“No beast is more savage than man when possessed with power answerable to his rage.” – Plutarch (46 AD – 120 AD)

The sun was setting on the Californian sky. To some it’s the most beautiful sight in the world. To others it’s a calming influence to our trials and tribulations. Matthew Smith sat on the beach, thinking which applied to him.

2 years ago he had just finished his masters program for Abnormal Psychology and had received his diploma when he received a phone call. A woman that he had been seeing had decided to break it off. She was moving to San Diego to continue her education and even though Matt pleaded she saw no way for their relationship to go on.

Matt had been crushed. His friends were out and for that brief second he had no one to turn to. Immediately he began to doubt himself. He looked in the mirror, deep into his own eyes and felt that somehow he was the reason it didn’t work. That he didn’t do enough. This feeling never completely went away.

Going into his bedroom he looked at the balloons his parents had sent celebrating their genius son who only at 23 had completed a number of master’s degrees. They had supported him even though he was different. Gifted with a supreme intelligence which made learning easy for him, it was human learning that had always eluded him.

Seeing the balloons a rage came over him. His face contorted over the grief of losing the girl and he slammed his fists on the balloon. Popping it is shocked him back into reality. She was gone…and it was his fault as he sank into hopelessness.

A hopelessness that lasted almost a year. Until he was introduced to a young woman through one of his friends. Her name was Veronica. Just entering school as a business major. She was so full of life and the unshaven, long haired Matt was in awe of her. When his best friend went out with her best friend, Veronica and Matt spent a lot of time together. Usually joking about their friend’s relationship.

One day in December he happened upon her car. He was on his way home but stopped to say hi. She invited him into the car and with a smile he hopped in. Then, a lightning bolt struck in his brain. An image he will never forget. Her red sweater, her hair up in a bun. The way her soft face was warmed by the afternoon sun. Her sunglasses and her playful smile and full lips and voice that sang to his soul when she spoke. He had fallen for her, hard.

Over the next few months he faced this ‘crush’ he called it. In fact the old feelings he had for his old girlfriend, and his on ‘failing’ made him exaggerate about himself. While he was gifted intellectually, he bragged about being strong…a wrestler…a martial artist…the whole thing. Building himself up not just for her but for his friends as well. For he believed that only if he was something…somebody…perfect…that they would stay with him.

Veronica had been wonderful when he told her about his feelings. Being equally warm and sensitive and realistic. Matt breathed hard when she said no to him. He agonized whenever she went out on dates or had long term relationships. For a year and a half he endured this…until one day…he woke up.

The day he was going to see a movie with his friends and her. He shaved off his beard and cut his long hair. Ideas…old science ideas flooded back. It was like the past 2 and a half years was a dark dream…that he had just awoken from. He went to the movie half heartily but wasn’t into it. He knew he had to do something about Veronica…the one thing dragging him back into the darkness of depression…unrequited love it seems, as good as Veronica was to him, still hurt like the most horrific wound.

So Matt cut ties with her. He went back to school and for a few months he was happy. A science whiz he got his PhD in Abnormal Psychology. He was doing research at UCLA. Breakthrough research on how to cure human’s of their more monstrous attributes.

Then one day he got a phone call, from Veronica. She wanted to know what happened. Matt told her, and she understood it seemed. Then she said something that stuck in Matt’s head. That at one point in their year and a half relationship she too felt feelings for him. At one point, she said she even wanted to kiss him. Matt and Veronica ended the conversation friends again. But two things rang out. One was how he could have missed that golden opportunity and the fact she fell for a mask he had developed.

Now only one thing remained. To take off that social mask and bare all to her. At that moment Matt received another phone call from a friend of his, a girl in his classes and the girlfriend of another friend. Her name was Lisa Cardin. The boyfriend was Robert Reinhart. Their relationship was always rocky and they had recently broken up again. The call had Lisa complaining to Matt about Rob’s new girlfriend…Veronica. Matt was taken aback by the comment. He had just spoken with Veronica and she hadn’t mentioned this. Lisa went on to say that Rob had said things like “good kisser” and other choice words, clearly meant to hurt Lisa who still pined after Robert. But they dug into Matt like a shovel breaking ground. A friend of his…who knew about his feelings decided to go out with the girl he had been in love with for almost two years.

Matt was both heartbroken and confused. The one emotion that reverberated within him was anger, anger at his friend, Anger with Veronica, Anger at Lisa for telling him, Anger at the entire world. So he asked Lisa out. A week after finding out he asked her out on a date for that Saturday. Every day he talked to Robert about if it was ok or not. Each day Robert was ok with it. Matt even asked Veronica if it was ok or not and she said yes. The date went off without a hitch. A kiss ended it and for the first time, Matt was over Veronica, or so he wished.

Veronica called him the Monday after saying things about Lisa, obviously things that she had heard from Rob. That she was a party person and liked to smoke. Things that Veronica being a very moral person thought weren’t right for her friend Matt. Matt took offence almost immediately siting that Veronica had never even MET Lisa. Who was she to judge a person she hadn’t met? Who was she to judge period? The next date Matt met Lisa at her house. It was empty and that night, Matt made love to Lisa. In an effort to get over a woman that had dominated his life for almost 2 years he slept with a girl he only mildly liked, the entire time thinking about Veronica. He couldn’t even satisfy Lisa even though she said he did. Going home and later the next day he felt horrible. He felt like a slut, compounded when Veronica called him. He brushed her off and planned another date with Lisa. Again sleeping with her, again thinking of Veronica, he heard her voice the entire time. It was driving him mad. In a phone conversation after the third date Lisa mentioned that maybe they were moving to fast, considering she was still in love with Robert, the last part of the sentence hitting Matt in the chest. The next week he broke it off with Lisa, finding out from Robert that she told everyone they were already broken up. Matt also found out that Rob and Veronica were broken up, Matt stepped up trying to help but it was too late. Veronica laughed saying that she rather just forget the experience, a laugh that reminded Matt that she had given Robert a chance, but not him.

Matt went back to his research. His friends saying they were sorry, calling Lisa names and such. Matt hadn’t blamed Lisa, he blamed himself and his insane love for a woman he could never have, a woman who had told him that they just weren’t right for each other, even though not willing to see how things would work out.

Now Matt sits at the beach, Trying to not only break the formula in his research, but the drama in his life.

Welcome…to his life and his dreams, his desires and his failures. Watch as the past events of his life drive him to an irrevocable destiny…to become that which he hates.

Welcome to the Monster Within Us All.

AGDC 07: 38 Studios Interview with Brett Close

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