The Three Dragons

I sighed as I walked into my bathroom. It had been a long day at the mahjong tables. I had spent all afternoon pon-ing, kan-ing, chii-ing and ron-ing, and had returned home with five dollars less than I had upon departure. But I didn't mind. On the contrary, I had walked home with a beaming smile on my face, ecstatic that eight hours of continuously fantastic competition had only cost me five dollars. Mahjong was such a joy to play. The four of us with our green polo shirts and jeans, chain smoking cheap cigarettes while busy strategically arranging out hands, yelping at victory and groaning at defeat. Such was the game that united blue and white-collar workers alike under one roof at the local YMCA. Yes, it had been a good day indeed!

I stripped off my clothes and stepped into the shower. The steam engulfed me as the hot water streamed over my body. I quickly rubbed myself down and reached for the shampoo. A red dot suddenly appeared on my forearm, and another on my foot. Another burst forth onto my hand, and one more came after that. They kept appearing; another and then another and another, following one anther in a regimented sequence. I smiled and turned my face into the shower stream. My nose was bleeding. I poured shampoo into my hand and went about washing my hair. I let my hands down after a good lather and let the fluffy foam coating them absorb the rogue blood droplets. The crimson soon calmed to a rosy pink and was washed away, its anger assuaged. As I soaped up, more droplets, their impish aura about them, rocketed past my ankles onto the tile, where upon impact they burst into ghosts and chased each other down the drain, their solace to be found in perpetual gridlock with one another amid the copper labyrinth of the underground. I continued my routine. They were no threat to me. These beads of blood, these excited erythrocytes, had long since become something of a neighbor rather than a distant visitor. They came and went as they pleased. And just as one with a visitor must be chained to the entertain in the living room, so I had to be wary of my guests until they left. They bothered me for but a little while, and then, just as abruptly as they came, they were gone. I turned off the water and stepped out of the tub. I dried, dressed, and traipsed off to bed.

All this socializing had tired me out, and it was time to climb into my clean white sheets and dream of rounds in which I could collect nine or more Dragon tiles.