I packed my gym bag and went out to linger in front of the kitchen. Chattering voices and the smell of onions came from inside. I stood for a long minute in the empty yard, slightly uncomfortable now with the notion of hanging around for a free breakfast. Ali stepped from his cabin, dressed in a black outfit. He smiled in a warm, matter-of-fact way.
"Thanks a lot," I said. "Uh, is there a good place to eat around here...some caf� down the road or something?" I asked. His head made a slight nod.
"How do you travel?" he asked.
"I came in a car," I said, pointing to a borrowed sedan. He glanced over at it.
"How much money you got?"
"I'm fine," I said, patting my back pocket.
"Let's see what you got," he said with a tilt of his head.
I pulled out the wallet and opened it to show him the twenty. He stretched his neck slightly as he peered down. I thumbed the bill up from the fold to make the inspection easier.
"This was a great thing for me," I said, thrusting out my hand. He brought his up slowly and simply laid it in mine.