I am sitting at the bar alone when suddenly a “Stranger” approaches me out of nowhere.
The “Stranger”: Hey there, sexy. How you doin’?
Me: That’s your line?
The “Stranger”: You told me you didn’t like lines.
Me: I don’t. It’s just that I thought you’d come up with something better than that.
The “Stranger”: Okay, fine. How about, “Did it hurt when you fell from heaven?”
Me: No, because I’m pretty sure I rose up from Hell.
The “Stranger”: Fair enough. Can I buy you a drink?
Me: Sure. I guess. What’s your name?
The “Stranger”: Tyler.
The “Stranger”: What?
Me: That’s not very sexy.
The “Stranger”: Seriously?
Me: It’s just… I really had my heart set on Andrew. It just fits. I don’t know why. It just does.
The “Stranger”: Okay, fine. I’m Andrew. And you are?
Me: Oh, right. I forgot. Uhhh… wait. I’m conflicted. Should I be Liz, or should I be Stella? Because I really feel in my heart like they are two different people.
Andrew: Why not Liz? Liz is sexy.
Me: Liz is decidedly not sexy. Liz has two black eyes and bruises all over her body. Her mascara is running, her dress is torn, AND she lost one of her high heels in the bathroom sink of an apartment above Bloody Mary’s once. The fact of the matter is, it’s just not a good look for me. I mean, come on, she’s a prostitute! She’s not exactly Ideal.
Andrew: Then who the hell is Stella?
Me: Well, I’m pretty sure she’s the sexy one. She’s the one writing all the erotica. Stella M__ L___y. I like those three names together. It’s a pretty good name, right? Yeah, Tom thought so too. It was practically his idea in the first place! Like if I was going to publish all my sexy stories under a pen name, that’s the one that fits best.
Andrew: That’s your sexy pen name?! Come on!!!!
Me: Trust me, I don’t get it either. They don’t even believe in birth control! It makes zero sense, but it sounds good! So there you go. I’m Stella. She’s the sexy one. It’s decided.
Andrew: You are really bad at this game.
Me: I’ve never played it before! There’s a first time for everything! It’s not like you were a Beer Pong Prodigy from Game 1.
Andrew: Actually, I was.
Me: Well, we can’t all be born with a silver ping pong ball in our hand. Some of us had to work for it.
Andrew: Hahahahahahahahahaha! That’s a good one! Especially coming from you.
Me: Thanks. I try.
Andrew: So, enough with the small talk. What do you say we get out of here and go to my place?
Me: Okay! Let’s go!
Andrew takes “Stella” by the hand and leads her out back. Suddenly, they are transported to an empty lot behind a lovely house somewhere out in the country. Parked out back is a beat-up, old RV of unknown age. Outside, there’s a grill, a string of lights, and a table with two chairs. A few feet away is a freshly-built snowman, a team effort between Andrew and his child. He leads “Stella” inside and shows her around.
Andrew: Welcome to my humble abode.
Me: This is your house? But I thought you were rich.
Andrew: Yeah… about that… she pretty much took everything in the divorce.
Me: I mean… I would too. But what about the apartment?
Andrew: Uhhh… I’m in so much debt, I had no choice but to sell everything I own… including the bar.
Andrew: [glaring] REALLY! This is all I have left now. I can’t even get a steady job bartending anymore! I work like, two nights a week and spend the rest of the time a drunk, depressed mess of a human being.
Me: Holy shit.
Me: That sucks.
Andrew: It really does. So anyway, let me show you around my new place. This is the kitchen, this the futon, this the loft, and this room back here is what I like to call ‘The Panther Den.’
Me: Is that where all the magic happens?
Andrew: That’s where all the magic happens, if there were some magic happening to speak of.
Me: Very nice. So… who’s house are we parked outside of, anyway?
Andrew: Uhhh… about that…
Suddenly, there comes a knock on the door. Andrew’s Mom cracks open the door and pokes her head inside.
Andrew’s Mom: Hiiii there! How are you? Do you guys need anything? Some snacks? A condom? Whatever you want, I’ve got it! I’m not like a regular mom. I’m a cool mom. All you have to do is ask!
Andrew: Mom! Not now! I have a guest!
Andrew’s Mom: Well, isn’t that nice! It’s about time you got out of bed and started being social again. I’ve been so worried about you! You just haven’t been yourself lately!
Andrew: Mom! Stop! You’re embarrassing me!
Andrew’s Mom: Oh, honey, is this the writer you keep talking about? She’s so cute!
Andrew’s Mom: Okay, okay. I’m going. If you need anything, just let me know.
Andrew: Okay, Mom! Bye!
Andrew’s Mom shuts the door and leaves.
Andrew: Sorry about that. I don’t have a lot of guests over anymore. It’s hard to explain my situation these days. Most women just… aren’t into anymore, you know what I mean? I’m just not who I used to be. I’m not The Whoremonger anymore. I’m just a regular guy who got fucked over really hard in his divorce. Now I live in an RV out back of my mom’s house. What do you think of me now?
Me: I mean… who needs The Perfect HGTV Dream Home™ when you have The Panther Den™?
Andrew: That’s… very sweet of you, Betsey. Honestly.
Me: Well, I did think you were sexy way before I ever knew you were rich. I only figured that out like five months ago. Before that I never thought about it at all because I was too busy being so distracted by your pretty face and wedding ring! I only brought it into my writing because it was a good plot device. I don’t really care about that stuff. As a person who came from That World, I’m personally here to tell you it’s all a big, fat, stupid, fucking LIE. Besides, an RV is way better because you can actually go somewhere in it while taking the comforts of your home with you. Makes total sense to me! I prefer that to all this sitting around! Let’s just fucking go somewhere right now! How about New Orleans? I’ve always wanted to go to New Orleans!
Andrew: Should I start making out with you right now?
He takes her to The Panther Den.