This is a Really Good Story

Already I’ve said something universal that draws you in, but specific enough that you’re like, “Hmm, this must be just for me.”

Alright, I have your attention, but it’s running out quick. So, maybe the thing to do here is to take a page from “pick-up artists” (shudder) and “neg” you a little and tell you that the main character, Johnny, dies at the end. He doesn’t, but I’ll make a thing out of that.

And that’s when I’ll have to introduce you to Johnny, who needs to be handsome enough that you find him attractive, but not so handsome that insecure men feel threatened by him. He’s charming and funny, but not in a way that he’s too aware of it. In fact, you can just picture Jim from the Office if you want. And boy, is there idiots in his world. Like his Chief, for example. Did I mention we’re following Native Americans? They’re Native Americans. But they speak English. Just… pretend it’s translation. Whatever, don’t think too hard about it. The Chief is maybe also his father. Put a pin in that. There is also a try-hard idiot guy. You know, like in Avatar, there was the one guy who tried way too hard? He’s like that. Like a less funny Dwight.

There’s probably some drama. And Johnny is obviously involved. The rival village? That’s a little played out. Maybe it’s Europeans that live in the nearby town. There is peace between them, but it’s precarious. And Johnny is in love with a girl from the village. Is that problematic?

Oh, and the mayor of the village is the half-brother of the Chief. And Johnny’s mother had a relationship with both men (very progressive) and no one is sure who Johnny’s father is. That’s why he has a white name. I could just google a Native American name and find and replace Johnny. Pretend I did that if you like.

Anyway, Johnny has friction with the Chief because he’s not sure if he wants him to be a father figure and Johnny is probably an adolescent or thereabouts.

And the try-hard character is definitely the Chief’s son and possibly Johnny’s brother. His name is something annoying like Dirk. Dirk is always trying to outshine Johnny by being good at everything and impressing his father. Good luck, Johnny has effortless charm! Dirk says something annoying like he jumped over the river a hundred times that morning. Johnny looks at the fourth wall and does the Jim face from The Office. Like, imagine he’s looking at you through the page like, “Can you believe this guy?” And you feel in on it. Johnny makes a fool out of Dirk in front of his crush. The crush likes Johnny, but Johnny is in love already! This enrages Dirk.

Dirk goes to the Mayor and tells them that they are planning a raid, and then goes to the Chief and tells them that the mayor is planning to attack. He does this to make Johnny have to choose, thinking he will choose his white father and betray his tribe because he loves the girl. Also, Johnny has a Rudolph the red-nose reindeer complex because he was bullied as a child for possibly being half-white. Dirk knows this because he was the main bully. We see a sequence of Dirk doing like a parody of “Dirty Dancing” where he’s like dancing and celebrating in the woods. Is that the right movie? Dirty Dancing? Anyway, he is excited.

The white girl’s name is probably Sarah. We make it seem like she’s a main character with motives, but we don’t fully explore why this story is all about men. It’s like a Christopher Nolan movie — women are there, but somehow it’s not really about them. Exploring my own ingrained misogyny would be very difficult on top of writing a “Really Good Story” so I let myself slide, telling myself my next story will have female leads. Anyway, we show you Sarah doing something cool, like reading or shooting an arrow and being better than the men. That tricks you into thinking I did something good. You think I’m super woke.

Sarah finds out about the Mayor’s plan to attack. She’s not the Mayor’s daughter because then she would possibly be Johnny’s half-sister… Not that that would have stopped them back then, you know. But we’d like to avoid that to keep everything feeling modern. Or maybe we go the other way and make a super-realistic period piece. You know, I probably would have had to already been investing in that. Let’s go with the sanitized version of history. She’s just like, the mayor’s aid or something. She hears the plan to attack, and she has to rush to warn Johnny.

She gets there just in time. I work really hard on the logistics to make this moment make sense. Just pretend I did that. She puts her life on the line and Johnny sacrifices himself to save her life. He’s dead. I told you he’d die, remember?

Anyway, it chills everyone out, because everyone liked Johnny. Even Dirk feels like a dick. Seeing Sarah weep over Johnny makes the Mayor and the Chief realize that it doesn’t matter who Johnny’s father is, that they fucked up by fighting all these years instead of appreciating this special young man. They make up and hug. Everyone around is crying. This is really sad. This song is playing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mH0008o-6cs. You know what? Just imagine the end of Pokémon The First Movie except it’s not Pokémon.

The tears bring Johnny back to life. Imagine a lot of emotion. And the more emotion you imagine the better the story is. I mean, don’t make me do all the work.

This truly was… a Really Good Story.

Originally published at https://www.tumblr.com on February 1, 2020.

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Taylor Foreman

Mythic meaning for modern people. Helping moonlight creatives break into the arena. taylorforeman.substack.com