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by John Grant

While the newspapers have been full of President George W. Bush's celebrated War on Terrorism, a far more disturbing item of terrorism-related news has gone largely unreported in the major media. Fortunately, details have reached the ears of Entertainment Geekly, and our Investigative Journalism Dept. has swung into graphic action.

The FBI first became suspicious that the nation might be under attack by hostile foreign elements when repeated reports between 1990 and 1993 in US medical journals showed the rates of cardiac arrest among males aged 40-60 years skyrocketing. In 1994, however, the rates suddenly dropped off again, before beginning to steadily increase once more.

"There seemed to be no reason for this," explained FBI Special Investigator Clancy Grisham, "until one of my assistants pointed out that the 1994 drop coincided precisely with the approval by the FDA of viagra for general use."

Could it be that viagra reduced the risk of heart disease? The clinical trials seemed to show exactly the opposite, which is why the drug was approved only to be available by prescription.

Sifting through the evidence in countless files buried in a Quantico basement seemed to provide no clue, and the observation of Investigator Grisham's assistant was on the road to being dismissed as referring to nothing more than a statistical quirk.

It was then, however, that a breakthrough came. In those instances where the deceased had been under full-scale investigation by the FBI, so that completed inventories of the deceased's abode had been compiled, it was observed that in a statistically highly significant 17% of instances a particular video title had been noted among the deceased's possessions.

This video was called Berserker Alien Nurses from Planet XXX Raunch Hotly in Kabul.

The FBI managed to obtain copies of this clandestine video, and subjected it to intense scrutiny. "Three fine servants of the US public sacrificed their lives," summarized Investigator Grisham.

Further data was coming from the files. Among the relevant victims, 78% were science-fiction fans. Photographs of the interiors of the relevant victims' home showed that, more often than not, junk had been cleared off the floor, as if to minimize potential delays, in a direct trajectory between the couch and the bedroom -- or, in the cases of many of the science-fiction fans, between the couch and the bathroom. At least 10% of the victims had put turbans on their inflatable rubber dolls.

"Finally," says Investigator Grisham, "we were able to analyze the movie using teams of volunteers, each of whom were permitted to watch only thirty seconds of footage from this eight-hour movie in any one day."

Despite the title, the setting of the movie is apparently Anytown, USA. The plot is simplicity itself. A giant flying saucer lands on a Friday evening, and from it pour hundreds or more stunningly attractive alien women wearing nothing but turbans. They sprint into town just as the bars are closing. At this point the formal plot concludes and the opening titles run.

"I've seen some hot stuff in my time," expands Investigator Grisham, "but this one takes the biscuit. We had one guy collapse just trying to get the cellophane off the box."

A fervent investigation began into the origins of the movie, which bore no distributor's logo nor any other unambiguous sign of a production company. "Mickey Mouse dressed as the Sorcerer's Apprentice was clearly a forgery," added Investigator Grisham, "as was the image of the Statue of Liberty. Both were wearing turbans, just for a start. And if Mickey's really hung like that he's in the wrong business."

Examination of the victims' credit-card records revealed there were at least twenty mail-order and internet retail sources of the video within the continental United States, of which the largest was the Manhattan store Times Square Babes-O-O-Rama, discreetly tucked away under the NBC ad.

Proprietor Mike "The Bald" Acci, brought in for questioning, explained that he had no idea where the videos came from.

"I turn up each Monday evening," he explained recently to an EG staffer, "and there's this big truck dumping crates full of Berserker Alien Nurses on the front doorstep. Ain't no invoices with them, so I just sell them anyway. I don't know what's in the movies. I don't watch the stuff, see? I just sell it. I'm a Barney the Dinosaur fan myself."

Under FBI interrogation, Barney the Dinosaur denied all knowledge of Mr. Acci.

Armed with this information, FBI squads under the direction of Investigator Grisham mounted a covert surveillance operation of Times Square Babes-O-O-Rama, and confirmed Mr. Acci's account.

"It took us some weeks before we had a great intuitive leap," says Investigator Grisham with a wry smile, "and decided to follow the truck when it left."

The trail led to New York Harbor, Dock 13, and to the container ship Taliban Pride. Details of further investigations have been suppressed by John Ashcroft, but Investigator Grisham is permitted to summarize the conclusions.

"The truth is truly chilling," he told us. "Sometime in the Fall of 1989, Osama bin Laden conceived the idea of launching upon the US public a porn video so devastatingly raunchy as to be injurious to the health. Near a cave complex forty miles outside Kabul, a complete replica of a small Midwestern town was constructed. The actors -- if such they can be called -- were volunteers recruited from all over London, the otherwise proud capital of Ireland. Other participants were borrowed from Kabul Zoo. Special effects were created by a disgruntled ex-employee of Gerry Anderson, although we've no idea who did the saucer sequences.

"As soon as the movie was completed -- a process that took the makers only ten feverish days -- a whispering campaign was started on the internet to the effect that this was the most explicitly sexual porn flick ever made, and that it was a certain cure for male arousal dysfunction syndrome. The rest was easy -- easy for these enemies of free speech and democracy."

In the wake of these discoveries, FBI repositories were set up clandestinely all over the US for the impounding of copies of the offending tape. An unnamed crematory in Georgia was requisitioned for the disposal of said videos.

"We managed to contain the problem," says Investigator Grisham proudly, "but to this day we have been unable to eliminate it entirely, and certainly there are still copies of Berserker Alien Nurses from Planet XXX Raunch Hotly in Kabul, both original and pirated, available on the market. We do derive some satisfaction from the fact that Taliban losses were actually greater than our own. The mortality rates among their camera crews, editors, sound recorders and so on were devastating, which no doubt accounts for the current sorry state of the Afghan movie industry."

Finally, our Investigative Journalism Dept. sought a comment on the whole affair from the White House. A spokesman would say only: "Look, damn you, it says here it was a pretzel."

The End