As far as writing went, 42 year-old John Dunham had gone as far as he could go as a screenwriter. He had won countless local and State awards. He was divorced 14 years earlier and had lived alone ever since. He bothered nobody & nobody bothered him. He could choose when & what he wrote. He was quite content with his lot.
This changed when he received a letter one day. He had been nominated for Best Screenwriter by The Writers Academy. It was for the Movie ‘Ten Fingers’ which was a blockbuster. He’d written global blockbusters before but received no mention. This didn’t phase John. He was a cool customer. Combined with this, some people (who hadn’t met him) thought he was arrogant. He wasn’t. He liked deep conversation & had a sharp but dry sense of humour. He rarely smiled.
The letter advised him of his nomination and included a confidentiality clause. He signed and posted the clause that day. The awards weren’t for a month. 2 weeks before the awards John told his parents & invited them to the awards. They were both delighted at the news & the invitation.
A week out from the awards he received a call from a man called Joe. He had a deep voice & advised John that he was his driver & personal assistant (P.A. hereafter). He advised John that he would pick John up from his home at 8am the day prior to the awards. From there on in he would be by Johns side except during the ceremony.
On the day, right on 8am, a white stretch limo cruised up to Johns house. John was standing by the door as it knocked with a broad smile. He opened the door and was greeted by a 6 foot four, muscle-bound black man in a suit with a broad smile. He held his hand out and said in his deep voice, “I’m Joe. You must be Mr. Dunham. As Joe almost broke Johns fingers whilst shaking hands, John said, “Call me John.”
John got talking to Joe. It turned out that Joe was ex C.I.A. “I was heading for a burnout buddy. I saw so.me friends burnout so I knew what to look for. I’ve been doing this for 10 years now.”
Johns parents had an early night. John asked Joe if he’d seen the movie he’d written. Joe hadn’t. They went & rented it out. Joe watched it 3 times. “How do you make that stuff up?” John jokingly replied, “I have no idea.” (To an extent he was right).
The Dunhams slept for 12 hours on arriving at their luxury hotel room, waking at 8pm. Joe took them for a drive around the centre of New York. “We can get you fitted out tonight if you want,” said Joe. As the Dunhams were wide awake they decided to do it.
The following day Joe attempted to take the Dunhams for a walk but turned back when John began to be recognised. They headed back to their hotel.
When it came award time, Joe dropped the Dunhams off at the head of the red carpet. As they moved inside the camera flashes irritated Johns eyes so he donned his Ray Bans & tried to hide behind his Mum. His Mum pushed him towards the press, saying, “They’re here for you. Go talk to them, John.” John went over to where the press were and answered the rabble as best as he could whilst gradually moving along.
Once seated there were cameras and stars everywhere. John wasn’t phased. When his category came out the winner was announced. “The winner is….John Dunham.” John casually made his way to the stage & smiled as he accepted the award. He gave a minimalist but wry speech & received a standing ovation.
John was escorted where a host of journalists were mingling. On seeing John they all made their way towards him making him feel rather crowded. He out his Ray Bans on again as the cameras began flashing. He answered questions as quickly & politely as possibly. He noticed a short, plump lady standing amidst the crowd. She appeared to be biding her time. This impressed John.
John made his way towards her but she kept being jostled aside. Although John was annoyed by this as he continued to answer questions he was impressed by the way she maintained her cool & composure.
After about an hour & after his parents had arrived backstage John finally got close enough to the lady. he was taken by her beautiful face. He said to her, “Can I help you?” She handed him her business card. It read ‘Cheryl Hanson. Journalist.’ It also had a phone number & email address. She introduced herself & said, “I’d like to interview you Mr. Dunham.” John replied, “Please call me John….but I fly out tomorrow.” Cheryl calmly replied, “That’s not an issue.” John, trying to contain his excitements, said, “Well certainly….if distance isn’t an issue.” Cheryl replied, “It isn’t. Would you mind calling me tomorrow before you leave?” John said, “It would be my pleasure Cheryl.”
John called Cheryl the following morning.