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An amok (noun) is a large, flightless bird that lived exclusively on a small, uncharted, unchartered tropical island in the South Pacific. Amoks were the only fauna on the island.

The population of amoks grew to be quite large considering how small the island was. (Due to rising sea levels, it’s even smaller now. Definitely be prepared for a swim if you visit at high tide.) At it’s peak, it’s believed that the flock numbered 200 to 300 mating pairs and about 100 to 150 male and female amoks that preferred random, anonymous sex for pleasure rather than procreation.

The copious flora on the island, including many bushes laden with plump, juicy berries, provided more than enough food to feed the flock. Nevertheless, the population plateaued when the island no longer provided enough personal space for the amoks’ liking.

The flock began to grow again when the amoks learned how to build multistory nests that they occupied on either a rental or condo basis. However, the population soon plateaued again because being flightless, lazy birds that never mastered the technologies required for escalators or elevators, they refused to occupy nests above the third-floor. Amoks that tried to build nests with more stories than that typically had to file for bankruptcy when, after incurring the high cost of building such tall nests, they were unable to rent or sell their top floors.

Amoks have beautiful, shiny, almost luminescent green and blue plumage. Until only a few years ago, we knew this primarily from the accounts of the few people who had seen them and from feathers found on the island by research ornithologists. For more than four decades, we had no stronger evidence of their body colouration because amoks were thought to have gone extinct in 1972.

The amok extinction event—or, rather, what was thought to have been an extinction event—occurred when a cruise ship anchored off the island. The cruise director offered to take passengers to visit the island in shore boats for an additional optional-tour fee of only $1,973.50 per person, taxes and gratuities not included. Exactly 97 passengers with, as the saying goes, more money than brains signed up for and went on the tour, while the rest of the passengers waited, drank themselves silly in the ship’s bars and ate at the ship’s buffets like their was no tomorrow. Considering the assaults on their livers and how morbidly obese they were becoming, it was surprising that there was a tomorrow for most of them.

On the island, the passengers were thrilled by the lush, colourful vegetation and the beautiful, clever, bizarre amoks.   The sights took their breath away, in two cases literally. The staff quietly buried those two suffocated passengers on the island, erased their names from the ship’s manifest and pleaded ignorance when family members came to the dock to pick up the alleged passengers after the cruise.

For nearly a full 30 minutes, the tourists gawked and cooed at the wonders around them. They were so awestruck that, for their whole time on the island, none of them could coax any words past their lips other than exquisite, magnificent, glorious, stunning, sublime, heavenly, divine and other synonyms.

After enjoying splendors the island had to offer for almost half an hour, the cruise staff and the 95 passengers who had not died through acute breath-taking heightened their sense of wonder and adventure by slaughtering the amoks and carting the carcasses back to the ship so the chef could cook them for dinner that evening. It’s surprising how much a tour of that sort can stoke the appetite. Unfortunately, the dinner was somewhat of a disappointment because nobody knew what wine paired best with roasted amok. 

Years later, on May 23, 2013, despite all of the earlier evidence to the contrary, it was discovered that the amoks had not gone extinct. This was proven conclusively when a mating pair turned up at a funky costume party in the SoHo district of Manhattan. All of the party goers naturally assumed that they were not amoks, but, rather, a couple dressed up very convincingly as amoks.

The party goers found this assumption to be false when a besotted guest costumed as an ostrich tried to pull the mask off the male amok. Not being a mask, it wouldn’t come off. The amok began to peck the real flesh of the faux ostrich viciously. The amok’s mate soon joined in.

The upshot was that the faux ostrich, a normally staid accountant from Brooklyn, who was attending his first party of any kind ever, had to be rushed to the hospital. He required 27 stitches, several glasses of hard liquor and the services of a psychologist who, despite her extensive training and experience, her normally profuse pedantic professionalism, her appetite for alliteration, and her valiant attempts to avoid it, could not stop laughing at what had happened to him.

A couple at the party, both of whom were veterinarians, who were dressed incongruently as Napoleon and Lady Godiva (she was Napoleon; he was Lady Godiva), managed to calm the amoks down. The veterinarians then convinced the amoks that it would be best if the veterinarians took them to an animal rescue facility in upstate New York.

At the animal shelter, the amoks were given a warm welcome, plenty of healthy food and large doses of libido-enhancing drugs. The hope was that the amok flock could be rebuilt and eventually returned to its native island.

The amoks, which were nicknamed Bonaparte and Godiva in honour of the vets who rescued them, appear to be thrilled with this arrangement, but they have not yet produced any offspring. Their keepers aren’t aware of it, but the reason for this is that the amoks have been secretly using contraceptives because they really, really, really enjoy the sex, but they have no interest in being shipped back to their island . Life is much too good where they are.

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