The PWB mailbag was filled to the brim this week with reader responses to last week’s column on lessons you can learn while sitting in a neighborhood tavern. It seems that the view from Buzzy’s 8 Ball Lounge is similar to what you’re seeing across the country, although without Dinky Jenkins, a Buzzy’s regular for the past 45 years and the only man I’ve seen who can fit 7 pickled eggs in his mouth at the same time.
While we had planned on reviewing Bobo the Talking Intern’s first White House press conference experience from this past week, we’ve instead decided to go live to a media event just announced earlier this morning. Details are a bit sketchy but a release from Al Jazeera indicates that they’ll be providing a satellite feed from an undisclosed location. We’ll get to reader emails if time permits. Ms. Beasley and intern number two have collected… sorry, we’re getting word that the event is about to start…
From inside a conference room filled with rows of folding chairs, a squat middle aged man with a gray beard and intense look strides to the podium…
“Alright, everyone…a little quiet please… everyone… dammit, is this thing on? C’mon people, bums in seats, we’d like to get started.”
The crowd quiets down and settles into their places.
“Right, on behalf of the North Waziristan Taliban Association I’d like to welcome you to this morning’s press conference. Not much time really so let’s get some admin out of the way… first, are we all clear that this is an undisclosed location? Seriously. No descriptions. The last thing we need is a drone up the tailpipe. Please.”
The spokesman checks his watch and looks over his shoulder at the Taliban security detail standing near the exit.
“Alright, next, any women in here? “
The room erupts in laughter.
“Just kidding… bit of Jihadi humor. You know what the big guy says, laughter is the best medicine. Anyway, before we get started let me thank some folks who helped put this together… my cousin Awad, you know him as Mullah Awad from the Southern District, for his assistance with security for today’s event… where are you Awad… there he is, stand up big guy…”
Polite applause from the crowd as they shift restlessly in their seats.
“Bashir and his crew for the A/V work in getting the satellite feed up and running… and how about the refreshments today? A little thanks for the fellas down at Shwarma Heaven… remember, for a little bit of paradise here on Earth, it’s Shwarma Heaven. Thanks guys.”
The security personnel stiffen suddenly as instructions squawk over the walkie talkies. The spokesman glances over at the exit and nods at the security leader as the crowd strains to see what’s happening.
“Okay, let’s get this party started… Ladies and Gentlemen…ha, I got a million of ‘em…Gentlemen, let’s have a big Jihadi welcome for the man himself…the Lion of the Desert… the tallest drink of water this side of Pakistan… the guy who puts the kaboom in your Fruit of the Loom… Usama Bin Laden….”
The crowd stands and breaks in to applause as the speakers shake with the sounds of the Black Eyed Peas. Bin Laden walks through the door and makes his way to the podium, stopping frequently to fist bump members of the press and security personnel. He eyes the clock on the back of the wall, takes out a small stack of note cards and waits for the applause to die down.
“Okay… thanks… okay… really, very nice…” he signals to the noisy crowd to take their seats. “Really…. Overwhelming… thanks.” He shuffles his note cards and signals again for the crowd to sit. “Right… okay, time people… let’s not give away our position with too much butt kissing applause… seriously, no points for sucking up…”
Everyone sits immediately. Notebooks are made ready as the crowd of journalists and bloggers lean forward anxiously.
“First, I won’t be taking any questions. If you ask a question, you will be killed. I mean it. And your family. I hate to play the tough guy but I’m tired of questions. It’s always “how’s your kidneys?” or “where you spending your time these days?” Enough already.”
“Second, no interruptions. This one really gets my goat. What happened to civility and respect for authority? I’m the dude…when I’m talking you keep the piehole corked. When I finish, then you can talk and ask questions. Except I’m not taking any questions so I wouldn’t go there.” He looks at his cards briefly and scans the crowd.
“Okay, I’m gonna’ read a statement. Frankly it’s against my better judgment but Ayman said it’s timely and on message, whatever the hell that means. I would like to refute the recent remarks made by the infidel devil Attorney General of America. According to what I saw on YouTube, this Eric Holder guy seems to know that I’ll never be captured alive. And here I quote… “Bin Laden will never end up in our courts… he’ll either die on the battlefield or his own people will kill him to prevent his capture… that’s just a fact. End quote.”
Bin Laden takes a sip of water and adjusts his reading glasses.
“Really? Okay, well as they say, who died and made him Sharif? Ha! Get it? Last time I checked the only people who could tell the future were the Amazing Kreskin and my personal psychic Shabazz from 1-800-psychics. I loved that Kreskin bit… Johnny was something else. Ed too. Leno not so much.”
The crowd starts exchanging glances, worried that the big guy might be slipping.
“So here’s my message to Holder… you think I’m gonna’ die on the battlefield? Are you insane? You know the last time I was on a battlefield? How about when Milli Vanilli was still putting out hits. You think the tallest guy in Al Qaeda wants to get anywhere near a battlefield? All I do is sit in a cave now… I’m like a bat. A big, tall, bearded bat.”
He makes an awkward flapping motion with his arms… the crowd looks confused.
“And what’s this about my own people killing me so I can’t be captured? What a load of crap. I’ve got explicit instructions that I’m not to be killed under any circumstances. You spend 9 years sitting in a cave…frankly capture sounds pretty damn tasty. I could use a few years R&R at that Gitmo place. Warm ocean breezes, lots of outdoor time, cable… are you kidding? One more year of sitting in the cave listening to Ayman and his damn karaoke machine and I’ll be all about the capture. Seriously, how many times can one man sing Macarthur Park?”
The spokesman nods to the security detail and walks up to the podium. He catches Bin Laden’s eye and points to his watch.
“And another thing… how come this administration can’t get it’s story straight? It’s like the left hand doesn’t know what the far left hand is doing. Ba-bing…who saw that comin’? Honestly, if I wasn’t the psychotic leader of a murderous group of Islamic thugs, I’d be doing three nights weekly down at Al-Yemeni’s House of Yucks. I mean it, I love standup. So how come Holder knows I’ll never be caught alive while that McChrystal fella’ says he’s doing everything possible to catch me? Who you gonna’ believe? My money’s on McChrystal. Smart guy. Looks good in a uniform too.”
Bin Laden looks up at the clock and starts tidying up his notecards.
“Okay, looks like we’ve got to wrap this thing up. That’s my statement. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate what Holder is doing trying to give us access to the infidel’s judicial system and treating us more like criminals than terrorists… and releasing those memos… I told Ayman we should send him some nice citrus or maybe half a dozen steaks for putting out those CIA memos. Honestly, I like where he’s coming from.”
The security detail looks anxious as the Spokesman signals for the music to come back on…
“Anyway, thanks for coming, don’t forget our annual membership drive is coming up next week… if you haven’t signed up to man the phone bank there’s a sign up sheet at the back of the room. Ayman’s organized a silent auction this year… still time to donate auction items. Some good stuff in there… I got my eyes on a spa package…”
The spokesman leads Bin Laden away from the podium and towards the exit as the crowd heads for the refreshments.
Terminate satellite feed.
Interesting. Well, that’s all we’ve got time for this week. We’ll take a look at reader e-mail next week, and don’t forget the PWB’s latest reader contest. It’s called “Turn Your Head and Cough…” here are the rules:
Submit a one to two paragraph brief essay, no more than three hundred words, telling the PWB audience what health care reform means to you. As always, spelling and good grammar count for 30 percent of your grade. Vulgarity will result in a points penalty, unless it’s really creative. The winner has their essay published in the next week’s PWB and takes home a signed copy of Nancy Pelosi’s book, “The Government Knows Best – How I Shoved Health Care Up America’s Bottom.” Get busy, entries due by March 29. An impartial panel of judges down at Buzzy’s will review and select a winner. In the event of a tie Dinky will flip a coin to select the winning entry.
Send your essays to “Turn Your Head and Cough,” along with questions, comments or actionable intelligence directly to the firstname.lastname@example.org
Til’ next week, stay safe.
Mike Baker served for more than 15 years as a covert field operations officer for the Central Intelligence Agency, specializing in counterterrorism, counternarcotics and counterinsurgency operations around the globe. Since leaving government service, he has been a principal in building and running several companies in the private intelligence, security and risk management sector and has recently returned to Diligence LLC, a company he cofounded in 2000, as President. He appears frequently in the media as an expert on counterterrorism, intelligence and homeland security. Baker is also a partner in Classified Trash, a film and television production company. Baker serves as a script consultant, writer and technical adviser within the entertainment industry, lending his expertise to such programs as the BBC's popular spy series "Spooks," as well as major motion pictures.
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