Flames lick the window of a skid road room in San Francisco as I try to save the date in a bucket brigade from the shower and relate as rapidly as the hands fly how the curtain rose over my sex life in veterinary school so long ago, chasing a female intern to and from the anatomy lab with a dog´s penis. She is impressed enough to ask me to the Michigan State cow barn having a newsworthy cow with a glass side, for a roll in the hay. I spoon out the plastic sleeves in anticipation of cold feet only to palpate the cow to gauge her estrus and then watch the fodder roll around through the glass. She leaves me in the barn but there are two girls left in the 50-man vet class.
Thinking rapport is the key to romance. I memorize the days of every date in the upcoming decade with a simple mnemonic, and prove it to the woman throwing water on the wall that on a Friday thirty years ago I spewed logic riddles to entice the next-to-last girl in vet school, spending a small sum on a watch that reflects on her forehead each hour, ´Time to Copulate´ so I´d know when to stop the jokes. She flees to an equine pathology text. I take the last girl in class to the Tin Lizzy bar in Lansing, Michigan with a little magic up my sleeve and as the band cranks ‘Inagadadavida’, I pull fire out of my fist that backfires up into the lovely face of the second smartest girl I’ve ever known and burns off her eyebrows and lashes. She screams past the bouncer, I beg the date in the burning room, at once realizing in the smoke of my past romances that they must escalate into a burning ring of fire.
I travel for two years on hard times with a small flask with a tapered neck that functions as a Genie´s lamp with a recipe of 1:4 alcohol to water that covers the bottom two-inches. On sloshing three times the surface emits a vapor that can throw a lighted match into a mini Northern Lights as the ignited vapor burns and evaporates at an equal rate rising and falling in a 3¨ thick ring up and down the inside of the flask. If the pre-shake is less than three not enough vapor generates for a show, and if too many times…
I don´t dare until I finally find the girl of my dreams and math major in her nail-biting final exams at San Francisco College and take her out for a couple extra shakes. On throwing in a match, the fire ring magically rises up and down much thicker and more rapidly than normal, until it begins thumping and jumping out the neck and above the flask. The glass bowl shatters and a ring of fire leaps out and crawls up a curtain setting it in bright flames. The old walls are flame retardant and only blacken to stop the romance as we hurry the bucket brigade of trash baskets from the shower, telling her, ´The lesson is in the heat of the moment is don´t lose your head to dangerous romance´, and after the fire´s out she loves me for it.