In a scene reminiscent of the Wall Street Crash in 1929, stock brokers all over the world have been lining up at office windows and jumping. New York, London and Hong Kong have already seen thousands throwing themselves to their doom in response to the loss of their jobs and bank balances.
There was a carnival atmosphere in some cities like Rio de Janeiro, where brokers wore furry costumes and blew whistles as they plunged. In Tokyo, they yelled Banzai as they went, and drove the country's suicide statistics up from 100 a day to 100 an hour. In San Francisco, where building regulations prevent offices from exceeding 2 floors, many brokers threw themselves out of a window several times before going home.
Health and Safety officials in London insisted on handing out tickets so people knew when it was their turn to jump. Extra police officers were also drafted in to warn pedestrians not to stand too close to a tall building. PC Dribble told us "You never know who might fall on top of you."
The reason for the crash in the world markets was that Lehman Brothers, the third biggest merchant bank, filed for bankruptcy. Rather than pushing up the values of its rivals in the industry, who now have one less competitor, the news sent shares of every company spiralling downwards, including companies that have nothing to do with banking. Analysts predict that due to the so-called ripple effect, we will all lose our jobs, houses, pensions and hair within the next 2 years.
However, many believe that the brokers are making a fuss about nothing. Arthur Scumoftheearth, a former mineworker from Nottinghamshire, who has been unemployed since ex-PM Margaret Thatcher closed down every coal mine in Britain 25 years ago, said "When thousands of miners lost their jobs, they didn't start killing themselves. Why do these city fat cats think they are any better than us? Some of them have probably short sold millions of shares and will become even richer out of this when they buy them back at bargain prices."