I think I almost killed my boo today. It was totally an accident, but it certainly had more than one person worried for a few minutes.
I took a trip recently and brought Jim back a few souvenirs along the way. It was a route I've taken more than once, but never stopped at any of the local haunts. I generally meander around when I take a road trip, making stops to find antiques, sewing patterns, or whatever amuses me. I've never stopped to get any local treats, so I made it my goal this time. I ended up coming home with four bottles of local wines, three six packs of beer from regional microbreweries, some Mackinac taffy (HUGE hit with the spare to the throne) and some cheese from a cool cheese shop.
That was where it all went wrong.
Jim likes to have appetizers before dinner sometimes, making us trays of cheese and crackers, olives, salami, and what have you. I thought that I'd get him some interesting cheeses as a little surprise, so I picked up some (VERY yummy) tomato basil cheddar, some mild plain cheddar, some horseradish somethingorother cheese, and one with ghost peppers in it. Jim is always amazed at how my body protests at any kind of spiciness, especially given how much he loves spiciness. He tells stories about how he and his Marine buddies would tempt each other with jalapenos and such, and usually owns the bragging rights, so I figured I'd punch it up a notch to the real deal.
For the unindoctrinated, the ghost pepper has been known as the hottest pepper in the world for several years. Seth's best friend grew some in his garden at one point, and decided to try them with a couple of friends. No one was able to keep them down. I believe the description was, as given by his devoutly Catholic friend, that they were hotter than hell itself. Coming from a Catholic, that means something.
I told Jim I'd bought him some treats, and put them into the fridge. I didn't pay a lot of attention to it, and he probably didn't either, because we keep a lot of stuff like that on hand for when friends stop by, or there's a pitchin at work. So tonight, we decided to get together with friends. He grabbed up a bunch of various types of crackers, as well as several kinds of cheese from the fridge. He fixed them all up in a beautiful arrangement, then brought them to the table, explaining what each one was. We all helped ourselves.
We were only a few minutes into the conversation when I heard something strange next to me. I looked over, and realized his face was red. VERY red. And he was breathing hard. Next thing you know, he was fanning himself. Vigorously. Then, the choking started. Every time he thought he had his breath, he'd start again. Once in a while, he would gasp "Oh my GOD, Lisa, what have you done to me?" Tears running down his cheeks, he started swabbing himself with his cloth napkin. Then he got up and grabbed paper towels. He caught his breath, and a new wave hit. Mary, ever the gracious hostess, asked if water would help. He choked out "MILK," and she made for the kitchen.
He finally got the milk down, and within a few minutes, he recovered. We sat staring at him, while he sat staring at the plate of cheese. Silence fell over the room. Finally, Mary said "which one did you have?" He just pointed. Mary reached for a different piece on another part of the plate. Jim took a swig of beer and stared at the plate, then silently grabbed up the offenders and wrapped them into a napkin. Fred, ever the gentleman, asked "who do you think we could give it to? It seems a shame to throw it away." Jim looked him straight in the eye and said "NO. You do NOT want to inflict that on anyone. It's.............a weapon of mass destruction."
I am now thinking of offering a government contract for a weapon to end all wars, cure the flu, eradicate the Asian carp, manage the snake population in the Everglades, and control crying children in public areas. I'm going to call it The Government Cheese. Bring your own Kleenex.