by mike berger
Tears streamed down my face
and fire belched from my nose.
The juices cauterized my throat
on the way down. “Don’t eat that
pepper”, the waitress said. Her
refrain bounced around in my mind.
I woofed it down anyway.
My kids were laughing and hooting
to see their dad cry. My wife rather than
trying to help shook her head and
hysterically laugh. I couldn’t speak.
The fire had seared every membrane
In my throat.
I took the family to dinner at a classy
restaurant. The chef stuck that evil
pepper on the top of my salad. It was
waxy orange-yellow and it beckoned
me on. I picked it up. It’s stubbly gnarled
end gave me a double dare. I bit off the
end below the seeds where the smoke
and fire resides.
My nose dripped, my eyes were
crossed, my toes were curled and my
tongue swelled. The waitress brought me
a grundel of napkins to blot the tears.
She reached into her pocket and handed me
a business card for the local nose and throat