I wanted to share with everyone, an article my Father, Henry Munroe wrote for the old Fire Command Magazine around 1985. Most, if not all of it, still holds true today.
To: Maximus Fabus, Magistrate, Pompeii Assembly
From: Florus, Chief of the Pompeii Fire Department
Date: Janus IV, A.D. LXXIX
Subject: XXVI Annual Fire Prevention Week Theme
Despite your repeated rejection of my request to feature the dangers of Mt. Vesuvius during Fire Prevention Week, I must ask again. I further hope that with the lastest rash of tremors you will request the Board of Fire Commissioners to move its adoption. Max, as I told you last week at the races, that the damm mountain is going to blow. I know your brother-in-law, th High Priest, claims he has read the omens and it is safe. Bull, that mountain is getting hotter. I dont care how many chicken guts your brother-in-law studies, he is wrong! You should know better than to trust that warped wizard anyhow. Didn't he con you and the rest of the commission to bet on that left handed Gladiator from Smyrna on Saturday? His exact words were, "bet heavy-he cant lose" What happened? He took a dive in the first fight to a Greek Shepard armed with a stick. Now I know you will have a problem with Fire Commission Quintus since his son was demoted to Chariot 6 Captain. We have him policing stables and I think he has found his niche. Look Max, better the kid is demoted than killed. He has hit the statue to Claudius and the Fountain of Ceres on the same run. Last month he ran the delivery boy from Pasitilie's Pizza Parlor off the road five times. Don't forget Max, the Pasitilie boys have connections down in Sicilia. In case his father get though, remind him I have information he was a silent partner in the company that imported the "Olive Glo" non vented heaters. Now to Fire Prevention Day, we will start with a grand parade. Chariots have signed up from as far as Salernum. The Roma Chief will ask the Emperor Nero to act as Grand Marshal and play his fiddle. We intend to have the usual contests with ladders and buckets. Burn a shack. The Ladies Auxiliary will put on a spaghetti dinner. I have written a great theme song called "There'll be a hot time in the old town tonight" Max, old friend, we gotta get ready for the eruption! I'm telling you its coming soon. Help me get the town ready by supporting this years program. In the mean time "watch that mountain" Florus, Chief, Pompeii Fire Department
To: Forum Scribe
From: Magistrate Fabus
Date: Janus V, A.D. LXXIX
I will ask the Fire Commission to veto Chief Florus' Fire Prevention week theme again. Therefor please be prepared for the usual "build up, turn down" letter to the chief emphasizing the following.
1. Jolly him up a bit about the race where he lost his shirt. Tell him how proud I am of his fire department and the brave boys that sally forth day and night in defense of our fair town, etc, etc.
2. Be stern! Inform him I disagree that our Sacred Mountain will ever be a threat. Tell him despite his lack of faith, the High Priest, after consulting with eh Oracles at Spina, assures me Vesuvius will not now nor in the future endanger Pompeii. The mountain is not grumbling but murmuring contentedly following last month's sacrifice of ten goats, three lambs and a combination Pizza.
3. Also "What a coincidence" When I was in Roma last month, I invited Emperor Nero to be Marshal for the parade. Note, send a letter forthwith to the Emperor imploring him to attend. Inform the other magistrates of the invitation and have the official chariot repainted. Ask the treasurer to appropriate sufficient sesterces to be tossed to the crowd during the parade.
4. Express my appreciation to the department for erasing disgusting graffiti questioning my birth, written of course, by the disloyal opposition. Remind the chief that should the other party win, he will be running with only two horses per chariot.
5. Tell him the commission is getting tired of his Vesuvius warnings. Remind him that its bosom shelters the grapes that pay all our salaries. Tell him I did not appreciate the department quartet singing "I dont want to set the world on fire" last year and the "Hot Town" tune is definitely out! Pompeii will only burn if the department fails to do its job, which it shouldn't with the generous budget this administration has always provided.
6. Chide him regarding his demotion of Quint Jr. Remind him he knew he was near sighted when he promoted him. Suggest he reconsider and get a spotted dog to run ahead of Junior's chariot when responding to alarms. Remind him again he was ordered to repaint all the chariots fregellae green months ago. Enough of Red!
7. End with fulsome praise for his good work the other night at Lydia's Lupanaria. This will certainly prove to the other madams that their protection money is well spent.
Remind him the mountain and the city were here long before we were and will be here after we are both gone. Tell him I expect to drink Vesuvius Wine at his retirement party. End with 'Your old school chum from the Third Ward. Max
To: Members of Pompeii Fire Commission
From: Maximus Fabus, Magistrate
Date: Junus VII, A.D. LXXIX
Subject: Fire Prevention Week Madness
This is the fourth year the Chief Florus has put forth as a fire prevention theme the ludicrous idea that our beloved Mt. Vesuvius is a danger to the people of Pompeii.(see enclosed memo from the Chief) The chief is paranoid. Every time we have tremor he turns out the fire department. The citizens get cranked up and we have to hold another circus to calm them down. We have had so many alarms recently that the crows is getting tired of local Gladiators. I need no remind you what is costs to bring down ringers from Roma. The chief sneers at my Brother-In-Law's foreknowledge of events. He also hints at blackmail regarding Commissioner Quintus. I realize we are all getting tired of Flo's insistence that the Big V will blow her top some day. I know that Commissioner Quintus wants the chief out! I would remind you, however, that for some strange reason Flo is beloved by his men and we all know how much clout he has in the Third Ward. Handle him gently until the election. I have told him that any Fire Prevention Week theme that even suggests that Vesuvius will harm our fair town is out! I have also nixed this years them song. You remember that dumb tune he had his boys sing last year? Well this year, the idiot proposes a snappy tune about Pompeii being a hot town. However, there is some good news regarding Fire Prevention Week. Since it's kicked off with a giant parade, I thought I would invite the Emperor Nero to be our Marshal. If he comes, the boys in the other party will go nuts! Imagine all of us reding up front with the Emperor, waving and throwing Sesterces to the crowd just before election. And they can't ask for equal time, as the Emperor is on his way to Africa to destroy Carthage next week. With out beloved Emperor kicking off our campaign and the chief muzzled, and the mountain quiet, what do we have to worry about?