Grandma Rose Tailor has advanced dilated cardiomyopathy. Waiting patiently, she has worked her way to the top of the UNOS list. She’s first in line for the next available AB-negative heart.
The presidential election is three months away and the incumbent plans to run again. All systems are go until his heart craps out while jogging for a photo-op. The president needs a heart transplant if he’s going to live through November 4th. But wouldn’t you know it, he has that rarest-of-rare blood types, AB-negative. The odds of finding a heart are terrible.
But lo and behold, a heart becomes available. Grandma Rose goes to the hospital to await the harvest.
But the government, unwilling to wait for nature to take its course, swoops in to prompt the harvest and steal Rose’s heart. Rose’s son, Spence, however, won’t have any part of it. He — with help from his reluctant older brother — steals the heart and goes on the run, inadvertently kidnaping a beautiful young cardiac surgery resident along the way. Trust me. It could happen. BUY IT NOW!
The president’s people (FBI and Secret Service) give chase hoping to get the heart back before its ischemic time expires.
Senator Peggy Check, who is a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, is the president’s political opponent and the nation’s first viable female presidential candidate. With enough budget control to get her way, Senator Check sends the CIA after whomever has stolen the president’s heart. Their job is to make sure these people succeed at whatever their objective is.
It’s an insane road trip — ‘Midnight Run’ with a human heart instead of Charles Grodin. Most importantly, it raises the question: What would you do if it was your mother?
How The Story Came To Be
While writing “The Organ Grinders” back in 1996, I had a transplant-related story idea that struck me as a sure-fire winner for an action-comedy screenplay. I threw the idea at my writing partner, Matt Hansen, and we worked the story out and wrote the screenplay. We submitted it to our agents at the time and it died a quick death. But not before some apparent Hollywood hanky-panky — the details of which are too complicated to go into, but suffice it to say, there is pretty good evidence the story idea was stolen, rewritten as a drama, sold to a major movie star’s production company, and never made.
We considered a lawsuit but, having experience in the legal world, we figured the only people who would come out ahead in the deal would be the attorneys, so we let it go. But woe be unto the writers who stole the idea should I ever run into them. And worse, if they run into Matt who not only likes guns but owns several.
Still, I figured it was my idea to begin with so I planned to write it as a novel after “The Organ Grinders.” However, my editor at the time (the lovely and talented Tom Dupree) urged against it as he didn’t want me to become ‘the organ’ guy. So I wrote “Cross Dressing” before proposing “Heart Seizure” as the next book. Again Tom said no. So I wrote “Fender Benders” before proposing “Heart Seizure” for a third time. Tom gave me the go ahead and off I went.
Like “Pest Control” and “Cross Dressing”, “Heart Seizure” started off as a screenplay. In the course of adapting it to a novel, it changed. In fact it changed more than the first two. It turned out to be much more of a political satire than the screenplay ever was. It’s much closer in tone to “Pest Control” than “The Organ Grinders” and would make a terrific movie. Rights are available.