Saturday, April 28, 2007

"The Hook" and "The Inciting Moment"

Here's a HUGE piece of my script-- 20 pages and no less than 5 scenes. THIS excerpt (I think) embodies the "inciting moment" and the "hook." THIS EXCERPT IS THE HEART OF THE ENTIRE STORY!!! And it's also the part where Jim Carrey (if he plays my main protag) can REALLY show off his Jim Carrey-isms.

My secondary protagonist, David, also has his own character arc hinted at in these scenes.

Here's a breakdown of what's important to me in these pages:

1. My antagonist, Mr. Darius, unknowingly speaks no less than eight passages from the Bible. He is merely using common every day expressions in his conversation, but they ALL come straight from Scripture.

2. Mr. Darius' words and attitudes all fly in the face of a sermon that David preaches in a earlier scene. (David is a man Mr. Darius has never even met before.) Here's the scene from David's sermon that Mr. Darius unknowingly echoes for us. It should take no more than 18 seconds of screen time for this sermon:

MONTAGE OF DAVID'S SERMON

................... DAVID
......... …The 3 virtues of faith hope and love…
......... …The King James word charity is often
......... interchangeable with the word love…
......... …True love is like true charity: it
......... expects nothing in return. It freely
......... gives with no expectation of getting
......... anything back. As soon as repayment is
......... expected, it ceases to be charity and
......... becomes a cold, icy business deal with
......... a strong measure of coercion mixed in…
......... …When it comes to charitable giving,
............ (holds up his left then right arm)
......... your left hand is not supposed to know
......... what your right hand is doing…

END MONTAGE



3. Mr. Darius also speaks the three words "faith," "hope," and "charity" at least once each during the course of his conversation with Galvin (again, echoing David's sermon).

4. Mr. Darius also unknowingly echoes David's words from the opening scene of the script (the town meeting scene) where David speaks against the evils of casinos. In that scene, David said to the crowd: "They could bring us the whole world right to our doorstep. But what does it profit a town if it gains the whole world only to lose its soul?"

5. David tells Galvin about "the smell of the desert after the rain," a poetic reference that plays out importantly in the script's climax.




BACKGROUND: Galvin got a personal e-mail from Mr. Darius, the head of the Darius Foundation (the Darius Foundatrion is a charitable organization that underwrites some of Galvin's small town clients). Mr. Darius normally operates out of New York, but he happens to be in Frankling City this week, (about 3 hours away from Harksville) and has asked Galvin to drive out and have lunch with him. Galvin thinks this might be a job offer. When he arrives, he finds out what the Darius Foundation really is:






EXT. PARSONAGE GARAGE - WEDNESDAY - DAWN

Galvin gets in his car and begins to drive. He arrives at

FRANKLIN CITY, and it's ........... a casino town.

He nervously goes to the destination building: a high rise.
The front desk security guard gestures to the elevators.

He exits the elevator at "Darius Enterprises." Stunned, he
goes to the receptionist who points to a long hall leading to
a double-door with 2 GUARDS. They let him enter a power-laden

CORNER OFFICE

Mr. Darius rises from his DESK with his soft, kind voice:

................... MR. DARIUS
......... Hello, Galvin. So good to finally meet
......... you. Pleas have a seat.

Galvin slowly goes forth, terrified, but trying to smile. He
passes a HUGE TABLE and sits in a CHAIR before the desk.

................... MR. DARIUS
......... I would like to give Harksville a
......... small towns development grant.

................... GALVIN
.............. (completely relieved)
......... That's fantastic! Do I get to tell
......... them the good news myself?

................... MR. DARIUS
......... I'm not firmly decided yet. I'd LIKE to
......... give them a grant. But first I need some
......... assurances. They're nearly bankrupt. No
......... sense revitalizing a town that's going to
......... die. That'd be little more than casting
......... my pearls to swine.

................... GALVIN
......... I suppose that's… reasonable. But,
......... isn't the point of these grants merely
......... to give small towns a CHANCE to
......... survive? Or a SECOND chance, so to
......... speak? So nothing is ever assured.

In the foreground sits a SCULPTURE of 2 6-sided dice. We peer
through to Mr. Darius who walks to the Huge Table explaining:

................... MR. DARIUS
......... Chance? I don't deal with chance. Only
......... fools operate on hope and chance. I
......... prefer guarantees and back-up plans. I
......... will give them what they need, but
......... only if they give me what I want.

................... GALVIN
......... So it's not really a grant then.

................... MR. DARIUS
......... How is this NOT a grant?

................... GALVIN
......... A grant is a gift ... of charity.

................... MR. DARIUS
......... This IS charity. I merely expect some-
......... thing in return for my charity is all.

Mr. Darius HITS a SWITCH. A HOLOGRAM glows on the Huge Table
showing Harksville, the army base, and a CASINO midway. The army
base itself is now an airfield. Animated PLANES FLY.

................... MR. DARIUS
......... That was very insightful of you to
......... second guess the potential for the
......... army base to be converted into an air-
......... port. Our architects also discerned
......... that. You're good at your job, Galvin.
......... I knew I made the right decision when
......... I chose to subsidize your work.

................... GALVIN
......... I thought I was being subsidized by a
......... non-profit, charitable foundation.

................... MR. DARIUS
............ (holds up his left then right arm)
......... The Darius Foundation is my charitable
......... arm. Darius Enterprises is my profitable
......... arm. Sometimes they work together.

................... GALVIN
......... The Oversight Committee wants to make
......... the base into a retirement community.

................... MR. DARIUS
......... They can build an old folks home one
......... day, but right now a casino takes prior-
......... ity. And all casinos need airports.
............... (noting Galvin's hesitation)
......... Don't look so sad, Galvin, I'm going
......... to be their salvation. I will bring
......... them the whole world right to their
......... doorstep. I do need your continued
......... help though. Two things Galvin. First
......... I need the names of those individuals
......... who are the most outspoken against a
......... casino. They'll need to be persuaded.

................... GALVIN
......... All of Harksville is against it.
......... There's no ONE specific individual
......... single-handedly rallying the war cry.

................... MR. DARIUS
......... What about this Pastor David Brown?

................... GALVIN
......... … Did I … mention him … in my reports?

................... MR. DARIUS
......... No. But he was in the Harksville
......... Herald's online story of last week's
......... town meeting. The paper said he made
......... compelling arguments that night. You
......... were there, Galvin. Is he a threat?
......... Will he need some persuading?

................... GALVIN
......... Compelling? The paper exaggerated.
......... He's a TERRIBLE public speaker.
......... Pathetic. I don't know if he even went
......... to college. But he's not your problem.
......... The whole town is unanimously against
......... casinos. Seems like a losing battle to me.

................... MR. DARIUS
......... That's your second task, Galvin:
......... persuading the rest of the town.

................... GALVIN
......... ........ How can I do that?

................... MR. DARIUS
......... You're already "imbedded." They like
......... you. They trust you. They followed
......... your every suggestion right down to
......... composing the ballot. You need to
......... make more suggestions now. Convince
......... them to vote casino. And I will give
......... them a grant.

................... GALVIN
......... How much is this grant going to be?

................... MR. DARIUS
......... 12 million. Enough to renovate the
......... theatre, update the utilities, and
......... repave the roads.

................... GALVIN
......... What if they want more than that?

................... MR. DARIUS
......... Beggars can't be choosers.

................... GALVIN
......... What if they don't want to update the
......... utilities or that other stuff? Maybe
......... they'd rather build a hospital.

................... MR. DARIUS
......... Unfortunately, the grant is not to be
......... used for anything than what I specify.
......... And the Darius Foundation also has
......... final say on which construction
......... companies get the various contracts.

Galvin glances to one side of the room. He sees TOY MODELS of
earth moving equipment labeled "Darius Construction." Looking
back to the hologram, he notices a detail which disturbs him:

................... GALVIN
......... The movie theatre: you're planning to
......... make it into a night club?

................... MR. DARIUS
......... A gentleman's club. I have here --

Mr. Darius goes back to his desk and PULLS OUT an ENVELOPE.

................... MR. DARIUS
......... --a letter to the Harksville Oversight
......... Committee, itemizing the terms of the
......... grant. Attached is a teller's check
......... for 12 million payable to the Town of
......... Harksville. Deliver it, give them the
......... good news, and show them the light.

Galvin hesitantly takes the envelope. Then takes a PUFF.

................... MR. DARIUS
......... I expect one of two things in the next
......... month Galvin: either my check gets
......... cashed, or Harksville votes for a
......... casino. I have faith in you that one
......... or both will come to pass.

................... GALVIN
......... ................. Of course.

A PAIR of HOTEL WAITERS enter, PUSHING a FOOD CART.

................... MR. DARIUS
......... Lunch is ready. Please join me.

EXT. DESERT HIGHWAY - AFTERNOON

Shell-shocked, Galvin drives, playing an i-Pod on his stereo.

MUSICAL INTERLUDE WHILE DRIVING - reflecting his predicament.

He stops at a gas station. While he's using the rest room,
some kids sneak into his car and steal his i-Pod. He finds his
i-Pod gone. He has to listen to the radio now.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. PARSONAGE STUDY - LATE AFTERNOON

David's at the computer. Donna enters and leans on his neck.

................... DAVID
......... Your father's check cleared already.

................... DONNA
......... When do we tell the boys?

................... DAVID
......... After I strike a price with Larry.

................... DONNA
......... So, have you been listening to Mrs.
......... Joyce's radio series about angels?

................... DAVID
......... Uhhhh, yes I have.

................... DONNA
......... What do you think so far?

................... DAVID
......... Um ... I think her theology needs a
......... little more ... "refinement."

................... DONNA
......... Tonight she does Part 2. How'bout you
......... do an angel series in Bible Study?

................... DAVID
......... I've already told you why I won't.

................... DONNA
......... What are you teaching on tonight?

................... DAVID
......... "Blessing Through Adversity."


EXT. HIGHWAY 7 - NIGHT

Galvin's car passes a SIGN reading "HARKSVILLE 20 MI".

INSIDE HIS CAR

The radio FUZZES. Angry he "searches" and finds PERCY'S SONG.
After a verse Mrs. Joyce PREACHES. He ALMOST hits "off" but:

................... MRS. JOYCE (ON THE RADIO)
......... ... And did something go wrong for you
......... today? Something truly devastating
......... that you totally were NOT expecting?
......... Well I want to assure you that it
......... didn't happen without a reason. God
......... has a plan for your life.

He rolls his eyes and finally turns off the radio.

................... GALVIN
......... Yeah right! God's plan for my life is
......... that I become a mafia weasel! Thanks a
......... lot, God! I've always wanted to be an
......... accidental con artist!

Meanwhile, back in

MRS. JOYCE'S TRAILER HOME - CONTINUOUS

she sits in her wheelchair before a MASSIVE SOUND-BOARD,
speaking to a DANGLING MICROPHONE (with SPIT SHIELD) smok-
ing CIGARETTES and PREACHING about angels. Meanwhile, in

PERCY'S APARTMENT BATHROOM - CONTINUOUS

Percy kneels, doing HAND-LAUNDRY in the TUB. A RADIO in
the next room BLARES with Mrs. Joyce. Meanwhile, in the

FIRE STATION - CONTINUOUS

TWO FIREMEN, 25 & 26, play cards. In the background Carl
squats, cleaning out a storage cabinet. They also have a
RADIO playing with Mrs. Joyce's sermon BLARING.

PARSONAGE STUDY - CONTINUOUS

David works late, also listening to the RADIO. Meanwhile, in

GALVIN'S CAR - CONTINUOUS

................... GALVIN
......... Am I supposed to TELL the people of
......... Harksville that their town is about to
......... be strong-armed away from them by a
......... bunch of mafia thugs? Am I supposed to
......... TELL them that I'm responsible for
......... that? Just what the hell're you gonna
......... do about all this? I admit I'm not the
......... churchiest guy around, but I sure
......... could use a little help right now!

A split-second later, one of his

TIRES

gets a BLOW-OUT. His car SCREECHES off the road and into

A DITCH.

He tries "REVERSE". No good. He CUTS OUT the engine. Angry,
he gets out, SLAMS the door, and holds his cell up high.

................... GALVIN
............. (pleading to the phone)
......... C'mon! Just one bar! Just one!

The phone BEEPS a DISCORDANT TONE indicating no reception.

................... GALVIN
......... DAMMIT!

He SNAPS the phone shut and starts WALKING. He takes a PUFF.

He spots a GLOWING LIGHT IN THE DISTANCE (a trailer home with
a radio transmitter on it). His hopes rise. Meanwhile in

MRS. JOYCE'S TRAILER HOME - CONTINUOUS

Still preaching, focusing on the mike, she crushes out a
CIGARETTE in an ASHTRAY off to one side. A STRAY COAL falls
to the CARPET. She doesn't see this. Meanwhile, out on

HIGHWAY 7 - CONTINUOUS

Galvin is 150 yards from the driveway of the trailer home.

................... GALVIN
......... If the lights are on, then somebody's
......... home, and hopefully they have a
......... telephone! --Hey! That rhymes! (I'm a
......... poet, and I don't even know it!)

He quickens his pace. Meanwhile, in

MRS. JOYCE'S TRAILER HOME - CONTINUOUS

Still preaching, Mrs. Joyce glances down and sees FLAMES
beside her wheelchair. She starts to SCREAM to the mike:

................... MRS. JOYCE
......... Oh my dear lord! My trailer's on fire!
......... Somebody help! Call the fire company!
......... I'm an old lady in a wheelchair and
......... I'm trapped in a trailer fire! Help!

Meanwhile, back at the

FIRE HOUSE - CONTINUOUS

Carl, hearing Mrs. Joyce's SCREAMS, pops his head up. He
looks dumbfounded to the other two firemen. Meanwhile, in

PERCY'S APARTMENT - CONTINUOUS

she jumps up, runs into the kitchen, listens intently to the
SCREAMS, hesitates, then GRABS her PHONE. Meanwhile, in the

PARSONAGE STUDY - CONTINUOUS

David jolts his head in alarm at the radio SCREAMS. After a
second of hesitation, he SNATCHES his PHONE. Meanwhile, in

THE FIRE HOUSE - CONTINUOUS

the firemen gape at each other, hearing these radio SCREAMS.

................... FIREMAN #1
......... Is that old lady joking?

................... CARL
......... Not about something like this!

Carl LEAPS to his feet, RUNS, and HITS the STATION'S ALARM.

Meanwhile, out on

HIGHWAY 7 - CONTINUOUS

Galvin is just 10 yards from the trailer when he sees SMOKE
pouring through WINDOWS and between metal SEAMS. He also sees
the ORANGE GLOW of FLAMES through CURTAINS. He GASPS. Then he
RUNS, hopping the rail onto the porch. He OPENS the DOOR.
FLAMES shoot out at him. He jumps sideways and hears within:

................... MRS. JOYCE (O.C.)
......... HELP ME! MY TRAILER'S ON FIRE!

Hearing this, his alarm grows. He looks around. Meanwhile, in

MRS. JOYCE'S TRAILER - CONTINUOUS

she backs her wheelchair away from the flames and toward the

KITCHEN SINK

and GRABS the NOZZLE and SPRAYS flames with it. No good. Now
she SPRAYS herself with it. The SMOKE THICKENS. She COUGHS and
THROWS herself to the floor (to breathe). Meanwhile,

GALVIN - CONTINUOUS

finds a GARDEN HOSE, but it's too weak. He sees a CLOTHESLINE
with WHITE SHEETS. He RUNS with the hose, aims, SOAKS the
sheets, then SOAKS himself. He YANKS the sheets down and
WRAPS himself in them. Ghost-like, he RUNS to the trailer.

We stay outside and watch him enter the flaming front door.

We dwell on the door frame and breathlessly watch the cruel
flames. And we wonder: are either of them even alive anymore?

Suddenly, we see a VALIANT WHITE-ROBED FIGURE burst forth
from the flaming doorway, carrying the GASPING old lady.

He STAGGERS to the blacktop drive and SETS her down, GASPING.

................... GALVIN
......... Was there anyone else in there?

But she's unconscious now. Galvin looks back at the trailer
just as it IMPLODES in flames. He returns his gaze to her:

................... GALVIN
......... I'll go and get help!

He looks around: no car. Far across the desert, the FAINT
LIGHT of a house on a different road SHINES about a mile off.

He RUNS, eventually SHEDDING the sheets on the desert floor.

He gets to the trailer in a state of ready-to-collapse-of-a-
heart-attack GASPING. A SNARLING DOG blocks the door. Only a
PORCH LIGHT burns. No inside lights. No car. No one's home.

Far off over his shoulder, we see a DISTANT BLAZING DOT: Mrs.
Joyce's home. Between GASPS, he shouts to this new trailer:

................... GALVIN
......... Is anybody home? I need help! There's
......... a fire across the way! There's an old
......... lady who needs an ambulance! Please!
......... If anybody's home! Please dial nine-
......... one-one!

He hears SIRENS far off. His WHEEZING ESCALATING, he turns.

FIRE TRUCKS a mile behind him on Highway 7 head for the fire.

................... GALVIN
............. (to no one, looking at fire)
......... Thank God! She's in safe hands now!
............. (to barking dog trailer)
......... Never mind! (Goddamn useless assholes
......... aren't even home!)

His WHEEZING wins: he SINKS to his knees. Ignoring the dog he
PUFFS madly at a full-blown asthma attack, watching the fire.

SAME - LATER

On his butt, Galvin watches zombie-like: the fire is now out;
the fire trucks sit, ENGINES IDLING, red lights STROBING. The
ambulance DEPARTS the scene, its SIRENS MUFFLED BY DISTANCE.

................... GALVIN
............. (watching ambulance leave)
......... Oh, please, God, please let that poor
......... old lady be okay.

He rises and staggers down the drive to the smaller DIRT
ROAD where a sign reads "Harksville 4 Miles". He walks.

Along the way, he PUFFS his Inhaler and mutters to himself:

................... GALVIN
......... If she lives, then I’m a hero. And so
......... maybe this fiasco with Mr. Darius will
......... be okay! Yeah! The town'll honor me.
......... Throw a banquet. Give me a medal. Then
......... when I explain Mr. Darius wants to
......... take over, they won't actually kill
......... me, they'll just --oh shit! That's
......... only if she lives. Did she survive?
......... Should I have left her there, lying on
......... the ground alone? I had to get help.
......... How was I to know fire trucks would
......... come on their own? If she DIDN'T live,
......... will I be found negligent for leaving
......... her? Maybe I need to call a lawyer! Oh
......... my God! Am I a horrible person for
......... even THINKING all this? Of course not!
......... If I was, I never would've run into a
......... flame-engulfed trailer! I'm a hero
......... goddammit! Yes I am! Yes Percy! Of
......... course I was scared, darling, but I
......... couldn't leave her in there to die! Oh
......... Jesus, I hope that old lady survived.

Next moment: it starts to RAIN. Galvin GROWLS as he PLODS
onward, SLOSHING along the muddy road. After a bit, the rain
STOPS. But he's soaked now. He takes another Inhaler PUFF.

The road comes to a STOP SIGN and joins onto Highway 7.

He takes a PUFF. There at this JUNCTURE he finds the

TOWN MEDICAL CLINIC with its CHOPPER PAD BEACONS LIT.

An AMBULANCE IDLES amid a small CROWD. He enters the crowd.

................... GALVIN
......... What's going on?

................... MEDICAL CLINIC SPECTATOR #1
......... It's Mrs. Joyce. Her trailer caught
......... fire tonight. She was trapped inside.

................... GALVIN
......... Did she make it out alive??????

OFF-SCREEN, far away, a CHOPPER APPROACHES. Heads look up.

................... MEDICAL CLINIC SPECTATOR #1
......... Yeah. She's in there right now and
......... they're pretty sure she'll be okay.

Galvin is visibly relieved. The CHOPPER NOISE gets CLOSER.

................... GALVIN
......... Was anyone else caught in the trailer?

................... MEDICAL CLINIC SPECTATOR #1
......... No. She was all alone.

Galvin's again relieved. We see the chopper's far-off LIGHTS.

................... GALVIN
......... Oh. So, uh … how'd she get out?

................... MEDICAL CLINIC SPECTATOR #1
......... She's usually in a wheelchair, so I
......... guess she just wheeled herself out.

................... MEDICAL CLINIC SPECTATOR #2
......... Not what I heard. I'm told when the
......... firemen arrived, they found her laid
......... out on the ground unconscious. No
......... wheelchair or walker in sight.

The chopper's JUST LOUD ENOUGH NOW so people need to start
raising their voices. It KICKS DUST and FLUTTERS HAIR.

................... GALVIN
......... Did she crawl there on her own? Or…
............. (grinning)
......... …did some anonymous, unsung hero save
......... her life, maybe?

The WIND is GALE-FORCE. Heads duck. Only shouting works now.

................... MEDICAL CLINIC SPECTATOR #2
......... The firemen asked her about that, and
......... she told them it wasn't a man at all
......... who dragged her outside. She said it
......... was an angel from Heaven.

................... GALVIN
......... WHAT???????????????

But no one can hear him because the HELICOPTER IS LANDING.

The CLINIC DOORS OPEN. Two MEDICS ROLL a STRETCHER with Mrs.
Joyce. David walks with them beside her, holding her hand.
Galvin races to her side and shouts over the roaring chopper:

................... GALVIN
......... Mrs. Joyce! Mrs. Joyce! It's me!

David looks up, surprised at this odd outburst from Galvin.

................... FIREMAN #1
......... Back off, man! Give her some room!

They LOAD her on the chopper. Galvin watches helplessly. It
TAKES OFF. David puzzles at Galvin's pining, walks up behind
him, and puts a hand on his shoulder. Galvin ignores this.

................... DAVID
......... She'll be ok. They're just taking her
......... to Bakerton for observation.

................... GALVIN
............. (to the chopper)
......... She said an ANGEL saved her???

The crowd begins DISPERSING. The ambulance PACKS UP and LEAVES.
Galvin stays transfixed on the receding, off-camera chopper.
With the parking lot almost empty, David takes his hand down
from Galvin's shoulder (noticing it's wet).

................... DAVID
......... Galvin, you're soaked! You get caught
......... in the rain just now?

................... GALVIN
............. (avoiding eye-contact)
......... Yes, I did.

................... DAVID
......... Where's your car?

................... GALVIN
............. (still avoiding eye-contact)
......... I got a flat out in the desert... had
......... to walk back to town.

................... DAVID
......... Oh wow! Raw deal! Uhhh … if you want,
......... I can give you a lift back out there
......... right now, and see if we can't change
......... it together.

................... GALVIN
......... No, I'd rather get a shower and deal
......... with it tomorrow. Besides, I think I'm
......... gonna need a tow. It's stuck in a ditch

................... DAVID
......... Martin has a tow truck. We can call
......... him tomorrow. Meanwhile, can I at
......... least drive you back to the parsonage?

................... GALVIN
............. (eye contact, finally)
......... I'd really appreciate that.

They enter DAVID'S CAR and drive. David tries to chat:

................... DAVID
......... Sorry you got caught in the rain. It's
......... rare that it rains out here, and ironic
......... that it happened when you were stuck on foot.

................... GALVIN
......... Irony is so ... ironic at times.

................... DAVID
......... I guess. One thing I do like about the
......... Southwest is the smell of the desert
......... after the rain. It's one of the clean-
......... est most beautiful smells on Earth. I
......... swear Heaven itself must smell like
......... that. I always look forward to it when
......... it rains here. I'm sorry you now have
......... such a negative association with it.

................... GALVIN
......... You don't know the half of it.

................... DAVID
......... So how'd the business lunch go today?

................... GALVIN
......... I don't wanna talk about it.

................... DAVID
......... No problem. Poor Mrs. Joyce! Did you
......... hear the details of the fire?

................... GALVIN
............. (obvious annoyance)
......... I sure did!

................... DAVID
............. (ignoring Galvin's tone)
......... It's a miracle she's alive. They're
......... pretty sure she'll be okay though.

................... GALVIN
......... Yep, a first rate miracle! Complete
......... with a valiant angel who rescued her!

................... DAVID
......... Yeah… that's kinda… interesting. How
......... many other people heard about that?

................... GALVIN
......... Everyone, it seems.

................... DAVID
......... (Oh great! Whole town'll be talking
......... about it tomorrow.)

................... GALVIN
......... You also heard her story?

................... DAVID
......... She told me herself in the clinic.

................... GALVIN
......... Got it straight from the hhhhhhhorse's
......... mouth, eh? (Dumb stupid old nag!)

................... DAVID
......... Uh, yeah, so to speak........ It smell
......... like smoke in here to you?

................... GALVIN
......... I can't tell: my sinuses are acting
......... up, and I got an asthma attack during
......... my walk back in from the desert.

................... DAVID
......... You ok? Shall I stop at the pharmacy?

................... GALVIN
......... I have my inhaler. I'll be fine.

................... DAVID
......... (Maybe it's just residual smoke.)

................... GALVIN
......... So … do you believe her? An angel
......... saved her? Is she crazy?

................... DAVID
......... I have no desire to either comment on
......... other people's mental states or
......... invalidate their faith in God.

................... GALVIN
......... Did she SOUND crazy?

................... DAVID
......... She told me her story but …

FLASHBACK:

Mrs. Joyce lies on a CLINIC BED, OXYGEN on her face. Marissa
dabs at her SOOTY FACE with a WET CLOTH. Mrs. Joyce reaches
out from the bed to someone who approaches. Heads turn: it's
David. He takes her hands. She pulls off the oxygen to speak.

................... MRS. JOYCE
......... Pastor David, God sent an angel to
......... save me! I lay there helpless on the
......... floor of my flaming trailer, asking
......... the Lord Jesus to take me home
......... quickly. And then, there he was: an
......... angel! He wore long white robes that
......... dripped with the dew of Heaven. He
......... picked me up in his powerful arms, and
......... his garments felt cool against my
......... parched lips and face. Then he carried
......... me out into the fresh night air where
......... I once again breathed freely. Then
......... after he set me down gently upon the
......... sweet green Earth, he disappeared in
......... the twinkling of an eye!

David looks up from Mrs. Joyce to the others present (Marissa,
Carl, and other FIREFIGHTERS). He's speechless.

END FLASHBACK

................... DAVID
......... … I really can't discuss that.

................... GALVIN
......... Do you believe in angels? For real?

................... DAVID
......... Sure. It's part of my religion. But
......... all angel encounters need scrutiny.

The car pulls into the

PARSONAGE DRIVEWAY

The car CUTS OUT. They exit the car, SLAMMING doors.

................... GALVIN
......... So, in your expert opinion, do you
......... think maybe she was mistaken about it
......... being an angel who saved her?
............. (notices David's confusion)
......... Maybe the firemen found her on the
......... ground because it was really a PERSON
......... who saved her, but she only MISTAKENLY
......... thought it was an angel.

................... DAVID
......... Maybe so. But why wasn't that person
......... there when the fire trucks arrived?

................... GALVIN
......... Maybe he left to go get help.

They both begin walking up the driveway together.

................... DAVID
......... Now that's an interesting theory. I
......... never would have thought of that.

Galvin's hopes start to rise.

................... DAVID
......... But now that anonymous hero needs to
......... come forward and identify himself.

Galvin smiles and is about to tell all. But then --

................... MANUEL (O.S.)
......... PASTOR DAVID!!

Galvin and David both turn to see the Sheriff coming up the drive.

................... DAVID
......... Hi, Manuel. What can I do for you?

................... MANUEL
......... It's Mrs. Joyce. Can we talk alone?

Galvin raises an eyebrow. David turns to him:

................... DAVID
......... Need anything else tonight, Galvin?

................... GALVIN
......... No, I'm fine. But thanks for the ride.
......... Have a good night! You too, Sheriff.

................... MANUEL
......... Good night, Galvin.

Galvin goes up the steps, OPENS the door, pretends to enter,
and SLAMS it from the outside. He squats and listens.

................... DAVID
......... What's up, Manuel?

................... MANUEL
......... You and I both know Mrs. Joyce didn't
......... crawl from that fire on her own with
......... no wheelchair and no walker. She was
......... dragged out. But not by an angel.

................... DAVID
......... Galvin and I were just saying maybe
......... there's a reluctant hero in town.

................... MANUEL
......... That's what I fear. Ever heard of a
......... messiah complex, Pastor?

................... DAVID
......... You're thinking the person who saved
......... her might also have set the fire?

Galvin silently gasps at such an assumption.

................... MANUEL
......... Some folks will fabricate a crisis to
......... try and engineer their own heroism.

................... DAVID
......... I know the type-- there's one in every
......... church. But setting fire to an old
......... lady's house while she's trapped
......... inside? That's downright criminal!

................... MANUEL
......... That's where I get involved. No one’s
......... claimed to be her hero yet. But if
......... anyone does, I'm less inclined to hand
......... him a medal than I am to read him his
......... rights.

................... DAVID
......... Why hide if his goal is admiration?

................... MANUEL
......... Maybe when he pulled her out he
......... mistakenly thought she was dead and
......... fled in panic. But now that word is
......... out that she's gonna make it--

................... DAVID
......... -- Now I get it. How can I help?

................... MANUEL
......... The standard profile is a male ages 15
......... thru 45 who experienced a recent
......... failure, and now believes an act of
......... public heroism will make up for his
......... failure. If you know anyone fitting
......... that profile, I need you to tell me.

................... DAVID
......... I'm hesitant to betray a confidence.

................... MANUEL
......... Oh come on, Pastor! You're not bound
......... to keep confessions a secret like
......... Father Lorenzo is! And we're talking
......... about attempted murder here!

................... DAVID
......... Does it even look like the fire was
......... deliberate?

................... MANUEL
......... County Fire Marshall has to inspect.
......... It might be a week before we'll
......... know. 'Til then I stay pessimistic.
......... Are you with me?

................... DAVID
......... I'll keep my ears open.

Galvin crouches on the top step, eye bugged out in terror.





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