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A story written by Gaglo Blessing (blessinggaglo@yahoo.com)…

” Ama We are here” I nudged her awake.

She blinked her eyes open and smiled at me ” Wow! Lome at last! God bless Togo” she said alighting out of the bus.

The journey was peaceful and uneventful. The driver drove at a slow pace and since most of the passengers were middle age they didn’t complain. Lome is a beautiful city, i had heard about her beauty but i was stunned at the sight of the beautiful street lights and the tall skyscrapers. People were going up and down, Ama and i stood on the boulevard of Lome looking like a couple of lost kids. The unspoken question hung heavily in the air between us ‘ Where to’?

” Are we going to stand here all day?” Ama asked.

” let’s look for a cheap hotel”

” Hotel! No way am going to a hotel!”

I laughed at her naivety until tears rolled down my cheeks ” Seriously Ama! where would we sleep if not in a hotel?”

” But……but….. that’s where Hampo ( Slang for hoe/ Lovepeddler) stay.”

”  No! They stay in brothels and guest houses” What do i  know myself about where they stay, i only said that to change her mind. ” Come on ”

We moved along the streets, searching for a cheap hotel, we walked like what seem like an eternity to us.

” Hey  Frere (bro) ” A young boy called out to us. ” Are you lost?”

We ignored him and kept walking. I looked back and saw him in a heated argument with two older guys. They ran and caught up with us.

” Hey we know you are lost”  The older of the trio said. ” We have been seeing the two of you going round in circles.”

We ignored them and kept walking.

” Usually we try to help just to pick pockets” he continued.

” What’s stopping you this time”  I said in my meanest voice.

”   I don’t know. Am  king, this is lion.” He pointed to the smaller boy. ” This is Tiger” he said pointing at the third boy.

” Just point us to where we can get a cheap hotel and leave us the hell alone!” I barked at him.

The trio burst into laughter.

” Only rich men sleep in hotels” Lion said.

” Or rich couple ” Tiger chipped in.

” We only trying to help bro, come this way” King said.

The trio led us to a slum street. They told one bady joke after the other laughing at the top of their voices. The boys left us at the entrance of the hotel promising to check up on us the next day. Ama and i sighed in relief, happy to be rid of the urchins. We paid for a little room with a tiny bathroom and water closet. Ama used the bathroom first while i went to buy us fried yam with peppered chicken. Later that night, we laid on the cosy little bed in each other ‘ s arms. Absently my hands caressed Ama ‘ s body, i leaned in and kiss her on the lips, she opened her mouth a little and our tongue met and danced. This was a first for the both of us.

” I should sleep on the floor” I heard myself say.

” Afraid of ravishing me?” She laughed.

” Ama…..” My voice was thick with lust.

” Kojo you worry too much. I trust you. We would sleep on the same bed ”

I wasn’t sure if i trusted myself but i knew i won’t ever do anything to harm her.

***************************************************
” Hey rich couple!”

Someone knocked loudly on our door. I got up and opened the door, the three boys strolled into the room as if they had paid for it. King sat on the edge of the bed while Lion and Tiger sprawled on the floor. I groaned in frustration.

” Where is your wife ” Lion asked.

” what do you want?” I shouted at them.

” Easy bro “. King said. ” We only being friendly”

Ama came out of the bathroom, a towel tied around her chest to her knee ” Morning boys, thanks for yesterday”

They all gawked at her and stammered out greetings to her, i shoved them out, i locked the door and waited with them outside until Ama called us back in.

” You know guys we appreciate your help but we would also appreciate it if you stay away from us ” I said. ” Forever!”

” You are new here, you need friends” Tiger said.

” Yes friends like us ” lion seconded.

King went out and came back with Plates of pack rice and salad. During the meal, i asked them about their real names, families and background. King now 18, ran away from at home 13. Lion and Tiger only 14 years old grew up on the streets. Somehow i felt kinship with the homeless trio. King and i had something in common: ‘ Our love of money’ . They told me they were also business partners and i could join the business if i wanted. They treated Ama with respect and kept to themselves whenever she was in the same vicinity as them.

I was reluctant to partner with them but our money was slowly running out, i had no other choice than to partner with them. We would wear our best clothes and go to the beaches where we pick the pockets of rich tourist. King reassured me the tourists were too rich to care about the little we took from them. King would brag about making it big and recruiting talented ” fingers” who would operate his ‘ business’ . I shared my dreams of seeking out the devil to collect wealth from him but he laughed it off saying ” Seeking out the devil is too long a process.”

To Be Continued…

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