The only feeling more painful than stepping on a Lego, is having a crush on someone that you know will never be with you. Ryan had already done one of those things today and now it was time for the second. Everything was just right for fruitless yearning; the sun was setting and the scene out the window looked like the beginning of a Nora Ephron movie. The apartment was filled with calming silence, Ryan was comfortably nestled in his pajamas and most important of all, his girlfriend Sarah wouldn’t be home for another fifteen minutes.
Ryan curled up on his tiny couch in his even tinier apartment, got his phone out and admired pictures of what he believed to be the closest thing humans have ever come to perfection. Those steel blue eyes that could give your soul goosebumps. The long luscious locks. That smile. That damn smile.
That’s when the trouble began. That’s when Sarah walked through the door. Ryan was too preoccupied to notice. Not even Sarah could divert his attention away from the apple of his eye.
“Are you looking at Brad Pitt again? I don’t get it, what’s so great about him?”
“Look at him, he’s so cool.”
“You used to look at me like that.”
“Oh babe, don’t try and compare yourself to Brad Pitt.”
“Why don’t you stop looking at him and let’s go do something. When was the last time we went somewhere? On a real date.”
“What are you talking about? I took you to WrestleMania.”
“No, you did not take me to WrestleMania, you dragged me there and even still, that was eight months ago!”
Ryan got off the couch and slunk his way into the bedroom. Sarah followed but Ryan blocked her from entering.
“I can’t go out,” he said. “I gotta wake up early tomorrow. Brad is in town filming a movie and I’m finally gonna become best friends with him. Then everything will be on the up and up.”
“Or you can forget about that cause it’s never gonna happen and we can get something else on the up and up tonight.”
Unfortunately for Sarah, Ryan was Elmer Fudd and nothing was going to stop him from getting his rabbit. Every attempt to snuggle that night was shot down like a Florida Man applying to Yale. Ryan had his eye on the prize and that prize was Brad fucking Pitt.
Ryan awoke the next day, earlier than a rooster. He quickly whipped himself up what could barely pass as scrambled eggs and got to work trying to look his best for his special day. He trimmed his beard for the first time in months and cleaned out a candle’s worth of wax out of his ears. Just to make sure he didn’t miss any spots, he brushed his teeth three times and rolled on his deodorant ten time each pit. The only thing left was the outfit. Unfortunately, Ryan didn’t have the stylish wardrobe. It wasn’t long until his room looked like a disaster zone with all the rejected outfits strewn across the floor. Sarah woke up in a haze a few hours after him. While he was in the shower, she went to make breakfast for the both of them only to see he had already made himself something. All he made for her was a mess. She cleaned up and went to get dressed. As she headed to the bedroom, Ryan came rushing out, dressed in his nicest outfit, a flannel shirt and black jeans. They collided and crashed to the floor. As Ryan lay on top of her, they locked eyes, she put her arms around him and he promptly scrambled away and darted off. He had to go meet Brad.
It wasn’t hard for Ryan to sneak onto the movie set, all he had to do was tell everyone he was a gaffer. He walked onto set and was transported to a different time. People walked around dressed as aliens. There were vehicles that looked like a mix between a Tron light cycle and a Star Wars pod racer. Touch screens and holograms filled the cubic room. Ryan stepped through some Star Trek style doors and that’s when he saw him. Standing at the catering table like the statue of David come to life. Ryan went over and started to nonchalantly put food onto a plate, trying to think of an icebreaker. Then it happened. As they both reached for the same pig in a blanket, their hands touched. Ryan’s breaths became faster as his heart beat rapidly and fireworks went off in the depths of his stomach.
“I’m sorry, you go ahead,” Ryan said with a crack in his voice.
“Thanks man,” said Brad. “I’m sorry, I thought I met everyone yesterday, I must have missed you.” Brad took his blanketed pig and shook Ryan’s hand.
“I’m Ryan. I’m a gaffer.”
“Cool, cool. Hey, what exactly do you guys do?”
“No one really knows.”
“This movie looks spectacular by the way, most of your movies are.”
“That’s very kind of you. I was a little hesitant at first to do a sequel to Benjamin Button but when I got the script and found out Werner Herzog was directing, I had to say yes. Well I gotta go get ready for the scene. I’ll talk to you later.”
Ryan’s dreams were coming true. He was now Brad’s acquaintance and he was one step closer to becoming his BFF. It was time for him to head home and think of a plan to get into the place where every man wants to be. The friendzone.
Sarah came home that night to an apartment that was hit by a blizzard. Pieces of paper covered almost every inch of the place.
“What the hell is this?” exclaimed Sarah in the calmest angry tone she could.
Ryan sat on the couch scribbling into a notebook like a robot programmed to do one thing and one thing only. In that moment, Sarah might as well have been a girl with glasses in a rom-com.
“Hello. Hello. Am I invisible? Am I ghost, that better be my eulogy!” she screamed.
“Huh? Oh, hi babe, when did you get home?”
“What are you doing?”
“Brad loves pranks so I’m trying to come up with one that’ll help us bond. I met him today and he said he’d talk to me later so we’re basically friends.”
“Maybe he was just being nice.”
“Don’t be silly, Brad wouldn’t do that to me.”
“Well stop that for now and come outside, I want to show you something.”
Sarah pulled Ryan up and dragged him out the door like a bratty child from the candy aisle. She had a very special surprise for him outside, the kind of surprise that in a normal circumstance would lead them to listen to Marvin Gaye with the lights off. As they stepped into the street, she pointed for him to look up and there it was. Their names were written in the sky as a plane flew around them, forming a heart with the clouds.
“That’s very nice honey, can I go back inside and finish my work?” Ryan dismissively said as he went back inside, not waiting to hear Sarah’s reply.
Sarah was fuming. She couldn’t believe it. What had happened to the man she fell in love with all those years ago. The one who showered her attention and treated her like a princess, the one who had real goals and aspirations and not delusions. Where was that guy and how could she get him back? As she stormed off hoping to clear her head, she bumped into someone. The person dropped a booklet. They both went to pick it up, their hands touched and eyes met. Sarah couldn’t believe it. It was Brad fucking Pitt.
“Oh my god, it’s you,” Sarah said in disbelief.
“Ya, I get that a lot.”
“I’m sure you do. Have a nice day.” Sarah turned to walk away.
“Wait a minute. Don’t you want an autograph or a selfie or something?”
“Nobody’s ever said that to me before.”
Just then, Ryan strolled out of the apartment.
“Listen hon, I think I owe you an—” He didn’t finish his sentence before he noticed the physical manifestation of cool standing in front of his building. “Brad, how you doing buddy?”
“Good, uh… man.”
“Yeah, no, I knew that.”
While the new best friends were talking, Sarah walked off in a huff, with a look on her face that would give a polar bear shrinkage.
“So, listen, what are ya doing tonight, wanna hang?” asked Ryan, twirling a finger in his hair.
“Um, nah man, I got some plans with some buddies, you probably wouldn’t fit in. Listen, do you know that girl?”
“Oh yeah, she lives here with—”
“Cool, see you later.”
Brad rushed away. Ryan stood there dejected, rejected, mortified and stupefied. He couldn’t believe that Brad had denied him, even after everything they’d been through.
To any other person, that would have been the end, but not Ryan. This was a ladder match and he was going to do whatever it took to climb up and take the title. If Brad thought that he wouldn’t fit in with his crowd then Ryan was going to make himself fit in. The next day, rain pored from the sky like tears from a jilted lover. That wasn’t going to deter Ryan and he went out and did what he hadn’t done since he started dating Sarah. He got some new clothes, a haircut and cleaned himself up. The comedy sidekick was now Bond himself. Slicked back hair, the finest clothes in men’s fashion and neatly trimmed nose hairs.
When Sarah came home, she couldn’t believe it. She took her coat off, put her umbrella down and looked up. There he was, the man who charmed her so many moons ago and not the schlub who had been putting Brad Pitt above her. Poor Sarah thought it was for her.
“Oh honey, you look so good. Let me go change and we can go out!”
“What, no. This is for Brad.”
Sarah didn’t say anything. She went into the bedroom and slammed the door. The first time anything in that bedroom had been slammed in a very long time. That’s when their buzzer rang. Ryan went over and said,
“Yeah?” into the intercom.
“It’s Brad, I’m looking….”
Ryan didn’t wait to hear the rest of his sentence. He ran outside, no coat, no umbrella. Brad stood out front, under an umbrella with a look of disappointment when Ryan came out.
“Check it out Brad, will I fit in now.”
“Look, I didn’t want to be this blunt but, I’m not your friend, man. I never was and I never will be. I already have George. I was just being nice. And you know, I found out you’re not even a real gaffer, you were faking it. That’s fucked up, man.”
“Well if you’re not my friend then why are you here?”
“I came to ask that girl out.”
Ryan stood there, soaking wet in the pouring rain, his heart sank as if he just received the decapitated head of the love of his life in the mail. The window flew open and Sarah popped her head out.
“Ryan, what are you doing out there? Oh no.” shouted Sarah.
Brad looked up at her. “I haven’t stopped thinking about you since we bumped into each other. No woman or man has ever rebuffed me like that. Would you do me the honor of going to the SAG awards with me?”
“Absolutely not. I have a boyfriend, a boyfriend who you’ve ruined. Now please leave us alone and go back to Jennifer or Angelina or whoever you’re married to this year.”
Sarah closed the window and disappeared inside. Brad dropped his umbrella and stood there, dejected, rejected, mortified and stupefied. The rain poured down on Ryan and Brad as they both stood there heartbroken.
“Could you tell her, if she changes her mind, I’ll be at the airport, I have a flight to catch.” Brad dejectedly mumbled as he walked away, his drooping head being drenched by the rain.
Ryan went inside and headed straight to a tub of ice cream. As he sat there in bed, wallowing in self-pity and cookie dough, Sarah tried to comfort him but it didn’t do any good.
“I know it hurts but you’ll get over it.” Sarah said insincerely.
“I’m not giving up, this is just a minor setback.”
“Why, you’re not gonna become his friend, stop with this ridiculous crusade!”
“Because Sarah, I know that me and him have a lot in common and if I can just get him to see that then we’ll become friends and he’ll hook me up and help get me out of this mediocre life.”
Sarah’s face ignited with rage.
“Is that what you think of our life together, mediocre!”
“That’s not what I meant, I just—”
“No, I get it! Go on with your little quest for Brad but you’ll have to do it without me, I’m done!”
Sarah grabbed some of her things and stormed out, leaving Ryan all alone. It was just him and his thoughts. This was the lowest he had ever felt. Halfway through that tube of ice cream, Ryan had a realization. He could sit there and do nothing or go and follow his heart, so he got up and headed for the airport.
Ryan was never one for endurance, Sarah could attest to that, but he dashed through the airport like an Olympic runner. He had to catch up to Brad before his plane took off. It was his last chance. Ryan ran through a sea of people lined up to ask a very polite little woman at the ticket counter if she had seen which way Brad went. She did and as quickly as she told him, he was gone. Nothing would get in his way of catching up to Brad. Ryan pushed down anyone who got in his way. Not just the men but the women and the children too. He pushed them, he pushed them all. He might have even kicked someone’s emotional support animal but that’s never been confirmed. As if he had x-ray vision or Spidey-sense, Ryan could see Brad through the vast herd of people. He ran through all of them and jumped past the security check. Brad was only a few feet away now. Alas, it was not to be, as fast as he got there, he was tackled by security. While he lay there, getting handcuffed, thinking about how his life was over and how slippery soap was, he remembered something he learned from Law & Order. He gets a phone call.
Sarah was at her sister’s place, eating some popcorn and watching Meet Joe Black. Except she wasn’t watching the whole movie, she was just watching the scene where Brad Pitt gets hit by two cars. She found a ten-hour loop of it on YouTube and found it really entertaining. It was on the hour and a half mark when her phone rang. It was an unknown number.
“Hello.” She answered.
“Sarah, listen, I know you don’t want to talk to me right now but I need your help. I got arrested at the airport and if you have any love left for me, you’ll come down here and bail me out. I won’t last long in prison. I’m delicate.”
Sarah hung up without replying. She thought about leaving him there but the longer she did, the sadder it made her. For as much of a pain he had been recently, she just couldn’t stand the thought of never seeing him again.
Ryan sat in the holding room for what felt like days. With the thought of going to jail on his mind, he wasn’t lamenting the fact that he never became friends with Brad, he was lamenting the fact that he’d never see Sarah again. It was at that very moment that he saw Sarah again. She had come to bail him out. He didn’t hear a word she said as she talked security out of arresting him, he was too busy focusing on her face. As soon as his cuffs came off, he grabbed her and kissed her. He had finally realized that he had everything he needed for a good and happy life right under his nose the whole time.
“Babe, I’ve been an idiot. My life doesn’t need Brad fucking Pitt to be worth while. It just needs you.” He said as he leaned in for another kiss.
“I’m so happy you finally…is that…is that Tom Cruise?”
She pushed Ryan out of the way and ran after Tom
“Tom, Tom, I’ll show you the money shot!” she screamed as she tried to catch up to him. She couldn’t of course, for his running form was just too great.
And they all lived happily ever after.