The global network of cliches has been plunged into chaos today following the news that a flea, previously considered to be the fittest of all creatures, phoned in sick today.
'It's true' admitted a mangy dog that the flea has been working on for the last six months. 'I got a call from him yesterday morning shortly after nine o'clock saying that he was feeling terrible and wouldn't be in today. He did sound rough, although maybe just a little too rough, if you know what I mean.'
The revelation casts serious doubt on the validity of the saying 'as fit as a flea', with critics claiming that the insect should never have been held up as a model of fitness in the first place. 'This is a creature that's killed millions of people over the years through its filthy bloodsucking and spread of plague' said Health Secretary Andrew Lansley. 'Plague! I ask you - is that the actions of a fit and healthy individual?'
However, the news was welcomed by fiddles, the flea's long-term rival for supremacy in the comparative fitness stakes. 'This just goes to prove what we've said all along' said a Stradivarius from Manchester. 'At long last the flea's been exposed as a charlatan. I'm as happy as Larry (assuming that Larry is actually happy of course).'
Supporters of the flea maintain though that he was in fact still fit, and that he had simply been pulling a sickie. 'He was on Facebook all day saying how he was enjoying his day off' confirmed a close friend. 'I'm not sure his boss will be happy, but it does mean we can carry on using the phrase 'as fit as a flea'' he said.
This isn't the first time cliches have been in the news for all the wrong reasons. In 2006 a parrot from Rochdale hit the headlines when he revealed in an interview with Piers Morgan that despite repeated claims by footballers across the country, he was in no shape or form 'sick', and had in fact just received a clean bill of health in his annual BUPA health-check. Then in 2009 a protracted legal battle rocked the nation as a baby attempted to take an injunction out against a log to prevent it from claiming that it was the epitomy of a good night's sleep, with the judge eventually throwing the case out after four months of bitter evidence and legal wrangling on the grounds that there was nothing to suggest that either was in the slightest bit good at sleeping.
The flea was unavailable for comment, either in person or on Facebook, with many speculating that he was in fact 'down the pub with his mates, drunk as a skunk.'