Baghdad, Thursday. Residents of this ancient city awoke a few mornings ago to discover that someone had been by during the night and parked a war in front of their houses.
Local police, militia and politicians are baffled. Sabri al-Ismahi, mayor and Chinese takeaway owner, told The Spoof: "It's incredible. One minute we're a tranquil, law-abiding, and devout city going about our business under the benign gaze of a despotic and blood-crazed dictator, next minute some guy comes along towing this war and leaves it here for us to fall over. What are we supposed to do with it? It's no use to us - we don't need other peoples' wars."
The war itself, by no means new and in need of some refurbishment, appears to be American in origin, though parts of it are British and a few bits seem to be from elsewhere. Your correspondent spoke to a few local journalists, all of whom told the same story: the war was being taken through Iraq on its way to Iran when the wheels fell off, leaving the guys in charge with no option but to abandon it where it was. No-one knew where they had gone, but as they had vanished it seemed as though they expected the Iraqis to sort it out for them.
Local shop-owner Kubaa al-Tamimi is getting frantic. "I'm trying to run a business here. With this war stuck right in front of my shop my customers don't know I'm open. It takes up so much room no-one can get around it. Much more of this and I'll have to close for good. Then who'll feed my goats and children?"
An American spokesperson would say only that "we are looking into the war with some urgency. Trouble is, it's so big - and as it has no wheels we can't back it up or drive it forward. My guess is we'll have to take it apart bit by bit and ship it out piecemeal. No, I don't want to answer questions about who was in charge of it."