It was 11pm in Nevada, September 21st, 2019. Luckily, my truck broke down right outside a tiny diner with the faint glow of a red neon sign that flickered “The Beach Hut”. It was a Hawaiian-themed burger joint in the middle of the desert. The Hawaiian-plate breakfast was their special dish.
I ordered a cheeseburger and nibbled on the fries, dipping them in Sriracha. At least I remembered my Sriracha2Go Keychain.
In the corner of the diner, I heard a gravelly voice.
“Stranded?” he questioned as he emerged through the shadows.
Stunned, I turned behind me. I thought I was the only customer here.
He sipped Coca-Cola out of his Huy Fong Sriracha Mug.
“The name’s Officer Andy Lien,” he said as he stretched out his hand. His uniform was dirty, like he just got out of a fight with someone. I glanced at his police badge “Andy Lien”. I kept staring at the name.
“It’s almost closing time, Mister,” the waitress said as she whisked away my plate.
I refused to shake the officer’s hand.
His aviator glasses shown my reflection back at me.
“Where exactly am I?”
“A diner. Nevada. And hey, don’t you Millennials have like GPS, ESP, EIEIO and all that crap? Where’s your phone? It’s 2019. How could you be lost? And what's your name?”
“I'm Alex. I really don’t want to talk about it, but since you asked... I decided to travel across the country, you know for the adventure. First stop, Raiding Area 51, for the kicks, but I missed it because of massive traffic jams. And final destination, Huy Fong Foods Factory Tour in Cali. But my truck suddenly stopped working about an hour ago and my phone was stolen at the gas station 25 miles back. GPS on my cell stopped working anyway. And now I’m here.”
“Damn,” he laughed as he sat down across from me in the booth.
“If you excuse me, I’m going to use that diner phone over there to call someone,”
“Can’t,” he said.
“Cell service is horrible out here and land lines suck.”
I tried anyway. The line was dead.
“Well, you’re a police officer, Officer Andy Lien, so instead of being entertained at my bad luck, let me borrow your cell phone and try anyway?”
“And why not?”
The waitress who was cleaning several tables shook her head and disappeared back into the kitchen to talk with Hank, the chef.
“Hank!?” the waitress yelled.
“We’re out of Sriracha Packets again!!”
“Damn it, Judy,” Hank mumbled in the kitchen. “They always get their meals to go…I’ll order more tomorrow…”
Officer Andy Lien looked at me.
“Because, again, there’s no cell service out here in the middle of nowhere. I know you can’t see it right now, but look outside. What do you see?”
“Nothing. It’s pitch black out, genius…”
“Well, that’s Area 51.” He tapped the window’s glass with a spoon.
“The Area 51?”
He sipped his Coke.
“Did you hear about…”
“Raiding Area 51? Alienstock? Yes, what do I look like? Like I live under a rock? They tried storming Area 51 yesterday. That whole “Let’s See Them Aliens” internet thing that went viral? Should have stayed just a joke. Lots of arrests. And they’re pissed…it’s a federal offense.”
I nodded my head in agreement.
He paused, as if calculating the answer very slowly, “…The Damn Government, that’s who!”
Lights started turning off.
“Hey look, kid. The diner’s about to close and there’s no hotel for miles, but you can stick with me tonight. I’m a night shift guard.”
“Where do you work?”
He pointed into the darkness.
I slammed the door to the police cruiser and looked up.
Area 51. Giant silver doors greeted me. A giant sign with a light read, “Authorized Personnel Only, Under Penalty of Law. Photography Prohibited.”
“You work at Area 51?”
“Shut up, kid.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a tiny red glowing square attached to a chain.
“Wear this AT. ALL. TIMES. Understand?”
“What is it?”
He rolled his eyes. “It’s a…de-vaporizor.”
Officer Lien pressed a button on the door and scanned his card.
A computerized voice could be heard through the wall, “Authorized access accepted…Authorized Personnel approved…”
Giant silver doors opened up, revealing an elevator.
“A de-vaporizor?” I asked placing it on my neck.
“It’s an authorized keycard, Einstein!” he laughed.
He got up in my face and smelled like tobacco, whiskey, burgers, and Sriracha. He grabbed the keycard and whispered, “This keycard is our only authorized way in…and from what I’ve been told, maybe our only way out.”
He laughed as we stepped into the elevator and I honestly couldn’t tell if we were going up, down, left, right, or stationary.
“Welcome to Area 51, kid,” Officer Andy Lien said as the rusty elevator doors opened.
Hundreds of workers were scurrying about. We were above them and they were below us by a good 50 feet.
People dressed in white lab coats and military uniforms. A giant aircraft, a sleek looking UFO with windows glowing blue, was hovering in the middle of the room.
It was very bright and very clean. There were many glass rooms and you could see inside each one.
Officer Lien saw me watching the busyness below.
“Scientists and military. They don’t bite,” he chuckled, and stepped out of the elevator.
In one of the glass rooms, titled “Testing”, the scientists zapped something with a laser and its guts oozed out neon green.
I squinted at Officer Lien with a hint of distrust.
He briskly walked down a hallway. I quickly followed.
“Where are we going?”
He stopped at a door at the end of the hallway and pressed a red button.
“I got re-assigned this unit, last week…”
“No! This is one of the hardest units…But I’m sure they’ll like you…Just keep telling yourself that…”
He opened the door to literally hundreds of aliens. The Sriracha-lings were gray aliens with black eyes and stood about 4 feet tall. Their world was a replica of “The Beach Hut” diner I attended outside of Area 51.
The Aliens sat at tables full of burgers, fries, and Hawaiian style breakfasts. They were hungry, but they refused to eat their food, as if they were waiting for something or someone.
“These are the Sriracha-lings,” Officer Andy Lien said.
“Yes, the newest form of Alien-Sriracha hybrids from the hottest planet in the galaxy, Planet Spicy…”
“Hybrid Sriracha Aliens?” I blinked in disbelief.
So Area 51 really did have secrets...and aliens. It was true.
“Yes, it was more of an accident. They will do anything, and I mean anything to get their hands on Sriracha. Last week I made the mistake of telling them about superior Huy Fong Sriracha…”
Officer Andy Lien shouted to the aliens in the room, “Hey! We got him!”
Suddenly, the Sriracha-lings used their alien powers to suspend me in mid-air. My Huy Fong Approved Sriracha Hat fell off my head and onto the ground.
One of the aliens snatched it and swallowed it greedily. The alien spit it back out immediately.
“That’s….a hat,” I sighed and shook my head.
“Our Alien Sriracha that we make here….tastes like caca,” the one Sriracha-ling said.
“Yes, and we heard about this Legendary Sriracha…Huy Fong Sriracha…and we absolutely must try it,” another Sriracha-ling said.
"You speak really good English for an alien," I said, impressed.
"We know 15.789 million languages, Earthling. Plus remember, we're an alien-human hybrid," the Sriracha-ling replied.
“This was a set up!” I yelled at Officer Andy Lien.
I kept thinking of the name and whispering it silently…Andy Lien…Andy Lien. Andy….A. Lien…ALIEN!
“Are you…an Alien?!”
Officer Andy Lien looked up at me, still suspended in air.
“I…was the human they tested to make the Alien-Sriracha hybrids. The scientists wanted to use me for testing because I love Sriracha so much it runs through my veins. I guess I’m half human, half Sriracha-ling now since my DNA’s been fused. Give them the Sriracha2Go Keychain so they can try Huy Fong Sriracha and we promise that we won’t hurt you or Planet Earth.”
Officer Andy Lien shook his head, “That’s just it kid, ordering online would just create more conspiracy and suspicion from the general public. Everything we do here is a secret. When I saw you in that diner with your Sriracha2Go Keychain, I knew we had The One. Now, give us the keychain or we’ll force the entire earth to eat Generic Sriracha.”
Hundreds of Sriracha-lings gasped in horror. I gasped in horror, too. This cannot be!
“Nooooo! Not! Generic!” I screamed, dramatically.
I knew I had to do it: for the sake of humanity and Huy Fong Sriracha lovers everywhere. I had to make a sacrifice and give up my Sriracha2Go Keychain.
“Okay,” I said. “I’ll let you try Huy Fong Sriracha. It'll be a peace offering, so we can be friends and you won't force the entire Earth to eat crappy Generic Sriracha. Promise?”
"Only if the Huy Fong Sriracha is the best on the Planet," the Sriracha-lings said.
They slowly lowered me to the ground.
I unclipped my Sriracha2Go Keychain from my backpack and held it high.
“Ooooh! The KEYCHAIN!” The aliens said collectively in admiration.
All eyes were on me.
“Wait! Take pics of this historic event!” Officer Andy Lien yelled tossing me his phone.
“I thought photography was prohibited?” I asked.
“Nah, that’s just how we mess with people. It gets boring out here in the desert. If you don’t take a few pics, I guarantee no one will believe you,” he laughed.
I approached one of the gray aliens and symbolically bestowed to him the keychain. He opened it up, drizzled some Sriracha on his burger and fries. The room was silent as he tasted the Huy Fong Sriracha for the very first time. He next tried it on the Hawaiian plate breakfast.
I snapped a few photos.
“Huy Fong Sriracha….excellent! Finest on Earth! No wait, the galaxy! We shall make friends with the humans ONLY if you send us more Huy Fong Sriracha!” the Sriracha-ling declared.
"Yes, deal! I’ll bring you Huy Fong Sriracha every week if you want and it’ll be our little secret. Huy Fong Sriracha and Sriracha2Go keychains for every Sriracha-ling Alien!!” I said, befriending the aliens.
The Sriracha-lings and Officer Andy Lien cheered.
And that’s the story of how I saved humanity from being forced from eating a crappy Generic Brand of Sriracha. And literally saved the Earth. And now I can visit the Sriracha-lings at Area 51 whenever I want….as long as I bring them tons of Huy Fong Sriracha.
Leap Day (Feb. 29th) only comes once every 4 years, basically. To celebrate, check out this list of 29 signs that validate your Sriracha obsession. How many are true for you?
"If you like Sriracha, then you will love these cookies! Chewy and chocolatey with a hint of chili heat." ~Steve Cylka, Recipe Developer~