Our story opens with Daniel “D.D.” David in the guest bedroom of his estranged son. He examines the childhood mementos of a child that he only recently has met. These are reminders of a past that he never knew, and reminders that fuel his anxiety. He is wrought with a life-altering decision.
We flashback to the genesis of our tale, as D.D. talks with his best friend, Pastor Clarence, about his recent doctor's appointment, and new Christian radio opportunity. The next day, D.D. drowns his sorrow in a bottle of Tennessee whiskey, following a disastrous interview. Of course, his biggest mistake is sharing this grief with his 100,000 listeners. His subsequent hangover subsides by noon the next day. His 10-day extension has just begun.
With free time on his hands, D.D. frequents his favorite watering hole, where he compares his life to a bad country music song. Drunk and desperate, D.D. attracts the interest of the resident barfly. At his apartment, he learns that he has a fatal lung disease and only a transplant will save his life. This information comes to him as a shock. He collapses to the floor in prayer, as the barfly mocks him.
Starting to believe that he is being punished for fostering a life of pain and persecution, he visits the gravesite of his ex-wife. Recognizing that finding a compatible donor is a long shot, he swallows his pride and tries to reach out to his estranged brother Steven. However, D.D. takes offense to his brother’s snide comments and hangs up. D.D.’s fear turns to anger.
He storms the radio station, but is prevented from entering the studio by the security guard. Dejected and defeated, D.D. retreats to the local watering hole. The whiskey is no match for D.D.’s depression, as well as the devastating attack that follows. He collapses. The bartender, Ariel, tries to help him. As D.D. clings to life, he experiences a series of divine revelations that help him put his life into perspective.
At the hospital, his doctor tells him that he will probably not survive another attack. He needs a transplant NOW. After a critical encounter with Pastor Clarence, D.D. swallows his pride and decides to apologize to his brother. This time it is D.D. who is met with antagonism. But this time, D.D. trades his rage for revelation. He recognizes now that he is, in fact, receiving the same insensitivity that he had inflicted on his own family.
After being released from the hospital, he is visited by Celeste, who introduces herself as a “family friend.” Learning of his struggle, she convinces him into seeing Lydia, his estranged daughter. He agrees. During his excursion to his “home town,” D.D. recollects abandoning his family, before he reconnects with Lydia, now pregnant with her second child.
Through a collection of photographs on Lydia’s mantle, D.D. experiences the “evolution” of his former family. It is at this time that he discovers that he is the father of Lydia’s brother, Ethan Daniels, a celebrated Christian musician. Putting away past grievances, Lydia assures D.D. that she would have helped with the medical procedure, if the situation were different. This simple admission helps reconcile numerous years of guilt for D.D. He begins to accept his divine fate.
He returns to the watering hole and recounts to Ariel the recent events. D.D. is ready to die, but Celeste has other plans. She shows up at the radio station with an old air check of D.D., a cassette tape that inspired Ethan, who had learned of his real father a few years earlier. Along with the tape, Celeste leaves two tickets to Ethan’s local performance for that evening. D.D.’s fortune appears to be turning. As he nervously prepares for the concert, he learns from his doctor’s office that they have located a potential donor. Excited, he finishes his preparations, while listening to Ethan’s tape.
Arriving at the concert venue, he recognizes the magnitude of meeting his only son. Anticipation leads to anxiety, which leads to abandonment...a pattern that has seemed to haunt D.D. his entire life. He gives away his tickets, but abruptly changes his mind when he recognizes the impact that Ethan has had on his fans.
The concert commences. D.D. enters the lobby, hoping to steal a peek of a son that he has never met. While there, he runs into an intern at the radio station, who questions why he is not inside. D.D. is promptly ushered into the hall, where he stands at one of the railings across from the stage. Celeste, in the front row, scours the audience for D.D., then smiles when she sees him in the back of the room. When she is introduced by Ethan, she turns briefly toward the stage. Upon turning back towards D.D., she realizes that he has bailed.
After the concert, Celeste visits the watering hole. He is not present, but she has an idea of where he might be...at the family church. Daniel tells Celeste that there is supposedly a donor that can save his life. After a tender exchange, Celeste asks D.D. to walk her down the aisle during her and Ethan’s upcoming wedding. D.D. reluctantly agrees.
The next day, Daniel has a second, more severe attack. He is rushed to the hospital. Ethan and Celeste, along with Ethan’s manager, arrive to find D.D. in serious, but stable condition. Celeste asks the attending physician about D.D.’s donor. She is greeted with the news that the donor has recently been taken off of the list. Ethan offers to be tested as a potential donor. His manager is livid.
A few weeks later. We learn that Ethan is a perfect match. On the eve of the transplant operation, D.D. confides to his fans the levity of his situation, and why he won’t be on the airwaves for an indefinite period of time. Celeste arrives at the station to drive him to their house across state. She comforts him.
Arriving at Celeste’s home, D.D. meets Ethan, and his grandson Kevin, for the first time. It is a heartfelt moment. Ethan's manager arrives. Tensions ensue. D.D. overhears an argument between Ethan and his manager regarding the risk and reality of Ethan’s decision. D.D. ponders a course of action. Anticipation. Will he be able to forge a relationship with his son and grandson? Anxiety. Will he let Ethan possibly sacrifice his career for a father that was not present in his life? Abandonment...
We are back where we started...D.D. in the guest bedroom. He has made his decision. He picks up his suitcase and walks softly through the second floor corridor. He peeks into Kevin’s bedroom, and is greeted with a similar memory of Lydia, during her abandonment many years earlier. He then moves to Ethan and Celeste’s bedroom. Another memory. This time of his wife, curled up on one side of the bed. Back to reality. D.D. turns, walks down the stairs. The creaking of the stairs stirs Celeste awake.
D.D. exits the house, suitcase in hand. History repeats itself. But this time, D.D.’s abandonment is out of affection, not anxiety. As he moves into the driveway, Celeste calls out. She knows what he is doing. Celeste asks if she can at least drive him to the bus station. D.D. refuses. He doesn’t want to risk Ethan and/or Kevin waking up.
Celeste understands, and asks if they can at least share one last “walk down the sidewalk” together. In a tender moment, D.D. asks Celeste to take care of his “family.” She agrees. D.D. turns, walks down the moonlit sidewalk, and is eventually engulfed by the deep shadows.
Six months have passed. Ethan and his band play at the family church. It’s a celebration service of a sort. First, to celebrate his daughter’s baptism. Second to celebrate his daughter Danielle’s namesake.
This story is based loosely on the exploits of Christian DJ Roger St. James.
(With Thor Ramsey attached)
A struggling artist with a gambling addiction mistakenly frees the spirit of a persecuted 17th century maiden from the portrait that confined her, then races to recapture her before she can enact vengeance on the descendants of a small Maine island.