Dedication for this work goes to Frumentarious

Read part one and part two.

It was 0-dark early in Fez at the canal where I squatted to rinse a couple things out; it was delicates day. The water in this crack (no, I didn’t misspell creek) in the road didn’t look or smell that great, but I had seen a couple of homegirls washing in it the night before. So, mainly it was my towel that really needed a scrub. It had been thrashed by showers in dirty water, perspiration and blood. It was just time to wash that towel as it was beginning to finish my sentences.

I have to say I did cut a fine figure of a man by that time: Jilaba that was a bit high-water for me, sleeves I had just ripped off out of frustration from being too hot, sandals, dirty white dome hat capping my crown, beard, sunglasses, camel poo cigarette bouncing up and down in my beard when I talked—and he’s single too, ladies!

While I do admit that this was one of the most fascinating countries I had ever been to, I will say out of the other side of my mouth that it is likely the most wretched as well. I mean, I had seen the poorest, the second poorest, and the third poorest people of my life here in this place.

One was a man fast asleep in a wheelbarrow in the mid of day. He had fashioned an awning of sorts above him to block the sun, the bustle of the souk all around him as he snoozed. The poorest was a man with no legs. He transported himself in a low-rider wooden wagon using a pair of 20-lb weights in the shape of a clothes iron, just like in the movies.

He looked up at my outstretched hand with a single Dirham bill in it and scowled at it and at me, adjusting his path around me and my Goddamned single Dirham bill. Well, that there was something all the Dirham in Casa Blanca couldn’t buy, pride. Giving myself a once-over assessment, I decided rightly that pride certainly wasn’t the big thing in my boat at that moment.

I moved on.