Today, nobody believes in reality. Fiction remains stronger than fact. All stories are true - satires in particular. Imaginary heroes are more dependable than the other kind, living or dead. Whatever you need is unavailable, so choose the brighter new tomorrows that you want instead. FAX 21 is a muse (news) blog-fest of science fiction concepts and fantasy ideas for genre enthusiasts. Paradox free since next year!

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Bun Laden !

No sooner has the white-shrouded body of Osama Bin Laden, the bête noire of the West, “slipped” (they make it sound like a careless accident) off an American aircraft carrier into the Arabian Sea, than his image has been re-born as a marketing brand. Yes folks, you heard it here first.

New Pakistani burger chain “Bun Laden” look set to announce a major expansion of their highly successful franchise next week, with numerous new outlets opening in middle-eastern economies over the next six months.

Fax 21 caught up with their CEO Alza Wiri, during a rare break in his packed business schedule, over lunch at one of their flagship “Fatwa Food” restaurants in Islamabad.

Was expansion into America, Europe or the UK on the cards next, I wondered?

“Why not?” –He smiled broadly from behind his disarmingly vast Ray-Ban sunglasses, in white casual polo T-shirt and jeans. “Sure, Americans have problems with French Fries or Freedom Fries, but our chips are labelled Friendly-Fire Fries, and make an excellent side to go with our Jihadi Burgers and Semtex Quarter Pounders…

I wondered aloud if issues of taste would be a problem, as I admired the two life-size fibreglass statues of Bin Laden flanking the entrance, Planet Hollywood style: one in camouflage mountain-goat look, the other in white-robed prophet mode, both toting plastic AK-47s.

“Taste?” –he puzzled, thinking I meant flavour, before the penny dropped. Then he laughed: “But isn’t ridicule and high cholesterol food the best possible aid to stress-relief after a hard day at the office fighting the global War on Terror?”

For Dessert, he went on to explain (labelled “Operation Dessert Storm” on the menu boards), Bun Laden serves Afghan Opium-Browns (Hash Browns are seasonal and have to be imported from Lebanon apparently), or glow-in-the-dark Depleted Uranium Flurries, washed down with a large Coke Bush-Puppy).

“Think of all the work involved (any graphic designer will tell you) in establishing a new brand on the world market, but with Bun Laden all the legwork has been done for us already by a deranged mass murderer. Isn’t everybody happy? Why not just take something horrible like this and divert it into good food and fun, where’s the harm in that?”

“Relatives of the victims?” –I reminded him, as a little boy ran by kitted out with a sherbet-shoe-bomber pack and full-body suicide-burger vest. Or maybe he was just overweight.

“Okay, okay. Our flame-grilled Smokin’ Twin Towers double burger deal might have to go, but the Rumsfeld Rum Babas are here to stay.”

It was hard to argue with Alza Wiri, particularly when he pulled out a chocolate hand-grenade and lobbed it at me. Instinctively, I ducked, but the man behind me from CNN caught it in his teeth. “Man down” I joked, but everyone seemed to be cheering up already...

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