"Pelle." He grinned. Maureen leaned forward in smiles, "And you English are rather easy to recognize."

"Bush is dirty kief, with twigs and seeds. I'm Maureen. I'm American. They're English--well, Aleck is Scottish actually. How do you think of yourself. Aleck?"

Aleck answered, "Let's go up on the hill and smoke."

Phil shot up, carrying Maureen upright with him, and stormed up the slope of the sun-dry street. Maureen stumbled alongside in his one-armed grip.

Aleck looked at Pelle and rose, raising Pelle with his eyes. "Come on." Aleck walked slowly. Over his shoulder he carried a leather pouch, a purse, embroidered in purple geometries. It bobbed away from his body as he leaned into the incline; it flapped against his leg.


Pelle chatted, "Have you been at Arenys del Rio long?"

Aleck considered. He was breathing hard. "A week. A week and a half?" He looked to his feet. Where the steepness of the hill prevented more building the road changes into a dirt path railed, and with an occasional bench, so that its zigzag route up the brown hillside among scruffy pines could be called a park.

Pelle resumed, "I arrived last night. I had a ride the total distance from Algeciras."

Aleck asked attentively, "Algeciras? Did you go to Tangiers?"


"And you didn't bring any stuff back?"

"The customs now inspects all suitcases. It forces you to undress yourself if you have long hair."

Aleck brushed sweat-damp hair out of his eyes. "Things have changed since I went through there." Aleck stopped to rest, half-crouched with still arms on his knees. "Dashed bastard went to the top." He yelled up the hillside, "Phil!"

Phil's distant voice was out of control: "Hoot! Hoot! Sluggards! Sluggards!"

Aleck turned to the path. As the two climbed the pines grew thicker and the dry ground changed to turf of brown needles.