I tell my friend that I am writing a short piece about the fire brigade, based on a story my neighbour told me. She agrees to cast her eye over what I have so far.
The fire brigade received a call from an elderly gentleman:
“All of my furniture is collapsing, and I cannot hold it up on my own. Please come and help, quickly. I don’t know what to do.”
The fire brigade chastised the caller and did not attend the emergency. Furthermore, when the time came for their annual publicity drive to warn members of the public against wasting fire brigade time by making inappropriate calls, they released the recording to be played on local radio. When the elderly gentleman wrote to complain, telling them that their inaction had caused him to lose many valuable things, and that their subsequent actions had caused much embarrassment, they did not reply. He could only imagine them passing his letter round, taking turns to laugh at it.
She hands the piece of work back to me.
“You can’t use this,” she warns. “Even if it’s true, you can’t. The fire brigade are brave and courageous. They’re the good guys – people don’t want to read bad things about the fire brigade.”
“But it is-”
“I don’t care. People won’t want to know. Trust me.”