(As originally published Oct. 12, 2001 at Salon.com by Tom McNichols, a San Francisco writer whose work has appeared in the New York Times magazine, the Washington Post, Spy, Punch and other publications. McNichols' radio commentaries have aired on NPR's "All Things Considered").
All praise and glory to the Most Holy One from whom all mercy flows. Last night I reach my mother on the heretic satellite phone to say that I will be out of touch for a while. The woman tells me I'm never in touch anyway, so what's the difference. Be gone, you bitch, I say. That makes you a son of a bitch, she replies. May God in His Infinite Mercy subject this woman to everlasting torment in the next world, all praise be to Him.
Praise be to God, the Cherisher and Sustainer. On the evening of this fateful day in which America has been filled with horror from north to south and east to west, I have a strange dream. I am piloting an airplane into the infidels' tallest building. As I approach, I see an imposing figure standing in one of the windows. It is my long dead father, Muhammad bin-'Awad bin-Laden. "Why, Osama, why?" he implores just as I strike the building. Then I remember: He was a building contractor.
Peace and blessings be upon the prophet, his companions and his kin. Following the righteous attack on the unbelievers, I journey under the cover of darkness to the town of Mazar-e-Sharif. The villagers are curiously subdued upon my arrival. The men mutter under their breaths, the women hide their eyes beneath their veils, and the children burst into tears when I approach. I have befriended a dog with scabies and adopted him as my pet, praise be to the Most Righteous One.
All glory to the Most Exalted One from whom all honor flows. The dog with scabies has run away. May pestilence rain down on this depraved and unworthy creature.
By the grace of God, Praise and Glory be to Him who delivers us from our enemies. A message from my apostate broker in al-Riyadh: American Airlines down 6 percent. United Airlines down 11 percent. By selling short, I have gained back most of the money lost by investing in the corrupt technology sector. May the Most Powerful One heap Yahoo, Webvan, and Pets.com together and cast them into the bottomless pit of torment.
By the Grace of God, Praise and Glory be to Him. My mother leaves an insulting message on the heathen voice mail that is an affront to all Islam. A plague of locusts be upon her.
A thousand praises be unto Him from whom all compassion derives. The degenerate satellite dish transmits that most popular program of the infidels, the so-called "Friends." Truly, this is a frightful assemblage of all that is unclean and corrupt in the heretics' debased culture. These vile characters discuss their vulgar personal lives while sitting in an establishment that dispenses artificial stimulants expressly forbidden by the Quran. The woman named Rachel is a particularly unchaste She-Devil. She not only brazenly refuses to wear a veil, but this evening has been revealed to be with child, though unmarried. Against my will, I find myself longing to stroke her depraved cheek. May God cast the temptress into the pillar of fire for infecting me with such thoughts.
All honor to the Most Blessed One from whom all kindness flows. Word comes that brother Cat Stevens refuses to lend his support to our virtuous jihad. May this turncoat's Peace Train be laden with explosives and rammed into the Mountain of Mohammed, peace be upon him.
Praise and glory be unto Him who provides sustenance in our righteous struggle. The latest publications produced by the infidel are late in coming, due to the difficulty in getting a messenger to journey from Kabul to the remote caves of the Baghlan province. Time and Newsweek naturally refuse to put me on their covers, but their biological weapons package supplies some interesting ideas that had not occurred to me. The Zionist New York Times pretends to be objective but cannot resist running an unflattering photo of me on Page 1. Had I known there was food in my beard, I would not have granted the unworthy photographer an audience. The repulsive Sun tabloid dares to question my manhood, stating that the length and breadth of my sword of Allah compares unfavorably to those of other men. Even if this were technically true, I condemn these blasphemies as unjust and tyrannical. May God strike down all who repeat them, particularly those in possession of so-called photographic evidence.
By the grace of God, praise and glory be to Him who delivers us from the evil one. Based on the information supplied by tonight's sinful satellite feed, the father of Rachel's baby is Ross. May God smote this wretched infidel and cast him into the unquenchable fire, leaving Rachel for me.
All honor and power to Him from whom all favor flows. The pagan air strikes have begun. The cave that I now inhabit reeks with a most fearsome odor, another hardship for this faithful solider of Allah. I cannot fathom from whence this stench emanates, for I am alone in this barren cave. My Taliban guide assures me that the odor was not present before my arrival, and then he hastily takes his leave. May he who creates this foul stench be cast into the River of Woe.
By the Grace of God, Praise and Glory be to Him. The constant air attacks by the infidels have not broken my spirit, although the explosions have caused me to befoul my loincloth repeatedly. My Taliban guides now refer to me as "Osama Big-Load-in" -- may the most gracious God infect their bodies with running sores. Many in the village have defected, and those who remain are frightful to behold. While drawing water at the stream today, I see the face of a hideous man, his loathsome visage twisted by centuries of hatred, his eyes those of a hunted animal. I fear he intends to harm me, but praise be to God there was no cause for alarm. It was only my reflection in the water.