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The Gearboat Chronicles

Beware The Case of Pain

Some of you may have experienced The Case of Pain.

From The Brand Fuel Expedition 2006

You know it when you see it: a standard briefcase with non-standard flames painted on it, holding an assortment of very aggressive hot sauces. It comes out on enchilada night on the river and it’s wise to use caution.

“Dave’s Ultimate Insanity” so far has the gold medal for excessive heat. I’ve seen beads of sweat appear on a brow after consuming a wee droplet of the stuff. I’ve witnessed tears. The chugging of milk to make it go away.

But there’s a new contender in town. A friend of mine came back from Louisiana with the gift of a tiny 1.5 fluid ounce bottle with the label, “The Hottest [censored] Sauce.” And they may be right.

Morgan made curry for dinner recently and we thought we’d try out this new condiment. He put a drop on his plate and gave it a go. Seemed fine for a while, then he pushed himself back from the table and said, and I quote: “Oh-oh.”

I offered milk. No, he said. He’d ride it out. The beads of sweat showed up. He drank water. Did some deep breathing exercises.

Hot sauce and spicy peppers seem to override common sense. For reasons I don’t understand, many people will watch another person suffer through discomfort and want to join in. So we did.

As Morgan fought through the burn, I dabbed some of this substance onto a piece of bread and our other friend Dave dripped some on the back of his hand, then licked it off.

Dave was in the early stages of his mouth being on fire when he reported that what was worse was the burning on his hand where the hot sauce had contacted his skin.

I went for milk to alleviate my own crisis while Dave washed his hands and we all sat there cringing and sucking air to knock back the singe.

From The Brand Fuel Expedition 2006

Look for this small bottle next time The Case of Pain comes out. I will be donating it to the cause. Help yourself. Please. I don’t mind a bit how much of these 1.5 ounces you consume.

It does help that we have fresh mango salsa to combat the hot stuff. And there’s always Riveritas – a very special blend of cocktail fixings that doesn’t involve many ingredients, but makes up for it by using a lot of the few things that do go in there. Like tequila. And a few other things, but the recipe is a closely guarded secret and I can’t divulge anything more.

From 6-16-07 Hells Canyon Geology Expedition

The sun can beat down on Hells Canyon in the summer, no surprise there. It gets to where you look forward to a good splashing in the next stretch of rapids. And swimming in the clear water of the Salmon River is one of the finest pleasures I know for escaping the heat. You almost welcome getting too hot because the cure is so enjoyable . . . a lot like the relationship between The Case of Pain and your tumbler of icy Riverita.

If you think you’ve got a hot sauce that can go up against Dave’s Ultimate Insanity or this new tiny bottle with the unprintable name, go ahead and bring it along. We’ll make an extra batch of antidote and have ourselves a taste test on the riverbank.