Today's story is, perhaps, more darkly comedic than they usually are.
In light of recent anthrax letter threats to anti-abortion establishments, a floundering pharmaceutical company has devised a great gift item for would-be biological terrorists and others interested in giving the gift of pestilence this holiday season.
“Nothing brings out the spirit of the holiday season quite like a cold or a cough or a hemorrhage,” said company spokesman, Fred ‘Bleeding Gums’ Lockheart. ”It’ s time to put real emotion back into the holidays with the viral gifts that keep on giving.”
”Take for example our Sickness Sampler. It’s got every thing a family needs to spend a warm, loving holiday season together. Typically, the delightful treats in the Sampler, are enough to bring all the relatives from all over the country in to visit. It’s so effective, it should be called ‘The Family Reunion Sampler.’ ”
The ”Sickness Sampler” contains such concoctions as ”Marzipan Mucosa,” ”Hepatitis Helper,” ”Ebola Ecstasy,” “H1N1 Hype Happiness,” and ”Anthrax Excitement’.’
Said one satisfied customer, ”I gave my husband a box of the ‘Hepatitis Helper,’ and I’ve never seen his color look so good. I’ ve always thought he was stunning in yellow. I think I’ll try their line of cosmetic diseases, and maybe Peter can have a beautiful whelk crop to go with his lovely new color.”
”Really, nothing is more heartwarming than the sound of a loved-one coughing up gallons of black, red or green fluid. And when they lose a lung, oh, the joy! It’s actually quite beautiful.” said another customer.
whelk: \ welk \ noun. I'm using the second meaning of this word. Most people are more familiar with the first meaning. 1. any carnivorous marine gastropod mollusc of the family Buccinidae, of coastal waters and intertidal regions, having a strong snail-like shell. 2. a pimple or pustule. a raised lesion on the skin; wheal.
This word has two origins, depending upon which meaning you are intending. For the first: it's from the Old English "weoloc" which is related to Middle Dutch "willok," and the Old Norse "vil" which is entrails. For the second meaning, the one I used, It is derived from the Old English "hwylca."