Now I’m at the hotel bar. It’s a good one. A whole bunch of guys just came in, and they have a $100 bet that one of them can’t eat 30 suicide wings in 30 minutes. You know I’m sticking around for that. Usually there’s a cover charge for a show like this. The victim is drinking a big glass of milk right now. There was a brief scare that the kitchen didn’t have enough wings, but we’re go now. I have an excellent view.
3 wings in, he’s sweating. He’s doing a diligent job wiping the sauce off his lips. He’s trying to pick up speed without success. He’s got another milk. He’s using his fingers to tear the meat off the bones to save his lips, but before long his fingers are going to start burning. He doesn’t know that. He’s Canadian. My Greek Salad is so cool and refreshing. He’s starting to lose focus, but he’s still going. Deep breath, another bite.
He’s nodding now – He’s in a groove. The pain has stopped getting worse.
He’s starting to wipe the sauce off his fingers. My camera’s back in the room. Dammit.
Posture change. He’s back in his chair now, not forward over the table. His friends, who stand to lose a hundred bucks if he succeeds, are completely behind him now. Shoulder massages, a new five-minute “bump” period after the 30 minutes have expired. They’re checking his pace against the clock, giving him advice. Mostly, “eat faster.” He’s falling behind. The call has gone out for more napkins. Not from the eater; he hasn’t said a word for fifteen minutes.
He quit. There are 14 left. 16 is pretty damn good. The waitress says 16 is a house record, but I doubt she really knows. The dude is hurting, but he’s recovering already.
He’s thinking about going for it! 5 minutes, 14 suicide wings. He’s doing it! “Better get a bucket,” I advised the crowd. “Don’t bother chewing,” a friend advises. What a way to choke to death. Two minutes, one wing. He’s a black guy, but he’s looking green. He’s chewing. Chewing. He’s not looking good.
“Where’s the bathroom?” he asked, and got up quickly. His buddy followed with the camera. Buddy returns. “He had the door closed,” Buddy says, “but I got the audio.”
Now the remaining wings are being passed around. “I’m not eating one because I’m not a dumbshit,” the guy at the end of the table said. Someone just found “Fire Down Below” by Bob Seger on the jukebox.
Thus we learn the price of hubris. He has returned from his de-winging and is having another milk. It seems last night he had first said he could eat fifteen, but had escalated to 30 to get a bigger bet. Instinctively he knew his limit, but he had to push it. He’s smiling now, but he went through an hour of hell to be $100 poorer.