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Four score and thousands of years ago, there was a king named Achashveirosh and he was up for re-election. As part of his campaign trail, the good king threw a party inviting everyone from the United 127 States of Persia. Queen Vashti, out promoting her new book, could not attend her husband's banquet and citing irreconcilable differences, the king had her killed.

A new first lady needed to be found, so Achashveirosh held a beauty pageant. After months of tireless desperation, the king, being the shallow and superficial man that he was, finally fell in love with a beautiful young lady named Esther, who was not all unpleasant to look at. After their lawyers drew up a pre-nuptial agreement, Achashveirosh held a large banquet on his yacht to celebrate his new-found queen.

Meanwhile, two furloughed federal employees were planning an assassination attempt. A good Samaritan by the name of Mordy Chai overheard their plans and made public their plot. This attempted political coup, known in the Persian Press as Palacegate, gained Mordy Chai favor in the eyes of the king. After years of legal deliberation, the two assassins were found guilty, and since the jury was not hung, the assassins were instead.

Back at the palace, one of the king's top aides, known simply as Haman, had a few ideas of his own. Since Haman was raised in a poor neighborhood, lacking sufficient resources and was left to purge on government subsidies, he was brought up in the arms of discrimination, and was educationally-challenged. Haman wanted to annihilate part of the population, calculating that this would be an easy way to get rid of the citizens who were not going to vote for Achashveirosh, and that this ethnic cleansing would boost Achashveirosh in the polls. In order to pick a day for the mass killings, Haman set up Lotto Shushan, another wonderful government institution.

The citizens who were going to be killed tied ribbons of amnesty around home-made torches and held an all-night vigil in front of the king's palace while singing songs of peace and solidarity. Although they did not attract the king's attention, the press corp fed on the situation, smacking cover stories on all the media outlets including daytime talk shows, practically turning the city of Shushan into a three-ring media circus.

Mordy Chai went to the first lady and implored her to take action, reminding her that they shared an intimate relationship unbeknownst to the king. Distressed by the situation and unable to fit into her new gown, Queen Esther fasted for three days. Much to the dismay of Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig, the queen had a diet plan of her own.

Esther was terrified to go before the king who was engrossed in very important matters of state - the remaining five minutes of the Army-Navy football game. After pulling away the remote from her dear husband, Esther invited him and his buddies to a gala banquet to be held the next evening. All three major networks bid to broadcast the party, but in the end the Persian Broadcasting System (PBS) got to show it. The next evening, guests began arriving hours before the event in sleek magic carpets and the all new aerodynamic bucket-seated two-humped camel. Haman, elated to be invited, came all decked out in his new Armani and flanked by an entourage of people bowing down to him -- sans Mordy Chai.

Meanwhile, inside the palace Queen Esther was mingling with the many socialites, ambassadors, and other faceless royalty. Achashveirosh, curious to know the point of all this and wondering how to spell his name, went over to Esther and asked her the reason for this party. She informed him that someone was trying to terminate part of the population. Achashveirosh, who had no idea what was transpiring in his country, was clueless as to who could have conceived of such a clever plan. He immediately e-mailed a question to Esther: "Who would do such a thing?" Queen Esther had the answer to the question sealed in a larger-than-necessary envelope and guarded by the accounting firm of Hagai and Charvona. After a commercial break and brief drumroll, the envelope was ripped open. "It is Haman!" shouted out the celebrity announcer. The audience gasped in disbelief as Haman was escorted to center stage. "I don't deserve this," exclaimed a shocked Haman. "Seriously, I don't." Haman's 15 minutes of fame were short-lived as he was immediately escorted backstage. Using taxpayers money, he was then brought to a penitentiary in Texas, where he would remain on Death Row, forced to listen to an all Country music radio station until his eventual demise.

Achashveirosh declared that everything Haman owned would become Mordy Chai's, including his palatial estate in the Bahamas, his Grateful Dead CD collection (and the signed Jerry Garcia t-shirt), his pentium laptop and 28.8 baud modem, his entire Saks Fifth Avenue collection of triangular hats, and a lifetime supply of Spam. And so it was with these riches that the Jewish people prospered and began the honored tradition of publishing humorous articles on Purim.


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