11. Blame it on the Fugu (8)

I had never eaten fugu, but I did like to follow Ryu’s lead. It was fun doing things with the yakuza. He was dangerous, too, like the fugu. That excited me. But this particular blowfish dinner had it in for me, and I passed out as I sipped at my cool, milk-colored sake, as I prepared to skewer a small Japanese pickle in my Mingei-style bowl. The cab ferried me through the dark streets of the city to my father’s apartment. The driver took my key, carried me upstairs—you can’t trace a man who must wear white gloves*—and deposited me in the bedroom. He positioned me on the bed, placed the key in my bag and pawed at and smoothed out the wrinkles in my dress. Then he did a curious thing. He leaned over me and kissed me. I could feel the cold lips grazing mine, vaguely recognized the sickly sweet smell that wreathed them—a smell like flowers dying. I knew the smell. Familiar and frightening, he had come back.

“Sleep well, princess,” he said, and removing one of his gloves, slid it into my handbag. Then he looked for the phone, found it in the kitchen and placed three anonymous calls.

By this time my temperature was subnormal. My corneal reflexes had disappeared. Aphonia, dysphagia, and aphagia had set in, and although I still seemed to be conscious, I couldn’t speak or swallow or really understand anything that was going on around me. Medics arrived at that point and I was taken to the hospital where I was pronounced dead.

And then I was born again.

—DEAD LOVE/Chapter 11.8/Blame it on the Fugu

*Japanese cab drivers wear white gloves.


  • Anonymous

    Hey Erin – what a terrific scene – like so many in Dead Love. What a wonderful book. I can keep reading it – excerpts and all – and be transported each time. Thanks for keeping these posts coming!