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Mahmud and Almaz


Noticing a peculiarly unpleasant smell on the wind, we realise that our old friend Mahmud and Almaz, his flatulent camel, must be close by.  Spotting them on a nearby dune, we remember that Mahmud, one of our top agents, is an expert in the area and, although we would rather avoid the stench of Almaz, I remind Juan that, as we are lost and rantipolishly behind schedule, we have to ask Mahmud for directions.  To drown the awful smell coming from Almaz’s behind, we soak our beards in Vintage Allt a Bhainne, Tamnavulin, Glen Spey and Springbank Special Reserve, immediately wringing the beards into our upturned mouths to ensure that not a precious drop is wasted.

Shortly afterward, Juan, demonstrating a Pictish jig, danced backward into quicksand.  It is sensible, in quicksand, to stay calm and relaxed and move very slowly.  Unfortunately, because, in falling, Juan dropped his Vintage Tomore Founders Reserve hip flask into the sucking maw of the mire, he screams and threshes around, desperately trying to save the invaluable malt.  I wave to Mahmud, shouting that he should bring Almaz, to pull Juan from the quicksand, but, receiving no response, I remember that Mahmud is deaf and blind and Almaz is an idle, vile tempered beast, who would not help anyway.

Considering the nature of quicksand, and the risk of becoming a petrosomatoglyph, I am reluctant to help, however, the loss of such fine Scotch is enough to make a Highlander chew on his trews in distress, and so I leap into the quicksand, and flail about in a panic.  Fortunately, just before permanently sinking into the sand, Juan finds the flask.  To celebrate, we share the Vintage Tomore and topping it up from our flasks of Vintage Rossbank, Balmenach and Auchentoshan Private Reserve, we slowly drink toast after toast to all our friends and using our bagpipes as flotation tanks, we creep through the sandy sludge, shouting and singing and playing ‘Gala Water’ and ‘Thanks to the Lass of Unthank’, until, reaching firm ground and holding our noses tightly and breathing through our beards, we approach Mahmud. 

Juan, against a background of long, drawn-out belches from Almaz, punctuated by noisome, empyreumatic farts, screams into Mahmud’s ear, asking him how he is, and if he has anything to report.  Mahmud tells us that he is perfectly fine but that, having been blind for years, he hasn’t seen anything recently.  I look around and shout that he’s not missing anything.  He adds that, being deaf, he hasn’t heard anything much either and, as his nasal passages have dried out, he has no sense of smell, so he hasn’t smelt anything either, I yell that he’s lucky, as his camel is rancid.  Juan yells that we are lost and dithyrambically behind schedule, Mahmud points over the desert and says that Mahalath is over the next sand dune, on board Finedrawer, one of aunt Humperdink’s experimental aircraft.  Bawling our thanks, and stopping only long enough to share our Vintage Glen Scotia, Interleven, Talisker and Macduff Single Grain Special Reserve with our watchful friend, we wave goodbye, somewhat futilely, and stagger on, cheering and hallooing with excitement, over the blistering sands, as fast as we possibly can.

Professor Humperdink’s Diary