British Scientists Discover Cure For Avian Flu

British scientists today announced that they had developed an effective defense against the Avian Flu, which has been predicted to have the ability to kill up to half the world's population during a future flu season. They caution, however, that the vaccine, which would need to be administered to chickens and ducks before a widespread outbreak took place, was still in the experimental phase, and that "there are still several variables which will need to be worked out."

We spoke to Bernard Pennyforth about these problems. Pennyforth is, of course, the brilliant biologist behind the Biltwerst Project, about which the less said the better.

"Professor Pennyforth, this is a marvelous discovery that your group has made, and I don't believe that I'd be remiss in saying that the world owes you an enormous debt of gratitude. I'm sure that whatever difficulties you've encountered so far can be rather quickly overcome."

"I'm afraid there's one rather enormous problem that has us stumped."

"Really. And what enormous problem would that be?"

"The resultant size of the birds themselves... Iif you can try and imagine 3,000 pounds of lean, mean, clucking machine, flying at speeds of up to ninety miles an hour, you'll begin to grasp the depth of one of our initial difficulties."

"My God! That's an enormous chicken!"

"Yes... yes it is..."

"Still, there must be certain advantages to such a gargantuan fowl..."

"Mmm... not really anything I can think of off the top of my head... They don't have the intelligence to take over the world. I suppose that's an advantage of sorts..."

"Perhaps you've been spending too much time in the laboratory, Professor Pennyforth. On the positive side, don't these enormous chickens provide the solution to ending world hunger? I mean, one egg would feed a village!"

"They don't lay eggs, not as we know them."

"What do you..."

"Please don't ask."

"How about the meat?"

"What meat? They're all skin and bones. And the tiny spot of meat that you can get off them isn't really fit to eat."

"Oh, surely it can't be all that bad."

"It's bloody awful! The taste would tend to remind you of... mmm..."

"Chicken?"

"No, not like chicken. A little more bland and nasty than that... they taste more like... oh, my... what's that stuff?"

"Tofu?"

"Oh heavens no. Tofu would be a definite improvement, I'll tell you what. It has a much worse taste than any tofu I've ever had. These are unsavory chickens. No, they taste more like... uh, what's that word?"

"Crap?"

"Yeah, that's it. They really taste like crap. And all the other scientists, present company included, are saying 'Blimey! What the John Jackson are we going to do with this? It's bleedin' awful'."

"Maybe if you used the right combination of herbs and spices?"

"No, the chicken truly is just dreadful. We've had our top chefs working on it, along with emissaries from the great kitchens of China and France. No bloody good. I'm afraid you just can't hold it down, not even with a nice glass of Chablis."

"So you're not optimistic?"

"No, at this point I say we'll just take our chances with the flu."

 

2005, Mark Hoback