In November of last year, TV's Grayson Kamm proposed to his longtime girlfriend Cathy Ambersley. It was a huge deal because he did it during the middle of Gator Growl in front of roughly 40,000 people. Grayson has been one of my best friends since my freshman year in college, and was in fact my roommate for three years. So, when he asked me if I would be a groomsman, I happily and readily agreed. Damien (whiterice) was also asked to be a groomsman, and so it was that we were committed to driving hundreds of miles to Pensacola for the wedding.
But Damien and I had a problem. We wanted to do something really special for Grayson to mark the occasion. Not something "special" like a collage of pictures of us together or anything heartwarming like that. Special like keying the word "Sucker" into the hood of his car. Or a collage of pictures of us railing his mom. He called me one Friday evening about three weeks before the wedding, and we dedicated ourselves to brainstorming for the perfect way to commemorate the occasion and remind Grayson that he was our bitch before he was Cathy's.
The problem was, nothing that we thought of was "over the top" enough while remaining unprosecutable. We wracked our brains for those weeks, discussing through AIM the various ideas that came to us. Unfortunately, the wedding weekend came too quickly, and we were forced to drive to Pensacola without a really knockout idea for a prank. Serendipity would just have to be our Muse.
We arrived in Pensacola on Friday afternoon, with barely enough time to find our hotel, check in, get our tuxes and show up at the rehearsal. So naturally, all that time was lost instead of being spent thinking up a prank. That, and about $100 for alcohol at the rehearsal dinner. After the rehearsal dinner, we went to an Irish pub called McGuire's. The places had $1 bills stapled all over the walls and ceiling. Grayson kissed a stained glass leprechaun's crotch, at the request of the singer (who apparently gets paid to butcher pop songs by rendering them with an Irish lilt), but no really good prank opportunities presented themselves. Despondent, we retired to our respective rooms for the night, each silently dedicating ourselves to finding a great idea before the wedding the next day.
We awoke on the morning of June 3rd with no clearer idea of what we would do, but still adamant that we had to do something. We decided that the best way to reinvigorate ourselves and get our creative juices flowing was to go bowling. Also, it was something to do and it was close to the hotel. So Carla, Damien, Beth and I trekked to the Cordova Mall to find some socks, because apparently some people (not me) don't pack at least one pair of socks with them when they travel. While we were wandering the mall, we stopped by the Hallmark store, where we shopped for wedding cards, because Damien and I are slackers. Damien resolved to get them a card, but I didn't find one that was really right for me. The resolution of the card/gift dilemma was chronicled in these two entries: Gift and Success.
After Damien's greeting card purchase, I received a call from Grayson. He asked if we wanted to meet him and some of the other guests for lunch at the beach. It torpedoed our bowling plans, but ultimately led to our perfect prank opportunity. At that very moment Serendipity smiled on us, in the form of a gourmet dog biscuit kiosk, situated about 10 yards from the Hallmark store. As we walked towards the food court, where we were supposed to meet Grayson and head out to the beach, Damien said, "Maybe we should get him a dog cookie." He said it in a way that was sort of rhetorical/hypothetical, but I abruptly turned around and began walking back the way we came. The plan was suddenly coming together. Everyone else turned to follow.
I approached the glass display case and the girl working the cash register asked, "May help you, sir?"
"Yes," I replied without looking up, "Which one of these do you think looks the most like a real cookie?"
Clearly not accustomed to that question, she bit her lip and said, "Ummm... I'm not sure."
Damien, Carla and Beth all offered opinions, and we settled on a circular cookie that looked like a flattened doughnut with chocolate frosting and thin white lines of icing on top. Damien suddenly asked the girl, "These are safe for people to eat, right?"
"I guess. Why?" the girl responded.
"Because our friend is getting married today and we want to do something special for him."
The girl's eyes widened, and she said, "Oh, no, I can't let you do that. What if he gets sick?"
"Then we'll tell him who to come back and sue," I joked. The dog cookie girl didn't get it, so I added, "Just kidding. Look, he's our good friend and we owe him a good prank. We won't let him eat much of it. Your bags don't say 'Gourmet Dog Cookie Company' on them, do they?"
"No," she answered, "they're plain white."
"Perfect," I said, "We'll definitely take it." We paid for the cookie, and I explained to the others the rest of what had come to me. We were going to pass the Great American Cookie Co. stand just before we got into the main food court area (see "Mallrats" for complete rules on classifying the cookie stand). We would buy a couple cookies and add his to the bag, so when we met up with him, we would offer him the dog cookie out of an appropriately branded bag. Already I was laughing pretty hard.
We walked towards the human cookie stand, bag in hand, and just as Damien approached the counter, Grayson came up and put his hand on his shoulder. "Ooh, aren't you going to get me a cookie?" he asked.
Fuck. I should have known he would have wandered further in, instead of waiting at the door, I thought. I was sure we were sunk. One perfect prank opportunity shot all to hell because Grayson is an impatient bastard.
But Damien, quick of wit after years of theatre and improv training, turned to him casually, handed the dog cookie bag to Carla and said, "Sure. Go over there and I'll surprise you." Grayson retreated further into the food court without comment.
Damien turned to the kid behind the counter and said, "I want two chocolate chip cookies, and do me a favor. Take this," he reached over and plucked the white bag out of Carla's hand and gave it to him, "and add it to the bag with the other two. But make sure to do it behind the counter."
The kid, clearly confused, did as he was told. With Grayson waiting nearby, it felt like it took forever for him to wrap the two cookies and add the third to the bag. And he did it while almost kneeling all the way to the floor. Great, that doesn't look suspicious at all, I thought. Apparently the kid couldn't understand that all he needed to do was make sure his hands stayed beneath the level of the counter. But he handed the bag, complete with "Great American Cookie Co." logo on the side, over to Damien, who paid for them.
We walked over to where Grayson sat, apparently without any idea of what was about to befall him. I hung back, because I knew I wasn't going to be able to maintain a straight face when he bit into it. Damien offered him one cookie, took another, and handed the bag back to Carla. He then began to walk towards the door. Grayson turned to follow, eyeing the cookie. Then, he bit into it. I only saw it from the behind and to the left of him, but I could see his jaw muscles work as he tried twice without success to break off a piece, and then finally succeeded on the third bite. Already I could feel my face getting hot, the corners of my mouth curving up into a smile. Damien turned just in time to see him begin chewing.
Suddenly, Grayson made an odd face, pulled the cookie away from his mouth, peered suspiciously at it, then looked from me to Damien and asked, "Is this a dog biscuit?"
That was it. The dam broke, and suddenly the four of us were all doubled over, laughing hysterically as Grayson began pawing at his mouth and spitting out pieces of the dog cookie. Tears flowed freely from our eyes. After about forty seconds of gut-churning laughter, I was finally able to get control of myself. I reached into my pocket and took out my inhaler, as Damien said to him, "Dude, you took three tries at it. That was awesome."
And then I was laughing again, as Grayson explained that he thought it might have been a ginger snap or something, just with really nasty-tasting frosting. This explanation didn't help.
After another minute or two, I was able to calm down. My cheeks and stomach hurt. Then, because we were obligated, Damien and I each bit off a small piece of the cookie to confirm that it was, in fact, horrible. I had to rinse my mouth out in the water fountain.
All in all, it was a perfect prank. With time running out, Damien and I dug down deep and came up in the clutch with a perfectly timed and executed trick that allowed us to tell everyone that Grayson eats dog biscuits, and we'd seen him do it. Nothing like a little humiliation on your wedding day.
It may not sound all that spectacular, but watching a grow man gnawing on a dog biscuit on his wedding day was pretty classic. Besides, I didn't hear you suggest anything better.
I'm afraid of what's going to happen to me when my time comes.
hey little fella, how are you doing today?: devious
soundtrack: New Found Glory - Truth Of My Youth