GREELEY, NE—Experts confirmed Monday that a single black crow perched ominously on a fence post in rural Nebraska is almost certainly a harbinger of great doom and despair for all Americans.
The crow came eerily to rest on the rickety wooden post at 10:26 a.m. Monday, according to farm hands working in a nearby field at the time. Citing a vague but certain feeling that "something just wasn't right," one of the laborers contacted law enforcement officials, and within hours federal authorities had converged on the site.
By late afternoon, sources in the Pentagon had received intelligence corroborating their suspicions that the crow is in fact a dark omen foretelling widespread economic ruin, famine, pestilence, and perhaps even the total collapse of the national infrastructure.
"At this point, all we can say for sure is that the sudden appearance of this grim avian prophet spells disaster for our nation's banks, its roads, its schools, its health care system, its energy resources—for our entire American way of life," Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters while examining video footage of the crow. "Would you just look at the way it's sitting there, with those glassy, black eyes and that creepy beak. Christ. Something bad is going to happen, I just know it."
"Those…those eyes," Whitman added.
In response to the bird's unnervingly subtle movements, President Obama has issued an executive order barring any travel in or out of the country, freezing all domestic and international economic activity, and placing the military in a state of high alert.
The president has also requested that all Americans remain inside their homes to avoid being spooked by the bird's foreboding, unearthly caws.
"Look, the crow is already upon us, and we can't undo that," the president said at an emergency press conference Monday night. "As our nation faces this unprecedented challenge, it is very important that no one panic, because panicking will only increase the chances of it fidgeting with its talons or perhaps even flapping its wings. And I think we all know what that would mean."
"Oh, crow, why must you taunt us with your unholy knowledge?" the president continued. "Leave us be or make haste with your nefarious doings!"
According to Dust Bowl–era accounts of similar augurs of doom, crows alighting upon fences amid desolate prairie landscapes have often been associated with creeks running dry, cows giving sour milk, grain elevator accidents, and other tragedies. But modern experts have cautioned that this time the circumstances could be far more dire.
"Between the continuing rise of unemployment, unchecked carbon emissions, and the way the crow keeps cocking its head, we could be looking at an event of apocalyptic proportions," said Sgt. Blake Harmon, a military negotiator deployed to Nebraska to help manage the crisis.
"What is it you want from us, you wingèd demon? Tell us what you want!" continued Harmon, eliciting from the crow only a clacking of its beak and a cryptic "EEEE-AW!"
A $14 billion crow task force deployed by the federal government to monitor the bird reportedly attempted late Monday to approach the sinister-looking corvus corax specimen. However, the sudden snapping of a twig, coupled with the creaking of a nearby weather vane, sent a group of CIA, FBI, Interior Department, and Fermilab investigators running for cover.
"Argh! We're cursed! The country is cursed!" said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, taking cover behind a nearby lilac bush. "Shooing it away will only seal our doom!"
"You smug son of a bitch, why don't you get off your high perch, fly over here, and fight me like a man!" screamed CIA director Leon Panetta, swinging his fists in the direction of the bird as a number of aides attempted to restrain him. "Let go of me! I have to get out of here. I can't take the way it just sits there and stares at me. Like it sees into my very soul!"
When reached for comment on the grim future of the nation and its 300 million citizens, the crow reportedly turned its head slowly to one side and shifted its weight, as though indifferent to the dark cosmic forces foretold by its malevolent form.