Friday, October 14, 2016

A (Sort of) Horror Story

This is the time of year when we gather around to tell spooky stories designed to give people a fright and, often, warn people so that they can avoid succumbing to the same terrible fate as the poor saps in the story. The tale I am about to tell you is absolutely true and should serve as a warning to everyone that reads it about avoiding...cheese-filled chicken nuggets! *Insert spooky music here*

One crisp, cool day in the fall of 2010 I walked the 5 blocks from my apartment in New York City to the neighborhood grocery store. I loaded my folding cart full and slowly worked my way back home, careful not to catch a wheel on a crack in the sidewalk lest I be thrown over my cart with such force that I appeared to be tossed about by an invisible giant. After getting my cart back inside of the apartment I began to unload my groceries when I noticed that I had accidentally grabbed the wrong container of chicken nuggets from the store freezer. My husband and I always made sure to have some type of easily nuked foods in the house for those days when you are in no mood to figure out what to pack for lunch the next day, and in my haste to fill the cart I had accidentally grabbed a brand of chicken nuggets that were stuffed with cheese. That still sounded appetizing enough to me, so I didn't think anything of it when I shoved the box in the freezer. And, as everyone who has ever gone grocery shopping knows, once you've put in all the effort to shop and haul and put away groceries you certainly aren't in the mood to prepare a meal, so I threw some chicken nuggets and veggies into a ziploc bag to take for lunch at work the next day and made myself a sandwich for dinner.

The next day seemed normal enough. I worked from 8:30 to 12:30 and then took my lunch break, microwaving my simple meal and reading a book in the break room for 45 minutes. I went back to work, completely unaware that anything had changed until about 2 hours later when I noticed a terrible smell. It was foul, as though rotted meat and sweaty socks had been left to ferment in the Bog of Eternal Stench for a few weeks before being hauled into my office. It took about 20 minutes to figure out that I was the culprit, with farts I had thought were tiny and discreet but in fact turned out to be enormously awful. I had never in all of my life produced a smell like this and I was horrified that if anyone figured it out I would be fired.

I rushed home, totally embarrassed, and told my husband what had happened. He was very comforting until the first time I let one rip in his presence, at which time he loudly exclaimed that it smelled like my insides had died. Because he is a bit of a joker he was having a grand time mocking me until he started having the same problem a few hours later. After some probing I figured out that he had eaten some of the chicken nuggets after he got home but before I arrived, so we quickly became cellmates in our prison of stench. I'm surprised no one in the building called the fire department to report a toxic leak.

But the next day we still had to get up and go to work again. Luckily my intestinal fortitude had returned by the morning, but since my husband was about 4 hours behind me in eating them he was about 4 hours behind me in recovery time as well, which meant taking his topsy-turvy insides on the subway. After a few minutes on the train I thought we were going to be okay, until I saw the face of the woman standing next to him, as though she had been shit on by a vengeful god and couldn't understand why she was being tortured in this way. I picked it up a few seconds later, and at the next stop we ran off of the train and waited on the platform for the next one to avoid someone murdering him and later claiming it was justifiable homicide because of the smell.

That night when we got home we threw the package in the trash and vowed we would never, ever buy them again. So far we've kept that promise, but every so often when one of us does something the other doesn't like we will threaten to go find another package of those cheesy chicken nuggets and eat the whole thing before bed just to torture them. We've also talked about trying to convince the government that these things are so potent when they hit the human digestive system that they could be weaponized, but as we haven't seen them for sale in years I guess the manufacturers learned their lesson too. But if you should ever see a package of them in a freezer at your local store consider yourself warned - run far, far away and never look back!

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