The moon dancing above the rooftops had noosed the sultan's turret in a pool of light.
President Ahmed Ahmadinejad noticed it not.
His mind was on other things.
He sat at the ornate mahogany desk alone in the presidential office.
Amid the finery of that room, the gold fittings, plush carpetry and discretely dimmed red lights, he presented an almost bestial presence.
President Ahmadinejad was a brooding figure.
Sitting motionless now.
Face in shadow.
In an odd almost mystical way he seemed to exude an unutterable sense of threat.
A sheaf of loosely thumbed documents lay on the table beside the President's baseball cap.
Like many Arab and Islamic extremists, President Ahmadinejad despises America but loves baseball caps.
But gotta love dem baseball caps.
It's most strange.
And so sat the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
There was a knock on the door.
Defence Minister Hashemi Snotbosca looked in and received a curt nod from his master. He entered and sat down.
President Ahmadinejad was the first one to speak.
And his voice throughout the garden was a thunder sent to bring black Azriel and Ariel and Ammon on the wing.
Well, you know what I mean.
The President said: "What do you think of the Heelers problem?"
Minister Snotbosca cleared his throat, coughed, and stroked his chin.
He was a cautious man. A survivor.
When he spoke, his words were measured, thoughtful.
"I think they're going to fire him," the Defence Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran said finally. "It's going to happen soon. It's what they've been preparing for and they're a fairly low rent crew. They're not smart enough to come up with another solution. I have a bet on with Osama that he'll be gone by Christmas."
President Ahmadinejad's dark eyes took on a glacial quality.
Souls could have drowned in those eyes.
"I am not referring to Heelers' problems with his employers," he rasped. "I am referring to the problems he presents to us."
Defence Minister Snotbosca began to babble an apology but the other silenced him with a wave of his ears.
"Do you know what he called me on that blog of his?"
Minister Snotbosca essayed somewhat unconvincingly to convey by dint of facial expression that he did not know.
"Grinny," exploded the President of Iran. "He called me Grinny Ahmadinejad. Grinny. Grinny. Grinny."
He pounded the table after each iteration of the offensive word, in a manner that left no room for doubt about his strong feelings on the subject.
Hashemi Snotbosca flinched in spite of himself.
"It's outrageous Excellency," he murmured.
Minister Snotbosca is indeed one of the great survivors of Iranian political life and he knew at this moment that his continued survival depended on him not bursting out laughing every time the President said Grinny.
Or once even.
He could feel himself sweating profusely beneath his Charvet shirt.
The President of Iran leaned across the table.
"Last week Heelers called our country a toe rag Islamic Republic," he snarled. "Do you know what a toe rag is?"
"No Excellency," admitted the Snotbosca awkwardly.
"Well it's nothing good," roared his boss.
Silence reigned briefly in that dim lit room of ultimate power.
It was some minutes before President Ahmadinejad spoke once more. His voice was more controlled now. But if anything the malevolent note had deepened. He no longer exuded threat. He was threat incarnate.
"Listen to me Hashemi," he breathed. "Nobody... but nobody... nobody calls me Grinny and lives. Whatever is necessary. See to it. See to it now. At once."
The Defence Minister nodded briefly, excused himself and left.
President Ahmadinejad sat back in his chair, alone once more in the red light of that plush little office, an office which at this hour and in these days occupies a central place both in the history of Iran and of all humanity.
Presently President Ahmadinejad lifted the receiver on his phone and dialled.
"Hello Osama. It's Mahmoud. The one in Iran. Yes. The Number One in Iran. Yes, it's been a while. I've missed you too. How's the wives? And all the little Jihadi's? Good, good. Listen. I hear you're giving odds on the Heelers situation. I want some of that action. I'll bet you a hundred grand at ten to one he makes it past Christmas. Oh, and what price are you offering on Hillary for President of America?"