Thursday, June 17, 2004

A parable for modern warfare

This wasn't so much a column as it was a skit; then again, I try to be unpredictable in print, so this may very well have been a column. It was written on 5/16/03, soon after Bush Deuce stuffed a sock in his fake flight suit and declared "mission accomplished" on an aircraft carrier near San Diego. Natch, it's all about the Iraq War. It may very well be the most naked satire ever written; but since when is nudity bad?

What if the War on Iraq was a typical gas-station holdup?

(Setting: A FUEL-N-FUN franchise, somewhere in America. A ROBBER storms in and guns down all but two of the store’s customers. The CLERK is an Arab-American male.)

ROBBER: All right, stick ’em up!

CLERK: Is this a robbery?

ROBBER: No, it’s a liberation.

CLERK: What?

ROBBER: A liberation! You know, I’m a liberator.

CLERK: And just what the hell are you liberating?

ROBBER: I’m liberating all of the food and beverages that have been held hostage here under your capitalistic tyranny! (Pause.) Now empty the register!

CLERK: You’re liberating the money too now?

ROBBER: Just do it! (CLERK swiftly empties money into bag and hands it to robber.) Now fill me up on pump one, please.

CLERK: You got it, buddy. (Pushes buttons on master pump board.) Thank you, and have a nice night.

ROBBER: You too. Appreciate it. (Runs out to car and begins pumping gas. CLERK stands stunned for a moment. ROBBER reenters store.) I almost forgot. One pack of Marlboro menthols, please. (CLERK hands over a carton of cigarettes. ROBBER heads toward door.)

CLERK: Hey, wait a minute…

ROBBER: (Turns head.) What?

CLERK: Didn’t you say you were here to liberate the merchandise?

ROBBER: Yeah, that’s what I’m here for.

CLERK: Well, then, how come you didn’t take any of that stuff? (Long silent pause. Then, in an accusatory voice:) It’s all about the gas, isn’t it?

ROBBER: No, the gas is just gravy. I’m really here because I care about the people who have to pay to get their food from you!

CLERK: Is that why you shot them all dead?

ROBBER: For their own good! But hey, you saw that one guy hug me and kiss me on the cheek. He’s happy that I have expelled you from the store!

CLERK: He only thanked you because you have a gun and you let him loot the store, dumbass!

ROBBER: Well, I’d love to stay and chat, but this store is sufficiently liberated. This store is now free to select a new clerk in a fully democratic job-application process.

CLERK: Heh.

ROBBER: Now it’s time to concentrate on Stop-N-Rob across the street. They need some serious upheaval. I mean, did you see the prices in that joint? Not only that, but they probably harbor the people that fled from here when I barreled in! Have a nice day.

CLERK: Well, hold on…I mean, you haven’t actually caught me. You just pushed me away from the register. Shouldn’t you nab me before you go across the street?

ROBBER: Nah! I got my gas, didn’t I? You’re irrelevant now.

CLERK: Gotcha. I’ll go call the police.

ROBBER: I already did.

CLERK: What?

ROBBER: I asked them for their help in this robbery to begin with, figuring they’d help me since they always have whenever I needed them. But when I want to commit one simple crime, they have the nerve to tell me no? Hah! Well, who’s the loser now? Ha ha ha! When you do see the police, tell them that sometimes you gotta act alone.

(Saddam Hussein portrayed the clerk. George W. Bush portrayed the robber. That Iraqi guy who shows up in every kissing-the-troops picture played one of the two store survivors. The United Nations performed as the police.)

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