Scene 11 Hot Sauce
John exits the bedroom dressed in jeans, a blue and gold button down shirt and his boots.
” Ready baby,” he says.
Su is dressed in a nice pair of shorts, a maroon t-shirt with a marlin on the back and her walking sandals.
” Took Lucky for his walk and fed him, ” Su states.
” You didn’t have to do that.”
” Grampa John.”
” Yeah I guess you’re right, I am kinda slow at that stuff.”
” Kinda? Even lucky lays down when it’s time.” Both of them laugh.
” I’m ready,” John says.
They both go over to Lucky and pet him. ” Watch the house buddy,” Su says. ” We’ll be back in a bit,” John says.
Stepping out the front door to the car, Su takes the driver seat.
” Oh, it’s running.” John says surprised.
” Decided to let it run so it was cool when we got in.”
” Yeah, good idea. It’s nice.”
Su looks through the rear view and slowly backs up the shell drive to an area between the cottages that are closer to the main road, does a two point turn and drives past the office to the asphalt.
” I guess you know where you’re going?” John asks.
” Yes, made this trip many times before. Just sit back and relax.”
Su makes her way to Rabbit Road then to Sanibel Captiva Road. John doesn’t really know where he’s at at this point and they drive through an area where the roads are windy.
” Crazy roads huh,” John says.
” Yes, I think it’s part of Ding Ding Darling.”
” J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge,” he says correcting her.
” Yep, I just call it Ding Ding. It rings a bell,” she replies.
“ I get it. I hear they have an animal hospital there. Here … they have people from all over the U.S. come here to help rehabilitate wildlife…..”
” I’ve never been there, I wouldn’t doubt it. I do want to go there sometime.”
” Yeah, I read about it in some brochure. That’s pretty cool.”
” Maybe we’ll take the kids there when they come,” she says keeping her eyes on the windy road.
” I thought we were going to take them to see the Light bulb Museum.”
” That’s in Ft. Meyers, I’m not sure I want to leave the cottage very often. We’ll see.”
” I’m alright with that. Hope they don’t get too bored.”
” Christine said they were going to bring that video game system with them.”
” The black one?”
” No, that other one with the paddles. The one we played at MaryAnn’s.”
” Oh yeah, they love that thing, huh?”
Su nods her head and pulls into a strip plaza like shopping center. John looks at Su with a confused look on his face.
Su looks back at him and says ” Hot sauce. I think this is the place, let’s see.”
” Oh yeah, hope they got some hot stuff.”
” Last time there was a lot to choose from. They have their own seasonings too. They are Florida and local based seasonings and sauces and a few other things,” Su says as it starts comes back to her.
” Cool, I mean … Smokin!… Hot!. Like you.”
Su smiles and they make their way up a wheel chair accessible ramp passing a younger couple on their way down the ramp.
” They seem happy,” John says.
” Yep, Sanibel does that to people. Does to me.”
” Me too. Specially when you are happy.”
” Here it is. “ Sand Castle Gifts and Gourmet.”
John opens the door and can smell the spices right away.
” Is that that smell? I was wondering what it was, I knew it smelled familiar,” she asks.
” Mostly Cumin, there’s some other smells going on too, kinda smells like a little curry going on, mixed with other spices, but mostly cumin I think.”
She waves to John, ” over here.”
John makes his way over to where Su is standing and looks at the shelves with a large variety of hot sauces ranging from mild to extremely hot.
” Hmm, no Trinidad.”
Su points out a few she thinks John might be interested in and is reading the ingredients on some of the bottles.
” I’m looking for something that’s local, there’s this gator sauce stuff, but it’s not real hot.”
” How can you tell?” she asks, looking through the sauces.
” Not by the color, although brown might be a good indicator.”
Su pulls a bottle from the shelf, ” how ’bout this one?”
John looks at the consistency of the sauce and reads the ingredients. ” No, this one only has cayenne. Real low on the scoville scale. It’s just above a Jalapeno. What we’re looking for is something way above a Habanero.”
” Jalapeno is plenty hot for me, how about this one, it has Habanero.”
John looks at it considering its potential heat and holds it while looking for something hotter.
He enjoys the heat, but it isn’t the only reason he eats it. He uses it for medicine too. Hot peppers contain capsaicin. Capsaicin is the active component that makes hot peppers “ hot “. He has read that it can help with bleeding hemorrhoids, trigger apoptosis in human lung cancer cells, kill prostate cancer and has topical uses such as pain relief ointments.
Su hands him another bottle, ” how about this?” John takes the bottle, looks at the consistency of the sauce and reads the ingredients. ” Bhut Jolokia! Yes, that’ll do … It’s not exactly the one I’m looking for, but definitely one of the hottest peppers in the world.”
” Oh good, I’m getting hungry.”
” It ain’t from here but it will do, yes siree. I’m gonna pick this one up too.” Grabbing a small whiskey shaped jar that has a label of Florida and an alligator on it, they make their way towards the cash register.
” Find what you were looking for?”
” One yeah, you wouldn’t have anything that’s from Sanibel, would you?”
The clerk looks on the computer. ” That one is from the area, just not from here on Sanibel. I don’t think they make it here.”
” Have anything with Trinidad Scorpion?”
” Let me look… No, nothing like that. That one you’re holding is the hottest we have at the moment.”
John looks at the bottles, ” Alright thanks. Hey, just so you know, the new hottest pepper in the world is the Butch T Trinidad. There’s another one but it hasn’t been made official yet. Connoisseurs would love it if you had it.”
” I’ll keep that in mind, thank you. Enjoy your stay,” the clerk says with a genuine smile.
” Thank you,” Su says.
” Thanks,” John says, grabbing the bag of sauces.
Exiting the store they make their way to the car and back onto the road. John looks at the hotter bottle of sauce. ” This is going to be good. Oh yeah!…I think you can handle the other one.”
” I might try some sometime…when I’m in the mood.”
” It’s good for you.”
” I know, but it’s hot,” she says paying attention to the road.
Crossing the bridge over to Captiva, Su drives slowly looking for The Bubble Room.
” I thought it was right around here somewhere,” she says looking down the roads.
” I don’t know, never drove here myself and can’t remember from the last time we were here.”
” Ok, keep an eye out for a three story building with multi-colored awnings and I remember a pink sign with bubbles on it.”
Looking around, they drive for a few more minutes looking down the side roads for any signs.
“ There it is! I don’t remember it being this far down, I thought it was just across that bridge we passed,” Su says, pulling into the shell drive and parking under a shaded area.
” This place is so cool,” John says.
” I love this place, they have great desserts, some people come here just for the desserts,” Su says.
” Hey remember that tree?”
” Yes, what about it?”
” You forgot? That’s the tree I backed into last time we were here. You told me MaryAnn hit it too, remember?”
” Not really,” Su replies.
” Yeah, you told me a weird story about how everyone seems to hit it the first time here or something. No?”
” I don’t remember that, but ok I believe you.”
John looks at the tree and sees the scars and little pieces of tail light plastic in it.
” Heheheh, look, I think a piece of our tail light is still there from the last time we were here.”
“ Come on let’s eat, I want to get back before the sun sets,” Su says.
” Alright, still kinda weird though,” he says, walking backward towards the door of the restaurant looking at the tree.
Making their way to the door of the carnival decorated walls of the restaurant, they look around at the murals, old peddle cars and decorations on the side of the building.
” Cool place,” John says, looking at all the decorations.
They enter the restaurant.
Copyright © 2013 by John Edward Petersen