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They begged and pleaded but when the moment of truth came, they hesitated. I don’t blame them.

Our group was exhausted Friday night, having risen before the sun, crossing the border, and spending the day in worship and classes at the Christian Musicians Summit. For supper, someone suggested wings.

There must have been close to a dozen different flavours of wings in the menu, along with at least a dozen warning signs about the “heat” levels around the restaurant:

Wing Bucket

Here’s the question…if medium is “hot” and Hot is “very, very hot”, how hot are the wings several levels below that? How hot are the wings listed below “suicidal”? How hot are “death wings”?

The two teens we had with us begged our fearless leader to order death wings. He relented and ordered 5. They saved them until they had eaten their fill of the other spicy wings.

Our lead guitarist went first, but didn’t seem to have any reaction. Next fearless leader and teen #1 took a bite. Within a few seconds, both fearless leader and teen #1’s faces turned a little pink and their eyes watered. Fearless leader finished his wing, chewing with his mouth open. Teen #1 made a valiant attempt. There was a lot of gasping like a fish out of water…and a lot of water being consumed. The whole time, teen #2 was laughing…

Now it was her turn! Teen #2 took a bite and waited. She commented that it wasn’t “so bad”. Famous. Last. Words. Her laughter quickly faded, her smile dimmed, her eyes opened and the tears started to flow. She wasn’t crying; she was simply unable to stop the tears from streaming down her face. Then her nose started to run too. Her sips of water turned to guzzling. She threw herself across me, reaching for celery sticks. Someone suggested she try the blue cheese dip to soothe the burning.  Twenty minutes earlier she had whined that “blue cheese is so gross”. Now she was frantically searching the tabletop for the styrofoam cup. She dunked her celery sticks and as she chewed it (with her mouth open slurping in air to cool her tongue), and whined that it was “so disgusting” while dunking and biting off more. She tackled me a second time for more celery.

By now, Teen #1 had given up the battle, and was wrapping his wing in a napkin so he could dispose of it in the plastic bucket. No need to smear more sauce on his fingers. While we were distracted, Teen #2 started to use the celery stick to apply the blue cheese dip like lip gloss. If I ever see “Blue cheese lip gloss”, I’ll be sure to buy it just for her.

They both admitted it, that ordering death wings was a mistake. The 5th wing went to the compost heap, untouched.

At bedtime, as we turned out the light, Teen #2 groaned, “I can still feel the wings”!

I whispered back, “death wings”!

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