Chris Van Strander


Three years after their blissful college days, a group of friends find themselves adrift in New York City, desperately pursuing their goals despite a string of humiliating detours: Wannabe “postmodern author” SHEILA is plagued by writer’s block. Sensitive, obese TEDDY encourages folks to live chivalrous lives through his video blog—but no one pays any attention. Debutante TAMSEN wants to save the world, but she’s too racked with guilt over her new loft. Hat designer RACH suffers through a demeaning internship at the hands of a teenage fashionista. And rudderless frat boy BOBBY just sulks at his shrink’s, sucks down boilermakers, and plays online poker.

When the friends meet up at their local coffeehouse, Bobby drops a bombshell: JOE, the sixth member of their crew (and Bobby’s “wingman”) has disappeared into thin air. Joe then calls and reveals even more incredible news: he’s quit his hedge fund job and moved to the South Bronx... to volunteer in a soup kitchen. Joe gushes about the bliss he’s found in this simpler, more fulfilling existence, and challenges his friends to take similarly drastic steps. Inspired by Joe's revelation, his friends set off on missions to activate their lives.

At first, the friends’ plans work perfectly: Sheila bluffs her way into a book deal. Teddy single-handedly stops a gang fight, and becomes a media hero. Tamsen joins a squad of revolutionaries fighting corporate development in her beloved East Village. Bobby makes Rach his new wingman; together they exchange Rach’s buttoned-up look for a hypersexual stripper image, then roll into New York’s hottest underground club to win over her boss.

But soon, their schemes start to unravel: Sheila’s new guise as “the bad girl of American letters” spins out of control as she courts fame and bashes her fellow authors—all while still unable to write a word. Teddy’s life descends into a nightmare of paparazzi, YouTube imitators, even stalkers. Rach degrades herself at the club, turning slave to her peroxide-blonde persona. Bobby’s need to re-connect with Joe gnaws at his body and heart.

The friends’ paths ultimately cross at Tamsen’s housewarming party, where Tamsen realizes that to truly strike a blow at the developers ravaging her Village, she must sacrifice her own loft—and possibly her own friends. In the end, each of the friends must decide: how much am I willing to sacrifice to get what I want?

Copyright 2010 Chris Van Strander
All Rights Reserved