The cops were first on the scene. The EMTs and firefighters were next. There was nothing they could do. It was a classic jealous husband catching a cheating wife. There were three fatalities.
The call came from the old part of town. Not the posh, upscale side of the tracks, but the side that was shabby and mediocre the day the houses were built. These were houses that went up like the Hindenburg when they caught fire. They were counted as little loss as long as there was no loss of life. They tended to three stories, balloon construction and a jumbled maze of rooms due to the ad hoc, add-on structural morphing.
The house in question was a three story with two narrow, steep, tortuous-twisty stairwells.
Jane Doe was the svelte one at 350 pounds. John Doe and Casanova were 450 and 500 lbs respectively. Myocardial Infarctions would have been the suspected causes of death had there not been physical evidence indicating otherwise. The fatalities were in back corner room on the third floor.
Administration was on the phone trying to locate the owner and the insurance company to get permission to chainsaw a big hole in the wall and take out the bodies with a cherry picker. The stairwells were too narrow to put two men on each end of the stretcher. The stretcher would have to be stood on-end going around the corners. Whoever was on the front of the stretcher would be humping the whole load down.
The Chief looked around and said, "Call Fred."
Fred was notorious for his graveyard optimism. He would look around the scene and always say, "Could have been worse." It became a bit of a challenge on the force to find a scene where he could not say that. The Chief was pretty sure Fred would shut up on this one.
Fred stepped into the room eating an apple. He surveyed the vast panorama of carnage. Orcas don't kill easy with a 9mm.
"Well," intoned Fred, "it could have been worse."
The Chief was stunned. "How do you figure?"
"Could have been yesterday." said Fred.
"Why would that have been worse?" asked the Chief.
Fred shook his head and said, "There would have been a threesome in that bed, and one of them would have been me."
I am reading Reinventing Collapse by Dmitry Orlov and The Wealth of Nature by John Michael Greer.
I finally figured out why I am attracted to those kinds of books. For one thing, I want to be like Fred and always be able to say, "It could have been worse."
The other attraction is that one needs to have some predictive ability to know how to posture. Cats land on their feet. One needs some kind of information about the timing and direction of the next impact to gracefully transition to "the next thing."
Frankly, I hope reading these books remains an intellectual exercise. I share this information with you because my blog postings will likely explore some of the puzzles I bump into in these books. I will keyword them (label) with Fred to give you a heads up in case they get tedious.