Monday, September 13, 2004


I Heard That

I've gone back to my blogging, over in the corner of the back yard farthest from the power boat, laptop on the chaise-lounge between my legs. It's a great thing, I'm thinking: a wireless network and blogging by email. What did we do in the old days? How did we post to our blogs before computers?

Allah strolls over.

"What you are doing," he says. I have to process that for a moment before I realize it's a question.

"Blogging," I say.

"What means blogging," Allah says.

"Web logging," I say. "Writing a log, or, uh, a diary, what's going on in my life, to the Web."

"What means Web," Allah says.

"The Internet," I explain. "The World Wide Web. It's a--"

"What this machine is," he cuts in.

"This? A laptop computer."

"What it does," he says.

"Uh," I say, wondering how to explain something I only half-understand myself, "what doesn't it do, ha ha."

"Where you got it? I am thinking I get one for Mohammed."

"Down at Walgreen's."


"Yeah. They've got an amazing computer section there. Back on earth, you could hardly buy any kind of electronic devices at Walgreen's. But here--man. They've got everything. Last time I was in they had a special on radio-controlled goats. Buy two, get the third for free."

"Goats?" Allah says. He uses rising intonation for the first time. His eyes go wide. He may not know from computers or the Web, but he knows from goats.

Then Mullah Billdoug starts talking to me.


Uh, yeah, I think, smiling up at Allah. But I'm sort of in the middle--

Just listen, he says. I think Rove's ready to roll. He's got Ann Coulter in place, and--

I don't think you need to worry about Ann Coulter any more, I think.


She's got amnesia, I think. And she's turned into a priestess of Ba'al.

She what?

That was after she had decided to be a liberal. Apparently on the recommendation of Millennium Prize candidate Grisha Perelman.

How do you know all this? he says.

They're here, I think.


Yahweh's place. We're all in his back yard, eating ribs and trying not to listen to Ann Coulter playing temple prostitute to Ba'al. Grisha's over there now, getting his ashes hauled.

"Who you are talking to," Allah says.

Who are you talking to, Mullah Billdoug says.

"Mullah Billdoug," I tell Allah. Allah, I tell Mullah Billdoug.

"Oh!" Allah says, his eyes lighting up.

Tell him I think he's great, Mullah Billdoug says.

"I heard that," Allah said. "Tell him I'm a big fan of his work too. Though sometimes I think maybe he uses too many profanities."

I heard that, Mullah Billdoug says.

I roll my eyes, trying not to think what I'm thinking.

You're hungry? Mullah Billdoug says. You've been eating ribs all day!

Damn, I think. I hate mental telepathy. No privacy.

Allah wanders off. Mullah Billdoug lowers his voice.

Here's what I need you to do, he says.

"Don't think," I say out loud.

No, he says. I need you to leave Yahweh's place and go visit Olivia. You're going to have to talk her into doing the forbidden experiment for us.

Me!? I don't even know what the forbidden experiment is!

Never mind that. You're the only one who can do it. Bill is still AWOL--

He's here, I think.

He's there? How come I can't reach him?

He's, um, a cloud, I think.

Oh, Mullah Billdoug says. That explains it. All those droplets are murder on reception. Okay. It's up to you. Do it today.


But he's gone.

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