Cameron, Bruce W.
Updated: November 4, 2011 8:18PM
The publication of my new novel, “Emory’s Gift,” gets me a meeting with a Hollywood producer who professes to be a “big fan” of my work, though in his email he confesses he hasn’t yet read any of it.
He’s a man in his 30s with black hair so perfectly arranged on his head it would make a Ken doll jealous. His office is adorned with movie posters and photographs of him with famous actors and other people. I ask him what it was like to meet the governor of California, and he responds, “Well, but he’s back to being an actor,” which is an answer I think I’ll save to enjoy later.
We sit down on some couches. “Your book’s for sure a movie, I totally see it,” he says.
“Thanks!” I say brightly, picturing myself in a new car.
“Dog movies are really hot right now.”
That stops me. “Well, OK, but it’s about a bear,” I say slowly.
“What?” He picks up the cover of my book and frowns at it. I get the feeling it’s the first time he’s seen it. “A bear?”
“A grizzly bear.”
“A ... Well, OK, but I don’t think very many people keep bears as pets. Maybe in Kansas or something, but it’s not something anyone who lives in the city can relate to. So we’ll make it a dog in the movie, trust me, it will click.”
“But ...” My new car vanishes in a puff of smoke. “It’s the story of a boy and his father trying to save a wild bear who lives in the woods.”
“Love it! We’ll have the dog live in the woods.”
“But part of the story is the danger of dealing with a grizzly.”
“Perfect. Alex!” he yells at his assistant in the other room. “Look up what’s the most dangerous dog.” He grins at me. “This will work. Trust me.”
“Here’s a blog that says dachshunds bite people most often,” Alex reports.
The producer gives me a triumphant look.
“I don’t think that’s right,” I say.
“Doesn’t matter,” he replies.
“But ... a dachshund living in the woods?” I ask cautiously.
“That’s why he needs to be saved,” the producer says.
“I don’t think the boy’s life would be endangered by a dachshund,” I object.
“A really big dachshund,” the producer suggests.
“It’s got to be a bear,” I say.
“You’re sticking to your guns,” the producer says.
“Yes, I guess so.”
“Good. I admire that.”
“We can settle the breed of dog later. OK, we’ve got the kid, he gets this gift of special powers from Emory the dog, and then what, he can fly? He can ... Alex, what do dachshunds do?”
“They were bred to go after badgers,” Alex replies after a brief pause.
“OK, love it. He can dig these huge tunnels.”
“No, it’s not ... The boy doesn’t have any special powers.”
“Sure, but that’s in the book. People go to a movie, they want to see Dog Boy dig tunnels and fight the evil mole aliens in an underground city.”
“I thought it was badgers.”
“People hate moles. They dig up your garden. Wow! That’s it, the moles are eating all the crops, you got food riots, but they don’t want Dog Boy’s help because ... Wait, is Emory conflicted, like, he wants to be a good dog, but his brain is being controlled by the mole people? That could be why he bit the kid in the first place. Gary Busey.”
“That’s who Emory the dog gives the gift to, Gary Busey. We just signed a deal with him, he’s hot again.”
“The boy is 13 years old,” I say.
“You’re right! It’s Dog Man. I hate working with kids, this is perfect.”
“So, the movie ‘Emory’s Gift’ is the story of Gary Busey being bitten by a giant magic dachshund who enables him to fight the evil mole aliens who are destroying the world’s food supply,” I summarize despairingly.
“Right. Well, but I hate the name Emory. We’ll make it something more vicious-sounding. Like, like, ‘Kill-dog.’ Or, or, ‘Blood-hound.’ ”
“Bloodhound the dachshund?”
“I knew I was smart to take this meeting with you. Your ideas are brilliant!”