… There’s this great little wing place right around the corner from school, 4100 So and Redwood Road. They have some of the best hot wings I’ve had in a long time. That’s all they serve, hot wings and chicken tenders, with 11 different sauces ranging from mild to, well, keep reading, you’ll hear. A couple coworkers and I have made a regular thing of heading there after work to decompress once or twice a month.
… The place got brought up in one of my classes, and I mentioned that I had been there a few times and really enjoyed their wings. One of the kids asked me if I’d ever taken the “Eleven challenge”. Eleven is the hottest sauce they have, and if you can eat 11 of them in 11 minutes, without eating or drinking anything else for the entire 11 minutes whether you eat all the wings in 2 or 10 minutes, you get an “I reached Eleven” t-shirt and your picture on the wall of flame.
… Yup, most of you probably figured out by now that I just had to take the challenge.
… The other two got their wings in the usual quick manner, mine seemed to take forever. The tension was mounting as I was trying to figure out what was taking so long to get me my wings. Were they really going all the way to get a little slice of hell for them?
… When he brought them, he explained that they like to let the wings cool down, so the heat that kills you isn’t molecular, but spice heat instead.
The first one was pretty hot, but tasty.The second one was really hot.The third one felt like I’d taken a bite out of the sun. I was sweating like Chris Buttars at the Blue Boutique. The sauce on my face was burning, even after being wiped off. And the pitcher of beer was sitting right there next to me, beckoning: “You know you want a sip or two.”
… I’d eaten those first three in less than 2 minutes, so I decided to take a breather, let them settle for 30 or 45 seconds.
By the 4th one my entire mouth was completely numb, didn’t feel the heat there at all.5, 6 & 7 went down in a flash, figured I’d just inhale the rest and get it over with.8 caught up to me. The mouth was still numb and oblivious to what I was doing to it, but the stomach was completely aware, and not happy. At this point I still had 5 minutes to go, so I went out for a breath of fresh air. Let it settle and then hit the home stretch.I got back to the table a minute or so later, the stomach was still revolting, the skin on my face was getting ready to peel off and run for it’s life, I looked at the last three and thought “You win.”
… Yes, I gave up. I decided that I didn’t want to spend the night awake, reeling from an upset stomach, regretting the whole episode until the wee hours of the morn, or even into the morrow. One of the things midlife has done for me, I protect my guts a lot more than back in the day.
… After conceding defeat to the guy with the timer, eating a plate full of celery and downing a glass of beer, I offered the remaining 3 wings to my cohorts-in-catering and the other customers that watched the whole thing. I ended up throwing all 3 away.