The Gentleman and I were in CVS, waiting for our digital photos to be processed. We needed two of the standard-issue passport photos to obtain our international driving permits so that we can rent a car in Amman. It was a Saturday, and we'd just come from brunch where, naturally, there were...ahem...beverages consumed.
In that effortlessly-charming-and-endlessly-annoying way, he casually crumpled up the receipt for the photos and leaned forward, slyly stuffing the trash into my sweatshirt pocket. And thought himself a genius, no doubt, for not only depositing of this detritus but also now complicating my life. All while smiling so dazzlingly at me. What a nice thing to do.
I decided that throughout this day of running errands and completing chores, what might liven things up a bit is if I declared this receipt the thing that would ultimately send The Gentleman over the edge of sanity. And so I just smiled, removed the crumpled ball of paper from my pocket, and slipped it into the pocket of my jeans, unbeknownst to him.
A few minutes later, I made a very touching gesture of slipping my arm around his shoulders, my hand dangling right next to his ear. And I began squeezing and crumpling the receipt at a rapid pace. Which isn't, naturally, anything heart-stopping. Unless you're not expecting it. The grotesque facial expression that snapped out of his features was so satisfying, I was instantly both pleased and proud of myself for thinking of this game.
Later, we were in the car, heading to Triple A to pick up the licenses. I leaned over as if to whisper a secret and crumpled the receipt next to his ear, making sure to brush the paper just inside the ear so as to elicit the maximum response.
"WHAT IS THAT?!"
"IT'S NOT NOTHING WHAT IS THAT?!"
"Don't worry about it."
I did it again, and again, and again. Always when he had his guard down, when he was looking away. Over the course of the afternoon, the receipt lost its crinkly-ness and became worn. Instead of snapping and crackling in his ear, it began to whisper the sweet hush of demonic, tortured gargoyles crying up from the gates of hell. Each time, his face contorted a little further until I began to gleefully imagine it getting stuck that way.
Serve him right for putting trash in my pocket.
He cracked that night. After the millionth time of me crumpling the receipt in very close proximity to his ear, he turned on me, and I spied the green rubber band that had been residing on his wrist had now migrated to the cocked and loaded position between thumb and forefinger. The very stance that boys used to torture me in years past: the rubber band finger gun.
Paper might cover rock, but it's powerless against scissors and completely useless against the rubber band finger gun. That is the end-all to all annoying behavior conversations; the trump card of mischievous activity. One cannot compete.
Game over, I sadly tossed the now-shredded receipt into the trash and declared my surrender against the rubber band finger gun. I will admit when I'm beat.
However, I've been to Whole Foods twice since that day, and have started stockpiling those green rubber bands.
Because the only thing that beats the rubber band finger gun is dual draws on both hands.