Two Dialogues. Pile of Ash on the Wheel. Pile of Sick Under the Clock Hands.
A fire dialogue & a festival dialogue.
A man came into the fire station.
“My house is on fire,” he told the fireman.
“Your house is on fire?,” the fireman said.
“Yes, my house is on fire,” the man repeated.
“How could you have let this happen?”
“I wish I could tell you. I woke up to the smell of smoke and a searing heat beneath my bed. I came here right away. I fear it may be a punishment from God.”
“Why? Have you done anything to deserve it?”
“I don’t know. Perhaps I killed an insect that would have distracted a child from wandering into the road and being run over by a car. Perhaps I ignored a vagrant who starved to death because I didn’t give him my change. Perhaps my dreams are too impure. There are any number of possibilities.”
“I see. Is your body burned?”
“No, I don’t think so.”
“No flames blocked your path of escape?”
“And on your way here, did you ever stop to look back at your house?”
“Yes, several times.”
“When you looked back, did you see flames leaping from any of your windows?”
“No, I didn’t see any flames at all.”
“I see. As a professional, who has seen many cases like this before, I can give you some slight comfort, then: you are not responsible for this fire. Your house is just sick, or, more accurately, dying. It’s consuming itself, as houses sometimes do at the end of their time. You could have lived the life of a saint and it would have caught fire just the same. Such things are outside even God’s control.”
“I understand. As a fireman, what are you going to do?”
“There is nothing for me to do. Your house is already gone. Not even a skeleton remains.”
“How can you be sure?,” the man asked him.
“Go back and see for yourself,” the fireman replied. So the man went back to where his house had stood, and saw that it was true.