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Monday, February 9, 2015

A Finger that Caught Fire


A guest in a hotel restaurant asked a waiter to light her cigarette. When he complied, her forefinger burst into flame. She had recently put on acrylic nails, and the fresh cement is very flammable. 

Drunk and enraged, the guest refused to go to an emergency room. By the time I appeared, she had grown tired of hurling abuse. Head resting on the table, she was sobbing. Spilled drinks and broken glass littered the area.

Security officers had cleared out the bar. Near the entrance, a crowd of clerks, patrons, and the night manager parted to allow my passage. Although not a master at handling drunks, I understood the soothing effect of an old man with a grey beard and carrying a doctor’s bag.

Patting her shoulder until she looked up, I introduced myself and suggested we go to her room. After dressing the burn, I stayed long enough for her pain to give way to the effects of alcohol, and I could assure everyone she would cause no more trouble.

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