I'm not usually big on practical jokes, because I like people around me to feel good. I'm empathic like that. However, I'm not completely above occasional little naughtiness when events call for it.
This time, it felt like the events were *begging* for it. Abel and I were showing our friend Sarah around our town when we encountered one of these charity fund-raisers with a bucket: you throw some coins in there, and the guy gives you a sticker to say what a big damn hero you are for giving money away.
So. Abel tosses some coins into the bucket and receives the sticker. Now, if you happen to have a child with you, stickers are great. Otherwise? Not so great. Grown-up clothes don't look so good accessorised with stickers, plus there's icky glue on them. Plus, it's uncool to advertise your charitable donations - particularly, with a big piece of paper stuck to your boob. Therefore, I felt I was justified in rolling my eyes a little when Abel slapped the sticker onto the outside of my coat. "Keep it there," he said sternly.
It felt like he was putting me through a character-building exercise.
Now, if it were just the two of us, I would have discreetly unpeeled the thing as soon as his back was tuned, and tossed it into a bin.
But, as I said, we had a friend with us. Who doesn't want to look cool in front of friends?
I unpeeled the thing as soon as Abel's back was turned, and carefully attached it to the back of his fleece. Sarah and I exchanged winks and giggles, and wandered on, as though nothing had happened.
A considerable amount of time later we were walking through a lovely historic square, pointing out old buildings and such, when a tall, distinguished-looking guy walking past us with his wife suddenly addressed Abel: "Excuse me, you have something stuck to your back." (I'm not sure how he even saw Abel's back, considering he had been walking towards us, unless he turned around to stare at Sarah and mine bottoms. Or maybe Abel's bottom, take your pick.)
Anyway, he noticed the sticker, and helpfully unpeeled it for Abel, as we girls stood there looking Extremely Innocent. It took both guys a few seconds to figure out this was a charity sticker, after which Abel made a very sharp deduction, and turned to glare at me.
The helpful guy also turned to me, looking delighted: "It was you, wasn't it? Well, sorry."
I didn't believe he was sorry. He and his wife were almost indecently gleeful as they started walking away. They were still within earshot when Abel said: "You are in so much trouble, young lady."
"Thanks!" I called after the helpful guy. He giggled. He didn't look so distinguished any more.
After we eventually got home and warmed ourselves up with tea, Abel informed me he hadn't forgotten anything. "Go upstairs and pick a cane," he said.
"But," I said. "We have a guest. You wouldn't want to traumatise her, right? She won't come back again if you traumatise her?"
Sarah looked traumatised.
"Go upstairs and pick a cane," said Abel.
I hadn't really thought it would come to this, as sticking things to somebody's back merits a few smacks over jeans in my mental punishment quota, but hey, maybe there was a taxi-style meter ticking for the amount of time he'd been wearing the thing. I trudged upstairs and fetched a very fearsome-looking, but actually fairly humane thick kooboo cane.
When I came back, Abel directed me to take down my jeans and knickers, and to bend over the arm of the sofa, so that Sarah could hold my hands. I didn't think he was doing that well in the not traumatising guests department.
I got six of the best. They hurt. I made a moderate amount of fuss, because I don't believe in being too stoic - I mean, I wouldn't want him to think he wasn't making an effect, right? That said, I do have some pride, so I didn't scream the house down, like I was tempted to do, and anyway, the advantage of a caning over a hand-spanking I had been thinking I would get is that, even with the strokes delivered in a measured and unhurried manner, the punishment is over so much sooner.
Sarah's holding my hands also helped. I didn't think she was too traumatised in the end; she even promised to come back again when we put her on the train the following day.
But anyway. Dear helpful man in town; if you're reading this - thank you ever so much; I hope you're proud of your snitching self.