This is one of the more memorable experiences when we had been in Fez for a few months:
28 November 2006, Fez Morocco, 1223 hours local time
So it’s 2430 hours this morning and I’m sleeping, like you do; when I hear a timid knocking on the door. You know the sort, “Are you there and receiving visitors?” sort of knock. In my somnolent state I’m thinking, “No, go away you fucker, I’m sleeping.” But noooo, the knocking continues.
I get up, open the door just enough to peak my head ‘round, because I sleep au natural – and thus I am. Standing on the other side of my door is the rat-like chap who works on the staff here, the one at the bottom of the command chain as I have noticed. The one my daughter tells me was at the party in the Medina given by one of the other students last week; where he was up on the roof smoking Hashish and pillaging the teenage daughter of the school secretary who is visiting from the U.S.
“The water, the water is on,” he says. Now this chappy is not Moroccan, he is not American, and he is not French. Some say he is Russian. Ha, I have been to Moscow; this sneaky son of an alley cat is not Russian.
“What? What are you talking about?” I asked in my sleep dazed state. Let us remember I had ver-r-r-r-y little sleep the night before as the Baby was ill.
He pointed through the cracked door toward the back of the apartment where the rooms for the bath are located. “Hang on, just wait there,” I said closing the door and walking to the end of the bed to retrieve my clothing I had just taken off an hour before; forgoing – and this becomes a factor later – my over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder as I thought this was a quickie deal.
I turned to the Baby who had been sleeping most of the day in recovery from her night before of yet another (why oh why did the gods of the gene pool not give her my digestive system) episode of food poisoning and said, “Now stay there. Cover up and snuggle down while I see what is going on.”
I returned to the door, and opened it further.
“Alright, what is it? What do you want?”
Again with the pointing. “Do you have the water running?” he asks.
“What are you talking about? I was sleeping,” like I am talking to a brick.
I turned and headed toward the back of the apartment. I got to the end of the bed when my feet started feeling wet. By the time I had reached the bathroom door, I had already bent over to cuff up my trousers away from the water now at my ankles and swamping my little Moroccan red leather shoes.
I opened the bathroom door and from the far corner of the – wall – was spraying forth in an arc, a fountain of water that hit me square in the face. “Oh yea, this was going to be fun.”
You have to get this picture – the Villa is one of the nicest places to live in the New City. We live in “the apartment” which is the most posh accommodation in the Villa. We have two; I say again two, working electrical outlets. You with me?
I have two of the “Moroccan version” of extension cords on a surge protector on the right side of the room which gives power to T’s Apple, the tiny red lamp, my precious and beloved electric kettle, and the re-charger for her phone; with an empty space for the toy iron when I need it. On the left wall I have the surge protector, one “Moroccan extension cord” (24” maximum with three to four outlets mounted on a brick like affair) and my find of the month – a ten meter actual extension cord (albeit has a funky outlet at the far end). This serves to hook up my phone re-charger, my speakers for my computer, my Dell, and runs under the settee, past the box with the German goodies (another tale), under the armoire, and around the doors to the “back room” that sits between the two –with doors- bath, rooms. That area is my little office. Quite nice really, has a window at the …oops that is not this story.
I have curly red hair, really curly hair, black-women-understand-there-is-a-whole-dimension-to-my-life-that-is-devoted-to-my-hair-curly – and I had just blown it out straight two days ago. So the shriek that left my mouth was not so much about the three to four inches of water I was standing in, or the electrical cord just to the back of me floating in the water, or the six pairs of shoes now floating out from where they had been carefully placed under the armoire. No, it was the thought that I would frizz!
I turned to see “rat face” standing behind me and he said, “I thought you were cleaning your apartment.”
I grabbed the little weasel by his collar and lifted him up into the air until his abnormally small feet were kicking in terror, and looked up into his smarmy face and screamed, “You’re telling me you knew the water was gushing in here for the last hour and you did nothing? You think I was cleaning my fucking apartment at one in the morning with all the lights out?” And then I smashed his head up against the wall and watched as his unused brains slid down the wall and into the standing water.
Alright I didn’t. But I really wanted to!
“I beg your pardon? You thought I was cleaning in the dark? You mean you knew the water was leaking into the apartment?” I said very quietly and very calmly. Now see, my child who knows me well, at this point hearing my tone, hid her head under the blanket.
“Yes, it is leaking into the apartment on the first level,” he said as though he had just confirmed the certainty of the theory of relativity.
“Go turn the water off,” I said very slowly.
“I will go turn off the water now,” he said as though I had not spoken and he headed for the door. Yes, yes the smashing his head fantasy had returned, but now it had blood gushing from his ears, and loud screaming noises.
Once the water was turned off and the geyser in the wall had ceased to spew forth, I spent the next two hours getting the water out. Now under “good news, bad news, and just the way it is” – Moroccan villas are built on a tilt. I have every confidence there is a proper architectural term, but I know it not. The floors are all stone or marble and at the ‘back’ of any large room that leads to the outside is a – hole. Yep, just like it sounds Sparkey, a hole in the floor. Not a drain, not a decorative object, not an ecological device – a hole.
After the maid sloshes the water from her pail, this is on a normal day, not the flood scenario; she uses a device much like a window squeegee but with a mop handle to push the water out said hole.
There is still the part with the gorgous Norwegian with a voice like mink, and Nancy’s reaction to no water, and the plumber with the paper bags. Oh my.