"You've got mail!" came the voice. I got up from the couch and walked over to the laptop. I reached down and moved the mouse. The screen cleared.
Hey, AOL's not running, I thought. "Hey, honey!" I called. "You got AOL open over there?"
The wife minimized her "Russian Square" game and looked her screen over. "Nope."
"I know I heard AOL say I've got mail, but it's not running," I said.
"Oh, that's Ahmed," came the reply.
"Hello!" came the voice from the corner.
I looked over and saw a man in his early 30s sitting on a chair in the corner near my computer. "Who the hell are you?"
"I am Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani," the man said. "My business is down and I'm picking up some extra money by telling people they have mail."
"Okay," I said. I clicked on Outlook, but nothing was in the inbox. "You must be new at this. There's no e-mail."
"No, Sahib. You have mail. The postman just delivered a letter," said Ahmed.
"Oh. Okay. Well, be a sport then and get it for me, will you?" I asked.
"Begging your pardon, but that is Mustafa's job," he said, pointing
to the man walking from the mailbox, across the yard, and towards the
The door handle turned and Mustafa Mohamed Fadhil entered carrying the day's mail. "For you, sir," he said and placed it on the coffee table next to yesterday's unopened mail.
"Um, thanks." I stood there awkwardly, not knowing what to say or do next.
The wife broke the silence. "Honey, let's go to Applebee's. They have wings half-price until 6:00."
"Uh, okay," I said and went to grab my wallet.
We went outside and another man stood by the car with the doors open. "Who are you?" I asked.
"Your driver, sir," came the reply. "I am Adnan El Shukrijumah, and the agency sent me over as your new driver."
We got in the car and headed towards town. I sat quietly the entire
drive, not knowing what to say. Finally, we pulled into the Applebee's
We were greeted at the door by a pleasant young man who guided us to a table.
"My name is Hasan and I'll be your server," he said, and took our order.
When he brought the wife's hot wings and my steak and shrimp, I asked him if he was new here.
"Yes, sir. My regular job just dried up and a fellow's got to eat.
Plus, the tips are good," he explained, then went to refill another
"Hey, let me use your phone, sweetheart," I said, and the wife
handed me her cell. I dialed a few numbers and waited while it rang.
"Hello?" came the voice.
"Harvey? It's basil. Dude, you're not going to believe what's been
going on today," I began and related the events of the afternoon.
"Say, that is odd," came the response. "The good news is it looks like the terrorists are losing."
"What's the bad news?" I asked.
"Have you net the new blogger that Frank J. has added to the IMAO roster?"
"Uh, no," I said.
Harvey's voice was faint as he put the phone aside. "Hey, Usama! Pick up line two!"