ATLANTA – Officials at the Center for Disease Control are contesting the return policy of the Korbel Champagne Company in what many here are calling “a classic swindle.”
Effervescently giddy a week ago at the start of the Swine Flu outbreak, senior officials at the organization approved a “full-out partaaay”, says CDC spokesman Greg Thereou. “But things didn’t work out like we had hoped.”
“Look, the swine flu thing….we were gonna be important again!” Says Geoff Davis, senior epidemiologist of the Floating Particles and Peanut Dust Unit and lead researcher of viral gene sequence XD449Cd.
“I was gonna get to make all the bus and cab announcements.” Interjected another scientist – Dr. Franklin Sumpsen – as he passed by. He then added wistfully, “Sure beats tracking the sperm count of banana slugs in the Mississippi Delta.”
Amy Forsythe, lead statistician on the Women with Bizarre Sexual Histories Who Also Smoke Crack project, agrees. “We had a lot going for us this time. I mean, the SARS scare didn’t pan out at all like we’d hoped. I think we only got 3 or 4 press conferences out of that before it was all over.
“This time – ” Amy interrupts herself to hold up a newspaper on her desk, “Look at the London Metro Newspaper..’Swine flu could kill up to 120 MILLION’. I think they did that all by themselves! It’s like they were working for us or something.”
Dr. Davis did admit to some involvement the story, “Yeah, well, I photoshopped some surgical masks on a picture of a group of SWAT team guys enacting a raid for a public promo in Tulsa. Then I put little Mexican flags on their uniforms and sent it to the Metro. But what’s the big deal? It could have happened like that.”
“We bought 128 cases of Korbel Champagne.” Said Jody Flannagan, auditer of the Nosocomial Urethral Cath Infections Tracking bureau, and under-secretary of the party planning committee. She quietly pulled down a giant banner that read: We’re relevant Again! Have a drink on us…hell, have two!
“We mostly went with the Brut, but also threw in a smattering of Extra Dry and some Rose too.” She continued glumly, popping a balloon under her sensible office shoes. “Now the upper brass have called off the party and Korbel won’t even talk to us. It’s like we’re dead to them.”
All employees agree that coming back to reality after these heady past few days has been quite a blow. “It was shaping up to be the most powerful moment of our lives.” Said Dr. Forsythe, “If we could have nudged our pandemic indicator to ‘Crimson-blast deathblood of innocent millions’ level, we would have enjoyed utter domination of planet United States.”
A warehouse on the CDC lot is now filled with unused supplies including 48 million square feet of rolled plastic, sterile body suits, goggles, bright blue gloves (“they show up better in the pictures” said Dr. Forsythe) and miles of biohazard taping. Teams were already prepared to take over airports, schools, bus lines and other places of public congregation.
“True, they only gave us daycares.” Said James Dickson, a tech in the Toe Fungus lab. “It’s no JFK International..but still. We would have gotten to do a press-conference or two. I could have printed up lots of directions and mandates and plans and I’m sure we could have overseen the arrest of some itinerant parents who wouldn’t submit to our authority.”
Sighing sadly, Dickson threw a box of round stickers in the trash that read, “It’s for your own good. One day you’ll understand.”
“We’re sending an official letter of complaint to the champagne company,” says Dr. Forsythe. “They should understand that we have no use for the stuff now. It would be like popping corks at a funeral.”
Then she laughed conspiratorially as a man in a white coat whispered something in her ear. “Oh, that’s right…on the back of the letter, we’re attaching a sticky note that says we’ll release Vibo0t778-XM2 into their heating vents if they don’t give us our money back!
“That’ll teach ’em to ignore the CDC!”