A parking lot.
NARRATOR: (voice-over) In a parking lot a short drive away…
An oddly dressed, but rather FASHIONABLE WOMAN struts out of a shop and across the parking lot.
…a woman wearing very little strutted across the parking lot…
A very stupid man, CUSTOMER, sulks in the opposite direction, notices the woman.
…and a very stupid man walked into a closed door.
The very stupid, now childishly distracted Customer blindly, but very painfully walks into a closed door.
The door belonged to a charmingly inconvenient boutique located in a rather busy corner of a fictional town I’ve made up just now. It was the sort of place with people to eat, things to regret, and, I suppose, whatever else one might think to bother with in an otherwise unimportant backdrop.
The man, meanwhile, belonged to – and was wanted by – nobody in particular, which, coincidentally, was the reason he was here in the first place.
A charming young business woman, SHOP OWNER, sticks her head out the door, looks at Customer in that way that seductively whispers, “I wonder if he’ll spend any money here.”
CUSTOMER: (mildly concussed) Women… (confused, concussed grumbling)
OWNER: Sir, far be it from me to question any man’s right to drink himself stupid in the middle of the day. But if you’re going to do that sort of thing, I suggest you do so somewhere more appropriate, like a public library or a city council meeting.
CUSTOMER: (slightly less concussed) I was told that I could find a woman here.
OWNER: I suppose you’re technically correct. But I’m not sure why you felt the need to bring my door into this.
CUSTOMER: Is this “Bottom of the Barrel, We Get Paid, So You Get Laid?”
OWNER: You’ve seen our ad.
CUSTOMER: A friend of mine referred me. He suggested I come here to help with my…
OWNER: With your…?
CUSTOMER: Romance problem.
OWNER: Well, I’m not sure what you were told, but I’m afraid my door simply isn’t interested.
CUSTOMER: This is ridiculous.
OWNER: I agree. (holding the door open) Would you like to come inside and perhaps spend some money, then?
CUSTOMER cautiously enters the shop.
OWNER: Tell me a bit about yourself, Mr…
OWNER: I’m sorry?
CUSTOMER: Customer. My name is Customer.
OWNER: Bit odd, isn’t it?
CUSTOMER: It’s the best I could come up with.
OWNER: (nodding) I’m sure it was, Mr. Customer. Now. Let me know how I can do so, and I’ll be absolutely frothy to rid you of some, most, or all of your money.
CUSTOMER: I want a woman.
OWNER: I think you simpleton’d something about that, yes. But what sort of woman are interested in?
CUSTOMER: Oh, you know the sort. Kind, loving…
OWNER: Smart and beautiful?
CUSTOMER: If it’s not too much trouble.
OWNER: Not at all. Quite a common request. Any particular aesthetic, make, or model?
CUSTOMER: No, no. I’ll take whatever I can get. Just someone who loves me, is all.
OWNER: But also smart, kind…
CUSTOMER: And beautiful, yes.
OWNER: Of course. Anything else?
CUSTOMER: It’d be nice if she enjoyed the things I do, maybe understood me better.
OWNER: I think I understand.
CUSTOMER: Well, do you have one?
OWNER: One what?
CUSTOMER: A woman. I came here for a woman.
OWNER: Mr. Customer, what we offer at “Bottom of the Barrel, We Get Paid, So You Get Laid” is completely customizable companion design and printing of made-to-order, honey-glazed, hand-crafted artisanal friends, lovers, and assorted sexual playthings.
CUSTOMER: You mean, you don’t have any just laying around.
OWNER: Sir, again, if that’s the sort of thing you’re looking for, then I suggest you get into politics.
CUSTOMER: No, no. I mean, you don’t have any off-the-shelf, over-the-counter women in stock?
OWNER: Custom orders only, I’m afraid
OWNER: Yes, but I assure you our services are second to none.
CUSTOMER: Well if you have no women in stock, what could you possibly offer?
OWNER: Options, Sir. Options.
She rises with a click of her heels and a wave of her hand.
The walls flicker to life with images of women of all shapes, sizes, looks, and attires.
You see, we’ve long discovered that while men such as yourself claim they’re looking for a smart, beautiful, funny, beautifully smart, and funnily beautiful romantic partner, what you’re actually looking for is a fictional surrogate to fill some contrived role in an utterly warped narrative of a poorly written love story that only exists in your head. Whether it’s the strong, independent femme fatale, the diminutive and submissive doll, or perhaps even a flirtatious lesbian whom only you can somehow magically convert into a heterosexual lifemate and plaything. Whatever outlandish concept of a woman you can fathom, we can fabricate.
CUSTOMER: This is insane.
OWNER: I’m sorry, Mr. Customer. I didn’t mean to offend.
CUSTOMER: No, no. I’m not offended. No, that was an impressively accurate guess.
OWNER: We aim to please.
CUSTOMER: This all sounds a little too good to be true. How can you possibly have such a roster of willing women simply waiting to tend to the imaginative whims of a lonely man?
OWNER: I’m afraid I’m failing you, Mr. Customer. Perhaps a demonstration.
CUSTOMER: Is there a charge?
OWNER: Not at all. This is a free sample guaranteed to wash out with little more than soap and water.
CUSTOMER: I don’t follow.
OWNER: Well then, please do!
Owner directs Customer to a large glass and metal pod. In the pod is nothing but a chair with a towel on it.
In just a few moments, you’ll perfectly understand what I mean.
Customer enters the pod, sits in the chair.
CUSTOMER: What’s the towel for?
OWNER: It helps us minimize the cleanup.
Owner waves her other hand in a different way and the pod door closes.
Two-and-a-half minutes on high and one adorable little DING of a bell later, and the door opens again.
OWNER: Well, what do you think? We call this one the “Manic-Pixie Dream Girl.” It’s very popular.
Customer steps out of the pod in a cloud of gas known to the state of California to possibly cause some kind of cancer, seizes on what he sees in the mirror – only now TRANSFORMED into a young woman ripped right out of some terrible romantic comedy.
A pleasant little tune plays over the PA system. A disembodied, wholly male VOICE provides commentary seemingly ripped right out of some terrible novel.
VOICE: (PA system) She was a breastuous bit of leggy sex dipped in the sticky, erotic honey of a needy man’s dream.
CUSTOMER: What the hell?
VOICE: (PA system) She played with her luxuriously unkempt hair, hastily tied up in a ponytail, and squeezed at the massive udders bolted to her chest, which were seemingly hoisted up by a series of cables and pulleys until they burst forth from her modest, low-cut, crease and crevice-hugging dress. All skewed slightly because of a pair of glasses now in her face.
Customer uncomfortably jiggles and bounces in frustration.
CUSTOMER: What the Hell have you done to me?
OWNER: Do you know how a caterpillar becomes a butterfly?
CUSTOMER: What? No. Not at all.
OWNER: Well. It’s a lot like that, but not.
CUSTOMER: I mean, why have you made me a woman? I came here for a woman, not to be turned into one!
OWNER: Did you, Sir?
CUSTOMER: I’m sorry?
OWNER: Are you sure that’s what you came here for?
CUSTOMER: Concussion aside, I’m fairly certain that’s what I eventually said, yes.
OWNER: If you were referred to us, then I’m sorry to say that your ideal woman likely doesn’t exist. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make one who does.
Customer silently screams.
OWNER: (sighing) Women are more than a collection of traits to be picked and plucked and thrown together like some macabre masturbatory stew, Mr. Customer. Some might even consider them people, with internal lives of their own and everything.
CUSTOMER: Isn’t that last bit true?
OWNER: How should I know? I started this business so I didn’t have to bother with all that nonsense.
CUSTOMER: What, you don’t mean…
OWNER: That I devised a way to take myself and any other man, put them into a metal pod, convert their physical body into an amorphous blob of malleable genetic material, and then reconstitute such a blob back into an ideal female physical specimen to suit their explicit, implicit, and exhibitionist desires, and all while keeping their male brains and identity full intact? Yes, that’s more or less the gist of it.
OWNER: I’ll admit, it does seem like a long walk just to avoid having to compromise my unrealistic expectations for the sake of emotionally bonding with another living soul.
CUSTOMER: Any complaints?
OWNER: Not really, no. The men seem perfectly content with their new toys. And the women are happy to be rid of all the creepy little gremlins lurking about their ankles, waiting to catch a glimpse of something she never intended to show them in the first place.
CUSTOMER: Well as much as I do love these fantastic breasts, I can’t help but feel this might be a little wrong.
OWNER: Of course it’s wrong, Mr. Customer. There are those who spend their entire lives struggling to better themselves for the sake of finding love, or to become the woman they always knew they were on the inside. But here you and I are, men who have crafted a facade – a sexual fiction and image that exists solely to placate our uncouth, uninhibited animal urges at the expense of any tattered shred of respect for women.
CUSTOMER: Sounds like this might upset a lot of women.
OWNER: Quite a few actually. But if any of my clients had the first clue about women, or what they thought about or felt, they wouldn’t come to me, now would they?
CUSTOMER: Well, when you put it that way…
OWNER: I did.
CUSTOMER: Right. Well. I guess a test drive couldn’t hurt.
OWNER: Wonderful! Would you like to wear this one out, then?
CUSTOMER: Actually. Do you have anything in a “bisexual open to a threesome?”