The ‘Transmittable Infectious and Contagious Viruses and Diseases League’ last week held its annual general conference, this time inside Susan Boyle’s colon, its glittering new venue. The chairman thanked all of the attendees, and then read out apologies for those who couldn’t make it, most notably ME, who just couldn’t be arsed turning up. ‘She shouldn’t even be in this fucking league anyway!’ shouted an angry Meningitis.
Proceedings got off to a solemn start as Swine Flu took to the stage with a heart-felt lament on the impermanence of power and status.
‘I used to be a big noise,’ sighed Swine Flu. ‘I guess I believed the hype, got carried away with the headlines. Millions dead, they said, and I believed them. When I was a little germ, I used to run around my cell pretending that I was Spanish Flu – God rest his soul – thinking I’d grow up to be just like him. In the end, I was nothing: little better than Bird Flu.’
Bird Flu was visibly shaken by this perceived slight, and took to the podium in a rage, ejecting Swine Flu and immediately going on the offensive. ‘You’re God damn right you were nothing, you shit-snouting pig-fucker. All that big talk, striding about Mexico with your wee dong out, and what did you achieve? A few dead Mexicans, and a couple of newlyweds in Falkirk got a dose of the sniffs and a new conservatory from Max Clifford. The fucking Cold has kicked more ass than you, son.’
‘Here, here!’ yelled the Cold. ‘And while I’ve got your attention, don’t any of you ever call me ‘common’ again. I live in a semi-detached in the suburbs, for Christ sake!’
At this point the Bubonic Plague interjected and appealed for calm, but he, too, fell foul of Bird Flu’s fury: ‘I’ll not be lectured to by a has-been. The last time you were a big player the coffins that took your victims away were pulled down gas-lit streets on horseback, rat boy!’
‘Respect your elders!’ screamed chicken pox, to loud approval from most of the audience.
‘Fuck off, you measly wee bastard!’ screamed Bird Flu. ‘Wee bit of Calpol’s enough to send you packing; not exactly Kryptonite is it, son? You’re about as deadly as a dose of the shites.’
Swine Flu, still smarting from Bird Flu’s attack, returned to his feet to issue a stinging rebuke: ‘At least we’ve learned to adapt to our new status, unlike others I could mention. You still think the world owes you a dying, you swan-killing loser!’
At this point, Bird Flu’s face changed to a deep scarlet. ‘LOSER? Fucking LOSER, is it? I brought the world to its knees, and it’s still on them. I use birds, and birds can get everywhere, so you‘ve not heard the last of Bird Flu, son, I can assure you of that. YOU never managed to bridge the species gap and go human to human, so how are your bloody pigs going to manage to get out there and infect the world? They going to swim across from Mexico, you arsehole? Hmmm? I’ll tell you when you can talk to me like an equal, son: when pigs fucking fly!’
By this time, the mood in the audience was electric with anger. ‘Oh, has the wee baw-bag not got anything else to say?’ hectored Bird Flu, clearly relishing his time in the spotlight. ‘No? Beh-the-Th-th-thi-th-th-the that’s all folks! FUCK YOU, you WORM!’
‘Get off!’ hollered Psoriasis. ‘Nobody wants to hear what you’ve got to say!’ At this point there was a scuffle, as Psoriasis was ejected from the conference. This is the fifth year running that Psoriasis has managed to sneak past conference security, each time wearing an ingenious disguise. This time he was disguised as the Ebola Virus (Ebola had been unable to attend the conference, as he’s currently on safari in Kenya).
‘This is discrimination!’ screeched Psoriasis as he was dragged, kicking and screaming, from the hall. ‘You’ll pay for this, you racists!’
‘He’s quite a character, is our Psoriasis,’ said the conference chairman afterwards. ‘Ironically, he’s demonstrated through his persistent, invasive behaviour that he has the heart and spirit of a deadly communicable disease. It’s just a pity that Psoriasis, in addition to not being what we’re looking for, is a really shite ailment. Laughable. Who would we have to take next if we opened our doors to the likes of him? Athlete’s Foot? Please!’
Bird Flu kept spewing his invective, to a chorus of angry caterwauling. Mad Cow Disease was next on the attack. ‘SO YOU PUT THE SHITS UP BERNARD MATTHEWS, DID YOU, BOY? MADE A FEW FARMERS CRY?’ he yelled. ‘WELL I HAD HALF OF FRANCE ON FIRE, AND FARMERS SHOVING LOADED SHOTGUNS INTO THEIR GOBS! I’M A TIME-BOMB, BOY, A GOD DAMN BRAIN-BUGGERING TIME-BOMB!’
A deathly and sudden silence seized the room as the STDs burst into the hall. Their procession was led up the aisle by Lord AIDS, who regarded the non-sexual diseases on either side of him with disdain. His cloak billowed behind him like a sail. The Hepatitis brothers slapped a few terrified faces in the audience as they followed behind their master, a brazen act that caused Legionnaires Disease to faint.
‘Well, well, well,’ smirked Lord AIDS, in a voice that was identical to Patrick Stewart’s. ‘Listen to the minions bicker and squabble over the size of their respective micro-penises. Mine is the kingdom of human weakness, my friends, and my subjects will see me rule in perpetuity. Put simply, I’m the sex-and-drugs answer to cancer’ (bet you never thought you’d hear Captain Picard say that).
Just as Lord AIDS was about to mount the podium, The Cold jumped out from his seat, burst from his row and clamped his arms around the Lord’s legs. The Cold was dragged a few feet before Chlamydia managed to prise him off. ‘My Lord!’ said the Cold, weeping and moaning. ‘I am your humble servant. I would be NOTHING without you, my Lord, NOTHING!’ Lord AIDS looked down at The Cold as if he were nothing more than Cystitis.
Lord AIDS then ascended to the stage and took his place at the podium. He gazed out over the assembled diseases, and started laughing; and that laughter boomed and echoed throughout the room like an explosion. Once he’d finished, he gave a casual shrug of his shoulders and leaned in towards the microphone.
‘AIDS…’ he said in a husky whisper. ‘AIDS.’
No-one spoke for what seemed like an age. Then the silence was broken by an aggrieved Psoriasis, who had sneaked back into the hall.