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.
John had been interviewed so many times that he had been asked the same set of questions more than once to the point where he had stopped giving interviews, even for this latest accolade.
This changed when he encountered Cheryl Hanson, a short, plump journalist with the most beautiful face that John had seen handed him a business card, telling him that she wanted to interview him & that distance was no issue. John was actually excited about being interviewed.
John rang Cheryl the next morning as she requested. She asked John when he would like to be interviewed. John hesitantly said, “Next week?” Cheryl replied, “Next week it is. I’ll see you then.” John asked about his address & transport. Cheryl replied, “You don’t need to worry about that. You’re on our database & my car will have GPS.”
John waited impatiently for Cheryl to arrive. On Thursday there was a knock on the door. It was her. She looked even better without sunglasses. She was carrying a large handbag & camera. John invited Cheryl while he made them a coffee.
He sat down an ashtray & said, “I know you don’t mind if I smoke. You smoke yourself.” A surprised Cheryl said, “How did you know that?” John replied, “Firstly you just confirmed it with that statement. Secondly your legs are crossed & you’re elbow is resting on your knee as if smoking & thirdly there are very light nicotine stains on you left smoking fingers.” Cheryl was impressed. “You should be a detective.” John replied, “Detective? That’d mean danger. No thanks.” Cheryl laughed & pulled out a packet of cigarettes & lit one.
John went on to add, “You’re actually ambidextrous. I’ve just noticed pressure points on your right writing fingers and you’re drinking coffee with you’re right hand. “Thank Goodness!” exclaimed Cheryl. A surprised John said, “”What?” Cheryl replied, “It’s so refreshing to interview somebody with a brain. 99% of Hollywood are morons.” John said, “Really? That bad?” Cheryl replied, “If you’re not talking about them then they’re clueless.” John nodded & quietly said, “Thought as much.”
John asked when the interview would start. Cheryl suggested they spend some time getting to know each other. “This is a real scoop, John.” John replied, “So you’re pretty high up then?” Cheryl casually replied, “I’m the best.” John laughed & said, “I like people who know how good they are.” Cheryl replied, “Well I’ve made you laugh & you’re notorious for not laughing……why is that?” John rubbed his chin & paused for a moment before saying, “I find the world a hard place to get by in sometimes & to be honest we have no control. We’re all bound. Bound by other people. Nasty, stupid people.”
Cheryl was taken aback by Johns philosophical outlook on life. “I could interview on philosophy, John. They were deep statements.” John had a puff of his cigarette & said, “You can interview me on whatever you want, m’dear.” As he exhaled their eyes locked. They awkwardly looked away, both of them thinking of something to say. Cheryl piped up, “We could go for a walk around town.” John sarcastically replied, “That’ll take ten minutes…..& It’ll be uplifting too.” Cheryl said, “Come on. Maybe a stranger will put a different angle on things.”
John reluctantly agreed & they spent 30 minutes walking around town. On the way back to Johns place Cheryl said, “I can’t believe nobody recognised you, John.” John replied, “It’s one of those towns. Initially I was ‘popular,’ now I can be just me. Tall poppy syndrome….which suits me fine.”
When they arrived back at Johns Cheryl asked about his family. John said, “I’m an only child….even moreso since the divorce.. We never had children. John quickly moved the subject to his parents for how different they are in personality but how similar they are as far as work ethic goes. “My parents both worked very hard to get me where I am.”
With that Cheryl reached into her handbag & pulled out her digital recorder. “Shall we do this then?