Book 1, Chapter 10
I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that, even if I'm careful, anything I stick in my mouth isn't even going to touch the sides on the way through...
One drop of Moroccan water in one end is going to turn things into a fire hydrant out the other...
Ben and I are walking the streets, and we come across my exact nightmare: A crusty, homeless looking vendor is selling meat sandwiches from a push cart. Like the Moroccan version of a hot-dog seller.
Fucking horrorshow. There’s raw meat, sitting there, in the open. Then there’s tomato, lettuce and olives - amongst other mystery fillings - that are glistening with water.
Ben asks how much for a sandwich, gets a response, then asks for how much with double meat...
I piss myself. I never knew he had a sense of humour!
Everyone, Ben included, stops to stare at me...
The walnutted little Moroccan says something to Ben in French. Ben nods his head and puts up one finger.
The little old Moroccan man goes to work, fanning his hot coals and throwing the mystery meats onto the grill...
Finally, I find the words: “Ben! What the fuck??”
"Are you suicidal?? You can’t eat that!"
His expression is a mirror of mine...
“What's the problem?”
If this is a joke it's quickly getting elaborate...
“You are not going to eat that.”
“You’ll fucking die!”
“Come one mate, really? Look," He gestures at the meat "he’s cooking it right there in front of us. This is as good as it gets...”
Shit a brick.
I'm not going to last here... Not if this is 'as good as it gets'. How could it possibly get worse??
Shit, shit, shit...
I give the human walnut a peace sign. Two, thanks...
Explosive diarrhoea, here I come.
The nut asks a question. I look at Ben.
Ugh. "Wee. Yes..." In for a penny in for a pound. Right?
We watch as the chef finishes up with the double meat, and goes heavy on the fillings into a baguette. The sandwich is enormous...
It's hot. Actually smells alright...
I want to eat it back at the hostel, preferably already sitting on the toilet...
But Ben's having none of it, apparently that wouldn't be right. Bad manners, or something like that.
Well, when in Rome…
I wait for Ben to take the first bite - a part of me still thinks he's taking the piss - but he doesn't hesitate, and tucks right in...
So I take a bite too.
It's delicious. A delicious fucking time-bomb.
I scoff it all and then double-time it the fifteen minute walk back to the hostel.
I make it without shitting my pants.
A relief. But it's coming, I can feel it.
We spend the night hanging out with a couple of other backpackers. I can't really focus on the conversation; every ounce of my mental energy is funnelled into feeling for the slightest movement from my bowels, and hearing every noise that's coming from outside in case someone's stealing or defiling my Enfield.
I can't believe I have to leave it out on the street.
Disaster's imminent. One way or the other. I can feel it.
The second time I head to the window to make sure there's no one there, Ben gives me disappointed look and a shake of the head.
He looks a little angry.
Five minutes later and I hear another noise. I have to get up to check, but Ben stops me dead.
"Get up one more time and I'll belt the shit out of you. Stop it."
"What?? I've gotta know!"
"No, you don't. Let it go mate. You're not going to do this every-single-time. So stop. Now."
I'm not gonna sleep well...
Ben's the man.
The Enfield is still there, my bowels are still intact.
I've decided that Ben's going to be my guru.
Mr Miyagi. Grasshopper.
It's gonna be the opposite of comfortable emulating this guy, but boundaries have to move...
Give less of a shit. Be more reckless.
Mum's gonna be stoked…
We stroll through Tangier with a couple of girls from the hostel, Ben pipes up.
"Do you feel like a child?"
"What?? A child?"
"Do you feel... like a child?"
"What the fuck are you talking about?"
"Wearing shorts. Does it make you feel like a child?"
"Ben. Explain yourself..."
"Do you see any other men wearing shorts?"
"Erm..." I take a look around, "No?"