The fabled city of riads, and rampant violence- Marrakech throbs at the crossroads of Africa and Europe, both matrix and redoubt of fanatic Almoravids exploding across the straights of Gibraltar in the late eleventh century driving the reconquistadores before them as they cut a bloody swath through Andalusia, and of course, the Barbary pirates famous for their ruthless acquisition of booty, especially European slaves. Many a handsome sailor or coastal villager in the balmy south of Europe ended his days chained and humiliated laboring on the steamy palm estates, or in the mines or attending the bed chambers of wealthy Arabs. They most likely passed along one of the many caravanseries and were sold to their masters in Marrakech.
Tourists come, today, to the sprawling city for many reasons. Some are nostalgic for the ephemeral utopia of the 1960’s and re-live the good old days stoned on hashish and sipping mint tea in the backs of shady establishments off the main thoroughfares. Others are day trippers taking advantage of cheap airfares, chasing the southern sun as they flee the bleak weather of northern Europe or America. Then there are the back packers doing the obligatory ‘tour’ in search of adventure. GI’s on furlough from their bases in Spain and Italy and other, lesser known, American enclaves in North Africa and the Middle East are also seen on occasion and are welcomed, as are all, by the easy going natives. Religious fanaticism isn’t tolerated by a government with tourists’ dollars and euros dancing before its eyes.
On arrival in Marrakech, one of the first places of destination is the famous souq, or market. The sedate may first wish to stroll the shady jardin de l’Agdal beneath the shadow of the old royal palace, but the city that gave ‘market’ its name, boasts one of the wonders of the world; a sprawling complex of alleys, covered byways, blind turns and twisting cobbles pulsing at its center like a ravenous heart. Navigating the narrow corridors, dodging belching motor bikes, ambling donkeys and their aromatic piles of shit, the shopper must first pass through the sprawling plaza called the Jemaa El Fna. Sly trained monkeys, black cobras and their bold charmers, the billowing smoke of roasting meat and pounding drums of Berber tribesmen all beguile and many linger, but only for a while. Soon one or another dark maw of alcoved entry beckons and sucks the shopper into the embrace of the sprawling souq. Anything can be found there, all is for sale and every price is negotiable. The market- really a series of ‘specialized’ markets- stretches for what seems like miles and…it is very easy to get lost. Some enter the souqs and are never seen by loved ones or acquaintances again. Others enter to find them.
Past the shops close to the plaza where tourists buy rugs, ceramics and a dazzling array of fake antiques and junk, along narrowing corridors where the locals pick up anything from slaughtered lamb to hardware, sacks of colorful spices lend a pungent heaviness to the air, somehow disorienting and sweetly unsettling. It is meant to be so. The depths of the souq are not meant for everyone. A few whispered words in Berber or Arabic, substantial baksheesh changes hands, identifying passwords augment photo ID’s and, when all is completed, the specialized shopper finds himself ushered into alleys hidden within alleys and barricaded to all but the initiated by intricately carved wooden gates. He breathes the exhilarating musky sweat smell of servitude, ears ringing to the soft tinkle of chain and the occasional moan or sharp cry. Pausing, he savors his accomplishment; few travelers these days see the inside of the slave market. His pulse pounds with frantic anticipation as he begins to peruse the stalls, hungrily eyeing the merchandise.
Jim still thinks he is a marine and his dealer considers this amusing and, cannily, reckons the boy’s attitude might augment his price. Back at the base in Naples he is considered AWOL and that suits everyone fine…except Jim. Now, he stands shackled in the nude, hard military muscle screaming like a neon sign to potential buyers. He only arrived in Marrakech a few weeks ago and is still rather wild. For this reason he is heavily shackled and the music of clanking chains reaches far and wide like the wailing of the local muezzin. The shopper approaches and sizes up the soldier’s six foot frame with a slow, upswept glance. The dealer senses his interest and invites a closer inspection of the goods, all the while singing young Jim’s praises. The marine submits because he has no choice as his chest is probed and abs lightly slapped and he turns his head, muttering humiliation, as penis and testicles are carefully fondled to the background chatter of the merchant guaranteeing his potency. The dealer moves in for the kill, quoting an outrageous price, knowing he will take half if offered, but even that would be in the upper five figures. This one is a prime specimen and (almost) worth his weight in gold. With a last lingering squeeze the shopper releases the soldier’s sweaty balls, smiles and shrugs. He has just arrived and needs some time to think, to look around. He turns reluctantly away and misses the knowing smirk of the Arab trader; this one will probably be back. The wily slaver has been in the business long enough to recognize that look.
Tommy is twenty four and worked as a warehouseman after finishing high school back in Alabama. He had a cute girl he figured he might marry, well, someday, and, in the meantime, was up for some exotic travel. He arrived in Marrakech six months ago in search of adventure and found an unexpected variety. Chloroformed behind a hash bar a week after arrival, he hadn’t been seen since, at least by anyone that mattered as he frantically pondered his predicament. Tommy’s dark good looks and smooth musculature had caught the eye of a roving procurer and, now, he stood by the door of a shop, stripped naked, intimidated by liberal application of the whip, waiting for a buyer. The shopper is intrigued and, forcing Tommy to answer some rudimentary questions (aided by the dealer’s agile whip), is beguiled by his lilting southern accent, not to mention the unbeatable combination of pale silky skin over taut muscle highlighted by black hair and deep blue eyes. This one is a real possibility and he fiddles with his wallet, credit cards searing an insistent demand through his pocket and into the tingling skin of his hip. Tommy winces as he is carefully examined, eyes wide with scandalized horror, gagging as teeth and mouth are fingered. A single tear courses down his sunburned cheek as the shopper’s slow finger traces the ridges of twitching pecs, bisecting his long torso and glides up the arcing shaft of the boy's big southern cock. Yeah, Tommy might just do, but the shopper still remembers Jim and then…
There was Mike. First, the shopper waded through some slightly mediocre merchandise; nothing wrong, really, just a little common. He was a true connoisseur and was rich- even by the standards of this part of the souq- and his standards were accordingly high. Mike was in a class by himself; six foot four inches tall, two hundred and thirty pounds of pure, lean muscle, he had been taken while on a business trip up north in Casablanca and kept under wraps for a month while the heat blew over. It was one thing to pick up furloughed soldiers or unconnected adventurers but quite another to nab a guy like Mike; decently established with a wife and two small kids back home. At twenty seven, hard driving and ambitious, he thought he had it all…and did, until he came to the attention of certain merchants’ agents in a designated, ‘watched’ night club at Casablanca. Mike woke up on a ‘safe’ farm thirty miles outside of the city. His trendy clothes exchanged for dirty tee, jockey shorts, dungarees and sandals and he was put to work hoeing trenches for next year’s crop of hemp. When the time seemed right the fresh merchandise was shipped south to Marrakech, suitably chastened, dazed by brutal discipline and rock hard fit; bronzed like a god from time spent in the fields. He cursed his fate and clung to sanity thinking of his wife and kids even as he underwent thorough training in the fine arts of slavery, forced to masturbate in front of the dealer and friends, occasionally sodomized, just (as they said) to ‘break him in’. The shopper, growing a little weary of the welter of fine meat offered for sale, was immediately taken by Mike, standing off to one side down a narrow alley. The sun hit his tanned back just right; glowing coppery red and rippling with ridged shadow. The tall buck was dressed in his briefs and turned, when commanded, to present a saleable view. Mike shuffled into position, hands raised behind his head, legs slightly spread, head tilted downward with eyes unfocused at an imaginary spot on the cobbles. The shopper’s breath caught in his chest as the buck presented a view of his long, muscular torso lightly pelted with chestnut brown hair, deep slabs of pectoral muscle crowned by rosy nipples and fully defined abs highlighted by a feathery treasure trail teasing its way into the dipping waistband of cotton briefs. His thick legs shuddered as the shopper ran a hand up a warm inner thigh, testing the weight of the helpless man’s balls nestled in the thin fabric of his shorts. He glanced at the dealer, who nodded, and dipped a probing hand beneath the elastic waistband, fingering the thick patch of dark pubic hair. Breathing hard, the shopper gripped Mike’s shorts and pulled them roughly around his ankles. The young slave retreated to a fantasy of backyard baseball with his son as his dick was teased to a semblance of erection and he distantly heard the shopper whistle with approval. The fantasy retreat shattered, his boy was lost forever, and Mike groped, breathless, back to the sickening reality of having his balls squeezed hard enough to make him gag. The shopper laughed and reached for his wallet.
Six figures and a signature later, Mike was led into the shop for processing and eventual shipping as the shopper retired to a nearby tea house for a hookah and shot of caffeine. He was satisfied and his mind raced with pleasurable plans for ways to put Mike to good use. He scratched his leg and felt the comforting bulk of his wallet and this led to some lazy speculation. What about Tommy? Or, that Marine…what was he called? He stretched languidly and took a long sip of tea.