The Boy Who Cried SPIKE

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.


Some people just don’t listen. A few weeks ago, I wrote about a combustible little energy drink that goes by the name of SPIKE. In that column, I pointed out how kids have been going to the hospital for drinking too much SPIKE, and I then proceeded to drink the product in excess to prove a point: I’m a fucking jackass. Ignoring the “only drink half a can” warning, as well as the warning not to imbibe on an empty stomach, I sucked back two cans of the crack – put out by a Colorado Springs bodybuilding-supplement company called Biotest - and wrote about what happened. And what did happen? I felt awful. It was the single-most tweaked-out experience of my life, and something that I never want to repeat. Any beverage that makes your heart sore just ain’t good for you. It was Gandhi who said that. I concluded the column by warning readers not to drink the stuff.


But just like I’m a fucking jackass, so, too, is my loyal following. Last week I got a letter from a 23-year-old fella who goes by the name of Jay. After Jay read my column for “whatever stupid man reason,” as he puts it, he decided to do his own experiments with SPIKE.

The first time he experimented, Jay drank two cans and went to work and survived. “I felt pretty buzzed,” he says. “But otherwise I was good to go.”

So a couple of days later, Jay bought a four-pack of SPIKE and took down three of them little suckers, one at 9:30 a.m., one at 11:30 a.m. and one at around 1:30 p.m. At 2 p.m., when Jay was heading home from work, he noticed that his heart was racing. When he got home, he complained of his symptoms to his girlfriend. They took his pulse and determined it to be 150. One hundred and fucking fifty! The normal pulse for somebody Jay’s age is 72 -- as in your heart beats 72 times in one minute -- but Jay’s heart was beating more than twice that fast because he had sucked backed three cans of the devil’s bile. He tried to calm down by laying in a cool bathtub of water, but then he and his girlfriend noticed that they could see Jay’s heart beating – THROUGH HIS FUCKING CHEST - and they decided it was time for a little medical help.

They went to an immediate care facility where Jay was given a Valium and hooked up to an EKG machine until he chilled out. The doctor told him that a kid had come in two days before complaining of similar symptoms. The doctor had asked that kid if he’d ingested anything out of the ordinary recently. The kid had: two cans of SPIKE.

Jay returned to work the next day, all better and presumably not too worse for the wear, but he still had one can of SPIKE left from his four- pack. So he offered the remaining can to a buddy of his, a Mexican cook who barely speaks any English and works in the kitchen of the restaurant where Jay works. Jay always saw the guy drinking Red Bull through his shift, so he figured why not spread the joy and magic of SPIKE around. Homeboy in the kitchen didn’t experience any medical problems from the beverage, but he definitely wasn’t a fan. The next morning, the guy greeted Jay while drinking a Red Bull. He smiled at Jay, then wagged a disapproving finger.

“No SPIKE,” he said.

Shit, Jay. I thought I told you that three weeks ago.

--Adam Cayton-Holland

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.