New York, New York - Because of the food shortages, blamed on the rising cost of oil, fertilizer and increased production of biofuels in Europe and America, nations that recently made contributions to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault have been forced to reconsider their seed deposits and make an early-unexpected withdrawal in an attempt increase crop production to makeup for the difference.
"According to our institution's rules and regulations," said a spokesman for the seed bank. "Nations that wish to make a withdrawal from the subzero facility must send a representative to be physically present to fill out a withdrawal slip and signoff on any early withdrawal penalties and other banking fees their nation's accounts are subject to just like any other financial institution and haul away their seeds."
As a result, late last night representatives from across the globe began arriving in droves at Spitsbergen Island, where the seed vault is located, half way between Norway and the North Pole, bring with them sleeping bags, tents and couches, setting up a virtual city overnight.
As they queued up outside the international seed bank in the early morning predawn artic hours to make their withdrawals for their respective nations, many gathered around the flickering flames from an empty 50 gallon oil drum filled with lumber, pilfered from a local abandoned goldmine in a vain attempt to help them keep warm.
Discussing among themselves the unwelcome uncertainty the sun would bring with it come morning, many expressed their concern over the complex schedule of the seed bank's service fees and early withdrawal penalties late into the night.
"Can anyone tell me what a 'Transatlantic Seed Handling Fee' is?" said a representative from Mexico, pulling out from his coat pocket a small nearly frozen shivering Chihuahua, carefully holding it out over the flames to warm it up.
"Is it anything like a "Post Doomsday Seed Restocking Fee," heckled an insurance bondsman sent by a Swiss bank to watch over their investment while he stumped his feet on the ground.
"Hey, check this out, this trip wasn't even necessary," said a representative from America, holding out a seed bank information pamphlet in one hand and a mixed drink with a tiny umbrella in the other and wearing a Hawaiian t-shirt over a fur-lined parka. "As members of the seed bank's credit union, we could have made a withdrawal from any ATM machine in the world."
"Yeah, but you didn't read the fine print, amigo," said the representative from Mexico, stuffing the now fully thawed but still shivering Chihuahua back into his coat pocket. "There is a two dollar and fifty cents transaction withdrawal fee for using any ATM machine outside of Norway."
"Is that per seed?" asked the American, still sipping his mixed drink.
"Yep," said the Mexican, as his Chihuahua began to howl in the cold.
"Well, boys. That's it. It's time to saddle up," said the American, throwing the remainder of his mixed drink into the fire, the alcohol causing the flames to temporary flare up high into the air, elongating the representatives' shadows over the barren landscape as they marched toward the still closed doors of the seed bank.
The tiny umbrella tossed aside. Its colorful flora pattern of pink, red and yellow flowers slowly burning away, until it became a black charred crater filled with burnt cinders and ashes staining the side of a nearby otherwise pristine alabaster snow bank.