When I first heard about the KFC Double Down I thought it was a joke. A friend of mine showed me a description of it online and it looked like an obese shut-in's wet dream. I thought it was just a funny internet thing because there's no way, in today's weight conscious world, where every other story on the news is a piece about obesity that shows random, fat asses walking down the street, that a "restaurant" would have the audacity to market a sandwich with fried chicken as the bread. I laughed at it, then went about my day.
Then, a few days later I saw the commercial on TV and it blew my mind. The commercial consisted of men standing there with the meat monstrosity in their hands saying that finally, they have a sandwich that will quench their manly hunger. At least I believe that's what the commercial was. What I actually saw was Colonel Sanders standing in front of a Confederate flag, dangling the "sandwich" in front of America and smiling the mischievous smile of the gluttony demon. He looked out at the country and said, "Come on, you fatasses. You won't. You don't have the balls!" I stood up, looked right at the Colonel's lecherous smile, hoisted my balls up, one in each hand, and yelled "YES! I! WILL!" Needless to say, my coworkers were shocked by my outburst. I told them it wasn't a good idea to have a TV in the office.
The Double Down sat in the center of the tray, grease still sizzling and popping on its surface. I could feel everyone in KFC watching me, holding their breath.The next week was an intense, hardcore training montage worthy of any Rocky movie. Except Rocky V. That movie was just awful. With the help of my brother Greg, a man who loves greasy food almost as much as he loves his own son, I whipped my body into the worst shape it's ever been. Fast food and fried chicken at every meal. If it didn't have bacon on it we put bacon on it. If it did have bacon on it we put MORE bacon on it. Fruits and vegetables were the enemy. If there wasn't grease visibly dripping from it then it wasn't worthy of touching my lips. I was on a mission. This was my calling. This was my purpose. This was why God put me on this planet and I would be damned if the Double Down was going to defeat me. Finally, on Friday night, I ate an entire bucket of KFC Original Recipe by myself while Greg continually wiped the greasy sweat from my brow. I did it in 4 minutes 13 seconds. I was ready.
3:00pm the next day. I stood in front of my neighborhood KFC, fists planted firmly on my hips, cape billowing softly in the wind. Yes, I was wearing a cape. Greg stood behind me with a boom box playing "You're the Best Around" from the Karate Kid soundtrack on loop. I looked up at the Colonel, smiling down at me from the sign on the roof. I stared that bastard down for a full three minutes, not once averting my gaze from his beady little eyes and, I swear to you, he blinked first.
I walked in and headed right for the counter, passing all the people waiting to order. They yelled and cursed at me to "get the fuck to the back of the line." I ignored them. I stepped up to the register, pushed a 65-year-old woman out of the way, grabbed the cashier by the shirt, and said, "Give me a Double Down." The crowd fell silent. The cashier, trembling slightly, said "Grilled or Original Recipe?" With my ring hand I slapped him across the face. "Do I look like I came here for grilled chicken?" I said. "Fry it." I released his shirt and he stumbled back into the kitchen.
As I turned and walked to a table I caught bits of the whispered conversations of people watching me in awe. "Double Down…" "Crazy…." "Suicide…." I sat down and tried to focus on the task at hand. Greg massaged my shoulder and uttered words of encouragement while Joe Esposito kept telling me how I was the best around. Nothing's ever gonna take me down. After a few minutes the cashier set a tray down in front of me. The Double Down sat in the center of the tray, grease still sizzling and popping on its surface. I picked it up and held in front of my face. I could feel everyone in KFC watching me, holding their breath. "Bring it on," I whispered, and took the first bite.
A sandwich so cocky it's in love with its own reflection.
I'll be honest with you. It actually tasted pretty good. The chicken was tender and juicy. The bacon was crisp. And the sauce added just the right amount of kick. Everyone leaned in to see my first response. I nodded my head and let out a moan of approval. The crowd, as one, let out the collective breath it had been holding for what seemed like hours. I took a second bite and the grease sweat burst from my forehead. Greg, towel ready, started dabbing around my glistening face.
On the third bite, disaster struck. I slumped in my chair as I felt a sudden pain in my chest. It was hard to breathe. My peripheral vision became fuzzy. Having established a safe word with Greg in the event that my heart stopped during this battle, I gasped "corn muffins" and he punched me as hard as he could in the chest. I felt my heart begin pumping again. I took a deep breath and my vision shot back to clarity. I sat back up in the chair. Rage swelled within my soul. The Double Down had tried to kill me. Now it was personal. I took another bite. The crowed cheered.
With two bites left, it was time to bring forth my coupe de grâce. Tucked into my belt and hidden under my cape was a bottle of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing. I pulled it out. Somewhere in the back of the crowd a woman screamed. I poured the dressing onto the tray and dipped the Double Down. Stupid? Maybe. Dangerous? Definitely. Unnecessary? I think not. I was there to prove a God damned point!
Meat fatigue was setting in. I had to act quickly. I stuffed the rest of the beast into my mouth and began to chew. As the chicken, bacon, and ranch swirled in my mouth, my life flashed before my eyes. I looked back on my many accomplishments, the college scholarships, the sports trophies, the professional successes, and I knew this was the greatest moment of my life. I swallowed the last bit of the Double Down and stood. The crowed broke into uproarious applause. People grabbed my hand to shake it. Children reached out to touch my legs. Grown men cried openly in each other's arms.
From somewhere a hand slapped me hard on the back and I vurped in my mouth. Greg, sensing I was in danger, ducked under my arm and gave me support as I hobbled out the door. He took me around the side of the building where no one could see us and told me I could spit it out. I shook my head, refusing to give the Colonel this victory. He looked at me with intense love and simply said, "Go." With the greatest effort I've ever mustered in my life, I swallowed that last bit of regurgitated sin. It slid down my gullet and finally came to rest in my stomach.
My entire torso rumbled, wanting to force this monstrosity back out of my body. Through sheer force of will I held it down until the tremors ended. I looked in my brother's face and saw tears welling in his eyes. We never have and never will be closer than we were in that moment. He helped me down the street. At the corner I stopped and turned back to the KFC. With nothing but pride and accomplishment in my heart I lifted my middle finger to the Colonel.
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