Fred the Fireman

Today we will consider the story of Fred the Fireman.  As with other stories of this kind you read here, this one is fabricated…or is it really?

Fred worked for the local volunteer fire department. The alarm went off and he drove the fire truck down to the site where the fire had been reported – Vinnie and Sylvia’s house on Juniper Street. He saw that flames were already burning the wooden siding on the west side of the house where the bedroom was. His heart sank as he considered that Vinnie and Sylvia might already be dead from smoke inhalation since it was fairly late. But then he looked in the window on the east side where the dining room was, and saw that fortunately, Vinnie and Sylvia were peacefully engaged in a game of Phase Ten at the dining room table. However, both of them had their hearing aids out, had trouble seeing and had no sense of smell since they started taking Yabulox for their cases of Degenerative Toenail Syndrome.  (They were warned of this side effect when they asked their doctor if Yabulox was right for them.)

Fred’s first thought was to yell at them as loud as he could, but he didn’t want to disturb the neighbors, so he didn’t yell out. After all, who wants to make a scene? He could get the neighbors pretty upset since they were already sleeping.  So instead, he went up closer to the window, where he noticed that both of them were trying to get Phase Seven, which as all Phase Ten players know, is a really terrible phase to try to get.  Fred hesitated, seeing that both of them had two Wild cards and it was looking like a really close match.  Fred could see that they were really consumed with what they were doing, so he decided to wait a while longer so that he would not disturb what was obviously a very exciting game.

The flames were now spreading to the center of the west side of the house. But Vinnie and Sylvia were so wrapped up in what they were doing that they were oblivious to the imminent danger.

Just then, Fred felt some hunger pangs.  He hadn’t eaten any supper that night, and his stomach was crying out for food. He remembered that Dave’s Donuts was still open just a block away, so he figured that Vinnie and Sylvia could wait since the flames didn’t seem to be approaching them too terribly quickly.   He went down and ordered a chocolate glazed donut, only to find that there weren’t any left because Pastor Steve from PBFC had grabbed the last one, relieved that they weren’t out of that kind like they usually are later in the day.  He settled for a Cappuccino Crème and walked back to the fire scene with it.

Sure enough, the flames had only reached the middle of the house.  Fred was about to go up and bang on the window, but then he remembered something. Vinnie was friends with Rufus, Luigi, Francois and Wolfgang, all of whom were alleged to be involved in organized crime.  Did he really want to help this character? Maybe the world would be a better place without him anyway.

Then Fred saw the smoke billows start to enter the dining room.  He realized now that if Vinnie and Sylvia were going to be saved from the fire, it would take some drastic action on his part.  But Fred didn’t feel comfortable informing them of their impending destruction in the flames, because that could make them upset and their personal lives really weren’t his business anyway. He thought of how much happier he would be if he could just go home and do some 24-hour Foreign Exchange trading on the Internet rather than put forth the kind of effort he would need to rescue this couple.

Fred decided to return to his truck and drive away without doing anything. Vinnie and Sylvia perished in the flames shortly afterward.  “They had it coming anyway,” thought Fred.  He was upset and felt personally picked on the next Sunday morning when the pastor quoted this old Leonard Ravenhill poem:

Could a mariner sit idle if he heard the drowning cry?
Could a doctor sit in comfort and just let his patients die?
Could a fireman sit idle, let men burn and lend no hand?
Can you sit at ease in Zion with the world around you DAMNED?