Take note, Hollywood movie producers. Yesterday, in an action packed journey that would shock and amaze summer moviegoers, we may have saved a life. And the fact that it was a bird’s life only makes it slightly less riveting. I’m willing to sell the rights for a modest sum. Here’s the pitch:
OPENING SCENE: ERIN, JACOB, and ZACK (played by George Clooney) are driving down Route 108 in Dover. In the middle of the road sits a small gray bird, mouth agape, breathing heavily as it watches traffic fly by. Heroically concerned, and also prompted by the hysterical wailing of Erin in the back seat, Jacob stops the car. Erin rushes out and grabs the bird. Biceps bulging and sweat dripping from his manly frame, Zack (played by Brad Pitt) assists her with a towel. There’s also probably an explosion somewhere. There could be.
Cut to the three inhabitants in the car. Jacob, still foolishly thinking that the trio might make it to the beach that day, tries to call the SPCA, who informs him that they do not take injured birds unless the cats are especially hungry. Erin, who has the bird in her lap, argues with Zack (played by Matt Damon) about the best way to hold the bird. Zack contends that the bird should be in a box, while Erin is holding him in her lap. Erin doesn’t want to disturb the bird by moving it to a box because his mouth is open, clearly indicating that he is ready to strike at her exposed wrist. (Doubtlessly, the bird knows that slashing her wrists will cause her to bleed to death in the back seat.)
However, there’s some debate over why the bird’s mouth is mysteriously open. Zack (played by Johnny Depp) contends that it’s not a warning sign that the bird will attack at all, but instead a reflex because this is clearly a hungry baby mockingbird. Perhaps a cowbird. Jake agrees for the most part, but maintains that it’s actually a hungry baby thrush. Erin doesn’t particularly care what species it is, so long as it leaves her wrists intact.
Zack (played by Will Smith) uses his lightning reflexes calls the number that the SPCA gave him, and gets the York Center For Wildlife, a rehabilitation center for birds, mammals, and turtles (this is true) that agrees to take the bird. At the moment he gets off the phone, the deadly cow thrush launches itself from Erin’s lap to the front seat, landing first on Zack, and then on the dashboard of Jacob’s BMW, where it unleashes the full fury of its bowels. When the beast is recaptured by a daring Jacob, who grabs the bird with one hand and steers the car (perhaps through an explosion) with the other, Erin confines it to a canvas bag. Zack (played by James Dean) suavely sponges off the dashboard with his beach towel.
After making the long and perilous trek to York, which includes crossing at least two bridges, one wrong turn, and stopping for gas and snacks once, the heroes arrive at the York Center for Wildlife, which is not in York at all, but Cape Neddick (think coastal Maine town meets Deliverance). The heroes deliver the bird to the center, which is staffed entirely by attractive women (actually, this is true as well).
The center is an odd place set up in a modular house – imagine a lovely home with birds flying around the living room and a tray of dead mice labeled “for the raptors” by the kitchen sink. There, the three bird-rescuers take a tour of the facility (only offered on Saturdays), and meet several raptors, including the peregrine falcon Frejya, and Leo, an owl who looks like a character from a Dr. Seuss book. They do not meet Galileo, a great horned owl who is kept locked away like Hannibal Lecter because of his “aggression.” Through the slats of the horned owl enclosure, we can see him peeking at our heroes hungrily and clacking his beak. This is very much like Jurassic Park, which, coincidentally, made ridiculous amounts of money in theaters. I’m just putting that out there.
FINAL SCENE: Our heroes make a small donation the the center, which is run entirely on donations and grants. Then, they learn that their bird was neither a baby cowbird nor a baby thrush, but an adult catbird that had most likely been hit by a car, and his mouth was agape not in hunger or threat, but because he had just been hit by a car. Rather than aggressive, he was in a slack-jawed stupor. This is a shocking twist; the same kind of shocking twist that made “The 6th Sense” such a box-office smash. After their shocking and potentially lucrative surprise, our heroes are ready to head home. Zack (played by George Clooney again) climbs into the soiled BMW before it pulls out of the driveway, much to the disappointment of the attractive young staffers of the Center for Wildlife.
Our avian patient is under surveilance, and will hopefully be out and about soon. But even if he doesn’t make it, I think that doesn’t change the important fact that this epic tale could make me and a brilliant and enterprising Hollywood producer rich. Call me. We’ll do lunch.