The Defilement of Sacred Things by J. Alexander Johnson | Script Revolution

The Defilement of Sacred Things

When a church is vandalized before its anniversary celebration, a local priest works with the police and the mayor to discover who did it and why.



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It starts with an act of violence and vandalism. MSGR. MARK DICKSON, the parish priest of Old St. Mary's, is attacked in the sanctuary while preparing for the arrival of Cardinal Inman, the former parish priest, for the 130th anniversary of the church. The assailant, seemingly surprised by the presence of the priest, spray paints a message on the church door on the way out.

The message: Trent Copeland says "hi."

The next day, police arrive on the scene. As Msgr. Dickson walks them through the events, they're interrupted by MAYOR STANDFORD MILES, himself a long-time parishioner of Old St. Mary's. He promises to make sure that the assailant is brought to justice.

Later in the week, the police call Dickson in. They've caught the assailant. Dickson positively identifies the assailant. But, it turns out, his name isn't Trent Copeland. The only Trent Copeland that they could find who was in anyway associated with the church had recently committed suicide. All that was left was a tattered notebook of Trent's musings.

The notebook indicates that Trent was an altar boy during Cardinal Inman's tenure as parish priest. The cardinal had a predatory relationship with Trent and one other boy, who the notebook only refers to as Smiles. The information is enough for the police to decide to meet the newly arriving cardinal at the airport to arrest him. But the information also causes Dickson to quickly go back to the church. He knows what's going on.

Dickson invites Mayor Miles to the church. He shows the mayor an old photo. It's a photo of Inman, during his parish priest days, along with a young Trent and a young Mayor Miles. His name in on the photo is shortened to S. Miles. Smiles.

The mayor prepares for Dickson to turn him in, but Dickson refuses. He treats the revelation as a confession, sacred and private. The two men kneel in prayer.

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Submitted: July 25, 2021
Last Updated: July 27, 2021

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The Writer: J. Alexander Johnson

J. Alexander Johnson, a native of Detroit, Michigan, cut his writing teeth on short screenplays. Over the last two years, Alexander has written over fifteen short screenplays, including "The Golden West", a period drama set at the Golden West Hotel, the only hotel in the early 20th century that was owned by and catered to Black people. "The Golden West" was the winner in the Ink2Screen Monthly Writing Contest for May of 2020. Alexander has written one feature, "The Bus Driver", a supernatural thriller. Alexander is also a co-writer of the thriller Half-Sisters, now in pre-production. Go to bio

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