Dawson Dreams of Hibachi

Dawson grew up in an orphanage in Bethesda, Maryland. His father was in prison and his mother was in and out of prison. It was a sad orphanage full of kids who didn’t have parents but were hoping someday they would get them.

Dawson had a few friends who he would race hot wheels or throw marbles with, but most of the time he kept to himself. The one day a year he was truly happy was on his birthday. On birthday’s, orphans were allowed to go to dinner at a restaurant of their choosing. Every year Dawson chose Benihana. To Dawson, Benihana was the height of luxury. The food was incredible, the smells were intoxicating, and the lights were kind of dim. But above all, the chefs were Hibachi chefs.

[Hibachi Chef Picture]

Birthday dinner at Benihana was the only time Dawson felt like he had a family, due to the family style hibachi tables. The orphanage could only ever afford to buy him a lunch portion of chicken, but it didn’t matter. Dawson was there to watch the chefs. He would sit in awe as the hibachi chefs got to work. He was fascinated by them. They were skilled, hilarious, sexy, and mysterious all at the same time. Where did they come from? What were they saying? Why were their hats so tall?

Ever since his first trip to Benihana, Dawson knew what he wanted to do with his life. He wanted to be a Hibachi Chef. He had never seen a white hibachi chef before, but it didn’t deter him. He was going to be a trailblazer.

While his friends we’re throwing marbles, Dawson honed his hibachi skills. He eventually dropped out of school to practice hibachi full time. He would steal his master’s iPad at night to watch videos and read hibachi forums. He whittled knives out of bark. He flung bread into duck’s mouths to practice his shrimp toss. He got really really good at making choo-choo train noises. Multiple sets of parents tried to adopt him, but he refused out of fear it would leave him less time to practice hibachi.

On his 18th birthday, Dawson went to Benihana one final time. It was the last thing he got to do at the orphanage before he was kicked out on the street. He promised himself that the next time he went back to a hibachi restaurant, he would be on the grill.

The next day Dawson hit the streets. He had no money saved, and no education. Only a vast knowledge of Hibachi. He used the little money he had to purchase a charcoal grill and a tent. He set up shop next to a stop light at the Exit 40 off ramp. From there he would serve hibachi to the people.

In the morning, Dawson would hunt for food. He became proficient at trapping rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, and street fowl. Once he had enough food for the day, he would grill & perform hibachi tricks to get the attention of cars as they were exiting I-495.

For weeks Dawson would fire strange meats into open car windows as they drove by. Nobody stopped for a while, but eventually people started eating the meats that flew into their car. Once they tried his food it was game over. Dawson was a hit. Everyone wanted to try his hibachi. He became a bit of a local celebrity. Cars would line up all the way down the off ramp and onto the interstate for a chance to try his signature Hibachi-a-la-Road. It caused severe traffic delays.

One day, a young entrepreneur approached him on the side of the road. He was opening a new Hibachi restaurant in Hagerstown. It was to be called Hibachi Hibachi Hibachi, and he wanted Dawson to be one of his chefs.

Dawson negotiated a moving bonus, put his charcoal grill & tent in the back of a U-Haul, and moved himself to Hagerstown.

The first week on the job was rough for Dawson. The customers were never thrilled to have a white hibachi chef. Fathers booed, mothers hissed, daughters cried, and sons puked when he pulled his cute little cart up to the table. He had a hard time fitting in with the staff at Hibachi Hibachi Hibachi as well. As the only white, he was picked on relentlessly by the Japanese chefs. They made fun of his accent, keyed his car, peed in his coke, waterboarded him with hot grease, and sent threatening letters to his congressmen.

At the table, Dawson’s knife work was a disaster. It became extremely unsafe for families seated anywhere near him. He had the skills to do every hibachi trick in the book, but his performance anxiety was debilitating. His onion volcanoes were dormant, his shrimp to mouth shooting percentage was below quota, his signature choo-choo-train noise was off key, and the 3rd degree burns on his face from the hot grease terrified the customers. He felt like a fraud. When you feel like a fraud, it is impossible to hibachi.

Dawson needed to do something to legitimize himself. He didn’t tan well, but he could grow a long ponytail. The ponytail certainly gave him more credibility, but it wasn’t enough. He needed to take a trip to Japan.

Dawson couldn’t afford a trip to Japan, so he bought a bus ticket to Chinatown in Washington DC.

In Chinatown, Dawson fully emersed himself in the culture. He ate fortune cookies, got the coronavirus, and celebrated New Years at the wrong time. He felt like he was one with China. Hopefully that would be close enough.

It was not close enough. When he got back, nothing had changed. Dawson was hazed even harder. He told his co-workers about his trip to Chinatown and they were extremely offended that he thought China and Japan were the same thing. They did not give him any points for trying.

As a result, an intense hate for his coworkers began to build inside of Dawson. It eventually turned into a burning hatred for Japan as a whole. He thought the Japanese people didn’t deserve Hibachi. Dawson stopped showing up to work and dove deep into 4chan conspiracy theories. He learned about Pearl Harbor for the first time.

Dawson decided it was time to take action, and he put together a plan. He was going to call in bomb threats to every hibachi restaurant within a 50-mile radius. His plan was to clear out the restaurants so he could sneak in and steal all their ingredients. Once all the ingredients were his, he would be able to monopolize the Hibachi industry in northern Maryland. From there he would open his own Hibachi restaurant. Hibachi America.

Dawson called in the bomb threats. They were immediately traced back to Dawson’s phone and he was arrested. He was sentenced to 7 years in the Central Maryland Correctional Facility. In prison, Dawson shaved his ponytail and joined the Aryan Brotherhood. His hatred for Japan blossomed into a hatred for all other races. Dawson was finally part of a family.  

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