Adrian & Gabriel or drugs, sex and the sunrise
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|Genre(s)||Urban, Contemporary Novel|
|Media Type||Paperback & e-book (Kindle)|
|Pages||196 pp (Paperback edition)|
|ISBN||ISBN 978-0980-32294-1 (Paperback edition)|
Adrian is a twenty four year old unemployed engineer. Though he has officially been cleared of wrong doing, he assumes personal responsibility for an industrial accident that took a workman's life. As a consequence his own life spins out of control with a burden he simply can't release himself from and, rather than understand his isolation in terms of a personal crisis that followed the death of the workman, he blames society for rejecting him, and sees his only way forward in terms of entering an inner suburban drug culture, in his mind, a truer reality and a more profound way of life.
However, those who are a part of this culture, often without a choice, such Sarah Anderson, known by her street friends as 'Gabriel', loosely nicknamed after Gabriel the 'Heroine' or 'Woman' of God, reject Adrian as an outsider. The novel follows a forty eight hour structure.
We meet Adrian - and sex worker Andrea - outside a brothel in the early hours of Friday morning. He is on his way home from another pointless night, spending money he doesn't have. Within the hour he sees Gabriel for the first time while buying milk and cigarettes for his cousin Peter in a deli near his home (which he shares with Peter). He retrieves a small package that she leaves behind on the service counter with every intention of returning it to her.
Upon arriving home, Peter, an aspiring business man, encourages Adrian to join him on his date with his estranged girlfriend Sandra later in the day, partly to do his family duty in reforming Adrian and partly because he is nervous about meeting Sandra again. Adrian reluctantly agrees before going to his bedroom where, upon waking, he discovers the true contents of Gabriel's package, namely several caps of heroin.
Meanwhile, just around the corner, in an end of the road hotel on notorious Fitzroy Street, paramedics attend the victim of a drug overdose. The overdose victim had bought 'killer' drugs from Gabriel several hours earlier.
Disillusioned by the events that unfold during his evening with Peter and Sandra, Adrian sets out to locate Gabriel in earnest, yet to no avail. He goes home determined to forget the whole thing and to get on with his life, only to weaken and once again define his life's quest in terms of befriending Gabriel. He sets off into the night with the caps of heroin and is promptly caught by undercover police officers. Interrogating officer Scott Wilson suspects the heroin as being of an uncut grade responsible for killing several middle class recreational users and releases Adrian in hope that he will lead him to the drug source.
Adrian returns home to discover that Peter now suspects him of cheating with Sandra. Through a misunderstanding Peter is thrown into a suicidal spin and Adrian is cast from the house with the somewhat deluded resolve to locate Gabriel so that she can tell the police the truth about everything.
Gabriel, under her boss' direction, meets Adrian and preys on his weakness to befriend her. She injects him with heroin and leaves him for the police to conclude that he is the dealer of the 'killer' drugs. However, she inadvertently switched the heroin with the 'killer' heroin. Nevertheless Adrian recovers and tracks Gabriel down.
Whilst Gabriel is sure he is after revenge, Adrian informs her that she has helped him see things clearly. Adrian is joined by Andrea, a reforming prostitute, and later Lees joins the meeting. Adrian overwhelms Lees and exits with Andrea to whom he had earlier confessed his innocence in the workman's death.
Gabriel, who has had about as much appreciation for the 'straight' world as what Adrian had had for druggie culture, accepts that she will never be 'straight'. But she admires Adrian and she wants her baby brother to be like him one day, rather than adopt her way of life. After Adrian exits, she tells Lees that she intends telling the police the truth about the 'killer' drugs. Lees, mortified, imprisons her in a country safe house, without the truth ever coming out.
Just before the police arrest Adrian for trafficking heroin and for the manslaughter of several overdose victims, Adrian learns of his cousin Peter's suicide attempt.
Several months later police drop charges against Adrian largely due to the informant officer, Scott Wilson, always an uneasy fit as a police officer, leaving the force to pursue other interests. Adrian never sees or hears of Gabriel again. However, he now knows her by her real name 'Sarah Anderson'.
"Be my angel at my life's end and guide me from one place to the next."
Cops, junkies, dealers, lawyers, teachers, lovers, friends and enemies, artists, angels, ghosts and thieves – who will you meet on your journey?
Adrian wanders inner city streets searching for not just a better life or the right life but his life. Along the way he meets druggie girl Gabriel. He’s sure that she is strong where he is weak and that she can see where he is blind. But she just wants her drugs back.
As with all journeys, Adrian’s journey moves him forward – because he can no longer go back. He learns that some people get it right and that some people get it wrong while most get it right and wrong.
Where will your journey take you?
Mainstreet Publishing Edition
Adrian is the main character in Adrian & Gabriel. He is a twenty four year old unemployed engineer who blames himself for an industrial accident that killed a workman. He rejects society because he believes it has rejected him. Consequently he searches for his place in the world.
Gabriel, whose real name is Sarah Anderson, is a heroin addict and petty drug dealer who inadvertently distributed uncut heroin that contributed to the death of its unwary users. She becomes the emblem - and the target - of Adrian's self directed, and misguided, reformation.
Peter is an aspiring business man in the local community. He wants to rekindle his relationship with estranged girlfriend Sandra. A deeply anxious person, he wrongly interprets the chemistry between Adrian and Sandra, and becomes convinced that his 'own family' (Adrian) has cheated him with his 'own girlfriend' (Sandra) and, as a result, his tenuous hold on normality unravels.
An Australian by birth and English woman by upbringing, Sandra has taken time out from the rush of life to consider her options, and while visiting Melbourne, and staying with her sister Christine, and her husband Robert, becomes the reluctant target of Peter's affections.
Currently a sex worker, previously an office worker, Andrea is in the process of reinventing herself, again, if society can let go of its definition of her as a prostitute. Realistic, even if whimsical at times, she serves as a useful counter balance to Adrian's unrealistic attempt to find his place in the world.
Christine is Sandra's sister. She was a University academic and now lives in a pleasant suburb of Melbourne, near the sea, and is married to a successful lawyer, Robert. She and Robert have a lovely boy. Without always being aware of it, Christine influences the others in a positive affirming way.
Robert, Christine's husband, is a successful lawyer who questions if he has contributed anything useful to the world. The things that he considers part of the city - buildings, pavement, gardens, roads - all exist without his contribution in even the slightest regard. He decides that he must try to contribute something useful to society. When he senses that Adrian is in trouble, he organizes a search party to look for him.
Scott Wilson, police detective, must solve the 'killer' drug problem. He is an old friend of sisters Christine and Sandra, and of Christine's husband, Robert. He nonetheless hates his job and ends up venting his frustration on Adrian.
Peter the Artist
Peter the artist leads an unconventional, eccentric life. Populating his world with people who are anything but 'mainstream', Adrian befriended Peter the artist long before the story begins and relies on him for counsel.
Raymond, once a high flying lawyer and now a hotel manager, is a minor character who nevertheless provides an obvious influence - along with Christine and Peter the Artist - in showing how people can reinvent their lives for the better.
Friday 5:30am Zelda's Little House
Adrian leaves a brothel in the early hours of Friday morning. Andrea runs after him with his jacket, which he has forgotten. Inadvertently he hands her more money than owed, something that she discovers back in the parlor. She comments to a co-worker that Adrian is nice but miserable when he needn't be.
Friday 6:00am Fitzroy Street
Adrian catches a cab to Fitzroy Street, around the corner from his cousin Peter's apartment, where he is staying until he finds his feet. He walks back to a deli. While looking for milk, he hears Gabriel enter the shop, and watches her in a convex mirror. Plain clothes police enter the shop and Gabriel leaves. At the service counter he discovers a film canister that Gabriel left behind. He scoops it into a bag and exits the deli expecting to find Gabriel and return her things. On his way home, he sees her talking to herself. The two detectives pull along the curb in their car, and Adrian keeps walking. Gabriel wonders how she is going to get her things back.
Friday 7:00am The apartment
Peter is awake when Adrian fumbles for the door key. He is thinking about meeting his estranged girlfriend Sandra later in the day. Inside, Adrian wants to find out about Gabriel. Peter asks Adrian to his date with Sandra so that he can help Adrian readjust into society, and so that he won't have to face Sandra alone. Reluctantly Adrian agrees. He goes to bed devastated by what his life has become.
Friday 7:00am Fenwick Hotel
Emergency workers find Roget Barton dead of a drug overdose in a room in the end of the road hotel around the corner on Fitzroy Street. Roget Barton had bought his drugs the night before from Gabriel.
Friday 5:30pm Waking up
Adrian woke late in the day and tried to recall the night before. Then he tried to understand how he reached that disappointing stage in his life and recalls a work death that he blamed himself for. Finally he remembers meeting Gabriel and he remembers bringing her film canister home. He madly opens the canister and locates a list of names and caps of heroin. His imagination is fired with thoughts about drug culture. He recalls how he had committed to join Peter on his date with Sandra. He showers and plans to meet Peter, after he first visits his friend artist Peter.
Friday 6:00pm Peter the Artist
Peter the artist believes he has forgotten his door key and is climbing a drainpipe to enter via the bathroom window. Adrian waits inside for him. He explains his fascination in Gabriel to Peter, which prompts Peter to counsel him against apotheosizing her even if her nickname means 'heroine of God'. Peter the artist tells him to take people as they really are. Adrian leaves further convinced that people don't want to understand him.
Friday 6:30pm Police check
Two detectives from earlier in the day spot Adrian in the backstreets as he is walking to a rendezvous with his cousin Peter and they search him. Scott Wilson, one of the detectives, realizes that he is 'sick of everything' and wants to get out of there. Adrian feels incriminated.
Friday 8:00pm Waiting for Sandra
Adrian meets Peter at a beachside restaurant, where Peter is waiting for Sandra, who hasn't showed. Peter had big plans and can't accept that Sandra stood him up.
Friday 8:00pm Sandra at Christine's house
Sandra finishes dinner with her sister, Christine, at Christine's house, when Christine reminds her that Peter had planned to meet her. Sandra explains that two men are chasing her, 'Scott the cop and Peter the thief'. Robert, Christine's husband, a successful lawyer, joins in, but quickly excuses himself, informing his wife that he is due to meet people, which disappoints her, especially since their child Michael cries out from the nursery awake when Robert had said he had put him to sleep.
Friday 8:30pm To Zenga's
Adrian and Peter walk to the restaurant that Peter had booked for dinner. Adrian ponders a world in which angels tell us things that God wants us to hear.
Friday 9:00pm Pizza
Sandra waits at the restaurant, and argues with a waiter who tells her to extinguish her cigarette. She leaves as Adrian and Peter arrive, surprising Peter, and suggests they have dinner at a pizzeria, which they do. Adrian becomes uncomfortable through dinner, Sandra becomes intrigued by him, and Peter starts to suspect that his cousin wants to make it with 'his girl'.
Friday 10:30pm Nightclub and beyond
Sandra convinces the men to follow her to a nightclub, the idea of which perturbs Peter. She makes the decision to end it with him tonight. She flirts with Adrian and dances with him; Peter feels threatened until Adrian decides to go find Gabriel.
Friday 11:00pm Soiree at Christine’s
Scott Wilson drops by Christine's house secretly hoping to meet Sandra. Christine tends to a cut on his hand before introducing him to Robert and his friend Raymond, who are engaged in a lively conversation about what it means to be Australian. A car pulls up out front.
Friday 11:15pm Sandra and Peter in cab
Sandra and Peter pull up out front of Christine's house in a cab. Sandra tells Peter she won't see him again. Peter is okay with it, but then asks when he can see her again. Christine and Scott call her from the door, and she goes to greet them, forgetting about Peter.
Friday 11:30pm Peter in cab
Peter tries to console himself over the rejection on the way home n the cab, but he can't escape the sinking feeling, and the sense of loss.
Friday 11:30pm Adrian leaving the apartment with drugs
Adrian exits the apartment in a renewed search for Gabriel; the narrative relates the previous forty five minutes of events, in which Adrian had looked for Gabriel in a punk haunt but couldn't find her. He went back home to collect the caps of heroin with the idea of hitting the streets once again and getting word out that he was looking for Gabriel to return her drugs.
Friday 11:45pm Caught
Adrian hadn't walked a block when plain clothes cops catch him with the drugs and arrest him.
Saturday 1:00am Interrogation
Scott Wilson was called to interrogate Adrian about the drugs. Scott accuses him of trafficking killer drugs; he releases him hopeful that he will lead them to the drug source. Adrian leaves the interrogation with a debilitating migraine; he meets Andrea on Flinders Street, who helps him and gives him her phone number.
Saturday 8:30am Adrian looks for Peter
Adrian needs his cousin's help. He can't contact him on the telephone so he goes to Christine's house hoping that he will find Peter there with Sandra. He removes and refits and removes his wristwatch in a state of agitation while talking with Sandra, who can't help him, except to give him painkillers.
Saturday 9:00am Sandra rang Peter about Adrian's watch
Sandra telephones Peter to ask him to tell Adrian that he left behind his watch.
Saturday 9:30am Adrian back at the apartment with Peter
Finally home, Adrian pleads for help from his cousin, who now has evidence (the phone call from Sandra about the wristwatch) that his 'own family' cheated on him with his girlfriend. Peter, crazy with jealousy and loss, never actually accuses Adrian of this, however, leaving him to run from the apartment believing that Peter was angry at him for further ruining his life, now with a serious drug conviction.
Saturday 11:00am Peter goes to Sandra's
Peter catches a tram to Christine's house in order to give Sandra an 'opportunity to love him again'.
Saturday 11:30am Peter confronts Sandra
Peter confronts Sandra and, with spittle running from his chin, just stops short of calling her a slut. He smashes a video tape she had been watching on a dresser. Eventually he leaves, and at the same time leaves behind 'normality'. Sandra, thinking his remonstration related to her breaking it off with him pure and simple, believes he will get over it.
Saturday noon Peter's reflections
Peter, wandering the streets again, hurt and embarrassed, vows to 'hurt that bitch.'
Saturday 1:00pm Sandra's confession (not quite)
During the couple hours before Christine's birthday party, Christine and Sandra chat about boyfriends and life. Sandra can't bring herself to discuss Peter's recent visit.
Saturday 1:30pm Sandra and Scott talk
Scott arrives for Christine's party a few minutes early while Sandra is outside washing Christine's car. Sandra misses the fact that Scott is depressed and Scott inappropriately idealizes Sandra. Michael comes outside to play and breaks the tension.
Saturday 2:00pm Birthday party
Everyone has fun at Christine's party even though a few people, including Robert, couldn't make it. Raymond, who suffered a fall from career grace some time back, and Christine who aims to balance home life with resuming her university career, are actually well adjusted, and act to counterbalance Scott's and Sandra's lives, which are somewhat dysfunctional at this point in time.
Saturday 3:30pm Gabriel stoned
In full view of locals, tourists and the police, Gabriel is sitting outside Luna Park stoned on heroin.
Saturday 3:30pm Scott and Sandra at the supermarket
Following the birthday party, Sandra helps Scott with his weekly shopping. Sandra wanted to get out the house and Scott wanted a quickie before his next shift. It's awkward. Sandra talks about her meeting with Adrian. Scott drops Sandra back to Christine's house, and he drives home wondering why Sandra showed interest in Adrian.
Saturday 4:30pm Peter needed to kill someone
At the supermarket the same time as Sandra and Scott, though hidden, Peter feeds his own suspicions and resolves to take a life.
Saturday 5:30pm Andrea at Marilyn's
Andrea awaits Adrian at a bar on Fitzroy Street.
Saturday 6:00pm Andrea and Adrian meet
Relying on information Andrea provides him with, Adrian locates some junkies behind Fitzroy Street and persuades them to get word to Gabriel that he wants to meet her.
Saturday 6:30pm Lees and Gabriel
Gabriel meets with Lees, her dealer, and he tells her that Adrian told the cops about her and the killer heroin. He tells Gabriel to meet Adrian and inject him with heroin, and to plant heroin on him, and to leave him for the cops to conclude that Adrian is a junkie and therefore a small time dealer also.
Saturday 7:30pm Gabriel reflects about life
The narrative relates the previous days' events in Gabriel's life from the time she discovers that the police found Roget Barton dead in his room at the Fenwick, and how the manageress of the Fenwick gives Gabriel a reprieve, in not turning her over to the police when she finds her hiding in a room, something about which Gabriel is unaware, through to her turning tricks with a Rabi, meeting with Lees, scoring dope from him, and being told by the junkies that Adrian was nearby demanding to meet with her.
Saturday 8:30pm Adrian meets Gabriel
Adrian is shocked when he meets Gabriel for the first time, and how hard core she is, but holds tight to his idealization of her. She mistakenly gets the killer junk into his arm, and plants the safer junk in his pocket, instead of the other way round, and leaves him for the police.
Saturday 9:00pm Adrian sick
Adrian is nauseated, animation ceases, and then 'no thought proceeded.'
Saturday 9:30pm Life lived again
Gabriel returns to her squat. Eventually she falls into a peaceful sleep, all her problems gone.
Saturday 10:30pm Robert arrived home to strange empty house
Robert arrives home late from work to an empty house questioning the meaning of life and his usefulness. He gets drunk.
Saturday 11:00pm Robert talks to Sandra
Robert locates Sandra in her bedroom and drunkenly tries to extract information about Adrian from her, whom he wishes to help, and thereby prove his 'usefulness'.
Saturday 11:15pm Christine returns home
Christine arrives home with Michael in her arm angry to discover her husband drunk. She is curious and bemused by a meeting between Sandra and Robert where they understand each others aims to help Adrian, but without saying as much in words.
Saturday 11:30pm Peter closes up shop
Peter looks around the shop that he was going to use for his electrical business. He convinces himself that he has made the right choice in how to hurt Sandra best, and proceeds with his plan to suicide by breathing in carbon monoxide from portable barbecues bought from the supermarket earlier.
Saturday midnight Artist Peter's magic door
Recollecting how he climbed a drainpipe to let himself into his flat, and then found Adrian already waiting for him inside, Peter the artist concludes that his apartment door must be a 'magic' door, in that it knew when to let people into his life.
Saturday midnight Adrian walks to sea
Adrian imagines that artist Peter arrives to help him riding his front door as if it were a magic rug. He rouses himself and walks to the sea where he strips and walks into the water, washing himself - and his pockets - free of heroin.
Saturday midnight Search party
Robert, Christine and Sandra set off to find Peter, hoping to find out from him where to find Adrian, believing that Adrian is in serious trouble.
Sunday 1:00am Search party
Hoping to find Peter at his shop, they enter using a hidden key that Sandra knows about, and discover Peter unconscious.
Sunday 1:00am Scott arrives
Scott Wilson arrives at Peter's shop and the scene disgusts him. Humanity disgusts him. Like Peter, he only wants peace.
Sunday 1:00am Adrian searches for Gabriel
Adrian searches for Gabriel on the basis that 'if you want to know why you've been killed you've got to ask your killer.' He rough handles junkies to get the information as to her whereabouts.
Sunday 1:30am Andrea and Adrian meet
Andrea has spent her evening at the bar contemplating her life and meets Adrian outside by chance as she leaves. She decides to join him when he meets Gabriel. Adrian explains to Andrea that he is not guilty of killing the worker, and Andrea replies that she believes him.
Sunday 1:30am Lees packing heat
Lees tells the story of a gun that he is carrying on his way to a meeting with Gabriel.
Sunday 1:30am Gabriel
Gabriel has heard the news that Adrian is looking for her and she is scared. She considers the life that she left behind, and she telephones her mother, and she tries to barricade the door to her squat.
Sunday 2:00am The meeting
Adrian knocks at Gabriel's door and after she tries to pretend she isn't there, she lets him inside. They move around each and eventually Adrian tells Gabriel to tell the cops what happened. She retorts that he got them into this, and that she wouldn't tell the police. Lees enters and pulls his gun. Adrian wrestles the gun from Lees and knocks him down. He turns to Gabriel and explains how he thought she could work magic. Now he sees that she is just like him. With this, she agrees to tell the cops everything, and Adrian and Andrea leave. Adrian explains that it no longer matters. Lees packs Gabriel away to a safe house in the country to stop her from talking to the police.
Sunday 2:30am Fitzroy Street
Back on Fitzroy Street, Adrian telephones Peter's phone, which Sandra answers. She tells him that Peter tried to hurt himself and that he is comatose. She says she will send Scott to help Adrian. Andrea goes home and uniformed police contain Adrian until Scott comes, when they leave Adrian with Scott to search the squat for Gabriel. Scott expresses disgust for Adrian while they await the return of the uniformed police. They return without Gabriel.
Sunday 5:30am Fitzroy Street
Scott arrests Adrian and drives him down Fitzroy Street to the police station. As they pull away from the curb, Adrian - at peace with himself - pulls the same sunset trick on the garbage collectors that they played on him a couple mornings ago.
Sunday 2:00 pm Christine and Sandra
Sandra and Christine sit in Christine's garden catching up on events. Sandra has been to hospital to see Peter. News isn't good. And she visited Adrian in prison; he has resigned himself to matters.
Adrian endured several court appearances across the months before police dropped the trafficking and manslaughter charges, largely because the informant, Scott Wilson, left the force and 'grew his hair.' During this period Peter died due to injuries brought about by his suicide attempt. Adrian never saw Sarah Anderson again, the person whom he had all along called 'Gabriel'.
Author’s Note to Adrian and Gabriel
I wrote Adrian and Gabriel when I was 28 years old, which was a long time ago during the early 1990s. I since rewrote it a couple times. I call it my practice book, because when I first wrote it, I wanted to learn about structure, and pretty much I borrowed structures (my interpretation of them) from Shakespearean tragedy, minus the tragedy, and a Russian story called Little Vera, which was a popular film and book during the late 1980s. Little Vera was a sort of GenX flag bearer of Russian extraction. I borrowed the 'individual versus society' idea from Hamlet and from Little Vera too. You find it in plenty stories, not just Hamlet and Little Vera.
Years later I experimented with plot and characterization and rewrote Adrian and Gabriel the first time. Then I had the manuscript appraised, and based on some of the recommendations that came of that, rewrote it again. I modernized the backdrop during the rewrites, which was a soul searching saga in its own right, to modernize it or not.
Writing Adrian and Gabriel originally was a very magical experience. I incorporated sights, sounds and people I encountered while wandering the streets of St Kilda, which, incidentally, was a very new environment for me at the time, and a very different environment from now. During the early 90s, inner city Melbourne wanted to glitz itself up. Places like St Kilda became an object of contest between property developers and cops on the one hand and the urban dispossessed (including junkies and prostitutes) on the other, as well as a whole slew of disadvantaged peoples dispelled from mental health facilities that the government closed per economic rationalization programs.
I wanted to understand this side of life in my terms. Movies like Sid and Nancy or Pretty Woman, and books like The Buddha of Suburbia, or even On the Road, as well as pop culture generally, seemed to romanticize a cruddy way of life. It wasn't hypocrisy that unnerved me, or even misrepresentation. I was simply bewildered. I was left wondering if the people who romanticized drug culture, and prostitution, and me, were looking at the same thing. Had I missed something?
You don't make heroes of society's victims. It's as blind as making them devils. See it as it is, accept people for who they are. Though I modernized Adrian and Gabriel through the rewrites, the story still stands for these things. Authors shouldn't use their books to teach their readers a lesson. But they can teach themselves lessons.
Source: Author's website disseminated under a free document license.