"The sign said 10 items or less," the ayatollah barked at an emotional news conference, "but several of the shoppers were clearly breaking the rules. I don't care if it costs extra; next time, God willing, I will go to Target or Kroger."
Word of the ayatollah's disappearance broke over the weekend, when members of his harem told the news media that they had no idea where he was. Officials at Mugsy's Pug Life Ministries at first said they didn't know about the ayatollah's whereabouts. Later, the ministry issued a statement saying that the pug was "probably just out taking a walk."
As media curiosity grew, Mugsy's younger brother Wendell released a statement saying that the ayatollah was "climbing the Matterhorn to blow off some steam after a difficult week." An hour later, Wendell released a new statement that read, "Mount Everest is higher than the Matterhorn, right? That's where Mugsy is. He's climbing Mount Everest. It's nothing unusual."
It was unclear who was in charge of Pug Life Ministries during the ayatollah's absence, though speculation centered on Wendell and a chew toy named Mallard, a duck who is believed to be Mugsy's top assistant. Reached by phone, Mallard declined to quack.
During an interview Tuesday with the Associated Press, several members of Ayatollah Mugsy's harem expressed doubt over the official stories released by the ministry, which by this time included word that the pug icon was helping squelch a rebellion in Iran, that he was hang-gliding in Peru, and that he was having his nails trimmed. Those members of the harem were reportedly expelled early Wednesday, but Ayatollah Mugsy declined to comment on the matter.
A representative of Wal-Mart, reached at the retail giant's headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., said that having a customer wait in line for five full days is "somewhat unusual, but not unprecedented." The retailer says it tries to limit waits to no more than four days.