“Not That Big of a Stretch,” by Becky Cardwell

Dec 20th, 2010 | By | Category: Prose

“Stretch Armstrong is a character I have wanted to see on screen for a long time… It’s a story about a guy stretching… the limits of what is possible to become all that he can be.”

-Brian Gazer, Producer


I just wanted to thank-you again for auditioning me in your upcoming sure-to-be-a-Blockbuster hit, Stretch Armstrong.

I don’t want to jump the gun or anything, but I think you’ll agree that besides a few minor hiccups, it went perfectly. I feel like I was born to play “Guy Sitting Next to Stretch Armstrong in the Diner”. The character just comes so naturally to me, it’s like I’m not even acting, I’m actually that guy, sitting at the diner beside Stretch Armstrong. And the stand-in and I had some real chemistry going, wouldn’t you agree? I could tell he was really feeding off my positive energy.

Now, before I go, I thought I’d share a few ideas I had, ways to make the guy in the diner seem less one-dimensional.  Granted, seeing as his only line is “Are you going to eat that?” it’s not like he has enough screen time to develop too many dimensions, but still. I was thinking that  instead of the diner guy asking Stretch “Are you going to eat that?” he could somehow already know that he was. Like he has some kind of superpower that tells him these things. Nothing big like being able to stretch, mind you. Stretch is the star here, so obviously the most important superpower  should go to him. But maybe he could have, like, a sixth-sense. Or really strong hunches, even. 

I was also thinking that rather than sitting on the stool, he could be hovering over it. Not super high or anything, just enough so that Stretch has to stretch his neck to hear him. That way both of us can show off our superpowers at the same time. Kind of like a one-two-punch kind of deal. Then, just to lighten the mood a little, I could say something like “Nice stretch, Stretch!” You know, just for comic relief. 

Speaking of Stretch, don’t you think it’s a little weird for him to be wearing swimming trunks when everyone else is dressed in regular street clothes? I mean, sure it’s summer and all, but given that most diners have a strict “No Shoes, No Shirt No Service” policy I find it hard to believe they’d let a half-naked guy inside, even if he was a Superhero. 

Maybe you could put him in a loose-fitting turtleneck and denim overalls. Or, better yet, what if the scene took place at the beach?  That way I could be wearing a pair of swim trunks too. You guys take care of personal trainers and chefs and all that, right? Not that I’m out of shape or anything, but given that the camera adds ten pounds, a little toning definitely wouldn’t hurt.  

Now, here’s the thing. If diner guy is going to be at the beach, we can’t really go around calling him “Diner Guy,” now can we?  How about instead of being diner guy, he could be Stretch’s cool-ass surfer cousin from California. Or his brother. Not his evil brother Wretch, but his other brother, the one that nobody knows about because he was put up for adoption. No, wait, I know! He’s actually Stretch’s twin brother, but he was stolen at birth and the Nurses told their mother that only one of her kids survived. He could be like the brooding artist type, and you could call him “Etch A Sketch”. Etch a Sketch Armstrong, the forensic sketch artist who helps Sketch catch the bad guys by drawing kickass pictures of the perps. 

Or, if you don’t think that’s believable–which doesn’t make sense seeing as nobody would believe a guy could stretch like that in the first place but whatever it’s your movie–what if his name was Ketch Armstrong? He could be Sketch’s sidekick, the two-masted sailing vessel who avenges Stretch’s death after his arch nemesis evil brother Wretch brutally stabs him with a number two HB pencil in the opening scene. Huzzah! 

I realize that part isn’t in the script, but we have to face facts here. If we don’t get rid of Stretch right away, there’s really no sense introducing Etch a Sketch, or even Ketch for that matter. And besides, if we kill him off just after the opening credits, it will distract the audience noticing that his dog Fetch isn’t around. Not that I don’t like dogs or anything, I’m just allergic to dog hair. 

So, yeah, you might want to go over these changes with the producers and when you figure out which direction you want diner guy to go, let me know. Oh, and remember look into the trainer and personal chef dude too. Don’t worry about getting me a trailer, seeing as Sketch isn’t going to be in it much, I’ll just use his. 

Anyway, you have my Hotmail, Yahoo, and Gmail addresses, as well as my cell number and the direct line to the Dominos Pizza I’m working at until my acting career gets going.  And if you call me at work and I’m not there, just tell Hal to look out back, I’m probably just on a smoke break.


Becky Cardwell’s writing has appeared in McSweeney’s, Defenestration, The Rumpus, The Big Jewel, Hobo Pancakes, HumorPress, On a Junket Travel, and Wanderlust and Lipstick Travel, among others. She currently lives in Vancouver, Canada, where she’s hard at work on her first novel, provisionally titled The Laboriousness of Writing a First Novel. You can find her at www.justmakingconvo.com.

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