He went to Morocco because he’d always wanted a fez. He could wear it in the bar back home plus he’d liked Burroughs and Bowles when he was younger. Not understood everything but liked to read them on the bus, be seen holding a paperback to a coffee house table like a bird he’d found at the curb and was dissecting with a dirty knife. He went to Morocco for a goddamn fez and maybe a little hash from a water pipe in some nasty back room and here he was in the back of some SUV pointed at the hottest heart of the desert.
He’d woke up here, bumping across a trackless landscape with a guy from the back room he vaguely recalled telling he was “a reporter, we’re all reporters in a sense,” and two more men he’d never seen. Well the joke was on them all he wanted was a fez and to get back to his hotel. But none of them spoke his language not even the guy he’d talked to the previous night.
He wasn’t a reporter in fact most reporters weren’t really reporters, either.
They tied him to an overstuffed recliner from the feel of it, overlooking a gully and beyond that desert. Cliffs the color of cliffs in Morocco loomed behind him like skyscrapers looming over a guy who’s just been fired from a job in one of the skyscrapers. Had it been a shitty job? Did it hate him and he it? Was it torture or was it okay all things considered, or even great? Did it pay the bills or would he be manning a tommy gun the day the shareholders and managers were lined up against the wall?
It depends on viewpoint. It depends on what you compare it with: J.R. Ewing plus I Dream of Jeannie, or life in a fourth world slum.
Then the sky filled with a swarm of giant Moroccan sunset bats. Suddenly.
He tried to recline to get a better look and that’s when he realized he wasn’t tied to an easy chair at all, he was tied to a bull carcass.
The bats, attracted by the carcass, swooped. They were the size of gigantic boomerang-shaped airplanes, stealth fighters. Several glided by him, close enough for him to feel the wind from their wings. A wing tip made contact with the toe of his boot and popped like a whip cracking. The bats shrieked and flew away, tumbling toward the darkening night until they were no longer red, but black, and then gone, taking their ancient wisdom with them.
He squinted after them as long as he could, then had a dream in which he could fly and the air was bumpy. When he opened his eyes he was in a nasty back room, neck sore from hanging his head backwards over his chair back. He straightened up and said, Whoa, what a dream.
“You must report about this,” said the man from the car. “Report about your ‘dream’.”
“How much for the fez?” he asked the man.
“The fez is not for sale, but I know a shop shall I take you?”
An insect of some kind, a beetle, moved quickly over the table, seeking sanctuary.
“Yes, take me please.”
His hotel contacted the embassy when he failed to return. They contacted the police, but he was never found.