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That's Not What You Think It Is

Pain in under 60 seconds

By Barb DukemanPublished 19 days ago 2 min read
That's Not What You Think It Is
Photo by Marta Filipczyk on Unsplash

We were at a fancy sushi restaurant. I, never having had sushi, had picked out an entree with an exotic name; Pink Lady, Passion Luck, or something like that. I admired the decor of the room, a mix of Asian cultures wrapped into a riot of colors, birds, and dark wood. I had both chopsticks and silverware to choose from. The food was delivered quickly.

I gazed upon the rice-wrapped rolls, filled with various fish and vegetables. I don't remember exactly what was in it. It came on a rectangular tray, shaped like a gondola, and had some sliced pinkish-white garnish, and a little green blob off to the side. I was ready to try my first go-round at sushi.

I arranged the sliced things on top of the rolls; I thought that's where it's supposed to go. Spoon or fork? I didn't know which Western tool I should use to convey this delicacy to my mouth. I didn't want to seem like uncultured swine, but I did not know how to use chopsticks.

The green blob was next. I assumed it was guacamole, a nice preamble to the meal.

I'm not that bright. Why would there be guacamole in a Japanese restaurant?

Because I was insanely wrong on this. With a spoon, I picked up the green blob and popped it into my mouth before my friend John could stop me.

"Wait!" he tried to warn me. "My god," John yelled frantically, "that's wasabe!"

Fireworks came shooting out of my nose instantly. Tears gushed from my eyes. I could not speak. I started gasping for air as my face began to twitch. This is what I thought the army did to its recruits as the last hurdle; going into a room of mustard gas to take off a breathing apparatus and then putting it back on. I used my cloth napkin to wipe my tongue but that wasn't doing anything but making a light green mess on the napkin. Water! Maybe water would work. I gulped a glass down. Nothing. It just got worse.

My nose became a running faucet in just under ten seconds. What the ever-fresh-hell was this? Was this mace on a plate? What kind of cruel joke did the chefs play on me? I was still choking and gasping for air. My taste buds were completely dead and my sinuses were on fire. More explosions kept going on in my mouth; no part of it felt not-on-fire.

A kind (!) server noted my despair and stupidity and brought me a yogurty-milk drink. I looked at it with doubt and thought I was still being poisoned. I've had hot sauce before; those little packets at Taco Bell pack a punch, right? This? This was a KO in under 30 seconds. I took a chance and drank the milky drink.

It did very little to soothe my burnt mouth. I felt woozy and just wanted to lie down on the bench. I started to lean over but the vile green ball of clay was still working its way through my brain, poking holes in my sinus cavity and exiting out my ears. The thought of eating any of the sushi I ordered was completely dismissed. This night had been a terrible mistake.


Short StoryHumor

About the Creator

Barb Dukeman

After 32 years of teaching high school English, I've started writing again and loving every minute of it. I enjoy bringing ideas to life and the concept of leaving behind a legacy.

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  2. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

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Comments (4)

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  • Rachel Deeming19 days ago

    Oh dear! That is some heat, well described!

  • Haha. That actually happened to me. First time I had sushi was on a first date, and thinking it was avocado I popped the entire wad of wasabi in my mouth. I then proceeded to pretend I meant to do it, and held back tears. 😭 I loved your story.

  • Christy Munson19 days ago

    I knew from the setup where this was headed and I could feel the gut and throat punch coming. That's not guac... Great, fun, life lesson of a story. Great idea for the challenge. Loved it!

  • Oh! What a 60 minutes. Amazing.

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