Tuesday, October 11, 2005

World News: Dead Parrot Sketch

(From the Reuters Newswire:)
“Dead British parrot had deadly H5N1 bird flu
By Mike Peacock
Sun Oct 23, 3:32 PM ET

LONDON (Reuters) - A parrot that died in quarantine in Britain has been found to have the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu, the agriculture ministry said on Sunday, and the spread of the virus meant the country was now at greater risk…”

For some reason, I thought the above item was rather funny. Look at the reporter’s name, for instance. Reuters sent a guy named Peacock to cover a story about a parrot. And if you read on in the original, you will find that Britain’s chief veterinarian’s name is “Debbie Reynolds.” What are the chances of that, statistically? And so, without further ado…

Doctor: I say! I say! Nurse! Or “Sister,” I suppose I should call you—after all, we are British, aren’t we? Haw haw.
Sister: Gor blimey, sir, an’ bless my ten toes, so we’all are. What’s ailin’ ye, sir?
Doctor: Well, old gel, I just thought I’d pop ‘round and take a peep at one these jolly old parrots we’re quarantining up here at the British taxpayer’s expense. Sort of check up on the old birds, give ‘em a look-see, have a dekko at the latest developments, parrotwise, do you see what I mean, old pip, old thing?
Sister: Gor bless ya for comin’ round, sir! These bloody birds haven’t half been squawkin’ and moanin’ an’ yowlin’ and puttin’ up such a clitterin’ and clatterin’ such as Oi’ve never seen in all my years on the ward. The lot of ‘em bloody parrots goin’ on all night about ‘ow sick they all is, and this one wants an extra little pillow, and that one need new newspaper in ‘is little bedpan, and another wantin’ another intravenous cracker, pissin’ and moanin’ and puttin’ up such a dreadful squawk all night, ‘ow they do go on, gawd-help-us! I’d never ‘ave volunteered to work this shift if as Oi’d known as a parrot was one of them talkin’ birds, I promise you I wouldn’t. Oi've worked the nightingale urinalysis ward and the penguin triage and magpie gynecological disease ward, like, and them weren’t naught compared to this livin’ ‘ell. Oi’ve never seen nothin’ like these bloody parrots, and Oi’ve seen many a bird in my time, I ‘ave.
Doctor: Yes, I’ll wager you’ve seen a “cockatoo” in your day, eh, Sister! Haw haw! Seen a “cockatoo,” not bad, what? (seriously) Well, be that as it may, old stick, we of the British Veterinary Association have taken a solemn oath to do our blessed best to safeguard the lives and health of our dumb chums, all creatures great and small, feathers or no, and all that sort of thing, Britannia rule the waves, eh? (notices something on the floor) Good heavens! What the devil is that?
(A very small green parrot staggers into the room, struggling with all its pathetic might to make it through the double doors that close off the quarantine section. The tiny bird clutches a hanging IV drip bag on a rolling stand connected to its wing and it is wearing a small patient’s hospital gown that won't close at back and thus reveals its tail. It is gasping and coughing and wheezing as it stumbles over toward the feet of the doctor and the nurse.)
Parrot: Doctor! (hack, hack, cough) Thank God you’re here at last. (Cough, cough.) Not much time… (spits up blood) Tried to explain to this stupid old cow, but she wouldn’t listen—EEEAWKK! (vomits) Listen… carefully… highly pathogenic virus… H5N variety, possibly even the H5N1, wasn’t able to confirm the strain without—WAUUUUK!
Sister: See wot I mean, there, doctor, he's as sick as a--
Doctor: Steady on, old thing! Just what do you think you’re doing up and about, little birdie?
Parrot: Don’t be a fool, man! The entire planet’s at risk, can’t you see that, blast you? (chokes, wipes his little green brow with back of wing)
Doctor: (to nurse) He’s raving, Sister. Get him back in bed straight away.
Sister: Right yew are, sir.
Parrot: (as nurse gathers him up and restrains him) No! No! You’ve got to listen! Tell the ministry! We’re at the epicenter of a pandemic! BWAAAK! The closest match is to a strain found in ducks in China earlier this year. (to nurse) Put me down, damn you! (to doctor) We were imported from Suriname, South America, part of a mixed consignment of 148 birds that arrived on September 16 (cough, cough), we were held with another consignment of 216 birds from Taiwan—
(The doors swing closed. The doctor shakes his head sorrowfully, makes a note in his chart.)
Doctor: Tch, tch. Poor, mad little bastard. Obviously out of his bleeding little mind, or my name’s not Debbie Reynolds.


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