**LJ Idol Season 4 Week 17 Entry: The Funniest Thing**

A funny thing happened on the way to the Junior Prom… we went to dinner.

Dinner may not sound funny to you, but when it very nearly involves paramedics and a boy in a tux, how can one night laugh?

Picture this, if you will: Four average American teenagers decked out in the fanciest formal wear a McDonald’s salary could buy.  We left behind our drama shirts, band jackets, and Noxema for the night to enter our fantasy world of Prom.  Our chariot was my date’s mother’s minivan.  Oh yeah, rolling in style to the strip mall!

Welcome to the Dragon Inn.

Amidst fellow dinners in denim cutoffs and Terminator tee’s, we stood out like the Chinese Dragon in Little Italy.  Ming Lai escorted us to our seat and doled out the menu. We spend the next few minutes of our very special Blossom episode deciding on our meal and scoping the Chinese Zodiac signs.

How were we to know the lone dragon amongst three hare’s was such a lightweight?

Steaming plates of food arrive and we dug in.  Kung Pao TKO’ed my taste buds in full robust flavour.  Yum.  My date slurps down squid.  Our friends wussed out of chopsticks, but found no problem shoveling food into their mouths via fork.  For a few minutes, at least, our table fell silent.  Chatter morphed into the sounds of satisfied eating.

“What’s this?”  A simple question from my friend’s date.  Something dangled from his fork, and he thrusts it our way.

She did not know, and I had my suspicions.  My rule of thumb when dining in the Orient is, “If you don’t know what it is, it’s probably a pepper.”  This rule has never once steered me wrong.  A mouth full of kung pao, I just shrug.  And then comes my date, AKA The Iron Chef.  The guy who planned to not only become a chef, but to become a Grand Master.

“Dunno,” he mumbled through a mouthful of squid.

Someday Karma’s gonna get him for that one.

And so the hapless sophomore in a tux put the mysterious item in his mouth.  And bit down.  Hard.

Time froze.  Not a one of us could move, our eyes transfixed on poor Russ McKinney.  And we waited.

The heat of the pepper only took a nanosecond to hit him and he jumped in his seat.  His face burned red, his eyes teared.  Gasping, he could not find air through the fire in his mouth.

Then he screamed.  And screamed again.

Hands fanning his mouth, he hollered, “SPICE BURN” at the top of his lungs.  He poured his glass of water down his throat as fast as he could, hoping to douse the flames about to spit from his mouth.

He did not learn.  Water makes it burn worse.

As the waitress zips to our table and obligingly refills his glass, he grabs it from her.  Within moments, the glass sits drained again.

Our ever helpful waitress fills the glass a third time, and scurried off to the kitchen.  No doubt to call the cooks to peek through the door at the crazy American teenager.

And this whole time, still he screamed.  His hands continued fanning his mouth to the amusement of everyone in the restaurant.

His date sat there, mouth hanging open.  She probably wished for her flute to hit him upside the head with.  I am too busy trying to choke down my Kung Pao while stifling laughter.  Forget my date, he sat doubled over laughing hard.

In the end, my date saved poor Russ McKinney.  Through guffaws and while wiping away tears, my date says, “Dude, the rice.  Eat the rice.”

Like Goku in Dragonball Z, Russ attacked that rice.  Like a maniac he crammed his entire mouth full of rice.

Once he proved he could breathe normally and we knew no pre-Prom trips to the ER were necessary, he cursed us for not helping.

What could we do?  He bit into the pepper!

The waitress returned to fill his empty glass one last time and asked if he was all right.  Sheepishly he nodded, and mumbled something about the food was a “tad bit hot” for him.  She proceeded to tell him to never drink water for it makes the spices more potent.

He wanted to leave her no tip under the guise of cruel and unusual punishment.

Oh we left her a tip, a HUGE one!

–Lady O

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