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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Cooking or Baking (01/04/07)



“Susan, is that chilli you’re cooking?”

“Tony, you know I hate chilli so why would I be cooking it?”

“Because you know I like it? I bought a jar of that new chilli powder yesterday. The one we saw advertised last week.”

Susan continued stirring the pot that was simmering on the hotplate. He knows I despised chilli but he always insists on me cooking it.

Ever since returning from their honeymoon three months earlier, it was always what he wanted. ‘Cook this’ or ‘Bake that’. It never ended. I’ll give him chilli. She reached for the large decorative chilli jar from the shelf and read the label.

HOT CHILLI, use one tablespoon to each pound of chicken or beef.

With a wicked chuckle she removed the lid and upended the jar into the saucepan.

“Smells good. I thought you didn’t like chilli.”

“I don’t. I decided if other couples can do it, so can we. I’ll cook what you like some days. Other days I’ll cook something I like.” Like fun. I cooked two separate meals.

“That’s one of the things I love about you, Susan. You’re considerate to the needs of others and I promise in future, I’ll be more considerate to your likes and dislikes.”

Guilt brought a deep shade of red to her neck and face. It burned deep. Shame engulfed her. She took a mouthful of her meal before rising from the table to retrieve a jug of water from the kitchen.

“Wow must be good.” Tony smiled and reached for his cutlery.

Lingering out of sight, Susan took a deep breath, releasing it slowly before leaving the kitchen. Tony was quiet. Well, maybe he likes it that hot. She return to the table carrying the jug; her head hung low. Before placing the water in front of him she glanced up briefly and looked into his eyes. Anger reflected back at her or was it fear? His face was contorted and she was suddenly aware he was struggling for air.

Momentarily shocked, Susan gasped. Dropping the jug she heard it crash to the floor but didn’t see it fall.

“Tony, Tony. Breathe, Tony.”

Frantically she began to shake him.

His face went from red to purple. Bluish tinged lips pulsed as his breathing labored. He fell to the floor with a thud. With eyes wide in shock he flung his arms around before seizing his shirt collar.

“Tony” she screamed.

Gasping changed to a strangulating wheeze as Tony fought to breathe. Grabbing the hand-held telephone from the nearby bench she dialled for help.

His body became motionless; his eyes closed. Gently wiping the moisture from his brow with her sleeve she tried not to panic. God, what have I done? She knelt beside her husband’s lifeless body willing him to live.

“Come on. Come on. Answer. God, don’t let him die. Please don’t let him…

Without waiting for the operator to speak she shouted into the phone.

“He’s dying. Help me, please.”

“Calm down and explain the problem so I can.” The woman’s voice was gentle but firm.

As quickly as she could speak through her growing terror she explained about the chilli. The operator gave immediate resuscitation instructions and asked for her address.

Tears streaked Susan’s face and mingled with the perspiration that continued to drench Tony’s brow. Placing the hand-held phone in the pocket of her blouse she tried to concentrate on the resuscitation technique the operator kept repeating. Hold the chin up. Clear the airways. Listen for his breathing. Breathe hard into his mouth. Pump the heart.

Finally two paramedics entered by the back door. Susan moved aside. One moved closer to continue the procedure. The second paramedic tried to calm her as he rapidly searched for a vein in Tony’s limp arm.

Later that night, Susan sat exhausted by the hospital bed where Tony slept peacefully. Thankfully the paramedics were able to revive him shortly after their arrival. He was given an adrenaline injection and transported to the hospital for observation. An allergic reaction, the doctor had informed her. It wasn’t the amount it was the kind she used.

“As if that makes me feel any better” she whispered to nobody in particular.

“What happened?” Tony’s voice was hoarse.

“Shhh, don’t talk now. It was the chilli. I used too much and you had a reaction. I’m sorry, Tony.” She swallowed nervously.

Susan’s voice faulted before continuing her terrible confession.

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This article has been read 1184 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 01/11/07
Yikes! What a hard way to learn a lesson! I started out thinking that this was going to be a light-hearted look at a too-hot meal, but you really turned the tables on the whole situation.

"Chili" is spelled with one "l".

This one had me holding my breath, and really feeling sorry for the main character. Good job.
Amy Michelle Wiley 01/12/07
Ooo, strong story! Good job and good point.
Trina Courtenay01/12/07
Strong flow of events made the read a breeze. Great job!
Donna Powers 01/12/07
This is well written and you taught a lesson without being preachy. Nice work!
Valora Otis01/12/07
Wow! Wow! Wow! I was on the edge of my chair while I read this one. You take your readers through so many raw emotions. I was right there while he was choking and at the end while she confessed. You are a gifted story teller. Keep blessing us with your heart felt tales. Great title!
Joanne Sher 01/12/07
I also thought this was going to be lighthearted, and the truth of it completely took my breath away. You had me gasping over and over. VERY compelling!
Sue Dent01/12/07
Is it chilli in here or is it just me! LOL Chilli, chili, chilly. How many ways can you spell WoW?! I didn't expect it to be lighthearted but I was going to get very angry if someone died!!! LOL Chilli today, Hot Tamali! Sorry couldn't resist! Very well written and exciting story . . . no matter how you spell chilli! ;)
Pat Guy 01/12/07
Wow! This captivated me from beginning to end!

And yes - maybe the amount of an unknown allergen would make a difference in the first reaction. So I think you've made a good point.

Talented writing all around on all points! Great stuff here!
Rhonda Clark01/12/07
I like this piece. It makes a great point. Good job.
Kathie Thomas01/13/07
Loved the story - I was waiting for him to have done that as a joke to teach her a lesson - that didn't happen though!
Valerie Routhieaux01/13/07
I really liked it. Good job. Keep writing, you'll go far.
Jesus Puppy 01/14/07
Remind me to never eat your chili... Good story though... ;)
Betty Castleberry01/14/07
I couldn't stop reading. You had me on a roller coaster of emotions. Well done.
janet rubin01/15/07
You surprized me! I thought Tony was messing around- pretending to be dying to get revenge:) That would have been funny. A few small errors, but a fun read, which also made this wife think a bit. Good job!
Thomas Kittrell01/15/07
Poor guy! I sure am glad he didn't die. I cannot help but wonder, will he ever eat chili again? Will she ever cook it again? I both laughed and sat on the edge of my chair as I read. Your description of his reaction was like being there in person, witnessing the whole thing. Good work. God bless.
T. F. Chezum01/15/07
Yes, very well written, and captivating. Great job.
Sandra Petersen 01/16/07
As the others said, the piece started out fairly lighthearted and humorous and then became very serious. I, too, wondered about the spelling of chili, but it didn't detract from the story.

Great description of Tony's physical appearance throughout his allergic reaction. As a mother of a now adult daughter who had a severe allergic reaction to seafood when a child, I identified with Susan's panic.

This is awful of me, but I couldn't help thinking at the end, when I knew Tony was going to be alright, "Serves you right for buying that chili powder and not considering Susan's feelings." And I admit to chuckling wickedly at the part where she decides on her act of vengeance.

I guess both of them learned a lesson.
Leigh MacKelvey01/16/07
Winner here! Surprised me at the end, too. I thought he was playing a joke on her.
Linda Watson Owen01/17/07
I echo the Wows! You really surprised me with the turn to the more serious in this story. I was hanging on every word.
Jen Davis01/17/07
What a gripping read! I didn’t see the story moving in the direction it did and was completely caught off guard. I kept thinking he was joking with her. This one caught my breath as well.
Catrina Bradley 01/17/07
I was fooled too! Very gripping, great job, great writing!!!
Marilee Alvey01/18/07
The mark of a great story is when you can "feel" the descriptions. With Laurence of Arabia I roasted, with Dr. Zhivalgo I froze (and these were both while watching the movies) and with Hot Chilli Attack, I choked! It was a sobering moment. She almost had one dinner to cook for the rest of her life.... It sure took the focus off of self-centeredness. God used that to grow her character, most certainly. I could relate, too. I once served chili to my husband who was just home from hernia surgery. Well, the Dr. said he could eat anything..... Have you ever seen somebody try to run, on crutches, to the bathroom? Funny and pitiful at the same time! You did a fantastic job at description here, Chrissy! Great job!
Edy T Johnson 01/20/07
If I can find room to squeeze in a brief comment, here (smile), you are one gifted writer, pulling your readers through this couple's ordeal with such skill, we were living it. I shall have to check out more of your writing that I've missed.

I also want to thank you for your comments on my writing. I appreciate you, Chrissy!
Janice Fitzpatrick03/18/07
Excellent written! Wow Chrissy. Makes me think of my hubby's hot chilli that actually caused me to lose my breath when he hadded habanero peppers besides other highly spiced ingredients. However nothing was to prove a point, he just like to cook hot chilli and wanted to see if he could kick it up a bit, Needless to say, it kicked me right in the tummy and for days since I have had gaul bladder and esophagus problems that, let's just say I was not comfortable,LOL.Your writing just flows girl. Keep up the great work and keep blessing others through your gifts.:0) Thx for the enouragement on my writing as well. Janice+-