Dude, No Way - A 3 Random Words Story
Updated: Apr 14
I've added the outline for this story at the end so you can see how a story progresses from outline to final version.
June 17, 2019
Dude, No Way was my idea, but I knew I’d never figure it out alone. That’s where Rich came in. My wife, Jamie, sat next to his girlfriend at a company picnic, and they hit it off immediately. Once the ladies got to talking, it didn’t take long for us to bond over our shared disdain for the company’s culture. That was three years ago. While his relationships with women have gotten rockier, our friendship has only grown stronger. So, it wasn’t completely shocking (though, I believe my wife was ‘disappointed’) when Rich and I quit our cushy corporate jobs to start Dude, No Way, a YouTube channel for pranksters on every level of the pranking spectrum. We do it all: prank it forwards, simple pranks, elaborate pranks, prank wars – all of it. But nothing compares to our latest prank idea – The Sockem Bopper Boxing Match.
That’s right, Rich and I have planned to dress up as Sockem Boppers and attend our city’s next Comic-Con. It’s going to be epic.
June 18, 2019
I thought Ben was such a douchebag when I first met him. My girlfriend at the time, Mindy, loved his wife. They hit it off at a company picnic, so we were forced to hang out with them all afternoon. That’s when Ben first mentioned his ideas for Dude, No Way. It’s also when I realized I was wrong about Ben. He wasn’t a douchebag – he was a fucking legend. He was full of hilarious ideas and had seemed dead-set on bringing them to life. After one afternoon of discussing ideas, we agreed that we would one day bring Dude, No Way to YouTube, quit our stupid corporate jobs, and finally live a life created for us, by us.
We started making short videos the following weekend. Our intention was to build a library of videos we could post regularly once we got some steam. This is what saved my life. Shortly after the picnic, I lost both of my parents in a car accident. When I couldn’t bounce back from the depression, Mindy left me. All I had was Dude, No Way, and Ben. Without ever knowing it, he pulled me out of the darkness and into a world of wacky pranks and jokes, all with the intention of making other people laugh. What could be a better career path than that?
All of our pranks up to this point have been hilarious, garnering exactly the kind of light-hearted laughter we were hoping for. This weekend, however, Ben and I have the best prank planned for Philly Comic-Con; we are going dressed as Sockem Boppers. The plan is to show up dressed as opposing Sockem Boppers, randomly meet up throughout the day, and throw down in an epic Jackass-style beat down. We’ve already contacted the location for permission and scoped out the places to set up cameras. Just a few days until the games begin.
June 22, 2019
I almost feel bad. Rich and I have been planning the Sockem Boppers prank for weeks, but the twist I have planned for the prank could set us over the edge. The only problem is that it means I’ll be playing a prank on Rich, who won’t see it coming.
We sling our duffel bags over our shoulders as we walk into the convention center. As planned, I slide easily into my blue Sockem Bopper suit, way ahead of Rich, whose suit I’ve adjusted to fit him awkwardly.
“Shit, dude,” Rich says. “It’s like I’ve gained weight in my ass and lost weight in my gut. How is that even possible?”
He looks at me with an expression of defeat as he struggles to keep his Sockem Bopper costume on his body.
“Don’t worry, big guy,” I jeer. “I’ll help you get dressed.”
I drag my duffle bag to where Rich is standing so that I have easy access to my double-sided tape. I keep Rich engaged in conversation about the women he might meet at the Comic-Con today, anything to keep him distracted from my true intentions: taping his suit together. Yesterday, I purchased industrial-strength double-sided tape, and I don’t intend to waste an inch of it.
As Rich continues to talk about the different Superhero women he saw as we walked into the building, I continue to empty the tape dispenser until his suit is completely taped shut, including his red helmet. Guess that means Rich will be doing a lot of winning today.
June 22, 2019
I am on fire! So far, we’ve met up five different times, and I’ve won each time, sending Ben’s blue helmet skyward to a roar of cheers and laughter. I guess my young blood is paying off, though I am a little surprised that I keep winning. Ben isn’t exactly a little guy, and he’s been landing a few good shots. Maybe his suit is defective.
June 22, 2019
Rich has won every single round, and not once has he questioned it. Instead, he prances around like Rocky, pumping his fists into the air and jogging around me each time my blue helmet goes skyward. I can see the sweat dripping down his face each time he takes a victory lap around the makeshift boxing arena. I can’t imagine it feels too comfortable in there.
June 22, 2019
It’s hot. Like super fucking hot. All I want to do is get this damn suit off.
“You think we have enough footage?” I ask after about a dozen battle scenes. “I don’t think I can stay inside this suit another minute.”
“Sure,” Ben laughs awkwardly. “Let’s go change.”
He continues to act weird as we walk back to the staff bathrooms, keeping the camera trained on me. My spidey senses start to tingle as we walk into the locker rooms, and Ben is still pointing the camera at me.
“Thought you said we have enough?” I ask, trying to pull the red helmet over my head.
“Maybe just a little bit more,” Ben laughs, setting up the tripod so it’s aimed at me.
I shake my head and continue to pull on the red helmet that is refusing to budge. I change course and try to remove the red pads around my shins and feet, but nothing is moving. That’s when I know I’ve been pranked. For the first time in three years, Ben’s turned on me.
“Dude, no way,” I say absentmindedly.
“That’s gold, dude,” Ben says, pulling off the last of his blue Sockem Bopper costume. “You think you can manage to bring the camera back with you? Wife is expecting me to be home in twenty.”
Ben doesn’t wait for my reply. Instead, he packs his suit back into his duffle bag and walks out, leaving me to a final showdown between myself and my suit.
June 22, 2019
Of course, I wasn’t going to leave him there to figure it out on his own. He is my best friend, after all. I just wanted him to think I left. Truth be told, I did run out to the lobby for a beer, which is how he ended up fending for himself, but I promise I came back. Plus, his one-hour fight with the suit made for comedy gold.
June 24, 2019
One of Ben’s biggest pet peeves is the gym bros, who are always puffing out their chests and throwing around their weight at the gym. I think Ben hates them mostly because he can’t quite lift the weight they are tossing on the bar, but I can’t blame him for it. I don’t particularly care for them either, which is how I came up with Dude, No Way’s next greatest prank.
“The key to the prank is a faux punching bag,” I explain to Ben. “We will fill one with air and the other with sand. Then, you and I will challenge the gym bros to a test of strength. Whoever can hit their bag the hardest, measured by the amount of movement each bag sees, will win the contest of strength.”
“I like it so far,” Ben says. “I’m assuming we will be punching the one with air, and they will be punching the one with sand?”
“Exactly,” I reply. “What do you think?”
“Name the time and place,” Ben agrees.
June 29, 2019
I have to admit - Rich’s idea is brilliant. He said he saw something similar on another YouTube channel, except they filled water balloons with different liquids. It made him think of punching bags and my disdain for the gym rats who made it their job to hog the squat racks every night. It is a perfect prank.
Rich’s car is already in the parking lot when I pull up to the Retro Fitness. He meets me outside to let me know he’s already got two contenders itching to prove themselves. I rub my hands together, “This is going to be a thing of beauty.”
“I told them that I had a ringer showing up any minute,” Rich explains. “I realized last night that it might look suspicious if we walked in, set up two punching bags, and started challenging people to feats of strength. So, I got here about an hour ago to set up. The two guys waiting inside showed up after I had set everything up. As far as they know, the gym just started a boxing club.”
Rich is extremely clever in that way, and I feel tremendously lucky that he agreed to be my partner in this crazy endeavor. Now, we are just a few videos away from hitting half a million followers. Our YouTube channel could be life-changing for both of us.
As I walk in the doors, I see two heavily tatted men with puffed out chests and steroid muscles almost fuming at the nostrils.
“This your guy?” the larger of the two says, eyeing me up. His tank top is so thin, it seems ridiculous that he even decided to put one on before he rolled into the gym. This is exactly the kind of guy I would want to mess with.
“Don’t let his size fool you,” Rich replies. “He’s the strongest man I’ve ever met.”
“Let’s see it then,” the smaller (but still substantially larger than me) of the two men replies.
Rich walks me over to the punching bags, where he’s already set up the cameras and a fake gauge that is supposed to measure the psi of both mine and my opponent’s punch. He positions me in front of the punching bag to the left, and I can just barely see that that the punching bag on the right is hanging just a bit lower, weighed down by the sand inside it.
“You first, little man,” the big guy says.
“No problem,” I reply, casually setting down my fake gym bag.
It dawns on me suddenly that I’ve never punched anything before, let alone a punching bag. I need to make it look as authentic as possible so that the two gym rats don’t get suspicious. I close my eyes to center myself and conjure up my best impression of Muhammad Ali.
I open my eyes and lock in on the bag as I square my hips. Punch through the bag, punch through the bag, I repeat to myself silently.
I take a deep breath and, with all of the force inside my body, punch through the bag. Instead of feeling like I’ve punched a bag, though, I feel like I’ve driven my fist directly through the center of the sun.
“Oh shit!” the bigger man yells. “I didn’t think it would be like that!”
The burning sensation ripples through my hand, up my arm, and down my spine, sending me crumbling to the ground. It feels like molten lava is flowing through my veins, and I begin to wonder if my hand is still attached to my body at all.
June 29, 2019
I didn’t know. We had only been friends for three years, how was I supposed to know that Ben was allergic to cactus. When Jamie text me earlier to let me know how he was doing, she seemed so stressed.
“The doctors don’t know what to make of it,” she said. “They have him on some machines to help him breathe, but there isn’t much else to say. The only thing they are discussing now is whether or not to take his arm.”
She explained that when Ben got home from the gym, he was acting strange. He told her that he wanted to lie down, and he stumbled to his favorite chair. Jamie thought that maybe he had a few at the bar after filming the prank, so she let him sleep for almost two hours. It wasn’t until almost 7:00 p.m. that she realized his breathing was labored. She tried to wake him, but he wouldn’t budge. That’s when she notices how swollen and discolored his hand was. She only text me to ask what kind of cactus needles I’d used in the punching bag – the one that was supposed to be filled with air.
It was supposed to be innocent – the kind of prank he played on me with the Sockem Boppers. I never meant for any of this to happen.
Ben is my closest friend. Hell, he’s my only friend. He’s always been there for me, making sure that I was safe and cared for. He’s let me sleep on his couch after arguments with my girlfriends more time than I can count. Now, he’s in a hospital – in a bubble room, according to Jamie – and there’s nothing I can do to help him. No, I’m actually the one who put him there in the first place.
I decide to get in my car and start driving. I just need to do some thinking and figure out how I can fix this. Can I fix this? How did things get so messed up? One second we were laughing about the fact that I was able to get him back, and the next, he’s fighting for his life in the hospital.
Oh, God. Jamie just found out she’s pregnant a few weeks ago, too. They haven’t told anyone yet, but Ben told me the day he found out. He said he couldn’t keep it a secret because he was too excited to share, but he made me promise to keep it to myself. I can see her now, Jamie sitting outside his hospital room, rubbing her stomach and wondering if her child will ever get a chance to meet their daddy.
I can feel the tears pool in my eyes as I turn down the main road towards the Church Falls Bridge. The darkness that consumed me after my parent’s death is sitting in the passenger seat, reminding me of all the pain I’ve caused in my life: The fight with my parents before their accident, countless women who only wanted to love me, and now Ben, sitting in a hospital bed, fighting for his life. The same Ben whose strange idea to start a YouTube channel literally saved my life.
A searing pain ripples through my body. I’ve caused so much damage in my life – how will I ever make up for all of it?
“Pull over,” I hear the darkness whisper as we come to the center of the bridge.
I pull over to the side of the road and shut off the car. A cool breeze greets me as I step out into the street and walk to the edge of the bridge.
“No one will forgive you, this time,” the darkness whispers. “How could you possibly live with yourself?”
I swing one leg over the barrier wall, followed by the second, gripping desperately to the slippery metal railings that line the bridge’s cement walls. My phone vibrates in my pocket, startling me from my conversation with the darkness.
It’s Jamie. “They don’t think he’s going to make it.”
I slide my phone back into my pocket and take a deep breath, straining my eyes into the darkness of the rocky abyss below.
June 29, 2019
I couldn’t believe he had pulled one over on me so quickly, I knew I needed to act fast. Sure, my fist and fingers throbbed for hours after his little stunt, but it subsided just before dinner. That’s when I hatched a genius plan – make Rich think that I was dying.
I thought about involving Jamie, but I knew she wouldn’t go for it. Besides, Jamie wouldn’t text Rich from her phone if I were dying anyway, she’d be using my phone. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to convince Rich that I was Jamie. He never even questioned it.
As the night’s gone on, Rich’s responses have gotten shorter and more lackluster. I suppose it’s time to put this prank to bed and start fresh tomorrow. I tried to text Rich a few times in the last twenty minutes, but he hasn’t responded. I can’t sleep without him knowing it was all a prank, so I decided to go to his place.
All of the lights in his house are off when I pull into the driveway. I check the clock and realize it’s just before midnight. I hadn’t known Rich to stay out this late, especially when the two of us weren’t together. I try knocking on his door, but there’s no response.
I quickly dial his number and watch the seconds tick by as his phone rings to the voicemail. An eerie feeling washes over me as I leave him a message.
“Hey buddy, I’m at your place. Made a full recovery! Ha! Uh, give me a call, man. It’s late.”
3 ACTS OUTLINE
· Snapshot story – told in snippets from each man’s perspective
· Benjamin – Blue Sockem Bopper
o Tapes Rich inside his suit
· Rich – Red Sockem Bopper
o Makes Benjamin punch a cactus-stuffed punching bag
Benjamin and Rich have been working on building content for their YouTube prank channel, Dude, No Way, for months, and they think they have finally found the prank that will set them apart from the rest. Ben didn’t know it, but Dude, No Way was life-changing for Rich who had struggled with mental health issues for most of his life – until he met Benjamin. Against Jamie's wishes (Ben's wife), the two men decide to dress up as Sockem Boppers and attend their community’s local Comic-Con. In a Jackass-style stunt, the two men are going to identify random places throughout the center to ‘bump into one another’ where they will then participate in an all-out punching battle. Once one forces the other’s helmet to pop off, the fight will end and they will set up their cameras in another location. As the day goes on, the stunt is wildly successful, garnering a lot of laughter, strange looks, and even some wagering to take place throughout the day, though the red sockem bopper, Rich, seems to win every time. Excited by his seemingly unstoppable Sockem Bopper skills, Rich becomes increasingly cocky, jogging around for victory laps and adding extra spin moves and victory dances to their routine.
By the end of the day, Rich is a sweaty mess and is extremely excited to take off his costume, only to find out that he’s stuck inside. What Rich didn’t know, was that as Benjamin was helping him into his costume, he was also adding industrial strength double-sided tape, making it next to impossible to get himself out of the costume. To make matters worse, Benjamin leaves the conference center, forcing Rich to fend for himself as he gets out of the costume.
Rich later calls Benjamin to tell him that it took him over an hour to work himself out of the suit. After a few laughs, Rich tells Ben he’s thought up another prank. This one is for the big guys at the gym who think a lot of themselves. Benjamin loves the idea and helps Rich cook up the prank which involves a weighted punching bag. When Benjamin or Rich punches the bag, it very easily folds up, but when the guys from the gym punch the bag, Ben or Rich will replace that bag with a weighted bag.
The prank is perfect and the two men meet up at their local gym. Rich was tasked with bringing the punching bags, but what Ben doesn’t know is that Rich put a round cactus inside a punching bag and filled it with the minimum amount of air. Rich goes to punch the punching bag, only to pull his hand away, screaming in pain.
Rich doesn’t know it, but Ben is allergic to cactus.
RICH: Neither Ben nor Rich knew that Ben was allergic to cactus and now he is in the hospital. He didn’t realize he was having an allergic reaction until later that night when he started having trouble breathing. When Ben’s wife looked at his hand and arms, she realized that is was swollen and discolored. That’s when she rushed him to the hospital. She called Rich on their way there to ask what kind of cactus he had used to help the doctors better understand the reaction, but they feared it might be too late.
Rich starts to spiral back into the darkness from which Dude, No Way had saved him. He begins to have dark thoughts and decides to go out for a drive. He ends up on top of a cement bridge. His phone vibrates – it’s a text from Ben’s wife – they don’t think he’s going to make it. Rich puts his phone in his pocket and takes a deep breath as he stares down into the abyss.
Perspective switches to Ben who is having a blast pranking Rich with his fake allergic reaction joke. He reveals how he came up with the plan and how he convinced his wife to be a part of it. She just sent Rich a text that his prognosis doesn’t look good – they aren’t sure if he’s going to make it through the night. Rich doesn’t respond, so Ben decides to go to his house. Though it’s just before midnight, Rich isn’t home. Ben calls, but he doesn’t answer, so he leaves a message.
“Hey buddy, I’m at your place. Made a full recovery! Where are ya, man? It’s late!”