This is Mr. McIntyre (pronounced as Mac-in-tire). Mr. McIntyre is a director. Right now, as you see, he’s sitting in his office with a notepad and pen and really shouldn’t be distracted at all. He’d even told his assistant not to call him or knock on his door for the rest of the day because he was working on a very important project. The only thing he asked him to do was give him some hot chocolate—Mr. McIntyre’s favorite drink.
If you were to look at his face right now, it would be obvious to you that he was stressed. The reason, you see, is that he’s focusing on which actors to star in his new movie, and when you’re a famous director who’s looking for actors to star in their movie, and are like Mr. McIntyre, you might very stressed.
And when you get very stressed, you decide to take a break. But when you take a break, you realize that merely taking a break isn’t enough. And when you realize that taking a break isn’t enough, you call your assistant on the phone and ask him to bring you some hot chocolate.
And while you sit there waiting for your hot chocolate to arrive, you start to get impatient because you hate waiting and cannot stand it. And when you are impatient, you start to get even more frustrated than you were before. And Mr. McIntyre becomes furious whenever he’s frustrated.
Someone knocks on the door.
“Come in!” he answers.
A man wearing a suit and glasses walks in. This is Mr. McIntyre’s favorite assistant, Billy. He is also his only assistant.
“I-I got the hot chocolate you wanted.” His voice shakes as well as his hands, the liquid nearly spilling all over the floor.
Without a single look, Mr. McIntyre said, “Set it on the table.”
Billy obeys, but his stomach drops at the sight of Mr. McIntyre’s face.
Is Mr. McIntyre upset? No. That can’t be. Everything on the to-do list he’d assigned for him to do yesterday are checked off. He surely hadn’t done anything wrong this time.
A flash of an image comes to mind: countless piles of dishes sat on the counters of the kitchen. The ones he forgot to clean the other night.
Darn it, Billy, you’re such an idiot! Are you trying to get yourself fired?
Mr. McIntyre picked up his cup of half-sweetened hot chocolate before turning in his chair towards the window behind him, the harsh 8 a.m. rays hitting his face.
At this point, he would say, “Good morning, Billy,” or “Did you start with the to-do list yet?”
That must be the reason why he told him not to bother him that day. Maybe it’s the silent treatment. Well, the only thing he can do now is own up to the mistake he made and fix the problem.
Billy takes a deep breath and asks the question he always asks whenever his boss seems upset. “Is there something wrong, Sir—?”
Billy jumps and nearly knocks his glasses off.
The familiar life-threatening expression returns to his boss’s face. “How many times do I have to tell you not to interrupt me while I’m having my hot chocolate?”
Oh, yes. The countless times he’s warned him not to speak had slipped his mind.
“I-I’m terribly sorry, Sir. I promise it won’t happen again.”
He proceeds to drink his hot chocolate, the room silent. Billy stands without a word and does nothing but give awkward, unintentional glances at his boss. One thing he learned is that it’s quite uncomfortable to stand in a room in silence with your boss because apparently he’s forgotten to give you permission to leave, which leaves you hesitant and afraid that if you do leave, it will cause your boss to yell at you for an hour about how you weren’t supposed to leave without his permission, like the last time. He tries his best to look at anything but his boss, who sipped his drink very loudly. Clearly he enjoyed the relaxation after all the stress.
After about a minute, he turned around and set the empty cup on the table. “Now. You were saying?”
Caught off guard, Billy grasps through memory for what he wanted to say. “I… I wanted to ask if everything was alright, Sir.”
Mr. McIntyre sighed, that upset look on his face once again. “No, Billy. Everything is not okay.”
“I can’t find anyone to star in my movie. No one showed up to the auditions because they thought it was going to be like the last one.” He sighs. “Maybe it’s time I move on to different project.”
“But you can’t, Sir. You’ve worked so hard on this movie.”
Convinced he’d found the solution for his boss’s problem, he said, “Why don’t you try casting someone different?”
He looked up. “What do you mean?”
“Well, when I went on a trip to the grocery store the other day, I passed by the orphanage and saw something. It was an acting school for gifted students with a sign that said, ‘Free Casting,’ and the moment I saw it I thought it would be great to—”
“Billy, that’s the only amazing idea you’re ever come up with in your sad, boring life!” The look that appeared whenever he had a hit idea was revived once again.
“What? But I didn’t get to the idea yet.”
“Say no more, Billy.” He stands. “Your idea is perfect.”
What is he talking about?
“We’re gonna go to that place and use the orphans to star in the movie!”
Billy held back his laugh. “What? I think you misunderstood what I was trying to say—”
He heads towards the door. “Everyone’s going to love it! Once we get orphans to be in this movie, it’s going to be the best one yet!”
“But that sounds like a terrible idea.”
Doorknob in one hand, hat in the other, Mr. McIntyre said, “Billy, grab my jacket. We’re going to that orphanage right now!”
The man did as he said. He went straight to the orphanage without hesitation. Because when your boring, good-for-nothing assistant finally gives you a mildly interesting idea, you get overly excited. Especially if that idea involves going to an orphanage in hopes of getting one of the kids to star in your movie.
Or was his idea something completely different? Oh well, he didn’t care.
Mr. McIntyre knocks on the doors of the orphanage. The door opens to a young boy who stared up at them as though they wore clown suits and had arrived at the wrong place for a party.
“Who’s in charge here?” Mr. McIntyre asks.
“Mr. Garfield is,” the boy said, a skeptical look on his face.
The man asks, the name odd-sounding, “So where is this… ‘Mr. Garfield?’”
“I’m right here. Is there anything you want?” A man appeared from behind the boy.
The director smiles. “I wanted to speak to you about something.”
The boy watched them as Mr. Garfield led the men to the office.
Mr. Garfield motions to the chair for the man to sit in before sitting in front of him. “Have a seat.”
“Now, is there anything you wanted to talk about, Mr…?”
“Mr. McIntyre. Sullivan McIntyre. One of the world’s most famous film directors.”
“Okay, then.” Mr. Garfield wasn’t quite interested in that kind of stuff.
“Now, I happened to walk by your orphanage and couldn’t help but notice how your orphans have an amazing talent in acting. So my assistant and I decided to come over here and ask if you would be willing to take the offer of letting your orphans star in my biggest movie.”
A few seconds of silence passed by in the room. The look on Mr. Garfield’s face showed the poor man had no idea or interest in what this director was talking about. From the looks of it, Mr. McIntyre thought he probably didn’t even watch movies to begin with. “Well, I’m not really sure about—”
“Picture this: your orphans are going to be known as ‘the famous orphans who turned from living in an orphanage to living the dream’. They’ll be so famous everyone will be paying lots of money just to see them star in one of my movies.”
He closes his eyes in annoyance and shakes his head. “Mr. McIntyre, I’m sorry, but these kids will not be taken advantage of like that. I’m going to have to turn down that ridiculous offer.”
“Why not? This might give these orphans a chance to have what most kids are only wishing they had!”
“I don’t like the way you’re using the word ‘orphan’. You’re using it like it’s a tool for advertisement. They’re not just orphans; they’re real children with unique personalities.”
“Come on! Don’t you want to shed a little light on their lives?”
He frowned. “These children are perfectly happy the way they are. Unlike you, they don’t need any sort of money or fame to have a good life. If you want to give them any money, the least you can do is donate. You can leave now. The door is right behind you.”
Mr. McIntyre stared at him with a look on his his face where, if you were in Mr. Garfield’s place, you would know exactly how he was feeling. He was angry. The flames of his eyes burn sharp, his face red.
For a moment, Mr. Garfield thought he was going to hit him, or even worse—strangle him.
But no. All he does is place the hat on his head and turns to leave before he left him with words he made sure to utter very carefully. “You’re going to regret this decision very soon, Mr. Garfield. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
The door slams shut.
Once they’re outside and far enough from the orphanage for no one to hear, he says, “Darn it! I can’t believe how he just turned down the offer like that!”
Billy asks, “What are we going to do now, Sir? Are we going to carry out my original plan—”
“Don’t worry, Billy,” he said with a smile on his face. “I have a better plan.”
Caiden steps out of the bus, chatting with his friend Timothy about how he almost forgot to do his homework when he nearly bumped into someone. Because obviously, when you’re too busy having a conversation with your friend, you don’t really pay attention to your surroundings.
He looks up.
Standing over him is a tall man with a mustache who wore a black suit and a black hat. Another man (who seemed to be his assistant or something) stood right beside him.
The man merely smiles at him, the smile (for a reason he couldn’t quite put his finger on) ringing a bell of the feeling of an “I will take over your orphanage and turn it into a storage place for one of my companies because that’s what I’m planning on doing” for some odd reason.
His friend stares at him, clearly hesitant to ask, “Do you know him or something?”
Caiden turns to his friend. “Sorry, Timmy. I’ll catch up with you later.”
Timothy leaves while he looks at them strangely, but doesn’t question his friend. Because when you see a tall man wearing all black and standing beside someone who is probably their assistant, and by the looks of it wanted to have a very important conversation with your friend, you don’t usually want an explanation for something like that.
When his friend is out of ear-shot, Caiden speaks. “Don’t try to pull nay tricks on me. I already know what you’re up to.”
The man lets out laugh that was close to “mwahaha” kind of laugh. “Looks like you’ve already heard of me, little boy.”
“Yes, I have.” Caiden starts to walk away. “And whatever you do, you’re not going to trick me. I’m not acting in any of your stupid movies. Not after your last one.”
He continued as if Caiden hadn’t spoken at all. “I heard you love to illustrate.”
How does he know that? Did he spy on him? Well, knowing he would do anything to get what he wanted, he most likely made one of his assistants find out for him. He awkwardly crosses his arms. “Yes… I do.”
“Well, I just wanted to let you know that if you maybe wanted to act for me, I might help you become a professional illustrator. All I have to do is call up one of my professional artists and tell them to look at some of your drawings… Who knows? Maybe one day they can put one of your works in an art gallery.”
Caiden stops in his tracks. What if he does accept the offer?
Caiden imagines how it would be to stand in front of one of his biggest art pieces, everyone snapping pictures of him while he stands beside the interviewer who would ask him, “So, Caiden. How did you come up with the idea for this amazing painting?” to which he would answer with, “Well, it came to me pretty easily, I’d say. All I had to do was think about what was bothering me and how I could put down the way I was feeling on the canvas. Kind of like a coping mechanism for me whenever I’m not feeling that bright. It’s how I do all of my pieces.”
The man would continue to interview him, all of these people in the gallery asking him to sign their autographs afterwards and: “How much for this painting?!”
What a dream it would be.
Wait a minute. Was he just standing there daydreaming this entire time?
Snap yourself out of it, Caiden!
He shakes his head and turns back around. “Look. Whatever you’re trying to do, it’s not going to work. Using your money wouldn’t automatically fix every problem in life. Just because you’re rich doesn’t mean you can have everything you want. You could wake up one day and find everything gone. What would you do then?”
Face blank, the man tries his best not to allow his face to reveal his inner thoughts.
Caiden looked at the man with a stern look on his face and said so that he would understand him, “Listen, whatever your name is. If you think you can take advantage of me just because I’m an orphan or that I’m weak… you thought wrong.”
Both Mr. McIntyre and his assistant watched as the young boy walked away.
Billy had a hint of astonishment in his voice. “Wow. I can’t believe a kid just said that to you.”
“Shut up, Billy.”
Sullivan knows that he doesn’t want a nine-year-old child to stop him from doing what he wanted. He would do anything. Anything he could possibly do to show him otherwise. To prove to him that what he had just said would be the very words he would regret to have ever said to one of the biggest directors in history.
“I won’t give up just yet, Caiden.” He still looks in his direction. “I’ll make sure that one day, you’ll be begging to be in one of my movies. It doesn’t matter how smart you think you are. Just you wait.”