Paris has always been my starting point. My resident permit card remained one week to expiration. I needed to initiate the renewal process even though it remained 8 days.
I had traveled to Paris from Wolfsburg and when i got there, i called Maria and got the situation report in Stockholm. Things were normal except that Maria was missing me according to her. She was alone and scared.
“I thought it was you who sent Rose out of the house, why are you complaining about loneliness?” i said.
She didn’t say anything; she just kept quiet at the other end of the phone. That really made me ask what women really wanted.
After the phone conversation, i smiled within myself. It seemed that i was really beginning to love Miss Maria.
A day after i arrived in Paris, i went to the Foreign office to renew my papers.
The lady who gave me the first resident permit wasn’t there. The fat woman behind the desk asked for my resident permit card and when i gave it to her, she keyed the permit number into her Computer.
“We sent you a letter to come here but you didn’t, why?” She said.
What else could i have answered if not to deny that i didn’t get any letter?
“I didn’t get the letter Madam” I said.
“The letter was delivered to your address and someone signed the receipt for the letter. Do you stay in the same apartment with someone else?” She asked.
There was nothing else to say rather than that i lived in the same apartment with someone else.
As i sat on the chair opposite her, i considered the possible outcome of the whole situation. The worst the French authorities could do was to bundle me down to the Federal Republic of Nigeria which happened to be my country of origin. If they did that, they would have destabilized a whole lot of processes including the Marseille and Sweden contingents but they would have also made life easier for me. Inside me, i already felt that it was time to go home. My purpose of going to Europe in the first place was no longer there. I had gone to that Continent to deal on drugs and make some money but at that moment, drug was no longer in the equation. I had turned into a different beast who didn’t even care about what happened to him.
“Yes, i live with someone else” I said.
“Go back to your house and ask your friend then, he must have picked up the letter” She said calmly.
There was no need arguing with her. She has made her point and saying something different could raise suspicions. The truth was that i submitted an address during the application and i was expected to live there or atleast, read the letters that was sent there. But i didn’t even know where the house was located. I had left everything in the hands of Nonso Ukeh, who started the permit process for me. I had also fallen out with him and i was sure that he was looking for me when i left. If i was to get the letter, i must as a matter of fact, approach Nonso again. I needed to read the letter and see what the French authorities wanted me to do. The Europeans were very good at dispatching letters to people even unnecessary ones.
I got out of the Foreign Office and called Nonso Ukeh. He was told to leave Paris a few months ago but i was sure he didn’t and i was right. His French number rang and he answered. I had made the call with the sim card i purchased in Berlin a few days back.
When he found out that it was me, the first thing he said was that i had a letter but that he didn’t know the phone number i was using. He also made it clear that without the letter, the authorities were never going to renew my resident permit.
I tried to be a little friendly with him to trick him into releasing the letter but he knew why i was doing that. He eventually bluntly told me that i wasn’t getting the letter until i pay €2000.
“Nonso Ukeh, so this is all about holding me down with an address. You are going to be extorting money from me each time i want to renew my papers. I will be in Paris in four days and when i come, we will discuss this €2000”
He didn’t know that i was already in Paris.
Around 8pm In the night, i went to a bar where i used to see two Igbo girls. Chidinma and Amarachi. Amara was the only one there that evening. The shop was owned by an Igbo man as well.
“Hello Amara” I said as i walked into the bar where they sold Igbo foods as well.
“How do you know my name?” she responded.
“I used to come and drink here some months ago and i liked you so much that time but i had no money then” I said and laughed.
“So you have Money now?” she said and laughed too.
I didn’t give her any answer to that question.
I just sat down and ordered for a bottle of Guinness stout.
“What is that your name again?” She asked as she dropped the bottle of Stout on the table opposite me.
“Austin” I said as i opened the drink.
“Where is the other girl that worked with you here?” I asked.
“You mean Chidinma, she is fine. She has found another work” She said.
“I have a small job for you. You will get €500 after the job. There is a guy i want you to find out where he lives. He is an Igbo person like us. I will give you his phone number. When you call him, tell him that it was him who gave you his number. He is owing me some money and i want to get it back” I said.
She asked who the person was and when i told her it was Nonso, she said she knew him very well.
She claimed that Nonso has asked her out in the past. It was a great opportunity to get to him and i was going to exploit it.
“Here is his number. Call him and introduce yourself. Try to book an appointment with him this night. I know that women don’t usually go for men in our culture but the objective here is different and the prize is €500” I said as i handed her the money. It was then that she knew i was serious.
She took his number and called him immediately. The bastard said he would come to the bar in an hour.
“When he comes, tell him you will visit him tomorrow. Just find out where he lives” I said and gulped down the rest of my drinks.
Time to go.