Saddam Hussein, the ice-cream man

Why would anyone want to bomb Saddam? He looks like such a happy, pleasant fellow. He's on the news every night, sitting at that big wooden table, with his ministers all around, smiling contently. Always smiling.

The grandfather of Iraq. The friendly dictator.

He puffs away on his cigar, the smoke rising like balloons at the fair. We don't have weapons of mass destruction, he wooes gently from beneath that soft, woollen moustache. I believe him. And that old army general, with the thick-rimmed round glasses, that always seems to be around Saddam.

I think i can see them playing dominoes on a front porch in Baghdad on a Tuesday evening, as the sun rolls quietly over the horizon.

Sometimes, late at night, I get worried. The only other people that i know who smile constantly are spastics.

I don't know any mean and nasty spastics though. None that would harbour deadly weapons, at least. I drift back to sleep.

I hope Mr. Bush doesn't hurt Saddam. When i was little, the old man with the ice-cream van stopped coming past my street each Thursday. Apparently they took away his permit. He wasn't doing anyone any harm.

I miss his Italian accent. "Thera you are!" he would say with a rising inflection, as he passed me a cone of fluffy, snow-white ice-cream

Maybe he kept his chocolate sprinkles in suspicious brass cannisters, i don't know.

Tonight when Saddam smiles at me on the news, I'll give him an extra-big smile back.