Wakayama Bar Fly Round Eye Fire Face
…He hands me the flaming shot and without even a second thought, I rally it back. Suddenly I smell burnt hair. My goatee is aflame. My collar and neck are aflame. Riae and Shuyu are screaming pointing. Yoshi is in shock. A Japanese woman in traditional garb dumps a pitcher of beer on me and there is another one behind her with another pitcher like they’re trying to douse a four-alarm brush fire.
“OKAY, OKAY!” I yell.
The smell of burnt hair and beer permeates my nostrils. I pat my face, I rub it, my cheeks feel like melted cheese. “Ha Ha Ha! Fuck!” I’m fucking wide-awake and so present it’s electrifying.
“Shit,” I say, “you trying to kill me Ricardo?”
“Fuck that shit, I’m sorry.”
I get up to go to the bathroom. The whole thing is surreal. People are staring at me, when I look at them they immediately looking away. I move quickly through the bathroom door, there is sweet, slow, traditional Japanese music playing overhead. I look at my face in the mirror. I don’t feel so pretty, or smooth and I’m definitely not bored. I let out a loud laugh. I’m an ugly American, real ugly. Is this my little dose of karma for H-bombs past? The skin has melted away two or three layers on both sides.
“Wow,” I say loudly. “I’m not a doctor but I’d say second-degree burns, Nurse Ratchet.”
As I say this, a very short Japanese man walks in, “Sorry sorry,” he bows, and runs out.
Fuck. My girl will understand.
The day after my face caught on fire…
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