Rooster's Masochistic Hell Burger: Today, I Am a Man. Just Don't Ask About my Bowels.

Rooster's Roadhouse in Denton has a burger called the "Hell Burger," which contains ghost chilies, the second hottest chilies available, apparently. This makes them hot. Hotter than a day out with Scarlett Johansson on the surface of the sun. Hotter than a sunbed in a volcano. Hotter than a December day in Texas.

Anyway, it turns out that, because the place where I work is so manly and stuff, they have some sort of misguided tradition in which, now and again, they all go to eat these burgers. I can't see a reason for these burgers to exist other than for men to goad each other into eating them, because obliterating your sense of taste in an overwhelming wave of nausea and sad is a very masculine thing to do. I should know, because I am a man.

And so it was that I found myself at something of a dive bar on a Thursday afternoon, on the receiving end of the boss's no doubt hilarious suggestion that, unless I ate one of these burgers, everyone was paying for his own lunch. This must be that Texan hospitality I've heard so much about. Immediately assailed by the longing stares of the other employees, I realized I must do what was right. I must nearly kill myself in a quest to get the boss to pay for our stuff. I was joined in sympathy by two fellow employees, one of whom, in the clearest signal I have ever seen of mental instability, decided to have four of them, to see where his limits were. These things are only slider-sized, but they come slathered in more terror than you can imagine.

Because I am a polite young man, I am going to try and describe this experience using no swear words whatsoever, but let it be known that every instinct is telling me that I should be swearing when describing this experience. Before you are allowed to eat the burger, you have to sign a waiver protecting the restaurant against you suing them, and holding you responsible for any damage you cause when flailing about in pain. For real. I'm not sure it's ever a good idea to consume any food you the requires you to sign a waiver before eating.

My plan of attack was to eat the godforsaken thing as quickly as possible, not chewing very much and minimizing contact with my mouth. It takes about two attempts at chewing after the first bite before you realize that, actually, you are in some serious trouble now, and it's only going to get worse. My goodness. Golly gosh. It was really quite warm. At some point after you swallow the first bite, your face goes alarmingly numb and you become aware that your mouth is on fire, and that breathing is actually making it worse. Crikey. What a palaver. My jaw appears to be detaching itself from the rest of my face.

I always thought being a dragon would be kind of cool before this. The reason they're so angry in all those books, films and games would actually seem to be that they've just eaten a bunch of ghost chilies and are just looking for some milk. Has there ever been a book where someone tried giving a dragon milk? I reckon that's a quick way out of the problems dragons cause.

You'll no doubt be delighted to hear that, after a few tears, a lot of sweat and three glasses of milk, I finished my burger, thus saving all the staff the cost of their lunches. Hurrah! Despite the fact I was covered in sweat, tears and regret, they carried me back to the office aloft on their shoulders, chanting my name. Not really, we got stuck in a traffic jam while I chewed ice and tried not to be ill. The guy that ate four? He managed three and a half before he started shaking, complaining that it felt like he was pregnant (no, I'm not sure how he knows either) and then, when we got back to the office he spent an hour in the bathroom and had to go home two hours early.

Thus, my tip of the day - if you want to leave work early, simply eat four Hell Burgers at Rooster's Roadhouse. I suspect, however, it may not be worth it.

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Gavin Cleaver
Contact: Gavin Cleaver