Sunday, June 08, 2003

10 Years Ago, two unassuming girls went to vacation in Greece to get away from things for a while when halfway through the flight, they were hijacked by four Arab terrorists, and their destination changed to Iraq.

Once the plane landed, the US Embassy saw that every one of those people was returned to the US safely—and the hijackers apologized for the inconvenience. They never intended to crash the plane unless they were faced with resistance. But after a two-week adventure in the streets of Baghdad, the two girls' opinion of the country changed. It wasn't that bad. And there were a few cute boys around that looked like they were into having fun.

Now...10 years later, these two girls were called upon by the president to go back to the country and help the US's mission to aid the starving, misplaced and now free Iraqis.

"Like, who ELSE would you send?"

* * *

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are BACK with an all-new adventure that's TOTALLY politically correct…

B a c k t o I r a q

Chapter 1

April 18, 2003

"The day Iraq is free is the day that Americans can celebrate."
-Some boring politics guy

“Ashley! Where are my shoes girl!” yelled Mary-Kate from across the hall.

"Which ONES?" replied Ashley. "I don't know where your stupid shoes are, I'm packing my bathing suits. I have six bikini and two one pieces...and that's just in the FIRST closet!"

"Ugh! Where are my pink and rad cherry ones? The ones I wore for Thomas three weeks ago; like this is TOTALLY not cool."

Mary-Kate threw all of her things out of the closet, and, red in the face, she let out a scream. It was only two days before going to Iraq, and Mary-Kate felt like she had NOTHING packed yet. Even though she had six suitcases, neither her nor Ashley had any idea how long this trip was going to be. She was so fed up she was ready to just go out to the patio and have a glass of lemonade under the sun. It was another beautiful day in Malibu, and Mary-Kate felt like she was wasting her day PACKING.

But Ashley knew she had to get things together. She had a compass, a pocket translator so she could speak to the Iraqis and understand them, and totally cool calculator which could give good exchange rates for Iraq money and American money. Of course, by the sound of Ashley's
whining, however, Ashley knew that it would be HER that would be the one soaking up the culture, and NOT Mary-Kate. All Mary-Kate cared about was her stupid cell phone and her boyfriend Gavin, whom she was now going to have to leave behind.

But Mary-Kate was on the phone with Jasmine, who was TOTALLY psyched for
Mary-Kate and Ashley's upcoming trip.

"It is SO cool that you're going to save all those baby animals in Iraq!" she wailed.

"DUH Jasmine, we saved baby animals in Alaska in the Great Alaska Sleepover, don't you remember? We're going to Iraq to save starving PEOPLE! DUH!" Mary-Kate astutely reminded her.

"You're right, Mary-Kate, but gosh it is so cool to have such two cool girls like you and Ashley representing our great country."

"Yeah, this country's cool," Mary-Kate said, still rummaging through her things to
find her special pair of lucky clogs.

"So anyways, Mary-Kate, what're you going to do about Gavin?" Jasmine said, and
Mary-Kate suddenly remembered.

"Oh my GOSH! I TOTALLY forgot about Gavin! I'm going to totally miss him of course! But I don't know how long we're going to be out there!" she said. Then she called for Ashley. "Hey Ashley! How long are we staying in Iraq?"

"Like I know?" Ashley replied, carrying another basket full of clothes. "C'mon Mary-Kate, you gotta go get your laundry out of the dryer or Mom is going to FLIP."

"Okay okay! Hey! Are we going to that party tonight?" Mary-Kate said. Ashley replied by simply flipping her head up and walking away grunting. How could Mary-Kate think about a party when they're going to go to a country to save people's lives and give them their freedom?

* * *

Micah and Div were sitting in the solarium, waiting impatiently for MK and Ashley, when Mary-Kate came out in her yellow bikini and Div mocked a hoot and holler. Mary-Kate rolled her eyes.

"Duh! Shut up!"

"Don't worry Mary-Kate," Div said, "Micah just has a crush on you!" he started laughing.

Micah turned bright red. "Nuh-uh! Stop lying Div!" he shouted.

"Whatever," Mary-Kate said, and started looking again for her shoes. "Hey you guys seen my shoes?"

"Nope," Div said. "Have we Micah? Nope--no shoes round here, right Micah?" Div said, nudging Micah who nodded reluctantly.

Mary-Kate was looking right at Div when he started to crack a grin. "Hey! You took them didn't you! Don't lie!" she yelled, pointing a finger.

Div was on the defensive. "Hey, I don't know what you're talking about MK, we haven't seen any shoes!" he said, backing away. But every inch he backed up, Mary-Kate got closer, her eyes squinted and her finger right at his nose.

"Gimmie my shoes!" she yelled, and he started laughing. "You're not gonna be laughing in a second! I'm going to kick your butt, Div!"

"Div, give her the shoes!" Micah said.

"Micah!" Div said, angrily. Micah shrugged his shoulders apologetically to Mary-Kate.

"Thank you Micah," Mary-Kate said. "Where are they?"

Micah pointed to the end of the solarium, toward a closet and a washer/dryer room. Mary-Kate shook her head. "Div, I hate you."

"They're behind the dryer," Micah said, looking down.

"You're lucky you have nice FRIENDS, Div!" Mary-Kate scolded. Div just rolled his eyes and laughed.

"You're gonna miss me," Div said. "You know it."

"Yeah right," Mary-Kate said. "Div who?" she added as she walked to the washer/dryer room.

* * *

Saying good-bye was never one of Mary-Kate's Things to Do EVER—but sometimes it had to be done. And this time, she had to tell Gavin, the boy she's been with for three months, that it was going to be OVER...just for a little while. But who knows, thought Mary-Kate. Could be

"I totally hate doing this to you Gavin," Mary-Kate said as she approached his porch. He was sitting outside, a little sweaty after playing a heated five-on-five basketball game in his backyard. He was holding a basketball in his hands, idly dribbling it while Ashley came to him.

"What's up MK? Why the sudden phonage?" Gavin said coolly.

"Look, I totally love you, okay? You have to know that first of all," she said.

"Yeah I totally know that; I totally love you too," Gavin replied. Mary-Kate's heart was aching and melting at the same time--she felt as if it was cooking in a microwave.

"I have to go to Iraq for a while, me and Ashley were called on by the president to help out the people in Iraq. I'm SO sorry," she added.

"Oh man," Gavin said, tears welling in his eyes, or it was sweat, "how long?"

"I don't know--it could be for a real long time, Gav," she said, coming closer.

"You and Ashley...you have this like...higher calling," Gavin said sincerely, stopping his dribbling. "I totally understand. It's actually really cool that you guys are helping out
those people in Iraq. Our nation rocks," he added emotionally.

"Yeah, I know our country is great, and we really want to do this...thank you so much for understanding Gavin! I like love you even more now I think," Mary-Kate said, and they kissed. It was the best kiss EVER, she later recorded in her diary.

Later that day, Ashley and Mary-Kate finished packing, and made a promise that they would never fight or argue ever again about anything—Iraq was dangerous enough, they agreed.

Chapter 2

Ash and MK—President Calling!

"It is my pledge and my privilege to free the people of Iraq, and give them plenty of provisions, such as luncheons and juice boxes."
-The coolest president EVER, DUH! President George W. Bush

President Bush was already waiting for Ashley and Mary-Kate when they arrived after spending lunch with their parents. He wasn't in the oval office; he wasn't in the halls or the corridors; he wasn't in the bedroom; rather, he was right at the front door, wearing a beautifully elegant navy blue suit.

"Wow!" Ashley said, "Fit for a king!" she added, admiring his suit. Bush blushed and patted her on the back.

"Only in my dreams," he said, laughing. "Hey MK!" he greeted. Mary-Kate curtseyed politely and smiled. They were soon joined by his wife Laura and his daughters Jenna and Barbara who looked totally tripped out.

"Hey girls!" Jenna and Barbara said, grabbing the two, and hugging them close. "You guys are SO brave!"

"Hey Jenna! Hey Barbara! You guys look SO good!" Mary-Kate said, looking them up and down. "You're so hip!"

"We get it from YOU!" Jenna said. "You guys have GOT to come see our new room! It's SO awesome!" Barbara said.

"Now, girls, Mary-Kate and Ashley have a very important mission to represent this great nation, the United States of America, and protect its freedom," George reminded the girls. He lingered, then added, "You've got TEN minutes," he chided.

"Thanks Daddy!" exclaimed Jenna, who then grabbed Mary-Kate and Ashley and drug them upstairs to their new room.

Laura looked at George and smiled warmly. She knew her husband wasn't going to be that strict—not with the two brightest and most hip girls in Washington D.C.!

* * *

"Wow!" Ashley said as they entered the large, beautifully decorated bedroom. The room was separated by an elegant curtain of black, gold, and bright purple beads. Behind the curtain was Barbara's room. As Mary-Kate and Ashley toured the room they missed no opportunity to gasp
or look in awe at how gorgeous the room was. In the middle was the bed which was king-sized and double-heart-shaped. Ashley lept onto the bed, and bounded up and down as if she were bouncing on a cloud.

"This bed is SO cool," Ashley said, spreading her arms all over the down comforter. "I could fall asleep like RIGHT NOW!"

Jenna and Barbara laughed to each other. "It's so cool that we know another set of twins, and who cooler than you two?" Jenna said.

"We like you guys a lot too," Mary-Kate said. "You guys are so awesome."

"Yeah, and this bed is SO cool!" Ashley added, bouncing again.

"Wait till you see MY bed!" Barbara interjected, moving through the curtain.

When Mary-Kate and Ashley came into Barbara's room, they saw that Barbara had a
smaller room, but it was still SO cool. They each had two TVs, and Barbara had a small
kareoke dance floor that she was walking past when Ashley jumped on her bed, and tried bouncing--but the bed, which was only a queen size and was boring and square, barely
moved. Ashley frowned.

"This bed isn't as fun," she said sadly. "But it's still cool I guess."

Barbara ignored the remark and turned on the stereo at the corner of her room, then turned on

"Omigosh, is TRL on?" Ashley said, suddenly stopping her bouncing on Barbara's bed.

They started to watch TV when George called from downstairs. "Mary-Kate! Ashley! It's time!"

Mary-Kate and Ashley looked at each other, then they looked at Jenna and Barbara, and gave them a hug. "It was so cool to see you guys again," Mary-Kate said. "We'll totally keep in touch, won't we Ashley?"

"Jenna's bed is so cool," Ashley said absently.

* * *

Mary-Kate and Ashley agreed that it was totally cool to see Jenna and Barbara again,
and were sad when they had to leave. But they had bigger things to do. George looked them
both in the eyes and smiled confidently when they came into the oval office.

"When you guys get there, I promise you will get the utmost respect and best treatment the US
can offer," he said.

"We're totally psyched," Mary-Kate said.

"You'll be flying in a private jet, with only a few attendants on board."

"This is going to be so cool," Ashley said.

They hugged the president good-bye, and were on their way to save Iraq from anarchy-prone terrorists and to make the people happy.
* * *

Ashley sprawled out on an L-shaped couch on the private jet, and turned on the television, watching idly. Mary-Kate was searching through some provisions. There were boxes of Luncheonables, which were probably the coolest thing created since the original lunch-able. There were other boxes of food, juice, and emergency clothes. Mary-Kate found one box that had a chocolate cookie cake and opened it.

“Hey, Ash, look, we got a cake,” Mary-Kate said, smiling.

Ashley looked up, but didn’t look at the cake. She just smiled. “Cool.”

She closed her eyes and fell asleep, thinking about horses and chocolate milk. Mary-Kate couldn’t stop moving around, but she opened up a luncheon-able, and started eating. She leaned over to Ashley, and whispered, “You’re in charge of the food.”

Ashley stirred, and Mary-Kate nodded to herself. She wasn’t getting stuck with the FOOD AGAIN!

Chapter 3

When Girls Attack Iraq

"It's all about 'it' and when you talk about 'it', you can't have 'it' without Mary-Kate and
Ashley Olsen"
-Charles Lofton, their awesome agent

After the jet landed, Mary-Kate and Ashley were taken to Baghdad where they were greeted by hundreds of cute marines and their tour guide, Marco. Ashley wondered if Marco remembered them from the last time they were there; and she was surprised when he did.

"MK and A! Great! You're here!" he said, and was joined by Lt. Gen. Jay Garner, who was patting him on the back.

"Thank God, we couldn't wait!" Garner said, smiling brightly. He took off his sunglasses and shook Mary-Kate and Ashley's hands. "We've got your rooms set up and everything!"

"Awesome!" Mary-Kate said. "Well, can you show us now? These bags are heavy," she said, slumping a little bit, carrying her cool purple duffle bag.

"I can't wait to see the city," Ashley said.

"Oh you'll love it!" Garner said.

With that, they all left the premises, and on the way, Mary-Kate and Ashley greeted the Iraqi people. With their best smiles, they blew a few kisses while they rode in the mint blue Hummer that Garner called "My Second Car". Mary-Kate and Ashley laughed so hard they almost fell out
of the jeep.

* * *

Their room was decorated with Islamic flare, and Mary-Kate was already going into her drawers, checking out the Iraq garb. She winced in disgust as she pulled out some of the female attire.

"What fad is THIS?" she exclaimed. "You can't do ANYTHING with this!"

"Duh, it's what they WEAR here, Mary-Kate," Ashley said, looking out her window at the peaceful city.

"Yeah but it is SO lame!" Mary-Kate said. "What are you LOOKING at?"

"Nothing," Ashley said, "just chill. Come on, let's get unpacked so we can go hit some sites," she added, putting her clothes away.

"All right, FINE," Mary-Kate said. "Omigosh, I wonder how Mom and Dad are doing."

"Don't worry," Ashley said, "we'll call them later. I'm sure they know we're all right."

Mary-Kate agreed, and the two put the rest of their clothes away, then went to the mezzanine and met with Garner and Marco, and a cute Iraqi boy named Usef. The five of them went outside, and began walking around the town. Usef introduced himself, and Mary-Kate nearly melted.

"I come from Nasiriya, but my family lives in Baghdad," he said cooly. "I'm so happy that you two are here. I've heard so much about you." He smiled at them.

"Omigosh Ashley, he is SO cute," she said.

"Don't have a breakdown, MK, sheesh!" Ashley said, trying not to raise her voice so that Usef could hear. "So where are we going exactly?" she said louder.

"We're going downtown," Marco said. "We have to get Lt. Gen. Garner back to his command post, and we want you guys to see some of the city."

"Cool," Ashley said. She didn't realize that Usef was looking at her the entire trip.

* * *

A cool breeze blew through the air as the Hummer came to a stop, and everybody got out. Waiting for them was a large crowd of Iraqis and marines. But the scene wasn't as calm as everyone had hoped. There seemed to be a great stand-off going on. Some of the Iraqis were
holding rocks in their hands, and some were carrying signs. Some of the signs read "Go Home Americans!" and "We Don't Want Your President". The marines were holding their guns. Mary-Kate and Ashley looked around slowly, and then Mary-Kate gulped hard. Uh-oh, she mouthed to Ashley. Ashley nodded to her. Garner approached a marine outside a large palace-sized building, and spoke to one of the marines. After speaking with him, he delicately came back over to everyone with a frown on his face.

"Sorry girls, it seems like the Iraqi people might be rioting soon...we're trying to calm them down, but some of them may not comply. They have already threatened our men a few times," he said solemnly.

"So wait...we can't go around town?" Mary-Kate said.

"MK, come ON can't you see what's going on?" Ashley said.

"Well SORRY! Isn't there anything we can like...do?" Mary-Kate asked, looking around at some of the angry faces. She then looked at Usef. "Usef, do something!"

"I don't understand it," Usef said, "I don't know why they would want to fight Americans after everything they have just done for us."

"That's right," Marco said, "if someone gave me MY freedom for the first time in my life, I know I'd be happy, not angry."

"It just doesn't make any sense," Usef said. "But I don't know if I can reach them...they might think I am a traitor."

"That's SO stupid," Mary-Kate said. "Like, I don't get why they don't LOVE America right now..." she paused, then said, "we're gonna have to SHOW them."

"Mary-Kate what are you talking about?" Ashley said, inching closer to her.

"HEY YOU IRAQI PEOPLE!" called Mary-Kate. Ashley couldn't believe her eyes OR her ears. Was Mary-Kate ACTUALLY going to try and do this? Then again, she couldn't understand what they had against America. Could they really be THIS ungrateful?

Everyone's attention turned to Mary-Kate, who now quivered a little bit. She desperately needed Ashley by her side. But Ashley couldn't make herself go up and make a stand with her sister. Mary-Kate didn't stop there, however. She didn't back down.

"What are you so MAD about?" she said. "Don't you know that we FREED you from some like evil dictator or something? I mean COME ON!"

No one spoke. The Iraqi protestors just stood in awe. The marines lowered their weapons. Then, suddenly, one Iraqi dropped his rock. It landed with a loud THUD--and everyone turned and stared at him. He looked at Usef who was standing next to Ashley, and getting closer and
closer to her.

"Do you believe this!" the protestor said to Usef. "Do you stand for what this girl says!"

Usef began shaking so hard that he felt he was going to pass out. He knew that his people were capable of horrible things and that he didn't want to share the same fate as a terrorist or Sadam Hussein.

He opened his mouth to speak, but only cleared his throat. The protestor came closer. Mary-Kate jumped in front. "Hey!" she shouted. The protestor looked down at her angrily, and she backed away. The protestor came closer to Usef, who wanted to hold Ashley's hand. But Ashley was backing away toward Garner and Marco.

"You! You speak to me!" he shouted to Usef. He was now standing right in front of him.

"Yes," Usef blurted. "I do...I do..."

"We have not had power for the last week--we have been told lies by these Americans--and we want them out--and you do not!"

"No...they are not lying...they are trying to protect you all," Usef said.

The protestor spat on the ground.

"You're a fool," the protestor hissed. Usef backed away even further. The protestor simply moved toward him, his eyes threatening and his demeanor vicious. No one knew what to do.

"Please don't hurt him," Ashley said desperately, finally coming forward. "We're just trying to help you."

Usef looked at her with complete awe. It was not unlike the look she was getting from everyone else standing around.

"What do you plan to do then?" the protestor said, still looking at Usef.

"Mister Garner?" she said, turning to Garner. "We brought a bunch of um...really cool Luncheonables. Lunch-ables fit for a luncheon. Can we go get some?" she turned to the protestor. "We'll feed you."

"Yeah," Mary-Kate chimed in.

"Come on, Mary-Kate," Ashley said, and the two found each other and locked hands. Ashley could tell Mary-Kate was SO scared. Her hand was shaking uncontrollably. Ashley knew she had to calm her down. "Hey," she said to her, "it's all right, come on."

Mary-Kate looked at her and nodded, trying to be confident--but didn't pull it off very well. Garner approached them and put a hand on Ashley's shoulder.

"That was very brave," he said, "America should be proud of both of you. But I'm not sure that will help the situation. They have been so ungrateful so far...I just don't know what will help."

"Everything's poss-able if it's luncheon-able," Mary-Kate chimed.

"Well," Garner said dubiously, "you go on ahead, and we'll try to keep the peace here."

Mary-Kate and Ashley exchanged looks. They TOTALLY didn't know what was going to happen next.

"Hi," Usef said, approaching them. "I think your idea is good," he said to Ashley as Mary-Kate went to the jeep. "I hope it works."

"Thanks," Ashley said, smiling. He IS cute, she thought to herself. "We'll be back soon."

With that, Ashley joined Mary-Kate and the two rode off with Marco, while Garner tried to keep order with the protestors.

* * *

"You guys are brave little girls, dudes," Marco said, cooly. "I hope they get into it."

"Thanks," Mary-Kate said, and then turned to Ashley. "Hey, I think that boy likes you."

"Who? Usef? No, we're just friends—" Ashley said.

"It's okay, I mean, I think he's cute but he obviously likes you and I think you like him, too," Mary-Kate said in a resigned little voice.

"No, really, I don't think--"

"Come on, Ashley, I saw the way he was looking at you when you were talking to those protestors. It's okay. I'm not mad."

"Are you SURE?" Ashley said. She didn't know how to feel. She looked out at the desert plains, trying not to lose her composure.

"Yeah," Mary-Kate said. "I wasn't gonna try to like MARRY him or anything. I mean I do still love GAVIN. I just thought he's cute. I guess it's all right...I think you two would make a really nice couple."

"Thanks MK," Ashley said. "I can't wait till we get the food, though," she added, "I'm TOTALLY hungry."

"Totally!" Mary-Kate said, "Like how could we NOT be? We haven't eaten since like the plane ride!"

"Omigosh, don't you love the scenery here?" Ashley said, smiling with Mary-Kate. She put her arm around her shoulder.

"It's totally amazing," Mary-Kate agreed.

Marco smiled as the two held each other, riding off into the sunset.

Chapter 5

An Iraqi Versus Democracy

"The Islamic people don't understand democracy because throughout their lives, they have lived under only one ruler, one supreme ruler, and could never do anything about it. It was despotism, and freedom was a myth."
-HUH?????????? WHAT-EVERRRR!!!!

“Where are the luncheonables?” Mary-Kate shrieked as she searched vigorously through plastic bags. “I KNOW we had some!”

“Uh-oh,” Ashley said, suddenly stopping. “I think I…” she trailed off.

“You think you WHAT?” Mary-Kate yelled, throwing a bag on the floor.

“I might have…left them on the jet,” she said finally. Mary-Kate nearly FLEW out of her own skin.

“WHAT!?!?” she screamed.

“Mary-Kate, chill out, I’m sure we can find something ELSE to give them,” Ashley said.

“Well what? We have to HURRY Ashley or else they’ll start another WAR! And it’ll be OUR fault!” Mary-Kate paused, then pointed a finger at Ashley’s chest. “Correction—it’ll be YOUR fault! Don’t think I’m going to take a fall for YOU!”

“Hey! I’m the one who stopped them from throwing anything!” Ashley yelled. She then calmed herself, and lowered her voice. “Look, we can find something else to give them. Maybe they don’t want food.”

“Who knows WHAT they want!” Mary-Kate said, looking again through the bags. “Just help me FIND something!”

“Don’t worry,” Ashley said, trying to sound confident, but totally didn’t. She searched for something useful.

“That’s easy for you to say,” Mary-Kate said, “you’re always all chilled out like lemon iced tea, and here I am trying to SOLVE a problem and you just sit there.”

Ashley wanted to grab her sister by her THROAT but she stopped herself. She took a moment, and stopped looking through a bag, leaving her hand on some kind of box. “Look, I’m really sorry,” she said quietly. Ashley could feel tears well up in her eyes. “I’m really sorry Mary-Kate,” she sobbed.

Mary-Kate stopped. She looked over at Ashley, and sighed. She couldn’t yell anymore. So she went to her sister and put a hand on her shoulder. “Hey, Ash, come on,” Mary-Kate said. “You’re the cool one.”

Ashley looked up at her, her face red and swollen with tears, “Thanks, Mary-Kate.”

Mary-Kate smiled at her, then put her hand on the box that Ashley had been touching. She looked down and her eyes widened. “What is it?” Ashley said.

“Oh my God, Ash,” she said. “We could give them CAKE!”

“Cake?” Ashley said, now looking down at the box. It was the Entemenns Chocolate Cookie Cake with icing that read “Good luck, Mary-Kate and Ashley!” Ashley clutched the box as if it were buried treasure. “Cake!”

They looked at each other and said in unison: “EVERYBODY LOVES CAKE!”

They both tried grabbing the box, causing them to fall over. They both laughed heartily, then Ashley let Mary-Kate take the cake, and the two rushed out of the room faster than the wind blowing through the room.

* * *

The sun was beginning to set. Marco drove as fast as he could back to the palace so Mary-Kate and Ashley could attempt saving the lives of Iraqis and marines.

“This is totally going to rock,” Marco said. “I don’t think these guys have even HEARD of cake,” he joked.

“This is no time for jokes, Marco,” Mary-Kate said sternly. “This is about life and DEATH.”

“Totally. Inappropriate,” Ashley added.

“Sorry,” Marco said.

“It’s okay Marco,” Mary-Kate said cheerily, “we still think you’re totally awesome. Just not very funny.”

They all laughed, and Marco sped up a bit so they could reach the destination faster.

When they reached the rendezvous, the situation was the same—well, it was a little worse. The marines had their guns drawn again, and a few of them had cuts on their faces—which could only mean one thing: the Iraqis had begun throwing their rocks. Mary-Kate and Ashley found Garner and Usef with a few bruised marines, and Mary-Kate put the box of cake down on the ground next to one cute one.

“What’s your name?” Mary-Kate said to the marine with the biggest cut on his face.

“Tobey,” the marine said.

“Are you hurt bad?” Ashley said.

“They started throwing rocks,” Garner broke in. “We just don’t know what to do. We don’t want to open fire. Now that would be downright inhumane. And we’re not like that. We’d never hurt anyone.”

“What’d you get?” Usef said, looking at the box. “What is this?”

“Silly, you’ve never seen a chocolate cookie cake before?” Ashley said, opening the box with him. They exchanged looks, and Ashley sheepishly turned away. Usef smiled.

“Where are the luncheonables?” he said. “I mean, it is all right if you could not—”

“I totally forgot them,” Ashley said, “I’m real sorry Usef, I let everybody down,” she added sadly. “It’s all my fault that everybody got hurt.”

Usef put a hand on her shoulder tenderly and smiled. “No. You have done well. I have never seen a cookie so big before. It looks very good.”

Ashley tried to smile, and took the box. She turned around, and Mary-Kate stopped her for a moment.

“I can do this if you want, I mean if you’re nervous or whatever,” Mary-Kate said.

“No,” Ashley said, “thanks.” They hugged each other, and Ashley took a deep breath.

As she approached the main protestor, he signaled for everyone to lower their rocks and signs. He approached Ashley cautiously, and looked at the box as if it were carrying something very mysterious.

“What have you brought?” he said.

“It’s called cake,” Ashley said. “Have you ever heard of cake?”

“Do I look stupid?” the protestor said, inching toward her.

“No, no I’m sorry,” Ashley said. “I’m sorry, I should have never…”

“I love cake,” he said simply. “Do not turn your back.” Ashley stopped. “My name is Al-Mohammad Asad.”

“I’m Ashley, Ashley Olsen,” she said.

“What kind of cake is it?” he said.

“It’s um…chocolate chip cookie cake,” she stammered. She tried making eye contact, but it was like looking directly at the sun. But when she did, she saw that he was smiling.

“Open it,” he said.

She opened the box, and allowed him to look at it. He peered in, and read the message. He looked back up at her. “This cake was for you?”

“Yeah, um, it was from some friends,” she said. “You speak um, English well.”

“My parents live in America,” he said. “They say it is a great country. I do not believe them. I believe it is evil and full of scoundrels.” He looked at Ashley intently. “But my parents, they do not listen. They have own values. They have their own ways of life. You see? Here. We had our own way of life. Here. It is taken away. By you.”

“No,” Ashley said, “It’s like…we…want you guys to be happy. We want you to…just…um…have your cake,” she said, handing the cake to him, “and eat it to.” She smiled broadly. Al-Mohammad smiled.

“You are brave little girl,” he said. “Tell you what,” he continued, “you bring us more of this, we will not throw any more rocks.”

Ashley nodded. “Oh sure, I’m sure we can get more of these.”

“I don’t mean cake,” he said. “I mean…good will. Bravery. You just show up. You don’t have to bring anything. But you must not run. And you must not leave.” He paused dramatically, and took a piece of the cake. He put it in his mouth, and chewed slowly. He smiled and sighed. He looked at Ashley again. “Tonight we give you small celebration. Welcome to Iraq, Ashley Olsen.”

“Actually, we’ve been here before, me and Mary-Kate,” Ashley said. “But…thank you. We’ll totally be there.”

They exchanged smiles, and Ashley turned back to everyone. She looked directly at Mary-Kate, then closed her eyes and bit her lip as if she couldn’t believe what just happened. She smiled, and Mary-Kate breathed a sigh of relief.

“Well?” Mary-Kate asked. Ashley looked at everyone. “He’s not gonna like kill us or something?”

“NO stupid,” Ashley said. “We’re all going to have a party!”

“No WAY!” Mary-Kate said. “That’s SO cool!”

“Totally,” Ashley said. She looked at Usef and smiled.

“I am glad you are all right,” Usef said.

“Were you like TOTALLY scared?” Mary-Kate said. Her nervous energy had returned. She was nearly jumping up and down with excitement.

“Mary-Kate!” Ashley shouted. “CHILL!”

“Sorry!” Mary-Kate said. “So like what happens now?”

“We’ve gotta get ready for the biggest party EVER,” Ashley said, smiling. She looked over at Al-Mohammad, who smiled back at her. “Iraq style!”

Chapter 6

Iraq Strikes Back (The Party Showdown)

“We need more people who can shake their money-makers, not just shake hands. This is a time for real diplomacy. Raise your glasses, shake your, er, hips.”
-Our TOTALLY funny dad

While Ashley was video conferencing on her cell phone with President Bush, Mary-Kate was on her cell phone talking to Jasmine, sounding totally psyched.

“You should’ve heard it! You should’ve been here!” she exclaimed. “Jasmine it was SO fresh! We thought we were totally dead.”

“That’s awesome that you’re not,” Jasmine said, “what’s it like over there?”

“Totally BORING,” Mary-Kate said. “We’re supposed to have this party tonight? But like…we have NO idea what the Iraqis do for fun.”

“What did you do the last time you were there?” Jasmine asked.

“Uh, like I KNOW? We were like six years old, Jasmine. I think we sang songs or something. Ashley’d remember. But she’s on the phone with President Bush.”

“That guy’s totally old,” Jasmine said.

“Yeah but he’s REAL cool,” Ashley said, looking over at Mary-Kate who was on their bed.

“Well, like,” Jasmine continued, “so did you guys like save those people yet?”

“I don’t know, I guess it takes time and stuff,” Mary-Kate said. “You know, at first we were like…we don’t want this war? Now we’re like…those guys are WEIRD. They SHOULD live like we do. Hey Ashley!” she shouted. “Tell them to bring these guys like some cell phones and stuff,” she said. Jasmine laughed. “I’m totally serious, Jasmine these people need a CLUE.”

“It’s so cool you’re saving the Islams. I think like the Islams are probably the whole problem with the world right now,” Jasmine said.

“You’re so smart, Jasmine,” Mary-Kate said.

“Mister President, when can the cakes get here?” Ashley said.

“Please, please Ashley, call me George,” George said. “How many are going to be at this party?”

“Probably like a few hundred people,” Ashley said, “it’s supposed to be big.”

“Okay, we’ll send six hundred to be safe. Besides, no one can eat a cake by themselves, it’s unpossible,” he said.

“You haven’t seen ME eat a cake have you?” Ashley said, and George laughed.

“Hey do you want to talk to the girls?” he said.

“Um, we should probably get ready and stuff,” Ashley said, “but tell them we totally said HELLO! And that we LOVE THEM!”

“Will do. Okay. I just ordered the cakes to be sent. They should be there shortly,” he said.

“Awesome. Okay, well, thanks again Mister Presid—I mean, George!” Ashley said, giggling.

“No, thank YOU,” George said, “you two make me so proud, and America proud. You have certainly reassured my confidence for sending you there, and I wish I could be there with you. Infortunately, I am so busy here, what with the tax cut problem and taking care of the girls, you know…but we are all proud of you.”

“Thanks, George. We’re like, SO grateful you sent us here now…I think tonight is gonna ROCK,” Ashley said, and the two hung up. She then turned to Mary-Kate and smiled. “We should be getting those cakes anytime now.”

Mary-Kate was looking again at the Iraqi woman attire. “I am NOT wearing that,” she said.

Ashley shook her head. “I told you you don’t HAVE to MK, sheesh! Come on, we totally have to get ready soon.”

After what seemed like FOREVER to Ashley, Mary-Kate came out of the bathroom dressed in a desert-yellow tank top that left a little slit of her belly showing. Below that she wore paper white shorts that exposed most of her legs. On her feet were her rad cherry clogs. She puckered her cherry red lips, and then smoothed them over each other. She looked at Ashley who was applying her make-up.

“Check ME out,” Mary-Kate said, still standing at the door.

“Hold on,” Ashley said, finishing the touches on her eyes. She blinked a few times, and then turned around. She gasped, and clapped loudly. “Wow, that looks so good!”

“Thanks,” Mary-Kate said, trying to sound like she was shrugging it off. “So, are we ready?”

“Let’s go,” Ashley said, smiling. The two walked out, arms locked, to the lobby, where they hoped to find a lot of cakes and other sweets ready for the taking.

Marco was waiting for them along with Tommy Franks and ten marines. They were all holding boxes. Mary-Kate and Ashley emerged from their hotel and were all smiles when they saw the entourage of cakes that would accompany them and help them win the Iraqis’ approval.

* * *

As the night grew, lights sparsely illuminated the downtown area, while a single hummer drove through the streets, carrying what Mary-Kate and Ashley hoped would be the answer to the mess that was going on. When they reached the rendezvous, they were happily greeted by Garner, and the rest of his marines. The protestors had not shown up yet.

“Where are the Iraqis?” asked Ashley, getting off of the hummer, carrying a bookbag. “They’re supposed to meet us here.”

“We haven’t heard from them yet, Ashley,” Garner said, “we’ve had to upgrade our awareness a bit. Not meant to scare you guys, of course.”

Ashley noticed the marines were armed, and some had their fingers very close to the triggers. She looked at Garner. “Maybe they’re just late. MK and me are late ALL THE TIME. It’s no big deal. We’ll just wait.”

And so they did. And still, the Iraqis did not show up. Many of the streets were very quiet. At around nine o’clock, Mary-Kate started to get nervous.

“What if they’re like…going to ambush us or something?” Mary-Kate said to Ashley. “Omigosh, that would totally be NOT cool.”

“Hey,” Usef said, appearing out of nowhere it seemed. He approached the two girls, and smiled. “Still not here?”

Ashley shook her head. Usef sat beside her. Mary-Kate stood up.

“Okay, well, you guys probably have stuff to talk about. I gotta go ask…mister…Franks…something…yeah,” Mary-Kate said, trailing off. She left the two of them alone, walking slowly away.

Ashley shook her head and laughed, then looked at Usef. “So…I guess it’s not a big deal…that they’re late…right?”

Usef shrugged. “I thought I knew my own people very well. It appears I do not. I know that if I were offered cake, I would certainly show up.”

Ashley burst out laughing. Usef looked at her, furrowing his eyebrows. “Sorry,” she said, giggling. “It just sounded funny.” They looked each other in the eyes. Her eyes were twinkling.

“Hey!” shouted Franks from behind them. They turned around. There were people marching. Hundreds. Maybe thousands. It was them. “Here they come!”

Ashley stood up quickly, and Usef followed. They looked at each other. Then, Usef slowly moved his hands toward hers. He took her hand, and she squeezed tight.

* * *

Al-Mohammad approached Ashley, while the other Iraqis stood behind him. He had no expression on his face.

“What took you so long?” Ashley said, trying not to sound pushy.

“We have had a very long day, Ashley. The Shiites are beginning to attack us.”

“The WHO?” Ashley said. Everyone behind her was nervous. What was going on!

“They are a Muslim people who have been at odds with us over this land. It was Sadam Hussein and the Baath Party that quelled them. Now that he is gone, we Sunnites are subject to their unforgiving wrath. We apologize that we are late,” he said sadly.

Ashley thought she was going to cry. “That is SO horrible. Look, we’re here to protect you guys. Aren’t we? I mean, we like, liberated you right? Aren’t we supposed to help the Iraqis?”

“The Shiites are also Iraqis,” he said.

“Oh. So wait…um…what do we do?”

“We eat cake,” Al-Mohammad said. “It is all we have looked forward to all day.”

“Awesome,” Ashley said. “We have got TONS. We also got some steak dinners and stuff. They’re frozen, but like…it’s better than eating NOTHING I guess, right?” she laughed. Al-Mohammad smiled wanly. “I’m sorry. That was so insensitive. Come on. We’ll all have a feast.”

The feast began with the cooking of the meat. All of the Iraqis were given the largest rations. Then the marines. Then the rest. After the meat, came the cakes. And when the cakes were served, so was a large amount of alcoholic beverages for the adults. It was an idea of Mary-Kate’s to start a dance going. But Ashley thought it wiser to wait until the Iraqis settled down and were comfortable before they started doing that.

After an hour into the party, while everyone was having a good time, Ashley decided to break away and take a moment to get some air. She found a little corner outside of one of the buildings downtown and sat down. After looking up at the stars for a few minutes, she was joined by someone. He sat down beside her, and touched her shoulder. Ashley winced, startled—then she looked up and smiled.

“Tell me, Ashley,” said Al-Mohammad. “What is so great about America. What is so great about democracy. That is all we hear now. That your president will try giving us democracy.”

“Oh, well it’s totally cool,” Ashley began. “I mean, it’s like you have freedom. You like, choose who you want to be the president, and who becomes a senator or a representative, you vote for like everything. Especially with AOL, which is so cool because all my friends are on AOL and you can like chat with friends and stuff. And you can have sleepovers, and parties, and pizza on Fridays, and you can have all the candy you want.”

“So, so, slow down,” Al-Mohammad said, “what is this AOL?”

“Oh it’s America On-Line. It used to be for like total DORKS but then it got cool and a bunch of cool people use it. I mean, dorks are cool sometimes, but now…it’s like ANYONE can use it. You can e-mail people, and chat and stuff. It’s all on the internet.”

“Internet?” he said, totally looking puzzled.

“Boy you guys have SO much catching up to do. Do you get MTV here?” Ashley said, getting more comfortable.

“Is that part of the internet?”

Ashley laughed. “No, silly! It’s a TV station. Omigosh, don’t tell me you don’t have TV!”

“Oh yes, we have television, we get some of your American stations as well, but I do not watch them. We mostly spend our days…defending our lives or watching after our children.”

“That sounds WAY dangerous. Well hey maybe since you guys’ll be a democracy you’ll get more TV time.”

“We have satellite feeds mostly. We have a single news network called Al-Jazeera. It tells us what is going on around the world.”

Ashley nodded, but didn’t know where he was going with this conversation. She was starting to wonder if he was going to HIT on her. But she kept calm, and then noticed they had been silent for a LONG time. She was going to break the silence when he did it for her.

“It took me a little while, but I recognized you,” he said.

“Oh, well, MK and me are all over the place a lot, sometimes being a celebrity is totally HARD.”

“No…I mean…you don’t remember me do you?” he said. A smile grew on his face.

“Remember you? From like a few hours ago? Yuh-roight? Of course I do. DUH!”

“Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. You were headed toward Greece. I redirected you. Here.”

Suddenly a light bulb went on like an EXPLOSION. “NO WAY!” she shouted.

“I was one of the terrorists,” he said. “I brought you here.”

“That is WEIRD! I don’t remember much of that, honestly. We were like six years old,” Ashley said.

“Yes I know, you sang us a song…I believe you called it the…Iraq Rap. You helped build these structures you called ‘swing sets’.”

“Oh YEAH! The Swing Set for Arafat Program. Like this guy, Yassir Arafat, he was being a total PAIN—so the President gave us this project to put a swing set in every city that like, hated America or something. Boy, you guys really gave us a hard time.”

“We never understood America, America never understood us.”

“Whatever happened to those things,” she said.

“They were destroyed by suicide bombers,” he said.

“Gosh, you guys really hate us, huh?” Ashley said.

“America has done much that we don’t condone, and we do not ask for them to help us when they do. They also have given Israel much, and their presence in a Muslim land is not appreciated by the Islamic world.” He stood up, and brushed himself off. “I understand you wanted to be alone. But now it is time for you to join the party again, Ashley. I have saved some cake for you.”

She stood up. “You know, you don’t seem so bad. You talk a lot and stuff, you’re real smart. Why can’t more Iraqis be like…more like you?”

“They are. You Americans just haven’t been listening,” Al-Mohammad said. “Come.”

She followed him to the great big bonfire that had been lit hours earlier, and joined everyone at the feast. Mary-Kate approached her first.

“Where were YOU?” she said.

“Chill out,” Ashley said, “I was just getting some fresh air.”

“Duh! We’re outside already! Like Usef has been looking for you ALL NIGHT!”

“Oh yeah! Okay, well, I’m supposed to get some—”

“Ashley? I brought you some…cake,” Usef said. Ashley turned around. Behind Usef stood Al-Mohammad who winked at her. She smiled. “Would you like some?”

“Uh, yeah,” Ashley said. “Thanks, Usef. Hey…care to dance?” she offered.

“NOW you’re talking!” Mary-Kate said.

Moments later, music blared from inside the palace, and everyone started dancing. Ashley and Usef took each other’s hands and he spun her around a few times, and she laughed. She found Mary-Kate dancing with another cute Iraqi boy, and tapped her on the shoulder.

“Hey MK, you remember that song we did when we were here last?” Ashley said.

“OH yeah! The Iraqi Rap! I think I still remember the words,” Mary-Kate said.

“Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” she hinted.

“Oh, Ashley, that is SO fifth grade. We’re teenagers now, we’re too old.”

But it was too late. Ashley was set on the idea. Yeah, it was stupid. Yeah, it WAS fifth grade. But for some reason Ashley felt it was right to do. She looked over at Al-Mohammad, and winked at him. He looked at her confused, and Ashley signaled for the music to stop. She cleared her throat, and everyone stood at attention, waiting for her to speak.

“Everyone! Ten years ago, my sister Mary-Kate and I came here after being on a hijacked plane that was thankfully returned here without causing anyone harm,” she started. People applauded. “When we got here, we were given orders by the Embassy to help out the situation. Well, we didn’t really know what to do. But we were given a special song to sing. To commemorate this totally awesome night…and thank you guys for letting us do this…Mary-Kate and I would like to perform for you…the Iraqi Rap!” She paused. “Revisited!”

Everyone applauded, even those who had not heard the song. Mary-Kate hung her head, but Ashley grabbed her and brought her to the center of the bonfire. Suddenly, a rap beat began from inside the palace.

Mary-Kate and Ashley quickly got into performance mode, and began the song:

Hey you, get off our back
We’re just trying to save Iraq
Not everything is white or black
Just listen up it’s the Iraqi rap

Now I know you all have your prob-lems
So we have been sent to kind of solve them
And we know that we’re not JUST LIKE YOU
But we’re gonna make you LOOK LIKE WE DO!

Everyone stand up
Everyone step up
Everyone gather round here
Cos the time is near
And you shouldn’t fear
Mary-Kate and Ashley are ready to cheer

One, two, three four
Get those terrorists out the door
Five, six, seven eight
It’s YOU who we appreciate
Nine, ten, eleve twelve
Take your pride off the shelf
And get up now cos we’re about to attack
It’s Mary-Kate and Ashley’s Iraqi Rap!

Don’t fear us cos we’re not Muslim
We know we’re not your favorite cousin
But why don’t you just stop your fussin’
We just wanna get down…
We’re coming to your town!

So get on up because we’re back
We didn’t want to have to attack
We had to get your leader sacked
And we hope you have enjoyed this track
So here’s from us to you, it ain’t no trap
This is Mary-Kate and Ashley’s Iraqi Rap!

“Word!” Mary-Kate added, and the two stood next to each other, leaning against each other.

The entire town erupted in applause. Mary-Kate smiled at Ashley, and the she put her arm around her sister. “I think it’s gonna be all right here,” Mary-Kate said.

“Oh yeah…I think we can stay like…a YEAR!” she said, smiling.

“YUH-ROIGHT!” Mary-Kate yelled. The two burst into laughter, and then joined the party.

They danced the night away, and Usef asked Ashley to go out with him later on that week. Ashley happily accepted, and had to tell Al-Mohammad about it later. He was happy for her, he told her, and prayed for them to have a happy, safe relationship. She thanked him, and went home with Marco and Mary-Kate just keeping to herself. She was looking up at the sky, and thought to herself that…it’s all just one big sky. Nobody is really that different wherever you go. You just have to listen to what people say. She smiled at that thought, and tapped her knee to the beat of the Iraqi Rap.

Chapter 7

Here to Stay?

No more quotes! They are SOOOO boring!

Mary-Kate awoke to the sound of Ashley talking on her cell phone to the president again. She rolled over in her bed, and sat up. She yawned loudly, and rubbed her eyes. She then gasped and realized she had to call Gavin to tell him that she might not be back for a while.

“Thanks again for letting us come here, Mister President—I mean, George,” Ashley said.

“We knew we could count on you,” George said, smiling. “America is proud of you today. You have done a lot for our cause, and our commitment to making Iraq an America-Friendly colo—country.”

“Yeah, it’s so cool. I mean, at first, I thought these guys like…hated America more than the LIBERALS do—or as I like to call them, DRIBBERALS,” she laughed.

“Well, we like liberals, we just don’t know why they hate US so much,” George said. “One day they will learn,” he added. “But until then, we must grow in ourselves, and grow in our countries. And you have helped us all do that by what you have done in Iraq.”

“Well, it’s like my Mom always said…whenever there’s a problem…just let them eat cake!”

George laughed, and the two talked for a little while longer. Meanwhile, Mary-Kate explained to Gavin that he was going to have to get used to not seeing her for a while. She was starting to like Iraq more and more, and she had met a boy named Shamul, whom she took a liking to. Of course she didn’t TELL Gavin that. But she let him know that she still loved him and cared for him, but that it was going to have to be over for a while. Gavin, like the totally cool and understanding boyfriend he is, accepted and didn’t cry or go crazy or anything.

Mary-Kate and Ashley spent the rest of the day helping more of the Iraqis and after a week or so, they were joined by more people their age coming over from America to help rebuild Iraq. George Bush promised to name a day after the two, and celebrate it in Iraq and America, every year. It would be called Cake Day. And then he promised to cut taxes again, which was TOTALLY cool.

As for Al-Mohammad, he disappeared after a week or so. He had never said good-bye, but friends of his had said he was fighting a resistance against the Shiites, and told them to tell Mary-Kate and Ashley that he may be gone for a while. Even though they never saw him again, Ashley knew he was okay, and probably helping out the Shiites, too. She was hoping that he’d write, or call, or send her a cake or something to show that he still wanted to see her. But she understood that no one in Iraq had a cell phone or the internet. She promised to change that. But she still missed him. She knew she’d see him again one day. And when they met again, she’d show him the cake that she had given him. It still had two pieces left.

She couldn’t wait for the day she could share it with him.


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