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Copyright  ©  2004 and reprinted with permission by S. Desmond -

Stories:  The Camera, continued


"William, high season doesn't begin for three or four weeks yet.  Business has been painfully slow.  You're a good friend.  I make you this special deal, swear to God.   At loss to me.  Seven hundred, two hundred and two hundred," he said, pointing in turn to the three rugs.

"I am only interested in one rug, Mohamed", I answered.  "And I'll give you three hundred now.  Or maybe I'll return tomorrow, feeling more generous."  I lied.

"No no no no no no William. Today, today today.  Six hundred fifty and you may have one other as a gift from me."

I wanted this to be over.  I was hungry, thirsty, longed for a cold beer, maybe even a taste of the smoke he'd slipped me earlier.  It was easy to get up and walk toward the door.

"Possibly tomorrow my friend, Mohamed. And thank you, again."

"Mister William, six hundred it's yours, please."

"Four fifty, Mohamed."

"Come now, William.  Come now, come now.  Please, be reasonable!  Why don't the people you bring buy from me?  You don't even stop here many trips.  I know.   People tell me, Mister William brought four Americans through the medina.  It breaks my heart, William.   Why?  Why don't you?  Six hundred and I don't make anything!"

The whining angered me at some level.  I turned toward the door again.  My body language was speaking volumes.

"Five hundred", I heard myself say.

"Shake hands on this deal, William."

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