Itsy dove over the cliff and down through the fog, into the valley below. Yet again she saw more, not a pile and two but a circle of four. A small flock of sheep, if four makes a flock, stood out in a field enwrapped in a passionate conversation. The grass was finely trimmed around them, which was odd as Itsy couldn’t see any trimmers.
“Hello there, small spider!” said the first sheep with a friendly smile. “We are attempting to form a standing consensus. We’ve never accomplished it, in spite of all our efforts.”
“Of course, we’ve never really tried,” said the second, smugly.
“TOO TRUE!” cried the third with unqualified joy.
“We’ve been trying for a long time now,” said the fourth with great frustration, glaring at the second. The second simply continued to smug, as if he didn’t notice.
Ignoring the others completely, the first continued. “To form a consistent consensus, we must figure out who is a fool, who is a liar, and exclude them from the group. Then we will not only possess a consensus, but one that includes neither fools nor liars. That’s very important for a content consensus, no matter the form or content of consent.”
The second scoffed. “Well, we all know that I could never lie, myself.”
“TOO TRUE!” cried the third.
“Any of us could be a liar, just as any of us could be a fool,” declared the fourth. “Perhaps more than one of us, each.”
“Certainly,” agreed the first. “That sounds civil.”
The second bared his teeth at the fourth. “ONLY A LIAR WOULD SAY THAT!” he bleated, pulled a pistol from his wool, and shot the fourth dead. There was swift silence as the first stared in horror and the gunsmoke drifted off into the wind.
“TOO TRUE!” cried the third a third time.
The first nervously stared at the perforated fourth. “Well, I guess he was the liar, and that would make me the fool! Ha! Heh.” He did a silly little dance as best he could. “Please don’t shoot me.”
The second raised the gun happily skyward, and put his arm around the third. “You’re perfectly safe! Just as long as we have our consensus to stand in!”
“TOO…” began the third.
“That’s quite enough,” the second interrupted. “We heard you the first few times.”
Itsy began to slide away. “Well, I’d better be going again.”
The first looked tearfully at Itsy. “Oh… Don’t go! You’ve said nothing so far, which is entirely my fault, and if you stay, I’ll agree with anything you say, I swear!”
“No, I’ve seen this all before, countless times by my count, and I have further fools to find, I fear,” said Itsy over her shoulder as she slid away once again.
The second beamed at Itsy, waving goodbye with the smoking gun. “Remember, we’ve never really tried!”
“Yes, we’ve all heard you before,” said Itsy. “It’s an often and popular heard mentality.”
As Itsy left she could hear the second say, “Now look, we three can do this one of two ways. The easy way is hard, but its over really quick. The hard way is easy, but it never really ends. Unfortunately, we’ll have to kill a lot of folks. Fortunately, none of them will be us.”