saying before he interrupted. “No, I will come to Porto tomorrow to pick up the money. There are other things we need to discuss. We can have beer together too.”
Solomon looked at me and smiled. The original plan was to drag Jose to Porto but for some reasons best know to him, Solomon decided to make things look like he didn’t want Jose in Porto. It was perfect that Jose suggested that he come to Porto by himself.
Before the end of the call, Jose agreed that he would be in Porto the next day. The time agreed for the meeting was about 2 pm in a hotel in Porto, the same time and the same hotel Solomon agreed to meet with Madam Grace for my handover the following day.
Apparently Madam Grace and Jose were likely going to collide and the bad news was that they knew each other. The good news was that both our enemies were leaving Lisbon the following day. That will give us the freedom to go into the city to buy tickets if we succeeded in getting the permits as we planned.
There was nothing else to do except Wait inside the hotel room like cockroaches. We didn’t make love like we used to do with such opportunities, the reason was simple; there was huge tension hovering over us. We didn’t know what would happen in the next one or two days. According to Solomon, our greatest threat yet was Francis his friend, the man who was responsible for the resident permit process.
Francis was the only person of interest who knew that we were in Lisbon. It won’t cost him much to sell us out because Solomon said he already gave him some money. Money has a way of turning friends against each other. Francis could decide to embezzle the advanced fee Solomon already gave him for the permit, and then alert Madam Grace that we were in Lisbon. Madam Grace would mount a manhunt against us all over the place and even promise money to anyone who could give authentic information on our location.
We were simply in a very dangerous time and I had no option than to silently pray that things worked in our favour.
We played cards, made jokes and when it was 2pm, Solomon left alone to buy us foods. He returned alive an hour later, carrying rice and chicken. It was the first decent meal we ate in the past two days.
In the evening, Francis called. He said the resident permit and my traveling card would be ready by midday of the next day.
“That’s fine,” Solomon had said, “Just make sure it doesn’t go beyond 12 noon tomorrow, otherwise I will forget about it and ask for refund.”
“Baby, you don’t have to use strong tone on him, remember he is the only person who knows we are here,” I said as soon as the phone conversation was over.
He looked at me, smiled and said. “If he is planning to go against us, whatever I say won’t change that.”
Since I didn’t want to argue out the topic, I nodded and continued playing cards with him until we eventually took our bath and slept.
The following day was going to be very stressful and dangerous for us in Lisbon. I just prayed and hoped we get out of it alive because it could be the last time my eyes will see the city of Lisbon.
Yes, if I ever managed to leave Lisbon in one piece, I didn’t think anything would bring me back again. It was the city that changed me from a God-fearing girl to a forced Prostitute. That was a memory I didn’t want to save in my head for the rest of my life. But unfortunately, there were things we couldn’t just wish away.