Gradients

Synopsis: A man named William Verity is plagued with monochronism from birth, so his family has to help him with everyday tasks most of us would overlook. This is his livlihood until a young scientist, Dr. Amelia Rider wants to study him with an experimental ray she has produce which has reduced monochromism in chimps.

William Jacob Verity:

Miriam Verity: (his mother)

Ira Verity: (his father)

Isaac Verity: (his grandfather)

Ethel Verity: (his grandmother)

David Verity:

Rachel Verity:

Mrs. Theresa Rider: (Amy's mom)

Mr. Allen Rider: (Amy's dad)

Mr. Leon Rider: (Amy's grandfather)

Dr. Amelia Rider:

Dr. Daniel Jonas:

Dr. Yaniv Tuvia:

Scene 1—Shades of Gray

William: (waking up in the morning, feeling around with his feet to see if his golden retriever, Victor is there) Victor ? Victor ? Are you there boy ? (Victor helps him get up and shows him what clothes are laid out for him. Soon he joins his family at the table) (As William narrates, the title appears in black and white and then in full color. At first, the film is presented as noir, but this will soon change when Will's transition takes place.)

(narrating) I know it seems this is a rather controlled way to begin one's day. It's been like this since I was born. I am in my twenties, and still, I cannot drive myself. You may be asking, what is your condition, William ? It's not blindness, but monochromatism. It's extremely rare and somehow I was brought into the world with this, so called 'imparement'. It is rather obnoxious. I don't really understand anything but grays and black and white. I know, for a fact, that the universe is more than just those gradients. I'd love to see in color, and I think there may be a way for me to do so. After all, it is the 21st century, and if LASIK can help people regain their eyesight, then maybe science can correct my issue, too.

Miriam: Good morning my sweet Will.

Will: (yawning) Morning, ma. (smelling deeply, dreamily)

French toast ? Oh, you're the best, ma. (Kisses her, and hugs her)

Ethel: You know it was initially my idea, Will.

Miriam: So it was, grandma. I thought since today is Will's birthday, we'd start celebrating early.

Ira: You're 21, son ! (pats him on the back) How does it feel to have breeched manhood ?

Will: (savoring his food) Not really sure, dad. (drinks some OJ, relishing it) Isn't that sort of a loaded question ?

Ira: I suppose it is. But you're an adult now.

Will: I had been thinking a lot about that. I wonder what my life will be like even in my condition. True, I've learned to live with it, but it makes me ponder about those who become bitter, miserable and wretched. Sometimes, they let their disease define them.

Isaac: That almost happened with cousin Nathan. He nearly let getting stomach cancer destroy him. But he knew he had more to live for. Those precious children of his would have never forgiven him if he had thrown in the white towel and quit so easily !

Ethel: (chortling) He's a Verity. If it's one thing we all have in common it is fortitude.

Isaac: Tenacity.

Ira: Stability.

Miriam: Resillience.

Will: And let me guess, tolerance.

Miriam: You're right again, my brilliant star. You're like a comet illuminating the galaxy.

Will: (looking at the newspaper) Pa, what's that article about you're reading ?

Ira: Oh, (points) this ? It's talking about a researcher who has developed a corrective laser. It says that it may have promising results for humans even though it is only expirimental for now.

Will: (becoming a bit excited and has a hard time keeping his eagerness inside) Does it say anything about human test subjects ?

Ira: Actually, yes. Dr. Rider will begin accepting patients in the summer.

Miriam: That's not too far from now. (incandescent grinning) Bill, this is reaffirming news !

Will: Are there any requirements for potential candidates for the expirement ?

Ira: (reading on) Says here, participants must be 21 years of age or older. You certainly meet those standards. No pre-existing medical conditions. The only thing you have to do is have a physical and then it'll be determined whether you're fit for the ocular test or not.

Will: Then let's get started ! (narrating) In all honesty, the prospect of being expirimented on was both alien, unusual and frankly, petrifying. Yet, I knew that my family would be behind me completely. Even if I lost my sight, I knew everything around me by my other heightened senses. However, something in my gut was telling me that something incredible and inconcievable was about to happen.

(Scene fade)

Scene 2—Summer Romance

(As Will awakens, he sees that the first day of May has come at last. He grabs breakfast and heads out the door with his parents and grandparents. A Brand New Day plays in the background. While he waits, he reads Deep Truth and finds himself so engrossed in it that he nearly misses meeting the doctor for the first time.)

Isaac: Hey, kid. That researcher is asking to see you.

(leaning over and whispering) Got quite a pair of gams, too.

If you know what I mean. Nu ? (nudges him playfully)

Will: Granddad, you're a perverted old goat. If grandma heard you, she'd swat you on the head with a magazine.

(Isaac doesn't seem the least bit concerned, due to the fact that his granddaughter-in-law and wife are enjoying a lively, humerous conversation.)

(Summer Breeze plays in the background when Will sees the doctor for the first time, her hair moving in slow motion and her smile glimmering.)

Dr. Amelia: William Verity ?

Will: (snapping out of his fantasy) Yes ?

Dr. Amelia: I'm Doctor Amelia Rider. I'll be the one who will be examining you.

Isaac: (giving his grandson a thumbs up as an aside)

Ethel: (Smacks him upside the head with a thick magazine)

Isaac: OW, damn it, Ethel ! Not so hard on the ol' noggin' eh ?

Amelia: (taking him inside the office and seating him) You know what, Will ?

Will: What, Doctor ?

Amelia: (chortles) Please, call me Amy. I feel you and I can be excellent friends.

Will: (a bit smitten, smiling rhapsodically) Same here.

Amelia: But anyway, as I was beginning to say, you are my youngest participant. Actually, you are the only participant that's signed on for this procedure.

Will: Did the government give you funding even if only one patient appeared for the expiriment ?

Amelia: (grinning) Oddly, yes. I will begin doing tests on you this week, and by the end of the month, I can begin performing corrective surgery on you.

Will: Sounds promising.

Amelia: (checking out his vision, retinas, etc.) Thus far, you're a prime candidate.

Will: (smiles proudly, then smoothly) So, when you're finished with work...what do you say I take you out to dinner ?

Amelia: That's quite a bold statement.

Will: It's just a yes or no question. I won't be offended either way.

Amelia: You do know that it is against regulation to date a patient, right ?

Will: (short laugh) Sure I do, Amelia. But I don't care.

In school I don't really see many ladies such as yourself.

You're different than anyone I've ever met.

Amelia: How can you say that ? You just met me.

Will: (gently and poetically) There's something in your eyes that reveals the depth of your angelic soul. I'd like to know you better. I don't mind if you're older than I, or even if you think I'm only interested in video games. That isn't who I am. After all I have witnessed on national news, I know that life is fleeting and sometimes one has to take the plunge, never knowing what is to be expected in the depths.

Amelia: (astonished) Will, that's extraordinarily profound. Wherever did you come up with a perspective like that ?

Will: Blame my reading habits. I enjoy philosophers and new age literature. This one here has quickly become one of my favorites.

Amelia: Gregg Braden ? Outstanding choice. I quite like him too. He just seems so...

Together: Down to earth.

Will: Precisely. (winks) And now, you owe me a Coke.

So you can't back out of going on a date with me.

Amelia: Now I know why your middle name is Jacob.

Will: (wriggles eyebrows) I'll take that milady fair, as a compliment.

Amelia: Very well then. Once I am done compiling my findings, we can have our date later on. How does Saturday sound ?

Will: Saturday is perfect.

Amelia: Saturday it is.

(scene fade)

Scene 3—Summer Loving

(Sentimental Summer Wind plays in the background as Will sets up a picnic on the beach.)

Amelia: (astonished) Will, whenever did you have time to set up something as elaborate as this ?

Will: Just because I volunteer and work part time doesn't mean I can't do something special for you.

Amelia: The long stemmed rose is a grand touch, too.

Will: Nothing too good for you, Amy.

(An instrumental jazz version of "The Color Of Love" plays as the two newfound lovers laugh and savor lunch together.)

Amy: This date has been absolutely perfect. Thank you for everything, Will.

Will: I'm simply happy you could take time off your busy schedule to join me.

Amy: I'm not much older than you are, and I'd like my colleagues to believe I have a social life outside of science.

Though, I must say, honestly, science is my first love.

Will: There is nothing wrong with that at all. Curiosity about this world, the molecular as well the infinite other worlds known and unknown drive me.

Amy: You truly are a unique young man.

Will: (incandescent smile) That's what mom and dad say every single day.

Amy: They're right. (sipping some more lemonade) Sublime ! This is culinary genius !

Will: Pssht. I'm no genius. It's you that are the brilliant one. Look at you, finishing med school at your age and now getting enough government funding to use your laser technique on my eyes. I must say, I am truly humbled to be the first to partake of this experiment.

Amy: Who knows, maybe we can help others with your condition as well as perhaps those who are visually impared ? There's no end to the possibilities of this technology, once the test results are compiled.

Will: (leaning over) You know I believe in you and support you in whatever may come your way. Even if it is wrong for me to love you or even be near you. I don't care. (boldly) I love you, and I always will. (kisses her)

Amy: (taken aback, speechless. Her phone rings to 'Suddenly I See') Oh, miopia ! Sorry, Will.

Will: It's alright. Go ahead. Take your call. The spread still awaits your return, my Goddess.

Amy: (taking the call) Oh, hi, mom ! What's wrong ? Slow down...No ! When did this happen ? Last night. I'm terribly sorry to hear that. What dreadful news. I'll be there this weekend. If it is permissible, I have someone I am bringing with me. Agreed. My condolences, mother. God speed.

(hangs up)

Will: (notices Amy is teary eyed) What happened ? (embraces her close and dries her tears)

Amy: Grandpa just died.

Will: How awful ! What was the cause ?

Amy: (laughs a bit lightly after sniveling a bit) Old age.

He had a long, healthy life and greeted death as a friend.

Will: I take it the funeral is this weekend.

Amy: Yes, and I will have to take a personal day for it.

You don't mind attending with me, do you ?

Will: No, actually I was wondering if you wanted me to go.

I didn't want to impose.

Amy: You won't be. You're perfect company. It might be a little uncomfortable meeting my parents this way, but it was an inevitability.

Will: Let's just pray I am able to make a good impression.

Amy: (laughing) Don't beat yourself up, Will. You'll be superb, I know it. (kisses his cheek) I'd better go. I'm needed back at the lab to run more tests with chimps.

Will: Thrilling. Wish I could see the results.

Amy: My intention is that everything will be successful and then, a whole new world of color will be revealed to you.

Will: (kissing her and taking her off guard) Until next time.

Amy: I do owe you that much, hmm.

Will: That you do, my intelligent princess.

Amy: (she kisses him one more time, passionately, as the sun sets, and they part ways.)

(Scene fade)

Scene 4—A Time Of Beginnings

(Shot shown outside of funeral home, people walking inside, greeted to gentle, lyrical and uplifting spiritual music, contemporary and otherwise. Theresa is standing close to her husband's coffin, weeping openly. Amy is comforting her, as is Allen.)

Allen: So, this is the strapping young lad you've been telling us so much of ?

Amy: (nodding in agreement)

Will: Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Rider. I'd rather it be under different circumstances that I was meeting you, but knowing Amy, I can sense that her grandfather was an important man.

Theresa: Leon was the figurehead of the family. He was exceedingly charitable and very talented. I'm fairly sure that Amelia inherited his IQ.

Amy: (embarrassed) Mother, please ! IQ, as Einstein stated himself is reduced to numbers, and numbers really don't prove one's 'intelligence' as a whole. It amounts to...

Together: A collaboration of different factors.

Theresa: Indubitably.

Allen: They could stand and chat like this for hours on any scientific subject. It's really entertaining, even if at times, I must admit, the higher mathematics are beyond my ken.

Will: I hear you there. (lighthearted chortle) So, about Amy...

Allen: What about my daughter ? You're being good to my little girl, (slight ominous tone) I hope.

Will: (a bit intimidated, stammering somewhat) Yes, of course, sir.

Allen: Sir ? Why so formal ? Call me Allen from now on, alright, son ?

Will: (mouths, raised eyebrow inquisitively) Son ?

Allen: (slaps his back hard nearly knocking him over) You're not a bad choice for her. I can see why she likes you.

Keep treating her well and I may be calling you son-in-law someday.

Will: Let's not rush anything, Allen. (smiles a bit uncomfortably and then naturally with a bit more confidence)

(narrating) It was to say the most unconventional 'meet and greet' I had done. Not to say I had met many of my girlfriends' parents, since, well, Amy was my first actual girlfriend. I'm rambling again, forgive me. As I was saying, it seemed I was In Like Flynn with the parents. Even though the road ahead was covered with the miasma of the unknown, with Amy, I wasn't afraid of what lurked around the bend.

(Scene fade.)

Scene 5—New Sight

(A Brand New Day instrumental plays in the background as we see Will going in for surgery surrounded by his family.)

Amy: Greetings again, Will. These are my colleagues, Dr. Daniel Jonas and Dr. Yaniv Tuvia.

Both: Hey, how goes it ?

Will: (strained smile)

Amy: (whispers gently) Don't worry, you're in expert hands.

Yaniv: We're professionals, Will.

Dan: We've done surgeries like these thousands of times, so you can relax.

Will: (a bit meekly) Easy for you to say, you're not the one getting laser beams fired into your eyes...(inhales and exhales) But, better to get this over with now. Let's do it !

(As he undergoes surgery, he is given a visor and a Valium to help him sleep.)

Amy: Take this and (compassionately into his ear) call me in the morning, love.

Will: (smitten) Yes, doctor !

(Quick scene transition from evening to morning and 'Here Comes the Sun', an instrumental/alternative rock version plays as Will awakens and reacts to seeing color for the first time.)

Will: (spellbound by everything he sees)

Amy: (calling him on the cell phone)

(Will's ringtone for Amy, 'Pretty Woman' plays and he answers. At this point the black and white have 'faded' away and everything in the film is in technacolor.)

Amy: So, how's your first day seeing the world as it truly is ?

Will: It's...well, for lack of better wording...AWESOME !

This is the most unbelievable experience I have had.

That and, of course, any time spent with you.

Amy: So...it's a success ! Yes !

Will: So it seems, my dear.

Amy: As stellar as this is, it means I will be away from you more often.

Will: Amy, don't fret. Whatever occurs, love will find a way.

It has so far. Why disbelieve its power ?

Amy: Touche. I couldn't have said that any better myself.

Come to think of it, I was hoping I could come over later and maybe get to know the family a bit.

Will: (gulps, hard) Isn't it a little early to consider meeting my folks ?

Amy: You've met mine. I owe you the favor of the same, correct ?

Will: Yes, yes...(stammers slightly) I was just thinking maybe a year in the future. What's the rush ?

Amy: (chagrinned) I didn't mean for it to come across in that manner.

Will: It's alright. I just wasn't expecting that so soon.

Warn a guy, will ya ?

Amy: (chuckling) I tend to jump the gun sometimes. We'll give it time. We are, consequentally, learning.

Will: (reassuringly) May oui, ma chere.

Amy: Perhaps it would be more practical just to go out with you this weekend.

Will: That's the ticket, Amy. Wherever I am with you, though, the angels become covetous due to the fact I have taken you from them for a while.

Amy: (tittering) Oh, you ! (pause) I'll see you this weekend, alright ? Looking forward, and oh...so missing you.

Will: You don't know the half of that, baby cakes.

Love you ad infinatum.

Amy: Reciprocated.

(hangs up the phone)

Will: (narrating) The road ahead, though arduous, obviously,would be worthwhile as a whole. Yet, I didn't know how much Amy would be away helping others and finding new uses for the technology she was responsible for fabricating. Yet, I knew the inevitable meet and greet with my parents was only days away. Funny how time can sneak up on you when you least suspect and WHAM ! Knock you out with a suckerpunch.

(scene fade)

Scene 6—Not Me But "We"

(The screen reads 'One Year Later'. Will is anxiously waiting for Amy to come to dinner, and his parents are looking at their watches, wondering what the reason is for her tardiness.)

Will: Don't worry, she'll be here. Amy always keeps her promises.

(Soft classical music is playing in the background as they wait.)

Miram: I'm a bundle of nerves ! Why did you wait until now to ask her ?

Will: I didn't have the money to get her a ring I thought would suit her. Plus, now that I have financial security as Query Inc's CEO, so she deserves the best and only that.

(doorbell rings)

Ethel: I can't wait to meet her...I've got goosepimples !

(She walks inside, and they all sit down to chat and eat dinner together. Will is so tense he nearly forgets the entire reason he wanted her to visit.)

Isaac: (stomps on Will's foot)

Will: (winces) Ow, Grandpa. Alright, alright. I know what I meant to do. I can't help that I have been stiff all evening.

Isaac: (whispering to Will, but Ethel can hear since she's within earshot) With curves like that I couldn't help being a little wooden myself.

Ethel: (smacks him with a fork on his wrist, hard)

Isaac: Ow, jeez, woman !

Amy: What is everyone so abuzz about ?

Will: (clearing throat) I admit, Amy. Inviting you to dinner was a bit of a deception. I wanted to ask you an important question. (kneels down and presents a ring to her)

Would you do me the honor of becoming my wife ?

Amy: (throwing her arms around him, exhuberantly, hugging him, jumping up and down and kissing him, full force upon the lips) Yes, indubitably !

Isaac: Huzzah ! This calls for celebration. Ethel, the wine, please !

Ethel: (uncorks a vintage 1920 wine and shares it with everyone) To Amy and Will...May this new venture be sublime and dazzling to you both.

Whole family: L'chaim ! (they clink their glasses and drink merrily)

Will: (narrating) This I knew was only the beginning of what was to come for the two of us. It wasn't about 'me', but 'we'. It would take time for me to wrap my mind around the gravity of that little word, yet, something about it didn't seem so threatening. In fact, I welcomed it with an open heart, mind and soul.

(scene fade)

Scene 7—Happy Endings

David: (watching a video of his parents dance to "We Found Love In a Hopeless Place") Then what happened ?

Will: (putting him up on his lap) Then, you came along, David !

David: What about Rachel ?

Amy: Rachel didn't come along until later. You remember when she was born.

David: Oh, right. Of course. It doesn't seem that long ago.

Amy: It wasn't. She's still growing.

(Rachel is heard babbling about as she crawls around the house.)

David: Sounds like she's awake ! (chuckling) Rachel, wait, I wanna play with you.

Amy: Be careful with her, alright ?

David: (sighing a little) I will mom. You know that.

Will: (narrating) Since the birth of my two darlings, life has been interesting, and chaotic. It's the good type of discord though, the kind that makes you look forward to what's around the bend the next day. Amy, my wife, has become a success in her treatment of monochromatism and she has even developed a laser for the blind. For the first time, blind people are able to see ! It's certainly a miracle of science and technology. Our family isn't too far away from us. They come and visit and spoil their grandchildren rotten. Honestly, I never thought life would turn out this blissful, this sweet, this incredible. Each day is a new journey. Amy even received the Nobel. Yet, humble angel she is, she didn't make a huge fuss over it. With the funding from that, our apples have their own college fund to make strides with one day. But as my wise grandparents say, 'Don't count your bushel before its' harvested'. Best to take each day one at a time and savor the now.

(A shot in time is shown of the family laughing and enjoying themselves as the little ones play in the background, screaming merrily. An instrumental of 'Our House' plays in the background, and credits begin to roll.)