GREENPOINT, Bklyn, July 18...Iranian President Ahamadinejad says "We will wipe Israel off the face of the earth." Israeli Prime Minister Olmert responds: "The Iranian threat must be stopped by all possible means." Is nuclear war imminent?
"No way, " says Efraim Durg. "It's not personal, it's business. They're all working together."
Durg, the nominee of the Gambler's Rights Party, has come under severe criticism for not taking a position on the Middle East.
"Well at least I'm not flip-flopping," he joked at a fundraiser held at Golubchiks Tavern last night. The audience, in no mood for Durg's trademark frivolity, booed and stamped.
"The Middle East is a threat to world peace," someone shouted.
This awakened Igor Yopsvoyomatsky, a recent immigrant from Pinsk, who had been snoozing in a dark corner. He leapt to his feet, crying:
"Middle East is gigantic three card monte game organized by sheiks, oligarchs and hedge fund manipulators."
Yopsvoyomatsky, recently appointed foreign policy adviser to the Durg campaign, unfurled a spread sheet, knocking over a short beer and a bowl of bar nuts.
"I have graph showing direct correlation between oil prices and so-called threats in Middle East and other so-called hot spots," he said. "You can clearly see how big powers manipulate price of oil."
A bespectacled young man objected: " Not true. The oil futures market responds to political developments." Yopsvoyomatsky gave him a look of withering disdain.
"You believe in free markets, puny daytrader? Markets and politics are controlled by same people. International incidents are staged to affect oil prices."
Yopsvoyomatsky,a former senior analyst at the Gryzneezihd Institute, pointed to a wet spot on the spreadsheet. "This shows pattern of events carefully arranged by major players to correlate with settlement dates of contracts, short and long positions..." He staggered, a triumphant look in his bleary eyes. "We can track fat cats' every move..."
Durg helped Yopsvoyomatsky to a bar stool and took over. "You can see how the price of oil shot up when Iran threatened Israel."
"Everybody unwound their position in orderly fashion," Yopsvoyomatsky said. "Fancy words for got out with big profit."
"Then the price went down as Condoleeza Rice restrained Israel."
"Everybody purchased cheap,"Yopsvoyomatsky said.
"Then the price spiked when Israel went on maneuvers in the Mediterranean."
"Prices up again,"Yopsvoyomatsky said. He swiped the young man's Sam Adams off the table and drained his date's Cosmopolitan in one gulp. "Did you meet puny daytrader on E-Harmony?" he asked the young woman.
"Ahamadinejad assures the world that there will be no war between Iran and Israel," Durg continued.
Yopsvoyomatsky twisted the young man's tie. "What happens now, daytrader?"
"Prices go down," the young man said in a strangled voice.
Yopsvoyomatsky lurched to the bar and tore off a piece of the spreadsheet. "This is case study of Nigeria," he said. "You have billions invested in oil futures. One hundred thousand chump change euros buys you ten cigarette boats. They speed 85 miles into the Gulf of Guinea into Royal Dutch Shell Bonga field. They shoot a few times, but cannot penetrate fortified platform. No harm done, but Shell shuts down. Price goes up. You make big money. The next day Nigerian militants declare truce. They will not sabotage oil pipelines, they say," He raised a swizzle stick like a baton. "What happens?"
"Price goes down," the audience responded.
"And then you buy..."
Yopsvoyomatsky crumpled the soggy spreadsheet and threw it across the room in disgust. "Iran fires five mobile missiles with possible nuclear warheads that can reach Israel." He raised his swizzle stick.
"Price goes up," the audience shouted as one.
"Next day blogger reveals that it was really a peddler shooting off sparklers from a felafel stand."
"PRICE GOES DOWN!" Durg pushed Yopsvoyomatsky aside, sending him careening into the crowd.
"Let's stop worrying about the Middle East and deal with the important issues," he said. "Legalize marijuana. Put a casino on every corner and let the rest of the world take care of itself."
Meanwhile, Yopsvoyomatsky was pouring his heart out to the daytrader's date.
"I went on E Harmony, but nobody matched my profile. Do you think it is plot?"
Causes Heywood Gould Supports
Leukemia and Lymphomia Association
American Cancer Society
St. Jude's Children Research Hospital