Thursday, March 29, 2007

OKAY--Here is my SECOND excerpt from my script "The Angels of Highway 7"

I just CANNOT load my script! It's so frustrating! I need to go to a friend's house with a super-fast internet connection. After I have loaded it on the net, I can register it with the Writer's Guild of America. Then send it to an agent.

Until then, here's another piece of it:

[Frustrated by the recent wave of "angel mania" sweeping the town, Pastor David meets with Father Lorenzo at the local diner to discuss their mutual concerns.]

INT. HARKSVILLE DINER - NIGHT

David and Father L sit in a booth sharing COFFEE and PIE. Both look tired, disgruntled, and bemused.

DAVID
So, how's the collection plate?

FATHER LORENZO
Sister Francesca says it's the best it's been in years. And you?

DAVID
My treasurer says the last time we had collections this large was 15 years ago --before I ever came to this town--when an amored air division's convention was held over at the base.

FATHE LRORENZO
Oh yeah! I remember. We packed 'em in every day that week.

DAVID
So ... have you been keeping track of all the angel sightings your parishioners have been claiming?

FATHER LORENZO
Like Joseph son of Jacob, it got so cumbersome I gave up keeping records. And you?

DAVID
My wife's filled three spiral notebooks with angel phone calls. And that doesn't include the hundreds of e-mails I have in my hard drive.

FATHER LORENZO
Well, if I had a wife to do that for me--

DAVID
-- I'm sorry! I wasn't trying to --

FATHER LORENZO
-- Just jokin', dude! Just messin' with ya! But, if I had been keeping track, I could probably boast the same volume as well.

DAVID
So, have you preached an sermons lately on the subject of angels?

FATHER LORENZO
Wouldn't know where to begin with one! So many parishioners wanna have the town declared a holy place. For the Diocese to build a shrine. I've been holding back on any official pronouncements because I'm waiting to hear from my Bishop.

DAVID
Has your Bishop been here yet?

FATHER LORENZO
He's driving in tomorrow. How about you? What's YOUR official position?

DAVID
I don't have one. I don't want to either encourage more hysteria or shatter people's faiths.

FATHER LORENZO
Do you even believe in angels?

DAVID
Of course I do!

FATHER LORENZO
Then what's the problem?

DAVID
The problem is .... look, forgive me for breaking one of the friendly little rules of conversation you and I first worked out five years ago, but ... from the Protestant perspective, there's not supposed to be any emphasis at all on angels. And right now, people in this town are utterly obsessed with them! It's not a theologically healthy environment. I know you Catholics are a little more lenient when it comes to dishing out small side-helpings of praise and prayer to the angels and the saints, but in the Protestant neck of the woods, we don't allow that. It's God and nobody else. The whole town's teetering on the brink of heresy!

FATHER LORENZO
So does that mean you're a deer caught in someone's headlights? Or an ostrich with its head in the sand? Why are you just taking no action at all? As for me, I'm not allowed to make a move without my Bishop. What's your excuse?

DAVID
I guess I'm waiting for it to level off first. For a break in the storm.

FATHER LORENZO
And what if no break comes in the next six months? What if it all just keeps escalating with no end in sight? C'mon, David! You're smarter than that when it comes to the good old fashioned horse-sense of leading a flock! There's gotta be something else you're not telling me here.

DAVID
(looks down, ashamed)
There is another reason I hold back.

FATHER LORENZO
Anything you're free to share?

DAVID
When a priest hears a confession, he's bound never to tell anyone else, right? Even if the confesser isn't a Catholic?

FATHER
Yes .... Is this concerning an actual sin?

DAVID
No. Not a sin. Just a ... secret.

FATHER
You wanna go someplace private?

DAVID
Your church or mine?

FATHER LORENZO
I think mine is closer.

CUT TO:

EXT. MAIN STREET - MOMENTS LATER

They walk along, heading out of town toward Holy Trinity.

DAVID
How many times in your life have people asked you if you've ever seen an angel?

FATHER LORENZO
Prior to all this, that question would arise maybe once or twice a year. But lately? Once or twice a day. And you?

DAVID
About the same. What do you tell them?

FATHER LORENZO
The truth: never seen one. What do YOU tell them?

DAVID
About ten years ago, I finally figured out an answer. I say: "I really wish I had an angel encounter story I could share with you, but sadly I don't."

FATHER LORENZO
(cautiously figuring it out)
..... But that's not the truth ... is it?

DAVID
It IS the truth insofar as I don't have an angelic angel encounter story I'm WILLING to share.

FATHER LORENZO
But you HAVE had an angelic encounter. Haven't you.

DAVID
.... I've had three.

Father Lorenzo's eyes widen.

CUT TO:

INT. HOLY TRINITY - SANCTUARY - LATER

Father L sits in the front pew, one arm slung behind him over the BENCH. David sits in the row just behind, staggered slightly off to one side, leaning over onto his own fists.

FATHER LORENZO
Good God, David! I've heard some stories in my life from other believers, but yours are just amazing.

DAVID
I don't think they're all that amazing. The sky didn't open with some thunderous voice from on high.

FATHER LORENZO
That's what makes them so spectacular: a strong undercurrent of the ordinary, a gritty sense of the mundane that just smacks of credibility. I can't believe you never told anyone!

DAVID
(shrugging)
I've told family and close friends.

Father L stands and begins to pace in front of the ALTAR

FATHER LORENZO
You never told your ordination board?

DAVID
No.

FATHER LORENZO
Never told your first Senior Pastor back when you were just a Junior Pastor?

DAVID
No.

FATHER LORENZO
How can anyone sit on stuff like that for twenty ye-- NO! THIRTY years??
(suddenly realizing)
Hey! Wait a minute! -- the jacket! What ever happened to that?

DAVID
My wife and I have it hanging up in our attic in a garment storage bag.

FATHER LORENZO
Wow! If it had been me, I would have been ordered to surrender it to my Cardinal. And then HE probably would have then shipped it off to Rome where a bunch of priests-slash-scientists in the Vatican would've spent years analyzing it down to the last molecule.

David LAUGHS.

FATHER LORENZO
You think I'm joking???????

David morphs into a sober double-take: yes, he DID think he was joking!

FATHER LORENZO
Could I ... see it some time?

DAVID
Sure. But we're planning to sell it.

FATHER LORENZO
When?

DAVID
Soon. So if you wanna see it, it needs to be right away.

FATHER LORENZO
Is tomorrow okay? --No! Wait! My Bishop's coming tomorrow! Promise me you'll call me before it's gone!

DAVID
I promise.

FATHER LORENZO
Who are you selling it to?

DAVID
Back in Philly, one of my former parishioners is a textile researcher. I had him analyze it in his lab six years ago. Said he'd never seen anything like it and offered me five thousand for it. I said no. But now I have to reconsider.

FATHER LORENZO
Does he know the jacket's origins?

DAVID
I only vaguely said my family picked it up in the Far East when I was a kid. But he knows there's more that I'm not saying.

FATHER LORENZO
So now that you've told me all of this: why do you hold such a deep aversion to discussing angels?

DAVID
Because I don't wanna get it WRONG! To stand up in front of my congregation--AND in front of God-- and screw it up! Do you hold much stock in that passage from James that says "We who teach will be judged more strictly"??

FATHER LORENZO
Yes... in fact .... I consider that one scripture to be an occupational hazard.

DAVID
Well, when it comes to teaching about angels, I fear I may be held to a double measure of liability in the event I get it wrong, maybe even a triple measure.

FATHER LORENZO
Look, David, the best advice I can give you comes from the writings of St. Patrick who said-- no wait!--skip St. Patrick. You're not a Catholic and he's not in the Bible.

DAVID
Patrick was actually a pretty cool guy in my book.

FATHER LORENZO
What was it the great Protestant Charles Spurgeon said? "The Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible shall be the religion of Christ's church."

DAVID
... So help me God.

FATHER LORENZO
Let me see if I can appease your poor delicate Protestant sensibilities and think of something in keeping with the doctrine of sola scripture. Ah! I've got it! Book of Esther: "And who knows but that perhaps you have been elevated to this position for such a time as this."

2 comments:

Darrell said...

I like what I've read... one bit of input: I don't think a Priest can "hear confession" from anyone who isn't Catholic except for catachumans who are in the process of converting. Pastor David would probably know that, and Father Lorenzo would be sure to clarify it. Just my two cents, disregard it if it isn't helpful!

Sheila West said...

Ah! I didn't know that.

But now that I think about it, I believe the "sacarmental" aspect of confession would prohibit the priest from treating it like a "true" confession." But at the same time, I don't believe a preist would ever turn away someone who wants top confess something. But your point is well-taken, so I need to re-word the part where the two men come to an "understanding" that this is a true confession. Instead, they need to work out a friendly agreement of non-sacramental confidentiality.