The Day I Was Almost Killed by Hot Sauce
That day would be September 14, 2006.
Here is some The Backstory for you:
I've been growing quite the hot sauce collection at my desk at work. It is currently up to 19 sauces. I get most of them from Bay Cities Deli which is right down the street and has a wide selection.
One day last week I went uber-extreme for the first time and bought a $10, 4oz bottle of "Da Bomb: Ground Zero". Da Bomb makes three sauces, and Ground Zero is the middle of the three. The "mildest" (if you can call it that, which you definitely cannot) is "Beyond Insanity", and the most brutal is "Final Answer" ($40 a bottle).
So anyway, I taste a half-drop of Ground Zero, and it is brutal. I spontaneous get up, leave the room, and start walking around the office, with no particular place to go. But I'm on fire, and am seeing stars.
Anyhows, since then I've been systematically upping my tolerance, and decided to hit Bay Cities again for a couple new "extreme" sauces. ("Extreme" sauces are those for which the primary heat component is pepper extract, rather than actual chiles. In this way, the heat is concentrated to levels previously unheard of.) I got Dave's Insanity, which I'd tried many years ago and which I'd feared ever since, and the aforementioned Da Bomb: Beyond Insanity. It actually didn't occur to me until I reached the checkout aisle the humor of buying both Insanity and Beyond Insanity in the same purchase.
I went back to my desk, and made a cheese sandwich. I took half, and slathered one of the pieces of bread with the Dave's Insanity, which in its day was far and away the hottest thing on Earth, but since then had been far surpassed by other "extremer" extreme sauces.
It was hot. Very hot.
But... edible! And I got through the whole half sandwich without having any particular sort of conniption, and life was good. I'd conquered Dave's Insanity, after 15 years!
So I turned to Beyond Insanity, which I was no longer particularly afraid of, since 1) I had just eaten Dave's with no particularly harsh effects, and 2) it was supposedly half the heat level of Ground Zero, which I'd already tasted and survived the previous week.
So I shmeared that shit on the other half of the sandwich, and went to town.
That was a spicy meatball. About halfway through I was gagging acid and running around the office sweating and hoping to avoid being seen. Then I went back and finished the sandwich. I actually dipped it into one of my other sauces, just hoping to cool it down. Specious logic, but I was willing to try anything. Holy crap, was that hot. You know why? Because half the heat level of INFINITE HEAT is still INFINITE HEAT. Yowza.
It was truly: beyond insanity.
But the burn cooled eventually, and I sat triumphant. Good times. Love the hot sauces.
Flash forward to seven hours later, when I leave the office and head up to visit savvyraven, and go with her to the Big Brother wrap party (where I met lots of famous people I've never heard of!) Wow. Just, wow.
As I begin my trek down the 10, it starts. A low, dull ache somewhere deep within my gastrointestinal system. Felt something like between a need to puke and a need to grow a tail. With just a little bit of plain old pain. But it's low, and it's dull, and it grows a little to medium-low and medium-dull, and maybe at its zenith it's graduated to significant discomfort, but that fades eventually, and within ten minutes, I'm back to normal.
Ha! That lunch was catching up with me! Thank goodness that's over, though. Not too bad, and well worth the good times I'd had.
I turn onto the 405.
This is when it occurs to me, I'd had the Dave's half of the sandwich... then waited a while... and then had Da Bomb half.
And that's when it hit.
The low, dull aching was nowhere to be seen. A dagger, bathed in hot sauce, stabbed me with great malice and vigor right in my gut. It twisted and turned. It's steely sharp edge turning my insides to tartare.
It hurt. A lot. And as I descended the grade that separates the Valley from the Santa Monica bay area, I realized I was breathing very heavy, trying to withstand the agony. Breathing too heavily. Hyperventilating.
And the sounds of the highway were replaced by a high ringing sound. And my hands gripped ever tighter the steering wheel, for they too were going numb. Getting dizzy. Getting faint...
This is too perfect, I thought. I was going to pass out on the freeway. Killed by hot sauce. Poetic.
Unable to think of anything but stopping the car, I urgently made my way over to the very next exit, pulled off, found a side street, parked, put the seat back, and just died. My hands were completely numb. I fumbled unsuccessfully for the phone to call savvyraven to let her know I'd be a few minutes late. Lights and sounds swirled around in an acid dream jumble. This was the end of my life.
But, as is always the case with hot sauces, no matter how powerful, 15 minutes later, it's all over. My circulation came back, my breathing slowed. I could feel the steering wheel in my hand, and the sweat dripping off the top of my head.
It smelled funny.
I fired the car back up, and headed on to my evening engagement. But the rest of the night, milling with CBS executives and dodging supermodels to get to the buffet, I could not escape the thought... The thought that:
THIS WAS THE DAY I WAS NEARLY KILLED BY HOT SAUCE!
About the author: To learn more, visit the IF Wiki entry for Ben Parrish.