Two One-Minute Stories
by Maika Pollack

Florian’s friend Alex, Alex’s friend Aquevit, Florian
and I were in Marrakech so we rented a car and drove
down to the desert. We drove over the Atlas mountains
and passed a valley with a river where they sold dates
by the side of the road, and then we got out into the
open desert. The king had built a perfectly smooth road
so even though the scenery looked like we were on the
moon the road was flat. Alex said it looked like a
Volkswagen commercial. There were half-built hotels,
and men driving camels. It was February and the only
visitors we saw were seventeen Germans on

Aquevit said, “Here we are in the middle
of nowhere and people live here.” The road stopped
suddenly fifteen miles from Algeria. Alex kept on
driving. The tires stopped in the sand two or three miles
out. Suddenly, there was a rainstorm.

On the way back to Marrakech, Aquevit
told me quietly that she had gotten a ticket to leave
early the next morning for Paris. I asked her if Alex
knew that she was going. “No,” she said. “Don’t tell
him, because he will cry.”

The next day Florian and I went to see
Alex very late in the afternoon. He invited us in for
dinner. The house was empty. It was obvious that
Aquevit was gone. “Women,” said Alex over dinner.
“They leave you.” “No,” said Aziz. “My wife is at
home. Florian’s wife is right here. Women, they leave



One time I was writing for a travel guide about the
Green Tortoise hostel in San Francisco. I told the
owner, “My parents took me to my first protest on one
of your busses.” He thought that was funny so he
offered me a free trip. “I’ve always wanted to go to the
Grand Canyon,” I said. “There’s a bus leaving
tomorrow morning,” he said.

Early the next morning I arrived. “I
made a mistake,” the man said. “This bus isn’t going to
the Grand Canyon. It’s going across the country.” I got
on anyway.

We drove for a few days through
Nevada and Wyoming, sleeping at night and cooking in
national parks during the day. There were two punk
girls, some German hippies some English people and
myself. Early one morning outside Big Timber
Montana I woke up to see our bus lose a wheel. The
wheel came off the bus, rode up the median, and took
out the front of a passing truck across the highway. The
truck called for help on a CB radio, our bus came to a
stop, and we were stuck in Big Timber.

Later that night, the bus driver told me
that the Green Tortoise would fly me back to San
Francisco on a single engine plane.

A few months later, I was walking down
St. Mark’s and a punk girl panhandling called my
name. “You should have stayed on the bus,” she said.
“We had a great time. We’re all still in touch. We
always wondered why you got off the bus in Big