Between the two of us, Nick claims to be the hot food authority. Every time we meet for lunch, he gets hot peppers on his meal if he can; only complaining slightly about the heat. I, on the other hand, hate hot food. The last challenge with the hot wings almost ruined me, so I let him venture forth on this round solo.
Nick, Jaclyn and I walk toward the bowling alley entrance discussing this challenge and passing words about the weather. Wings and Things is a small bar and grill located inside the Marquette bowling alley. The hidden sports museum is garnished with memorabilia from most of the local teams. By local teams I mean the big three; Lions and Packers and Bears…oh my!
We stroll into the pub and immediately here the trivia game that is being ‘enjoyed’ by almost all in attendance.
“Number three; Are Zebra’s black with white stripes or white with black stripes,” comes from the small host. I say small and I mean it very literally. This gentleman stands no more than three and a half feet tall and needs to jump to seat himself in his chair. I don’t mention this to…*sigh*… belittle him, because as it stands, he is probably the smartest person in the house.
We sit and joke about the test Nick will soon face. The pizza is aptly named the ‘Sudden Death’ pizza and only a handful of people have actually completed it. Eight slices stand between this titan and glory. We read the poster and it tells of the jalapenos, habaneros, and hot sauce that make this pizza very much sudden and even more death.
To give you a tiny bit of background, a jalapeno pepper usually runs around two thousand and five hundred on the scoville scale (the official scale used to measure pepper and chili heat index). A habanero sits anywhere between one hundred and fifty thousand to five hundred and seventy five thousand on that same scale and who knows what was in their hot sauce. This stuff is no joke!
Our waitress comes to the table and takes our drink orders in a rush and then disappears into the kitchen.
“Well that was kind of rude,” I mumble. “So Nick, what do you think are your chances of actually completing this thing and not wimping out?”
“This is going to be cake. I am going to dominate this thing and reign victorious,” he shouts drawing attention to our table.
Back with our drinks, the waitress takes the order of sudden death and a glass of milk. As she walks away, we can tell she has already seen the foreshadowing.
Five minutes go by and we argue over answers to trivia as does almost every other table.
“I think that little guy is giving me the stink eye,” Nick says looking into the distance.
“Umm…which one,” Jaclyn returns as we both turn to look.
“Are you kidding me? The little one. The VERY little one!”
“OHHH, that one,” I chuckle. “Nah, I don’t think he is.”
“Dude that guy better stop looking at me,” Nick replies growing more anxious. “And you better not write in your blog that I was saying stuff about how small he is either!”
Our horseman finally returns bringing death with her and the smell fills our area immediately.
“Good god,” is all I can manage to say. I pause and then start the recorder and Jaclyn snaps a few pictures. “Well, dig in champ.”
Nick grabs a slice and a plate. Confidence runs through is veins and sweat rains down his forehead. He takes a bite that erases approximately one third of the piece and we can absolutely see his pain the second he closes his mouth.
“Holy sh*t!” he mutters over a mouth of fire. The atmosphere grows tense as he chews the first bit and swallows. Before the food can clear his throat, milk follows.
“Wow! This sucks, but I can do it.”
The second bite goes in and we can see him work it from left to right. Eyes shut, swimming is sweat, our warrior pushes on. Good King Leonidas would be proud, because tonight Nick really is “Dining in hell!”
The first piece and two glasses of milk are finally gone and Nick falters greatly.
“No way am I finishing this,” he breathes.
“Try sandwiching two slices together, oh and Mrs., could we get more milk please?” The waitress nods and heads to the bar.
Sandwiching the slices Nick tries to continue.
“Describe the pain to me you big baby,” I joke.
One bite goes by and already the sandwich idea is out the window. Fighting still, Nick separates the slices and tries to pull all of the toppings off and eat the crusts and breading first, saving the pain of the peppers until end. We all nod that this is a good choice, but the thought is fleeting. Napkin in hand, one crust filled mouthful later, Nick throws in the towel. Less than three out of the eight pieces were completely eaten.
“Whew,” he stammers and goes to the bar for more milk.
“What a baby,” Jaclyn whispers so Nick cannot hear. “I’ll finish it.”
Nick returns with his milk to watch our new contender smothering her two slices with ketchup.
“That is really gross,” I wince.
“No, I am just smarter than you guys, obviously,” she returns.
And she’s off; biting and chewing, biting and chewing.
Face flushed as if she has just finished a night of tequila, we can tell that this challenge is harder than we thought.
“How you doing champ?”
No words are spoken. She has resorted to sign language because it hurts to speak. Tears stream down her face and she signs that she is going to vomit.
Our laughter is met with an icy glare, somehow not melted by the food.
“Well, this blows,” I pout. “Food is not making this much fun anymore.”
Challenge rating 5/5