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Jewish World Review Nov. 28, 2001 / 13 Kislev, 5762

Michael Long

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A Mid-Winter Night's Dream: A play in one fun act

Author's Note: The Associated Press reports that the $25 million reward for Osama bin Laden would, at typical Afghan wages, provide for a family for 500,000 years. The largest note of currency in the country, 10,000 Afghanis, is worth only 25 cents US; the reward amounts to more than the total paper currency in circulation. -- SCENE: An expansive cave, lit with gas camping lanterns. A few threadbare rugs have been tossed haphazardly on the ground. At the rear, a man in a turban wrestles with a busted rifle; he looks down the barrel as he wiggles the trigger, a puzzled look on his face. At the front, OSAMA BIN LADEN sits cross-legged, perusing the Victoria's Secret catalog and pondering how many kittens he would have to drown to make himself laugh.


OSAMA: Ahmed! My loyal servant. How did your daily rounds go? Did you make sure no one is watching TV?

AHMED: Yes, Osama.

OSAMA: Especially that Brady Bunch! I hate that Brady Bunch, especially that temptress Alice the maid, what an infidel she is. Don't get me started. And don't think she doesn't know what unholy feelings she arouses, prancing around in that form-fitting blue dress with her ankles out for everyone to see. Oh, yes. Osama knows. Osama knows those ankles very well.

AHMED: No TV, no Alice, not even any CNN.

OSAMA: Everybody still has a fourteen-inch beard, too, right?


OSAMA: You measured?

AHMED: (pulling out official Taliban-brand tape measure) Fourteen inches on the dot. Oh, I found a young man just beginning puberty. His beard was a little short, so I burned him with hot coals until he screamed for mercy.

OSAMA: Is that all?

AHMED: We were going to pull him into pieces between two horses, but you try finding two horses these days.

OSAMA: So, my faithful servant, I trust you have all you need?

AHMED: Of course, faithful leader. Look around us. On my feet, these fine strips of cloth. Wrapped around my body -- if I may use such a term --

OSAMA: Go ahead, there are no women around.

AHMED: On my body, this wonderful sheet which not only provides warmth for me but also a home for a colony of lice --

OSAMA: Who are also Allah's creatures…

AHMED: Allah's little servants, oh yes. On my head, a turban freshly laundered sometime last year. And over my head, a cave to sleep in each night.

OSAMA: Life is good. You are like the Donald Trump of Afghanistan.

AHMED: Donald Trump?

OSAMA: American. Owns lots of caves. You should be so lucky.

AHMED: Yes, well. Osama, you know there is a reward on your head. Twenty-five million dollars. This is more money than most of your followers can even imagine.

OSAMA: Oh, it's not that much, Ahmed. My family makes 25 mil every few months. I myself carry around that much in my socks just for booze and hookers. Er, I mean, for extra Korans and orphans. Yeah, Korans and orphans. That's it.

AHMED: You have socks?

OSAMA: Figure of speech.

AHMED: This reward, this is going to inspire some of the men to… ah… come after you, Osama.

OSAMA: Not my men! They love me! Look at the life they have! Four dollars a month in income. I get them out of the house every once in a while. Sometimes they get to take excursions to the United States --

AHMED: But they don't come back.

OSAMA: Hey, don't discount the black-eyed-virgin factor. Plus, with Osama, it's all the goat you can eat. And I keep the men busy. They don't have to worry with silly things like being around their children or spending time with their wives. Sometimes I think I'm too good to them. (Sighing) Ahmed, when I'm back at one of my family's many mansions, teasing the polo ponies while the servants clean the pool, I get plastered on rum drinks and break down and cry. Osama cries! Can you imagine that? That's how much I miss the ol' cave. If my tailor on Saville Row saw that, hoo boy! Osama bin Laden would be the laughingstock of the Pakistan country club, I can tell you that.

AHMED: Osama, the matter of this reward deserves your attention. That's why I've come up with a plan.

OSAMA: Tell Osama. But make it quick, I have my usual necrophilia appointment in a half-hour.

AHMED: Meet me this time tomorrow at the cave across the way. You know the one, it's empty, abandoned, no one around?

OSAMA: Sure! I go over there to read sometimes (holding up Victoria's Secret catalog).

AHMED: Come alone, come unarmed, and, uh, I'll meet you there and tell you my top-secret plan about the reward.

OSAMA: Unarmed?

AHMED: It's a religious thing.

OSAMA: Oh, in that case, sounds good, my trusted friend.

AHMED: Uh, yeah. Just show up alone. Twenty-five million… yeah, I'll tell you everything. (STARTS TO EXIT, TURNS BACK) By the way, you don't happen to know any financial planners, do you? Any comfortable with really big numbers?

OSAMA: Are you kidding? Those are the only kinds I know! Why do you ask?

AHMED: Um, humanitarian operation.

OSAMA: I'll have my guy call your guy. See ya tomorrow!


JWR contributor Michael Long is a a director of the White House Writers Group. Comment by clicking here.


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© 2001, Michael Long