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September 13, 2002

An Armory in Baghdad

"14 Bazooka rounds?"

"14 Bazooka rounds."

Ahmed made a small checkmark on his clipboard and walked slowly to the next row. "Case of grenades?"

Shamir bent over, trying to read the lettering on the rough wooden box, squinting through the cool dimness of the warehouse. "Case of.......I can't read this, it is darker than the ugly harem in here." He fiddled with the lid, lifting it up.

"Not to open the boxes!" Ahmed lunged forward, too slowly to prevent Shamir from opening up the container.

He peered within, "Case of...", poking at the contents. "What in Allah's name?" He lifted out a small, pineapple shaped object. "This is not a grenade!"

Ahmed's face grew fearful. "Put that back!," he demanded. "They're very delicate!"

Shamir peered down at what lay in his hand, and pinched off a bit. "It isn't even metal!"

"Ahhhh! Son of the dungheap, stop that!"

"This is....not....This is a Play-doh Grenade! It's made out of Play-doh!" Shamir grabbed another, and a third, and squeezed. "They're all made out of Play-doh!"

"Cease your destruction! Those took Omar hours to make!" Ahmed grabbed the unhurt grenade and laid it gently back down in the straw lining the case, gingerly replacing the lid.

"He speaks truly." came a gloomy, disembodied voice from the floor. "The filthy foreign molds broke after less than a day. I curse the man Hasbro and all his ilk. May they be infested by scrotum fleas for a thousand years."

Ahmed grabbed the now shapeless modeling compound and tossed it down to the recumbent Omar, who sighed heavily and began picking at the ex-grenades with a splinter of wood. "Do you never wash?" he exclaimed irritably. "It's all dirty now. What did you do with the other pin?"


"Quiet! HE could come round at any second!" Ahmed hissed. "Does Omar explain to you the correct way to pick your afternoon snack from that monstrosity you call a nose? Let the man work."

Shamir yanked his hand down, "I told you, my nose itches sometimes, dripping fart of a camel." He flicked on a elderly flashlight, glancing at the dozen or so boxes it illumined with a weak orange light. All had "Grenades" stenciled onto them. "Do we have any actual grenades?"

Ahmed grimaced. "Not as such, no."

Shamir stared at him in disbelief, "Why? Why don't we have any real grenades!? The Americans could jump on top of us tomorrow and I'm supposed to throw a...a....lime grenade at them?"

"Just because they are green does not mean they taste of limes." Ahmed bent down, scrabbling in the detritus covering the floor. "No one has any grenades. They've all been sold to the Kurds for food. We're lucky, really." He picked up a small metal cotter pin and ring and handed them to Omar, who grunted in satisfaction.

Shamir began pacing, "Lucky."

"Yes, really."

"Lucky how? Pray tell!"

"Well, you know Don and Abdul?"

"One-eye and Stumpy?"

"Well, they had to make claymore mines out of sawdust and Vaseline."

"Jesus Christ! Do we have ANY real weapons?" Shamir looked at the suddenly stony face in front of him. "What?"

Omar stared up at him in shock, mouth agape. Ahmed fingered the the hilt of the knife at his side. "What did you say, infidel?"

Shamir looked at him quizzically. "I said, 'Jesus Christ, have we'.......Oh for God's sake."

"This explains so much." Ahmed said coldly. "At last I know why the Americans tread on our heels like a boy with his first sheep! We have one of their minions to tell him where we are!"

"I needed a change! You know how boring it is, swearing 'by the beard of Allah!' all the time?"

"What, Allah not good enough for you, ferengi?"

"Halt thy slanderous tongue! We grew up in the same village! Where are all the weapons?"

"It's not like you, putting on airs."


"You father is probably spinning in his graves."

"Answer the question!"

"If the boxes say we have weapons then we have weapons! No one ever looks in them. You go poking about and there'll be all sorts of trouble!"

"And if HE comes round and opens the boxes? Truly, this is another fine mess you have led us into. The best part of you dried on the ass of your father's goat."

"Yes, truly you have room with which to castigate me, Mr. Talks-With-The-Dead."

"I got you out of that alive! I got us all out of that alive!"


"Look, if it was good enough for the Mullah Omar, it's good enough for our Omar. "

Omar's voice floated up from the floor. "And they cheated me. Twenty-five dollars, they said! A king's ransom! How was I to know Canadian dollars were as the defecations of birds in the marketplace? How can they be so close to America and still be as poor as Yemenis?"

Shamir stopped pacing. "Enough complaining! The inspection could happen any day, any minute." He looked at the shelves. "What is in the box marked 'Pistols'?"

"Those are excellent. Omar found this truckload of deodorant soap, and...."

"I don't want to know. Bazooka's?"

"Spud Guns"

"In the name of all that is holy, what is a Spud Gun?"

"It is much like a bazooka. It shoots potatoes."


"Yes, a child's party hat cut down, wax, some tempera paint and a potato make a truly excellent copy of a bazooka shell."

"What do you plan on fighting the Americans with?"

"Everybody else."

"What about the weapons of mass destruction?"


Omar struggled up from the ground, scratching at the sores on his lips. "Oh, those we have." He waved at a battered trunk on on of the bottom shelves.

"Really!" Shamir strode over and threw it open, stared down at the contents. "It's a...a....a box of hammers? This is the is dumbest thing I have ever seen! What am I supposed to do with these?"

What are you having for lunch, shaheed?" Omar reached past him and took one, tested its balance, laid it down on the barrel head that served them as a table.

Shamir peered into the depths of the small, greasy brown paper bag he pulled from a pocket. "Two eggs, and.." He motioned towards an ammunition box. "one of those bazooka rounds, I suppose."

Omar's eyes widened. "Two eggs! In this time of famine? Truly you are blessed of Allah! May I see?" He plucked the bag from Shamir's hand and removed the two white ovals.

His hand bobbed up and down, weighing. "Heavy for their size. Good eggs. Much mass." He placed them on the barrel head beside the hammer, picked it up and smashed the eggs. Bam! Bam!

Omar turned to the silent, shocked Shamir. "Twenty five Canadian dollars is bad enough. I do not see why I had to give some of it to you. I do not even know this word, pimp. Next time, you can play the toothless lamb. You are the officer. This is your weapon of mass destruction." He placed the sticky handle into Shamir's unresisting hand. "You can tell HIM you saw it tested personally. Or you can nail the lids down. I must finish my grenade." He sat heavily back down on the floor, resumed picking at the Play-Doh.

Shamir goggled at him for a moment, looked out the boxes, down at the hammer in his hand.

"What did we make the nails out of?"

Posted by Bigwig at September 13, 2002 10:58 PM | TrackBack
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