'They Had Rocks'
"I was sitting in my tent with a cold Bud Light," Satan began. "I had just conjured it up by having my devil dog jump into the lap of an unwitting Westerner and biting him squarely on the crotch, causing him to toss the frosty beverage into the air, from which I directed it to Mina, and onward into my hands. You might think that with my awesome powers it is surprising that I would drink a light beer, but by the Brow of Aratheum, I find it much less filling."
"At any rate, I was preparing to create some Nachos to enjoy during the big game - I'm a Panthers fan, and helped them make it to the Superbowl - when I heard something outside of my tent. I pulled open the flap, and I could not believe my eyes. There were two million pilgrims, crazy-eyed and chanting they were, and they had rocks!"
Dick Clark, former host of 'American Bandstand' and the '20,000 Dollar Pyramid' who currently works as a spokesman for Beelzebub, had earlier issued a statement which claimed that the trampling was entirely justified due to the hostile nature of the hajj. "Middle-Eastern law allows everyone the right of self defense," said Clark. "The fact that my client is a hideous demon does not mean that he has to take abuse from every Tom, Dick, and Abdul that walks by."
The horned-one elaborated. "What would you do? This is their big 'Stoning the Devil' ritual. That crazy festival goes on for three days, hear my words, three days and nights where they are running around with their stones and chanting their obscene little chants, chants which I daresay you would find most degrading if they were directed at you."
"Did you do anything to help diffuse the situation," asked Maltin.
"Diffuse the situation? These people are nuts, Leonard. I usually try to be out of town for the 'Stoning the Devil' weekend, and this year I just forgot. Nothing like this has ever happened before."
"Satan, if I could... according to my notes, 180 people were trampled to death back in 1998... Just looking back over the past decade, I see incidents in 1994, 1998, 2001, and 2003, as well as yesterdays incident."
"Ha! You are a cunning reporter but you are confusing your facts, Maltin. All those other years, they trampled each other. This is the first year that I have done all the trampling. It's self dense, damnit. They had rocks."
©2004, Mark Hoback