HOXIE, Arkansas. Residents of this small town in northeastern Arkansas were abuzz this weekend when police confirmed that Osama Bin Laden had been captured here.
And no one was disappointed when the rumor turned out to be only half-true. bin Laden, the most wanted man on earth, was "captured" live by security cameras at the local 7-11 store with another missing personâ€”Elvis Presleyâ€”by his side as they roamed the aisles.
"Elvis is in here all the time," said Lyle Gene Mergen, owner of the local franchise of the Dallas-based convenience retailing chain. "I respect his privacy, 'cause I understand he's on the run from the IRS. I've had a few tax problems myself."
bin Laden, on the other hand, is new to Ozarks, according to Mergen. "Elvis yelled back at someone and asked if he wanted a pork burrito. This big guy with a towel on his head stands up back by the ice cream freezer and yells 'I'm a freaking Muslim, you hilljack!' They both started laughing, and I gave Elvis his usual Sour Apple Slurpee in the Big Gulp cup."
While bin Laden has criticized the materialism of American culture, he is at the same time fascinated by the glitter and glamour of various entertainment industry icons. "When he came up to the counter he had a large bag of Andy Capp Pub Fries, a Nestle's Crunch ice cream bar and a copy of 'People' magazine," Mergen said. "Elvis says 'What's the magazine for?' and bin Laden says 'Britney's pregnant again.'"
The isolation of the Ozark Mountains has historically attracted those seeking seclusion, and Mergen says he is used to a clientele that includes celebrities and outlaws.
"I had to banÂ Bigfoot from the magazine rack," Mergen says of the ape-like creature that has been spotted in the hills of Arkansas and southern Missouri. "He comes in here to see if his picture is in the tabloids and he ruins them with his grimy paws."
Copyright 2006, Con Chapman