The head of Italy's Mafia families - the Capo di Tutti Frutti, Doggio Constructione - today praised the Mafia for saving lives in L'Aquila's earthquake. 'If it hadn't been for us', Don Constructione said, 'the death toll would have been ten times worse. I ordered all our workers - for we do much of the construction work in Italy - to use revolutionary building techniques to prepare for any tremors.'
'The first technique is the one that miraculously uses no anti-seismic protection measures, yet still gives buildings massive protection against earthquakes. That alone saved hundreds of lives. And the second is the use of the ancient science of palma olio, or backhanders as it's known in more modern times.'
'The third technique dates back to Roman times, the one of oculus nero. This mystical art is the one of looking at something but not actually seeing it, famously used by British naval legend Horatio Nelson, when he failed to see the signals that ordered him to turn back from a battle.'
Many in L'Aquila agreed with Senor Constructione's comments. 'If it was not for the Mafia, we would have had modern buildings with none of the Mafioso features', shopkeeper Aldo Sarcastico said. 'We would have had the sort of feeble buildings like they have in Japan and California, so our eyes are filled with tears of gratitude for Don Constructione and his workers' protection.'
And another local, grape trampler Parasito Ironicho, added: 'Italy has the safest and best-built houses in the world, all thanks to the Mafia. Even our office blocks withstood a huge tremor recently - well, apart from a few that didn't, but that was just bad luck.'
In Rome, Prime Minister Barracudo Tuna said: 'There is no need for any government inquiry into how many died in L'Aquila, or into the safety of the buildings there. Well, it's the Italian way, we just assume everything is OK and if it isn't, so what?'
'Sorry, must run, I have a train to catch, it'll be leaving eight hours late', and he left the building only to be crushed to death by a large bit of falling masonry, as Constructione Inc had built the Parliament there.
Strangely most medieval buildings in l'Aquila suffered no damage in the quake, but of course that was due to the Mafia using its building techniques to reinforce those buildings against any tremors. 'Aquila means eagle', Don Constructione said, 'plenty of vultures in this city! Salute!'