Issue 71, Fall 1977
In the summer of 1963, the kingdom of Morocco had not yet become infested with tourists, hippies and freaks. I didn’t land as a pioneer, of course, but neither did I follow in the wake of fashion. I could step adventurously upon the shore believing that I had arrived through personal and independent choice.
It was at the coastal town of Asillah, some twenty miles southwest of Tangier, that I first met Alfred Chester. The clean, narrow cobbled streets of the small elegant medina were deserted. Low, flat-roofed, whitewashed houses loomed ahead, a maze of secretive cubes. There was a long and low dusty pink rampart wall which had once served to protect the citizens from pirate raids. Laden with the odor of jasmine, a breeze fondled the boughs of the palm trees. Through the night I walked untroubled and enchanted until I glimpsed a weird apparition. Not until I took a few hesitant steps forward did I recognize it as a flesh and blood figure. Although Alfred and I had already been introduced to each Other by Paul Bowles, this was the first time I had ever really looked at him. Short and round, he was sitting alone on the parapet; with his large legs crossed he was kicking his heels peevishly against the wall. He looks just like Humpty-Dumpty, I thought.