Salaam aleikum, Ayman al-Zahawiri, my brother,
I hope Allah has kept you feeling like a billion dollars. For myself I can’t complain – though my job sometimes gets so strenuous that I feel as if I'm being beheaded by a cannibal with a blunt knife.
It’s been a long time since I last talked to you – I think it was at that secret company meeting where we discussed Pentagon Associates. I remember telling you that we would require a hostile takeover if we wanted to acquire the firm and overthrow the board of directors. The technique we had used to hijack the previous corporate merger had been, as you recall, rather improvised, and we had to resort to a device the consequences of which had been fairly explosive. Also, the headhunters we engaged to acquire talent for our firm were so expensive that our net profit dropped like a bomb.
However, thanks be to Allah, we are again on the path to recapturing the strategic position we had enjoyed. We are also planning additional corporate attacks, the targets of which have been identified. My assistant suggested hiring an investigative firm to do some industrial espionage, but I vetoed that. If it came out, we would be murdering a lot of the goodwill we have among millions of people, especially Americans. Besides, it’s not necessary; in a year or two, Inshallah, we’ll be able to cleanse the ethnic handicrafts market of tawdry imitations and flood it with top-quality products of our own.
Did you buy the truck-load of nitrate fertiliser you were planning to, for your orchard, and the diesel generator for the pump? With the economy no longer booming, a militant approach towards surplus costs is necessary. If you want, I could help you in the business – together, I’m sure we’d stand a fighting chance.
My own garden isn’t doing so well this time, sad to say, though I rifle through my pockets to come up with money to spend on it. Weeds shoot up like rockets overnight, don’t they? Sometimes I feel like going on a jihad against them with a flamethrower. Of course, I couldn’t keep burning them away, and it’s suicidal to use chemicals – they are good weapons sometimes against pests, but too great a mass will contaminate the produce and cause the destruction of the land for a long time to come. I’m thinking of putting in an irrigation tank with a machine to sprinkle water, but I don’t want to aim too high while gunning for success. Incidentally, I’ve begun keeping bees – the drone of their wings, I find, is soothing, though of course one has to be careful of their stingers.
How is your family? Is your son Mohammad still in pilot training? I remember how he used to love my wife’s rice cakes when he was a kid, only he couldn’t pronounce “rice”, so it came out sounding like “ricin”. He was always full of hunger, and I had to ask you not to strike him once for demanding a third helping. He’s a nice boy, fun-loving and mischievous – I recall that when he was in his early teens he had this habit of crashing parties. It’s better that he’s that way instead of one of the emo crowd always sunk in gloom and martyrdom. I’m sure he’s your world’s centre, and you wouldn’t trade his happiness for anything.
My wife’s fine, but always complaining about her office manager, who she says is a tyrant. She claims he’s the sort of dictator who hates the freedoms other companies give their workers. She says he makes everyone so angry that they gossip about torturing him. Not only does he blast them if they aren’t always ready to charge into whatever task he orders, she says he interrogates them constantly about their current workload, so that they feel like prisoners. She’s always in stress over her position. Recently I found her stabbing a pillow with a box-cutter to let off steam.
My son Saddam has a new hobby – he’s joined a club which explores caves. I’ll send you a picture of him, dressed in a helmet and ammunition boots; he looks funny and solemn at the same time. His ambition is to travel with the club to Iran, where apparently there are a lot of caves near a place called Bushehr. He’s got one fad – refuses to eat microwaved food; says it’s full of radiation. By the way, if you talk to him, don’t mention my cousin Samuel, whom you may remember from the time we went racing our cars – do you recall shooting past the curves? Anyway - for reasons I’m not too sure about, they had a run-in, and ever since, Saddam despises his Uncle Sam. I’ve tried to make them be civil to each other, but it’s open war.
My health is all right, though I do have awful flatulence sometimes; I feel as though a nuclear warhead has gone off in my intestines. My family aren’t sympathetic; they claim it smells like sarin. I do wish I could find a solution or two to this state.
You’ll be glad to know I’ve lost my fear of dogs, so much so that we now have a Boston Terrier named Bashar; he’s a very friendly animal, but can’t stand the whistle of a pressure cooker. He plays a lot with our neighbour’s dog, a mongrel so huge and dark that it looks just like a black panther.
It’s been a long time since we met, so I’d be glad if you could come over; no, don’t protest – I’ll give you a demonstration of how to cook a turkey. You might not remember our address – it’s 9/11, Omar Road. You’ll find it easily; just go past the Mullah’s home, the green-on-blue-painted one, and it’s the white house on the left.
You might have some trouble recognising me at first, since I’ve grown a beard, and I look, everyone says, like a proper terrorist.
Your old friend
Osama bin Ledan.
[All right, you shameless CIA morons, spy on me, will you? Well, just you chew on that.]
Note to readers: anyone who wishes is welcome to repost this, or email it, or use it in any other way designed to waste the time of e-snoopers. Confusion to our enemies!