Bettina Twiddlepost, Chief Bird Counter for Value Chicken & Other Edible Birds, Inc. was busy taking inventory one Saturday morning in preparation for the annual report to shareholders. Industry analysts were eagerly awaiting Value Chicken's announcement of its most recent TBC (Total Bird Count) because rumors were spreading that "incubating ova" were being erroneously included and as a result, Value Chicken's TBC was overstated.
"Every year I have counted up all the chickens and other edible birds just as it says to in the instruction manual!" bemoaned Twiddlepost. "I never paid any attention to where the birds happened to be at the moment I counted them! Now I don't know what to think!"
Twiddlepost was referring to findings recently released by the National Center Of Superfluous Studies in a report entitled "Properly Secured Avian Subjects Of More Value Than Those Uninhibited Or Residing in Dense Foliage".
"How could I have known?" continued Twiddlepost, "We have always just counted up everything that could flap its wings! Nobody told me I wasn't supposed to count all the birds outside sitting in the trees or what have you! They flap their wings, too you know! Why, 80% of the birds I count are outside when I count them, and especially when those big flocks fly by! There are so many of them I have to take a picture and then count them all up when I am back at my desk."
Betina Twiddlepost's problems are not unique - in fact, some experts estimate that up to 90% of Edible Bird companies include large amounts of these so-called "Freebirds" in their TBCs. "At first it was this business with count the egg, don't count the egg! Now we find out they are counting birds they don't even own" said Robin Vogelbraten of Spatz, Eule & Swift, Ltd. a leading Bird Street watchdog firm.
Legislators are starting to take notice as well as public frustration mounts over the "Freebird" scandal.
Ima Vogelhirn, speaker of the house, called for government-funded bird houses as a safeguard against industry abuse and inflated bird counts. "If every bird in America had a bird house, then we would be able to verify the numbers coming out of Bird Street by just counting up all the bird houses!" Ms. Vogelhirn told reporters as she made an appearance at Saturday's Southern Fried Rock Festival and Turkey Chase. When asked how the government would pay for her massive bird-house spending bill, Ima Vogelhirn replied "Americans will not be fooled any longer! It is time that we as a country get our priorities straight and do what it takes to get an accurate bird counting system in place! Americans are demanding action on the Freebird issue! Now if you'll excuse me, I have a concert and turkey chase to attend."
It was with those poignant words that Senator Ima Vogelhirn turned and disappeared through the gates of the entrance to the concert amid the thunderous roar of the crowd as the first musicians appeared on stage. As the applause died down, shouts were heard, first one, then another until the entire audience was chanting "Freebird". A touching moment in America.