Dhaka — Bedlam erupted throughout Bangladesh Tuesday morning after Mahmud Khan, one month old, broke his 23-day-long isolation to formally declare his decision to enroll in the Muslim faith.
The announcement came at the ledge of a steep balcony overlooking the capital, where an estimated 100,000 Bangladeshis gathered for the second most anticipated event of the year, right behind the annual Stone a Jew Day.
"I have put the entire nation through 23 days of worry and ill-ease and for that, I submit to you my deepest apologies," said the one-month-old Khan. "But I stand before you today ready to obliterate the totality of your nightmares. From this day forth, my beautiful Bangladesh, I, Mahmud Khan, am a Muslim!"
It was the infant's final remark that blew the proverbial garb off the capital's head. (Of course, those few Bangladeshi women whose garbs literally came off were immediately seized and hanged by police.) The 100,000-plus crowd exploded into a chorus of frenzied screams and cheers that endured for some twenty minutes before abating.
Even the men were said to be in so gleeful a mood that they let their wives join in on the celebration for a full minute before sending them home to bed.
"But it's only 10 a.m.," one wife was heard muttering under her breath following direct orders to cease and desist from the streets. A game of whodunnit/whosedit immediately ensued, and upon realizing she was being stalked down for legal punishment, the woman fled the scene and remains at large, said a policeman on duty.
—10:08 a.m. update: Bangladeshi officials have issued a formal statement declaring this woman, whose identity has yet to be disclosed, an "enemy of the State" and a "fugitive at large." They urge the nation to exercise "supreme caution," as this woman "probably thinks" and is "most likely armed." Incidentally, she has no legs.
Police are working round the clock to find said fugitive, whose criminal charges include a) knowing the time, and b) muttering to self with the intent to remain unheard by surrounding male company.
In the rest of Bangladesh, which reports a 99 percent Muslim population, most people expressed a mixture of shock and elation at Khan's decision to adopt the Islamic faith as his own.
"Upon ascertaining such a glorious dispatch, I admit to being superlatively gobsmacked," said Ahmed Ahmed, the keynote speaker at Dhaka’s 2013 Thesaurus convention.
There was plenty of talk swirling around that Khan was going to choose a different religion. The infant addressed such rumors in his speech Tuesday morning, particularly his purported desire to join the Mormon church.
"Yes, the rumors were true, unfortunately. I had narrowed it down to Islam and Mormonism. With the latter, it was the prospect of getting my own planet to rule over in the afterlife that was so appealing. And yet, I stand before you today a proud and unabashed Muslim. Do you know why?
“I love me some virgins.”
At this point, there was no controlling the smattering of cheers ringing through the capital.
"Praise Allah!" Khan exalted over the uproar, "He that guided and stayed with me throughout my isolation!"
—10:38 a.m. update: Police have obtained new and pertinent information on the fugitive.
Name: Lisa Shak
Muslim fervor (1-10): -88
Last seen: 11:36 a.m. at Savar Train Station, cartwheeling off a three-story building onto a speeding train to elude pursuing authorities
Past transgressions (limited to the five most major ones): Being born with a vagina (1977-present); bringing pork cutlet to show and tell (1983); burning Salman Rushdie's "The Satanic Verses" with minimal ardor (1988); recalling only one of Allah's 99 names (2006); typing "Prophet Muhammad" in Google images (2011)
Reward for capture (dead or alive): 1. 10,000,000 BDT; 2. access to the rights of Shak's immediate family, who shall incur a lifelong sentence of marriage and/or slavery; 3. dibs on Shak's working ligaments and organs
In addition to the above information, a handful of people who knew Shak agreed to divulge their own experiences with her. For economy's sake, The Flying Steed could only include the following accounts:
Hasan Uddin, Shak's 5th grade teacher: "I gave the students a pop quiz once. For as long as I live, I'll never forget Lisa's. Question 1: Muhammad was Allah's last what? 'Name.'"
Ataur Sorker, Shak's ex-husband's friend: "So, praise Allah, the pilgrimmage is almost complete. I'm in Mecca with a group of Bangladeshis, among them Lisa. We're all set to enter Al-Masjid; I mean we're literally five meters from the entrance, and Lisa thinks this is a good time to complain of being hungry. Never mind that earlier she mistook 'Kaaba' for 'kebab' and asked our guide just how old the kebab is.
"Anyway, we go eat. Lisa takes an hour to finish; the woman stuffs her face like a f***ing cow, it's unbelievable. At long last, we enter Al-Masjid. There's the Kaaba, the most beautiful, perfect sight on the planet. We proceed forward, closer and closer.
"It takes a while but we're finally standing at arms-length from the sacred structure. I can't believe it. My heart is denting my chest, it's beating so hard. Slowly I inch my arm forward. I'm about to touch the Kaaba. Me! Ataur Sorker! I feel like the jihadists closing in on the first tower. This is the greatest moment of my life! My hand is right there; in the next second it will forever have the Kaaba branding its prints.
"That's when I hear this horrible noise. I turn to my right and there's Lisa hurled over, gargling at the mouth. And in the next moment she's puking out her morning eggs all over the Kaaba.
"Needless to say, it's pandemonium inside. People are in tears. Others are calling for Lisa's head. Security immediately kicks us out. Not only did I not touch the Kaaba, I'll never get another chance; we've all been eternally banned from entering the Holy City.
"For Lisa, it's no big deal. No remorse, no guilt, no shame, not even a tiny show of embarrassment for vomiting on Islam's most sacred shrine. No, on the disgraced ride back to the airport, you know what she says? 'I'm hungry. Anyone in the mood for a Kaaba?'"
Khan's isolation commenced on November 4, 2013, when he said goodbye to the outside world so he could better contemplate which religious faith, if any, would best inform the knowledge he'd amassed in his, up until then, seven days on earth.
From that point on, Khan did nothing but eat, think and breathe religious ideologies.
"[Various leaders] sent Mahmud their respective holy texts," explained Khan's father, Abdul, who, though Muslim, made explicitly clear that his own religious affiliation had zero influence on his son's decision.
Among the texts Khan perused during his sequestration were the Qur'an, the Bible, the Torah, the Tripitakas, the Bhagavad Gita, and a Pentecostal audiobook spoken in tongues, foreworded by a juvenile correctional beatboxing team.
Additionally, from Isolation Days 10 to 20, representatives from each competing religion were flown to Bangladesh to try their luck in the Khan sweepstakes. Notable visitors included Pope Francis (Catholicism), the Dalai Lama (Buddhism), Richard Dawkins (Atheism), Larry David (Self-hating Judaism), and the entire football team from an upstate New York high school (Racism).
"We were hesitant to let [them all] talk to our baby," said Khan's mother Liza. "Can you blame us? Letting those of foreign faiths into the home that Allah built. I couldn't bare it."
The vast majority of Bangladeshis shared her same sentiment, fearing for Khan's safety, which was purportedly jeopardized on at least one occasion.
Authorities alleged that during the Pope's visit, he tried forcing Khan to perform oral sex on him. When Khan refused, the Pope then tried to force Khan to force the Pope to perform oral sex on Khan. Once again Khan refused, and in hopes to keep the incident under wraps, the Pope proffered the infant with a lifetime supply of free paperclips.
Sources report that Khan would only take staples.
"Oh, come on," the Pope implored, sweating profusely at this point. "The Vatican's stingy about its staples. Everyone knows that. You know they won't even let me near a stapler? I'm the goddamn Pope!"
The next day, when reports of the incident began to surface, the Pope issued the following statement:
"I want to squash this rumor going around regarding my visit with Mahmud Khan. In no way, shape or form during our meeting did I insinuate there to be a tightfisted mentality regarding staples in the Vatican. On the contrary; the Vatican is perfectly happy to lend out its staples."
Accompanying the statement was a picture of the Pope with his most esteemed cardinals and archbishops, smiling wide, arms celebratorily raised, a stapler clutched tightly in their every hand.
—12:14 p.m. update: Laksam civilians report seeing Shak bolt out the emergency exit at a prosthetics store called Legs and Pegs, where she set off the security alarm.
According to Laksam police chief Zahir Banarje, "Ms. Shak was in such a rush she just put on the first pegs she could get a hold of. So if anyone sees a woman with a tennis racket for a left leg, or if the person hobbling past you is leaning at approximately 50 degrees, or if you think you just saw a flamingo where there should have been a human person, please contact the police immediately."
The Pope was, of course, only one of many eminent authorities to pay Khan a visit during his sequestration.
Among others was women's studies Professor Gail Dines, whom many consider to be the world's most polarizing feminist.
When Dines entered Khan's room in the waning hours of Isolation Day 12, she immediately demanded he strip off his huggies.
"I consented—happily, might I add. And with phenomenal haste," Khan admitted.
"I thought she wanted to blow me."
But he was wrong. In the next moment Dines pulled out a knife and attacked the boy in a violent attempt to saw off his genitals.
The infant responded by grabbing the closest thing within reach and clocking Dines square in the temple. She collapsed immediately.
"When I looked at the thing I'd clocked her with, I was amazed," said Khan. "It was the atheist book by Richard Dawkins.
"Would you believe that? The God Delusion saved me."
Khan had yet to read Delusion, so he spent the next day immersed in the text. Incidentally, his next visitor was none other than the book's author.
"I could tell right away that [Dawkins] was peculiar," said Khan. "For one, he didn't want me to blow him. I was shocked.
"'And you have no inclination to fix my genitals?' I asked. But he just stared at me."
The two proceeded to chat for hours about things like atheism, the scientific method, and the fallacious notion of there being an absolute morality governing the objective universe.
"It's made up," Dawkins explained. "God, all these so-called 'holy books,' morality—it's all codswallop. There's no cosmic hand waiting to cock back and strike you the moment you 'err.' It really is a free universe."
Dawkins then proposed the two of them do coke lines and mutilate some hookers, "just for the hell of it."
Khan politely took a rain check.
The infant later noted that, despised as atheism was in Bangladesh and in most other parts of the world, there was something magical in Dawkins' speech that compelled him to the ideology.
It turned out to be his accent.
"Yes, [Dawkins] initially tranced me with that voice," Khan admitted in his Tuesday morning address. "But I'm smart. Eventually I came around and realized the inanity of it all. No god? No purpose? What is he, crazy!
"It took me a while but I figured it out: anytime you've got an ideology with zero going on for it, do what the atheists do: throw a Brit like Dawkins or [Christopher] Hitchens behind the podium and give ‘em free reign.”
Khan then spoke of other important matters—his eagerness to learn how to walk, career aspirations, the horrors of drugs and Indian people—but none rocked harder than his closing statements, which moved the 100,000-plus audience to inspired tears:
“I was not a Muslim at birth. Islam didn’t coerce, cajole, brainwash or blackmail me into its perfect embrace. And while 99 percent of Bangladeshis live according to the Quranic scriptures, the choice to accept Allah as my savior was completely independent of outside influence. Of influence altogether. Because there was no choice. It was destiny that I imbibed, destiny that imbued in me the holy spirit of Allah. And had I been born to Christian parents in America, to Jews in Israel, to a pack of wolves in the Arctic or to malevolent scientists via test tubes, the difference is really immaterial, for Allah the Beneficent would have found me inevitably still.
“But, my fellow Muslim brethren, such is the past and it is now time to look forward. ‘Islam,’ ‘peace’ and ‘love’ are one and the same word. We must teach those soaked in the poison of ignorance this truth in a friendly way, and if they fail to listen, we shall kill them.
“Now, will somebody please change my diaper? I’ve been wearing this thing for a month now. It smells like s*** in here.”
—4:46 p.m. update: Praise Allah! After a six-plus-hour chase, fugitive and enemy of the State Lisa Shak has been captured by covert ops, all of whom wish to remain anonymous.
“Once we got tipped off about her tennis racket and flamingo pegs, going about finding her was a piece of cake,” said ******* ***********. ******** **** ******, ********* ***********, ***** ******* *************, and ****** ******** were all in agreement.
The events leading up to Shak’s capture:
- Shak sneaks into a Bangladesh National Zoo, supported by her flamingo and tennis racket pegs
- Shak hobbles to the flamingo exhibit
- Shak breaks open the flamingo cage
- In hopes to better blend in with her surroundings, Shak spends 25 minutes trying to usher the flamingos toward the zoo tennis court, built by the government last week for the purpose of fulfilling on this story’s highly unlikely premise
- The flamingos resist and trample Shak before stampeding
- Covert ops parachute down to the zoo via helicopter and seize Shak
Shak’s execution is to take place in Dhaka’s Town Square at 5:00 p.m. on December 1, 2013. The very first attendee in line gets to behead Shak himself; the next 10,000 shall receive Mahmud Khan bobbleheads.