One morning my wife mentioned she’d had the oddest dream the night before. “There was this boy and for some reason, he was talking and acting like John Wayne… How weird is that?”
I agreed… very strange. She’s not one to have wild dreams and flights of imaginative fancy. But I believe that sometimes things you dream, or hear about and envision, are seeds planted. They can become a burr under your saddle (had to say that, given the subject). And so it was with what my wife told me about her dream. It stuck in my head and I added it to my idea book. In spare moments (I have a pretty heavy writing schedule of commitments so have to queue things) I noodled about how to construct the story and made my story notes; creating my outline and some scene drafts.
Following is a blurb about the story:
Jacob Wicek is 15 years old and it seems for nine of them, since he had entered first grade, he’d been, at best ignored by other students and at worst bullied mercilessly. What makes matters even lousier is that his father and mother, who are divorced, are no help. Life had run roughshod over them, too. Their world centered on just getting by with a “what can we do… it’s not our fault, attitude.” A victim’s mentality they’d passed on to Jacob.
One day, the pack was particularly rabid, and he was on the run. A race many times (most times) he lost and a few times, he’d won—a clean getaway. This was another losing day—the worst one. Cutting through traffic, Jacob is hit by a car; slamming him and his bike to the side of the street, Jacob cartwheels in the air and slams down hard.
At the hospital, doctors tell Jacob’s mother he is in unconscious but stable. His divorced parents are under-insured and certainly can’t miss work to be with him–so Jacob’s grandfather (his mom’s father, ‘Eddard’—not Edward—who’s more than a little odd) comes to the hospital to stay with him. The grandfather brings with him his entire collection of John Wayne DVDs and day-in, day-out watches them with Jacob, even when he was unconscious or sleeping–it was a steady diet, almost 24/7. Jacob wakes up a week later.
What happens to Jacob, when he comes home from the hospital, is extraordinary. His life, and that of his parents, is never the same again.
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