HOW TO GROW YOUR LIFE

Brian Hill



Synopsis 

DAVE FIORELLO, 39, a truly “nice guy,” is vice president of a company owned by his tyrannical father-in-law, CLIFF TRUAX. Dave’s socialite wife JOAN spends nearly every waking moment at the country club. They have one daughter, SHANNON, who just left home for college. They live in an upscale ‘gated community’ in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Cliff will be 65 in a month and is retiring. He has promised Joan he would make Dave his successor as CEO, and that Dave and Joan could buy the company from him. Dave isn’t at all certain he wants to make this commitment. But Joan is insistent: the money and status that will come from Dave being CEO are extremely important to her, and Cliff never fails to remind Dave that Joan could have married her college sweetheart, who is now a software tycoon. Dave has a rival at work, a corporate weasel named JULIAN FROST. Julian has been trying to find investors to join him in buying the company so he can install himself as CEO. The stress is starting to take its toll on Dave.

Dave’s respite from all this is his garden. He has an amazing gift for growing things. This causes him to have comically petty battles with the imperial head of the community’s Homeowners Association, WEBSTER VONRUDEN, who enforces a long list of oppressive, goofy rules including one that the landscaping in the exterior of each home must be identical. He’s gone so far as to rip out the individualistic landscaping Dave has planted.

Fun-loving, impetuous neighbor CARLY HOLLIDAY entertains a group of rowdy twenty-somethings at her house nearly every night. She and Vonruden have conflict over the wild parties she throws, but she has no difficulty telling him where to stick his regulations. Carly shares Dave’s passion for gardening. Slowly, they become acquainted, and work together on making her backyard as beautiful as Dave’s. Carly’s assertiveness rubs off on Dave, and he starts to fight back and gain control of his life.

Dave attends a week-long sales convention in Las Vegas. On the plane, he encounters Carly, who invites him to visit her at work. When he does he gets a major shock: Carly is a highly paid and extremely popular stripper (she prefers the term dancer). He hears himself asking Carly if she would have dinner with him. She says yes. Over the course of the week, Dave and Carly cause each other to examine the life choices each has made. One night, their warm friendship turns into unexpected, glorious love. Dave learns Carly is much closer to his age than she appears; something from her past has made her desperately want to remain young. The next day is Dave’s 40th birthday. Daughter Shannon calls Dave with birthday greetings and this awakens him from the romantic dream he’s been in. He and Carly begin having serious misgivings about their relationship.

Julian arrives in Vegas, and sees Dave and Carly together. Dave, not wanting Julian to have any ammunition against him, foolishly tries to bail himself out by saying he doesn’t know Carly, which hurts her deeply. They break up and Dave returns home--to find a letter from Joan telling him that she has decided to leave him and be with the millionaire beau from her youth.

Dave makes the decision to quit his job, and puts his house up for sale, then takes out diabolically satisfying revenge on Julian one night at the country club. In Vegas, Carly finally realizes she can’t lead the ‘party girl’ life forever.

The morning Dave is ready to leave, a delivery truck full of flowers arrives from a garden store. He begins planting them in his front yard, leading to a last confrontation with Vonruden. Carly arrives—now a retired ‘dancer’--and asks Dave if he’s still interested in teaching her the delightful subtleties of gardening. After some tense moments, they realize they are ready to grow a new life—together. They start by changing Dave’s once barren front yard into a field of flowers in every color of the rainbow.

Copyright 2006 Brian Hill
All Rights Reserved