One day Sebastiano met me and said, “How about going to Morocco?”
“In a car?” I said.
“No, the two of us on the bike.”
“Really? It’s okay with me,” I said.
“We can buy pot down there. It’s legal. And we’ll bring it back and sell it to the actors on the movie set. Make some money.”
“Okay Sebastiano. Sounds good.” That’s how long I took to decide.
We started thinking about how we were going to make the trip. I was impressed that Sebastiano was willing to ride on the back of the Triumph for a long trip on old winding Spanish roads, without a helmet and with a nineteen-year-old driving. Also, he was a big guy, well over six feet. It was a lot to take on. But we made plans and set a date. Everything was moving toward that time.
Ruth came by my pension one morning early, very upset, and got me out of bed. She warned me not to go. She felt Sebastiano was taking advantage of me somehow. I didn’t understand that. In any case, I wanted to go. It gave me a focus and a purpose, which, other than Emilia in the bar, I didn’t have. It was obvious to other people that my life was adrift.
One time I was sitting in the plaza drinking horchata and watching the cockroaches rock and roll in the leaves by the wall. Felipe, the older waiter in the bar, talked to me. As I lit another cigarette he said, “You know I had a friend who only smoked three cigarettes every day, one after every meal, never any more. When you think about it what else does a man have?” I thought about this for a long time. I realized he was trying to help me and teach me something. I took it to heart but it took many years to manifest in my life. I was just entering a phase when I figured that, if a little of something is good, a lot of it must be better.
Ted, the FBI guy, got wind of the trip and also tried to steer me off without directly letting on that he knew the specifics. To the more responsible people in our crowd, the notion of me riding the motorcycle to Morocco with Sebastiano on the back could not be a good thing. I never had a second thought. I was flattered that Sebastiano thought I was good enough on the motorcycle to put his life in my hands, literally. And the road called to me, an exotic road to the south; Granada, Algeciras, Ceuta, Tetuan, Tangiers, Africa!