Friday, September 03, 2004


The Prophet and the Shitty Limper

Once a busload of objectivists came to the mosque, looking for Mohammed. They knew the Prophet was always good for a free meal. Mohammed divided them up among his friends, saying that since his friends burned with his bone-fire, it would be as if he were every guest’s host. And so each friend chose a tourist and took him home for supper.

When they were all gone there was one moocher left--and he was enormous. This eater of objects was easily ten of Rush Limbaugh. Each of his chins was like a whole Jabba the Hut. The man was big. He sat there filling up the entrance to the mosque like hair clogging a drain.

Mohammed sighed and walked him home. There the son of a Ghuzz Turk ate everything. He ate fourteen roast pigs. He ate thirty-seven roast chickens. He ate seven head of beef, hooves and all. He ate Mohammed’s best camel. In the commotion of the cooking and the serving he even ate a stray analytical philosopher who had also wandered in off the street looking for a meal, and who from the look of him had not had his belly full in months, and now never would again. He ate the clothes off of three of Mohammed’s serving girls—break-away robes or they too would surely have perished. He drank eleven vats of wine and the milk out of seventy-eight goats.

Fortunately, goats were plentiful that year, as that spring they had rained from the heavens.

Still, the help was furious. When the glutton went to bed, the maid chained his door behind him.

At midnight he awoke to various urgent calls of nature. His bladder, which was the size of a small principality, was filled to bursting. His fifteen miles of bowels were bloated with enough shit to fertilize the Sahara. But the door wouldn’t budge. He rattled the knob. Bleary-eyed, swaying on shaky legs, he slid a knife through, tried to pick the lock. Nothing. The door was chained with a chain the size of a normal man’s wrist.

The swelling in his belly got worse. The room shrank. The fat man fell back into a confused sleep and dreamed of a barren place, because he himself was a barren place. In this place all was parallel lines that met at the horizon and Euclidean numerical values that added up to zero. The one object in his dream, gleamingly white and stable in a the strictest epistemological sense, was a perfectly cubical toilet.

So, dreaming he was lowering himself onto this toilet, breathing heavily from the effort, he voided himself. He pushed out great counties of shit. He sighed in his sleep, spent. Then, his great belly contracted again! And he pushed out whole new counties of shit. Whole mountainous regions. It was everywhere. It rose to the windows. It stank to high heaven. God Himself plugged his nose against the stink. Mohammed’s servants woke screaming with it, ran into the fields, their eyes running with tears, their throats scorched and raw. In the house only Mohammed was calm.

Now the fat tourist himself woke up, pulled at his covers, and discovered that what he thought were bedclothes were in fact great stinking waves of shit. And he was wracked with paroxysms of shame—the shame that normally keeps men from filling their rooms with excrement.

"My waking is food," he moaned, "but my sleeping is now this."

At dawn Mohammed came to the door, unchained his guest, but made himself invisible so the man could escape to wash up without the shame of facing his rescuer. Mohammed had seen the man’s sufferings, of course, all the gruesome night. Nothing is hidden from the man whose bones burn with God’s fire. He merely held back from unchaining the door all night so that everything might happen as it needed to happen.

The fat man, still weeping with shame, waddled down to the river to wash. Villagers fled in all directions. Even the water would have fled, if God in His great wisdom had not made it subject to man’s will. Still, it too cringed and tried to cover itself as he lowered himself into it, and made watery faces of disgust as it was forced to cleanse him of his own bodily wastes.

The unfortunate glutton, thinking to slink out of town unnoticed, next remembered that he had left his amulet at the Prophet’s house, and sloshed back to the scene of his humiliation, his shoes full of bitter river water. When he got there he found the Prophet himself cleaning his room: hauling the waste matter to the compost pile in a wheelbarrow, washing the linens in vat after vat of clean water.

The fat man forgot the amulet. Suddenly he was overcome with love. He tore open his shirt and struck his head repeatedly against the wall. Blood spurted everywhere.

Mohammed approached him with arms outstretched, but the penitent shouted "No! Stay away! I have no understanding!" and threw himself on the ground before the Prophet. "You are the whole," the fat Turk cried, shaking with remorse, "I am a shitty little part of the whole. I can’t even look at you!"

Mohammed bent over and touched the man’s leg. From that day forward the new believer’s bone marrow burned with the fire of God’s love. And though he limped to his grave, at that very moment the great hunger went out of him. Almost overnight he slimmed down to a fraction of his earlier size, and ever more gave praise to God, in whom truly is all food and all drink to those who believe.

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