February 11, 2006 7 Comments
It was late on a foggy night, and I was walking west on 42nd Street toward Times Square. Ahead of me, crossing the intersection, I saw a black man with his hair was on fire! Kneeling on the ground in front of him was a white guy, vomiting on the street in shock, fear, and revulsion. I started running toward them, desperately thinking what I could do to help. All I had in my hand was a half-empty water bottle. As I got closer, I saw that the guy on fire was patting and slapping at his head, trying to put out the flames. By the time I arrived on the scene, he had succeeded in putting them out. Incredibly, his face seemed hardly the worse for wear. Despite the smoke and ash, he seemed unhurt.
Just as I noticed this, I spotted something odd about him. He was wearing a big wool sweater, which seemed to be covering more than just his body. Underneath the sweater it was lumpy and misshapen — almost like there were dried leaves stuck in there. Suddenly, the leaves — or whatever — began to smolder, and then spark. His head and shoulders burst into flame again!
And still all I had was that half-empty water bottle.