Thank goodness I watch enough of those true crime shows to know when someone is trying to murder me, else I’d probably be a goner. The perpetrator is a former co-worker named Mary. It was an incredibly brilliant plot now that I think about it. Genius, even.

I am sure if I look into things closely enough I will find a secret life-insurance policy she took out out on me citing her as the beneficiary. It is the oldest game in the book – make it look like the an accident, then collect on the death benefits.

Here is how the plot against me worked:

First she signed me up for a hot sauce of the month club. Seems innocent enough. I am a known hot sauce addict. So is my son and son-in-law. My son actually pours hot sauce on salads instead of salad dressing. My son-in-law buys so many bottles of hot sauce he gets an occasional thank you letter from the owners of hot sauce companies for putting their children through college.

They both turned out to be collateral damage.

So how does a hot sauce subscription add up to a murder attempt? Heat, that’s how.

What you may not know is hot sauces can kill you. The “heat” closes your throat and chokes you to death. Of course, we are not talking run-of-the-mill hot sauce heat. We are talking the equivalent of pepper-flavored lava.

Not far from where I live they actually grow weapon-grade peppers. Honest. The peppers are lethally hot. They keep them behind chain link fences with razor wire and security systems. I imagine the idea is to lob them at the enemy like grenades in hopes they will slice them up and put the on their pizza. There are even a few restaurants in my neck of the woods that require you to sign a waiver before you eat their hottest hot sauce, which always has names like “Suicide,” “Reaper” or “Nuclear” in them. The waiver basically says you will not hold the restaurant owner liable if you flop over and choke to death after being foolish enough to actually ingest the stuff.

The first package arrived on my porch with two innocent enough looking bottles. One sauce came from Louisiana. The other from South Texas. I poured some from the Louisiana bottle on a plate and drug a piece of baked chicken through it. It had a little heat and a lot of flavor. Not bad. I poured the Texas brand out on the plate. It was a muddy brown color. It was a bit watery. It looked innocent as can be. I drug the chicken through it and stuffed a chunk in my mouth.

There are still marks on our kitchen wall where the steam firing out of my ears blow torched paint off the walls. My tongue tried to physically separate itself from the rest of my body. I tried to locate some milk in our refrigerator, but we don’t really have milk drinkers in the house any more. I tried ice cubes. It helped, but not a lot.

I barely survived and here’s the stupid thing – I loved it. I psyched myself up and ate more.

“Good try, Mary,” I snickered as soon as I stopped crying.

It was about that time my son, Matt, came by the house to borrow and lose yet another one of my tools. The sight of him brought out the experimenter in me. I wanted to see if hot sauce tolerance was genetic.

“Try this and tell me what you think,” I said, pouring some of the Texas murder juice onto a plate.

He botched hot sauce 101 by not asking how hot it was. Instead, he smeared a big glob on his chicken and on his tongue it went.

“We are out of milk,” I told him as the chicken disappeared into his mouth.

With proper family counseling there is a better than average chance he will speak to me again one day. That is assuming he ever regains the power of speech.

My son-in-law, Stacey, swung by later that afternoon. I poured him some of the milder sauce.

“Pretty good,” he said.

I poured him the Texas sauce.

As a hot sauce veteran, he asked “Is it hot?”

“You’ve had worse” I said, not adding: “If you ever licked molten lead, that is.”

There were tears and runny nostrils. There was reddened skin. He coughed viciously. Words can not describe the faces he made. When he could form consonants again, he said a few phrases that gave every indications he had never licked molten lead.

He ate some more.

None of us can wait for next months delivery.

Of course, I can’t hog all the sauces to myself. I plan to share them with my friends and relatives, but first I have to get a few life insurance policies put together.