Bshhal? (How much?), I say, pointing to an objet d’art.
He gives a figure.
La?! (No?!), in mock shock at the price he has quoted. Bezzaf! (Expensive!)
How much you pay?
I get out a small pad of paper and pen (invaluable in the souk) and write a much lower figure.
Now it is his turn to be "shocked," handmade, silver, he says launching into a spiel.
We bargain some more back and forth. The call to prayers starts in the background, he says, "listen, good sign."
I say, yes but for which one of us? He laughs. I am not budging much on the price so he tries to distract me with a less valuable piece.
C’est la ou rien, I reply. For some reason the use of English, Arabic and French is not confusing.
Then he says "you give me maximum price, top, price serioux."
La, I reply, you give me minimum price, price serioux.
He laughs. You professor?
Now, I am shocked. Yes, how did you know?
I smelt it, he says touching his nose. "Everywhere professors have good eye but no money."
I seize an unexpected advantage, na’am (yes) no money.
We bargain some more and come to a deal. I ask for my pen back. He says no, small gift, small gift, mon amis.
Twenty dirhams!, I reply.
Professor, you must be Berber.
I laugh. He keeps the pen.
Addendum: If you go, ask for mon amis Rashid at Zemouri Ahmed Belhaj in the Souk. Tell him that the Professor, day after Christmas, sent you. He says he will remember.