BAKSHEESH

Lonely Planet 2010 Short Story Winner
Tales of the Unexpected
200 Word Limit    $500 Prize

'Baksheesh? 'Baksheesh?' begged the cripple outside the barred jail window. No problem - he'd been supplying us sustenance these last two days.
How'd I find myself in a North African police lockup? I'd been hitchhiking north of the Sahara - Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia - when two bedraggled and desperate looking hippies in a
Holy-Mary-blue VW van pulled over and gave me a ride. That night I slept outside rather than brave the volatile fug of hashish and farts inside the van!

Near Bizerte, a daft soldier, lookin' to meet the Babyjesus or Allah, came pedalling furiously at us and left a dent the shape of his head on the side of our van. As we swerved to avoid him, the door slid open and our two dozen wine bottles full of 'Sahara survival water' smashed all over the road.

A policeman arrived and, though we tried to assure him we were not drunk, he locked us up. Lucky he never found the hippies' hash stashed all over the van!
That bent little man with the crutch kept us fed and we were very happy to pay him (and later the policeman)
'baksheesh' as he passed food and drink through the bars of that concrete oven of a cell.

The Travels of the Lincot Man

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