Defenestration— A Short Story



By Mort Laitner

There I was—a fly on the wall. A desert dry, dirt-brown, plaster-covered wall. My large eyes scanned the partially shut door. I observed scribbled in Arabic the words,


Five men sat at the table. I listened and tried holding my wings still. A heavy set man wearing a white robe and a long black beard stood and spoke.

“I call this meeting of the Isis Propaganda Committee to order. We only have one item on today’s agenda. That item is the future methods of eliminating our hostages. Ali give us your analysis and recommendations please.”

Ali rose and distributed his report. He was a gaunt young man wearing his military uniform covered with medals and a eye patch.

“Our beheading program was a major propaganda victory. The whole world observed the eyes of those who were about to be decapitated. Even though the western press refused to show the sword’s blade cutting into the neck. Millions more of our followers and the curious went to our websites. Our black costumes invoked the psychological  fear in the armies of Iraq and Syria. Using a Brit to do the cutting was a master stroke. The Europeans went wild, especially the BBC, that one of their own was our executioner. We had them shaking in their pants.

But as you are well aware, after a certain number of decapitations a numbness takes over the viewer’s mind and new approaches have to be developed. I will now ask Muhammad to continue the report.”

As Ali sat down, Muhammad stood at attention and read from the report:

The second phase of the campaign entailed immolation. We caged the Jordanian pilot, covered him in gasoline and videotaped him as he begged for his life. He cried. He wept. He watched to see who had the match. Our soldiers stood by watching, holding their automatic rifles as if this were an every day event. We dressed them in American military uniforms to show the USA that we have stolen their uniforms. We shot close-ups of his tears, and the world found it difficult to watch. Of course the Americans only showed the before pictures and not the during or the after shots. The Crusaders could care less about our soldiers being incinerated by American bombs. Let them understand our system of justice. This will keep them from putting boots on the ground.

“Thank you Muhammad. I will conclude the report and make our committee’s recommendation.” Ali said.

“Based on our past successes we are recommending that the third phase of our campaign be initiated with the next set of hostages. From the tallest building in the city, we stand the hostages, dressed  in Guantanamo-style jumpsuits, in front of a large window. Their hands and legs are bound. We video tape their faces as they are forced to look 10 or 20 flights down to the street level. They beg for their lives. They weep. They shake. We ignore their pleas. A hooded executioner pushes the hostage out the window. Our videographer captures their descent to the street below. The sound of the thud is captured by mikes placed on ground level.  Another camera focuses on the splattered, crumbled body as a English voice warns Crusaders to stay out of our caliphate. The scene is reminiscent of 911. Bad memories will be rekindled in their minds.

Muhammad added, “The world hasn’t seen defenestration for centuries, not since Prague in the 1600’s.”

Ali then called for a vote. “All in favor of defenestration as the third phase of our hostage reduction program please raise your hand.”

As five hands rose, I flew out of the opened window, fearing that one of those hands might crush my body against the dry wall.





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