Charlie Rose: Joining me now, the Bird Flu Virus. Welcome.

Bird Flu Virus: It’s my pleasure, Charlie.

CR: First, I want to thank you for coming. I know you’ve been fiercely busy. [Long, contemplative pause] Your incarnation, your cause, your past, your trajectory—it’s virtually unknown. Start from the beginning, if you don’t mind.

BFV: I grew up in a small fishing village just south of Quy Nhon. My father was killed in the war, I believe. My mother died shortly after my birth, as did my little sister. I’m quite certain my father used the war as a means of distracting himself from my existence. I hardly remember him. When I was four or so, at the height of the conflict, my cousins and myself fled to Thailand to a tribal village just north of Chiang Mai.

CR: If I may—what frightens you, what keeps you up… wait, let me rephrase… what’s your biggest challenge as a budding—okay, let’s start with this, why the sudden outbreak?

BFV: For as long as I can remember the desire to break out has been very strong.

CR: Here’s what’s been baffling me. For god’s sake, of all the animals out there, why chickens?

BFV: Perhaps the chickens chose me, Charlie.

CR: Do I have the Bird Flu Virus?

BFV: No.

CR: Did you want to… I read something somewhere that said you wanted to learn English so as to further facilitate your world outbreak. Is there truth in that? If you don’t mind my saying, your English is staggering.

BFV: Thanks, Charlie. But I’m afraid it’s not as convoluted as that. Until I was ten or so I lived with a tribe in northern Thailand, and at some point we hosted, if you will, an American exchange student, a blonde girl from Southern California. She and I would go for long, lazy walks in the jungle, talking about this and that, speaking only in English, of course. I remember her always wearing pigtails and gracing us with a smile so warm it could erect a children’s hospital. It wasn’t long before she grew addicted to opium, though, and we had no choice but to send her back. I was very hurt by her sudden departure. Her name was Paris, I believe.

CR: Were you tempted to fly back with her to the United States, or, OR… okay, here’s the question, were you tempted to use her as a host?

BFV: Was I. Come on, Charlie, I’m sure you’ve been tempted more than once by a woman from Southern California.

CR: That’s another show altogether.

BFV: [Laughs] I’ll bet.

CR: Come on. What does it FEEL like to be the Bird Flu Virus?

BFV: It feels like not being the Bird Flu Virus.


BFV: Look, I’m not going to front, as they say. Temptation is always a heavy presence in my life, but I truly believe good things come to those who wait.

CR: Buses come to those who wait. I mean, come on, let’s discuss the basics here, the epidemic, the tragedy—

BFV: Wait for the bus, and you shall find—

CR: WHY children?

BFV: I love children.

CR: Yes. But just for one second, consider… why sacrifice them so as to display yourself to the world? Is there not an easier way? Already there’ve been reported deaths; already the World Health Organization has issued a global threat. How does that make you feel? Why not choose adults who are closer to death—men on death row, for instance? Are children not the most precious creatures on earth? I mean, didn’t you just say so yourself that you love children? Why do birds sing?

BFV: Perhaps it is not entirely my fault that innocent children got involved. I’ve said this before and I will say it again, Charlie: my love for children is beyond anything anyone can comprehend.

CR: Any thoughts on the Democratic nominees?

BFV: I’m afraid I haven’t been reading up on American politics as much as I’d like, but if I had to, I’d say Kerry will take his camp to the White House.

CR: Wait, one last question. I have to ask it.

BFV: Go ahead.

CR: Did you infect my gaffer?

BFV: I will only say that someday my purpose will be fully understood.