The people in charge of Rome decided, one day, to set fire to the City. When the citizens of Rome asked why, they were told that fire was a natural occurrence in the world.
Now, the people of Rome noticed that, despite fire being natural, the problem was that the folks above them were, literally, setting other people on fire. And they went and complained.
Why would you set us on fire?
But we weren’t on fire, and then you leaned over with a torch and now we are on fire.
Shouldn’t you worry more about the fact that you are on fire, than waste time blaming people for it?
Uhm, all right. Could you help put me out?
No, sorry, there’s only so much water around. If we put you out, we couldn’t put that other person out.
But you aren’t putting anyone out at all.
We want to be fair. You like fairness! So we can’t use water to put anyone out. To do so would single them out as special, and you don’t want us to do that!
Hey, wait, you aren’t on fire, though. Any of you.
Right. Thanks for noticing.
But why aren’t you on fire? Everyone else is on fire! You’re the only people not on fire and you’re just watching us be on fire.
It isn’t our fault you’re flammable! We didn’t design your bodies. Certainly, you can be assured, if we did you wouldn’t be flammable. See, if it were up to us, only it isn’t, you wouldn’t be on fire.
No, wait, we distinctly remember you set us on fire in the first place.
Well, frankly, yes. We did.
Why would you do that?!
You’re flammable. If we don’t set you on fire, how could we be sure?
I suppose, but why would you want to be sure. I think we could have told you that.
So now we should blindly trust anything you say? Double-standard isn’t it?
Not… really. But look here, you’re flammable, too. So why not set yourselves on fire?
Then who would be in charge of the water?
The water you’re not using?
We might need it if we catch fire.
But you won’t use any of it for anyone else.
Wouldn’t be fair to just pick and choose.
You’re picking yourselves, aren’t you? Isn’t that picking and choosing?
Well, we went and got the water. So that should be only fair, no?
Now just hold on. A lot of that water was gotten by other people!
It was kept near us. And we really couldn’t tell you who got it. So, in fairness, we’ve decided that since we currently have it we must have brought it here. It makes sense if you think about it.
No! It doesn’t!
Shhh, it’s ok. You’re on fire, you can’t be expected to think clearly.
But you set us on fire!
We put fire near you. We can’t be blamed for the fact you went and caught fire. Come on! Stop blaming other people for your condition and deal with it.
Didn’t you just admit you had all the water?
We planned ahead.
You… planned ahead… for us being on fire?
Yes. And the fact that you didn’t doesn’t speak very highly of you.
We didn’t know you would just start setting people on fire!
Exactly. But we knew.
So you planned this all along?
Not specifically. But we knew about fire and water and where one should stand and how pretty it could be if we set everyone else on fire and prepared accordingly. You could have done the same.
We’re really not on the same page about any of this, are we?
No! For one thing, we’re not on fire. Secondly, we’re pretty sure it looks warm. Warm isn’t bad. Thirdly, you keep blaming other people just because you happen to be flammable. We’re not blaming you, see, we’re just saying that if you were smarter you wouldn’t have caught fire.
Wait, how is that not blame?
We don’t expect you to understand. You’re busy being on fire, after all.
So if we say anything that might make sense you’ll brush it off by saying it doesn’t make sense, since we’re on fire. But if we say anything else, you’ll, what, brush it off as nonsense from people on fire?
You have to admit it is a valid point.
No! We don’t!
Says the people on fire.
Now you know how we feel.
Do you know how frustrating it is to deal with you people on fire? Complaining instead of putting yourselves out all the time?
We tried dropping and rolling, and blankets and have no water. And when one of us does manage to put the fire out you lean over and try to restart it.
Consider it incentive.
Incentive for what?
Not… being… on fire?
But if we put ourselves out you try to relight us! How is that incentive?!
Being on fire, and all, you wouldn’t understand.
No, this has gone on too long. The only recourse left is to set more things on fire and be done with it. Then we can do what we want without having to listen to you, and keep all the water. You’re just whining, whining and being malcontents who can’t even be on fire properly once you’ve had the bad luck to be flammable in the first place.
We could just start hugging you guys…
Whoa! Now you want to attack us and set us on fire?! What’s wrong with you guys?!
You set us on fire!
That’s no reason to want us to be on fire!
No, really, it is.
Criminals! We’ll call the Legion!
They’re on fire, too.
See what you did!
We didn’t do that, you did that!
We never claimed to want to set people on fire. You suggested it! It must’ve been you all along! We knew it!
Wait, what, no. You admitted to setting us on fire…
No we admitted you’re flammable. But now we know what happened. You set yourselves on fire as an excuse to try and set us on fire! See, that’s why we kept the water, you scum!
No, this isn’t at all what happened. See, you set us on fire. We were there!
Like we’re going to trust people who are on fire to tell us the truth? We heard you threaten us! It’s obvious you’ll do anything to set us on fire. You probably enjoy it, that’s why you won’t put yourselves out with some water.
You have all the water!
We have to protect ourselves from you!
This, wait, now see, this doesn’t make any sense.
So you admit your goals are crazy, as well. We knew it all along!
And somewhere: a fiddle.