52: The New Maria

Madam Vivienne, the owner of the used clothing company was a very receptive lady. She was very excited that we finally came after the visa troubles. She was also excited that she was going to establish a direct link with Africa. She took us around the warehouse, showing us different grades of used clothes.
Levis and one other jeans I had forgotten its name, were particulaly more expensive than others. There were also used shoes, sandals, belts, ladies bags etc.

Some of the clothes and shoes had been bundled into bales and were ready for shipment to other European countries such as Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Georgia, Bulgaria and even Moldova. According to Madam Vivienne, countries such as Nepal, Bangladesh and even India also bought used clothing from them. It became clear to me that it wasn’t only the Africans who purchased used items.

After the inspection, we got down to pricing. Johnson was more knowledgeable in the business than I was. Infact I had no idea what they were talking about but Johnson had dealt on the used clothing back in Cotonou before coming to Europe.
They discussed about silk, jeans and other clothes in details. I just turned into a Photographer and followed them.

During the negotiations, Johnson called Mr. Eze in Cotonou. They discussed prices and types as well. Eventually they agreed on prices and packaging procedures.
Mr. Eze was going to transfer money from
Africa the next day. He was also going to send some money to Johnson for his troubles. I was not really part of the equation. Johnson had just taken me along. Despite all my drug war victories, Johnson still saw me as his boy. I had not choice than to obey the first law of Power, ” Never outshine your master”

When we were through with Madam Vivienne, she took us to a restaurant and bought us some expensive slovak dishes. She was very excited. She drove us around slovakia for over an hour before she went back to her office.

More than three hours after we left madam Vivienne, the ”American likers” called.

” Hi, its Maria, we are coming to the hotel to pick you guys up in a few minutes” Maria said.
Those kids didn’t consider that we might not even be in the hotel.
I asked them to come, then cut off my phone.
Johnson asked why I asked them to come.
” It was what we agreed on yesterday” I told him.
”what you agreed on, not we” he said.
” fine, stay here, I am going with them”

I changed to new cloths and took some money from my bag. I wore a baggy Jean trousers I had bought after Madame Vivienne had dropped us. I also wore a big T-Shirt, the type Notorious B.I.G and Fat Joe wore in their music videos. I tied a scarf around my head to look like tupac. I was determined to be an American that evening.

I went downstairs and waited for them.

Johnson or no Johnson, I was going to tour Bratislava like my fellow American tourists..

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