People Must Be Allowed to Make Choices that They Live or Die With

Richard Medugno
6 min readMay 30, 2022
A woman in a cornfield with a choice two paths in front of her.
Photo by Burst on Unsplash

US Supreme Court and the Conservatives are about to Father so Many Avoidable Tragedies

A long, long time ago when I was first out of college and trying to make some money as a freelance writer, I got wind of a potential feature story via a Sears furniture salesman named Mark.

Mark was an older dude who seemed to be longing to get out of the retail industry and take a shot at the film industry. I had ambitions of being a writer when I wasn’t working at the Laguna Hills Sear Customer Service counter — the same store Mark worked in. Mark knew I had just graduated with a Drama degree. So, I think he thought to himself, “Hey, I’ve got this great story, maybe I can get this kid to write a movie script and I can ride his coattails into a Hollywood producer career.”

We were living in Southern California, where seemingly everyone fantasizes about breaking into motion pictures at some point in their lives, so it wasn’t uncommon to run into people like this. I was callow but I saw Mark’s naive ambitions and middle-aged desperation coming from a mile away. I wasn’t so wide-eyed to think that I could suddenly find myself in a production company’s office with a script to this great story, but still I was interested…

A Tragic Real-Life Tale

When Mark told me the story, I realized it had potential because it was a tragic real-life tale that only the hardest of hearts could not break upon hearing. I also instantly knew I wasn’t up to writing the story with the grace, sophistication, and care that it would need to avoid being exploitive. But, when Mark asked me if I could write-up the story, I said without a pause and with too much enthusiasm, “Sure!”

Mark asked me if I had any experience writing movie scripts. I said not really but I had written a lot of plays. He thought a play based on the story would be good too. In retrospective, I think I showed some maturity, by countering with, “No, let me try writing a feature story first. See if I can sell it to a newspaper or magazine.”

I could read Mark face. He wasn’t sure how he was going to get anything out of a newspaper article or magazine piece and magically…



Richard Medugno

Richard is an author and scriptwriter. His latest book is Deaf Politician — The Gary Malkowski Story. His latest script is The Mulligan Marriage.