I recently joined a writing group, and decided to choose the particular weekly writing prompt that required I write fiction, which isn't something I normally do. I figured if I could crack myself up writing fiction, it would crack others up as well :)
End your story with: And that is the story of how I landed upside-down in the back of a convertible driven by Tom Hanks (or the celebrity of your choice):
“I can’t afford to fly to, let alone stay, in Hollywood with you, Jen!”
“Pleaaaaaaase,” Jen whined as if she were my younger sister instead of my cousin, “you know how much I love volleyball, sunshine, and celebrities. A Wilson-sponsored celebrity volleyball charity event?! We HAVE to go!!”
Jen tried a new angle. “There’s even a celebrity house tour going on the same weekend. I know how much you love real estate, architecture, design and all that. This is, like, the perfect combo for you! ”
I admitted this was true.
“And guess who’s house is on the tour?” she continued. “Tom Hanks! I know you hate getting lost, but the tour is only a half hour from the event, in Pacific Palisades. I’ll do all the driving so you can relax and look out the window!”
I looked at her desperately hopeful face, wondering how long I should keep the suspense going. I had already decided in my head to go with her, I just wanted her to realize how sacrificial I was being.
I watched as she began to dance in place, trying to decide if she had to pee or if this was her way of getting me to say yes.
A crown must have suddenly appeared on my head because the next thing I knew, Jen was kneeling on the floor in front of me, shaking tightly clasped hands, and proclaiming her thankfulness in her most humble and grateful voice. I’m surprised she didn’t start kissing my feet.
The plane ride to California was uneventful. I have always enjoyed traveling by plane, especially if I get a window seat and remember to bring my iPod.
The charity event was scheduled before the house tour, but since Jen and I weren’t exactly rich, we chose to take advantage of a friend’s hospitatlity, ie. his red living room couch, at his Santa Monica apartment. He was working a double shift at work that weekend, so we wouldn’t be a burden. I did my best to keep my grumpy, I’m-not-happy-to-be-here face on so Jen would let me have the couch.
The Wilson-sponsored charity volleyball event turned out to be more entertaining than I anticipated, mainly because of the Screen Couples Sudden Death match at the end. I will always have a warm place in my heart for romantic comedies, so I suddenly found myself glad to be in California with my cousin when who should make it to the final match, but my favorite on-screen couple.
“Hey!” I said, loudly enough that several heads turned our way. “It’s them! It’s them in real life! Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan!”
“Ya!” Jen exclaimed. “Who knew they were so good at volleyball! Tom’s killin’ it out there! Hey, did you remember to put our names in that drawing for an autographed Wilson volleyball from him?”
“Of course! You know Tom Hanks is the only celebrity I even give two hoots about.”
“Did I bring my grandma to California with me? No ones says that,” Jen muttered scornfully.
Before I could make a retort, Jen suddenly yelled, “LOOK OUT!!”
White, stitched panels briefly eclipsed my vision before I heard a loud, collective gasp. I sat there, blinking, my nose and forehead throbbing from the volleyball that had shot across the bleachers like a cannonball towards my face, though a rather large man sitting in front of me should have taken the hit.
“Oh, I’m so sorry. Meg’s fault, Meg’s fault. A total amatuer.” Tom Hanks, the Tom Hanks, was running up the bleachers, offering his most genuine apology. “MS. RYAN! LOOK WHAT YOU HAVE DONE TO THIS WOMAN’S FACE!”
I sat there, too shocked from the sudden pain in my face and the fact that the only celebrity I cared about was talking to me, to respond with anything but a few blinks and furrowed brow contortions.
Jen came to my rescue. “Mr Hanks, I doubt we’ll win the autograph drawing, so would you mind writing a personal message to my cousin on the ball you smashed in her face?”
Jen, eloquent as usual.
“Of course!” Tom replied. “And as a thank you for not sueing, you are coordially invited to my house for a mini-tour right after the event.”
Jen squealed louder than the pigs in the movie “Babe” at this new development. “We’d love to, Tom!”
The charity event ended before I was able to say anything in reponse to anything that happened in the past hour. But Jen seemed to know what to do, because before I could counter her plans with the idea that we could indeed be rich if we took advantage of this golden opportunity to sue one of the richest actors, we were back in the rental car following Tom Hanks to his mansion.
When did I change from flip-flops into high heels?
Then we were there. Standing in the foyer, face-to-face with a smiling Tom Hanks and a frowning security guard.
As the personal house tour commenced, I was able to find my voice and ask appropriate questions, including if celebrities kept Tylenol in their bathroom cabinets.
But the tour was a short one, as Tom had an important dinner and hadn’t planned on showing off his house to two random poor girls.
“Frank will show you out. It was very nice to meet you.” Tom smiled as he motioned to the still frowning security guard and walked towards his shiny, rich person convertible.
That’s when I noticed the slightly sandy, white volleyball with a lengthy, black message written in sharpie peeking out from the back seat of the car.
My message. From Tom. Not just a hastily signed name. A personal message from Tom to me.
Panic slowly rose in my chest as I watched him climb in his car, start the ingnition, and put the car into gear.
The sudden rememberance of California seat belt laws gave me just enough time to suddenly bolt towards the car. As I lept towards the back seat, I saw Tom’s startled eyes in the rearview mirror and heard the brakes squeal as the car came to a sudden stop.
Everything was quiet, well, except for the cursing security guard, as my left shoulder slammed into the back of Tom’s seat, and my feet flew off the pavement and up into the air, awkwardly catapulting me into the back of the car.
Tom looked at me, confused.
“My-my volleyball!” I stammered as I remembered yet again why I usually don’t wear skirts.
I guess Jen’s not the only eloquent speaker.
And that is the story of how I landed upside-down in the back of a convertible driven by Tom Hanks.
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