Tuesday, August 30, 2016
HELP: Feedback Wanted on BECOMING THE WOLF Synopsis
There is nothing I hate more than writing synopses. As I get ready to submit "The Peter & The Wolf Trilogy" to publishers, these synopses have become a necessary evil. What do you think of this one?
It’s a little after three in the morning on October 4, 1963. Peter Dempsey will be eighteen years old in twenty-eight minutes. Youngest of eight in an Irish Catholic family, Peter’s been such a good boy all his life that he’s still a virgin. Fortunately for him, the delectable Delaney Craig is on her way to his attic hideaway to put an end to that. They’re an attractive young couple. Peter’s tall, dark, part Native American with a whisper of African-American while Delaney gets her glorious goldenness from her Danish mother. The two have made out like crazy for the past five months waiting for Peter to get legal. Peter helps Delaney climb the old maple tree below his window and they fall into each other’s arms, exploring and enjoying each other’s bodies.
A sexual misunderstanding leads to a temporary breakup but this is a couple that cannot be kept apart. After driving furiously away, Delaney surprises Peter, a talented keyboard player and songwriter, at his band’s rehearsal. She takes him home to the Venice Canal house her wealthy father—a record company owner—has purchased for her. Delaney and Peter set up housekeeping and continue their sexual discoveries. It’s here that Peter learns that real life play with Delaney has outstripped his fantasies as they enjoy a bath together filled with masturbation and oral and vaginal intercourse. At the end of the bath, Delaney gifts Peter with monogrammed towels and shows off her own. He learns that her middle name is Penelope and tells her the story of Odysseus’ wife Penelope—that she trusted through her husband’s adventures that he was alive and would return to her. He sees this as a sign that he will travel the world as a musician and Delaney will always be waiting for him.
Peter describes himself as “a poet and a dreamer.” As such, he settles into his new life as an English Lit Major at USC, the school where Delaney majors in dance. Energetic and driven, he continues his rehearsals with his band, Animal Sounds, while fulfilling his athletic scholarship as a starting forward with the USC basketball team. His conviction that nothing is done right unless he does it himself carries into his home life where he becomes chief cook and bottle washer. Yeah, he’s a little bit of a control freak but that’s fine with spoiled, only child Delaney who has never been expected to attend to household duties. Their life together works very well.
Thursday, August 25th, 1965, starts out as a normal day. Just as Delaney settles in with her lunch, however, an agitated Peter appears. The possibility of being sent to Vietnam is very real for him. His student deferment has been denied and is currently under appeal. Listening to the news, he discovers his back-up plan—marriage—is being taken away. Lyndon Johnson announces that only couples married by midnight that night will qualify for a marriage deferment. Despite her conviction that Peter’s rock career will be better served if he’s not married, Delaney doesn’t hesitate. They race to Vegas to make the deadline, agreeing to share the news of their marriage only with the draft board. Delaney knows her father makes her life with Peter possible. She figures they’d already be married if it was something of which her father—participant in a nasty divorce himself—approved. She is afraid defying her father will cause him to use his power in the recording industry to torpedo Peter’s career plans. Peter, of course, shares the news with his parents. Helen Dempsey is not happy that her baby boy married outside the Church, but then she wasn’t happy about him “living in sin” either.
Upon their return from Vegas, Peter has a gig. He’s worn out and pops some speed his manager gives him, infuriating Delaney who tells him his problem is he’s too tall. He looks like an adult when he’s really an irresponsible teenage boy. Peter finishes his set and jumps off the stage to grab Delaney from her bar stool and drag her into the ladies’ room. He puts a chair under the doorknob, rips Delaney’s jeans down, and bends over the sink, taking her hard and fast and leaving her there to pull herself together. As she’s doing so, another girl enters and asks what it was like doing “Perfect Peter.” Delaney learns that there’s a group of “Perfect Peter Girls” who follow her husband from gig to gig lusting after him. They even go to his basketball games. This fuels Delaney’s own fantasies of Peter as a rock god.
On Peter’s twenty-first birthday, Delaney’s father, Mark Craig, interrupts the lovers in a birthday celebration and takes them out to breakfast at Hinano’s, a Venice Beach hangout frequented by the Doors’ Jim Morrison. Craig expresses his frustration with Peter. He considers the young man a remarkable musical talent and can’t understand why Peter is content to only play keyboards. Their band, Animal Sounds, needs to dump Shane Leonard, their toad-faced lead singer, and Peter needs to take over center stage. Peter refuses. He’s been playing with this band since he was twelve; he’s not going to turn his back on them.
During breakfast, Delaney sits on Peter’s lap. Craig asks her to sit in a chair, saying he’s in no mood to watch her give her boyfriend a lap dance. On their return home, Delaney asks Peter about lap dances and learns that he’s been going to strip clubs with his band. In fact, they’re going to one that evening for his birthday. He invites her to go with them. Delaney wears one of her sexy nighties as a dress and insists on buying a Peter a lap dance. Unfortunately, the girl she chooses is a lesbian and, instead of the usual, Delaney sucks Peter’s cock while the Asian beauty devours her pussy. Or, maybe, fortunately.
In the wee hours of the morning, Peter asks Delaney if she’s involved with him because her father wants him as an artist for his record label. She slaps his face and they take a Polaroid that will become famous as Peter becomes famous: a portrait of a handsome rogue who just did something that caused someone to slap his face. It’ll be featured on the cover of Animal Sounds’ first album.
In the midst of sexual games, Peter admits to Delaney that he shares her father’s dreams of him as front man to the band. He doesn’t, however, think he’s prepared for that role. “I’m a keyboard guy.” Delaney proposes rock and roll lessons. Peter reminds her that he’s got an athletic scholarship and he’s out of hours in the day; he hasn’t time to add movement and singing lessons. She suggests that Daddy pay for his college and he quit basketball. Peter holds out on responding to this suggestion until after she agrees to indulge in anal sex. Turns out she likes it. And he likes the idea of rocking out.
Mark Craig agrees to sponsor Peter’s rock star lessons. Craig demonstrates his approval by signing Peter to a solo contract with a new subsidiary, Penelope Vinyl, throwing a belated birthday at Peter’s band rehearsal and giving him a Mustang as a signing bonus.
Delaney realizes there’s a way she can keep her husband faithful and still give him a reputation as a rock and roll rogue. She invests in wigs and costumes and dresses up for public quickies at his performances. The band, not in on the secret, gets down on Peter for his behavior—though it’s nothing none of the rest of them don’t do.
Peter writes a love song to his wife that he cannot bear the thought of Shane Leonard singing. Delaney insists that Peter sing the song for her father. The young Dempseys prepare for what Peter calls “the Gunfight at the OK Corral.” Either he’s going to sing this song or quit. It’s Shane who quits. In the midst of all this craziness, Peter forgets his first anniversary. While he’s out staging his rock and roll coup, Delaney has an epiphany. Her overbearing father treats her like a helpless child. Instead of fighting that, she should use it. She decides to enlist her father’s help by confessing to her marriage and swearing she’s going to divorce Peter for forgetting their anniversary. As expected, Daddy takes Peter’s side and Delaney learns an important lesson: when you have a puppet master in your toolbox, have him pull the strings for you rather than against you.
On Peter’s return from rehearsal, he and Delaney get “a bit celebratory” and spend the rest of their night in riotous lovemaking that eventually breaks their bed in half. The next day, Shane and the band’s manager, Randall, drop by to threaten Peter with legal action. Mark Craig wants to discuss recording plans and Peter invites him to their rehearsal that night.
As Peter makes lunch, a discussion takes place that will change their lives for years to come. Delaney wants to have sex. Peter protests that he can’t; this is like back when he played basketball and his coach insisted they go without sex on game day. He says it: “I always thought that was wrong. I thought I should have lots and lots of sex and not let myself come, power myself that way.” Delaney agrees that he runs on sex and Peter’s pre-performance ritual is born.
Delaney sits with her father to watch the band’s crowd of fans go wild as Peter runs his first show. When she tries to go to him at the break, Craig stops her and explains that it’s Peter’s job now to interact with his fans. It’s hers to sit back and not get jealous.
As a special treat after such a special day, a reward for Peter fucking her all day without coming himself, Delaney brings out a necklace of platinum beads and wraps them around his cock before she climbs on and rides him to his long-delayed orgasm.
Peter and Delaney have their first public experience in which a fan hits on him right in front of her. Delaney tells him it turned her on to watch him flirt with another woman. If that’s the case, he declares, she owes him a blow job in a public place.
Animal Sounds spends the day at the record company posing for publicity shots and learning about their new personas. Peter discovers he’s going to wear makeup and satins and sequins for their shows. His public bio proclaims him the unattached “Bard of Venice Beach.” Delaney stops by to take Peter into the elevator and suck his cock. When Peter finally returns from his day, he tells Delaney that the head of PR has been assigned to take care of them. This throws Delaney for a loop. The head of PR? Why? Does Daddy think the band is that good or does he think they need that much help? She runs out to meet her father for reassurance and he’s got it in spades. He bets Delaney that the band will have a number one song before the end of the year. The stakes? The ’54 Gull-Wing Mercedes Delaney has lusted after since she was eight years old. If Peter’s record doesn’t hit number one, Delaney gets the car. If he does, the car is Peter’s. When Peter objects that Delaney has bet against him, she points out that her father can’t stand to lose. What looks like a bet against him is really insurance that Craig will do everything possible to see that Peter gets to tool around in the Gull-Wing.
More sexy wildness makes Peter late for class and causes him to take a six-hour nap near the USC fountain. Delaney rescues him and takes him off to Fatburger where they discuss the fact that Peter is still disturbed by the fact that they weren’t married in a church. They get caught by the lead guitarist while having a quickie at the garage where the band rehearses. Peter sacrifices his t-shirt so Delaney can wipe away the cum running down her leg.
While Peter rehearses, she runs home to change, contemplating the fact that, while other women are liberating themselves, she does only what her father and husband allow her to do. She goes to his mother to arrange for their religious ceremony. Delaney refuses to let an exhausted Peter drive and he makes her stop at a liquor store on the way home. Peter’s drinking has been something of an issue all along but this time, when she has to go in and buy it because Peter is shirtless, is especially troublesome. Peter sits in the car and watches the cashier hit on his wife and is not happy about it. A few minutes later, they’re stopped by a cop because of a broken taillight. The cop also flirts with Delaney, irritating Peter even more.
He jumps in the shower and Delaney sets up a sexy proposal scene with her in stockings and a garter belt. Still exhausted, Peter fails to react as she had hoped. She throws on a skimpy shirt and heads out of the house when Peter tells her, “Look at the way you dress, no wonder men hit on you.” She runs into her neighbor Kathryn who lends Delaney a little dress so they can go down to Hinano’s and “knock some balls around.” The two women are the only females there and one of the men attacks Delaney. Peter arrives just in time to deck the guy. Later, Peter confesses to his wife that he let her leave without chasing her because he was so exhausted, he wanted some cocaine to function. She’s taken aback but forgives him.
The record company’s PR machine gets on this and Peter garners headlines as a rescuer of damsels in distress. Working off of this, Craig arranges for the band to open for a week’s worth of headliners at the prestigious Roxy where they are a huge hit. At their first performance, Peter yells, “We’re Animal Sounds, who are you?” An audience member howls like a wolf and Peter howls back, earning his onstage persona what was probably an inevitable nickname. He becomes Peter “The Wolf” Dempsey. A rave review by someone noted for finding the “next big thing” gets national play. Peter battles self-doubt and fear of success but Animal Sounds are on their way, with Mr. and Mrs. Dempsey continuing their romps backstage and at home.
The day after Peter’s twenty-second birthday, he and Delaney steal away for a tiny religious wedding ceremony. A couple of days after Christmas, the Gull-Wing shows up at Peter’s garage door. The keys are for him. His first record is at number one. The young couple celebrate by running up the coast to an oceanfront hotel. Peter gets plastered and “The Wolf” takes advantage of this to make an appearance and fuck Peter’s wife.
When they return home, they find their house full of Craig and police officers following a break-in. Craig and Peter decide the little cottage is no longer safe and Peter and Delaney move into Craig’s guesthouse while Peter has the cottage demolished and rebuilt as a fortress.
Peter’s career continues to soar. He gets nominated for three Grammies, is booked to open the season at the Hollywood Bowl, and goes on both a national and European tour. He and Delaney decide to have a baby. Peter remains convinced he needs to go through his pre-performance ritual of fucking his wife to the edge of coming to turn on The Wolf, then fucking her quickly afterwards to turn The Wolf back off.
Peter is terrified about performing at the huge Hollywood Bowl. Delaney fights to keep him on an even keel. The rest of the band is also freaked out and gather in Peter’s dressing room ahead of the show to drink and gamble. Peter’s performance is everything anyone could hope for and Delaney heads backstage to meet him in his dressing room. He never appears. Delaney can’t get anyone to take his disappearance seriously. She’s spent his career helping create an image of him as a “notorious bad boy.” Everyone believes he’s off being notorious with a groupie or two. It’s only when a photographer develops a photograph in which Peter can be seen being forced into a limo that she can motivate authorities.
Aware that Delaney is pregnant, though she’s told no one, Craig threatens to lock her up and raise her baby himself if she doesn’t get her hysteria under control. Delaney retreats to collapse in the guesthouse with Bryan the photographer at her side.
The limo that took Peter was rented with false ID, but Shane Leonard’s fingerprints are on the contract. Hauled out of bed, Shane protests his innocence but investigators eventually learn that an uncle of his owns a boathouse. They find Peter in there, all but dead. He was given a massive overdose of morphine, beaten, and left for dead. It takes him a while to recover from his injuries and a wonderful case of bacterial pneumonia.
He isn’t the same when he recovers. Like many who have nearly been killed, he feels invincible and takes to riding his Harley recklessly around LA County, regaling Delaney with tales of daredevil acts and narrow escapes. As if that weren’t enough, the guesthouse becomes a non-stop party with Peter playing host to every band who rolls through town. Delaney finally has enough. She tries to tell Peter that she’s pregnant but he can’t wrench his attention away from his poker game long enough to hear the news. Instead, she tells him, “I’m leaving you.” He doesn’t hear that, either.
Delaney takes advantage of Peter’s next jaunt to leave him a note, “I love you.” She takes Bryan the photographer up on his offer of a cottage north of Toronto.
In the midst of his search for his wife and his move to the rebuilt house on the Canals, Peter comes across her box of Tampax and suddenly realizes his wife ran away from him to protect her child from his out of control lifestyle.
He wins another Grammy for the song he writes about finding the note that simply says “I love you.”