Normally when a stolen credit card is used to buy something for you in Europe, you only pay half of the total cost of that Item or service. Since George bought me tickets worth of €80, i was supposed to give him €40 but i gave him €200. He was extremely happy but i also knew that i was going to require his services soon enough. I was traveling without my International Passport and I knew that it was a matter of time before some baldhead white travel agent refused to sell tickets to me or admit me to a hotel without the Passport.
I left George at the city center and drove back to Orly Airport. Our flight was leaving by 4pm. I was there on time to join the line for boarding. The lady at the check-in gate demanded for my Passport.
“I forgot it in Sweden this morning but its Ok, i will return from Venice in the morning. Its for urgent business” I said.
She hesitated a little before calling another man who worked for easy Jet. The man asked me some questions while others boarded the flight. I showed him the ticket that brought me from Sweden to Paris with one of their easy jet aircrafts. The flight was already about to take off when they allowed me to go. They warned me not to travel without my international passport again.
We got to Venice Marco Polo airport and proceeded to the immigration control. I had earlier figured out that i was going to have a bigger International passport issue over there. Venice was not the kind of place a young African Immigrant was expected to fly to without every legal document in the book.
“What are you coming to do in Venice?” the question didn’t come as a surprise, I had planned for it by printing some places to see in Venice.
“Sightseeing Sir, i heard it is a wonderful city” I said. That was a general hook line that was designed to massage the egos of every city and its inhabitants.
Every human being always claimed that his or her own city was a wonderful one. Ask somebody from Ibadan Nigeria how his city is; he will tell you that it is the best city in the Word even with red old rotten zincs all over the place. Ask someone from Aba Nigeria how his city is; you will be surprised to hear that Aba is better than Lagos, atleast to their residents. Despite the alarming rate of robbery and kidnapping in that dirty place, They would give you reasons why Aba is better than Abuja or even New York. This is not limited to Nigeria alone; it is the same everywhere.
“When i was young, i read a book from Shakespeare about this city and i promised myself that i will visit here before i die” I said to the immigration officer.
“Ah, yes the Merchant of Venice. Venezia is a wonderful city. Have a nice trip but next time, come with your Passport” He said.
I thanked him and walked out of the Marco Polo airport, then i followed some people down to the sea where we were going to use for our transport into the city center.
Venice was amazingly the most amazing city i have been to; and believe me i have been to many of them. This city sits on top of Water. It was made up of some Islands divided mainly by the Grand Canal. It sits on a Lagoon in the north eastern parts of Italy. It also looked like a city that was going to sink and that brought some fear in me.
I called Aunty Joy as soon as we got out of the airport and told her that i was there. She directed me on how to locate her.
I followed some people and purchased a Water bus ticket from Alilaguna. It took us about 40 minutes to get to Murano where she told me to come. Through out my stay inside the ferry bus, i was scared; very scared for the first time. The whole thing looked like a trap even though i was the one who started it. It all looked too scary to me. I imagined being shot and thrown into the Water like the rumour i heard about Aunty Joy and the business man.
What if Maria had called her and leaked our plan?
What if the two girls up there in Lulea had called her and told her that they were in asylum camp?
There were a lot of what Ifs on my mind that at a stage, i almost decided to go back. But one thing will kill a man someday. I encouraged myself and went on; there was some money at stake and i believed that if things changed for the worse, there must be a small tiny way out, no matter how small. One good thing i liked about myself was that i always knew when to quit and run. It never meant that i couldn’t make the mistakes of going extra steps but since money wasn’t my main motivator in life, trapping me down was always difficult. I recalled there were times when i had to spend more than i was owed, just to get justice. There were times when i had to leave things behind just to secure my life first; my life was everything because without it, this story would not have been told first hand. There were differences when you write about you and when someone write about you because when you write about yourself, emotions can easily be captured.
As i sat inside the Alilaguna Boat heading to Murano, it occurred to me that i made the first mistake in Venice; it was so unlike me because i was supposed to go to Murano first and and secure a hidden place before calling Aunty Joy. But i called her before going there; that was mistake number one. An Igbo Proverb said that “the death that will kill a dog, first of all, stops it from perceiving the odours of feases”
Was Ozoigbondu going to be finally captured or killed? What if i had just turned back and start going back to Marco Polo? I could just forget about everything, pick up the €15000 i left with William and disappear to Federal Republic of Nigeria. I would buy a large SUV and cruise with girls all over the town. I would change my phone number and Maria or anybody in Europe will not be able to reach me again. I would find a shop in Onitsha and start one business; No, i hate shop businesses. I was born to travel around the World and see things i had heard or seen in papers and Televisions. Shops were meant for people who couldn’t read maps or books properly or understand them.
Right there in the boat, i decided to go on. Kidnapping or killing people in a city like Venice should be difficult. I wasn’t going to go to hidden places with Aunty Joy. We will conduct our business in the opened and go our separate ways.
I got to Murano district in Venice and called Aunty Joy again, she was already at the boat terminal waiting for me. She had asked me to call her ealier before we got to Murano but somehow I decided to call her when I got there. The boat had stoppped in Murano, people were going off but since some people remained in the boat, I figured that we haven’t gotten to the final destination yet. There were also another boat that just arrived before us and was discharging passengers too.
I looked out of the glass window and saw a black woman standing close to the harbour with two black men, She was holding her phone on her ear and was saying ‘hello’. Sure it was Joy because I was the one calling her.
Aunty Joy was with two hefty black men. I saw them first and switched off my phone.
It was time to Run.