When you’re a nobody (Latin Rite Novice Clerical Squire: character level, 5; class level, 1) within the most hierarchical organization in the universe, without even realizing what you’re doing you frantically start looking for some way to make yourself at least a little important, or at least to earn yourself a little bit of leverage. So I volunteered for the position of 3rd Floor West Fire Marshal here at Mt. St. My.’s. It is my responsibility to alert the floor in the event that a non-Dante-penned inferno finds its way onto the premises. “But Daniel, you’re an idiot and you wouldn’t even NOTICE a fire in your building until your ghost hears about it from a friend a few days later,” you ask. Well that’s not a question, so who’s the idiot now? Besides, this has nothing to do with fire safety. This is a racket. I will explain.
Persons on my floor can earn “Fire Insurance Points” by doing me favors or by being nice to me. One may lose points as well. I keep a list of the folks on my floor along side each one’s current insurance score on my door. So Monday you might be rated at 6, but if at evening prayer you were to mention the sloppy, unintentional rhyme scheme in the above sentence and mock my literary powers, then you might just find yourself sitting at 3 by Tuesday morning. Here’s a run-down of my “insurance policies.”
10- If there’s ever a fire, I’ll come bursting into your room screaming bloody murder. I will guard your life as my own.
9- I will promptly come into your room, find you, and urgently but clearly warn you of the situation.
8- I will open the door to your room and, if you’re anywhere nearby, I’ll throw things at you until I have your attention. Once I have it, I will say, “Hey, fire.”
7- Loud knock with a “Fire!”
6- Medium knock with a “Fire.”
5- Medium knock with something that rhymes with fire, so you could probably figure it out, but there’d still be that span of crucial time where you’re all like, “What?”
4- I’ll warn you of the fire by slipping a note under your door. The warning will be in riddle form.
3- I’ll pee on your door, and that will probably slow the flames down. The sound might make you open your door and check things out, but you’ll get peed on.
2- I’ll walk by your door and pretend to sneeze, but I’ll articulate “fire” in the middle of the sneeze. You know, like the kind of joke that frat boy types liked to do for a while a few years ago, where they’d give a sneeze-”slut” whenever they heard the name of an ex-girlfriend or whatever. I’m not really sure if it’s a joke and I’m not sure of what most people think is funny but you know what I’m talking about with the whole sneeze-but-say-a-word-too type thing.
1- Pretty much the same as 8, but I don’t guarantee that I won’t knock you unconscious.
0- I tie one end of a rope around your doorknob and the other end around a heating fixture.