The Return of the Ugly American Sans Eugene Burdick and William Lederer by Paul Garson

“Don’t look now,” cautioned Sigrun as smoke began curling up from Ralph’s purple crocs. “But I think you’re standing on a volcanic vent.” 

Ralph skipped away while trying out the only words he had learned in Icelandic. “Fokk ond!” Sigrun chuckled, shaking her head from side to side. “You know you said, Fuck a Duck. Was that your intention?” 

“Precisely,” said Ralph, just itching to grab hold of the two blond braids trying to flog his face. 

Sigrun’s own face was that of some Viking warrior-queen he’d seen on Netflix. Brunhilde or Gudrun or…Sigrun. It had been love at first sight when she greeted the tourists at the Reykjavik airport. At the moment standing in partially melted crocs which he realized were not the best choice in footwear when sightseeing an erupting volcano, he struggled for something catchy to say to his beloved. But he only came up with, “Hi, I’m Ralph.” 

Sigrun smiled. “Oh, I’m so glad you confirmed your name tag. Sometimes we mix them up.” 

Ralph glanced down at his jacket and the name tag printed in a bright purple that matched his crocs. 

Suddenly the volcano gave out with a small belch. Ralph jumped but Sigrun caught him by the sleeve before he fell over. “Not to worry, just our friend Fagradalsfjall announcing time to roast the hot dogs. This will be a good photo op. Shall we join the others?” 

Ralph thought of something else to say. “Are they nitrite free?” 

“Is what nitrite free?” 

“The hot dogs…” 

Sigrun moved close, her warm lips brushing his cheek and whispered, “We once offered sacrifices to appease the volcano gods. I am thinking of re-establishing that tradition.” 

“Fokk ond!” exclaimed Ralph and clopped away in his crocs.

Published in Issue #14

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