Editor-at-large Alexi Duggins is at your mercy. So you made him stuff his face, pre-Lent style
In a refined City restaurant, glossy haired women delicately clink glasses. The room bubbles with soft conversation. Silent waiters gently lower entrées on to placemats. It is genteel. It is sophisticated. It is elegance itself.
Except for the two dickbags in the corner. ‘FUUUUUCKKK!!!! OHHHH FUUUCKIIINNGG FUCCCCKKK! I’LL NEVER FINISH THAT!’
This is not going well. They told me that all I needed to do was to eat ten pancakes. In an hour. The reward: a free champers breakfast for two (at a later date). Sounded like a piece of piss.
But when I turn up with my eating partner, they bring out a foot-high stack. Cream seeps from every layer. It glistens like someone’s crashed a maple syrup tanker into it. A waiter points out that it contains two days’ worth of calories (4,170, fact fans). He starts timing. But there’s one more problem.
‘Wait!’ squeals my companion as I roll up my sleeves. ‘You’re not going to use your hands, are you?’
‘I most certainly am.’
‘Please don’t! This is an expensive restaurant.’
‘But cutlery will slow me down!’
‘I’m begging you!’
‘What are you trying to do here? handicap me?
‘You’re a penis.’
I’m also a forking slowcoach. Nonetheless, at first it’s wonderful. The pancakes are sweet, buttery and delicious. And me? I’m on top form, speed-scoffing my way through the food with ease. The table’s bathed in a shower of crumbs. Skittering blueberries are lanced by my fork. Whole layers of the stack vanish. I’m carrying out pancake-ocide.
But, ten minutes in, I’ve gone a bit weird. I keep thinking about how many eggs I’m eating. I have to pause to rinse my mouth after every forkful. I’m now storing the food in my cheek and chewing it in tiny bits to facilitate minimal tasting time. I hang my head, cheeks bulging.
‘You look like a vomiting Womble!’ cackles my eating buddy.
By 20 minutes, I’m starting to lose it. My stack of pancakes just seems to have stopped shrinking. The only way I can carry on is by covering my eyes. But inside me, something’s snapped. Deep in my heart, I know I’m gonna fail. I’m gonna fail, and my tummy’s gonna fire my meal out of my nostrils like some kind of doublebarrelled snotgun.
‘Don’t give up! You’re nearly there!’ cheers my eating companion. I can’t. I’ll never do it.
‘You’re so close!’ He’s lying.
‘Oh my God! You’re gonna make it!’
Empty words. Pointless encouragement. I’m gonna fail.
‘That’s it! You’ve finished!’
I look up and… I’ve only bloody done it! In 33 minutes! Astonished waiters scurry over to clap me on the back. Other diners beam at me. I’m a hero!
I’m a champion! I’m… suddenly aware of my stomach making a noise like a kid blowing bubbles into a milkshake. I’ve done it again: I’ve gone out somewhere nice for dinner and got battered.
Read more of Alexi’s adventures here.