The Black & White Resolution is a heart-warming story of how a kind judge, Clayton Hightower, brings two antagonistic boys together with a common goal and purpose. The twelve-year-old boys, one a handsome social climber, is guilty of bullying his fat nerd next door neighbor, who retaliates by destroying the other boys computer equipment. They get into a fight and end up in a judge’s chambers, The Judge summons the boys and takes them under his wings. He secures the use Jimmy Meriweather’s photography studio. Clayton gives them both $100 and tells them to each buy a camera at a pawn shop, made before 1965. They must shoot photos of Portland buildings built before 1915. Both boys are given a young adult photography mentor, who are also in trouble with the law. The mentors instruct the boys in the old way of developing black and white photos. The four of them also become Jimmy’s newest Aikido students.
The boys learn to cooperate with each other, listen to their mentors, who are also transforming, and over time they all become friends with a common passion. The antagonists are the other eigth-grade students who now also think Jason is a nerd. They start bullying him and well as the fat boy. As they progress with their Aikido training, both boys become fearless and can stand up to the bullying. The judge sets up a huge gala charity art showing where the four young photographers receive recognition they never thought possible. At a school rally praising the two boys, their antagonists are shamed.
This book was written for the Young Adult reader. It’s about bullying and how the passion for an art and martial arts can change four young lives, or anyone’s life. It would make an amazing Netflix or Amazon Prime movie.
Below is the beginning of the story. I have written it like this, beginning to end. If you are a Movie Producer please contact me to review the whole story.
Jimmy Meriweather. Nearly two years had passed since Jimmy found the billionaire Robert St. Clair in a Mayan Temple deep in the remote Yucatan jungle. That very day Robert and his three companions entered a Stargate portal and disappeared, never to be seen again. This story sounded outrageous to anyone who wasn’t there, especially the Police Chief. Nevertheless, it completed Jimmy’s last assignment as Captain of Homicide and Missing Persons for the Portland Police Bureau, ending his forty-five-year career. Taylor Banks, Jimmy’s assistant detective who also witnessed the Mexico disappearance, resigned from the force the day they returned. The Chief refused to question her to verify Jimmy’s story and ordered the case closed. In the end it was written up as all attempts to find the four old folks, all apparently suffering from dementia, proved hopeless. You can read this story in The Shambala Mystery.
After twenty years on the force, Jimmy became a student of Aikido. Five year later he had two Black Belts and dreamt of one day, after retirement, opening his own dojo as an Aikido Sensei. It was at this time a realtor friend sold him an abandoned building overlooking both the Willamette River and downtown Portland, just across the Morrison Bridge. For sixty years, up until 1990, the building had been a book publishing house. The downstairs was wide open, 50’ x 90’ with a twenty-foot-high ceiling; a perfect space to be converted into a dojo. The third story had a large apartment, several offices and a full photography studio. Once he owned the building, Jimmy had a ten-foot-high wall built on his side of the street’s sidewalk, and over time turned the publishing house parking lot into a Zen garden. He never used the photo studio, but since it was at least fifty years old, he didn’t have the heart to destroy it.
During Jimmy’s forty-five-year career he made many friends in Portland’s legal world; career police officers, detectives, lawyers, judges, politicians and so on. In the earlier years of his career, Portland’s African American community was relatively small, so the Black professionals made a point of befriending each other. He found a friend in Clayton Hightower; an attorney ten years younger. After Jimmy retired, Clay, now a healthy fifty-five-years-old, decided it was time to get his Black Belt, and began his training, learning the art of Aikido.
After evening sessions, Jimmy would invite Clay up to his apartment for tea. One night while leaving, Clay asked about the other rooms down the hall. When Jimmy turned on the lights of the antique photography studio, Clay was in awe, blown away. He told Jimmy that while in junior high school, more than forty years before, an art teacher taught him how take photos and develop film. From that time on he loved photography, though he never again developed his own film. He pursued a scholarly life and was now a Municipal Court Judge. He suggested that Jimmy do something with this wonderful studio, but the Aikido sensei still has no interest.
The plot of this story begins with . . .
- 1. Clayton Hightower is a distinguished African American Portland Municipal Court Judge. At 55 he isn’t ready to retire. A year before, Coco, his beloved wife of 30 years, died of cancer. She had a distinguished career as the head Curator of the Portland Art Museum. They lived in a big yet cozy old brick house in Washington Park which, once filled with life; frequent parties planned by Coco, was now a bit sad and lifeless.
2. Candy Hightower,
Candy, his only daughter, moved in during her mother’s later stages of cancer and never left. She had graduated from Portland State with a degree in Social Work, contrary to her father’s expectations to follow him in law. Although attractive, still single at 29, she is a stubborn woman who would much rather give advice, then take it. Her father never saw the value in low paid social work, encouraging her to get a real job, to find a better career where she could afford her own home. She in turn bugged him to get a life. To retire. To travel the world. To meet women. Do anything besides stay at home at night and mope.
3. A montage of Compton, California in the 1970’s. We meet a young Clayton and see how he was bullied as a child.
Clayton’s father worked long hours at a Long Beach oil refinery, supporting five children and a stay at home mother who functioned way below her level of intelligence. She pushed her children toward a better life through education. With her encouragement, Clayton ignored the black street life, choosing to bury his head in books. He and his siblings were among the first blacks to integrate the Compton’s schools. By junior high he developed a love for chess and photography, and maybe because of these interests he was on the losing end of a whole lot of bullying, both racial and academic. His retaliation turned into a passion for law. He graduated at the top of his high school class, was Phi Theta Kappa at UCLA, and after earning his law degree there was hired by a Portland, Oregon law firm. Now he had been a Portland attorney for 30 years; and a judge for the past 10 years. Clayton is highly esteemed in the Oregon judiciary circles.
4. His wife’s death
In the hospital Clayton is with dying unresponsive wife. We see his response to her death, as well as Candy’s. Her death sends them both into covered-up depression. In a meeting with the head judge, Clayton is asked to step down from the bench and do chamber work, to counsel and accept referrals.
5. Clayton’s life after she died
During the two years dealing with Coco’s cancer, and her death, Clayton was an emotional wreck and often distracted. Now, coming back to life with his Aikido training, young lawyers seek his wisdom in creative arbitration; looking for alternative solutions to a trial and jail time. Often alone in his chambers, Clayton spends a lot of time thinking about his past, how he grew up in Compton, and his life of privilege since. We see flashbacks to how good his life once was. The Aikido classes three night a week is a healthy decision, one which Candy agreed with, but wouldn’t join in.
6. Clayton’s home
One night over dinner with Candy, Clayton asks her about her day. “What is it you do at this social workplace?” he asks. “You mean my career at Portland State University for the past seven years?” she answers. She then tells him she runs a mentorship program, connecting students with Alumni who offer tools to help them graduate. She suggests that he too can help these kids, maybe to sponsor a charitable event to raise money for the program, like her mother used to do for the Art Center. This is what gives Clayton the ideas of finding mentors to help young people with first offenses to get their lives in order.
7. Clayton’s judges chamber.
Serendipitously, a week later Clayton meets with an attorney regarding two twelve-year-old boys, Jason Miller and Robert Rybeck. Both parents were pressing charges for the boys to be arrested. After reviewing the situation and mentioning it to his daughter Candy that evening, they agree it’s the perfect opportunity to do something different with these boys. He agrees to take them under his wings, to figure something out, to make sure they walk away with a clean record and a new perspective on life.
8. Jason’s home. We meet his family.
Jason’s father, Stanley Miller is the sales manager for a medical supply company. His wife Susan is an unhappy stay-at-home unpublished novelist. Jason is a spoiled only child. Since 4th grade his life has been filled with video games, the internet, iPhone apps, Facebook and Photoshop.
9: Robby’s home. We meet his family.
Robby’s father, Warren Rybeck is a professor of English at Reed College. His wife Connie is a guidance counselor at Portland’s Waldorf School. Robby has a precocious ten-year-old sister, Jill. Robby doesn’t socialize and doesn’t have a cell phone since his parents see no value in an eighth grader taking a phone to school or needing a personal phone at all.
10. Jason Miller:
Jason is handsome and popular; an 8th grade social climber at Catlin Gabel School He loves skateboarding and spends hours texting and sending Facebook photos and tweets to his many friends. He has pretty much mastered the Photoshop art of manipulating photos. At home Jason is left to his own interests. His father bought him the best computer toys/apps–because he doesn’t know how else to relate to his son. Jason doesn’t feel close to his parents. He’s actually very lonely but refuses to admit it–so his world is filled with distractions. Jason’s room is always loud with electronics blaring.