EXT. ROADSIDE DINER - EARLY MORNING
A strip of two-lane highway runs through a tall pine forest. There
is a truck-stop coffee shop beside the roadway. A few 14-WHEELERS
are scattered across the big dusty parking lot. Morning sunlight
glints off their chrome stacks. It bakes the asphalt and warms the
mangy hides of stray DOGS asleep in the dirt. A HELICOPTER hovers
about the treetops like a lazy hummingbird. It's the beginning of a
A highway PATROL CAR slowly trolls among the trucks and dogs and
parks beside the slat and shingled building.
TWO TELEPHONE LINEMEN are scaling a power pole at the forest's edge.
POWER POLE - ANGLE ON TELEPHONE LINEMEN
High on the pole, the linemen lean back against their safety straps
to work, their bodies forming a "Y." One of them suddenly turns,
pointing at a nearby treetop.
He grabs a PORCELAIN INSULATOR from his belt, cocks his arm and
hurls it across the open stretch. It lands smack in the middle of
the tree. SQUAWK! A rattle of leaves, a rustle of feathers and a
HUGE BUZZARD comes flapping out. The lineman cackles over his
CLOSE ANGLE ON BUZZARD - MOVING SHOT
The big, frightened beady-eyed bird is lumbering through the sky,
flapping for its life and suddenly...SPLAT! It crashes head-on into
the bubble of the passing HELICOPTER.
The ship rocks as the PILOT wrestles the controls. There are THREE
OTHERS in the cabin. The man beside the pilot, ELI CROSS, is
sketching in a manuscript and eating an apple. He glances up in
Hey, will you stop wiggling?!
Don't yell at me...yell at the
goddamn crazy bird! It tried to
(back to his manuscript)
Oh yeah, that's your story. What's
the bird got to say about it?
Eli bites into his apple, grimacing at the mushy mouthful He tosses
it out the hatch.
EXT. FOREST - TREETOPS
The apple drops into the trees, bounces down from branch to branch
and falls on the slanted roof of the ROADSIDE DINER beneath. It
rolls down the eaves, off the edge and lands on top of the parked
Highway Patrol car.
INT. PATROL CAR
Something hit the roof.
So will the Chief...if we don't grab
this guy Cameron.
They climb out as we see a SECOND PATROL CAR sliding up behind them.
MORE POLICEMEN emerge from the second car.
EXT. DINER - ON POLICEMEN
They huddle, then move toward the diner entrance.
open WINDOW the CAMERA HOLDS.
As they pass an
A FRY COOK serves behind the long counter where MEN on stools eat
watching the overhead TV. There is a PINBALL MACHINE in action.
The policemen are seen ENTERING b.g. A TRUCK DRIVER ambles up and
straddles a stool.
Gettin' hot early. It's gonna be a
The fry cook fills the driver's empty water glass from a pitcher,
then move down the counter.
ANGLE ON CAMERON
He sits a few stools away. He's about 25, even-featured, bone-
weary. His appealing face needs a shave. The cook fills his water
glass. The ice cubes rattle as Cameron's hand trembles. His eyes
are riveted on the policemen.
Two policemen take seats at a booth across from the counter; one
policeman moves to a WALL TELEPHONE, another stands near the CASH
REGISTER looking at a magazine. They seem nonchalant, but are
placed to block all avenues of escape.
11 ANGLE ON CAMERON
Suddenly startled as someone slaps him on the arm. He whirls to
face the man beside him.