I have a new mortal enemy.

This morning, I decided to go to a local coffee shop to do a little writing. I got there early enough that the place was virtually empty. By “virtually empty”, I mean the only people there were me and the cashier/coffeemaker woman. That’s ideal for me, because the whole point of going out to write is to avoid all the distractions in my apartment.

So I placed my order, sat down, plugged in my laptop and got to work. And about a half hour later, this guy comes in and sits down at my table. At that point, there was exactly one other person in the place, a college kid studying his chemistry textbook. There were at least ten wide open tables where this goon could’ve planted himself, but he chose to sit directly across from me.

What makes this even worse — nay, in fact, completely unforgivable — is that this was the very same guy who was spouting off his “Village” spoilers exactly one week ago at this same coffee shop.

It was clear at that point that I was finished writing. The distraction of sharing a table with a stranger + overwhelming rage = Jerry out of his creative zone. I could’ve told the guy in not-so-polite terms that he was bound by all standards of human decency to move his smelly ass face to another table pronto, but it probably would’ve provoked a dispute about coffee shop manners that would’ve ruined most of my day. Or I could’ve moved to another table myself, but I’m just not that kind of person.

The kind of person I am is a vengeful person. I couldn’t attack, and I couldn’t retreat, but I could make him regret his decision.

So I stared at him. I never stare directly at people, because I’m too afraid they’ll notice, and I’ll have to look away and pretend like I wasn’t staring and they’ll know I was, and most of my day will be ruined. But this time, I wanted him to notice. And when he caught me looking, I had my next move already planned out: I would keep looking at him. He would either get creeped out and leave, in which case I’d win, or he’d start an argument, which would go something like this:

“You’re staring at me!”

“Yeah, well you sat at my table!”

Game, set, match: me.

But he kept working on his computer — iTunes, no less, yes, his important job that he needed to do two feet away from me was to manage his fucking iTunes for an hour. And he completely ignored my staring.

This guy was clearly a brilliant tactician. So I moved to Plan B. I began to exaggerate every sound I made for maximum annoyance — coughs, sighs, moving my chair back and forth on the floor — CREEEEEEEEAK!!!! — drumming my fingers on the table. I started humming along to the music — loudly. The place was still dead enough that I wasn’t worried about annoying other people. Sure, there was College Boy, but screw him. He should’ve come to my defense when he had the chance.

Then I took out my phone — just to spook him into thinking I was going to start making loud celph calls in his face. And that got him to look up. A-ha! I’d found his Achilles’ heel! But I’m too celph-conscious to let the world hear my calls, and I didn’t want to start bothering people at 10 a.m. just because I was at war.

So I started sending text messages. When he realized I wasn’t going to talk, he went back to work. But little did my tormentor know that since our last showdown, I had purchased a new celph — a camera phone, no less. I realized that by holding my phone at text message level, I was perfectly positioned to capture his ugly, inconsiderate face so I’d have a record of his transgression against humanity forever. And if he didn’t want his picture taken, he’d have to move.

He didn’t. Oh, well.

So now I ask your help. If you see this man, do not harm him. I repeat: do not harm him.

But please, please, please annoy the shit out of him.

Pontificate loudly about recent films. Spread spoilers in his general vicinity. Invade his personal space. This is a bad man, people, and he lives among us. For the good of humankind, let’s make him pay for his crimes.

I’ve been calling for the removal of U.S. troops from Iraq, and now I finally know where to send them instead: a little coffee shop in my neighborhood that used to be pretty quiet on Saturday mornings. In fact, I know the exact table they should occupy. Their mission: to protect and to annoy. They can leave their guns at home and bring their kazoos instead.

Until then, this is my war. And one thing is for sure: I will be going back to that coffee shop next Saturday. I have a mission, and, besides that, I really need to get some writing done.

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