Chapter 1

"Attention, attention!" says the seventy-nine year old grandma in style. The little girl laughs. "Today is January the tenth, the birthday of my beloved granddaughter Sarah. Blow out the candles and make a wish, sweetheart." The pretty little blonde-haired blue-eyed nine-year-old girl smiles and blows all the candles out. "What did you wish for, Sarah?"

"I can't tell you, Nana, or it won't come true."


"Just get it done. I don't understand the problem. I wrote the novel. Somebody wants to turn that novel into a movie and all I want is a say in how the movie is done. Is that so much to ask for? If you can't do that what the hell am I paying you for?"

"Alright, alright, Christopher, I'm working on it. Their concern is you have no experience in the movie field."

"I'm a successful author with ten novels to my credit. Two of them are best sellers. I served my country in war. If they don't trust me enough to let me have an input into turning one of my novels into a movie, then why should I trust them to do justice to my novel? It's go time, Cathy. It's time to show our worth."

On the other end of the phone Christopher's literary agent Cathy Herrington sighs and says, "Don't worry, I'll get it done."

"Good girl, now that is what I like to hear." he says it in a near condescending tone of voice. Without saying goodbye he slams his phone down and says, "Jesus Christ, I don't understand what the f•©king problem is."

His success has made him arrogant. His withdrawn loner persona has made him mean and surely. He is a six-foot two hundred pound thirty-five-year old man with short brown hair and brown eyes who has pretty much alienated everybody who once cared enough to get to know the successful writer and Army Ranger veteran. His body is still muscular from his Special Forces days, but his honor has been put aside for fame and fortune.

Cathy Herrington, of the Herrington and Smith Literary Agency, is a five foot four inch one hundred and twenty pound pretty and fit sweetheart with medium long brunette hair and hazel eyes who is thirty-two years old and has recently been thinking that she is too old to be taking crap from a writer that everybody else has written off. Though, that doesn't stop his books from selling, but it doesn't make for much of a social life.

Christopher likes his old style looking phone. It looks like a phone from the twenties, but it is a cordless handset. He likes that kind of phone because of the nostalgia of it, and he can be dramatic when slamming it down and it makes him feel better when he does it.

Christopher is in his multi-million dollar home in the Hollywood Hills wearing his plain brown pajamas with an olive drab tee shirt on that says US Army Rangers. After he hangs up with Cathy he picks up his rock gut whiskey from the glass-top end table and walks over to the glass wall that overlooks his backyard with the pool in it with the same kind of rock design that is in his den around the fireplace. As he is looking west he is watching the last remnants of the sun disappear beyond the horizon. At least he hasn't become so cynical that he can't see the beauty of a sunset.

Christopher sighs with annoyance and walks over to his early sixties style couch and grabs the remote off of the glass-top living room table. He sits down none-to-gently and throws his legs up on the couch as he twists so he can see the flat screen television that is on the south wall. First he pushes a button that is in a box of buttons that do one thing or another, and he pushes the button that brings the fireplace that is in the east wall to life.

Once he has situated himself he turns the television on and starts channel surfing. He goes to the sports channels first and finds nothing of interest, "Oh God, basketball! Let's see, the Super Bowl isn't for another week." So he goes to the news channel to see how the liberal politicians have screwed his country up this week, and hopefully to get some sports results. He gets the weather and sighs with annoyance as he sees rain is coming on Thursday. He doesn't know why he should be surprised, since it is the middle of January of the year two thousand and twelve and they need the rain.

He turns to one of his favorite movie channels and finds a movie playing that he has always liked, but now that he is about to have one of his books made into a movie all he can do is spot the mistakes they made as he says, "Ah, I can do better than that!" As his annoyance grows he turns the television off and takes a big drink of his whiskey. "Ah, smooth." he says, absolutely sure he could make a better whiskey than that.

As he sits there listening to the sounds of silence, he watches the shadows dancing on the north wall from the fireplace in the east wall and he looks around at his stylish den, and in his mind's eye he can see his expensive secluded home and he wonders why that, even though he has a lot of nice stuff, his life seems empty.

For a moment he regrets the way he talked to Cathy, and then he says out loud to anyone who will listen, "I pay her a lot of money to be at my beck and call, so when I call she can beck, whatever the f•©k that means?" Even though it is early, only six pm, he decides to turn in.

With one final sigh he finishes off his whiskey and gets up. He turns everything off as he goes. Not a single light stays on when he is not up and or around. He grew up in Northern California with a single mom and a two-year-older brother named Alex. He never wants to live like that again, so he has become a little stingy.

If he would just stop and think about it, he would realize maybe they didn't have much money, but they had love and laughter. His mom Martha is living in an old folks trailer park, and he sends her money so he doesn't have to deal with her too often. His brother is always busy with his life and family, but they manage to talk on birthdays and holidays. Their father has long since been gone, and good riddance.

Christopher finally makes his way to the bedroom. The headboard of the king size bed is a wooden piece of art built in the same kind of rock that is around the fireplace and the pool. It is a little chilly, since he doesn't want to turn the heater on too high, so he pulls his blankets high and tight.

He lies there a second staring at the stucco ceiling imagining other worlds and other times. Again he sighs at the fruitlessness of it all, and reaches over and turns off the lamp with the green shade on his black oak nightstand, and two hours later he falls asleep.


He is still in bed when the phone rings at eight o'clock in the morning of the coming Tuesday. He picks up the phone still tired from a shaky night. "Yeah."

"Hi, this is Karen and we are doing a survey on..."

"Son of a bitch!" he says as he slams the phone down and throws the covers off of him. This is not the start to the day he was hoping for.

He gets up and goes to the bathroom. He does not bother closing the door as he pees out the remnant of the whiskey from the night before. He quickly rinses his hands off and then runs them through his short hair. He goes into the kitchen, grabs a box of cheerios and goes and sits down at the glass-top kitchen table with the high-backed cloth chairs that he thinks try too hard to look classy. As he sits there trying to wake up, he eats a couple handfuls of cereal.

The phone rings again and he looks at it as it hangs on the wall, deciding if he really wants to answer it. He ignores it the best he can, but the living room phone's answering machine picks up and Cathy starts to leave a message. "Christopher, good news. I think we finally..."

Christopher grabs the kitchen phone and says, "Yeah, Cathy, I'm here."

"Good news, Christopher. They have decided to hire you as a consultant for the movie. It will take them about a year to get up and running, but I have a contract sitting in my office as we speak. All you have to do is come down and sign it and it's a done deal."

"Oh, Cathy, that is great! Good job, thank you. Uh, I'll be down in about an hour."

"See you then." After they hang up, Cathy has a smile on her pretty face because Christopher can be very sweet when he wants to, or more like when he forgets that he is mad at the world.

Christopher gets dressed in jeans, a tee shirt and a flannel shirt and goes into his garage and fires up his nineteen sixty-seven red Chevelle SS. It rumbles to life and he backs out into his circular gravel driveway. He pulls up to his automatic gate and pushes the button. He is tapping his hands on the steering wheel as he is waiting for it to open. He doesn't remember it being this slow yesterday.

Finally the gate opens. Before he goes, he reaches over and turns on the radio. An old Aerosmith song titled 'Dream On' is playing. Christopher smiles as he pulls out into his entryway driveway as he waits for the gate to shut behind him. With an eagerness that he has not felt in a long time, he pushes in his clutch and slides the gear shifter back into first of the Muncie Rock Crusher transmission. The foliage is so thick on the street up in this part of the Hollywood Hills that you can rarely see other homes. Christopher smiles as he smashes the throttle and pops the clutch, as his beautiful hotrod Chevrolet greets the morning with squealing tires and billowing smoke.

The rumble brings back wonderful memories as he and his few friends grew up idolizing American muscle cars. Between that and his Harley, it is about the only fun he gets out of life anymore. He makes his way to Hollywood prime on Rodeo Drive and pulls into the parking lot that is on the side of Cathy's literary agency.

He walks into the office and is once again greeted by a darling office girl named Elizabeth, with blonde hair and blue eyes, who always shares a pleasant smile with him, and who almost always has a cute mini skirt outfit on. "Good morning, Elizabeth."

"Good morning, Christopher. I will let Cathy know you are here."

"Thank you, darling."

After the beep Cathy says, "Yes."

"Christopher is here and he is actually smiling." Christopher gives her a crooked smile.

Cathy comes out in a black knee length a-line skirt and a white blouse, with her hair made up all so prettily in a bun in the back and the sides hanging free. "Well, you made good time."

"Yeah, I was doing real good until I got down into the city. Alright, let's hear what you got." As he is walking into Cathy's office Elizabeth watches him go in his jeans.

"Well, beyond the deal of buying the rights to your book to be made into a movie, they are going to pay you scale wages as a consultant. They are..."

"That's okay. I trust you, and plus I actually don't care about the money. I just want to make sure my book is turned into a movie of quality. Thank you so much." Christopher walks over and hugs her.

As the hug lingers, Cathy starts getting comfortable and rests her head on his shoulder with a smile. After the hug breaks, Christopher sits down in the fancy reddish leather high-backed chair with the fancy gold buttons, and Cathy goes and sits behind her elegant redwood desk in a chair of the same style.

"It's good to you smiling again, Christopher."

"Ah, Cathy, I know I'm an asshole sometimes. You bust your cute little tush for me day-in and day-out, and I show very little gratitude. The truth is, Cathy, I'm getting kind of tired of my bullshit myself. Do you know how they are going to work the screenplay write up and the subsequent rewrites?"

"As far as I know, they will do the initial screenplay and then they will send you a copy for you to go over and give your ideas, and then you guys will go back and forth until they are ready to start filming, and then they will want you on set when they begin."

"You said it is going to be about a year before they begin?"

"Somewhere around there, why?"

"So I guess it won't matter where they send it to?"

"They will send it to me and I'll send it to you. Why, what's up?"

"I've been feeling like I need to get away. Take some time away from the rat race and see if I can find some peace and relaxation. Last Tuesday it just hit me."

"I think that is a wonderful idea." Cathy has a beautiful heart, and she hopes the best for him.

"I just bought a fixer upper in Connecticut, and I was thinking about going out there and spending the year fixing the place up. You know, get my hands dirty and make a little money on top of it."

"You can remodel a house?"

"Oh, Cathy, I love to work with my hands, but writing and the subsequent signing shows and social engagements have kept me pretty busy."

"Which you hate."

"Which I hate." smiles Christopher, liking the fact that Cathy knows her client could live without the social part of being a successful writer.

"I think it is a wonderful idea. Get some of that cold Connecticut air and come back refreshed and ready to go. Let me know where you are, and I'll keep you updated and get those writings off to you as soon as I get them."

Christopher stands up and waits for Cathy to stand up. Christopher walks over to Cathy, and with his left hand he pushes her hair out of the way so he can kiss her right cheek. "Thank you for your hard work, and thank you for putting up with my bullshit." and then he hugs her again.

As Cathy and Elizabeth watch him walk out of the office, Cathy smiles with wonder in her eyes. Cathy turns to the blonde-haired blue-eyed Elizabeth and says "Wow! Okay, who's next?"

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