1. Marbella

2. From Torremolinos to Churriana

3. Ben the Baker

4. After the Fashion Show

5. The Bronx

6. You are never too old to Learn

7. Peter from Poona

8. Rule Britannia

9. Sports and pastimes

10. The Constant Nymph

11. Ben rises to the Occasion



Say it With Diamonds

'Nor shall our love-fits, Chloris, be forgot,
When each the well-look linkboy strove to enjoy,
And the best kiss was the deciding lot
Whether the boy fucked you, or I the boy.'

Ben had stayed a few days with me in my apartment, now it was the turn of Herman to be my guest. Unlike Ben, who never felt at east in the chic marbella scene, Herman was overjoyed at the prospect of strutting around the bars and rubbing shoulders with the super-rich. He arrived in a vivid, canary yellow jumpsuit and Gucci shoes of the latest fashion, staggering under the weight of his jewellery. He deposited his matching Louis Vuitton suitcases in his room, had a quick shower and preened his feathers, ready to swoop down on the smart set of Marbella or Puerto Banus.

We discussed which were the 'in' restaurants, who was going where. Then we touched on the subject of prices and Herman suggested that we had a quiet evening, with him cooking a meal at house.
'After all,' he pointed out, in a tone of sweet reasonableness, 'Why waste money eating out when I am a superb cook? We can spend it on other things.'

I had my doubts about this spending spree, but since Herman was an excellent cook, I was quite ready to give still sea, we settled down on the balcony to a spicy green prepared a big fruit salad to complete the meal and we decided to round off the dinner with a drink in town. We parked the car not for from the church in the old town of Marbella and strolled through the narrow alleys, looking at the shop windows and the people sitting at the tiny terraces. We had a few drinks at two of my favorite bars.

By now it was well after midnight and the old town of Marbella was beginning to quieten down but Herman and I were still full of sex simple life, so we headed to Puerto Banus, where we knew there would still be plenty of action.

In the picturesque port, nestling beneath tall, nodding palm tress and a promenade of white walled shops and apartment blocks, there was a great panorama of boats of all shapes and sizes. In the larger berths, some of the most luxurious yachts in the world were riding at anchor, their sleek outlines, floodlit. The irregular, jagged skyline of the building seemed to be crowding around the ships, as if they too wanted to take to the water. In this theatrical setting, hordes of people jostled against each other as they gazed in the windows of the shops or clustered in bars and open the terraces of restaurants. Music blared from loud-speakers in every boutique and singers with the inevitable guitars made their way between the tables, serenading the late diners with romantic ballads, pop songs or fiery flamenco canciones. Pretty girls courteously displayed port-folios of paintings of local views, bullfights or haughty, black eyed, Castilian beauties in black lace mantillas to fat-bellied drinkers at the tables, who were often clearly more interested in the person displaying, than the things displayed.

Herman was in his element. He loved the glitter and the bustle and he joined in the feverish excitement of the place. He insisted that we look in at the Hollywood, the trendiest drink but Herman, after a quick glance around assured me that there was no sufficient talent on display to justify our halting there. The gay charmers were Herman's scene, not mine, so I was happy enough to accept his judgment.

We had just passed the Hollywood when a nubile, slim-hipped, Adonis emerged from the interior of the bar. Either Herman had eyes in the back of his head or he somehow caught the scent of the youth with a mysterious sixth sense. He gripped my arm, as he turned his head.
'Gee, Xaviera , just look at that!'

I looked around - and tripped over the feet of a young man who was sitting at a table on the next terrace with two companions. I hastened to apologize and as I regarded the unfortunate rule britannia, young man whom I had trampled, the contrast with the gazelle who had captivated Herman could not have been more striking.

The gay boy was wearing a gauzy, white robe, very much a Western imitation of an Arab burnous, my victim was wearing the real thing and the brown of his skin was not were suntan. However, he certainly lacked the sylph-like grace of the boy from the Hollywood. The seated Arab was gross: his loose fitting cloak could not obscure the great rolls of fat which seemed to stretch out in every direction. When he was sitting down, the young man was grotesque, his width exceeded his height by an impressive margin. There was so much of him that perhaps it was not entirely my fault that I had fallen over his feet.

'Please, do excuse me. I'm so sorry,' I mumbled.
'It is nothing.' The young man dismissed the matter with a surprisingly graceful wave of his hand, and continued, 'Since Fate has literally decided that our paths should cross, the least that I can do is to offer your friend and yourself a drink.'

'That is very kind of you - ' I started, but with the same lordly wave of the hand, the youth said,
'It is nothing. It is but a shadow, token of the hospitality which we should offer some stranger who chanced to enter our gates were we at home. Let me introduce myself and my companions.

'You would find my full name too complicated, so you may call me Hamid - it is one of my names. This gentleman is called Abdul. Unfortunately, he speaks no English but is he not a remarkable person? He is no less than eighty five years old, a true Bedouin., he and his family have served my father and our family planning for more generation than men can remember. My younger companion is called Omar, who acts as my private secretary and takes care of my personal financial affairs. He is a Persian, as you can probably tell from his name.'
'Oh, yes, indeed,' Herman assented.

Hamid and his friends were a strange assortment. Abdul had the dignity and he self contained solitariness of the very old and the very religious. His withered hands clutched a row of beads and his lips moved incessantly as he offered prayers to his Creator. His eyes were not fixed on us: his gaze was on Eternity. Omar was young, slim with finely chiselled features. I could see from the gleam in Herman's eye that he fancied this aristocratic looking youth, but so did I. Omar was the reason that the two of us accepted Hamid's gracious invitation with such alacrity.

12. The Magician

13. Say it with Diamonds

14. The simple life

15. Forced to Fast

16. The Persian Boy

17. Penthouse Pet

18. The road to Morocco

19. Have you anything to Declare?

20. Men of War

21. Fiesta in Ojen

22. Highway Robbery