“Soda! Gimme Soda!”

Wayne Cokeley, Head Coach, burst into the back room of the Robot Room, the place where the team meets and works, looking visibly distressed – and quite red.

I was looking over the partially completed Brunswick Eruption awards trophies. The event is just days away and the trophies were looking good! Brunswick Eruption is a big deal and this afternoon was the final team meeting before the event. To say things were chaotic would be putting it mildly.

But just a second, I’m getting ahead of myself. It all started at the meeting last week when we were talking about the Evil Sundae Contest. The contest is a popular sidebar to the Brunswick Eruption event where we prepare ice cream sundaes with, um, special ingredients. Contestants attempt to consume their sundae as fast as possible. Some don’t finish. Some can’t finish. “Is hot sauce okay?” I asked. “Yes!” came the reply from the roomful of students. I had just the thing.

Mad Dog 357 is in a class by itself. Go hit YouTube, I’ll wait. I think that if Hell itself was full of nuclear plants melting down in a rainstorm of fluoroantimonic acid, then Mad Dog 357 would leak out. Like a fool, I said I’d bring some in next week. That would be today.

Mad Dog 357Mohanish was the first to try it. He likes spicy foods. But what about the ‘ol Mad Dog? Well, I’ve got a whole new respect for the gastrointestinal tract of this young man. He said it was “a little spicy” and took it in stride. If it affected him he didn’t show it.

Damian delivered doses of the stuff by dipping toothpick after toothpick into the bottle, doling out death on a stick to any takers. By the time an hour had passed most of the others had tested themselves. The reaction was more or less universal: abject horror.

The brownish viscous fluid passes the lips. Not so bad. Within seconds the burning begins, first wherever it touched but quickly spreading to wherever saliva takes it. The sensation doesn’t diminish – oh, no, it intensifies. Right about then the realization hits: that business going on in the mouth will soon be in the throat… and beyond. The desire to wash it away is very powerful at that point. Liquids don’t help, they only make things worse by spreading it faster. You can tell that to someone but they won’t listen.

I suppose that’s about where Cokeley was when he called desperately for soda. I tried to tell him about that but he wouldn’t listen either. Nobody does. His voice stopped working for a while after that. When he regained the ability to speak he pronounced, “we can’t have that stuff in the sundaes – somebody will get hurt.”

He’s probably right. No one within earshot disagreed.

So, if you’re coming down to compete at Brunswick Eruption and thinking about entering the Evil Sundae contest you can rest easy, secure in the knowledge that Mad Dog 357 won’t be part of the recipe. Instead we’re looking in places like this for inspiration. I’m looking for some Cuitlacoche tomorrow…

There are a few pictures of today’s madness in the Gallery.

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