A Sorcery Swan Song

KINSHASA (Reuters) - “Police in Congo have arrested 13 suspected sorcerers accused of using black magic to steal or shrink men’s penises after a wave of panic and attempted lynchings triggered by the alleged witchcraft.”—4/23/2008

Fred: All right, all right. Everyone get in here! (ushers 12 sorcerers into secret lair). Let’s see what we got, c’mon…everybody empty your sacks! That was good work out there. Boris! What do you have there?

Boris: Uh, not much, actually. I got a couple of penises.

Fred: Whoa! You’re not the only one! Look at you guys (looks quizzically around underground lair, notices fellow sorcerers emptying out their sacks containing penises). Armel! Brice! You guys get anything besides penises?

Armel: I had a TV, but I dropped it.

Brice: Listen boss, I just don’t have it anymore.

Fred: Huh? What do you mean?

Brice: I didn’t even get a penis.

Fred: Not a one?

Brice: No…I think I may have shrunk one, though.

Fred: And what does that do for this outfit? Nothing, Brice! Damnit. Look, fellas, we’ve been at this a long time and I know we’re not as young as we used to be and maybe some of us are getting a little careless. I’ve gotta say, while I think we’ve got a whole lot of penises here, that’s not going to translate into what I like to call “profits,” as it were. How do you guys suggest we move all these penises? Do we still have that penis guy in Bumba?

Guychel: No, they hung him last month.

Fred: Great, just great. You know, guys, I love you all like brothers, but when I suggest we knock off a bank, the assumption is that we’re going after money. Armel, did you say you have a TV?

Armel: Had. I had a TV. I dropped it, sir.

Fred: That’s a shame. But I’ve got to ask, where did you get a TV?

Armel: It was on the wall, sir.

Fred: The security TV? You took the security TV?

Armel: Well, yeah. That and some penises.

Fred: Ay-yay-yay, Armel. You recognize that by taking the TV, you don’t have the security tape, right?

Armel: Huh?

Fred: They keep the videotape in another location. Taking the TV doesn’t do anything.

Armel: Well, I dropped it…so…

Fred: Nevermind. Look, does anybody have anything of value? Like, say, money?

Brice: I have three Francs Congolese.

Fred: That you stole from the bank?

Brice: Not really. I brought it from home, for lunch.

Fred: Oh, man. What are the rest of you guys doing?

Olivier, Screve, Stanislas, William, Regis, Lucien, Aristide and Oudry (together): Counting penises, sir!

Fred: Okay, let’s take a step back here. We’re sorcerers for crying out loud. And what is it that we can do that other people can’t?

Guychel: Steal penises?

Fred (exasperated). No, Guy. Anybody can do that, technically. The correct answer would be to cast spells!

Guychel: I did. I cast ‘steal penis.’ Look at these, boss—these are some great penises.

Fred: Nobody is denying that those are some top-notch penises, Guy. I’m just saying…

Brice: Yeah. I cast ‘shrink penis.’ What are you getting at?

Fred: Right, right, right…those are all spells, but they aren’t the only ones we have. What happened to ‘invisibility,’ or “thunderbolt,’ or ‘aura of impenetrability?’ What’s happened to us? We’re dead broke, we’re getting on in years and the only spell any of us feel comfortable casting is ‘steal,’ or in Brice’s case, ‘shrink penis!’ Of all the lame witchcraft, I swear. Not to mention, I’m sure the gendarmes are well on their way, as Armel was nice enough to give them a close-up of his stupid face.

Armel: You know, you’re not so great yourself, Fred. What did you cast? I don’t see you hauling around huge sacks of dough.

Fred: You don’t need to worry about me.

Armel: Hey, Fred, I asked you a question!

Fred: I cast ‘steal penis,’ okay! Does that make you happy? Is everybody happy now?

Boris: No, I’m not. I think I hear police sirens.

(Panic spreads throughout the lair. The sorcerers scramble about wildly, looking for cover).

Fred: Look, everybody. I’m still the boss around here. We need to work together on this, you hear?

ALL (less Boris): Yes, Fred.

Boris: Wait! Did someone say to do something? I can’t hear because I’m hiding behind all these penises.

Fred: I said that we need to work together, gang! Now look, the police will be here any second, so we don’t have much time to lose. I want everybody to concentrate, all right? ‘Once more into the breach’ and all that kind of stuff. Okay, I want you to summon every last bit of sorcery you have, reach deep inside and cast ‘invisibility’ with ALL your might. Then maybe, just maybe we’ll have a chance to get outta this. Everybody ready…NOW

(The door to the lair bursts open and a cadre of well-armed policemen rush inside the hideaway, guns drawn.)

Policeman #1: C’mere, chief. You’re not gonna believe this (gesturing toward the sorcerers).

Chief of Police: Good grief! Look at them! They’ve got infant penises!

Boris: Oh, wait…was I supposed to cast ‘steal penis?’

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