Aasiq Ali al abizz had four wives.
They were aged 14, 15, 16 and 17. He always maintained his wife list in that order. As each aged one year, the 14-year-old slot was refilled, and the one reaching her 18th birthday was retired.
Retirement for the oldest went like this: She was stoned, chopped up into little pieces, sautéed in leftover olive oil, mixed with diced dates and mashed pomegranates and fed to ravenous pigs.
This retirement was, naturally, not revealed to the wives beforehand.
He liked surprises.
Aasiq Ali al abizz was 83 years old and not as fit as he once was, back when he had 32 wives, but even then the retirement process was the same, and so were the ages. There simply were eight wives in each age slot.
Aasiq Ali al abizz’s stretch of desert, that which he called his kingdom, by pure luck, abutted the Land of the Jews. On weekends he would lob SA-N-3 Goblet missiles over the border.
Aasiq Ali al abizz bought these from the Russians.
He did this for the pure joy of it, and to please the Prophet. Perhaps a few extra virgins would await him over the rainbow.
He kept the missile fire to a minimum because it was best not to stir the Jews up excessively. They were very tough customers.
But Aasiq Ali al abizz knew Obama had his back.
All told, Aasiq Ali al abizz led a sweet life. Between the four wives and weekend missiles to the Jews, he oversaw his camel flock, his 18 oases, his tents, his rugs, the stonings of other men’s wives, and daily feasts of hurmah, tuffah, dajaj, lahem kharouf and the occasional samak.
But one day he died.
On that day he was naked atop his eldest bride on a massive rug of multicolors just 24 hours before her 18th birthday, and he was relishing the thought of her impending retirement celebration.
Suddenly, he opened his eyes on the far side. Instead of dozens of virgins and dripping honey, he saw nothing. All was black, but there was a sound.
It was the sound of desert wolves, and they were coming closer.
In the darkness, something snarled and bit deep into his leg.
It was no virgin.