Reports of Osama Bin Laden's whereabouts took a new turn this week when a Pakistani woman reported sighting a tall man in a white robe with matching turban hit his head on a low doorway.
The woman's suspicions about the identity of the man were further aroused when she noticed the entrance led to a recording studio.
So as not to create suspicion, she approached him without revealing who she thought he might be.
"Are you all right?" she asked, with demur innocence.
"No," he said. "How can I be all right? Besides just cracking my head on this low doorway, I'm Osama Bin Laden."
"Really?" she replied, thinking of the $25-million reward for turning him in, as well as her opportunity to contribute to the triumph of justice.
"Yes" he went on. "I haven't been all right since I fled Tora Bora, because it's even hard for me to get out long enough to make my audiotapes."
"My, oh, my," the woman commiserated, "Everybody thinks you're in the remote regions near the Afghan border."
"You'd think they'd know better," he confided. "How could a spoiled rich boy like me live this long without some of the comforts only a city can provide, like a dialysis machine to keep me alive, and takeout food."
"That makes sense," she agreed.
"Yes, it does, but there's no danger the authorities will figure out where I am, because every time I record a tape, we filter out the sounds of the city, like horns and sirens."
"That's very clever," she said. "You'd think that when they see the tapes are filtered they might guess you're in a place where there are background sounds."
"Let's just hope they don't catch on. I don't want them to take away from my next surprise move."
"Oh, a surprise move," she exclaimed. "Want to tell me about it?"
"No," he told her, "because then it won't be a surprise anymore. But just watch. I'm not going to slink around Karachi forever. I long for metropolitan delights in the more developed capitals of the world. Now, if you'll excuse me, my recording session is due to start."
Then he waved goodbye and reentered the doorway, this time remembering to duck.
The woman, excited to shortness of breath, went straight to the nearest police station and reported her astonishing interaction.
Police immediately launched a Karachi-wide search for Bin Laden, vowing to pursue him as part of their apparently somewhat porous terrorist dragnet.
They were, however, shocked when the very next day, Bin Laden called police headquarters and offered to turn himself in.
When asked why he had made the decision, when the police, many of whom are devout Muslims, were doing their utmost to help him evade capture, he replied, "I can't stand it any longer. Hiding out every day, afraid to go outside for fear of getting into a conversation with a stranger who might report me, and having to spend all my time with my four wives, when I could be sitting in a topless club in America, like the martyrs I sent to fly planes into American buildings were doing shortly before their great sacrifice. Worse yet, one of my wives told me I may have misinterpreted The Koran, because, she reminded me, 'Islam' means peace. Praise be to God I didn't, or I'll have to turn myself in. "
"Well, if you insist," the police told him.
"I'll let you know for sure in a day or two," Osama replied, "I don't want to do it and then regret it later, especially at the moment I'm being hanged."
"That's very understandable, revered sheik," the Pakistani police officer replied. Then he added a reassurance that would undoubtedly have infuriated Pakistani President Musharaff, his much wiser leader and devoted American ally in the war on terror. "We must scour the city for you. Before you hang up, tell us your address, so we make sure to avoid it."