The Onion

By Katiedid Langrock

April 11, 2017 5 min read

"Katiedid will drink it."

"Oh, will I?" I asked. My high-school friends meet once a year in a new locale. It gives us an excuse to take a cheap vacation and see one another. This year, we went to Las Vegas. "That's funny, because I don't remember saying I wanted to vomit today."

We had ordered the sampler platter at the Coca-Cola store and had mixed all the disgusting Coke drinks from around the world into one menacing cup.

"The Katiedid I used to know wouldn't even hesitate to take on a dare," my friend taunted.

Game on.

My high-school group of friends was compiled of good girls. We didn't drink. We barely dated. To pass the time, we played truth or dare. Well, really dare or dare. And I was never one to turn down a dare.

The day of my Homecoming dance, my friends dared me to eat a whole onion like an apple. I know what you're thinking: "Please, tell me that you did not take on this most daring-dare-of-dares."

The stinging tears streaming down my face were completely worth the $5 I earned by conquering such a fantastical feat. The only thing left to prove such an onion ever existed was my gnarly, fabulous breath. That's the smell of pride, ladies and gentlemen. Pure pride.

Before the dance, I brushed my teeth six times. I drank so much Listerine that I was a little loaded. Move over, spiked punch bowl; I had tartar control getting me high.

At dances, I usually wall-flowered it, standing off to the side with my friends, gossiping about the kids in my class. But this Homecoming, my crush, Jackson, asked me to dance.

So dance I did.

I danced with reckless abandon. My sweaty hair was plastered across my face.

Jackson and I only slowed down our dancing nuptials when we ... sorta ... got an odd ... whiff ... of something coming from the gym's dance floor. What is that?!

Strangely enough, the more I danced the stronger that smell became. Until (SNIFF) until (SNIFF) oh, man, that smell is coming from me!

I looked at the "father of my future children" and gave him a weak smile, trying to mask my horror.

I stood there, looking for a way out as the raw onion seeped out of my skin, through my pores, across my forehead, down my chest and under my armpits. Lines of pungent onion sweat were everywhere.

I tried to blame the smell on something else. Anything else. But the look on Jackson's face said everything. He knew the funk came from yours truly.

My onion challenge had ruined any chance I ever had with Jackson, but it also gave my friends years of laughter recounting that night. And here they were again, 10 years later, with a disgusting dare sitting in front of me.

They offered me $5. I wavered. They raised it to $10.

I could guess what would follow if I took the dare: a rank taste in my mouth, possibly vomiting or a stomachache that'd cramp up when we were out dancing.

Strangers at the table next to ours caught on to the drink dare. Impressed anyone would consider drinking something so foul, they added another $10 into the pot. So $20 to drink something that smelled like rotten carcasses.

"I just don't want to be sick for our rare weekend together" I said.

"We understand. Everyone changes," said my friend Emily. Ouch. That hurt.

I looked down at that brown drink. Then I looked at my smiling friends. I couldn't be positive this drink would give me a stomachache or make me vomit. After all, people around the world paid money to drink Coke products. I couldn't be sure my breath would stink or that my head would ache or that I would get the sweats. But what I could be sure of was years' worth of stories and laughter that would come from this final dare. That was a definite.

I pocketed the $20.

I chugged the rancid beverage as my friends and a table of strangers cheered.

I used the $20 to buy Tums.

Totally worth it.

Katiedid Langrock's weekly column can be found at creators.com.

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