Betsey goes on an exciting trip to visit Los Angeles. There, she encounters a random stranger at a taco bar on Hollywood Boulevard.
Stranger: So, what do you do for a living?
Betsey: I’m The Writer Extraordinaire.
Stranger: Writer Extraordinaire, huh? What do you write about?
Betsey: Well, believe it or not, right now I’m writing a story about living in South Dakota.
Stranger: South Dakota?! What in tarnation’s out in South Dakota?!
Betsey: Well, there’s this bar called Bloody Mary’s, and it’s full of crazy characters who like to put on a show and tell interesting stories. They go on different adventures through space and time. I started writing it after I heard a story about the former owner being found dead in a canyon, half-eaten by wolves.
Stranger: What?! That’s crazy!
Betsey: Oh yeah, he was so sketchy. They don’t know if it was murder or suicide! And he’s not the only one. That bar is FILLED with all sorts of interesting characters.
Stranger: Like who?
Betsey: Well, first there is Mad Dog. Mad Dog is like my eccentric old Native American grandfather who likes to drink, chain smoke, and tell lots of stories at the bar. He’s always introducing me to other people who can tell me good stories.
Stranger: I see. And who else is at the bar?
Betsey: Well, there’s Andrew, the Owner. He can shapeshift into other people and animals. He’s always coming up with new characters every single day. Then there’s The Owl, an intergalactic alien spy from outer space. There’s Line of Death, which is this old man secret society that no one else can join. They all have keys to the bar so they can go in and hold secret club meetings early in the morning. There’s a set of brothers from the de la Salle family, a local group of wealthy landowners. And Andrew’s Mom, who is the real brains behind the entire operation. There are a lot of others who come in and out too. Those are just the main ones. I usually include a fictional version of myself as well. Someone has to be there observing the events. She just so happens to have a crazy other personality that comes out when she’s drunk.
Stranger: Sounds interesting enough. Where did you get the idea for this story? Is it based on your real life?
Betsey: Yes and no. Some of it is true, some of it was invented. Anyway, that’s just what I’m working on right now. I have more projects planned for when I finish this one.
Stranger: Like what?
Betsey: There’s a murder mystery set on an Indian Reservation in South Dakota, an action flick about a famous female pirate, a Star Wars movie (you know, just in case), and a romantic comedy about a couple that gets divorced.
Stranger: Oh, wow. You’re a very productive writer, aren’t you?
Betsey: Very productive. I use my website as motivation to continue writing. I update it all the time. It’s done pretty well so far in the year and a half it’s been online. I’ve had over 20,000 page views from 4,500 unique visitors from all over the country and the world. I use social media to promote my posts. It seems like everyone except my family is reading it!
Stranger: Wow! That’s amazing! I can tell you work really hard at this. Have you ever thought about becoming a screenwriter?
Betsey: Actually, I have. That’s my main goal. That’s why I’m out here visiting right now. I was thinking about moving here. I’m either going to do that or go to graduate school down in New Orleans.
Stranger: School? Why would you go to school? School is expensive and not always worth it. Why not skip school and just come straight to Hollywood?
Betsey: I think school could be useful for learning more about film history and critical theory. Research. That kind of stuff.
Stranger: You can do all of that here for cheaper. There’s all sorts of events going on around the city all the time. Lots of ways to meet people and network. You could do it if you really wanted to. All you need to do is get a job as a bartender and find a bunch of roommates to live with. It’s worth the cost if you make the most out of the opportunity. So many people in this town came here with nothing but a suitcase and a dream. You can make that dream come true if you really believe.
Betsey: Well, you’re awfully inspiring, aren’t you? Here’s my card. Why don’t you check out my website and let me know what you think of my work?
Stranger: Sounds good.
Betsey and the Stranger go their separate ways. A few weeks later, Betsey receives an email from a movie executive from a major production studio.
Email: Dear Betsey, I don’t know if you remember me, but we met at a taco bar on Hollywood Boulevard. I checked out your website and liked what I saw. My company is interested in flying you out to L.A. for a meeting about your script work. Please call me at this number and we will discuss all the details. Sincerely, A Totally Not Creepy Movie Producer from a Legitimate Production Company.
Betsey: And that’s why I always shamelessly promote myself to every single person that I meet. The End.
Betsey flies to L.A., gets offered a scriptwriting deal with a legitimate film production studio to write other movies, and eventually manages to get her special little Bloody Mary’s Project made. She makes sure to let everyone back in South Dakota know about it. When it finally premieres, all of the real people gather at the real bar for a watch party. So meta, you guys.
Andrew: Oh boy, I can’t wait to watch this!
Duke: I can. I never liked her story in the first place.
Andrew: That’s because you don’t like yourself! Besides, I’m the main character. That’s why I’m looking forward to it.
The show comes on and they all sit there watching in awe. As the show progresses, it gets further and further away from reality until they can’t even recognize themselves anymore. Needless to say, none of them are pleased.
Harold: That’s not what I look like!
Howard: That’s not what I said!
Duke: I didn’t even see myself in it!
Andrew: You were definitely in it. I saw what she did there. Besides, it’s Hollywood. They make changes. You can’t always count on everything to be true to real life!
Duke: This is an outrage! I demand payment for all services rendered to the Writer Extraordinaire!
Andrew: Well, why don’t we get her on the phone and settle it? Rat-Rat, get Betsey Horton on the phone immediately.
Rat-Rat: Yes, Boss. Whatever you say, Boss. Here’s the phone, Boss.
Rat-Rat hands Andrew the phone. Meanwhile, in L.A., Betsey is relaxing by the pool outside of her upscale, luxury apartment. A handsome young Manservant in a thong brings her an iPhone on a silver platter. Betsey picks up the phone and motions for a refill on her wine.
Andrew: Betsey, it’s Andrew.
Andrew: Your Andrew.
Andrew: You know, from Bloody Mary’s Bar?
Betsey: What bar?
Andrew: Oh come on, Betsey. Don’t play this game! All of us watched your show.
Betsey: What show?
Andrew: Your show about Bloody Mary’s Bar. All of us out here in real life watched the show. We wanted to call you and talk to you about it.
Betsey: Oh, sorry, you must have the wrong person. I don’t know anything about a Bloody Mary’s Bar.
Andrew: You know me. You know us. We’re your characters from your story!
Betsey: Ohhhh… now you’re the characters from my story. I see. Well, unfortunately, I’m afraid I have no idea who you are or what you’re talking about. I’m sorry. I think you probably got the wrong number.
Andrew: Come on, Betsey. Don’t play us that way! You promised us we’d get paid to be your characters.
Betsey: Yeah, sorry, I don’t know what you’re talking about. That must have been another one of those delusional fairytale fantasies. Now, if you’ll please excuse me, I have to go. Goodbye.
Betsey hangs up the phone as her Manservant brings her another glass of wine. Meanwhile, at the bar, Andrew stands there staring at the phone in shocked silence. Finally, he scoffs in disbelief and slams down the line. Then he buys a plane ticket to Los Angeles and vows to go sort the matter out for himself.