I drove up to the little local pub to have my growler filled with some stout midafternoon today.

There was nobody outside, and there were only a few people inside, a young lady bartender and a tattooed cowboy at the end of the bar, and they were talking congenially. I waited patiently for a gap in their conversation to place my order, which didn’t take long.

Normally, a growler takes 90 seconds, maybe 2 minutes to fill, but stout takes just a little longer because it can be foamy. So while I’m waiting, some woman sticks her head in the door and says, “Oh good, you can be next for the movie dialogue!” She hadn’t been outside when I first came in so I didn’t know where she came from.

I realize she’s talking to me. I just smiled a little and nodded and wished the growler would fill a little quicker. The woman walked right up and stood next to me. She wasn’t tall, had short, dark hair, and had on dark, oversized sunglasses. I couldn’t see her eyes through the dark glasses, but her shoulders suggested that she was staring intently. In a slurred voice, she insisted, “You’re the next one for the dialogue project. You want to do your line, right? Here’s your line: you say, ‘What the fuck? We told you – she’s going down.'” Beer breath, IPA maybe.

“Uh, I don’t really know what that means.”

“That’s your line.”

“Line?”

“Dialogue. For the movie dialogue.”

“I’m not really sure what you’re talking about.”

“Your line, here listen – ‘What the fuck? We told you – she’s going down.'”

Then she walked out. I looked over to the tattooed cowboy for guidance, and without looking directly at me, he said, “My line was on a card,” and he half-pulled a 3×5 card with blue ballpoint writing on it out of his shirt pocket and replaced it without showing me. This wasn’t the help I was looking for.

I said, “Heh… If she’d just wait around, I’ll probably say that sooner or later anyway.”

Without looking away from the silent NASCAR race on the big screen he said, “Yeah, that’s something that’s likely to come up in conversation.” I couldn’t tell if he was joking. I looked at the bartender and she just smiled at me. This also wasn’t the help I was looking for. She went back to trying to fill my growler with something besides foam.

Then the woman walked back in, in a slurred voice, she said, “Come on! You’ve got to come out!”

I said, “Listen, I really don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Dialogue!”

With a sigh, I just followed her out and hoped this was the quickest way to make her leave me alone. She sat at one of the metal tables outside and slurred, “Just remember your line. It’s, ‘What the fuck? We told you – she’s going down;” and this time I repeated it with her and that seemed to get her to stop repeating it at least. She fumbled around with her bag.

I said, “So you’re what, filming this? What are we doing here?”

She said, “You’re just going to say it.”

She dialed a number on her iPhone, and mouthed the line to me as she listened to the first part of the the usual generic voicemail message playing. She held the phone up to my face, and when I put my hand up to it to hold the phone, she tightened her grip on it to let me know she wasn’t handing the phone over to me, like maybe I was actually a master iPhone thief who had somehow cleverly manipulated her into coming into the empty pub and then giving me unsolicited movie dialogue that had to be read outdoors for some reason as a sophisticated ruse to get her alone just so I could pocket her smartphone. I felt momentarily guilty for being so manipulative.

It was just finishing the ‘at the sound of the beep’ part of the message and then I heard the actual beep, she nodded to go and I said my line into the phone as her dark sunglass lenses looked blankly at me. I’d barely finished and she yanked the phone away and put it into her bag and mumbled some kind of (I assume) thank you. Not eager for any further dialogue assignments, I just said something like Ha ha, OK then! and headed back in. By the time I returned to the bar, my growler was ready, and when I grabbed it and headed out, there was nobody outside.

I don’t know if I’m in some conceptual student film or if I helped blackmail someone or what.