The plea from the energy-drink company reads as follows: "We know that you have heard of SPIKE SHOOTER Energy Drink when it was so visible in the news several months ago, and you might have formed the impression that the drink has some health concerns and have chosen not to cover its meteoric rise here in Colorado."
Actually, I haven't heard of SPIKE SHOOTER Energy Drink, much less its newsworthy health concerns and meteoric rise, but the Colorado Springs-based company certainly has my attention now. The announcement went on to say how SPIKE is actually kicking ass in sales, that people are requesting it over Red Bull at 7-Eleven, because if you drink it you'll get hot chicks and automatically know how to surf and kill terrorists with your bare hands.
So I do a little research and find out that SPIKE is put out by Biotest, a bodybuilding-supplement company, and was banned at a Springs high school after several kids who drank it ended up in the hospital with symptoms that included nausea, shortness of breath and heart palpitations. Plus, apparently one kid drank six cans and his head exploded. Dude, for the reals; totally heard it from Jenna, who heard it from Katie, who was dating the brother of the guy whose head exploded!
But that was all the kids' fault, according to Biotest, because those kids had ignored SPIKE's warning that the drink was "not to be consumed by anyone under 16," and even those of age were not to drink more than one can a day or on an empty stomach.
I decide to do a little more research. My initial plan is to find a kid under sixteen and force-feed him SPIKE to see what happens. But then I realize I don't know anyone under sixteen, and none of my chickenshit co-workers are willing to volunteer their children for my efforts -- which leads me to believe that science is truly dead. So my boss suggests I just ingest the crack myself and write about that. I agree. Not because this is something I want to do, but because I am grossly, grossly underpaid for my work around here, and I figure if shit goes south, my lawyer father and sister can take down Westword for all it's worth. Then I'll finally have enough money to pursue my dream of becoming a down-on-my-luck father in San Francisco with a black kid and a baby's mama who just can't understand my dream of becoming a stockbroker and leaves the picture, but I'm gonna make this work somehow, because I gots to raise this boy of mine up right. He's my seed, son, my seed... What's that? That already happened in The Pursuit of Happyness?
Well, at least I'll have enough money to bang teenagers and get away with it.
This shit is sweet like nectar, but not in a good way. Checking the back of the can for instructions on recommended use, I read, posted in scary red letters: "Begin use with one half-can daily to determine tolerance. Never exceed one can daily." But I ignore this warning -- just as I do the don't-try-this-on-an-empty-stomach alert -- and start sucking back. A while ago, I wrote a story on Dan "The Man" Mayer, who began reviewing energy drinks as a hobby and has since grown into one of the world's foremost experts ("Pour It On," August 3, 2006). I look at the review of SPIKE on his site, www.bandddesigns.com/energy, where Dan gives it a score of zero and writes, "These drinks scare me, they aren't just a bunch of sugar and caffeine which can give you quite a buzz, no these drinks contain powerful diet chemicals.... These drinks mix the world of energy drinks with the world of diet drugs, both of which speed up your metabolism, but when combined can really push it past many peoples comfort levels, and possibly safety levels. I wanted to puke, pass out, and run a marathon all at the same time." Dan concludes that drinks like SPIKE are not energy drinks, "they are legal DRUGS in a can." But I'm now three-fourths of the way through my first SPIKE, and what Dan is saying is, like, a total downer. I'm getting fucking SPIKED, and I'm psyched! Ha, ha, spiked, psyched. They rhyme! Whatever, though, who cares? I'm going to check MySpace and see who wrote me! Nobody? Oh, well, fuck it! I feel like running a little bit, anyone else feel like running? Okay, solo jog, that's cool, that's cool; I'm going to go sprint down the alley! Man, the back of my throat is parched. That's weird. No time to think about that, though! Gotta keep on the move!
Still First Can
Sweet Jesus, this shit is strong. I can hardly type. No joke, I just lifted my hands from the keyboard and they were shaking. Shaking! I've been pacing around the office, and I'm beginning to sweat and my head hurts. I found a tricycle and started riding it, and some of the people in the back of the office looked at me weird, but I was moving too fast to dwell on them. I'm SPIKED, man, and I haven't even finished one can! I've got to get up and walk around.
Finished First Can, Opened Second, Mother of All That Is Holy, This Cannot Continue
Walking outside, the world seems alternately optimistic and bleak. Construction workers lunching on the corner look defeated. Kids at the daycare center soar like clouds. A woman's glove with two fingers cut off is sinister. Arby's Mozzarella Sticks sound delicious. Or disgusting, can't say for sure. I pass a waiter taking a break outside a restaurant; he's sipping a Red Bull, and it looks like water to me, it's so weak compared to SPIKE. It's like that guy's smoking a joint and I'm sniffing meth from tile cracks beneath a truck-stop urinal. Dan the Man was right about this stuff: The chemicals jam-packed in here are just not good for you. Or at least not for me. I feel completely cracked out. Everyone who sees me can tell I'm a little off and avoids me. I'm sure my walking pattern is erratic. My sweating has continued, and my pit stains are huge. Seriously, fat-guy huge. It's embarrassing. My heart does not really hurt yet, but it's sending me this ominous signal, like, "You really want to keep this up, big guy? Because I'm going to be forced to respond drastically." I've no choice in the matter. I'm calling an audible and pouring out the rest of this second can, potential lawsuit against Westword be damned.
I think I'm going to puke.
Several hours after my experiment, I seem to have returned to normal. I go home and eat something, take a shower, get into it with my roommates over their moronic behavior last night which I just sooooo don't want to talk about right now, and then the apparatus that is Cayton-Holland is all systems go -- except for proper heart function, of course.
All in all, outside of the magnet that I shoved up my nose when I was three and my parents only noticed a few days later when it started to stink, I would say SPIKE is the worst thing I've ever put in my body. And I've done a shit-ton of intravenous drugs. But in a way, I'm glad I tried SPIKE. Otherwise, I would never have known how awful it is and wouldn't be able to warn you to never drink it. Ever.
Shame I didn't cover its meteoric rise, though.
To see a slide show, click here.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Westword's biggest stories.