Proving How Easy It Is To Write A Short Story To Complete Strangers

There's "Third World Problems" (like hunger), and there's "First World Problems" (like Starbucks getting your order wrong).

And then there's "Oh Man, Nothing Annoying Happened At The Airport For Me To Blog About."

I boarded my flight from Atlanta to Los Angeles yesterday in a bit of a huff. You see, absolutely NOTHING worth blogging, Tweeting or Facebooking (or G+'ing? Is that a thing now?) about happened.

I KNOW, RIGHT? It's not like me to go to an airport and not end up with at least a tweet or a status update, much less a blog entry. But no. No fist fights. No delays. No TSA mishaps. Everything went smoothly. I even ended up in an aisle exit row seat.

Annoying, in a way that is so utterly frustrating to the rest of the world, I know. But that's where I was when I sat down next to a very nice Georgia Tech student named Allie. And after getting through that part of the flight where you make a little off-hand comment to gauge if the person next to you is a total prick or alright or, maybe (just maybe) actually cool, we both determined we were both pretty cool. So we talked, and it was nice.

I found out that she's a Mechanical Engineering student (read: way smarter than me, and statistically speaking, you) and utterly addicted to Biscoff cookies. She found out that I'm a professional pain in the ass and write things for a living, at which time, she explained she could "never do that."

"What?" I asked.

"Write something," she replied. Which of course I believe to be complete bullshit, since everyone can pick up a pen and some paper and get to wordsmithing. But she insisted she couldn't.

"It's really easy," I said.

"Show me then," she said, with a slight "THIS'LL SHOW YOU!" smirk.

So, I proceeded to jot out a short story right in front of her. It took about seven minutes (I type really, really fast -- just ask anyone with the unfortunate luck of being on my chat / IM lists). It's quite silly and makes no sense. But there it was, proof that it just takes a bit of a head of steam and the method by which to put words somewhere to write a story.

Here, in its complete unedited form, is the story I wrote:

So, there I was... Carrying on luggage because the TSA has mandated that checking a bag become a month-long process. All of a sudden, I saw her -- NATALIE PORTMAN. She was sitting in coach -- that was a surprise. But hey, she was there, and now I was there, and how could I not want to talk to her?

Well, it was really easy. I just didn’t. Cause she’s NATALIE PORTMAN. And what do you say to Natalie Portman on an airplane? “HI?” “I Liked you in Leon?” No. You just leave that person alone. She’s all famousy and stuff; you don’t want to make a bad impression. Or maybe you do. I don’t know you. You’re a stranger. I shouldn’t even be talking to you.

So I put my bags in the overhead and sat down all nonchalantly, and pretended that right there beside me wasn’t Natalie Portman. It was difficult, mostly because she actually was right beside me, and reality sometimes makes my brain hurt.

“Hi,” she said.

“Uh...” I said. Really, that was it. That was what came out of my mouth. That’s why I wrote it here. Why do you judge me so harshly? I’m not very good at this writing thing. You know this. It’s your fault for even reading it.

“Travel much?” she asked.

“Not as much as you!” I said just a little too excitedly. I was trying to be funny (trying being the operative word). Then, to take some of the sting out of my overly-sharp joke, I added “Probably.”


“Yeah, it’s part of the job,” said she. “So is sitting next to oversized tattooed freaks.”

“Yep, I’m always sitting with one when I travel,” I replied.

She laughed. And that’s how I met Natalie Portman and became her poolboy.

Wait, did I just skip too far ahead there? You see, I’m not really attracted to Hollywood types, outside of what they do on the screen. And if you’re even slightly smart, you realize -- that’s not them. Not really, anyway. But you end up building some sort of bond with these people nonetheless. That’s the point, I believe. They act, you believe. Once you believe, you’ve taken the leap beyond “stranger” and into their little world.

And when I saw Black Swan, I was so totally in her little world (even if it was a ripoff of Perfect Blue). And I realized then, I wanted to know Natalie Portman. But I didn’t want a romance or even a friendship -- how can you ever be actual friends with an actress? They pretend to feel stuff for a living, after all. How can you ever truly know if they forgive you for dropping an egg on the kitchen floor or wrecking their Mazaratti? 

You can’t, that’s how. But it’s really, really difficult to fake being pleased about the cleanliness of your pool. And that’s why being Natalie Portman’s poolboy was the perfect solution -- I get to have a friendly, mutually beneficial relationship with one of my favorite actresses. I get early access to her films (and her pool); she gets her pool cleaned (and occasionally laughs at overwraught, horribly timed jokes).

Win-Win, right?

So, during the flight, I kept things casual, you know? Just light banter. And inevitably I asked her why the heck she was flying in coach on a Delta flight, instead of on a private jet or some such.

“Well, sometimes I just like to keep it real, you know?” she said. “Be among the people. Remind myself of normal... Okay, just kidding, my jet broke down last week and I really need to get home.”

I gave her a queer look. “But in coach?”

“Well, I’m kinda cheap, honestly,” she replied. “But I did spring for this exit row seat.”

“Hrm,” I said aloud. “Well, there goes that idea...”

“What idea?” she asked.

“Well, I was going to ask if you needed a poolboy.”

“Hm...” she said. “What’s your rate?”

“Well you’re cheap, and I’m really only interested in discussing your own films with you... So I guess my payment would be your patience while discussing your work, and possibly a co-dependent relationship where you depend on me for opinions on technological purchases, music, and football teams.”

She thought for a second. “Done,” she said. She extended her hand.

I shook it.

And that, my friends, was that.

There you go. Proof of two very obvious things: 1) writing short stories isn't that hard, and 2) I'm probably not right in the head.

But that's what boredom and lack of disastrous intrusions into my life and schedule do to me. They take my focus off of being entertainingly angry and allow me to concoct ridiculous poolboy fantasies for celebrities. But the upshot is that, due to Allie's addiction to Biscoff cookies, I ended up with a second pack myself, and them motherfuckers was tasty and shit.

(I only added that last bit because I suddenly became aware that this was about to be the first blog post in months without profanity. Can't let that happen)