It was rush hour. Dylan looked from the passenger seat of his brother’s car at the drivers around him. Everyone seemed so unhappy.
“Did you see that? That woman was texting,” said Dylan.
“I know,” said Steve, never taking his eyes off the road.
“That is so illegal. Where’s a cop when you need one?”
At that moment they passed a police officer typing away on his onboard computer. “Typical,” Dylan muttered.
Steve flipped the left turn signal and slowed down.
“Why are you turning here? This isn’t the street we want,” said Dylan.
“Nope, it’s not,” said Steve.
“Then what are you doing?”
Dylan looked back at a growing line of cars behind them. “This isn’t exactly a good time. You’re seriously messing with traffic,” he said.
Steve glanced in his rearview mirror and smiled. “It’s perfect,” he said.
Dylan noticed a stopwatch in Steve’s right hand. They waited until a break in oncoming traffic but didn’t move. A couple of frustrated drivers honked.
“Two minutes,” said Steve. His foot firmly on the brake.
“What’s in two minutes?”
“That’s how long we’ve been sitting here,” said Steve.
“You could’ve gone already.”
“I know. But I’m going for five minutes.”
“Why? What are you talking about?”
Steve looked over at Dylan. “I’m in training.”
“You can’t tell anyone. Not even mom and dad. Promise?”
“Cross my heart.”
“I’m training for the World Annoyance Games.”
By this time cars were swerving around them, honking and gesturing as they passed. Dylan could read lips, but decided it wasn’t a good idea to make eye contact.
“The goal is to see just how long and how many people you can annoy at one time,” explained Steve.
“Does that include me?” asked Dylan.
“That would be great. Thanks.”
“I wasn’t offering. I was just asking.”
“Still, if you could, I’d really appreciate it.”
Dylan shook his head. “I’ve never even heard of the World Annoyance Games.”
“That’s the point. They’re secret. It skews the results if the people we’re trying to annoy know what we’re doing. It’s all online. You have to register with the WAG website, then write a bunch of extra forms and sift through SPAM and stuff. Then they give you the rules. It’s awesome.”
“I’ll take your word for it,” said Dylan.
“This year the games are in the most annoying city in the world. There’s a real buzz in the annoyance community,” said Steve.
“That makes sense.”
“I’m in training in the automotive class. They also have queue and interpersonal events. Those are epic. I love the bad breath and personal space intrusions. Classic!” rambled Steve.
“I’m sure it’s a lot of fun,” said Dylan.
Steve took a quick look out the rearview mirror. “That’s the last car. What’s my time? 6:28! That’s a personal best.”
“What’s the record?”
“Twenty-four minutes. In LA traffic no less.”
“Well, if anyone can ever be that annoying, I’m sure it’s you,” said Dylan.
Steve looked at Dylan with genuine appreciation.“Thanks, bro. That really means a lot.”