I'm in a building I shouldn't be in.† It's New Yearís Eve and my face is stinging from a light fast blow.† And I'm trying to recall the position of nearby objects, something to get my hands on, something, maybe, to drive across this man's head with a dull thud.† I've got† metal file in my pocket.† Shall I file him to death?† Death by filing.† Hmm.† A certain amount of satisfaction in that image.† I'm already having to think beyond that though - perhaps a mysterious fire, perhaps a scenario that presumes I'll ever get out past those door - locked from the inside. An hour ago he began telling me that he had lost the key - no way out - best to stay here. There is nothing to make this man let me out.†
He knows it, and so gives me a head start in the chase he's set up through his building.† The storage part of this apartment building basement is separated from a restaurant basement with a metal grill.† And I've run down these stairs and there's a man washing something on the other side of the fence and I think then that things will be ok and I ask the washer if he speaks French, but he says no, in Arabic. I say menfadlik, syllables rushing together: please.† And the man has come after me down the stairs and says something to the washer and even thought I'm looking at this man on the other side of the fence and I see in his eyes that he knows what's happening, he retreats to another part of the basement.†
I pause and run up the stairs again.† And I figure the man is smiling as he pivots before starting non-chalantly up behind me.† Because he knows there's nowhere for me to go. The building, he tells me, is mainly industrial.† There is no one around on a holiday.
Until I get to the tenth floor and there's a window leading to a ledge.† The ledge of the next building is only about a foot and a half away.† I was a gymnast for god's sakes.† But I canít jump.† I am trapped in a Charlie's Angels episode or something.† I donít want to risk plunging down between these two buildings where I could lie unnoticed 'till the holidays were over, maybe.† Or, worse still, where I'd be picked up and buried, gone without trace. My imagination.† Racing.† It's enough, I suppose, to remember I've been staying at the Djemaa El Fna - square of the dead.††