KNOCK! KNOCK! “Sir, you wanted to see me?”
“Hello, Kharbhom! Glad you could spare a few minutes. Come into the cave. Don’t mind the goats.”
“Thank you, sir. I was told it was important. I came over as quickly as I could.”
“Kharbhom, I will get right to the point. I have been watching you closely and I can tell you I like what I see. You have all the characteristics to be a leader in our business, son.”
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“Gosh, that is really good to hear, sir. I try awfully hard to give 100 percent at everything I do.”
“That is why I have summoned you here today. I wanted to tell you that I am prepared to make you a part of the Impenitent Secret Inner Sanctum and the perks that go with it. Your own private camel. A case of olive oil, a couple of goats and an iPad. How does all of that sound? Good, huh?”
“Me, a part of the Impenitent Secret Inner Sanctum? That seems almost too good to be true! Oh, thank you, sir! I cannot tell you what this means. Wow! When is it effective?
“Well, that is what I wanted to talk to you about, Kharbhom. There is one tiny detail we need to discuss before you assume your new job. Consider it an initiation of sorts. Nothing serious, you understand, just a formality, but I wanted to be sure I had your buy-in before we announced your appointment on the internet.”
“Right, sir. That should be no problem at all. Just tell me what I need to do and I will get right on it.”
“That’s the spirit, Kharbohm! I knew I could count on you. Actually, we just need you to strap on a bunch of bombs and go blow yourself up in a crowd of people. We aren’t picky about what kind of crowd but it would be preferable if it contained a lot of innocent people.”
“Blow yourself up, son. Go boom!”
“It seems what we have here is a failure to communicate. In order to show us that you have the right stuff to become a part of the Impenitent Secret Inner Sanctum, you must prove to us that you are committed to the cause. Walk the walk and not just talk the talk and all that kind of thing.”
“Creepers, sir. If I blow myself up, there won’t be anything left. How can I be a part of ISIS if I am spread all over the countryside?”
“I didn’t say you had to be here in person to be a part of ISIS. You will be a martyr. It doesn’t get any better than that. Every time we detonate a ‘74 Chevy Malibu, we will think of you.”
“Sir, pardon me for saying so, but that is a bunch of camel poo. I don’t want to be a martyr. And if blowing yourself up is so cool, how come you haven’t strapped on the bombs and gone ‘boom?’”
“Kharbhom, that hurts. Believe me, I would be first in line to wreak havoc on the infidels but somebody has to mind the store. Goats don’t just feed themselves, you know. And who else is going to locate a ’74 Chevy Malibu in this godforsaken part of the world? So, how about it, son? There is a ticket to Paradise awaiting, not to mention a bunch of virgins. I’m not sure how many. I think it’s 72. I know it’s more than we have around here.”
“You know what I think, sir? I think you are running out of nut jobs willing to blow themselves up. I have been reading Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, which says individuals that are poorly adapted to their environment are less likely to survive and reproduce. You guys are so poorly adapted to this environment, you couldn’t reproduce a turnip. You are headed the way of the Dodo bird and the Techirghiol Stickleback. And my name isn’t Kharbohm. It’s Fred and I am really a Methodist.”
“Wow, Fred, you sure fooled the dickens out of me. Say, if I were to became a Methodist, would I have to blow myself up?”
“No sir. To be a Methodist, you only need to know the words to ‘Amazing Grace’ and be willing to serve at Wednesday night suppers. God loves Methodists. He might even learn to love you, too. By the way, your Malibu just exploded. Have a nice day, sir.”
You can reach Dick Yarbrough at firstname.lastname@example.org; at P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139.