Ob served pickled ginger to the waiting guests. Being there no food before or after, their palettes were thoroughly cleansed. Neither of the three guests saw one another actually eat the ginger. Yet, ginger disappeared from the plate.
Ob, “Obie” to his friends (of which there were none), left the room to return minutes later with another plate. Three guests had become four. A chair next to the standing lamp suggested five before the afternoon was over.
Tucked along a corner border of the Tangier International Zone, a house. Nondescript. Unassuming. A quaint bed & breakfast without a breakfast option. A refuge from the open air out there. Sanctuary from the apolitical quagmire of working out what class to fall into and what crass to get up to.
The one in tan with knobby knees was coming down from a few hours of crashing white line fever. Sweaty, musky, a noticeable scatter and frenzy to their eyes, scanning edges feeling more juiced than a weekend warrior. It was time for lunch and they were ready for an allotment of orange slices.
The other two were a couple, deflated messenger bags packed and ready, sitting down before getting up one last time. Waiting it out for a few minutes to settle the house. They were not expecting any kind of snack. Nobody was. They were waiting it out for the taxi to come along already. Unending silence grifting the worn carpet pass before the tooting of the fractured horn bellowed outside.
Thanking their host and the house, the couple left and left a few dollars. The one in tan walked out with them, heading down a few blocks to the city office for a conference call with the Hong Kong office.
Weeks later, Ob noticed a sharp rotting smell. There. Buried in the wainscoting.
Written on Thursday, 23 January 2020