His ancestors had fought their way from Central Asia slaughtering, looting, burning, and worse. At night, they often slept in the saddle, on their horses that looked as wild as they did.
He was a large, muscular man with a fierce face, a slick mustache, and hairy forearms. First, he put his long sharp blade to my throat, then, he set me on fire; finally, he tried to break my cervical vertebrae with his bare hands.
“Tesekkur ler,” I said, handed him fifty million liras.
I had not had the time to visit the barber before leaving California. That’s how I got a straight razor shave and haircut, my ear and nose hair singed with flaming alcohol, and a vigorous cricking of the neck to finish. It all happened in the open air, in a street lined with rug shops, in Seljouk, the tourist town next to the great ancient archaeological site of Ephesus, Turkey.