“Bug Off!”

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October 22, 2014 by genelup

Americans living on a shoestring hitchhiking across Europe and North Africa become callous to pushers. Tangiers, Morocco, has the most of them.

We already learned to say, “bug off,” especially to those who accost us with, “Hello, my friend. Are you fine? Want some hash…kief…woman?”

Bug off, bug off,” we respond.

We walk through the Medina, the old vice-infested quarter of the city, and sit on the sandy beach and gaze across the blue Atlantic Ocean.

A voice booms behind us. “Hello, my friend.” We didn’t turn around.

“Bug off.”

“Oh, you are rude. I have good deal for you.”

“Bug off, we’re not interested.” I turned. A small boy in tattered knee-length shorts and dirty legs stood behind us.

“I suppose you want a free handout. Bug off.”

“You want to buy some kief…hash…anything? I can even get you a girl.”

How old are you,” I ask?

“Eleven.”

“Your parents know you’re doing this?”

“My father taught me. You come to my room and I show you stuff. It’s real good. Come.”

You know English pretty good. How many languages do you know?”

“French, Spanish, German, Italian and Portuguese. Do you want to buy…”

“No, bug off kid. Bug off!”

(From my book, Fish Catches Man, a collection of short stories.)

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