The Great Capsicum Caper
(Bangkok, Thailand) – Lumpini Park in central Bangkok was overrun today by hoards of curious citizens, anxious to watch farangs compete in the First Annual Chili Pepper Eat-Off.
Sponsored by Tums and under the patronage of the Gastro-Intestinal Department of the Mayo Clinic, the Eat-Off began at 1pm, under hazy clouds and a temperature of 95 degrees, Fahrenheit. A wooden platform had been erected the night before, and the six contestants, representing America, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand, were each given a small table to sit at and devour the hottest chili pepper dishes in the world. The Thai audience, used to snacking on mouse dropping chilies like potato chips, gave each contestant a thunderous round of applause as they stepped on stage.
America was represented by Sam Twang, an ESL teacher from Khon Kaen.
Great Britain was represented by Sir Adrian Belchwater, of the British legation.
Shamus Emerald represented Ireland. He works as a bouncer at soccer riots.
Billy Bong represented Australia. When asked what he did for a living he punched this reporter in the nose, and said it was none of my bloody business.
And Sheila Hummingwood represented New Zealand. She sells New Age crystals to Old Age homes.
The first round consisted of a plate of somtum bought from a cart out on Sukhumvit Road. This was for speed only. It was intially won by Sam Twang, hands down, who managed to snarf the entire plate down in a record 2.2 seconds. Unfortunately, he also inhaled the plastic fork that was included with the somtum, and so was required to regurgitate the entire mess and was then disqualified for letting steam escape from his ears like a calliope. The runner up, Shamus Emerald, with a time of 3.4 seconds, was declared the winner.
The second round was a plate of laab muu. Contestants were expected to eat their portion not for speed, but for composure. The one who held off shedding tears and screaming the longest would win. It looked like Belchwater would be the winner, as he calmly sat masticating the volcanic concoction without so much as lifting an eyebrow or breaking a sweat, while the other contestants started to gag softly and squirm slowly. But at the last moment Belchwater turned beet red and began doing cartwheels. Hummingwood was declared the winner, after her hair fell out in smoldering lumps as she sang “To Dream the Impossible Dream” in a thin alto voice.
The final round saw each contestant given a bowl of sticky rice, a tub of fresh chili paste, several limes and a beer tower filled with Chang beer. No further instructions were issued, and the crowd sat back fascinated, waiting to see what would happen.
At first the competitors conducted themselves like decent human beings, sipping their beer and dipping their sticky rice balls into the chili paste. The first one to crack was Twang, who decided to chugalug his entire beer tower and then attempted to relieve himself in the bowler hat of Belchwater. Belchwater head butted Twang, but before he could do any more damage Emerald was on top of him, hammering Belchwater with his own beer tower. At this point Bong approached Hummingwood, whispered something in her ear, and the two left the stage and headed out of Lumpini Park. It was later learned that the two had gone to the Millennium Hilton and booked a room for the night.
The third round was declared a draw by the judges, who were just two guys that had run out on their bar tab over in Soi Cowboy.
First prize, an enamel cuspidor with “I’m with stupid” stenciled on it, was awarded to Sir Adrian Belchwater for all around good sportsmanship and Most Likely To Develop A Bleeding Ulcer.
Second prize, a lifetime supply of rainbow colored Tums, was given to Hummingwood – who never bothered to show up again for it.
Third prize went to Sam Twang. A matching set of plastic ice cube trays.
A spokesperson from the Mayo Clinic, Dr. Ronald Whiffenpoof, declared the event a great success and said “Next year we’ll hold it at the Holiday Inn up in Brainerd –at least then I can get some fishing in”
All the leftovers were donated to the USS Nautilus, a nuclear submarine currently cruising in the Gulf of Thailand that was running out of fuel rods.