Friday, June 12, 2015

Free Fiction: In Love With Capsicum, Part III

"Tell me about the first time you realized you could eat spicy food."

Carl and Mike dawdled in bed on a lazy Sunday morning, sleeping and waking, curling around each other and then stretching free. Sunlight poured in through the cracks in the curtains, warning that afternoon was growing closer and morning about to become a memory. They lingered in bed, letting the day pass by.

"Only if you tell me about the first time you realized you couldn't," countered Mike.

Carl laughed. "You first."

"I was five," Mike said. "And the whole family had gathered at our house for a party, to watch a football game on tv. My uncle was in the kitchen. I adored him, so I was always trying to hang around him. He's a funny guy, and he likes to see how far he can push things. Sometimes he goes too far, but it's more because he's so enthusiastic, not because he's mean."

"Uh oh. I hear a warning in that statement," Carl said. He shifted in the bed and rubbed his foot against Mike's.

"Uncle Leslie. Which is an unfortunate name," Mike said, "of course. I think he tried to outgrow it."

"Makes sense."

"So, he was making hot wings for the game. There were containers of spices and melted butter and trays of chicken wings, and a big bowl he was mixing everything up in. He had a bottle of hot sauce that he was squirting into the bowl. Well, he saw me, and wanted to have a little fun. He said, dip your finger in the sauce and tell me what you think."

"Oh no."

"Oh yes. So I did. And I licked my finger and told him it was good. Which it was. I'd never had anything like it. So then, he pulls out an entire chicken wing and gives it to me, and tells me to eat it."

"Which you did."

"Of course. But by then, it was sort of getting a little hot. But it was really delicious, so I ate the whole thing." Mike sat up straighter. "Then, he gave me another one and told me to go eat it in front of my mom."

"Oh no!" Carl sat up straighter in the bed. "Tell me you didn't."

"I didn't realize it." Mike shrugged. A sly look came into his face. "Now, you have to understand. Uncle Leslie is my dad's brother, not my mom's."

Carl frowned a little, wondering why it would matter.

"I find my mom in the living room and I much on the chicken wing, but she isn't watching me, so I call out to her. Everyone looks my way. I've got wing sauce smeared all over my face and fingers, and I'm just a mess, but I do as I was told. I munch on the chicken wing. My grandmother gasps, but my mom just laughs a little. Then she comes over to me and takes what is left of it, and marches me back to the kitchen." Mike raised the pitch of his voice, "Is this your doing, Leslie?"

Carl laughed. "Your mom doesn't sound quite like that."

"No, her voice is way higher," Mike agreed. "My uncle admits it and starts to apologize. Then, my mom grabs the bottle of hot sauce and splashes a whole bunch on the chicken wing and takes a big bite out of it. Uncle Leslie's jaw practically drops to the ground. My mom finishes the chicken wing and throws out the bones. Then she pushes me toward my uncle." Mike spoke in his high voice again, "You started it, so you can clean him up. And next time, you should make the wings hotter. These ones are barely noticeable."

"Seriously?" Carl asked.

"Seriously. Then she turned and walked off, and didn't even look back."

"So, Uncle Leslie didn't know your mom could handle the heat."

"Nope. She's even tougher than my dad, and he's pretty resilient when it comes to spice."

"So, you were going to inherit the ability no matter what." Carl felt more than a little envious. His ability to handle heat was meager at best.

"Pretty much. Which is why my mom didn't freak out. She knew I was probably going to like it, rather than have a meltdown."

"That's awesome."

"My Uncle Leslie got his revenge, though."

"Oh?" Carl leaned against Mike's side. Sleepiness was growing on him and he thought closing his eyes for a few minutes would be nice.

Mike snorted. "He took me to the bathroom to clean up, just like he was supposed to. Those towels were ruined!"

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