Despite my fear of being ridiculed, I shall share with you my innocence, my naivety if you will, about the Black Market.
You may know that it is an abstract term, referring to a network of transactions of illegal goods. These may be deemed illegal due to legislation or because the person selling them is not the rightful owner of this item, or the person purchasing should not be allowed to obtain the item.
An item that may be representative of all these scenarios are guns, which are illegal in most developed countries, and thus must be stolen and passed from one seedy-looking person to another in some back-room of what looks like an innocent pie shop.
I know this now, thanks to my everlasting curiosity about people and the things they do.
However, for an embarrassingly long time, it was my conviction that the Black Market is an actual market.
I imagined that one must find a disgusting back alley with some ominous door, sprayed with all kinds of offensive graffiti. I imagined that the market visitors must knock and say a secret word or phrase, something like “the rabbit is Gary’s prototype”, and is then offered entry.
I imagined a staircase that leads to a busy market hall where vendors display their items on tables which are lined with black tablecloths, which is where the market got its name from (see, it seems so logical!).
On the tables, one might find guns, illegal pornography, and some fancy Chinese vase that was stolen by Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
There would be the fashion section with fake designer watches and bags, as well as stolen jewellery. This section is supervised by experts who can identify fake from real and estimate prices accordingly.
In the transactions, people would bargain, make an offer and walk away hoping they’d be called back by the vendor, insult each other’s sisters and curse the government for making this all so difficult.
Of course, there is the money laundering section, where I imagined money to be washed in quite the literal sense, so that it now looks new and shiny and is washed off all its illegalness.
Finally, every market must have a food court, and you can go to mingle and network with large numbers of people who have recently escaped prison, illegal immigrants, corrupt politicians and anyone else who is in any way involved in breaking the law.
While none of this truly exists, it made the whole thing seem a little less scary and/or boring.
Still today, whenever the news gets a little too depressing, I like to close my eyes and imagine this market, and the world seems a little brighter.