Thursday, May 24, 2007

Birdy Flu Strikes North Wales

You’ll have to forgive me if I skip the pleasantries today. I had a morning that’s not to be envied unless you’re the sort of person who dreams of making animal sacrifices to the gods Fad and Fickle.

As you might know, it’s been confirmed that North Wales has been struck by avian flu. It was news that was sure to set the cat among the pigeons, or at least, one Romanian among the chickens.

The Chipster was doing a few stretching exercises in the front room and had touched his nose to his knees, fingers to his toes, when a sudden scream shattered the peace and quiet of an otherwise quite restful Bangor. I turned around, ready to make my apologies to Monica, who I had assumed had walked in on my exercising. It’s a simple fact of the world that not every appreciates the sight of two exposed, though perfectly formed, buttocks first thing in the morning.

I was wrong. It was Gabby holding the newspaper.

‘Birdy flu!’ she said. ‘Birdy flu in Wales.’

‘Are you sure?’ I asked her, taking the paper from her quivering fingers. It wouldn’t be the first time her poor grasp of English had caused her to worry unduly and before things got out of control I thought it best to check the facts.

Only, just then, the door to the spare room opened and Monica appeared. She was already dressed for the day in her black combat trousers and denim jacket but was in the process of adding a final touch by buckling a commando knife to a concealed pocket on the inside of her thigh.

‘What’s wrong?’ she asked.

‘Birdy flu!’ screeched Gabby.

‘Birdy flu?’ screeched Monica.

‘Yes, Birdy flu!’

Monica turned to me. ‘Did you hear, Chippy darling? It’s the birdy flu!’

I shrugged my naked shoulders. I mean: what else is a man meant to do when it’s birdy flu? And there it was in the paper. ‘Bird Flu in North Wales.’

Gabby snatched the paper off me and examined the page one more time, this time chewing her bottom lip in worry.

‘Well, that’s that,’ she declared, threw the paper down and looked to her sister. ‘Gabby think this job The Cheeky Girls…’

‘Oooooookaaaaaayyyyyy!’ squealed Monica as Gabby dashed off to the kitchen. She came back with my best set of kitchen knives in one hand, a rubber tube, and an empty litre-sized milk carton.

‘Come on,’ she said. ‘Birdy flu not catch Gabby unprepared.’

Well, I barely had time to throw on something sensible, but with my best green thong and a pair of sandals I followed the twins out the flat, down the back staircase, and to the garage where we all piled into the car. Ten minutes later, Gabby hit the brakes at the allotment and told us to hurry.

‘I think you’re overreacting,’ I suggested as Monica passed Gabby the knifes from the back seat.

Only the Cheeky Girls weren’t for waiting. They were soon running off down the small lane leading to the allotments, and then quickly over the fence that encloses the chicken coop.

‘I hold them and you do the cheeeeeeeck,’ shouted Gabby as she raised the door the coop. The noise she had made in the sound of her mouth and I have no idea how you’d spell it.

‘Righty!’ said Monica who had selected a large cleaver from the knife set. ‘Unless Chippy want to do the cheeeeeeeck…’ She too made the noise in the side of her mouth.

‘What exactly do you mean, cheeeeeeeeck?’ I asked.

Monica slipped the knife from her thigh and waved it in her hand. ‘You know. Cheeeeeeck,’ she said and passed the blade less than an inch from my windpipe.

I leapt a step back, which isn’t an easy thing to do when only wearing a thong and flip-flops.

‘I’m not murdering chickens,’ I said.

‘We not murder,’ said Gabby as she manhandled the first bird. ‘We save from fate.’

‘Hacking at chickens because there’s a very slight chance they’ll catch the birdy flu doesn’t seem like saving them from their fate,’ I observed.

She turned to me. ‘So, you don’t do cutting. You go and take pipe. Suck petrol from tank. Put in bottle.’

‘What do you want petrol for?’

‘Silly,’ she grinned. ‘We need to burn chickens. Stop birdy flu.’

I rubbed a hand over my face. ‘Do you know how dangerous this sounds? I’m not standing near a naked flame. I’m covered in oil. I could ignite at the drop of a thong.’

Monica turned to me, a darkly impatient look on her face. ‘Monica think Chippy coward.’

‘Chippy is a coward,’ I said. ‘In fact, he’s proud of the fact. I’m not slaughtering chickens. It’s not how we do things in this country.’

Gabby stood up, chicken in her arms. ‘What you mean?’ she asked. ‘I saw TV. I saw turkeys in trucks. Bernie Matthews and his turkey twizzlers.’

‘Well that’s where you’re wrong,’ I said. ‘In a case like this, the government sorts out the mess and then the EU come along and pay us lots of money for having lost our chickens. Bernie Matthews made a nice bit of money despite all of his troubles.’

The girls fell silent.

‘How we get money from EU?’ asked Gabby finally.

‘You just have to be a member.’

‘And is Romania in EU?’

‘From January the first,’ I replied.

She looked at the chicken. ‘So, government kill chickens? We get lots of money?’

‘That’s the way it works.’.

The sisters looked at each other and then Gabby dropped the bird.

‘The Cheeky Girls!’ they both screeched and then they began to do the hokey cokey, surrounded by some of the luckiest chickens in North Wales and a man in a thong and flip flops who, for some reason, couldn't consider himself even half as blessed.


Mopsa said...

Having ducks, geese etc of my own, bird flu ain't funny. But birdy flu is hilarious! Ta for the belly laugh.

Chip Dale said...

Mopsa, a belly laugh is a rare thing, these days. I'm just glad to be of service.