I have a theory, that at any given time, there are between 5 and 7 deadly peppers in the world. These are seemingly ordinary peppers; ordinary in that their terrible burn isn't deadly. But these 5-7 deadly peppers never stop burning. The mouth and throat and belly can not handle the pain and so you welcome death to make the burning stop.
Tonight Lauren offered me a tiny bottle of almond extract. I love to take tiny swigs from the vanilla bottle and I thought the almond bottle would be the same, just nuttier. I was wrong, almost dead wrong. First, the flavor was much better, but I could only enjoy it for an instant before the burning started. The burn was vertically asymptotic. It didn't just burn steady, it burned hotter with every moment. I felt like I was on Zeno's arrow, time was slowing around me and the burning was intensifying. Lauren saw my upper lip tremble and she laughed. I couldn't see her laugh, though, because all I could see were images of skin grafts inside my throat. It was like I swallowed a sparkler.
Any fool can tell you that if your mouth is burning, do anything but drink a glass of water. So I drank a glass of water. I figured I'd just done a Ken doll-sized shot of liquid death, I might as well have a moment of peace before I die. But it didn't even bring me that--instead it was like putting out a grease fire with a clown's seltzer bottle. My mouth literally (not literally) exploded. When you do this to yourself, all your natural instincts malfunction. Fight whom? Fly from what?
And then it was over. I was alive. I made it. As quickly as it came the burning was gone. But I'm now more convinced than ever that the deadly pepper exist. If such terrible pain can be found on the ingredients list for macaroons, imagine what is silently growing in the Mexican jungle.