Synaesthesia Magazine Cities - Page 84

Friday, 1.10pm… Portswood, Southampton… Sitting at a table in ‘Sprinkles Gelato’, I saw it all very clearly. Sick to my stomach and nervous, I was looking at consuming a dangerous cocktail of dessert: mint, coffee, apple pie, hazelnut, fruits of the forest, white chocolate and pomegranate, vanilla, strawberries and cream, white chocolate and Twix.

The Junior Reporter set the camera on the tripod, looked at me and shouted “Action”. I looked down at the gigantic cone in front of me. “As a Junior Reporter I advise you to start consuming ice-cream.”

Ten scoops – a giddy, quavering sort of high that means the brain-freeze is coming, hit me. The possibility of physical and mental collapse is very high now…

…but collapse is out of the question. Indeed. This is the moment of truth, that fine and fateful line between control and disaster.

“It won’t last long,” the Junior Reporter said. “The first rush will be the worst. Just ride the bastard out.”

I could hear myself breathing heavily. The Junior Reporter seemed to notice but kept on filming.

“Just stay relaxed,” he said behind the camera. “Don’t try to fight it, or you’ll start getting brain-freeze…”

Two minutes into the challenge and the artificial flavourings and colourings greeted me with a friendly gesture of warmth and care … Five minutes. There it was, brain-freeze; my tongue felt like an ice cube. Eight minutes. I couldn’t move; every muscle in my face was contracted. Ten minutes. Pouring sweat and unable to concentrate. Death. I was sure of it. Pass the ten minute mark and I was a dribbling wreck. I was going to die.

My teeth felt like they had fallen out. Had they? I forced my whole hand into my mouth to check. “Still there, thank god.”

Scoop after scoop I felt the sadness and decay of bone and gum. Why me, why have I been put on this earth to participate in this devilish act of unhappiness?

Ice-cream was now my enemy, and ten scoops of it was my rite of passage to the fiery depths of hell.

“Am I dead yet..?”

Almost 15 minutes after I started the dangerous stunt I was done. Done with all the brain-freeze and nausea. Done with the pain of all that sugar. Done with the 10-scoop ice-cream challenge.

“You’ll have to excuse me now; I feel it coming on.” I turned away and reeled off in the general direction of the bathroom.

The Junior Reporter shouted “CUT.”

Parts of (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson, 1972. Flamingo: London) have been used in the above text.