“my first time” explained eva, first time in Ireland. Sitting in the lobby of the southland hotel, a large boutique hotel, situated on eyre square, within walking distance of the harbour, that had been the host harbour for the Volvo International around the world boat race, eva tried to keep the conversation as simple as possible. Latvian by birth, she was drawn to Ireland and Galway, by the rise of the Euro zone and the lure of hope, fortune and love perhaps. The couple sitting next to her, were middle aged and irish, the male of the pair having induced conversation. Eva was twenty one, tall, blond and pretty.
Pat and mary Flynn did their best to encourage the tourist industry. Pat more so than mary.
“did you ever hear of the Galway Races” he asked, talking slowly.
Her brain not used to English, she just nodded. Waiting for a contact to come and pick her up, no work papers on her, she was thrilled at the warmth of the older pair but suspicious also. She tried to limit the conversation as best she could, saying little.
“pat we’ll miss our train” quipped mary, envying the good looks of the much younger woman.
she watched them go out the door, not cops, not cops. Cops didn’t hold hands and open doors for each other. She looked at her watch, he was an hour late. Her focus was the entrance, he would come in that way she thinking.
“more coffee madam” asked a waiter passing by. She shook her head and smiled. She knew the word for bathroom was bathroom. Her bag was small, a hold all. She was told to bring few clothes as she would be able to buy a wardrobe once she worked a week. Five hundred euros for a week cleaning was a months salary back home. other friends had made the trip and come home safely. She was catholic, believed in God. Ireland was catholic too, and the irish were well known around the world for human rights work, bono in particular, bob geldof, and hosts of others. No place safer in Europe she heard, and no Albanians either, made her feel safer.
A four star hotel, with bay windows overlooking a square, hence the name Eyre Square, eva sat in a window seat, and waited. She liked the trees and flowers in the square, the fountain, the colourful people, many races, a cosmopolitan town, just like the brochures online. Couples passed, people holding hands too, not all of them, but some. Being young, love was fresh in her heart, and Galway an old historic town, seemed a perfect place to start. It was reassuring to see people happy. Back home, her local town was dilapidated, people out of work, options were few.
An hour passed, nervousness grew. The waiter twice passed her, would he call the cops, what if something happened to her friend, she couldn’t ring home, she couldn’t call the cops. The coffee was the most expensive coffee she’d ever had, two euro’s, only tea was cheaper on the afternoon menu. Picked up that morning at Dublin airport, she was technically on holiday, but without money. Put on the Galway train by another Latvian friend, she was given instructions. Hotel was near station, around a corner, she had a map but no mobile phone. Irish police she was told monitored mobile phones hoping to find illegal workers. So no phone, she could buy one once she had a job and was settled in. up to one hour ago, the plan had worked perfectly. Panicky, she told herself not to worry, this is Ireland. In old Latvia, she would have no job, no chance of having a life. She’d be like all the others who stayed home and regretted it. my big chance she kept telling herself, my big chance you silly fool, big chance, and maybe a boyfriend too. a bank manager in Latvia didn’t earn 500 euro a week she reminded herself. She heard a familiar accent, her heart jumped. The voice sounded Latvian, but her joy was short term, even if it gave her hope. A waiter, it was only a waiter. At least she could ask him for help she thought.
She watched him instead of the door, a little more relaxed.
Conor Dolan was raging, fuming, his knuckles as white as the gleaming white five series BMW he was driving. Stuck if fucking traffic, can’t they organise shit he fumed. On the headford road, a main artery into the city, he was behind schedule. I’ll kill the bollox, he’s dead he fumed, referring to mad boy magill, the reason he was behind time and in the middle of the late afternoon traffic rush. Everywhere he looked he was surrounded by metal, cars sideways behind in front, about to vent his anger into his mobile phone, it rang instead. Every little thing she does is magic, the ring tone, the song made famous by the English boy band of the eighties, “The Police”.
“this better be good, I need good news” he said, speaking nicely for one so angry seconds earlier. Mario looked over at Eva, his eyes combing her legs, sizing her up, as he gave full description and potential to his unofficial employer/boss.
“I might keep her for myself if that’s’ the case” he laughed before hanging up.
it must be karma he smiled to himself, the traffic beginning to move, the reason for the hold up a bit more obvious. Two cars collided on a roundabout, closing one lane.
Scammers fucking scammers, being one himself he knew the routine well. Faking an accident on a roundabout was as simple as removing the break lights in the rear, the car behind having no chance once you break, insurance company pays out. Cops total tools he told himself passing a bunch of them taking instructions etc. what a waste of money too he told himself, counting them, five police officers, two police cars, all over a two car dint. Whiplash me arse he laughed passing on.
Nearing the southland, his business acumen kicked in. he threw two fifty euro notes onto the floor of the passenger side. Money always put people at ease, especially auctioneers and bankers. Two more notes were left on the seat, same type. Who ever got into the car would hand them back to him, the ones on the seat. If they saw the money on the floor, they’d think he was polluted with the stuff. Valet parking made the routine safe, of leaving money on car seats. Practiced and sly, whoever got in was
About to have an introduction to life on earth that is not describable, or for better wording, they would be the ride of the week at the galway races that were soon approaching, perhaps never going to recover either, as the slavery of women over decades has proved.