17, 1:44 PM PST
Sudden Glut of Spider-Holes Floods Iraqi
TIKRIT, Iraq -- Within
minutes of Saddam Hussein's arrest by American soldiers, Arabic
signs reading "Hole Available for Immediate Occupancy"
sprouted up throughout Iraq.
"It was very apparent to me that my,
ahem... tenant... would not be paying next month's rent,"
said Makrem Zaahir, a landlord in Tikrit.
"Unfortunately, I don't think I will
get as much money from the next renter."
Zaahir is not the only landlord facing
a sudden economic hardship -- an estimated 10,000 spider-holes
are now vacant.
"This is gonna suck ass," declared
Mohammed Akhmed, another landlord. "Potential renters are
already demanding luxuries like running water. Swear to Allah,
my costs have already gone up."
Still others will miss the "blackmail
bonus" they were often able to procure from Hussein.
"Sometimes I'd mention to Saddam that
soldiers had been asking if I'd seen a fugitive genocidal killer
sneaking around, and I'd say I dunno, maybe I did," Zaahir
explained. The next morning, Zaahir would find thousands of American
dollars on his porch.
Although Iraqi landlords aren't happy with
recent developments, Iraqi renters are ecstatic.
"Just last week, I almost moved into
a gutter for 21 dinars a month [or $7 U.S.] because I'm so sick
of living with my parents," said 23-year-old Nassur Chapouk.
"Now I'm moving into one of Saddam's
better spider-holes for only five dinars a month. It's got a
ladder, foam cover to hide the entrance, hard-packed dirt floor,
breathing tube -- it's practically a palace!" Chapouk added.
Despite the unfavorable market pressures
faced by Iraqi landlords, many remained nonplussed by the short-term
"I haven't seen so many vacancies
since all the infidels moved from San Francisco after the Internet
bubble burst," said Ahmir Sahnak, a leading landlord in
"I read about all the problems those
infidel landlords faced, and remember thinking, Thank Allah that
can't happen here -- Saddam's always going to need a few thousand
spider-holes." Sahnak continued.
"It really makes you think about things.
Like renting to terrorists. That's where the cash is now."
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