TALL TALE from the Middle East

This was posted on the virtual bar alt.callahans by Warin the grizzly bear.

The grizzly walks in wearing a large, flat-brimmed hat and carrying a shovel. He leans the shovel behind the door, and the hat goes on the bar.

“Y’all remember my good friend Hugh, don’t you?” he begins, indicating the lanky, long-nosed fellow who walked in just after him. “He’s the same one who closed down the flower shop at the monastery, when the monks were undercutting all the local’s prices. Y’know, only Hugh can stop florist friars?

“Anyway,” he continues after a moment, waiting for the groans to die down, “Hugh was visiting the Middle East a few weeks ago, and he had the misfortune to observe . . . Well, why don’t I let you tell it, Hugh? You were there, after all.”

Hugh, his mouth full of apple jack, only nods, then sets the rest of his drink down. “Ah do believe yuh mahght cawl it an ‘altar-cation,’ seein’ as how it happened rahght in front of onna them Izz-lahm places.

“See, somma the locals were takin’ exception to a few visitors from Izz-rayel. They thawt that the Izz-raylites weren’t showin’ proper respect for their house a’ worship, and they were startin’ to demonstrate their feelin’s on the subject when the po-leece showed up.

“After the cops chased evverbuddy off what had been fightin’ and could still walk, they started askin’ the rest of the folks what’d happened. Ah was called over to provide a statement, since Ah was a witness. Ah tol’ ’em Ah hadn’t seen nobody come out a’ the . . .” He trails off for a moment, thinking. “Ah believe they called it a ‘mosque.’ Ah nevuh could get the hang of them furrin words.

“Anyway, they asked me if Ah’d seen anyone from the mosque doin’ any beatin’ or gettin’ beat on, and Ah told them ‘No.’ They were kinda curious about that, onnacounta how much the Izz-lahm people like to fight the Izz-raylites. Ah told them I figured the mosque musta been empty.

“They just asked me the one more question before they let me go, and Ah thawt y’all might like to hear it.

“Hugh, was that mosque manned, anyway?”

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