Deep in a cave in the mountains on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border just after midnight, al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, his chief lieutenant, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and al Qaeda chief terrorist in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, are having a meeting, and hereinafter will be remarked as O, A, and Z, respectively.
O: Glad you could make it, Abu, although these dates you brought taste like camel dung. Are there no fresh dates in Iraq these days?
Z: With all due respect, Mighty Leader, I didn’t know you were a connoisseur of camel dung, in order to be able to make that comparison…although they do sorta remind me of camel tongue. Maybe that’s what you said…I’ve been exposed to so many mortar explosions by those damned Americans that my hearing has…
A: Uh…I’m sure Osama said camel tongue, Abu…you’re right…you just misunderstood…isn’t that right, Mighty Leader Osama?
O: Of course that’s right, Ayman…and you, Abu, are out of order to even think such things. We’ve all eaten camel tongue and know how awful it is…even broiled for two days….aarrgghh! But to more cheerful things…first a word of congratulations on the killing fields you’re operating these days in Iraq, although I’ve been missing those pictures in al-Jazeera of beheadings…also, you’re killing less and less Americans and other infidels. Do you think it wise to keep on killing Muslims, not that there’s any divine command against it…praise Allah!!?
Z: It’s becoming harder and harder to kill Americans, especially since those damnable, Allah-disgracing elections. We thought we’d have a field day on election-day, but the Americans stayed away and all we could do was kill a few Iraqis, hopefully Shiites, but it’s hard to tell them from the Sunnis. We thought a couple hundred might vote, but eight and a half million – disgraceful…those awful purple fingers. I’ve given orders to cut off the fingers of all the men we find with fingers colored purple, especially if we can do it while they’re still alive. For women, we cut off the whole hand, of course, in keeping with sound doctrine.
A: How could 8 million vote, in the first place, Abu, you buffoon? With that many people in large groups, you should have annihilated thousands before they ever got to the…
Z: Watch your mouth, Ayman! You’re addressing the second most important al Qaeda operative in the world now. You’ve slipped to number 3, sitting on your ample hindquarters in this comfortable cave while I’m out where the blood is flowing and Allah is looking down with…
A: You call this comfortable, Abu…comfortable?
O: Comfortable? Bah!! My prayer rug stays wet all the time and the fumes from these awful oil lamps are enough to…and the darkness…I never know which way is toward Mecca in this hell-hole, where the sun never shines, so I’m afraid to pray anymore for fear I might get the direction wrong and pray to the wrong god. My AK-47 is getting rusty, and I don’t get any of the Reality Shows from American TV in this prison…those mostly naked girls running around on some island…you don’t know how bad it is here, Abu! And what makes you think you’re now number 2, anyway?
Z: That should be obvious, Mighty Leader. The reward for me dead or alive is the same as it is for you…the same as it was for Saddam and much more than it was for his sons…I’m worth 25 million. Ayman is worth nothing, as far as I know, although I admit I don’t know if there’s a price on his head. Besides, I’ve been sentenced to death in Jordan for plotting to blow up the Radisson in Amman…that oughtta show you why I’m number 2 now, and headed for…never mind that last.
O: Headed for what, Abu? You’re not thinking of taking over al Qaeda surely…certainly not thinking about that while in the honor of my presence…while admitting to not killing those thousands on election-day…while not doing any significant beheading these days…while in these mountains where my men see everything that moves…
Z: Of course not. I was simply about to say the Amman thing is why I’m headed for Iran instead of going home to Jordan this trip. I’m picking up some new car-bombs ready-made in Iran on my way back to Iraq. We’re running low on materials there, which brings me to the subject of materiel and money. Ever since that weak-chinned Syrian turned Saddam’s brother over to the Americans, I’ve been receiving none of the American money he carried in all those trucks and suitcases that made it to Syria two hours ahead of the Americans in 2003. I can’t pay people to kill themselves if I have no money…and half the young guys don’t believe the Koran about those 72 virgins anymore, so that gambit is out these days. They want hard cash so they can buy booze in paradise, since they can’t drink it here…just that awful tea.
A: H-m-m-m. Maybe we need to have an Islamic revival…sorta like those American church revivals. I’ve heard that the young guys in Kabul have been going on burka raids since the girls can go to college there now. They saw some old American newsreels or newspapers from 50-60 years ago that showed those awful panty raids at American colleges, and those bad influences are corrupting our young men. The next thing will be coed dormitories, though I can’t imagine such a thing as that even in decadent America…maybe in France, but not anywhere else.
Z: (eyes glazing over) Ayman, have you been in caves for the last 30 years, or just the last 30 or so months? Anyhow, I’ve used up about all the ransom the Italians paid for that newspaper woman…you know, the one who wrote only terrible – even if untrue – things about the Americans. She worked for that commie rag in Rome. We plan to grab her in Rome and take her back to Iraq so we can demand some more ransom, now that we know we can get it. She would’ve made a beautiful beheading, and we were tempted to do it anyway, but it’s better this way, since we’re nearly broke. If the McDonald’s in Tehran is still open, I plan to take a half ton of Big Macs back to Iraq, so I need some cash from you tonight.
O: Big Macs…ah…what memories. I still remember them from those burka raids we used to do when I was in school in Beirut, before all the trouble there…collect all the burkas – horrible, smelly things – then off to the Golden Arches and plan kidnappings of Americans while eating those luscious french fries. We’ve been living on stale vegetables in this cave, and small animals, for so long…I can’t imagine why the Americans haven’t found us. As for money, we don’t have any to spare this trip, Abu…sorry, but war is hell, you know. I believe Mohammad said that, didn’t he, Ayman?
A: I believe it was America’s Civil War general, Sherman, but it’s nevertheless true…just as true as if Mohammad had said it when he had it out with…praise Allah, I forget which branch of us he annihilated. Those damnable Shiites remember, though, and beat themselves bloody every year celebrating…idiots! I guess Mohammad hated us Sunnis, but we love him, of course…I guess…at least the Saudis do, so that’s where the money comes from…so…(falls asleep)
Z: The old fool! I don’t know why you put up with him, Mighty Leader…but we DO need the money, and ever since those murders we pulled in Riyadh the Saudis have been in a pout.
O: Next time maybe, Abu. In the meantime, how about finding us some fresh dates and pomegranates and figs and a Pepsi and a burger with cheese and…(falls asleep)