A Clockwork Testament by Bill Walker | Script Revolution

A Clockwork Testament

When his grandson dies in jail under mysterious circumstances, Alexander DeLarge—now retired and widowed—sets out to find the truth, unaware that the lure of the streets will reassert his ultraviolent nature.



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"It's been a long, long time, my brothers and only friends--a long and sorry raz it's been since I, your humble narrator, had my story to tell..."

For forty years, ALEXANDER DELARGE has toed the line, becoming the best Post-Corrective Advisor in the Ministry of Justice, in charge of all the wayward boys and girls, like the one he used to be. Now, after forty years of faithful service, the government is retiring him with a gold watch and a form letter.

While he grudgingly accepts his fate, he is wary about the future and how life will be now that he's on his own again. He doesn't even have the solace and comfort of his late wife, MIRIAM, dead now for nearly a year. What's worse--there are those who remember Alex the way he used to be and will never let him forget it: like ROGER, his envious co-worker, who's only too glad to see him out the door; or the young gang-member, TOMMY, who recognizes him on the bus ride home and pesters him about the "good" old days.

When Alex arrives home at the end of his final day of work, a flat full of family and friends greets him with cheers and jubilation. It is an unwanted surprise party orchestrated by his daughter, HELEN. Theirs is a contentious relationship, held together by the glue of their mutual love for Alex's grandson, JEREMY, who makes an appearance to give his grandfather a gift before going out with friends. Alex is troubled with the idea of the boy roaming about out at night, recalling his own sordid past.

PETE, one of Alex's droogs from the distant past, arrives bearing a gift and good wishes. During the course of the party, Alex and Pete reminisce about the old days and Alex expresses his fears and doubts about retirement, not wanting to "...be one of those old vecks nodding off in the park." Pete offers him a job in his pawnshop. Alex is touched but declines; he's been honest too long. Pete leaves him with the gift: a pristine black bowler hat, just like the one he used to wear. It brings back memories both disturbing and oddly tantalizing.

Later that night, Alex is awakened by a frantic phone call from Helen. Jeremy's been arrested, the charges unknown. Alex dresses and joins Helen and her solicitor at the police station, where the news is devastating. Jeremy is dead--a suicide in his cell. Alex is crushed; but even in the throes of his grief, he knows something is terribly wrong. Jeremy had everything to live for.

Determined to find out the truth behind his grandson's death, Alex starts asking questions, questions that draw the scrutiny of his old droog, GEORGIE, now the Deputy Commissioner of Police. He warns Alex to mind his own business and to drive that point home the government throws Alex out of his flat the next day.

With nowhere else to go, Alex turns up at Pete's pawnshop and Pete gladly takes him in and gives him work. His new situation is ideal, as it affords Alex the opportunity to search the streets in his spare time for the truth behind Jeremy's death, a truth that remains ever elusive. But the streets are also seductive--a siren's call to a baser nature he's long suppressed.

After a deadly confrontation with Tommy's gang, where he kills Tommy and another boy, Alex begins taking to the streets every night, seeking out other gangs and challenging them. His brutal exploits are so effective and so provocative the media dubs him "The Avenger," an appellation reflecting his choice of attire: a natty suit and the bowler hat. It is a name Alex relishes.

And while CHIEF INSPECTOR GRIFFIN is doggedly tracking him, there are those in the government who are worried the bloodless coup they are planning will be derailed if "The Avenger" is caught and put on trial. They bring Griffin into their conspiracy, promising him money and a promotion if he plays ball. Griffin wants to know why Alex's grandson was killed and by whom and is told Jeremy's death was "collateral damage," performed by a dirty cop whom Griffin knows and detests. Griffin pretends to agree to their offer, but the intrepid cop has other plans.

As "The Avenger's" notoriety grows to unprecedented heights, Alex finds himself more driven and more isolated. When Helen tries to mend fences, he puts his daughter off with a cruel remark. Even Pete is fearful his black-market business in weapons and other contraband will draw the kind of scrutiny it cannot afford. But Alex will not be deterred. He enjoys the thrill of ultra-violence too much.

Defying Pete's request to retire "The Avenger," he goes out one last time. It is the moment for which CONRAD, the lone survivor of Tommy's gang, has waited. He and his new gang ambush Alex and beat him mercilessly. But before Conrad can deliver the killing blow, Pete appears and rescues Alex. Alex is grateful and the two of them limp back to the pawnshop where Griffin surprises them and arrests Alex.

Back at the station, Griffin offers his prisoner a Hobson's choice: cease his nightly forays, as "The Avenger," and the government will give him back his old job. Refuse, and Helen will lose her job...and far worse. Alex pretends not to care, but Griffin sees through his bravado, knowing he cares more than anything. As for what was done to Jeremy, Griffin promises Alex that if he takes the deal, he'll make that situation "...as right as any mortal man can."

Griffin makes good on his promise, letting "The Avenger" have one more appointment with destiny: a private no-holds-barred face-off with the corrupt cop who killed Jeremy.

Days later, as promised, Alex is back at his desk, a happy cog in the governmental machine once again. He's made peace with his daughter and, while he still misses Jeremy, he knows justice has been served.

"...But the one thing I drew from all of this was that nothing lasts forever. The winds of change would blow again someday, and I would be ready... I was back all right."

All Accolades & Coverage: 

SEMI-FINALIST in the 2016 WeScreenplay Feature Contest
SEMI-FINALIST in the 2019 Chicago Screenplay Awards

Submitted: October 18, 2017
Last Updated: November 11, 2021

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The Writer: Bill Walker

A graduate of Emerson College's prestigious film school, Bill produced and directed his first feature film, Pawn , while still a student. After graduation, he co-founded Newbury Filmworks, Inc., an award-winning production company renowned for making high-quality corporate films and commercials. In 1990, Bill relocated to Los Angeles, and began a freelance story analysis career for various studios and independent production companies, while devoting his spare time to the writing of novels, short stories, and screenplays. He is also a highly-respected graphic designer, specializing in book and dust jacket design. He has worked on books by such luminaries as: Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson,... Go to bio

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