All right, listen. In Nashville there is a restaurant called Prince's Hot Chicken. It specializes in what is called "hot chicken" and hot here means spicy. I don't know how I found out about Prince's, I think I saw it on TV or something, but the thing about me is that if I hear something is spicy, I go eat it. And I bring my amigos along. This was essentially the only thing I was set on doing during the Nashville trip. 1000 plans for other things could have fallen through and it could have thundered and rained the whole time we were there---as long as I got to go to Prince's, I was fine.
Prince's chicken comes in four flavors: mild, medium, hot and extra hot--or, as a blog I researched from said, "Medium is you like hot, hot if you like pain, and extra hot if...well, none of us has actually tried it yet."
Reading that quote made it clear to me that I'd be ordering the Extra Hot.
Everyone else got the Medium, this is what it looks like. Nice and red and threatening:
This is our friend Jeff's friend Darren and, as you can tell from his expression, medium at Prince's is not a joke.
Okay, now here's my piece of Extra Hot. As you can see, while Medium was red and wet, Extra Hot is black like death and drippy.
When I picked my chicken up at the window a little piece of fried skin (like the size of a pea, at the biggest) had fallen off onto the wax paper. I popped it into my mouth on the way to the table. I was NOT prepared for the punch it packed, for the coughing fit and sweat that tiny bit immediately brought on. It was then that I knew this chicken was very, very serious. I sat and looked at it for a bit, feeling rather intimidated and sort of honestly truthfully not wanting to really go through with this but then the Spirit of Bravery came upon me and I dug in.
This is a picture of me thinking that I'm turning on my camera's video mode but actually I'm just taking my picture. Oh well. This would have been a video of my first serious bites of the chicken.
Some of the feelings I had while eating this chicken were: loss of hearing, isolated pain in shoulder (Jeff on this pain: "Yeah, that's cuz you're going into cardiac arrest"), tingling along limbs, and sense of soaring through the air at supersonic speeds, and worrying, lots and lots of worrying about my digestive system.
Also, I double forked it to avoid touching the chicken as much as I could. I picked it up a few times and my fingers still stung on Monday.
As I made my way through this meal my companions got curious and braved bites themselves, bites which I succeeded in videoing and posted here. Now, if you're looking for videos of people crying and screaming over how spicy this food is you'll be disappointed, but if you want honest reactions to devil hot chicken, these are the videos for you.
This is the last footage we've got of Jeff before his life was ruined. He should NOT have licked his fingers. When the Extra Hot chicken kicks in it's kind of like the moment a roller coaster car starts heading down its first drop and that video really captures that sensation right around :20 or so.
Note on the right a completely decommissioned Jeff. That one bite put him in a bad state. Also note the half-gallon of chocolate milk on the table. I ran across the street and bought while we waited for our food. If we hadn't had this chocolate milk, there probably would have been some immolations. We drank it with total urgency and shared cups as indiscriminately as junkies sharing needles in an Amsterdam park.
The Face of Completely Suffering. Jeff looks like he has sensed the destruction of Alderan. You can't see it here, but he had tears on the insides of his glasses. Also note that he has been completely detached from our reality to live in his own world of anguish.
If I poked you in the eye with these fingers your eyeball would turn to ash and the fire would shoot back into your brain and then zoom down your brainstem like a lit fuse headed for a barrel of dynamite.
For me everything was pretty under control most of the time until one of my last bites when I made a little chicken-nacho on one of my pickles. It got me real bad. This isn't a fakey picture of me clawing at the air, this is what really happened to me.
Coughing and clearing my throat and wondering if I'll ever see my children again . . . later on I'll realize that I don't have children, that the memory of them was just a momentary chicken-induced hallucination.
But look, I finished me meal. And I'm totally proud of myself for it. There was a group seated behind us hooting and smacking the table saying in pain, wondering aloud what the Extra Hot must be like considering the pain whatever chicken they had put them in. My table was quick to lean over and tell them I had ordered the Extra Hot, their reaction was one of reverence and fascination. The no nonsense lady that took our orders at the counter came over in the middle of our meal to check on all of us. She told us they only sell about 3 orders of Extra Hot a week. Makes sense, but the number seemed a little low. Anyway, I liked the chicken and the trouble it got me into, but if I go to Prince's again, I'm trying the Medium because I hear that Prince's chicken is actually quite tasty, but with the Extra Hot, basically you're only tasting burning gasoline.
Epilogue: As we were leaving, a gentlemen who seemed like a regular was being harassed by the Prince employees for having ordered his chicken Mild. "It's for my granddaughter!" was his defense.
Epilogue Two: We probably used a whole package of napkins at our table.