Fictoid: the fire this time

Irwin Smith - in the ruins “Okay, sir, we managed to put it out.”

“Oh, thank you! Thank you, so much! I don’t know what we would do without our gallant firefighters -- “

“Yeah. Right. Look, sir, let me be frank: This is the third time in as many weeks that we’ve had to come out here to put out a fire.”

“Yes, and I appreciate that -- “

“We came out five times in the previous month. Six in the month before that. In fact, sir, we’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve had to come out here to put out a fire.”

“I’m sorry, gentlemen, but if there was anything I could do -- “

“But there is, sir. We’ve traced every single fire to the same cause: Old, poorly installed, deteriorating power lines that are not up to contemporary building codes.”

“I don’t see what that has to do with anything.”

“Sir, you are running higher currents through them than they were designed to take. They were not well thought out or properly installed in the first place. The insulation, which was inadequate to begin with, is fraying and falling off.”

“You can’t expect me to go without power!”

“That’s not what we’re saying at all. Yes, have power in your house, but recognize the old system needs to be replaced and upgrade.”

“There’s nothing wrong with the old system. Why, it’s original to this house.”

“Precisely my point, sir. Times have changed. Load demands have changed. You need to replace it and upgrade it.”

“But my grandfather built this house by hand! I would be insulting his memory if I yanked the old wires out and replaced them with new wiring! And besides that, look at the cost, look at the inconvenience!”

“Less costly and inconvenient than having fires break out periodically when they could easily be prevented.”

“I understand what you’re saying, and I see the logic behind it, but really, it’s not at all a practical solution for me. Other home owners, yes, but not me.

“However, I am listening to what you’re saying, and I do think I have a solution, one that will satisfy your concerns while at the same time be easy and convenient for me.”

“And that would be…?”

“I’m going to punish the wood in my house for catching fire.”



art by Irwin Smith text © Buzz Dixon


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