"As another day passed with Mr. [Faisal] Shahzad talking to investigators about the car bomb he had admitted driving into Times Square on Saturday, details emerged on Wednesday about [Mr. and Mrs. Shahzad] and their life together, along with speculation about his radicalization....
A Pakistani man said that an acquaintance of his who was a friend of the Shahzad family told him that within the past year, Mr. Shahzad had peered critically at a glass of whiskey the friend was holding, indicating a judgmental stance typical for rigid jihadis...
Piles of garbage remained outside the home in Shelton this week, filled with clues about their lives. There were packets of Nair [and] moisturizer with Arabic writing on the back...."
--The New York Times, May 5, 2010
Undisclosed Location, JFK Airport
It was only one time, I swear. Just one little candy. I was weak, and it was hot out, and I was thirsty, and I needed something to suck on. I was living in Rwanda, where imports come from Dubai. And while the candy wrapper had Arabic script on it, the candy itself was naked. Totally free of any propagandistic use of hard-line Koranic verse. Also, there were no pictures of Bin Laden, not even on the wrapper.
No? I still can’t go home? But it’s like a 22-hour trip back from Africa, and my family is waiting on the other side of this windowless passport control office.
Okay, look, I realize it was a stupid move, coming back to the US without having thoroughly cleansed my purse of Enemy Script. You like that term? Sure, it’s yours.
I suppose, yeah. If I were a patriot, I would have held out till I could find a kid selling Werther’s Originals. But it was so hot out, I just needed a little sweet. Haven’t you ever felt that way?
Sure, chocolate is easier to find than a Werther’s. But I didn’t want chocolate. That’s un-American? I’m not so sure—well, yes, many Americans depend on Hershey’s for their livelihood, to say nothing of the men and women who make the filling for any number of donuts. Plus if we didn’t have an obesity crisis, the market in insulin and its accessories would shrivel, and not to mention R&D? Well, I suppose—no, I mean, of course I don’t want American workers to lose their jobs to jihadis. I should have a heart.
But wait! That’s what I was doing with the candy! I was having a heart. I bought it from a kid. A six-year-old. A malnutritioned six-year-old sitting whose weak little arms couldn’t even lift the candy to place it in my palm. She was slumped against a tree. Next to her baby sister. Two babies. Twins! Slumped over in the…Rwandan desert. The famously hot, dusty, dry Rwandan desert where hungry vultures circle overhead waiting for candy-hawking children to die. There were flies in her eyes. No, maggots. Eh, no, just flies, and this 25-cent candy was more like an income-generating project than a candy. This six-year-old needed to be empowered to feed herself and those triplets. How could they eat on only a quarter? Um… Yes! That’s it! African kids don’t really like to eat very much.
When did I buy the Islam candy? I don’t know, two months ago. Yeah, sure two months ago. Wait, what? The kids were props in a terrorist plot designed to get me to buy candy? You think I should have just taken candy from the baby instead of paying for it, because how do I know where my 25 cents is now? I think it’s in the kids’ bellies. Pretty sure.
Oh, I see. You think I looked at the candy a little too longingly, that I smiled at the kids a little too much. In a facial stance typical of expatriated Americans rapidly losing affection for culture and country?
Hold on. Slow down, I can’t understand what you’re saying and it sounds complicated. The New York Times says my ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend’s mother’s brother-in-law is a forensic analyst and he found my DNA on a quarter. In Faisal Shahzad’s pocket?
Well, I—um—I just… Oh. And how do I even begin to account for the cheese?
Oh God. I never thought you’d find out about the cheese. Yes, it was also wrapped in packaging bearing Arab—er, Enemy Script. But I only used it to make one grilled cheese! Can’t you understand? These were those pre-processed slices that are wrapped in the same kind of plastic they taste like. But this is a matter of texture, not taste. Don’t you know how important it is to get that melty cheese, even though it’s probably not even a real food? Oh thank God. You sympatheize. You’re a grilled cheese connoisseur! Wait, there’s an international competition? Well congratulations, that’s quite a record you’re holding.
Nevertheless, my sandwich was an affront to America? Because I ate Muslim melty cheese but Kraft invented it. I apologize again, you’re right, Kraft is a good—a great?—a great American company, and it is being attacked by this Imitation Terrorist Cheese.
What’s this? Okay, let me read it over, take it home, show it to my lawyer. Oh, I have to sign it now? And I should know that you’ve put Americans in Guantanamo before, and I shouldn’t expect anything different just because I’m a little less brown? (But I was living in Africa. It’s a tan.)
Okay, okay, okay, I just—seriously, shut up for a minute. I can’t read while you’re talking and jabbing me with that tazer.
I, Jina M. Moore, acknowledge that my patriotism, my good judgment and my rapidly aging beauty have been impugned by my weak and short-sighted decision to purchase One Muslim Lime-Drop Candy, wrapped in crinkly plastic bearing Arabic writing (hereafter, “Enemy Script”) and of approximately the same length and girth as a Jolly Rancher, a valorous American sweet.
I further acknowledge that during a misguided period outside the borders of the Homeland and the boundaries of that very consumerism which fuels said Homeland’s economy, civic pride, and demand for Viagra, I also purchased soap and lotion bearing Enemy Script, and that I did consume, and take into my body, one buttery Sandwich of Jihad.
I hereby relinquish what is left of my soap and lotion. I turn over my candy wrapper to these friendly DHS agents. For the sandwich, I can only ask that the one and only good Judeo-Christian but decidedly not Muslim God have mercy on my soul.