Venice was over 110 small Islands separated by canals, linked by hundreds of bridges and scattered in all angles. It was also known as the ‘floating City’ as was revealed by a quick search with my Nokia E71 during my wait at the Orly Airport in Paris.
As i spotted a Black Woman with two men, i had instantly decided to follow the Alilaguna FerryBus to the next station. I had switched off my phone and watched as the woman tried to dial a number without success. I was sure that was her but i didn’t know why she was there with men. It could have been for a different purpose because the place was busy with many passengers but a second thought advised me that suspecting everything was never a bad idea.
Our boat landed at the next station and i jumped out like the rest of the passengers. There were numerous hotels in Venice as i had suspected since it was a tourist destination. I walked for about 400 meters and entered a cheap hotel. The receptionist understood every language in the book.
“Hello, do you speak English?” i had asked him.
“Yes my friend, French, German, Italian and Portuguese too” He said.
“Great, ich mochte ein Zimmer” I said in German, trying to catch some fun.
“Gute cook hier” he said as he pushed a paper with the prices towards me.
I pointed to a €45 room and pushed it back to him.
He demanded for Identity Card and i gave him my permit card.
Her wrote down the things he needed and pushed it back to me.
Inside the room, i called Aunty Joy.
“What happened, i was there but didn’t see you” she yelled.
“My phone battery died but i am charging it in a hotel now, where are you” i said.
She said she had returned back to her Apartment. I told her to send me the apartment address and cut off the phone.
Ten minutes later, the text message containing the address arrived in my phone followed by a call. She asked if i received it and when i would be coming.
“Since you know this place better than i do, why don’t you come to my hotel first, then we start things from there” I said. She agreed.
It was obvious that she wanted to see me by all means. I didn’t know her intentions but the good news was that i was already in control of the situation.
My hotel room was on the second floor which has become my favourite floor. The second floor wasn’t very high up or very low down; I usually went for it because i could use the lift or the stairs without attracting suspicion.
I waited at the window that overlooked the only Bridge that led to the front of the hotel; that was where Joy was going to come from.
It was more than half hour before she arrived with a cab. I watched as she got down from the cab and gave some instructions to the driver and two men sitting at the back of the car. They pulled up to the front of the next building and stopped as i switched off my phone again.
I watched as Aunty Joy tried to dial my number while she walked into the reception.
Why was this woman moving with two black men and who were they? Was she so rich that she required security? I wasn’t going to stick around and find out. I was going back to France and if she wants us to meet, then it will have to be on a neutral ground. I didn’t know anywhere or anybody in Venice; the city was her ground.
I waited in the room as she waited in the reception for several minutes before she walked out again. Her taxi turned around and picked her up, then i walked down quickly and waited for a cab. A few minutes later, a cab pulled up and dropped a passenger. I showed him the address Aunty Joy sent to me and told him to drive me there.
“Here is the place” The cab driver had said to me when we got to the piazza where she lived.
Luckily for me, there was a bar directly opposite the entrance to her house.
It was already getting dark and i knew that it was a matter of time before she returns back home. It was then left to see if the boys were returning with her.
I walked into the bar and ordered for a half glass of whisky; and then, i sat near the outside window and watched the entrance to her building. The good news was that i already knew her and what she wore while she didn’t know me.
It was around 9pm when she returned. The same taxi who brought her to the hotel dropped her off in front of her house and drove away. Since i already paid for my drinks, i quickly gulped down
VENICE; THE FLOATING CITY
the rest of my drinks and called her. She was fumbling in her bag, probably looking for her keys but as soon as the phone rang, she grabbed it and put it on her ears.
“I don’t understand you at all, what is going on?” she asked.
“I like your red gown Aunty Joy” I said.
She turned back and saw me crossing over towards her, then she held her phone on her ears without saying anything.
“How are you Aunty Joy, nice to finally meet you. My battery was messing up the whole day. Maybe when all this is over, you buy a new battery for me. Lets go inside” I said.
She opened the door and we walked into the lift hall. The lift took us to the fourth floor where she lived.
“You have a nice place Aunty Joy” I will like to sleep here tonight if you don’t mind.
“Have you heard from them again?” That was the first thing she said.
“No, but they could call anytime now if i switch on the Sweden phone. Aunty Joy there is something i need you to know about me. I don’t like trouble. We could have met long ago but i saw you with two dangerous looking black men. I told you earlier that you should leave me out of this whole thing. I called my Pastor and he told me that you and those Arab people could have been doing business together. I could just be in the middle of what i don’t know. I decided to see you before i leave here just because i am already in Venice. I will sleep here on the sofa and leave in the morning. I hope they call before then.
“I swear i don’t know those people. I just brought those girls to work in Sweden but i don’t know how they kidnapped them. Please help me find them and i will pay you after that” she said.