Washington has a real case of the jitters this week. With all the publicity concerning the FBI sting operation, you just don't know whom to trust any more.
The people it's been hardest on have been the real Arab sheiks who flit in and out of the capital trying to do legitimate business.
One sheik, Ali Jarim, checked into his hotel the other day and ordered a bottle of champagne and a pound of caviar. The waiter who brought it up winked at him as he opened the bottle of champagne. "I guess this is a pretty good living for you guys," he said to the sheik. "Of course, it's all taxpayers' money."
Sheik Ali Jarim said, "I do not understand what you are talking about."
The waiter poked the sheik in the ribs with his elbow. "Don't worry, Mac. Your secret is safe with me. Where did you rent the duds for the scam?"
The sheik angrily told the waiter to leave and called up the manager. "This is Sheik Ali Jorim, and one of your waiters was very rude to me."
"Sorry about that, Jarim, but the Justice Department didn't tell us you were coming, or I would have attended to you myself. Do you need any extra TV cameras or tape-recording machines?"
"I will tell you what I need when I need it. Your hotel was recommended by my brother, Prince Ardir, as the finest in the city."
"We haven't had any complaints. But we're booked solid, so don't expect a discount just because you're using our place for a sting."
The sheik slammed down the phone in anger. A few minutes later an American oil company executive called up and said he had arranged for the sheik to have dinner with a very charming lady who free-lanced for the refinery division.
A reservation had been made at one of the best Washington restaurants. The woman picked up the sheik at his hotel.
As they got to talking a man came over and said, "My client's willing to make a deal with you."
"I have no idea what you're talking about."
"He'll blow the whistle on three New Jersey Mafia capos if you erase the videotapes of him stuffing your marked greenbacks into his jogging pants."
The sheik called over the captain. "I don't know what this man wants, but he is bothering me."
The lawyer got up. "Okay, my guy's willing to sing, but we want something in exchange. How about knocking the charges down to taking an illegal campaign contribution'?"
The sheik turned to the woman. "I don't understand what has happened in your city since I was here the last time. I'm trying to invest $50 million in this town and no one treats me with any respect."
"I'll bet you G-men tell that to all your girls."
"What is a G-man?" the sheik demanded.
"You're really off the wall, sheik, or whatever your name is. Hey, there's a pal of mine, Sen. Dingledoffer. Poochie, you haven't called me in ages."
"Poochie, this is my good friend sheik something-or-another."
"Stay away from me!" Sen. Dingledoffer warmed the sheik. "You're not going to entrap me. I don't want anything from you, and I hope I'm saying it right into the camera."
"I didn't offer you anything," the sheik said.
"You heard him, everybody," the senator yelled to the whole room.
"He didn't offer me anything. And I didn't take anything. You're all witnesses." The senator then ran out of the restaurant.
"I think I better go back to my hotel," the shaken sheik said.
"All right," the girl replied. "But first tell me how you people got Dillinger."