Bank of America announced that it has discovered a few trivial, easily-remedied technical problems with some of its mortgages. “We will stop foreclosure sales in some states until our assessment has been satisfactorily completed, or until the politicians whom we have compensated so generously do their damn jobs and get rid of those pesky laws and rights that are slowing us down. Our ongoing assessment shows the basis for foreclosure decisions is accurate, except in those few regrettable cases where we repossessed a house that actually had no mortgage on it whatsoever—hey, nobody’s perfect, ha ha,” a Bank of America spokescreature said. “It’s really quite a lot of trouble to verify the address before we take someone’s house,” the spokescreature continued. “Comparing addresses on two documents slows us up by a good fifteen seconds. After all, we have a lot of houses to foreclose on. Anyway, many of those people actually do owe money to us, or to somebody, anyway. I know it is a bit confusing to citizens when our competitor HSBC and another bank simultaneously try to foreclose on the same property, especially when they are in a federal foreclosure prevention program. It’s sort of like one of those programs on Animal Planet where each hyena grabs a leg of the still twitching gazelle and tries to pull it away from the other hyenas. But that’s the way nature works—nobody asks those hyenas petty-minded questions about whether title to the gazelle was properly transferred, and to which hyena, and whether the title was properly notarized by an authorized local cheetah. Sometimes a company just has to sink its fangs into a customer, lock its jaws, which can exert a pressure of 1,000 pounds per square inch, brace its legs, yank, and see what tears loose. If we get the wrong gazelle, we will make every effort to compensate it for our erroneous gnawing, bone-crushing, and marrow-sucking.”
“It appears that some of our process servers may not have actually served the owners with notice of our intent to foreclose. But, honestly, wouldn’t warning them make it a whole lot harder to catch them? It is a myth that hyenas giggle and cackle before they attack. Actually, they are usually quite silent until they get close enough to bite. On the Serengeti, due process means that the gazelle runs as fast as it can and the pack keeps ripping small chunks off until the gazelle collapses due to shock and blood loss and inability to pay for a lawyer. There may have been some trivial, unimportant problems with the relevant documents, but we are confident that many of those gazelles really did owe us money, and we believe that our ripping them into pieces, digesting them, and regurgitating their horns and hooves is ecologically sound and generally in accord with the law of nature. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I will have to go mark the boundaries of my pack’s territory with the musk from my anal scent gland. We don’t want other hyena packs like J.P. Morgan invading our turf. That could be a real mess—those guys know how to sink their fangs in, and they know how to break down the door of a house and change the locks even when they haven’t foreclosed on the property.”
Asked for comment, a J.P. Morgan spokesperson said, “We have no interest in invading the grasslands turf of Bank of America or HSBC because we are not hyenas. We are amphibious apex predators, and our preferred mode of foreclosure is to lurk underwater by the bank of a river. When a gazelle or a wildebeest sticks its muzzle in the water, we surge upward and, um, serve papers on it, or something. Or grab a leg and go into our famous death roll, spinning and thrashing until the leg comes off. Then we like to take the borrower’s corpse up-river for a few days of what we in the mortgage business call ‘seasoning’. We would also like to remind you puny, pathetic citizens that we can grow to twenty-three feet long, we can gallop at up to seventeen miles per hour for short distances, we have maintained our distinctive business culture successfully since before dinosaurs evolved, we have thick dorsal osteoderms which are hard to penetrate even with an axe, and we are much more biologically complex than other reptiles: unlike them, we have features like a cerebral cortex and a four-chambered heart, and many of us have Ivy League degrees. We recommend that AMBAC and Pimco think carefully about all of these features before trying to push their mortgage-backed securities back onto our balance sheet. As for any legislators or prosecutors who might be thinking about going after us, we have very slow metabolisms. We can submerge for an hour and go for months without eating. We will outwait you and probably eventually hire you as a lobbyist. We would also like to note, though, that we are not without compassion. We honor our prey and weep for it: do you see the large tears rolling out of our eyes and down our scaly cheeks? You probably thought crocodile tears were a mere myth or proverb, but we do in fact have lachrymal glands that secrete a proteinaceous fluid. Crying has an important place in our corporate culture: it lubricates our eyes and cleans our nictitating membranes.” The Senate and the House, with remarkable foresight, have already passed HR 3808, a bill to facilitate the sharing of taxpayer carcasses across state lines. The bill’s sponsor, Representative Robert Aderholt, an Alabama Republican, said, “It is important to ensure that multiple species of predators can efficiently divide a taxpayer carcass and transport pieces of it from one waterhole to another.” David Axelrod, an advisor to President Obama, said, “We originally planned to sign it, but we are less than a month away from elections, and many gazelles and springboks seem to be agitated about this issue, so we decided to table it for now. We have complete confidence, though, in our ability to find some swift, quiet resolution of this problem after the election.” Secretary of Predation Timothy Geithner added, “I think we can all agree that our nation’s highest priority is to ensure a steady and increasing flow of protein to our apex predators. Crocodiles and hyenas are actually very delicate creatures, and any regulatory interference with their feeding habits could have a catastrophic effect on the entire ecosystem.” Despite their superficial differences, both parties fervently agree on the crucial importance of making life easier for apex predators.