Section: Flash Fiction
Blogger: Joseph Clay
[Bloggers Note: I did not write this article, it came to me via email from a friend with an unknown author. While reading it I fell out of the chair several times holding my stomach and wiping the tears out of my eyes from the laughter. I found it so hilarious that once I regained my composure I spiced it up a little. I added a few lines, some rewriting, and corrections to make it read a little smoother.
In order to get the full story make sure you read the comments from Judges One and Two. Reading those will give you the complete story of this tale from a pasture in Texas.]JC
Texas Chili Cook-Off
Re-write: Joseph Clay
Frank knew he has made a mistake in his vacation choice after only two days at the Sleepy Cougar Dude Ranch. All the riding, roping, and roughing it had taken it’s toll but he had vowed to make this day better than the first two.
While in the chow line waiting to get his breakfast chow he looked down checking everyone’s spurs to make sure his were on correctly. Out of the corner of his eye he spotted a huge diamond back rattler.
Frank began screaming like a girl, while peeing his pants. The others in line were laughing and hollering at Frank to calm down, the snake was stuffed. Frank didn’t hear them as he had caught his left pants leg tangled in his right spur as he was back pedaling.
Whit his arms flailing he was falling backwards. The only thing to break his fall, the large cactus. After being help up, Frank was sent once again to the ranch clinic.
The prettiest nurse he had ever laid eyes on giggled the whole time she was pulling the needles from his butt.
Yes Frank was glad that the last day of his stay was upon him. He was thrilled that tomorrow he would be back in Illinois in the morning, leaving Texas to the cowboys and steers. He wanted to find something to do on his final day that was safe. He checked the schedule of events.
He spotted the event for him. He missed breakfast but would not miss the Big Chili Cook-Off. Frank figured there was no way he could get hurt eating chili.
Frank left the bunk house in his plaid shorts, tennis shoes and Hawaiian shirt. He double checked his front pocket to make sure he had his roll of ones for the dollar beer and food. Frank looked toward the stables but decided to walk. The last thing he wanted was to ride another horse, as his thighs were raw enough.
Frank made it to the pasture where the event was being held. He headed to the nearest table to find out where the beer tent was located so he could stake his claim. He approached the table where two men were sitting.
“Howdy, how can we help ya?” one of the two men stated with a devilish grin.
“Looking for the beer tent. I hear you all have all the Coors Light Draft I can drink for a buck.” Frank answered licking his lips.
“Yes we do. How would you like to drink all the Coors Light your northern heart desires for free?” The older of the men wearing a big number one on his checkered shirt inquired.
“Free, what do I need to do?” Frank shouted giving each man a high five.
“Well let me tell ya, we are two of today’s Chili Cook-Off judges. The third judge has called out, got a mare in labor and can’t leave her. You can consume all the beer you want if you will step in and fill his boots. What do you say whippersnapper?” The younger man, who wore a number two, spoke in a Texas drawl.
“I have never been a judge before, but if the beer is free I can learn.” Frank stated while watching the kegs being unloaded at the beer tent. He could see the frost on the aluminum barrels from where he was standing.
“It is easy, we go around to each set up and taste the chili, then we write on these 4 x 7 index cards what we liked and disliked about it. Now you can’t eat without drinkin’. Since Coors is sponsoring the event an endless supply of Coors Light will be at your disposal.” Judge One replied while stroking his gray whiskers.
“There are only eight entries this year. The chili will not be all that spicy, over the years it has become milder with no kick at all.” Judge Two stated shifting his cowboy hat to block the sun.
Frank thought for a second while watching the cold adult beverages being tapped into the serving pitchers.
“Hand me the index cards, let us get this show on the road and bring on the beer.” Frank stated as he held out his hand.
The two judges who were native Texans just smiled, handed Frank a stack of cards, a pen, and a tasting spoon. “Let’s ride’em cowboy, welcome on board Judge Three.” Judge Two stated as he pinned the large three to Franks shirt.
A mug of beer was waiting on the three when they arrived at the first tasting. Frank didn’t waste any time chugging half of it before tasting the chili.
Once the judges wipe their spoons clean and had them back in their pocket they all began to write.
Chili #1 – Mad Mike’s Manic Monster Chili
Judge One: ‘A little too heavy on the tomato. Amusing kick.’
Judge Two: ‘Nice, smooth tomato flavor, very mild.’
Judge Three (Frank): ‘Holy crap, what the heck is this stuff? You could remove dried paint from your driveway. I needed two beers to put out the flames. I hope that’s the worst one. These damn Texans are crazy.’
Chili #2 – Austin’s Afterburner Chili
Judge One: ‘Smokey, with a hint of pork, slight jalapeño tang.’
Judge Two: ‘Exciting BBQ flavor. Needs more peppers to be taken seriously.’
Judge Three (Frank): ‘Keep this out of the reach of children. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to taste besides the pain. I had to wave off two people who wanted to give me the Heimlich maneuver as they thought I was choking to death. Good thing they saw my face and rushed more beer in.’
Chili #3 – Fireman Fred’s Famous Burn Down the Barn Chili
Judge One: ‘Excellent firehouse chili. Great kick.’
Judge Two: ‘A bit salty, good use of peppers though.’
Judge Three (Frank): ‘Call the EPA, I have located a uranium spill. My nose feels like I have been snorting drain cleaner. Got to get me more beer before I ignite. The Barmaid pounded me on the back so hard, my backbone is now in the front part of my chest. I am starting to get shit-faced from all this beer, but it is free.’
Chili #4 – Big Bubba’s Black Magic Bean Chili
Judge One: ‘Black bean chili with almost no spice. Very disappointing!’
Judge Two: ‘Hint of lime in the black beans. Good side dish for fish or other mild foods, not much of a chili.’
Judge Three (Frank): ‘I felt something scraping across my tongue, but was unable to taste it. Is it possible to burn out taste buds? Thank God in heaven Sally the barmaid was standing behind me with fresh refills. This 200 pound woman is starting to look HOT… just like this nuclear waste I’m eating! Is chili an aphrodisiac? Because Sally stretching those Daisy Dukes to their limit is starting to turn me on!’
Chili #5 – Lisa’s Legal Lip Remover
Judge One: ‘Meaty, strong chili. Cayenne peppers freshly ground adding considerable kick. Very impressive!’
Judge Two: ‘Chili using shredded beef could use more tomato. Must admit the cayenne peppers make a strong statement.’
Judge Three (Frank): ‘My ears are ringing, sweat is pouring off my forehead, and I can no longer focus my eyes. I farted, and four people behind me passed out. The contestant seemed to get offended when I told her that her chili had given me brain damage. I wonder if I am burning my lips off. Sally saved my tongue from bleeding by pouring beer directly on it from the pitcher. She is so sexy and sweet, I can look over her facial hair and the sound of her thighs rubbing together as we go from table to table. Maybe I take her back to Springfield with me. The other judges are starting to piss me off. They keep asking me to stop screaming so much. But I’ll not get upset and smart off after all they are responsible for the free beer!’
Chili #6 – Vera’s Very Vegetarian Variety
Judge One: ‘A thin yet bold vegetarian variety chili. Good balance of spices and peppers.’
Judge Two: ‘The best yet: aggressive use of peppers, onions and garlic – superb.’
Judge Three (Frank): ‘My intestines are now a straight pipe filled with gaseous, sulfuric flames. I crapped myself when I farted. I’m worried if I sit down it will eat through the metal chair. No one seems inclined to stand behind me except Sexy Sally. Cannot feel my lips anymore and I need to wipe my butt with something cold like a snow cone.’
Chili #7 – Sexy Susan’s Screaming Sensation Chili
Judge One: ‘A mediocre chili with too much reliance on canned peppers.’
Judge Two: ‘Ho hum, tastes as if the chef literally threw in a can of chili peppers at the last moment. I should also note that I am worried about Judge Three. He appears to be in a bit of distress as he is cussing and screaming uncontrollably, even after we have asked him several times to stop.’
Judge Three (Frank): ‘You could put a grenade in my mouth and pull the pin and I would not feel a thing. I have lost sight in one eye, and the world sounds like it is made of rushing water. My shirt is covered with chili, which slid unnoticed out of my mouth. My pants are full of lava to match my shirt. At least during the autopsy, they will know what killed me. I have decided to stop breathing. It is too painful! To heck with it; I am not getting any oxygen anyway. If I need air, I will just suck it in through the 4″ hole in my stomach.’
Chili #8 – Tiny Tom’s Toenail Curling Chili
Judge One: ‘The perfect ending, this is a nice blend chili. Not too bold, but spicy enough to declare its existence.’
Judge Two: ‘This final entry is a good balanced chili, neither mild nor hot. Sorry to see that most of it was lost when Judge 3 farted, and with a scream shouted ‘catch me Sexy Sally’. He passed out, fell over and pulled the chili pot down on top of himself. Not sure if he’s going to make it. The paramedics are headed down the hill with a stretcher. Poor feller, makes you wonder how he’d reacted to hot chili!’
Judge Three (Frank): NO REPORT.
As the paramedics were placing frank on the stretcher Judge 2 handed them the 4 X 7 index cards that has recorded Franks chili and beer journey. He figured it may help them to diagnose and treat Frank.
The two judges were laughing and slapping their hats against their thighs as Frank was trying to pull Sally in the back of the ambulance with him.
Now if that didn’t make you laugh nothing will. Hey, if you like chili you should try my Sleepy Cougar Ranch Chill.
Till next time