Case of Two Bedouins and a Dead Man

Apr 01, 2000

RAY: It's early in the morning. Two Bedouins are crossing the desert on their camels, when they come across a suitcase in the sand that's partially open. It's stuffed with clothes.

TOM: Talk about obfuscating! That has nothing to do with this question! When you heard this, it was probably two guys walking down the street in New York City.

RAY: No! It has everything to do with the puzzler. The Bedouins come across a suitcase in the sand, but interestingly, they see no tracks of any kind surrounding it. They continue on their journey, heading for the oasis.

TOM: They leave the suitcase there?

RAY: It was Western clothing, oddly enough. It was of no interest to them. They go on, and find another suitcase in the sand. Same thing. It's open, clothes are strewn about, and there are no tracks in the sand.

TOM: They're in a hurry to get to the oasis, because they got dates there, right?

RAY: Right. Dates and figs. Next, they come across a video camera in the sand. A little while later, they find shoes, hats, pants and shirts. A short distance after that, they see a man lying face down, obviously dead, in the sand, grasping a piece of straw. What happened?


TOM: Well, you know, the only thing that had me stumped was the piece of straw.

RAY: Really?

TOM: And that's the biggest clue, of course.

RAY: It is the biggest clue.

TOM: Otherwise, I figured the guy fell out of an airplane.

RAY: So close. He was grasping the short straw. He was part of a party that was trying to make a hot air balloon trip across the desert. And, as they began to lose altitude...

TOM: Someone had to go.

RAY: -- they began to throw off suitcases.

TOM: Oh, this is bogus! The short straw and he held on to it all the way down from 20,000 feet.

RAY: Maybe he had it in his shorts! And they began to throw off suitcases, shoes, and all the clues.

TOM: And finally him.

RAY: And finally, they said, "We're going to crash; someone's got to go." And they had already thrown the sandbags off. And, of course, what do they have? The basket is made out of, what? Straw. They strip off a few pieces. They hastily pull straws and this poor bastard has to jump overboard.

TOM: You have sunk to a new low. You have fallen into the abyss of crap. I have never heard a more bogus...

RAY: I thought...

TOM: -- grasping a straw! I can't believe.

RAY: I think you have failed to grasp the beauty and the elegance of it. There's only one answer. It's a one-answer riddle. The Philistines out there were stumped. And none of you got it, and that's why you think it's bad.

TOM: I don't want to be near your computer when the mail comes in.

RAY: Really, huh?

TOM: You are going to be bombarded.

RAY: If you think this one was bad, wait 'til you hear the next one. Anyway, do we have a winner?

TOM: Of course not. We are just going to give someone the prize, because no one figured this one out. The winner is George Hasapidus.

RAY: I would say, Hasapidus.

TOM: From, of all places, Arlington, Massachusetts.

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