Without using names, because I know that while I can get dialogue similar to what the filmmakers had in mind, I know that if I tried to name the characters, I would not even come close to the types of names the filmmakers had in mind based on nationality alone.
Characters will not have names but will be addressed like this:
In Memory of Boy 1977-2011
Before his death.
Bombay India has shown one of the greatest anti smoking commercials ever. They call it Bombay Hospital over there. In the United States, they call it Anti Smoking 2 or Beta Campaign Anti Smoking 2. Or, just Anti Smoking 2 for short.It starts off, the story of a boy waiting in the hospital and waiting to die as a sad song by Gary Lawyer plays over and over in his head. The song describes the boy and his situation very well—maybe a little too well. The boy is staring outside his hospital window wearing a wig a chest scar is slightly visible. He’s looking out the window at the busy yet happy people living their lives and he yearns to be out there with them. Miserable and sad; he waits his fate that he brought on himself. Peer pressure can only be blamed for so much; continuing to smoke was his decision and his alone. It was very stupid. He never realized till too late. This boy closes his eyes and reminisces how he got into this mess.
Boy: (Mumbling) I don’t want to die, I don’t want to die, I don’t want to die—I’m not really going to die, I’m not really going to die, I’m not really going to die.
The very first cigarette: Fourteen years old in high school; there were the friends, four of them. One lights a cigarette and starts passing them around.
Friend: You’re welcome!
Friends: Hey, do you want a cigarette?
Boy: Do I want a cigarette?
Friend: Come on pal. Just one, you only have to do it once.
Boy: Eh, I don’t know.
Friends: Pal, we don’t have all day. We’re stowing away in the school’s basement to start our secret club without getting caught! Are you in or out?
Boy: All right! Just give it here.
He takes a cigarette, one of the four friends lights it for him.
Friends: Well I guess he’s in! He’s one of us. Congratulations, welcome to the club.
Friend: Getting caught is more toxic than anything else. Do you agree?
Friends: Hey listen guys. He says the only toxic thing to worry about is getting caught. Did you hear that?
Boy: I hear you. (Turns to look at a random friend) What do you think?
Another Friend: He’s right.
Another friend: Ditto.
A couple days later the boy runs into the downstairs gym while dribbling a basketball and meets a friend, who is sitting there smoking.
Boy: Hey! how you doing?
Friend: Hey. Doing just fine my man. (The friend takes another drag off his cigarette.)
Boy: Got a smoke?
Friend: Yeah. (he leans over and hands a cigarette to the boy. The boy puts it in his mouth and the friend lights it for him) You will light fire in a pretty girl’s heart.
Boy: What did you say?
Friend: I said, You will light fire in a pretty girl’s heart.
Boy: What the hell do you mean?
Friend: There’s girls out there who love guys who smoke.
Wife enters the gym holding a tennis racket.
Friend Here she comes now. Let me introduce you. This is my cousin. This is my new friend.
Boy: Uh, well hello. I smoke. Does it bother you?
Wife: No, not at all.
They leave the gym together and get married shortly after high school. Just after the wedding:
(The boy and his new wife enter their apartment. Wife heads to the couch while the boy turns on the TV to cue his favorite movie.)
Boy: Hey guess what? I mean forgive me for showing off but I just got to show you my favorite movie Jake Bonnor and Company. So anyway; that guy there, that’s Jake he is my idol—my favorite—my hero. OH GOD! I wish I could just wake up and be him one day; but since I can’t what I can do is the next best thing; I can synchronize our cigarettes—well it’s kind of hard to say out loud, why don’t you just watch.
(The boy lights a cigarette)
Wife: (laughing) Oh you’re a little off. Obviously you should have lit it earlier.
Boy: Really? How about now? (He takes two drags off his cigarette inhales and exhales and then holds the cigarette in his mouth and lets the smoke flow around his chin)
Boy: No, you’re just having too much fun.
Boy: I know, I know.
Meanwhile, the boy now has a well paying job for a publishing and editing company, where he works an overhead projector while discussing the various options and drawbacks about turning a best written novel into a movie and what they may need to cut. Unfortunately, he’s had an off day and comes in a little late. The boss, secretary and client are already seated as he soon as he enters the darkened room. The client, the boy and the boss all are smokers. The only person who doesn’t smoke in the room is the female secretary.
Boss: (Sarcastically) Glad you could join us.
Boy: Sorry I’m late.
Client: Pleased to meet you. This is a big opportunity for me.
The boss lights a cigarette. So does the client. Adjusting his glasses and turning on the projector, the boy finally gets a chance to light a cigarette, and then takes a drag off his smoke. The presentation begins.
Boss: (To the client) Congratulations on the best selling novel. Now, book deals are a big and going on to make a movie based on a book you wrote is almost like a dream come true—but the gamble is it may not be what you expect…we will have to take some things out and (indicates the boy) that’s where he comes in.
Client: I’m excited to get started. One minute I was writing essays for unknown assignments and this is almost too much I never thought I’d get this far.
Boss: I understand. A lot of people feel that way.
Boy: Hi. Uh listen to me. This is just the beginning of manuscript to movie. Everything might be a little hard to take as this goes on, some people are pleased by our results while others aren’t but I’m not trying to cut you down before we begin, so you can feel free to interject any time, you don’t have to raise your hand be timid like at school, this isn’t a classroom.
Boss: You have a lot of gall and way too much never do you know that? (Shouting) If you could’ve gotten here on time we could’ve been twenty minutes sooner! Because we could’ve begun sooner!
Boy: All right.
Secretary (To the client): They’re not usually this way (indicates the boy) Especially him.
The boss says something indistinctly to the boy which only he heard
Boy: (Shouts) Well excuse me!
Secretary: Gentlemen please!
Boss: (To the client) I’m sorry it’s not usually like this—I don’t know what’s gotten into him, but we’re running behind as it is, I’m a strict man, but I’m not usually this strict.
Secretary: We may as well just begin gentlemen.
They begin the projection and the argument commences as they roll onto a scene which the boy doesn’t want in the final production.
Boy: I think we can do without that.
Client: Hey! I liked it when I wrote it! The boss said you might try to cut me down to size, he wasn’t kidding.
Boy: Well no, but I think we could do without it because five minutes ago, that situation was just addressed in a more colorful way with new people being introduced. We should go with that and leave it with that.
Client: Well I don’t agree.
Boss: I don’t agree either. And unless you want to be put on suspension you’d better straighten up and fly right! These comments you made so far are totally unacceptable. (To the secretary) What do you think dear?
Secretary: I think right now it’s three against one.
Boy: Three against one? We have to make a judgement call sooner or later and a first cut. I think this is the scene to be the first cut. I mean just look at it!
Secretary: (Thinking) Whoa, I’m the only one in the whole room who doesn’t smoke! That’s something, at least I’ll live longer than all these dumb men here.
Now the scene cuts to the end of the meeting. The boy heads into his office to look over the manuscript. As he turns the pages, the secretary enters. The secretary hands him a whole other folder and glances at the un-looked at stack on the
Boy: Oh no, don’t tell me I have to stat all over again.
Secretary: I’m afraid so. Especially after the way you behaved during the meeting.
Boy: Don’t tell me the boss is still pissed off.
Secretary: Yeah he is. He said to have it finished by tomorrow first thing when you come in, and this should be the last thing you do tonight. (Indicates the stack of folders on the boy’s desk) Especially after you catch up to that—why do you always let yourself fall behind like this anyway?
Boy: I don’t know, I really don’t. I’m suffocating here. I’ll see you tomorrow.
Secretary: All right. Good night.
Boy: Good night.
He gets up, he leaves, he walks home—unfortunately, something is wrong. He’s having a hard time walking up the stairs. He lays down in the bed and has a humungous coughing fit, his father who is staying with him while his wife is away overhears this and drives him to the cancer clinic on a hunch since he’s always been upset by his son’s smoking habit.
After the boy has an X-ray, he’s escorted by wheelchair to a doctor for consultation still coughing.
Father: (under his breath as he wheels his son into the emergency room) You stupid Boy.
Doctor: And here is where the problem is. Right square in the lungs. Does he smoke by any chance?
Father: Yes he does more than he should unfortunately.
Doctor: (Dismally) That explains it. I don’t think there’s anything more we can do. We cannot operate.
Father: Did you even hear that you have cancer!
After finally being able to catch his breath, the boy is finally able to be silent and listen.
Doctor: Notice when he coughs and wheezes you can hear a whistle type of sound?
Father: Yes I hear.
Doctor: Well, this only happens in smokers—we can hear the lung cancer spreading via sound of whistling and judging from these X-ray’s he’s done more damage than he can recover from.
The boy says nothing but just stares. He’s in shock.
Father: You stupid boy!
Okay, this is what happened. I was in art class today—drawing my self portrait—yes, my self portrait, me and it still happened! I just don’t get it. I had a friend hold the mirror for me and I started drawing myself in charcoal and I noticed everything was right, the hair was the right length the shape of my face was okay—my friend did tell me that my eyebrows are too high on the drawing/he’s half Asian by the way and didn’t seem to offended by my off-handed remark—but I saw my eyes as looking off—almond shaped and all I could do was throw my arms up and yell,
“I wish I were Asian right now! Then this picture would look just like me!”
A couple other Asian girls in my class—shocked looked at me like—Oh no she didn’t! I found out after class that I really wasn’t supposed to say that because that’s more than self-loathing it’s politically incorrect. I had to re-evaluate my situation to the teacher and take a good look in the mirror all over again.
“I was born a foreigner and proud of it, I have a little of everything in me except for Asian. I am black and I am white. I have Caribbean, middle eastern, European ethnicity in me. There is a reason God did not make me Asian—so he figures, if he gives me one more feature of nationality, I’ll need my own continent. Unfortunately for me, I haven’t been to half of the features in my ethnic blood. Save some ethnicity for everyone else Jihan! My name rhymes with the war of all religion! What more do you expect from me?”