Fandom: Ocean's 11
Rating/Warnings: PG-13 for inferior trail mix.
Summary: Rusty informs Danny that no, carob in trail mix is not acceptable.
AN: Mousapelii's Birthday Theme 20: Hotel Vending Machines at 3 am.
Ain't Satisfactionin' Me
Danny heaves a quiet sigh as he feeds several quarters into the vending machine, then watches through the scratched plastic of the window as the metal spiral dumps the brightly colored package into the tray below. His knee cracks as he bends to retrieve it, the same knee that nearly got him pinched during the Clearwater job, and he wonders if he might not have been better off getting pinched rather than having to go back to the hotel room and face Rusty armed with nothing but seventy-five cent trail mix.
When the green light on the door handle flashes and Danny pushes it open, Rusty is slumped against the pillows on the bed in the glare of the television, sheet twisted around his waist and tattoo dark and slick where it curls over his wrist. He holds out his hand without turning his head away from the TV, and Danny drops the package into it without comment.
He climbs onto the back beside Rusty's sprawl, noting that the movie is black and white and that Lauren Bacall is somehow involved, although he can't remember the name of this flick for the life of him. He pillows his hands behind his head as Rusty tears open the trail mix and shakes some of it out into his palm.
"Oh, Daniel," he says sadly, "Danny, Danny, Danny."
"I went to four vending machines." Danny holds up his hands in surrender.
"Just taste this!" Rusty reaches over, and Danny savors the brush of Rusty's fingers against his lips before the piece of candy slides into his mouth. Danny crunches down on it, giving it a moment of consideration. Any normal person would just take what they could get at 3 am from a hotel vending machine in western Ohio, Danny reflects as the taste of slightly flat chocolate spreads over his tongue, but Rusty's always got to be a connoisseur.
"Mmm?" he says hopefully.
"That's carob, Daniel," Rusty informs him in tones of deep derision. "Carob does not belong in trail mix. Trail mix should be a perfect blend of textures, colors, and the four food groups."
"You expect the four food groups out of a vending machine at three in the morning?" Daniel finally does turn to look Rusty over, noting that the purported inferiority of the trail mix is not stopping Rusty from eating it, selecting one piece at a time out of the heap of morsels he's deposited on the sheets. Danny isn't looking forward to the crumbs, but it's unwise to interrupt Rusty when he's waxing poetic about food of any sort.
"I expect high quality out of my snacks at any time, ideally," Rusty answers, sorting through the pile some more and holding up a piece of dried apricot for inspection. "But trail mix above all things should be held to a higher standard."
"Oh, do go on." Danny rolls slightly more towards Rusty and props his chin attentively on his hand. Well, he always has been a glutton for punishment.
"Trail mix, as the name implies," Rusty gestures with a cashew, "is for the trail. Accordingly, it must be not only pleasing to the palette, but also sustain and provide energy. Furthermore, as a food that is intended to be portable in large quantities, trail mix must not suffer from undue bulk. Each ingredient must pull its own weight, satisfying all three requirements of being sustaining, pleasing to the eye, and compact. Any failure in any arena disqualifies that ingredient from quality trail mix."
"You've thought about this quite a bit." Danny sneaks a hand to the pile. Rusty's already reaching to slap his fingers when Danny pinches several pieces of the carob, and Rusty lets his hand drop.
"Take the sunflower seed, for instance." Rusty sifts out several of the seeds and pops one in his mouth, cracking down on it with his molars. "Compact, caloric, smooth. Generally salted, which is a plus, it loses a few points for the inconvenience of having to shell it yourself, but the shell is what gives the pleasing and variant striped visual to the necessarily nut-heavy trail mix. A first class trail mix ingredient."
"I see," Danny says.
"Now, take the carob." Rusty plucks an orange piece off the bed and holds it between two fingers as far away from him as his forearm will reach. "While admittedly attractive, the colorful candy shell cannot mask the fact that unless consumed in conjunction with several nuts or other items, the taste is flat and grainy, and moreover, you could eat an entire bag of carob and still be starving, which is a far greater crime."
"I would assume that you know that from experience," Danny comments.
"I experimented with Linus a little," Rusty reports with a wink, but Danny rolls his eyes and refuses to take the bait.
"Go back to the four food groups," he prompts instead. "That sounded intriguing. Obviously the nuts for protein…"
"Raisins for fruits, or dried apricot in this case," Rusty pops another apricot tidbit in his mouth. "Banana chips are also good choices. Your better trail mixes will have some sort of granola for grain, or preferably rye chips, which help break up the color and texture as well."
"Dairy then?" Danny asks. "I don't think most of your domestic cheeses hold up very well in vending machines."
"Ah, that is where the carob commits its most heinous act of all," Rusty holds up a finger, "because it is the cheap and plebian replacement for the far superior milk chocolate M&M, a food perfect in presentation, texture, and satisfaction."
All that's left in the pile are the carob bits, and Danny picks up a few more to drop in his mouth.
"I don't know," he says while he chews slowly, "they do have a certain bouquet…a sort of large-grain caress of the taste buds…"
"You heathen." Rusty sits up indignantly, the sheet slipping off him, and Danny sucks a finger idly.
"The aftertaste, however," Danny shifts closer to Rusty, who is already undoing his shirt buttons for the third time that night, "does need a bit of a chaser."
Rusty helps him out, lips and tongue salty from the cashews as they slide against Danny's, and Danny grins, because after the survey of the hotel's vending machine's he's already had, he's sure he can make a killer trail mix.