A Brief Character Study of Two Characters

Subject: Sam Smith

Age: 25

  1. Sam Smith graduated from Syracuse University.
    1. Sam Smith double majored in bioengineering and chemical engineering with a focus on engineering new pharmaceutical drugs.
    2. After graduation, he interned with the British pharmaceutical company, GlaxoSmithKlyne.
    3. He was later awarded a full-time position as a research assistant and over the next two years he worked his way up to laboratory manager in their New York research facility.


  1. Sam Smith has a problem.
    1. Sam Smith attended Syracuse on a partial scholarship but is still up to his frontal lobe in debt from student loans.
    2. He developed a nervous tic whenever he received the university’s collection letters in the mail.
    3. He started seeing a psychiatrist to deal with his anxiety issues.

i.      His psychiatrist prescribed antidepressants after hearing about his childhood.

  1. III.  Sam Smith did not have a normal childhood.
    1. Sam Smith’s father physically and verbally abused him, often calling him a worthless piece of shit while punching him in the ribs.
    2. Sam Smith’s mother was mentally and emotionally absent due to the loss of their second child, a daughter.
    3. His father continued to abuse him through puberty which resulted in stunted physical development due to a set of ribs which didn’t heal properly.
    4. He excelled in science fairs which his parents never attended.
    5. Despite his later successes, he was still susceptible to bouts of depression and would have succeeded in suicide had Veronica not befriended him.

Subject: Veronica Lane

Age: 25

  1. Veronica Lane graduated from New York community college.
    1. Veronica Lane majored in art and philosophy by taking night classes.
    2. During the day, she works as a barista at Tweaker’s Coffeeshop where her neighbor, Sam Smith, often comes for his caffeine fix before work.
    3. She and Sam exchange pleasantries and Ramen noodle recipes and make plans to have movie nights at each other’s apartments.
  1. Veronica Lane has a problem.
    1. Despite steady employment, she can still barely pay the rent on her apartment.
    2. She has an addiction to online shopping and her closets are filled with purchases from Amazon and Etsy.
    3. She compulsively shops because it was the only way she could bond with her mother when she was younger.
    4. Since her mother passed away six months ago, Veronica’s online shopping has gotten worse and is causing her to max out her one credit card on a pair bohemian chic sunglasses.
  1. III.  Veronica Lane is having trouble coming up with a solution to her problem.
    1. Her options include:

i.      Moving out of her apartment and back in with her father.

ii.      Becoming a prostitute.

  1. IV.  Veronica Lane has a problem with both of her potential solutions.
    1. She does not like the idea of living with her father since he abandoned her mother when she was 8 years old.

i.      Her estranged father went on to have a successful career as a gambler until he hit an unlucky streak and his bookie broke his knees.

  1. She does not like the idea of becoming a prostitute.
  1. Veronica Lane is sick of pondering potential solutions.
    1. She hears Sam puttering around his apartment and goes to see what he is doing.

Interaction: Sam and Veronica

  1. Sam hears someone knocking on his apartment door.
    1. He disrobes from his hazmat suit and kicks it back into his bedroom where he is working on an experiment.
    2. “I’m coming,” he calls as he opens his windows to rid his apartment of the acrid smell. He sprays air freshener down the hallway and hurries to answer the door.
  1. Sam opens the door to find Veronica standing there.
    1. “Hey V, I thought we were watching movies at your place tonight,” he says, hoping she doesn’t notice the stench of his latest experiment.

III. Veronica notices the stench but has long since given up trying to convince Sam to leave his work at the office.

  1. Her nose wrinkles involuntarily and refuses to become accustomed to the smell.
  2. “We are later,” she says, “I was just tired of sitting over there by myself.”

IV. Sam notices her familiar tone of disappointment. He’s heard it before when she’s gorged her paycheck on dresses and custom-made purses.

  1. “What’s wrong?” he asks as he prepares himself for her onslaught of monetary woes.
  1. Veronica tells him about her problems with making rent.
    1. “I splurged on accessories this time,” she confesses, “but aren’t these bracelets gorgeous?”
    2. She displays the handcrafted Italian silver bracelets dangling from her wrists.
    3. Sam is distracted as he tries to remember silver’s atomic weight off the top of his head but manages to agree that they are nice bracelets.
    4. “It absolutely sucks being so broke all the time,” she laments, “and this Ramen diet is getting old.”

VI. Sam snaps back to attention when she mentions being broke.

  1. “If this latest experiment is a success, then I may be able to help you out,” he says, “after I pay back my loans, of course.”
  2. She inquires if the latest experiment is what’s making his apartment reek.
  3. “Yes, actually,” he says, “it’s an unfortunate side effect.”
  4. She asks what the experiment is.
  5. “It’s a compound that could revolutionize the drug market,” he answers. He’s unsure, in spite of their history as friends, that he can trust her with the exact nature of this compound.

VII. Veronica’s interest is piqued.

  1. “What does it do?” she asks.
  2. Sam hedges some more, telling her that it’s a chemical that has a very high profit-margin turn around and that he’s trying to create a version that’s limited in its negative side effects for humans.
  3. He throws around a few more vague terms before she gets frustrated and tries another tactic.
  4. “So can I see it?” she asks.

VIII. Sam considers it.

  1. “It’s pretty dangerous,” he says, “You’d have to wear a protective suit.”
  2. She adds that he’s made her do that for minor experiments that he’s brought home as well.
  3. “This is different,” he adds, “Any contact with bodily fluids would make this compound a serious biological hazard. It would explode and kill us, V.”

IX. She agrees to suit up and follows Sam to his room.

  1. Glancing at the beakers and dancing chemicals, she tries to guess what the mystery compound is.
  2. “Is it some kind of antihistamine or antibiotic?” she asks.
  3. He answers no and says that it provides the user with an abundance of energy.
  4. She accepts this and asks, “So how are you going to make money off of it?”
  1. Sam tells her that it has a high market value in a variety of forms.
    1. “It’s quite the lucrative business,” he adds, “Even amateurs can manage to create this compound through things they can get from a grocery store.”
    2. She looks at him with a glimmer of understanding now.
    3. “So this could be your ticket out of here then,” she says as she examines the beakers more closely.
    4. “Yeah,” he replies, “do you want to try some?”

XI. Veronica believes she’s misheard him and asks him what he means.

  1. Sam replies that it’s just an energy compound and offers her a tray of a powdery substance.
  2. “Sam, I know that it’s meth,” she says as she turns to face him.
  3. He reaches around her neck with his free hand and grabs her shoulder. He lifts the tray closer to her face.
  4. “Try it,” he says, “You’ll like it.”

One response to “Dissonance

  1. WordPress screwed with my format. The repeated number 1s are supposed to be Roman numerals. The sub-lists are supposed to be lettered, not numbered.

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