Thursday, 18 August 2016

The man and the girl

It was unusual for foreigners to study at Dutch universities in the 1970s. There was no official procedure. I sent a copy of my A levels to the University of Amsterdam and they accepted me. I received no grant or loan.

The UK was not in the Common Market so I had to go back to the Aliens police. I was allowed to keep my residence permit.
They rescinded my work permit. Their argument was, if you are studying you cannot work the minimum number of hours necessary for a work permit.  This meant I could not legally work any more.

I found work in the Red Light district, the area of window prostitution.
My first job was cleaning a sex museum and five sex shops, live shows and small sex cinemas.  My employer was mean, there was only one vacuum cleaner. I used to walk along the canals from sex this to sex that, dragging my Nilfisk behind me.
Every now and then I stopped for a chat with the day whores or the patrolling policemen. Amsterdam was a friendly place in the 1970s. 

I was a rising star in the sex business and quickly moved up from cleaner to projectionist/bouncer/ticket seller in sex cinemas.
You cannot keep a good man down and I was promoted to do the same kind of work in a private cinema outside the Red Light district.

That was the introduction. This blog is about a man and a girl I met at the private cinema. I do not remember their names, so I will call them the man and the girl.
He was mid-thirties, married with a young child.
She was Eurasian, looked about seventeen but sounded younger. The girl was the man’s girl-friend, his trophy.

He used to do some evening shifts at the cinema. I saw them when he took over after my afternoon shift. They were always together. I did not like him and she was constantly giggling.
Then all of a sudden they did not come any more.

I read about it in the local newspaper. The girl had found somebody else and had moved in with him.
The man found out where they were living and went to their flat. When her new boyfriend opened the door, he shot him. Then the man kidnapped the girl. After a few days he let her go and gave himself up.

The local newspaper called it a “crime passionnel”. The new boyfriend did not die from his wounds.
The man received a sentence of 18 months. In practice this is 12 months.

A couple of years later I was doing some shopping in my local supermarket and there she was, the girl. She looked older and not very happy.
She smiled sadly at me and said that she was back with the man.
I found this surprising.

She explained that after he was sent to prison, she had fled to Germany. That did not work out and she came back to the Netherlands. She found a small town where she hoped she could hide.
He found her. He told her that if she did not come back to him he would kill her.

I asked why she did not go to the police. She said that the police had said they could not do anything because she had no real proof that would stand up in court. Anyway, she added, he was not scared of the police.
I suggested she kill him first. She did not appreciate the idea and said she did not want to go to prison.

I did not have any other ideas. It was not my problem. We said our goodbyes and went our different ways.

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