So I was crying in a corner, just minding my own business when the FedEx guy delivered a letter.
“Have a good day sir,” he said.
I opened the letter. It was from Bob Oglesby, Head of Productions at Trainwreck Studios. It read:
“Dear Mr. Less
We read your screenplay ‘The Virtues of Drinking Bleach’ and have a few notes. Please reach out to your agent Pablo Dunbar to set up a meeting. We are having trouble reaching him.
So I finished crying and called Pablo. When he answered the phone, I heard some screaming followed by gunshots. Then silence.
“This is Pablo,” he said.
“Hey! Bob Oglesby has been trying to reach you. Where the hell have you been?”
“Sorry I’ve been in Thailand on the set of the new Paul Schrader film. I’ll reach out to Bob soon.”
That week, Pablo and me drove out to Burbank. When we arrived at the studio, the doors were locked. Out of the third story window, Bob yelled: “Sorry, I’m the only one here. Everyone has COVID.”
Bob threw down a rope and we climbed up. Then he offered us a Bloody Mary.
“No thanks,” I said. “I just got my one month chip.”
Bob shrugged and downed the drink himself.
“Now boys,” Bob said as he sat down behind his desk. “Let’s get down to brass tacks. We all want to make money. A fuck ton of money. And the only way to do that is to give the audience what they want. And they want sex. They want violence. They want full on sexual penetration. They want erect penises. They want sopping wet vaginas. They want tits. They want ass. They want to see EVERYTHING.
Unfortunately we can’t give that to them. We have to abide by what they call ‘rules’. Plus we have to consider the Chinese market. So we looked at your screenplay and said that this is the next best thing. Therefore, after all the sexual harassment lawsuits are settled, we are fully prepared to give this thing the green light. What do you boys think about that?”
Pablo and me looked at each other.
“Good,” Bob said. “But we have a few notes for you. First, gay sex. There’s a lot of it.”
“I assure you that it’s all in service to the plot,” I replied.
“Oh yes, I noticed,” Bob said. “What I mean is that I want more of it.”
“For the film?”
“So you want more gay sex in a martial arts film set in outer space?”
“Anything else?” I asked.
Bob stood up from his desk and looked out the window. “Boys,” he said, “Hollywood is dying. Too many kids on YouTube drinking cat piss for a laugh. Too much internet pornography. Too much competition from the streaming services. The days of good storytelling, of compelling performances, of sweeping scores, of looking at the silver screen in awe and wonder…they are coming to a close.”
Bob paused and looked me in the eye.
“I’m counting on you to save my job,” he said.
I looked over to Pablo, then back at Bob.
“In that case,” I said. “I’ll have that Bloody Mary.”