Wednesday, September 01, 2004



The Mullah Billdoug reports that he just made a stop in the year 00004.7, New System, or roughly thirty-umpteen bazillion photon years in our future, because he'd gotten word that a certain Austalian platypus might know something about Bill Kaul's evil killer.

At the time gate he found a Temporal Customs Agent blocking his path, checking for contraband.

"Do you have any Plants Fruits Small Animals Liquor Medicine Drugs Uncut Diamonds? How about your health?" she asked. "Any Running Sores Pustules Red Painful Irritations Annoying Coughs Loose Watery BMs?"

"Why yes," Mullah Billdoug smiled, "I have all of those things, and several that you didn't mention."

"Hand them over," the Customs Agent said, trying to look very stern, but recognizing the good Mullah as a renowned time-traveler and secretly feeling quite pleased to be frisking him.

So Mullah Billdoug emptied his robes and duffel. Out tumbled uncut diamonds and rubies and sapphires, and whiskey and rum and beer and heroin and cocaine and marijuana. Out tumbled televisions, radios, boomboxes, and fruit trees, melons, pineapple plants, and kudzu seeds.

Finally Mullah took off his robe completely and turned over his diseases: he gave over his bubonic plague, his polio, his melanomata, his cataracts, his liver disease. He gave over his painful rectal itch, his jock itch, and his seven-year itch. He gave over his annoying smoker's hack. He even threw in his dandruff and a few non-malignant dermatoid fibromata for free.

"Is that all?" asked the agent.

"Well, not really," said the Mullah, "but you really don't want this other."

"Tut tut, my good Mullah," the agent said. "We have rules, you know. Off with it."

The Mullah sighed. "Very well. Here you are. My addictions."

The customs agent gasped. "No! Not that! I didn't mean that!"

Too late.

The Mullah was gone.

There was nothing left but a pile of contraband, an empty duffel, and a robe.

There was an acrid, sulphurous aroma in the air.

"Jesus Christ!" cried out the next passenger in line.

"Not!" said the teenager behind him.

After all that, turns out the platypus in question had nothing of value for the Mullah. The guy he'd heard about had sent a mechanical goat back in time to kill another Bill Kaul. Some radio announcer in one of the Great Lakes states.

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