Severus Slice, Vice President of the assembled Funeral Directors at their Annual Conference in Hull, had grim news for his audience.
'People are going to be living far too long,' he advised the worried throng. 'Some of us are bound to go under. I fear others may follow them on the final journey. As a business we shall have a shortage of bodies.'
A cry came from a sad young man at the back of the Hall. 'Don't forget how long our fathers are going to live. Just how long will it be before I can take over the firm?'
Several murmurs of sympathy arose from the crowd. But Slice had not finished his oration. 'There are some positive signs' he said with a smile 'we are seeing increasing mortality from swine flu and fortunately the Government is cutting down on over protection of the population. However this is not enough. We have to face the fact in Britain that starvation is taking place in the wrong parts of the world.'
A plan for the future was then presented. In a declaration of intent the Conference declared an end to interns in funeral parlours as a cost saving measure. 'What is the point of training if there are no bodies' one funeral director explained. The declaration continued: 'we undertake not to fight each other to the death. A temptation is to raise prices for the dwindling body of corpses but we must lower our prices in an era of free market competition. That means the weakest will go to the wall. We will be a leaner, fitter industry ready for the challenges of forthcoming decades.'
On this rousing note the conference broke up. Funeral Directors knew they would be having to tighten their belts. Cadavers would be in short supply. A skeleton service, cutting expenses to the bare bones, would be required.