The Trials Of Adrian Wheeler – by Steve Shear

The Trials Of Adrian Wheeler – by Steve Shear

Marine Private Adrian Wheeler, accused of murdering Iraqi women and children, arrived home to face nothing less than: An unrelenting father who cajoled him into enlisting, PTSD, sexual Inadequacy, a sensational court-martial trial, a sister with HIV. He returned from Baghdad and the Iraq war disabled and disillusioned an amputee with a bad knee. His brother, John Mike, didn’t return at all. Both participated in a reconnaissance mission seeking proof Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, WMDs, a mission that tragically failed, a mission in which innocent women and children died along with John Mike and other combatants.

As the sole survivor, Adrian carried the details of that trauma deep within his subconscious, and often drank himself unconscious in hopes of hiding from the visitors who came in his sleep; his domineering father, a retired Vietnam veteran, and Rachael, the girl he left behind. In his mental state and physical condition, he did everything he could to avoid her—and the couch they first made love on before he lost his arm. Just when he began taking control of his life, Adrian was charged with the murder of all those women and children. But did he, do it? Could it have been John Mike? Or possibly an insurgent?

Adrian’s only hope was to get beyond his trauma and recall the terrible secret buried deep within the cellar of his psyche. That required Rabinowitz (a psychotherapist specializing in PTSD) and Angelo Benedetti (a renowned court-martial defense lawyer) to help him remember—and to convince the court he was innocent—whether he was or not.

Message From The Author: From the Author: When I started writing Adrian, the only thing I had in mind was a friend from my poetry critique group, a gentle soul with natural artistic creativity, who was ‘forced’ to join the Marines and fight in Vietnam for his country by his bombastic father. My friend had MS and other bad things after being exposed to Agent Orange. He died last year but not before he published several books of his poetry.

Actually, I had two other things in mind when I began thinking about Adrian. I had been against America invading Iraq and I blamed it on W, our president who made the decision to invade. I had just finished reading Vincent Bugliosi’s book The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, and I wondered how many soldiers regretted their decisions to join up in the first place, like my friend. I’m not talking about those soldiers who died in battle (that’s bad enough), but those young men and women who came back (and are continuing to come back) from Iraq and Afghanistan–only to discover a battlefield far more relentless and infinitely more lonely. I am speaking about all those warriors who do battle every day in their mind’s eye, seeing, hearing, smelling, and feeling the loss of a limb, their own or a buddy’s–or who experience the last five minutes of their buddy’s life. There’s no special day just for them. There is no Veterans with PTSD day.

Its full name is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder; at least that’s what we call it now. In the past it was battle fatigue and shell shock, but a rose by any other name is just as devastating I learned when I started the research on The Trials of Adrian Wheeler. When George W. Bush dropped his first bomb on Baghdad in March 2003, I was so upset I produced what I still consider my best work of art, a painting I entitled The Sisters of Baghdad which can be seen on my website, steveshear.net. Shortly thereafter I wrote a poem, The Bombing of Baghdad which appears at the beginning of Adrian. Around that time, I remember getting a haircut and ranting to my barber, Harold, about how terrible President Bush was. My barber was ultraconservative, although I didn’t know it at the time. His bald head (wouldn’t you know it) turned red, his eyes bulged and his lips quivered. My only thought at the time was to blurt out: “HAROLD, PUT DOWN THE SCISSORS!” Fortunately, I am still alive and Harold is still cutting hair, I assume.

By the time I finished writing Adrian and living in the skins of the characters, George Bush became a bit more than a footnote. The characters and the family dynamics took over, Adrian, Pa, Daisy, Esme, Rachael, Rabinowitz, Benedetti, and the others. Actually, characters like these along with what they do and say tend to get under your skin and go where you go whether it’s at the computer, on a long walk, brushing your teeth, or in my case playing Pickleball. That’s what happens during nineteen drafts and before you ever think about sending out your first query.

Steve is happy to say that The Trials of Adrian Wheeler has been optioned as a movie by a production studio in Los Angeles, Filmed Imagination and Daniel Dreifuss (producer of the Academy Award nominated move, NO), and the screenplay has been completed. Steve is also a published playwright, having co-authored with his wife, Susan, The State vs. Max Cooper and The Steele Deal, interactive courtroom dramas published by ArtAge Publications. You can learn more about Steve and his other endeavors (as a painter, sculptor, poet, and retired intellectual property attorney) at www.steveshear.net.

Genre: Law, Specialties, Military, Arts and Photography, Theater

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