A Conversation with a Pelican

A Conversation with a Pelican

Pat Hicks

PH_conversation-with-a-pelican2010 – Jack Wells, depressed and despondent over the loss of his fortune, curses his fate. Walking on the beach, he confronts a pelican standing in his way. He bypasses it and hears a man’s voice behind him. He whips around to find Tony D’Amico, his friend and mentor throughout his career. He has been dead for ten years. Tony has returned from the afterlife to revisit Jack’s life and redeem him.

Tony’s appearance begins an extraordinary story of entrepreneur Jack Wells’ struggle against insurmountable odds from his early childhood to the founding and stewarding to international renown AMP, a music institute in Hollywood, only to lose his fortune due to circumstances not of his own making. Throughout the story, Tony attempts to awaken Jack from his egoic world to his true identity as pure Grace.

1934 to 1945 – Jack’s early childhood is traumatic, rife with poverty, abandonment and danger. At age ten, while his father lay dying of TB, he falls from the top of a moving Ferris wheel and walks away mysteriously unhurt, protected by angels, instilling a sense of invincibility in Jack. At the death of his father, obstinate and defiant eleven-year-old Jack buries his grief. He vows never to let anyone see him crying or to be poor again. He dreams up ingenious ways to earn money to buy things that make him happy. A war inside him rages on, driving him to rise above his childhood and seek the security and love he never received from his parents. He adopts an “end justifies the means” attitude, cleverly but benignly maneuvering his way through life.

1950 – At age sixteen, Jack’s brother Sam urges him to play music and race motorcycles. He does, and enjoys the adrenalin rush of it all like a pain-killing drug. His life of risk-taking begins, but he nearly dies in a horrendous motorcycle crash. Undaunted, he continues his life living on the edge. He marries, joins the fire department and divorces his adulterous wife. He remarries, joins Yamaha, divorces his second wife and marries Susanna.

1976 – Fired from Yamaha, Jack is broke, with a mortgage and six young children. He is at the end of his rope. Susanna, Jack’s third wife encourages him to start a music school in Hollywood. Reluctantly he agrees and approaches his idol, charismatic Travis Daniels, a powerful Hollywood studio recording icon to write the school’s curriculum. He sells his house to finance the starting of his school. Jack faces huge challenges – no money and evictions, but Jack’s school begins and enrollment booms. Travis manipulates Jack to get a larger piece of the action to support his cocaine habit. Jack tries to expand but is plagued with capital shortages.

1984 – Jack needs help. He hires Sean Kelley, a brilliant student from Belfast with uncanny marketing savvy to build enrollments and put AMP on a sound financial footing. Sean, a corporate ladder climber maneuvers to replace Susanna. She resents Jack and Sean and a struggle for power ensues. She conspires to remove Jack from power and take control of the school. Employee morale plummets and they threaten to unionize. Jack has many enemies. Throughout the story, Jack rescues students with extraordinary problems, endearing them to him.

1992 – Jack is sued by Travis. The school faces devastating financial difficulties. It appears that his brainchild is going to fail. Jack sinks into deep depression. His world is collapsing in on him. He turns to his friend, the living Tony for guidance. Together they devise a plan to defeat Susanna and a corporate raider.

1994 – Stressed to the breaking point and emotionally and physically exhausted, Jack and Susanna decide to sell the school. Two Japanese billionaires compete to purchase it. A new struggle emerges between Jack and Susanna, but the school sells for millions and Jack is set for life.

2000 – His fortune is taken from him.

2012 – Jack contemplates suicide when Tony doesn’t show. He stands at the end of a pier to jump and drown. The pelican shows up, Tony talks Jack out of suicide and takes him to AMP reunion At an emotional reunion at AMP, Susanna and those who Jack helped thank him. Back with Tony, Jack meets those who had died during the school years who Jack thought hated him, and they forgive him. After resisting Tony’s teaching, Jack finally sees the error of his ways. He collapses in tears and accepts Tony’s secret of his redemption; his Grace. Tony morphs into the pelican and flies away, out of Jack’s life. Now at peace, Jack returns to Sedona and his fifth wife Elizabeth to live happily ever after.

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