Adam & Friends: Episode One, The Director
This is Mr. McIntyre (pronounced as Mac-in-tire). Mr. McIntyre is a famous director who lives in a squarish glass mansion in a town called Goldenrod. The town is in Solidago which, if you hadn’t known, is the fifty-first state of the United States.
Well, in this story at least.
Right now, he’s sitting in his office with a notepad and pen and cannot have any distractions at all. He even told his assistant not to knock on his door for the rest of the day since he’s working on an 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, you would see a man who is upset. 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 your movie, you get stressed. And when you’re stressed, you decide to take a break. But when you take a break, you realize that taking a break isn’t enough. And when you realize that, you call your assistant on the phone and ask him to bring you some hot chocolate.
But as you sit there waiting for your hot chocolate to arrive, you get impatient. Then you get even more frustrated than you were before. And Mr. McIntyre becomes furious when he’s frustrated.
Someone knocks on the door.
“Come in!” he answers.
A man wearing a tawny-plaid 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 and so do his hands, the liquid almost spilling all over the floor.
Without a single look, Mr. McIntyre says, “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. He checked off everything on the to-do list he assigned for him yesterday. He hadn’t done anything wrong this time.
A flash of an image comes to mind: countless piles of dishes sit 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 picks up his cup of half-sweetened hot chocolate. He turns his office chair towards the window as the fresh rays of the Solidago sun land on 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 almost 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.
One thing he’s learned is that it’s quite uncomfortable to stand in a room in silence with your boss for a full minute. Especially when he forgets to give you permission to leave. Because if you do leave, your boss will 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 slurps his drink through the silence. Hot chocolate always helps him unwind after all the stress.
After about a minute, he turns around and sets 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 sighs, 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’s found the solution for his boss’s problem, he says, “Why don’t you try casting someone different?”
He looks up. “What do you mean?”
“Well, when I went on a trip to the grocery store the other day, I passed by that foster home and saw something. It was an acting academy for gifted students with a sign that said ‘Free Casting’. And the moment I saw it I thought it would be a great idea to—”
“Billy, that’s the only amazing idea you’re ever come up with in your sad, boring life!” The look that appears whenever he has a hit idea comes back to life.
“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 the foster home and use the foster kids to star in the movie!”
Billy holds back his laugh. “What? I think you misunderstood what I was trying to say—”
He heads for the door. “Everyone’s going to love it! Once we get a kid with an intriguing backstory, people are going to be so invested they’ll have no choice but to watch the movie!”
“But that sounds like a terrible idea.”
Doorknob in one hand, hat in the other, Mr. McIntyre says, “Billy, grab my jacket. We’re going there right now!”
The man did as he said. He went straight to the foster home without hesitation. Because when your boring, good-for-nothing assistant finally gives you an idea, you get excited. Especially if that idea involves going to a foster home in hopes of getting one of the kids to star in your movie.
Or was his idea something completely different? Oh well, he doesn’t care.
Mr. McIntyre knocks on the door to the house. The door opens to a young boy. He seems to be around ten and has soft freckles that powder his light skin.
When he sees the men, he gapes at them as though they’re wearing 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 says, 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 appears from behind the boy.
The director smiles. “I would like to speak to you about something.”
The boy glares as Mr. Garfield leads them to the office. The door slams in Billy’s face.
Mr. Garfield sits in his office chair. “Have a seat.”
He does, placing his hat on the desk.
“Now, is there anything you wanted to talk about, Mr…?”
“Mr. McIntyre. Sullivan McIntyre. One of the world’s most famous film directors.”
“Now, I happened to walk by your house and couldn’t help but notice how your children have an amazing gift at acting. So I decided to come over here and ask if you would be willing to let your kids star in my newest movie.”
A few seconds of silence pass by.
The look on Mr. Garfield’s face shows the poor man had no idea or interest in what this director is talking about. From the looks of it, he probably doesn’t even watch movies to begin with. “Well, I’m not really sure about—”
“Picture this: your orphans are now known as ‘the famous orphans who changed 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 rolls his eyes. “Mr. McIntyre, 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!”
He frowns. “First of all, stop calling them orphans. They’re foster kids. And second, what you’re trying to do absolutely illegal—”
“Come on! Don’t you want to shed a little light on their lives?”
“These kids are happy the way they are. Unlike you, they don’t need money or fame to have a good life. You can leave now. The door is behind you.”
Mr. McIntyre stands. Flames burn in his eyes and his face turns red.
For a moment, Mr. Garfield thought he was going to hit him, or worse—strangle him.
But no. All he does is place the hat on his head and turn to exit, leaving him with words he makes 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 on the sidewalk and three blocks away from the home, he says, “Darn it! I can’t believe how he just turned down the offer like that!”
Billy tries to catch up. “What are we going to do now, Sir? Are we going to carry out my original plan—”
“Don’t worry, Billy.” A smile creeps onto his face. “I have a better plan.”
This is Caiden. Caiden is a foster kid and a worrywart. Today is the first day of sixth grade. And when it’s the first day of school and you’re a big worrier like Caiden, you start worrying about strange things. Like how you forgot to do your homework when you have no homework. Or how nervous you are about being nervous about the first day of school. He steps out of the bus, dumping all his worries onto his best friend Adam when he almost bumps into someone.
He looks up.
A tall man with a dark mustache and a black suit stands over him. A hat sits on his head, shielding his pale, ceramic-white skin from the harsh sun. His style seems so outdated it makes the boy wonder if the man knows they’re in the 2010’s and not in the 1930’s with Charlie Chaplin.
To his right stands a man with lighter hair. His geeky suit and vest makes it clear he’s his assistant.
The dark-haired man smiles at him. “Hello, Caiden Kramer.”
His friend takes a step back. “Do you… know him or something?”
Caiden turns to him. “Sorry, Adam. I’ll catch up with you later.”
Adam leaves without asking for an explanation. Because when a strange man wearing all black asks to speak to your friend, you don’t want to be involved.
When Adam is out of ear-shot, Caiden speaks. “Don’t try to pull any tricks on me. Mr. Garfield told me all about you.”
The man lets out a “muahaha” kind of laugh. “Looks like you’ve already heard of me, little boy.”
“Yes, I have.” Caiden walks away. “And whatever you do, you’re not gonna trick me. I’m not acting in any of your stupid movies. Not after your last one.”
He continues as if Caiden hadn’t spoken at all. “I heard you’re a pretty good artist.”
He stops in his tracks.
How does he know that? Did he spy on him? Well, knowing he would use his money to get anything he wants, he probably hired someone to find out for him.
He turns around and crosses his arms. “Yes… I am.”
“Well, I wanted to let you know that if you agree to act in one of my movies, I’ll help you become a professional artist. All I have to do is call up one of my illustrators and ask them to look at some of your drawings. Who knows? Maybe one day they’ll put some of your work in an art gallery.”
His heart leaps. What if he does accept the offer?
Caiden imagines himself standing in front of one of his biggest art pieces. Everyone snaps pictures of him as an interviewer asks, “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 how I was feeling onto the canvas. Kind of like a coping mechanism for me whenever I’m not feeling that bright. It’s how I do all my pieces.”
The man would continue to interview him. Everyone in the gallery would ask for autographs once it’s over and ask, “How much for this painting?!”
What a dream it would be. He wouldn’t have to feel so low all the time or get worried about everything that makes him anxious. And most importantly, he wouldn’t have to think about that horrible accident…
Wait a minute. Was he standing there daydreaming this entire time?
Snap yourself out of it, Caiden!
He shakes his head. “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 reveal his inner thoughts.
Caiden gives him a stern look. “Listen, whatever your name is. If you think you can take advantage of me because I’m a foster kid, you thought wrong. You can keep your useless money to yourself.”
Mr. McIntyre and his assistant watch as the young boy walks away.
Billy has a hint of astonishment in his voice. “Wow. I can’t believe a kid just said that to you.”
“Shut up, Billy.”
He won’t let an eleven-year-old child stop him from doing what he wants. He’ll prove him wrong. That what he said would be the very words he would regret saying to one of the biggest directors in history.
“I won’t give up yet, Caiden.” He still looks in his direction. “I don’t care how long it takes. I’ll make sure that one day, you’ll be begging to be in one of my movies. You’ll be a star someday, just you wait.”
“Haven’t you heard?” “Heard what?” “You don’t know? About the missing people lately?” “Oh my God!? Missing people?” “Yeah, apparently there has been a large number of kidnappings lately this winter. The police have been on nonstop investigations all night. Have you seriously not noticed?” “I guess I have seen a lot of police cars...