So, I had my bike running, purring like a kitten at idle and roaring like a lion at full throttle. Then, I saw smoke. Then smoke became fire. Then fire became me dancing to the Dance of the Sugarplum Profanities while brainstorming how to invent a counter to man’s first invention. Lacking anything suitable, I naturally went for the single worst idea ever, using the only tool available to me — MY HANDS.

Naturally, this worked as well as one would expect. I looked a little less “Badass Sons of Anarchy” and more “Three Stooges meet Firestarter”. After a couple of minutes, a neighbor appeared, armed with a fire extinguisher, which works exactly as advertised. Surveying the damage, it looks like I have fire extinguisher residue all in the carburetor, fuel lines melted, and some electrical wiring burned. Not hugely expensive of a setback, but a major pain in the keister, and humiliating, to say the least. Then I notice the worst of the damage.

I notice this by a unforeseen sweating starting, and sudden focal difficulties. Due to an accident prone life, I realize instantly that I have entered shock. So, I look at my hands… slowly, begrudgingly, because I already know full well what horrors await, and maybe if I don’t acknowledge the damage, it’ll go away. But no… through the shock, I start hearing the muffled screams of nerve endings climbing their way from my subconscious. And yes, I see red, blistered, contorted Gordian knots of flesh where my hands should be. I stay lucid enough to make a medical appraisal of the severity of the burn, based on knowledge gained as a Boy Scout, and after deducing that they are merely second-degree burns, and not the dreaded third, I realize that the hospital will do little more than I can here at home. Even better, I have a bottle of Tequila to start with, which few hospitals have the foresight to include in their waiting rooms. And if any do, I NEED TO KNOW OF THIS HOSPITAL.

I know the best way to subdue the pain is at the same time the most painful… but this isn’t my first time at the rodeo… after all, I grew up working in the food service industry. So…. after a hasty pour and shot, I start the sink full of hot water. Once full, we eye each other warily, like gunslingers at High noon, steeling my resolve to go the distance. After a mental tumbleweed or two, I looked that sink full in its enamel face and plunged my hands straight to the bottom. I gritted teeth, the room spun, and the burn erupted straight up my arms into an explosion of agony when they met in my brain, but I held fast until the pain started to ebb.

And now, here I am, maybe one or two shots more of Tequila than is absolutely necessary, painkillers in effect, and typing through mummified Kung-Fu grip to regale you with a tale of What Not To Do. Don’t play with gasoline and flammable cleansers without having a properly clean and dry workspace. And always keep a fire extinguisher handy. And never, for the love of Cthulu, NEVER MISTAKE YOUR HANDS FOR SORCEROUS ARTIFACTS CAPABLE OF BATTLING FIREY IFRIT.

You. Will. Lose.

Now…. where did I leave that tequila?