Here’s a note on why I titled this blog post “Las Colas de Fairy Tales.” Tails get twisted, they can ensnare, right? Additionally, all of my life I have heard this Sicilian proverb when encountered with the difficulties of ending an endeavor, a project, etc…”A cuda (the tail) e forte a sciuppare,” which translates to…the tail is tough to remove. I chose colas because I want to keep things Spanish. Colas is Spanish for tails. And for my protagonist Anna, sleep is a fairy tale. She will also be ensnared by Mar’s tale….
This is an exciting project. It has all the tumblers of my mind spinning. The idea of Mar, Anna’s sleeping device, getting into her dreams was one that seized me last week. Then Dr. Zamora and Alan challenged me to think…well, why? What’s Mar’s motivation? What is she up to? She can’t just want to destroy her protagonist’s life for the sake of it. Who is Anna?
So, I got to thinking about the maker of the device, Nutrileza. This is a play on words in Spanish. Naturaleza means nature and Nutrir means to nurture. This is a happy, calming name on purpose. First, I want Anna to feel at ease, like you are when you are in a warm bath. But we know what happens when a frog stays in a warm bath too long as the heat gets turned up…it dies…without knowing it. But surely, Anna is smarter than that, right? She’s a tough Italian New York City-bred attorney, right?
Enter the demon: sleep deprivation. Here I insert a song that has terrified me my entire life, ever since a hapless babysitter (my uncle) let us watch the Omen (1976) on TV:
spotify:track:2n2Uugl3wR9s2pYjIKbbL9 Here is is in orchestral version if you can’t launch it from the Spotify link:
Sleep deprivation makes Anna feel like the Beast has grabbed Anna by the throat and refuses to let go. Little does she know that would be the least of her problems….
You see Anna is an attorney for Nutrileza, Inc., which is based in New York City. She recently did them a solid by prosecuting a case before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) for free. She needed the pro bono hours and she really liked the idea of helping out a company whose mission statement includes language to the effect of “making natural care options available to the public on a low cost basis.” You see there was a competing company that had obtained Nutrileza’s trade-secret formula for a natural cough suppressant and Nutrileza’s financial exposure skyrocketed as its stock plummeted. So Nutrileza took Benesseriato, Inc., also based in NYC, to court for stealing the formula. This is another play on words because benessere means well-being in Italian. How did the info leak? Well, no one is sure. But Anna and Nutrileza think that there was a rat at Benesseriato. He or she probably got handsomely rewarded for ratting.
SIDE NOTE: You may ask: how did Anna find out about Nutrileza? Her ex-boyfriend Cuban-born Carlos (it was an amicable breakup) had told her of the company and she has been buying Nutrileza’s vitamins for several years now. She TRUSTS Nutrileza.
So when Anna wins the case for Nutrileza, the people there are supremely grateful:
“What can we do, let us pay you,” says CEO Marco DiNatale, “Seriously, all this work for free, it’s too much.”
Anna replies laughingly: “No worries Marco, but if you can pay me back with a stash of sleep, I’d be eternally grateful.”
Anna thinks it’s a clever joke. But then Marcos creases his brow and he gets serious. “You know we are getting into tech, right?” “Yes, I heard the buzz about that, congratulations, it is smart to diversif—”
“Listen,” Marco cuts her off. “We have a little device, Mar, why don’t you try it. It works wonders. You know I had a new baby and could hardly get any sleep, this thing works wonders….Of course you’d have to sign a standard Non-Disclosure Agreement, you know for safety.”
“Really, it works? Don’t shit me Marco, I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in weeks,” Anna replies, her eyebrows curling up menacingly.
“No, no seriously….I can set you up today…Simple as working with a set of AirPods…..”
Ok, so Mar works like a dream, until she ENTERS Anna’s dreams and looks exactly like her. Anna’s at her wit’s end, why is this happening? Well, it turns out that Mar has a hidden biological tracker. And Marco knows all about Anna’s past. She was proud of it. She was the first in a long line of women in her family not to succumb to breast cancer. She got off scot free. She was so grateful. And Marco seemed like a good Catholic, she confided in him….
Mar disturbs Anna’s peace because she wants to gain information and genes from her without a fight. As a moral IP attorney, Anna has always thought the it was wrong for companies to patent genetic sequencing. They occur in nature…right? Why should someone be able to corner the market on isolating a gene sequence? Doing so would have a chilling effect on companies who seek to help people. After all, diagnostic tests and potential cures are all going to contain a genetic sequence somewhere? That’s fine. But to patent something in nature? That’s wrong….Or is it?
Mar messes with Anna’s brain so much that she is no longer sure of what is right and wrong. She doesn’t know about Nutrileza’s hidden agenda until it is revealed to her in a fantastical dream. Nutrileza somehow extracts Anna’s unique genetic sequence that makes her resistant to breast cancer….Anna wants to fight it…It isn’t right….But she’s so tired…Mar promised that she would be able to sleep peacefully forever, if she just goes along with this one little thing….It’s for the benefit of womankind, right? “Claro que si,” Mar intones in her gentle Spanish lilt.
Anna just doesn’t know….Yes, no, maybe so…
My challenge with this project is keeping it concise. That is what I need guidance in doing. I can spin a tale that is longer than Rapunzel’s hair, but I don’t want to do that. I want to deliver good art that serves as an unexpected gut punch. But I still need that honeymoon time when Mar is a Savior. I look forward to workshopping this with everyone! Be well! Best, Medea.