Disclaimer: Fifty chickens were harmed in the making of this story.L
ike the faded tattoo bearing your ex's name, summiting South Sister after a massive burrito or agreeing to attend Thanksgiving dinner at your weird uncle's house—some things that may seem like a great idea at the time can quickly give way to misery.
Eating 100 wings was the challenge three Source staffers set. It wouldn't garner any entries in the record books, but with no training in the hardcore lifestyle of competitive eating, it was a good place to start. No time limit was given, because who can really put a time on the endless consumption of meat? Plus, the team wanted to luxuriate in the profoundly American struggle of consuming more food than a single human being ever needs.
In the end, there laid the carcasses of 100 chicken soldiers, covered in Chicken Bonz's 14 signature sauces. Sales Rep. Ban Tat, Film Writer Jared Rasic and Assistant Editor Magdalena Bokowa looked at each other in frank disgust, obvious discomfort and... triumphant glory.
"F Vinegar," exclaimed Rasic. "After about two dozen wings, these sauces come in essentially two flavors. Vinegar based with variant degrees of heat, and sickly sweet like the inside of Willy Wonka's mouth. I don't think I can eat wings for at least... two days."
The others nodded in hazy, dead-eyed agreement.
They did little to prepare for this endeavor. Tat had been eating as normal, even competing in another wing challenge two days earlier, while Rasic and Bokowa had both fasted—albeit for only 16 hours. Their poorly designed formula for eating 100 wings was showing.
"The belt-notch has got to come down to the last hole, man. I can't suck this in anymore," grunted Tat, as he undid his belt buckle for what would be the third and final time.
"Merph....tahs was g.....od," was the only comment from Bokowa, whose half-slit eyes were glazed over in a food stupor. Her words sounded like some deep Southern swamp patois mostly made of grunts and strange clicking noises.M
eanwhile, the meat sweats had gotten to Rasic. Tear-like liquid pooled beneath his eyes, but curiously, not from them. "Hey, miss waitress-lady-person," he said in a deliriously elevated tone, while pointing at her with a half-eaten chicken bone. "What do you think this liquid is from under my eye?"
"Those are tears," she replied, while slowly backing away from him, careful not to turn her back.
It had been roughly 95 minutes since they had begun the challenge. The Sourcers had gone through two different waitstaff, four sets of families, eight pairs of disgusted eyes and... 100 wings—leaving them to feel like the only thing they had won was the untroubled sleep of the damned and possibly adult onset diabetes.
"You know, this challenge isn't SO bad," mused Tat. "I feel like I could eat MORE, but it's just the repetition I'm sick of. I'm tired of chewing. The sauces. The bones. ... "
"Correction, it's Bon-zzz," murmured Rasic, as the sound system launched into another Kenny Loggins hit. Chicken Bonz—the chosen wing spot on Bend's Century Drive— had a penchant for all the '80s chart toppers. Phil Collins, Cyndi Lauper, Survivor... you name it, the Sourcers had grooved to it while downing the wings.
As their challenge came to an anticlimactic end, there were no pats on the back or words of congratulation from the staff or onlookers. A strong sense of shame filled the team's guts. Why would no one show them approval for their Herculean feat of consumption? As they cleared the more than 24 red plastic baskets filling the table, a bout of nausea rocked Bokowa, who promptly hightailed it to the bathroom, the whirling of the fans doing little to drown out the audible retching sounds.
Rasic seemed ready to go at it again, and had a weird gleam in his eye like a starved animal that was intense, frightening and still hungry for the flesh of birds. Like a pterodactyl. He had also accidentally eaten the most wings, dutifully picking up the lag when Bokowa, floundering to calculate math, had said that two dozen— or what she thought was 18 wings— was her limit. She was wrong. They had all eaten at least 30 and had dutifully exceeded their expectations. And no one knows why, or how, it happened.
But they will do it again. Tat, Bokowa and Rasic looked at the massive mountain of chicken bones, not as a self-imposed and silly food challenge, but as the first steps up their own food-based Mount Everest. They were ready to take on every food challenge Central Oregon had to offer and the only thing that would stop them were their own personal limitations and possibly someone with the decency to tell them enough was most certainly enough.
143 SW Century Dr., Bend