As crazy and unreal as this story seems, it is 100% truthful, so get ready to be in disbelief.
As I have mentioned before I studied in Paris with my best friend, Laura, while our other best friend Mara studied in Spain during the second part of our junior year in college. As a part of the schooling we spent the first 3 weeks of the program in Cannes where we worked on our spoken French 4 hours a day. It was an intensive immersion program which was supposed to get us ready for our studies in Paris Every afternoon we had free time to explore the seaside city and do whatever we wanted.
Our second day there, Laura and I were walking along Rue d’ Antibes, which is the main shopping street in Cannes. Of course we couldn’t afford anything in the stores because it was really exclusive and we were both on budgets which we hoped not to blow the first week abroad, so we decided not to enter the stores. As we were walking down the street, I noticed a small clean cut Persian man following us. He didn’t look scary or seem scary but it seemed odd. While we were stopped in front of a shoe store admiring a pair of black leather English riding books with a brown band along the top (love how I actually remember what they look like) he approached us.
He asked us “would you like me to buy you those boots?”
us: “No, thank you we were just looking.” We had no idea what to think about this. This little guy was really persuasive and within minutes he had us in the store and we both had on a pair of matching boots. We adamantly refused to accept them but he paid for them and gave us this song and dance story about welcoming us to the city. He told us he knew we must be students and couldn’t afford such luxuries so he wanted to provide us with this gift.
We finally accepted the boots and he walked with us down the street until we stopped for tea. I don’t remember everything he said but he seemed like a sweet old grandpa, but I was still very suspicious of his motives. Laura on the other hand who was much more naive than me, thought he was 100% harmless and quickly accepted his invitation to dinner that night. I glared at her from across the table and she totally ignored me. He said he would send a car for us at 6pm and bring us to dinner with his friends.
Once we got back to our school Laura and I got really caught up telling all our new friends about Nazi and the boots. I was upset we were going to dinner because I knew it wasn’t a good idea to get in a strangers car and go to a strange house for dinner but Laura thought it was fine and was determined to go.
Just so you know, Laura was a very “good girl”. She was the opposite of a slut on any level. She was smart and friendly to everyone but she always thought every guy had good intentions and didn’t realize that the fact that she was stunningly beautiful was the main motivator for all the kind acts she received from men on a daily basis.
All through college she was always telling us “he is so nice you guys, really he is just the nicest person.” Mara and I would always nod our head and say back, “really, Laura, he is just nice? Are you sure he isn’t trying to get in your pants?” Her response usually was, “No, he is just my friend, he knows that.” As a result Mara and I always had to look out for her but Mara was in Spain so I knew it was up to me.
I agreed to go with her to dinner but laid down a few ground rules. No leaving my side, never be alone with Nazi (sweet old man’s name)or anyone else at the dinner, tell them we have boyfriends and don’t be too nice! She agreed. I forgot to mention that Laura loves to speak French and I hated to speak French. So everywhere we went she always spoke for me and I never knew what the hell anyone was saying so I just stared and sized everyone up while she carried on the conversation for both of us.
Nazi came for us that night and of course the gossip mill at school started once everyone saw us getting picked up in a chauffeured car. The ride to his friend’s house was a little nerve racking because we were going up into the hills, far away from school. Remember we didn’t have cell phones back then. It got even more nerve racking when we pulled up to the mini-mansion and there were armed guards (yes, with semi-automatic rifles) standing watch outside the “house”. I could have killed Laura at that moment but she seemed a little stressed herself even though she was still chatting it up with Nazi. Nazi explained that he wanted to introduce us to a few of his friends from Saudi Arabia. (Holy Fu*k) OMG, we are never going home, we are going to be kidnapped, raped and tortured. That was all I could think about.
Once inside he offered us some Dom Perignon, it was like he knew Laura and I were huge Champagne fans and was trying to lure us in. It was only the three of us and “the help” for a while and then once we sat down to eat we were joined by 3 other men. OLD MEN! I was beyond stressed at this point. I made it very clear right from the beginning that I had a boyfriend and was not interested in meeting any men. Of course, Laura didn’t lie and tell she had a boyfriend so she seemed available to them.
Apparently one man was a diamond dealer, the other was in “business” and the third man and clearly the leader of the group was Icea. Icea was from a small island off Saudia Arabia and was some kind prince. What? It was as if we were being interviewed because after a while they got up from the table before dinner was even done and Nazi made some excuse about needing to take us home. FINE with me, take us back to school. I had eaten the best caviar of my life and drank Dom Perignon and we were both still alive so, the night was a success.
From that night on for 2 weeks we received a call from Nazi almost every day inviting us places. Sometimes his OLD MAN friends would be there and sometimes he would just meet us downtown for tea. Never once did any of the men try to kiss us, hold our hand or put any physical moves on us. It was really odd because it seemed like they were after us for sex in my opinion but they didn’t act like that at all. Once I told my parents about what we had been doing, they totally freaked out and begged me to stop going places with these men. “I wish I could, but if Laura goes, I have to go with her.”
To be honest I was really starting to enjoy drinking Dom Perignon and eating the largest caviar I have ever seen, still to this day. Everyone back at school was bored at night sitting around the dorms hanging out while Laura and I were being chauffeured around the town going to the best restaurants in Cannes. One night they took us to an after party for a Chanel Fashion Show. It was at a restaurant that had been closed for the party and they made a spectacle of having their driver carry in a huge bowl of caviar from their personal stash because the stuff they served at the restaurant wasn’t good enough for them. I remember feeling really embarrassed that night. None of the fashion people wanted anything to do the with old guys, it was clear they had only been invited because they were rich. Laura and I looked like some stupid slutty blonde American girls hanging with these old guys in public. I told Laura after that night I wouldn’t go in public with them anymore and she agreed it had gotten kinda weird.
At the end of the second week Nazi didn’t call for a few days and then when he did call he said he needed to see us one more time for dinner at his friend’s house before we left for Paris. He said it was important. Laura insisted we go but at this point we both agreed this would be the last time we go anywhere with “the old guys”. I wasn’t worried about spending time with Nazi any more because it was clear he was pretty harmless. It seemed as if Nazi was working for the other men on some level even though he always claimed they “were friends.” It was clear the prince was in charge and he scared the crap out of me. Obviously, he didn’t spend to much time talking with because I was sending out “stay away” vibes like spears, so Laura got all the attention.
That last night we arrived at the rifle guarded house all 3 of the men were already there and waiting for us. We sat down right away for dinner and Laura was seated next to Icea. I could tell she seemed a little stressed because he was really focused on her and not talking to anyone else. At one point during the dinner he leaned over and whispered in her ear. “In 1 minute, look down .” She told me she thought he was going to whip out “his thing” right there at the table and show her and she was suddenly panicked. When she looked down, there was a flipping HUGE ring in a box. He then proceeded to ask her quietly so only she could hear, if she would join his harem! Yes, you read it right, join his harem! He promised to take care of her for the rest of her life and she could live on his compound on the small island off Saudi Arabia.
She looked up at me with big eyes and said, “Tiff, can you go to the bathroom with me?” By the time we got to the bathroom she was shaking.
laura: “OMG, he wants me to join his harem. We have to get the hell out of here.”
me: “I told you they wanted something!”
After we walked out of the bathroom I asked Nazi to take us home. Let me tell you none of the men in that room were happy with us. I was totally panicking because they were pissed, especially Nazi. They kept telling us we had to stay, dinner wasn’t over and we needed to talk. Laura and I refused to sit back down at the table. Nazi finally agreed to have the driver take us home after he made us sweat for a few minutes. No one in that room was talking and could cut the tension with a knife. I just kept imaging the guys with guns coming inside and leading us off to some strange place never to return. None of them said good bye to us as they finally brought the car around and said we could leave.
Apparently Nazi’s job was to round up stupid American girls to join Icea’s harem and when Laura declined the offer, Nazi was in trouble with Icea, so Nazi was mad at us. We probably lost him a big commission.
I guess that means Nazi was a pimp. WOW! Thought this would be a fun story for Christmas Eve.
And the funniest part yet is that Laura has 4 of the most beautiful daughters you have ever seen. She spends all her time taking care of them and watching over the 8th and 10th graders like a hawk. I am always teasing her about how I used to worry about her in college and now the tables have turned. She is the one on constant watchdog status.
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