My relationship with Bob the Trout (who, it must be noted for the purposes of this rant, is female) is best described as a never-ending mental boxing match. Not in a chess sense, where we're constantly looking for openings and maneuvering into favorable positions. No, we're engaged in a constant 15th-round slobberknocker, trying to inflict as much mental pain on each other as possible for reasons that have long been forgotten. This isn't to say we hate each other. Quite the opposite. We just like tormenting each other. Because of this, I was naturally suspicious when I walked into the Anime Expo cosplay office to say hi and was immediately greeted with a cackle and an offer of chocolate.
It's not that Bob the Trout is a bad cook - far from it, she tends to cook giant batches of cookies for Christmas as a catch-all present for friends and hey are delicious. However, the last time she offered me food, it was just after she'd watched some Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni, and she cackled as she offered me onigiri. I'm a horror wuss, so I've never seen Higurashi (or its followup, Umineko), but I'm pretty sure that when Hodge Podge shouts "Oh God no!" in warning, it's a bad thing.
When I declined the offer of free chocolate, I found out what the cackling was for - they were props made from sculpey that were never meant for human consumption. The girls in the cosplay office left them out in a cup in the hope that people would try one, but they hadn't had any luck. But the press being the press and free stuff being free, I took the cup full of fake chocolates back to the press office and put it on the desk. I didn't have to wait long for someone to take the bait. That same day, we were sitting around with a bunch of photographers waiting for the masquerade and heard a surprised squawk.
"What is this?" asked the poor victim, holding his jaw. I recognized him - it was one of the Traveling Valentine crew, fixtures on the west coast cosplay circuit for years.
"Sculpey," I answered, not bothering to hide my grin.
"I thought so," he sighed as he picked the polymer clay out of his mouth, and he completely floored me with what he said next: "The sad thing is, this isn't the first time this has happened to me."
The lesson: Beware of cosplayers bearing chocolates.
Later that night, I found myself backstage at the Masquerade - meaning that I was in a loading dock behind the Nokia Theater. Bob the Trout (otherwise known as The KT, which is easier to type) shanghaied me into working backstage because my Japanese is better than hers, and there were a few Japanese-only speakers entered in the contest. As she explained it, I was much more likely to avoid insulting them than she was, so I was assigned to be their "den mother." It was a bit degrading, but it was a lot of fun.
That's a story for next rant, though.