I don’t know where my mind was. I was standing at my grocer’s deli counter when a voice that sounds identically like mine speaks to the deli-man:
Voice that Sounds Identically Like Mine: I’ll have a quarter pound of the chipotle chicken.
Considering my extensive history of gastrointestinal ills, it would have been considerably safer for me to have simply tossed a lit match down my esophagus than to eat the fire-coated fowl I ordered. Yet, on Monday I did chow down that hot, spicy and heavily seasoned sandwich at my desk at The Grind.
I was in the throes of food porn ecstasy.
That sandwich was truly the best sex I’ve had in weeks. I could have easily smoked a cigarette after the first half before indulging in the second. Unfortunately, my dream lover was actually the devil ensconced in a cut-in-half baguette.
Within minutes satisfaction gave way to a firebomb exploding in my stomach and a proliferation of searing intestinal pain. Pain so rampant it replicated the burning of Atlanta if this historic event would be reenacted inside the confines of my guts. Guts that are forbidden to go anywhere near citrus, dairy, spice or flavor. Guts that are usually fed bland bread and tofu sandwiches seasoned with tap water.
As the pain escalated, my left rib started throbbing. I wondered if the heat from my innards that had transformed into a furnace had somehow cracked that rib. All the while I sat at my desk nary betraying a hint of my agony excluding some low volume whimpering I stifled when I shoved a ball of string into my mouth that nearly ignited.
My gastroenterologist forbids me from taking any over-the-counter antacids, so a fistful of Rolaids chased with a shot of Mylanta was not an option to smother the blaze raging within. Instead, I sat, going through the motions of my illustrious job, pushing paper from one side of my desk to the other, tapping a few keys on my computer’s keyboard that spelled jfhs nitvuh kndj yqwcoqwi, followed by loud opening and slamming of file drawers.
All the while my face reddened, hot steam was trailing out of my every orifice, I was sweating profusely, my eyes were tearing and my racing heart was feeling like it was going to explode within my chest cavity. Delirious, I reasoned that if my ticker would detonate, I would be free to collapse with a graceless thud prompting my colleague, (not) Under Ling (anymore), to beckon in a concerned tone:
(not) Under Ling (anymore): Hey, are you okay over there?
Quickly ascertaining that I was buying my rainbow, my young friend would bellow in alarm:
(not) Under Ling (anymore): We need an ambulance! Does anyone know the number for 9-1-1?
In my Charles Foster Kane moment, with my final breath I utter my last word:
My fantasies of taking leave on Permanent Vacation are shattered when my phone rings. The caller is my buddy Coco. I speak to her confidentially.
Me: I’ve just polished off a chipotle chicken sandwich. My guts are killing me. I think I’m dying!
She absorbs my plight.
Coco: I’m jealous! You get to go home! What about me? I’m stuck here and you get to follow the white light? Oh no, you don’t!
The white light never comes. I quaff two thirds of the water cooler and survive the near death experience of my sandwich. Since my birthday is coming in ten days, I feel an obligation to my friends and family to stick around a little while longer. Therefore, I will avoid flirting with The Grim Reaper via spicy sandwich and return to my regular diet of labor camp-style sustenance that I anticipate will eventually bore me to death.