Marian P. Merritt - Lagniappe

Where the Bayous Meet the Mountains

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Death By Wasabi

This is a short (true) story I wrote a few years ago after my first encounter with sushi. I continue to enjoy sushi, but am a little more conservative with the wasabi!

Hope you enjoy the story!

Death By Wasabi

Marian Merritt

Deciding my palate needed stimulation, I ventured to the sushi counter at the local grocery store.
Not only would this be fresh and exciting, but something I could say with a measure of class. “Why yes, I love sushi.”
Anxious to join the ranks of the other sophisticates, I eagerly opened the package and examined the California rolls. The small tray held six of the delicately wrapped goodies along with a package of soy sauce, a small bundle of translucent flesh-colored slices, and a marble-sized piece of avocado. Why would this avocado be rolled into a ball?
I popped the “avocado ball” into my mouth fully expecting the smooth taste and texture.
Instead, a pasty glob assaulted my tongue.
But then—OH MY!
An inferno unleashed into my head. The burning spread like a brush fire through a dry wheat field.
The intense flames traveled unmercifully through my sinus cavity leaving a blazing trail of torture. I grabbed my head and hopped about the kitchen as though performing a ritualistic pain dance.
Tears distorted my vision. Through the blur, I read the ingredients. Aha, the weapon of wrath—wasabi.
My heart raced. Odds were not in my favor for surviving this wasabian adventure.
“I’m going to die!” I bellowed to the empty kitchen and the midday newscaster.
Would the anchor on tomorrow’s midday news be broadcasting my demise? I imagined tomorrow’s headline. “Woman dies of Wasabi overdose.” Not the epitaph I’d hoped for.
Pain seared through my head and set each cranial nerve ablaze.
Natural childbirth—a walk in the park compared to the torrents of torment I’d fallen captive to.
My sinuses—a runaway faucet. As a river of fluids gushed from my face, I prepared for imminent death. Please Lord, don’t let me die like this. Not—death by Wasabi.
I envisioned a gloved CSI team examining my kitchen, the scene of this gruesome crime.
What if forensics can’t trace Wasabi? My death would be a mystery. The only evidence—a tray of uneaten sushi. Would anyone notice the missing Wasabi ball?
As I rolled my head on the cool counter in an effort to ease the pain, my physiological need for oxygen prevailed. I braved a deep breath.
I now knew what inhaling broken bits of glass felt like. Please, instead, give me a root canal without anesthesia, a red-hot poker in my eye, bamboo shoots under my fingernails, or perhaps, a guillotine.
The pain continued its search and destroy mission. Survival consisted of short shallow breaths and hopping around the kitchen like a bare-footed kid walking on oyster shells.
Dare I try another breath? Not a walk through a spring meadow, but at least it didn’t feel like I’d snorted gasoline.
A flicker of hope ignited. The pain recoiled. Its mission accomplished.
The sardonic circles of calamity sat there so innocent looking.
Mocking.
Approaching the rolls like a lioness stalking her prey, I sneered at the tray. Were there more of the little green marbles of malice?
Both my appetite and confidence withered. Hours later when hunger returned, my ego-bruised palate dined on a simple PBJ sandwich with extra grape jelly.
The rolls? 
Gone.

5 comments:

Deborah Vogts said...

Too funny, Marian. Now, did this really happen??? Tell me, what is Wasabi?

Marian Pellegrin Merritt said...

Deb, It did really happen!!! Wasabi is a green paste known as Japanese horseradish and is an extremely strong condiment--especially if taken in large doses!!!

Ada said...

This post pops up when I tried to find answers for my mom's leakage problem. Proved to be an invaluable source of info. I feel sorry for her and to all women who have to endure this illness. Thanks anyway. Great post!

Ann Ellison said...

I hated to laugh because you were in such pain but I had too. I will definitely stay clear of wasabi.

Marian Pellegrin Merritt said...

Now I laugh...Even today when I have wasabi, I have a moment of panic from the smell!