So John Lou is in his den having a snooze before dinner, with the TV on. He wakes up when he hears the sirens coming off a firetruck. So he jumps up and runs to the door to look out and see what’s going on. Mrs. Ennis happens to be cooking Sunday dinner at the time, and when he opens the door, all the steam from the kitchen goes outside. Their neighbour, Mrs. Bussey, she’s hanging clothes up at the time, so he calls out to her, “Floss!” – her name – he says, “Floss, where’s the fire?” She can’t hear him that well, but she looks over and sees what she thinks is smoke coming out the door, after hearing the word ‘fire’. She drops the basket and takes off running down to the fire station, in Placentia. John goes back inside and says to his wife, “What’s wrong with Floss?! She just threw all her clothes on the ground and ran off. Is she gone cracked?”
John pretty much forgets about the supposed fire, but Floss was after going over to the firehall. Now no one is there at the time – it’s only run by volunteers – so she has to break the glass to pull the alarm to get the firemen to come down. A couple of them show up, and she’s still out of breath. “There’s a fire at John – Jack Ennis’s – John Lou Ennis’s.” So all the firemen get in the truck and head down to John Lou’s. They knock at the door and are like, “We got a report there was a fire here.” John Lou says, “No fire here.” “Are you sure? We were told there’s a fire at John Ennis’s house.” He said, “It must be Jack Ennis’s, in Southeast.” They don’t know where he lives, so John hops in the truck with them down to Southeast. They get to Jack Ennis’s place, and of course there’s no fire there either. But this guy goes, “It must be Jack Ennis in Jerseyside.” So they all get back in the truck and make their way over to Jerseyside, to another John Ennis’s. John, Jack – same name. Now at this point the firemen are getting a bit suspicious, and they finally get to this Jack Ennis’s place, but he’s inside, hove off asleep. He finally answers the door but doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Eventually, they can’t tell what’s actually on the go so they go on home out of it.
The next day a Mountie comes down to John Lou’s place to try to figure out what happened – the RCMP needs to get involved in case this turned out to be a prank. Mrs. Ennis and Floss were there, having just figured out where the confusion was, that the sirens John heard yesterday were coming out of the TV. So the cop asks them to clarify the situation, but they’re losing it laughing and can’t get the words out to explain it. He’s getting a bit annoyed, but he knows them well enough and figures it was completely out of character for him to be making false alarms on fires, so he chalks it up to a mistake and gets the hell out of there.
[Editor’s note: The above is a summary of this story, told primarily by a reluctant Bill Smith, captured on audio. It’s been transcribed below for the hearing impaired, like Mary and Marlee.]
Dad: John Lou was in his den having a snooze before dinner.
Dad: Anyway, he had the TV on, and he heard a firetruck, it was on TV. Right?
Ian: On TV.
Dad: Anyway –
Ian: He didn’t know that. He heard a firetruck.
Dad: What’s that? He didn’t know that the firetruck was on TV.
Ian: But this part doesn’t need to be told yet.
Mom: No Bill, that’s what I’m saying, like that’s –
Dad: That’s what I’m saying. I gotta write it down, see?
Ian: No, but I, I want you to – What, you don’t think this is the best part?
Mom: This is two stories. This is a John Lou story, and a Dad story.
Ian: Okay, go ahead. So John Lou woke up in the den, heard a firetruck.
Ian: Okay, what happened next?
Dad: So he jumped up, ran to the door, to look out, see what was going on. And when he did – Mrs. Ennis happened to be cooking dinner at the time – when he opened the door, all the steam flew out through the door, right?
Dad: Anyway, so –
Ian: Flew out from the door or the window?
Mom: Steam from what?
Dad: Steam from the dinner. I said she was cooking dinner.
Ian: Flew out from the window or the door?
Dad: Steam just went out through the door, when she –
Ian: But he went out through the door.
Dad: He opened the door, look out.
Mom: Sunday dinner in a small kitchen
Dad: You know all the steam it produces?
Mom: Happened all the time
Dad: So he opened the door and the steam went out through the door
Dad: You know, out through the air. Anyway, his neighbour, Mrs. Bussey, happened to be out putting clothes, and he saw her over there, and he said, “Floss” – her name – he said “Floss” he said, “where’s the fire?” Right? She looked over and all she saw was what she thought was smoke coming out through the door and she, she looked over and she heard him say fire, that’s all. She heard him say fire and she saw the steam – she thought it was smoke. So she had a clothing basket, you know, she was bringing in the clothes. So she dropped the clothes and took off running up to the fire station, in Placentia.
Mom: And Dad looked and Mom and said, “What’s wrong with Floss?! She just threw her clothes on the ground and ran. Where’s she – what’s going on? Is she crazy?
Dad: So he went back in the house, right? In the meantime, Floss did run up to the fire station, was close to where they lived. She went up.
Ian: They forgot about it at this point, almost, just like, “Oh, Floss is crazy…”
Mom: He was still listening to it but obviously she wasn’t giving him the answer.
Dad: He went in, and –
Mom: She went
Dad: He went on up to the – she went on up to the fire station and she had to break a glass to pull an alarm. You know these glasses you gotta break, right?
Ian: At the fire station?
Dad: At the fire, yeah, cause it’s volunteer fires, like there’s not people there all the time.
Ian: No, okay.
Dad: So anyway, she had to find a box somewhere to stand up on the thing, cause she’s too short, to try to keep from youngsters, right. Anyway, so she managed to get a rock and smash the glass and pull the handle. And so that was the sign for all the volunteers around to go.
Dad: Anyway, she went back. One of them happened to be coming by, one of the volunteers. He was at the station too.
She said, “There’s a fire at John – Jack Ennis’s – John Lou Ennis’s.” Right? So anyway, they got the guys together, and all the firemen went and got in the truck, down to John Lou’s. Knocked at the door and they said, “We heard – got a report there was a fire here, in the house.” John Lou said, “No fire here.” “Are you sure? There was a fire at Ennis’s house.” He said, “It must be Jack Ennis in Jerseyside.” And they said, “We don’t know where he lives.”
Mom: Southeast first, Bill. South East.
Dad: Southeast. Southeast.
Ian: Even better.
Dad: Southeast. So John Lou said, Hold on –
Ian: I’ll take you there.
Dad: I’ll get in the truck with you. He got on the truck with them.
Ian: It’s like Kramer with the truck.
Dad: Yeah. So John Lou got in the truck and off they went to Southeast, and they got up there, to a fella named Jack Ennis’s. And no fire there. He said, “Must be Jack Ennis in Jerseyside.” This other Jack Ennis, right?
Dad: So they went to one Jack Ennis’s in Southeast. John, Jack, same name.
Ian: Yeah, yeah.
Dad: Anyway, so they got on the truck.
Ian: Did Jack get on the truck too?
Mom: Nooo. Jesus.
Ian: Collecting Jack Ennis’s around town. Have to get a picture of all of them together, at the end.
Dad: So anyway, off they headed, out to Jerseyside. And by this time, they were starting to get a little bit suspicious. They got over there. This fella was in, hove off asleep. Knew nothing about it. So the firemen were getting a bit irritated. They said, “Ah, must be something – a false alarm, mix up or something. Anyway, they went back, and – the police, of course, had to get involved, because it was a fire, and they didn’t know what was going on. Next day, the fireman came down to Ennis’s.
Dad: Police. Policeman. Came down to Ennis’s, and he said –
Mom: Wait now. Meanwhile, Mom and Dad and Mrs. Bussey had figured out what happened.
Mom: In their head
Ian: ‘Cause she came back and they said, “What happened?”
Mom: Yeah. “What’s going on?” John’s gone down in the truck by the time she gets back. Anyway,
Ian: How would your mom – like would she find that really funny to tell that?
Mom: Well this is what happened. The police went in to, you know, see what happened. And Mom and Floss started to laugh, and they couldn’t stop laughing. And the police is thinking – this is RCMP, right? It was – they were more suspicious, that they couldn’t stop laughing.
Dad: Like a hoax almost
Ian: Well it’s very funny.
Dad: Yes, she was going –
Ian: Is that the end?
Dad: Well that’s the epilogue. The policeman coming down, and finding –
Ian: And they couldn’t deal with it.
Mom: Yeah. Well finally, I guess, because it was Mom and Dad, they knew that this is impossible for them, they would never do that.
Ian: Right, yeah, yeah. It would be a strange change of character, to be making false alarms on fires. Okay.
Dad: You can see why I’d rather write it down.