22 August 2014

FEC Fire Drill

Past performance (pun intended) by the denizens of FEC (Fading Entertainers Central) prompted Upper Levels in the Chain of Command to issue orders: FEC will have a Fire Drill.

 Mr. OCD is fuming because he the IC (Inmates Committee) was not consulted. He has a need for position recognition. What he feels is an oversight causes him to upgrade his usual operatic humming to intermittent but furious Wagnerian bellows as he paces the communal lobby. His stress kills the initial excited buzz recalling fire drills in school days of yore.

It's no secret FEC has a rocky relationship with the Fire Department thanks to said past performance. To date about a hundred false alarms have rousted the local firemen, and often the deputy chief, from whatever they normally do, engines screaming up to our doorstep at all hours of day and night. Mostly night. To the great annoyance of the neighbourhood. Our lunatics residents have sent the smoke alarms blaring with stove fires, malfunctioning ovens, forgotten cigarettes, faulty wiring, and occasionally, an orgy of candles running amok. Also never forgotten, a memorable balcony explosion from an illegal barbecue that blackened six surrounding suites and actually incurred the use of hoses.

Firemen are also beckoned by 911 calls, sometimes legitimate, followed by the paramedics, till the street is filled with whooping sirens, flashing lights, and our heroes dressed in all their heavyweight gear. Then there are the calls blamed on the faulty intercom, bathtub floods, accidentally pushing the call alert thingy, perhaps even a few pocket dials.

So the FEC Upper Levels decided a proper Fire Drill will go a long way to ass-kissing improving our reputation public relations with our boots-and-helmet brethren. Demonstrating competence in their eyes, we will become a sterling example of community compliance.

Building manager Simon distributed information sheets to each suite for an orderly exercise. We know, we know. The alarm goes on and the elevators turn off. Everyone descends the stairways to safety outside on the sidewalk. The logistics are thrust on Simon and to a marginal degree, Sandor the Super.

Oh wait. Inmates residents with mobility issues are to remain in their suites. No further instructions for them beyond that. Rapid, rampant speculation circulates through the rumour circles that aerial ladders will be employed to extricate them. Or since they can't climb down the stairways, perhaps they could climb up to the roof. Much heated discussion, does the fire department have a rescue helicopter or not.

Certain elements are seen hastily pasting CAT RESCUE signs to their doors. More discussion: does the fire department rescue cats or not. [Forget me? and just get Whiskers the hell outta here?]

Comes the appointed day. One might notice that the garage is almost empty, those with cars and foresight having fled the exercise well in advance. The rest of us with cars and no mobility issues snuck away minutes beforehand to gather in the Hearty Tartan pub for a quick one. And debate how long a Fire Drill might take. The HT has a convenient window to accommodate our crowd of spies.

We see, from our comfort zone, a few hapless lunatics residents stumble out of FEC, directed by Simon in his teamwork zeal not to our sidewalk but to better safety across the street. These are the loyal FEC minority who are genetically programmed to obey all management memos. Sandor the Super is manning the intercom with the demeanour of an East Berlin border guard.

Dear Simon ― of whom we are generally fond ― obliviously scheduled the Drill at rush hour for crossing the street. To safety. Single-handedly he manages to direct and assist, obstructing traffic for blocks. Some like Fragrant Elayne and dear Blanche and distracted Daphne need a good five minutes each to totter across. McElroy is grinning like a maniac with half a cigar defiantly clamped in his teeth. Sally (who else) and Luther trail Simon back and forth in the frenetic crossing chain, demanding he wear a day-glo orange vest. Blockaded drivers exit their vehicles to contribute their own demands. One of Marietta's wretched creepy dogs escapes her bundle buggy and hightails it between the cars, having spotted a kid with a hot dog. Plenty of screeching and bad language.

Oh, look. Here comes our amiable friend Officer Strombolopolus to have a word with Simon and unsnarl the traffic.

No telling how many sneaks residents actually stayed put ― a few would be long passed out in their recliner chairs at the TV set and others clandestinely peeping at the excitement from their windows. A few waiting for the helicopter. Poor Simon looks dangerously close to collapsing. George and Jiminy Crickets try to marshal the motley evacuees while Mr. OCD stands by, glowering.

Not a fireman in sight.

So perfectly FEC'd up, we in the Hearty Tartan agree. Let's have another quick one since we're here anyway. With no official witnesses appearing to approve the sorry pandemonium Fire Drill, Upper Levels in the Chain of Command can stop chewing their nails. And go back to the drawing board.

It's true we can't see the roof from here, but we know Bella is up there, waiting for the helicopter. Sandor will find her on his nightly inspection and tell her to go home.

Another pointless feckless day in the life ...  


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