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Improbable History


*This story uses characters created for and owned by Jay Ward Productions and is unauthorized.*


"Peabody here (dog genius), and this is my boy Sherman. Say hello, Sherman."

"Hello," said Sherman. "Where and when are we going today, Mr. Peabody?"

"Set the Wayback Machine for Cairo, Egypt and the year 1916, Sherman. We're off to visit Lt. T. E. Lawrence of the British Royal Army." Sherman adjusted the controls and we stepped into the Wayback Machine (my own invention, by the way) and in less time than it takes to tell it we were standing outside Lieutenant Lawrence's personal quarters. I knocked on the door and a voice inside bade us enter. We were soon in the presence of the illustrious army officer.

"I say, chaps! How do I look?" Lt. Lawrence said. Sherman and I stood there aghast at what we saw.

"You look lovely," I finally ventured to say. "Are you on your way to a costume ball?" Standing in front of a full length mirror, Lt. Lawrence was attired in an Egyptian belly dancer costume. It looked really quite fetching on him.

"Well, no," Lt. Lawrence replied. "The higher-ups want me to organize the Arabs into a guerilla fighting force to go against those blighters, the Ottoman Turks. I figured this is the best way to attract those Arab blokes' attention before I can pitch the sale. Watch this." The British army officer turned the crank on a Victrola a few revolutions and set a record to playing a lively Middle Eastern dance tune. He struck a seductive pose and began to sway his hips and undulate his belly in time to the drum beat. I could tell he'd had a lot of practice and acquitted himself quite well in his performance. I thought about placing a protective paw over Sherman's eyes but his glasses were already fogged up so it was just as well. The lieutenant finished his dance routine with a dizzying whirl and a spectacular split. Sherman and I applauded appreciatively and threw coins of the local currency his way.

"That's not even my best material," said Lt. Lawrence as he rushed about picking up the coins. "Just watch those wankers flock to me."

"I'm sure you'll get all the attention you could possibly want," I replied, "but it's bound to be the wrong type of attention."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean you're more likely to wind up as a sheikh's harem girl rather than the leader of a guerilla force in a getup like that."

"That wouldn't be so bad," said Lawrence and his eyes took on a dreamy look. He then looked guiltily at me and cleared his throat. "I, uh, see what you mean. I guess I've wasted a lot of time and money on costumes and lessons."

"Not necessarily," I said in an effort to console him. "Perhaps you could do stag parties and smokers after you complete your main mission. In the meantime, why don't you consider wearing something a little more modest...and a little less feminine?"

"Jolly good idea! I have just the thing," Lt. Lawrence cried and scurried behind a changing screen. In no time at all he reappeared in a completely different outfit.

"Gosh, Mr. Peabody," said Sherman. "The Arab fighters will never accept Lt. Lawrence as their leader if he dresses like that."

"I tend to agree with you, Sherman," I replied. The costume was decidedly more modest but it was still meant as feminine wear. Lt. Lawrence was dressed in an Arab woman's burqa. A burqa is a loose enveloping garment that covers the face and body and is worn in public by Muslim women. The only uncovered portion allows for the wearer to see where she was walking.

"What's wrong now?" Lt. Lawrence complained. "This hides all my curves and that will make it all the harder for me to recruit men."

"You should dress like a man," Sherman suggested.

"That's the logical solution, Sherman," I said, "but not necessarily the correct one for Lt. Lawrence. It's obvious that our friend here has the need to express his feminine side."

"You understand me perfectly, Mr. Peabody," said Lawrence gratefully.

"Then what's the solution?" said Sherman. "This seems impossible to solve, Mr. Peabody."

"Not at all, Sherman," I replied. "I am, after all, a genius." I consulted my watch. "We shall have to hurry though. I believe the malls close early today." I persuaded Lt. Lawrence to put on his military uniform and we hailed a cab which took us to the Three Pharaohs Mall overlooking the Nile River. Just before entering the local Victoria's Secret, I sent Sherman on another errand. Before long, Lt. Lawrence was standing before the dressing room mirror in a lavender bra with matching panties and garter belt as well as silk stockings and stiletto pumps. He looked quite pleased.

"The thong takes a little getting used to, but I simply love it," said Lawrence.

"Here's the other stuff you wanted, Mr. Peabody. Wowee!" Sherman exclaimed once he got a load of our British friend.

"Steady there, Sherman," I warned. Lt. Lawrence merely grinned and wiggled his hips at Sherman. "Now Lt. Lawrence, I have a few accessories for you to try on." In another few minutes he looked like a fierce Bedouin warrior.

"But now no one will be able to tell I'm wearing these lovely things underneath," Lawrence complained.

"Exactly," I said. "Victoria has her secret and now you have yours." Lt. Lawrence nodded with understanding.

"I shall always remain grateful to you, Mr. Peabody," the British officer said. We last saw him riding camelback into the Sinai desert intent on his mission.

"Lt. Lawrence was successful in his mission, wasn't he, Mr. Peabody?"

"He was very successful, Sherman. His forces harassed Turkish troops and captured the port of Aqaba. This allowed British troops to land there and surround the Turks. Ultimately the Turks were driven out of Arab lands. It spelled the end of the Ottoman Empire. He rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel."

"What happened after the war?"

"Col. Lawrence returned to England to great acclaim and numerous honors. He also wrote a bestselling book based on his experiences called "The Seven Pillars of Wisdom." Alas, he grew weary of his fame in England and returned to his beloved Arabia where he opened an upscale butcher's shop selling prime cuts of meat to oil-rich Sheikhs."

"I never heard that. What was it called?"

"Surely, Sherman, you've heard of...Loins of Arabia?"

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