Seller Insists Bird is "Just Pining For the Fjords"
LONDON -- A parrot that died in quarantine in Britain, most likely of the H5N1 strain of bird flu, was returned to the local pet shop, where hilarious obfuscation and repartée ensued, the agricultural minister of silly walks said on Sunday.
The dead parrot, recently imported from Norway, was part of mixed consignment of birds which arrived in September, and was held with various other flying creatures, including kiwis, mad rabbits and half-a-bees.
When the shopkeeper asked what was wrong with the bird, the customer responded, rather calmly, "'He's dead of bird flu, that's what's wrong with it."
And when the shopkeeper insisted that bird was simply resting, the customer replied "Okay, matey, I know a parrot who's succumbed to the H5N1 strain when I see one... and I'm looking at one right now."
The shopkeeper continued to deny the possibility that the parrot may have been infected with the horrifyingly virulent and fatal virus and that as a result he may have passed on, ceased to be, expired and gone to meet its maker, kicked the bucket, shuffled off his mortal coil, and/or run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible, instead attempting to distract the customer with the Norwegian Blue's beautiful plumage.
Debbie Reynolds, Britain's chief veterinary official, told reporters that the parrot likely caught the virus while in the quarantine center where it was kept with African swallows, both laden and unladen with the virus.
"There is a risk to the United Kingdom where the bird flu is concerned," Reynolds said, "but that does not affect either our avian influenza 'disease-free' status, nor our ability to playfully deny reality and sit on our collective hands when all evidence of our impending doom is upon us, not unlike how the keeper of the pet store playfully denied the deceased statuts of the parrot when it was returned to his store."
As Reynolds was beginning to explain the precuations and preventative measures that UK and other governments were taking in anticipation of an inevitable pandemic, she was pulled away by aides, and returned to the press conference a few minutes later. "Sorry squires," she continued, "I've had a look 'round the back of the medical labs, and uh, we're right out of vaccines."
Hysterical riots immediately ensued across Europe as people realized their probable fates thanks to international foot-dragging, while Reynolds remained calm and asked any nearby non-screaming reporters if they wanted to go back to her place.