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Adam's Novel

Adam’s Novel

Copyright 2015 Joseph Barone

Published by Joseph Barone at Smashwords

 

 

 

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ACT I

Scene 1

Adam Ferro, 31 is having a session with his female psychologist, Dr. Melanie, 32. They begin in the middle of the session. He’s sitting across from her on a comfortable yellow couch. Dr. Melanie looks speechless. The lights slowly come on from the darkness.

ADAM:

So…what do you think, Dr. Melanie?

DR MELANIE:

I...I really don't know what to say, Adam. First off, I am very very sorry to hear about the diagnosis. Just from a personal standpoint, I've known you for a few years and I feel for you. My heart is breaking for you- I can only imagine what you're going through.

ADAM:

Yeah. Thank you. To be honest, maybe I'm just stunned or something, but I feel numb about it. It doesn't feel like I have cancer at all. The oncologist said I'm not symptomatic, and it's small anyway. There's a 95% chance of remission. I don't care whether you're good at math or not- those are good odds. So it feels like not a big deal. You said "first of all." Was there a "second of all?"

DR. MELANIE:

Well yeah. Like I said, I’ve known you for years. Not to mention that I knew you as a kid. Not well, but still, I knew you. Call me Melanie, not Doctor Melanie.

ADAM:

I keep forgetting to drop the act. I know you do tell me that a lot. But I can’t help being a salesman. It’s my job. If I can’t shmooze you, I can’t interact with you at all.

DR. MELANIE:

It’s all a put-on, huh?

ADAM:

Yeah. I’m like a parrot or a robot. Or Pinocchio. When will I be a real boy, Melanie?

DR. MELANIE:

Well, I’m well aware of your fear of missing out on life, going too much on autopilot, not mattering to anyone. Being “flimsy”, I think you called it in one session.

ADAM:

Yeah. That’s right. That particular fear, though. That’s the central keystone of my personality. That fear of going through life like a ghost, not really being present…that’s “me”. You can’t describe me without describing my fear of not mattering.

DR. MELANIE:

And yet you’ve been dating a beautiful girl with great personality and sense of humor for the past five months. Ashley, right? Either she needs glasses or a seeing eye-dog, but she doesn’t seem to look right through you like a ghost. She seems to love the hell out of you.

 

ADAM:

It would seem so, huh? I just don’t get it. That’s another fear I have.

DR. MELANIE:

Losing her?

ADAM:

No, actually. Or, not just losing her. More than that. Losing her because she finally figures me out and doesn’t like what she sees. I’m afraid she’ll see me for the incomplete puzzle that I am and be completely turned off. Hating me for me.

 

DR. MELANIE:

Look, I’m a doctor and I’ve been doing this a while, Adam. And it’s the people with the deepest…loathing of themselves that seem to be the brightest, most interesting people. You’re like an unlit beacon with a lot of kindling. If you got the damn thing to light, you’d be as bright as the sun. But as it goes, you’re too afraid to show up to the party and dance.

 

ADAM:

[Pause] Well, thank you. We’ve only been together for five months though. I’m not sure that I want to tell her about the cancer yet until I get better.

DR. MELANIE:

You’ve scheduled a date for the surgery?

ADAM:

In about two weeks. They’re going to keep me there for surgery and then radiation and chemo to make sure they got everything.

 

DR. MELANIE:

Are you working at the sales office until the surgery?

ADAM:

Actually, no. I’m off from work starting this evening. I’m taking my disability. My company’s really good with taking care of us like that.

DR. MELANIE:

[Smiles] So, this is the perfect opportunity to help make yourself more real. All great people in history had something major to overcome. They were ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. [She pushes him in a friendly way] And you’re an extraordinary person to begin with.

ADAM:

Again, thank you Melanie for your kind words. But how am I supposed to “make the best of things” in these few weeks?

DR. MELANIE:

Live for once. You want to be real, be solid- then DO something. You've been going on and on about how, if you had all the time in the world, you'd be a fiction writer. That's your calling. Well, this is the perfect chance to do that. You're off for two whole weeks, and that's plenty of time to get started. It's also very therapeutic to get a narrative going, especially while you're going through something difficult. Write about...well, write about you.

 

ADAM:

[Laughs] I am not my favorite subject. You know that.

DR. MELANIE:

Well, write about anything and anyone. You won't be able to help it. No writer can really help it. It's all about you at any rate. The plot, no matter how different you think it is, will be about your life. The characters, all of them, are all you- the strong ones, weak ones, happy, sad ones, they're you. It's the happy curse of being an author. Writing is escapism, but you can't escape yourself. Your subconscious comes out through your narrative.

ADAM:

Well, I'll take it under very strong advisement, Melanie. Yeah, I think you're right. Sometimes it takes a brush with death to feel alive, to figure out what you want to do, and just do it. Hey by the way- what do you remember about me as a kid? For me it's all a blur, that time in my life.

DR. MELANIE:

I started school a little late because of my birthday, so I was always one year older than everybody. But I remember you distinctly when we were kids. Maybe it’s because I was older that I remember kindergarten pretty clearly. I remember you had a small weenie.

ADAM:

What?

 

DR. MELANIE:

Haha. And you used to show it to everybody. You'd ask if they wanted to see it and before anyone knew, your pants were down to your ankles. Oh! That always happens- time's up, buddy. So, will you take my recommendation and just start writing when you go home?

ADAM:

Mayb-- you know what? Yes. None of this wishy-washy maybe stuff. Yes I will. But I have to swing by my aunt's house first. She's been sick. Her kidneys aren't the greatest and she's got diabetes.

DR. MELANIE:

She deserves your company for sure, Adam. She was always wonderful to you.

ADAM:

My favorite family member by far. She’s the one who made me want to be a writer. Thanks, Melanie. I’ll be back same time next week.

DR. MELANIE:

I’ll count on it. Unless you’re working on the 200th page of your book, of course.

The lights slowly dim again to black.

Scene 2

The lights come back on slowly. Adam is by his aunt’s bedside, seated and holding her hand. She is a strong woman in spirit, though weak in body. Adam is obviously saddened by what he sees.

ADAM:

I’m sorry I haven’t come by, Aunt Jeanie. I’ve been very busy with some things and—

AUNT JEANIE:

And you don’t like seeing me like this. It’s alright, Adam, you can say it. I’m not fun to look at. It’s hard for you, hard for anybody, to see someone you love withering away. How do you think I feel? I love myself a whole hell of a lot.

ADAM:

And I love you too. You know that.

 

 

AUNT JEANIE:

And I’m not mad that you haven’t come. I’m telling you, it wouldn’t be fun for me either if the roles were reversed, heaven forbid.

ADAM:

But you would have come regardless.

AUNT JEANIE:

You’ve got to stop doing that to yourself. You’re a different person. And you’re here now. Back then doesn’t matter. Now matters, now always matters. People wind up having things to regret because they’re in too many different times all at once. Thinking about the past or the future. Now, you’re here with me, paying me attention, giving me company, what more could I ever ask for, love bug?

ADAM:

I know what I can ask for. That you get better, and fast. There’s a lot to see and do out here in this life. I’m dating a nice girl, you know. She’s gorgeous and sweet. She might be the one, if there is one. She’s lasted longer than most so far.

AUNT JEANIE:

Oh that’s great, honey. That really is wonderful, you deserve to be with someone amazing, who will treat you right, and who you can grow old with. Not many people are that lucky, but I’m thankful I was. Your Uncle Steve is sleeping on the couch right now probably. He takes care of me all day and gets exhausted by six. But he checks in on me.

 

ADAM:

Maybe when you get better, you can meet her and we can go out to a musical or something. All four of us.

AUNT JEANIE:

That would be fantastic. If only. No, honey, I’m not sure you understand, sweetheart. Chances are that I’m not going to get any better. These things don’t have good outcomes typically. My body could start shutting down any time. Believe me, people say positive attitudes make positive outcomes and I’ve been so positive I could probably light up Times Square with the good vibes I’ve been sending out. But I’m a realist, too. [She shrugs]

ADAM:

Well, I’ll give you a reason to be positive. You need to be positive because I need you to. You have to do it for me.

AUNT JEANIE:

That’s a bit selfish, isn’t it?

ADAM:

I have cancer. It’s melanoma, highly treatable, but it’s in a weird place, close to lymph nodes. So in two weeks, I’m getting surgery, and then I’m going to get radiation and chemo after I recover in the hospital. I need you and Uncle Steve to be there to cheer me up. It gets lonely in hospitals, you know.

AUNT JEANIE:

I'll do my best, Adam, I really will. I've been moving around as best I can, but lately that hasn't been much. But don't get your hopes too high that I'll be there. I will exercise like the therapist told me to do, and maybe with help, I'll be there when you get out of surgery. This is all very scary, Adam, what's happening to you and what's happening to me. I don't want you to imagine that if things go wrong- for either of us, that it was because we weren't "positive enough", whatever that means.

 

ADAM:

No, Aunt Jeanie, not at all. I just want you to try, though. Okay?

 

AUNT JEANIE:

Alright. Adam?

ADAM:

Yes?

AUNT JEANIE:

I’m so sorry you have to go through this so young. I’m going to pray the rosary every day for you. And you should pray too, you know. And go to church now more than ever.

ADAM:

How about we pray for each other? I’ll pray for you and you pray for me?

AUNT JEANIE:

That sounds good, Adam. Really good. You’ll have to forgive me, I’m just getting really tired right now. Being sick really tires you out. Will you come by again before your stay at the hospital?

ADAM:

Yes Aunt Jeanie, you can count on it. I’ll go now. I won’t wake Uncle Steve. Just tell him I was here.

AUNT JEANIE:

I will.

ADAM:

I love you.

AUNT JEANIE:

I love you too.

 

The lights dim to black.

Scene 3

As the lights come back on, the audience sees a “split screen”. On the left is Adam’s bedroom replete with writing desk, and on the right is Ashley’s bedroom. Adam looks like he just got home and is getting ready for bed. Ashley is also getting ready for bed and decides to call Adam.

The phone rings.

ADAM:

Hello?

ASHLEY:

Hello, love bug. I was just getting ready for bed and decided to call you to say hello. How are you doing?

 

 

ADAM:

Hey there baby. I’m doing fine I guess. I’m getting ready for bed too. I’m just getting back from my Aunt Jeanie’s house now.

ASHLEY:

Your Aunt Jeanie? You know, Adam, you don't ever talk about your family- tell me about her. How's your aunt doing?

ADAM:

Well, first off, she's not my actual aunt. She's actually my adopted mother- I was in the foster system for a few years really young and I was finally adopted when I was like, 5. She's been the only mom I've ever known, but for some reason, she made me call her Aunt Jeanie. I know it's a lot of honesty all at once, but, I figure why lie about myself? Especially to you.

 

ASHLEY:

Oh wow, you poor baby. I never even knew that at all- how many people know about it? Do your friends know?

ADAM:

Well, I don’t have a lot of friends. That’s one reason you haven’t met them yet.

 

ASHLEY:

So I’m the first person you ever told, that you were adopted?

ADAM:

Well, no. There was this one girl in high school that I told, hoping for her to go out with me out of pity. But it didn’t work, she didn’t like me. We were just friends. Pity never works.

ASHLEY:[UNBUTTONS TWO BUTTONS OF HER BLOUSE]

No, pity never works. Well, I was actually also wondering if you wanted to sleep over tonight. You know, it’s been like a week, and I miss my man in the bedroom.

ADAM:

I would love to so much Ashley. You know that. I just need to be home right now because things are pretty crazy…at work. I need to work on a new sales pitch that’s due tomorrow for a new product. It’s not enough that I sell the stuff, I have to also make up a script for everybody else.

ASHLEY:

Aw, honey. Okay, I understand. You work hard, you really do. I really respect that, it’s endearing. I’m happy that I’m dating a “Something-a-holic” that doesn’t start with alcohol. Let’s reschedule for tomorrow night then? I’ll make you a special dinner.

ADAM:

A special dinner you say? What’s the occasion?

ASHLEY:

There doesn’t have to be an occasion. The best things in life happen just because. It’s a recipe I got from my mom, lemon chicken stew.

ADAM:

It sounds amazing. Sure, count me in honey. I’ll help you make a salad or something.

ASHLEY:

Haha. Good night sweetie, I love you. [She hangs up and her side gets dark]

ADAM:

You what? She hung up. Huh. She loves me. What do you know? I guess I am loveable. Until you get to know me, Ashley. It’s never worked out with anyone, you know. The closer women get to me, the further away they want to be. It’s my rhythm. Maybe I should save you all this trouble and take myself out of your life before you notice me. Maybe I’m boring, or maybe there’s just nothing to me underneath it all. Whatever it is, the one thing I know is that you deserve better.

He looks at his writing desk in deep thought.

ADAM:

Maybe I should do what Dr. Melanie said. I always wanted to write. I was always comfortable in the warm glow of my dreams, as long as they were a far way off. Just knowing I had dreams at all, and figuring that somehow they'd one day come true, that was always enough for me. And now I'm 31. My dreams are just as far away now as they were when I was 16, bright eyed and bushy tailed. But I might die with this damn disease. Sure, it's 95% cureable. But 5% don't make it. And then, it always comes back anyway. My dreams won't come true unless I make them come true. The books won't write themselves! They need an author to breathe life into them! In the spirit of writing therapeutically, I'm going to create a character just like me...or maybe a whole lot better than me. Wish fulfillment. My main character is going to be everything I wish I was- tall, handsome, smart, funny, charming, all that.

Just then, the lights go out, there is smoke on stage. Then the lights begin to strobe and there is a lot of noise. When the smoke clears, what comes into view is a man like Adam describes, except in the buff (he may also be wearing underwear). Adam grabs a blanket and wraps it around him.

ADAM:

And here you are. You’re the embodiment of everything that I wish that I was. Congratulations. I made you pretty bad-ass. You even know karate. I know you’re probably dizzy and getting acclimated to things, so here, sit down.

ADAM 2:

Thank you. Um, dad, I guess.

ADAM:

No, not at all. We don’t have that kind of relationship. It’s not like Frankenstein or anything. You’re me, just…different.

ADAM 2:

But you get to decide everything that happens to me though, right?

ADAM:

Well, yeah. I’m writing your story.

ADAM 2:

Right. Well, I can’t write your story. It’s a power relationship that goes only one way.

ADAM:

That’s not completely true. You can have a say in certain things, of course. I’m not a monster.

ADAM 2:

Can I pick my name?

ADAM:

Oh, I’m sorry man, I already picked a name out for you.

ADAM 2:

Figures. You never let me pick anything out. Okay, what’s my name, Not-Dad?

ADAM:

Call me Adam. Not-Dad sounds creepy. Your name is also going to be Adam. Adam Argento.

ADAM 2:

How’d you come up with that? It sounds ridiculous. I have your same first name but not your last name? Why not just call me “Whacko Junior?”

ADAM:

In stories, the author usually refers to everyone by their first name anyway. You’ll be the only Adam in the story, i promise. It won’t be hard for me to keep it straight. I’m calling you Adam for the same reason a lot of actors use their actual first names in their characters. It’s easier for them to relate to the characters they portray.

ADAM 2:

Why Argento though? It sounds too…ethnic. I don’t feel ethnic at all.

ADAM:

Well it is sort of ethnic. My last name is Ferro, which in Italian, means “iron.” Your last name will be Argento, which in Italian means “silver”. You’re an upgrade, dude. Take the compliment.

 

ADAM 2:

I guess that makes decent sense. But why not call me Adam Gold then?

ADAM:

Because like I said, I’m just starting out. I won’t get it all right, it won’t be “gold” until at least the second or third time around. Besides, gold in Italian is “oro”. And in my head “Adam Oro” just has too many vowels. That’s four vowels and three consonants, actually.

ADAM 2:

Alright. Whatever. What’s going to happen to me in the story?

 

ADAM:

I have a broad idea in my head, but I haven’t fully mapped it out yet. Like I said, it’s wish fulfillment so you’re going to be and do everything I wish I was and did. You start the story off as a highly successful novelist.

ADAM 2:

What books have I written? Can we feature some of my work within the story?

ADAM:

Eh...to the extent that that's possible. Writing a story within a story is extremely difficult. And I'm just starting out you know- I don't quite have the craft down yet.

ADAM 2:

I appreciate your honesty, Adam. But I’m not like that, you know? I’m more of a go-get-‘em, grab the bull by its horns kind of guy.

ADAM:

Yup, that’s by design. You’re welcome.

ADAM 2:

Will I have a love interest? One thing I want- one thing I need, is to be able to pick the girl I wind up with.

ADAM:

Okay, it's a deal. But you don't wind up with the girl until the end. You pursue her throughout the book, and things happen on both sides- you get busy promoting your new novel, and she's a chiropractor who opens up a new place on her own.

ADAM 2:

That’s good. Good for her, good for both of us. But after all our struggles and missed opportunities, we’ll wind up together, right? Like, she’s my soul mate?

ADAM:

That’s the plan, Argento.

ADAM 2:

I want to pick my fairytale woman. That’s one demand I’m making.

ADAM:

Or what, you’ll quit? I’m writing your story, dude. I don’t even need to extend you any courtesies at all. But, yes, you can pick the woman. Here are your choices.

The same flashing-light smoke screen spectacle commences as before, with the lights coming off and then back on. When the lights come back on, there is a row of nude women from which Adam will choose. Alternately, the women may be in their underwear.

ADAM 2:

Now this, is my favorite part.

ADAM:

How would you know what your favorite part is? You were just born.

Adam 2 walks around and inspects the women. The women should look as diverse as possible. He looks them up and down and focuses on what his decision will be. Then he points.

ADAM 2:

Here. She's my favorite of the bunch. There's just something about her- I feel a connection that I can't describe. I need to be with her, she would complete my entire life.

ADAM:

Guess what, Big Decider. I knew you were going to pick her. That was Deborah Estrella. I had a crush on her all throughout school. She went to my elementary school, and my high school and college. I tried a few times with her but could never get her. I crushed on her hard for years. She was firmly on a pedestal.

ADAM 2:

***

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Adam's Novel

Adam Ferro, a young salesman that just learned he has cancer. Under the advice of his therapist, he chooses to take the opportunity to do the number one thing on his bucket list- write a novel. He creates a character also named Adam, who is everything that he is not. He's smooth and smart and great at everything. Great things happen to him. Not so with the real Adam. Both Adams eventually have tragedies punctuate their stories, with a hopeful twinge about "living their remission to the fullest."

  • ISBN: 9781310012297
  • Author: Joseph Barone
  • Published: 2015-09-29 22:05:13
  • Words: 18758
Adam's Novel Adam's Novel