Chapter 61. The Paris Western Union Office.
It was already 8am when i called Joy to send the money to Paris. She demanded for recipient’s name and i sent her the names of Alicia through text message. She said she will send the money in an hour.
I had asked Alicia for the names on her passport so that she would be able to receive money for me through Western Union Money Transfer. She had told me the names and demanded that i give her 5% of whatever amount she received for me. It was the standard percentage for withdrawals all over Europe but what baffled me was how she knew about that. When i asked her how she knew about the percentage rule; she said she had received money many times for Nigerians in Italy. I was actually impressed at how the skinny girl was trying to make me understand that our friendship was based on business and not pleasure; if only she knew that she was traveling with a rattlesnake.
“But my case is different Alice. Those people you received money for were drug dealers. That was why they were able to pay you 5 percent” I had said to her out of nothing else to say.
“What about you? Are you not a drug dealer? If you are not a drug dealer, what else could you be doing in Venice without a luggage? Intact i suspected that it was drug you brought to Venice and i believe this money you want me to receive is coming from Venice” She said.
She was right, the money was coming from Venice but it wasn’t drug money. The problem however, was that there was no other lie to cover the money. It was better that i played along the drug money line since it was the only thing she knew that gave quick large money in Europe.
Alicia Ka Ima Nkaa Ima Nke Ozo.
Alicia was too bold and confidence for my liking. She had bluntly demanded for 5% of my money because she was going to withdraw it. If she wasn’t there, i could have directed the money somewhere else; perhaps to Nigeria, Dublin or Germany. But since Alicia was all about business, i wasn’t going to protect her. I was going to allow her to go pick the money on her own and take her percentage. I had a massive belief that there was going to be trouble during the withdrawal.
It seemed the Ghanaian women had this silly notion about how women should control men or even become the head. She was going to learn a lot from me but before then, i needed to concentrate. Aunty Joy was becoming too willing to deliver the money, there were dangers written all over the place. As a business man. I knew long ago that people hardly called the people they owed to come and take their money; it was usually the people who were owed that made the calls. I recalled how she tried to block me with her two boyfriend thugs and how difficult it was to agree to anything i told her in Venice. But all of a sudden, she had become too willing to send me money through western union. I was going to test her once and if she tried anything funny, she could be in a lot of trouble with me.
As our train galloped through the hills towards Paris in the Northern part of France, i wondered what i was going to do with Alicia. She could land me in trouble if i decided to take her out in Paris. I had many enemies in that city and didn’t want to be seen outside in day time. The good news however, was that she had money; she could always go out whenever she wanted. If we succeeded in receiving €10 000 from Aunty Joy, Alicia will claim one €500 which will be enough to enjoy Paris alone. Since she had decided that it was going to be business between us, it was good that everybody answered her family name.
Aunty Joy called me while we were still in the train. She called out the receiving codes And asked that i let her know when i got the money so that she could send the rest. Her voice was so relaxed that i became alerted; she didn’t even mention Sharon or Peace anymore. It was left for me to find out what she planned. One thing i found out about her was that she was connected to Paris because She had also told me to withdraw the money at the large Western Union office near the Gare Du Nord station.
I told her that i will go and cash the money around 5pm in the evening since that was the time my girlfriend whose names were used, will return to Paris; it was my own little trap. The only person I pitied was Alicia but as long as she has red passport, her problems was going to be easy.
We arrived in Paris around 4pm and went straight to a hotel i had stayed twice. The price had increased from €40 to €45 but i didn’t care. An economic recession was brewing around town.
Around 5pm, we walked into a barber shop across the road opposite the Western Union office near the Gare du Nord. I told Alicia to go alone and pick the money while i shaved my hair in the saloon. I gave her the codes and she left.
“Monami, take a seat. Let me do the shaving” The Ivorian Barber had said.
“I am not shaving anything Sir” I said.
“Then you leave my shop” he said again aggressively.
“Very well” I said as i walked out of the barber shop and head straight to a small bar i had seen down the road.
I bought a glass of double shot of Johnnie Walker and sipped slowly while i watched the western Inion house.
Ten minutes later, I saw two Police officers and two Black women coming out of the Western Union house with Alicia whose hands were behind her back. They were waiting for traffic to go green before crossing to the Barbing saloon where they believed that they were going to capture Osama Bin Laden. I didn’t need anybody to tell me that there was a trap set up for me by Aunty Joy.
The bar where i was was only 50 meters from the Barbing saloon. If i walked outside and start running, the police will spot me and if there was a chase, they will definitely catch me. The best bet was to stay inside the bar and hope that they didn’t come there.
As soon as the traffic light changed to green, they all walked quickly to the barber shop and entered inside. Only the two police men stood outside.
I wanted to jump out of the bar and head to the opposite direction but it was a serious risk because Alicia could have described me to the Police. I peeped through the glass and watched as the two women, Alicia and the Ivorian Barber came out of the shop. The barber pointed towards the direction where i was. I needed nobody to tell me that they were going to head towards the bar.
“My friend, do you have a toilet here?” i asked.
He nodded and pointed to a closed door.
“Police is looking for me and i need to hide. If they ask of me, please tell them you didn’t see me” I said as i jumped into the Ladies bathroom. The lady who was cleaning the toilet gave me a suspicious look and told me that I was in the wrong room. I had no option than to tell her that I was hiding from the Police.
The Police men entered the bar after a few moments and asked the bar man some questions in French. I could hear their voices from the toilet. Luckily for me, there was only one elderly man in the bar. I prayed that he didn’t point at the toilet if the police asked him anything.
After a few questions to the bar man, i heard the Men’s toilet door opened by the Police.
They were searching the bar for the wind; the Ikuku ama Na onya.
This chapter is dedicated to Horla Biyi for his birthday today. Horla is our top fan. He didn’t ask or hope for this but every of our fan deserve to be recognized.