It was the late 1990s. Working as a Deputy Sheriff in Charleston county, SC. Early days as “The Warrant Man.” True and a bit personal. I've had a great run at life and don't mind sharing..
It was a longstanding tradition that on “payday Fridays” those who could, would meet and have lunch together. My assignment as well as my colleagues at the time, allowed for great choices on where to eat. “Anywhere” in Charleston county or the adjoining counties was fair game. So, it went for many months. One particular instance, when deciding where to eat, it seems that every suggestion went foul. No one could agree, “been there done that” sort of thing. One Deputy pipes up “let’s go eat Thai food.” Well that was different, and I had never eaten Thai food before, so I gave it a thumbs up and others quickly followed. Off we went to eat Thai.
We got a big table at the place and the menus were handed out. I looked at the offerings that had names, but not much explanation otherwise as to what they were. I was at a loss. Had absolutely no clue on what to order. When the waitress came around to me, I suddenly recalled some TV show where someone was in Thailand and was eating “Larb.” I didn’t know what it was, only remembered how funny I thought the name was from the TV show. So, being the “only” thing I knew of Thai food, I asked if they had “Larb?” She acted surprised and asked “you like Larb?” To save face and act like I knew what the deal was, I played it off. “I love it” I said. “You want chicken or pork?” She asked. “Pork” I replied. “You like it spicy?” she asked. Playing the big man now, I laid it on thick. “Of course, is there any other way?” She gave me a nod of affirmation and my buds were impressed.
Some time later, the dishes came out. I had no idea what the hell I had ordered. It was chopped meat on a bed of lettuce. It was great! It was so hot, to the threshold of great discomfort, but no way I was gonna balk and not eat it. It truly was amazing, but hotter than hell. Some discussions followed the meal, but I was top dog, being the only guy there who knew what to order. I thought that I would indeed have the dish again, just not so hot.
Some hours later, I was working an off-duty gig doing security at a bingo parlor. Off-duty gigs pay well for cops. This was mine. Shuffle out the drunks or crackheads and make sure the “big winners” made it to their cars unmolested. Aside from cigarette smoke, not a bad gig.
I’m walking the parking lot. Early December, not horribly cold but chilly enough to wear a coat. I began to sweat profusely. Didn’t know why exactly, but as cold as it was, I’m sweating like a whore in church. I assumed I was getting sick. Well in short order, my body betrayed me by what I thought to be “gas.” Not so. Man, I was in a jam. Quite embarrassed (no one else knew) but still I had to do the walk of shame to tell the management I had to leave. I got just inside the place, caught the attention of the manager and pointed to my walkie-talkie and signaled I had to respond to an emergency. (It was understood and indeed part of the contract that should some emergency arise nearby during an off-duty assignment, that we had to respond.) So, all was well. I figured to go home, clean up, come back and no one would be the wiser…. That was the “plan” anyways.
I got to my cruiser and began the ride home. For a few minutes, all was well. Then the terror hit. From deep inside my body came a pain I’d never before known. Like the scene in the movie Alien. There was a monster inside my body clawing to force its way out. I floored the accelerator. I’m a cop and driving a police car, this is an emergency, so I hit the lights. Sweat is pouring from my brow, can barely see and my body is convulsing. What agony. I hit mach 10 about the time I reached the bridge to the “North area” and began to weigh my options. Left to go home, right to go to my office only several blocks away. No brainer, office it was. I took the turn true “Starsky and Hutch” (drifting style) and headed for the office that I knew would be vacant that time of night. I got to the fence and had to activate a remote device for it to open. It seemed to take hours for the gate to open. I’m writhing and my eyes are burning from the sweat. Finally, the gate opens and I pull inside. I had to climb a flight of stairs while clinching my body in the process. All the while, the monster inside is raking its claws, harder and more painful. When I made it to the door, I had to punch in an access code. It was dark, my eyes are bleeding and I can barely see. After several tries I get in. I began to shed my clothes. Gun, nightstick and all to the floor in a mad rush. A trail of stuff all the way to the bathroom. I entered backside first. I almost made it.
My life flashed before my eyes. I figured I would be found dead Monday morning and would forever be remembered as “that guy” who died on the toilet. The horror that ensued I can barely put to words. The absolute worst night of my life. I thought it was dysentery - it just wouldn’t stop. Finally, after what seemed hours, it quit. I assumed my intestines were dangling from my body and I was still gonna die there before I could phone for help. Luckily, no intestines were protruding. I finally got up, looked into the mirror and was white as a ghost. Cold, clammy, “well covered” and wearing a single sock. I was truly a broken man.
I had to call for help. No getting around that. So, I made a call, asked for a set of sweats and some cleaning gear to be delivered. Sworn to secrecy, the delivery was made. Took 2 hours for clean-up. As bad as any crime scene I’d encountered. Ever seen the ancient cave paintings where they would blow paint on their hands and leave behind a picture where the hand was? Now imagine bathroom fixtures…
That horrible night cost me $150 as well as my dignity.
It was indeed the hottest dish I’d ever eaten and it was 12 years before I ever ate Larb again. I was better situated when I did, and specifically asked for it to be “mild.” No problems. I’ve tried several other Thai dishes since, but this one is my favorite. Not ever again, under any circumstance will I eat a Thai meal prepared by real Thais that they would call “spicy.” Word to the wise.
Edited by WarrantMan, 25 April 2019 - 09:39 PM.