"Oh hai Leesa!"

Johnny, a wealthy banker living in San Francisco, stepped into his well-furnished apartment. His fiancee, Lisa, was lazily lying on the couch, holding a newspaper over her stomach.

"Oh, hey Johnny." Lisa said, propping herself up. "How was work today?"

"Work today wus good!" Johnny said triumphantly. "They poot my ideuhz into practeece!"

"That's great!" Lisa said excitedly. "I got a call back from NCT Software today, too! I'm going in for an interview on Thursday!"

"How wunderfull!" Johnny dropped his briefcase and ran over to Lisa. They passionately embraced, each tenderly kissing the other... Johnny reached around, undoing the strap of Lisa's bra, and she slipped her pants down...

"Hi guys!" Denny burst into Johnny's apartment, but recoiled in disgust. "Hey, put a sock on the door next time!"

"Oh!" Lisa pulled her pants back up and brushed the hair out of her face, while Johnny scratched the back of her head.

"Please knock next time, Duhnny." Johnny chastised. "But eet ees oh-kay. Wuld you like some peetza?"

"Sure, peetza sounds great!" Denny said.

Lisa grabbed the phone and stepped into the kitchen, while Denny collapsed on the recliner. Johnny slipped his suit jacket and tie off and threw it to the side.

"So Johnny, did you hear about what happened in New York?" Denny asked. "There was a terrorist attack or something. Tons of people dead."

"How horribull." Johnny shook his head. "I cannot eemaghun what I wuld doo if Leesa was killed..."

"Yeah, it'd really suck."

Johnny noticed Denny's eyes drifting toward the kitcken, where Lisa was chatting on the phone with the local pizza place. Denny's eyes were almost glazed over...

"Duhnny?" Johnny said.

"Oh!" Denny snapped back to reality. "Sorry, I was just thinking about Elizabeth. I haven't seen her in a few days."

"Right." Johnny said dismissively. He was seriously beginning to doubt that 'Elizabeth' actually existed; he'd never seen them together, or even a picture of them or anything.

Lisa walked back into the living room. "Okay, the pizzas are ordered! Should be about 45 mins."

"Ha ha ha." Johnny chuckled. "Purrhaps wee shuld eenvite Mark ohver."

As if on cue, Mark, Johnny's best friend, walked into the room.

"Hi everyone." Mark said.

"Oh hai Mark!" Johnny chirped. "Wee just orduhred peetza."

"Cool." Mark said. He sat down on the couch. "Man, work was hell today. That forest fire up north is really putting extra work on my place, you know?"

"I hear ya." Denny said. "But what do you do, anyways?"

"Uh, what kind of pizza did you guys order?" Mark asked.

"Half-cheese and half-cheese." Lisa said. "I think we all need to unwind a bit. What do you guys think? Should we dip into the scotch!"

"Sure!" Mark said.

"But I don't dreenk." Johnny said.

"Oh, come on, one drink won't hurt!" Lisa said.

Forty-five minutes later, all four of them (even Denny) were somewhere between tipsy and plastered. The doorbell rang, and Johnny stumbled to the door.

"Oh hai peetzaman!" Johnny giggled.

"Yeah, you guys ordered two pizzas?"

"Ha ha ha, what a- what- what- ha ha ha." Johnny couldn't even finish his sentence without giggling like a schoolgirl. He reached into his pants pocket and fumbled with his wallet, but he just ended up dropping it on the floor.

"You never could hold your liquor, Johnny!" Mark taunted. He walked over to the door, picked up Johnny's wallet and handed over forty dollars.

"Keep the change, man!" Mark said. "It's not even my money, so take it!"

"Uh, thanks." The pizza guy handed the pizzas over, and Johnny waddled over to the coffee table and set them down. The pizza guy left, muttering about weirdos, and he deliberately didn't meet Mark's gaze when he noticed him waving.

"Peetza!" Johnny opened one of the boxes and pulled out a slice, but to his surprise, the cheese pizza was topped with olives and jalapenos.

"Oh, they screwed up the order again." Lisa noted.

"Everybuddy betray me!" Johnny threw the pizza on the ground. "Just face eet, peetza is roouhned!" He grabbed the pizza box and threw it against the wall, eliciting giggles from his friends.

"Stop overreacting, Johnny." Denny said. "It's just pizza."

"No, you don't undeerstand!" Johnny stormed out of the room.

"Hey!" Lisa chased after him, but he had walked off somewhere. Lisa knew exactly where to find him; she took the stairs up to the roof, where Johnny was sitting up against the ledge, his face buried in his hands.

"Oh Leesa..." Johnny said. "Why duz everyone hate me?"

"What? We don't hate you." Lisa sat down beside him and started rubbing his back.

"No, eet's... at wurk, evuhryone makes fun of my accent beehind my back." Johnny wiped the tears from his eyes. "I do my best, but..."

Lisa pulled him close. "Don't worry about it, Johnny."

They sat in silence for a few minutes, until Mark stepped onto the roof.

"You guys okay?" Mark asked.

"Y, yeah." Johnny said. "I cannuht change how they feel about mee, but I can keep wurking hard. I do not need to satusfy them, onlee myself."

"I know how to cheer you up, Johnny. How about we have a threesome?" Lisa suggested.

Both men just looked at her.

"Just kidding!" Lisa said, and they all chuckled a bit. Denny eventually joined them on the roof, carrying the other pizza, and they finished their dinner party underneath the blue sky.

The next day was Saturday, and Johnny woke up with a bit of a hangover. Lying beside him was Lisa, who was loudly snoring, but he didn't mind; he couldn't get to sleep without her.

After showering and getting dressed, Johnny took the elevator to the ground floor. He noticed Mark, dressed in a track suit, talking to a man he didn't recognize.

"Johnny!" Mark exclaimed. The other man, who was dressed in a black suit with matching sunglasses, immediately walked away. "What's up?"

"I wuz goeeng to go runneeng." Johnny said.

"Uh, I don't know if that's such a good idea." Mark said hesitantly. "Uh, the smog's pretty bad out today, you'll just inhale it all and get sick-"

"No, eet's fine!" Johnny said. "Come on, let's go runneeng!"

"Seriously, Johnny, I think it's best to stay inside today." Mark took a few steps toward Johnny, looking oddly agressive. "Trust me on this."

But before they could get into a physical altercation, the door was flung open by Peter, their psychologist friend. He was still dressed in pajamas, and he was wheezing and profusely sweating.

"Shit, the world's going crazy!" Peter wheezed. "There's... explosions all over."

"Explosions?" Mark said. "No, that's not-"

But they were interrupted by a screeching eagle flying through the door. It dove right into Peter's back, exploding on impact; Peter fell to the ground, screaming in pain while futilely attempting to put the flames out.

"Peetur!" Johnny grabbed a fire extinguisher and sprayed it all over Peter, but it was too late; Peter's scorched body stopped struggling, instead moving peacefully into the beyond.

"Shit!" Mark ran over to Peter and put his fingers on the latter's neck. "No pulse. God damnit, he's dead!"

"Mark, whut eez goeeng on heere?" Johnny asked. Based on his reaction and his comments from yesterday, Johnny had a hunch that Mark knew more than he was letting on.

"It's... it wasn't supposed to be like this." Mark got up, his hands clenched and shaking with rage. "Johnny. Go and get Lisa. We need to get out of here as fast as we can."

"But Mark, what's-"

"Go!" Mark shouted. "We'll meet back in the parking garage. If you're not there in the next 10 minutes, I'm leaving without you."

Sensing the urgency in Mark's voice, Johnny obediently turned around and got back on the elevator. As soon as the doors opened on his floor, he ran back to his apartment.

As he crossed the living room, another bird crashed through his window and landed on his coffee table, twitching a couple of times before succumbing to its injuries. Oddly, it didn't explode; Johnny took that as a blessing. He looked out the window, and saw a flock of 20 or 30 more birds, heading right toward him.

Lacking any other options, Johnny grabbed his television and chucked it out the ruined window. The very edge of the TV clipped the bird in the lead, causing it to explode in midair; this caused a chain reaction that destroyed the rest of the birds in the flock.

"Phew." Johnny wiped the sweat off of his brow. Lisa, dressed in a sheer nightgown, descended from the spiral staircase.

"Johnny, what's-" She stopped abruptly as she noticed the dead bird on top of the ruined coffee table. "What's going on here?"

"I haf no time to explain!" Johnny said. "Come on! We need to meet Mark downstairs!"

Lisa threw on a jacket as they ran outside. Another bird flew through the window of their apartment, but this one exploded, destroying most of their apartment. There was no going back now...

They got into the elevator, but Lisa held the door as Denny ran down the hallway.

"Guys, guys, what's going on?" Denny said. "A bird just flew through my window and exploded!"

"Come on, Duhnny!" Johnny insisted. Denny climbed into the elevator, and they headed down to the parking garage. Mark was waiting for them as they got out, and they barely had enough time to climb in before he hit the gas and squealed out of the parking lot.

"So what's going on here?" Lisa asked.

"It's..." Mark shook his head. "I work for a company called Nguyen Industries. We have a contract from the US Military, and we're working on some really top-secret shit."

"Like exploding burds?" Johnny said.

"Yeah, well, no. See, we bought out another company and acquired their nanotechnology. We've been using it for genetic modification on a species-wide level, but... but an eco-terrorist group seized a shipment, and they're using it to turn these birds into shock troops."

"That's an insane plan!" Denny said.

"Yeah, well they're not exactly sane." Mark said. "The nanotech was originally meant for goats, it would turn their saliva extremely corrosive and allow them to process hazardous waste. But they did something to it, and they started using it on birds... I have no idea why they're exploding."

"So how do we stop them?" Lisa asked.

"We can't." Mark said. "The best we can do is get out of here before we die or get infected. It should be limited to a few species of birds, but there's always a chance of mutation."

Mark's car practically flew out of the parking garage, on to the main road. The corpses of dead birds and ruined cars littered the roads, but unbeknownst to his friends, Mark was an expert stunt driver; he weaved and swerved through the traffic, dodging dive-bombing birds and panicking humans.

"It's like an epidemic." Lisa said, looking at the carnage outside.

"A bird epidemic." Denny said. "A... birdemic."

Lisa and Johnny just looked at him, and he shrugged.

Unfortunately, a kamikaze bird hit the windshield, splattering all over. Mark lost control and swerved into a building; but fortunately, everyone survived, though they were a bit dizzy. They climbed out of the ruined car.

"Damn it, I just put $2000 into this thing..." Mark moaned, looking at his car one last time.

"Ohvur there!" Johnny pointed out a red car on the street that still looked like it was in pretty good shape. The group ran toward it, but a few birds flew down; they hovered in midair between them and the car, screeching madly.

"Come on, chickens! Cheep cheep cheep cheep!" Denny taunted. The birds all turned toward him.

"Denny, what are you doing?" Lisa shouted.

"Go! I'll distract them!" Denny said.

Sure enough, the birds surrounded Denny, completely ignoring Mark, Lisa and Johnny as they walked past. Denny continued his taunting, even as the birds' acidic spit melted his flesh.

"Lisa!" Denny gurgled. "I... I love you!"

Lisa turned back for a split second, but Johnny grabbed her shoulder as they climbed into the car. Mark got in the driver's seat and drove off, leaving Denny to his fate.

"Lisa..." Denny fell to his knees. He'd never gotten to confess to her, but he'd loved her ever since they met... of course, she was Johnny's fiancee, so he knew he couldn't be with her. But if he could sacrifice his own life to ensure the safety of hers, he would do so gladly.

The birds flew into him, detonating in a massive explosion. A smile crossed his charred lips as Denny breathed his last.