Red Peppers and Wine

Gunn never used to put that stuff on his food. His mom and his sister and – he thought – his aunt used to love it. They'd shake that bottle over whatever food they'd served up that day, laughing that it wasn't good food unless it scalded your throat. They never made him feel bad for not wanting any, just passed the bottle past him and teased each other into using even more.

Sometimes he could tell they'd used too much, but that never stopped them from doing it again. Never stopped them from eating. Even his sister, little as she was and just a year or two out of eating toddlers' food, would shake drops of the red sauce onto her food until the approving eyes of her momma. Sometimes she'd grab for her glass right after, always forgetting that it was the bread, and not the drink that cooled the fire. But by the next meal, there she'd be, asking for the red sauce and pouring it on some more.

His mom used to say that living dangerously was all well and good, but that wasn't the same thing as putting spice into your life. Spice was better than dangerous, and a hell of a lot safer besides. He'd thought