Post Cards —
The Kasbah. Tangier, Morocco.
Dodging past snake charmers, pushy shop vendors, frenetic dance troupes, and a three-stringed guitar player twirling the tassel on his fez, Melba glances at her watch as she heads toward the Bab-Ha-Ha, perhaps the most comically named door in all Morocco.
The motor coach awaits and she is late… again. Before reaching the walls surrounding the Kasbah, she stops to catch her breath.
By a white-tiled wall near a market stall, a wide-eyed street urchin emerges, catching sight of the tourist.
‘Ashra dirham. 10 dirham only!
He holds up a fluttering accordion of post cards, walking alongside, tugging at Melba’s trousers.
What do you want??? Go away!
Melba pulls a ten dirham note out of her purse and hands it to the child who in turn drops a single, dog-eared card on the cobblestones and runs away.
Face down in the dust it lies.
Melba stoops, scoops it up, turns it face up, catching a quick glimpse of a young man wrapped in traditional garb. A Bedouin. Only the eyes are visible behind the folds of white. A lethal looking jambiya is tucked in his waistband. The background is a barren desertscape.
She quickly walks out through the walls and into the waiting bus. Finally seated in the comfort of the cool air, she composes herself. The sweat from her hands has conspired with dust to further despoil the card.
The Arab seems to glare in anger at the indignity of it all. She stuffs him into her bag and pulls out her bottle of whiskey.
There! That’s better. The big motor coach lurches then begins to glide toward the hotel as the sun dips into the horizon; a gleaming amber orb whose fury has been spent.