Synopsis: Philly boys Al and Birdy became friends in high school despite the extreme difference in their personalities, Al being the popular and athletic extrovert, Birdy the antisocial "weird" introvert. Al gave Birdy his nickname because of his fascination - obsession really - with birds, especially with flight. Al and Birdy have just completed their service of duty in the Vietnam War and have returned to the States. Al sustained some serious physical injuries, which required major reconstructive surgery to his face. Birdy, however, returned from Vietnam seemingly emotionally scarred. He was missing in action for one month. He has not spoken since he was found. Despite his own medical issues, Al travels to the institution where Birdy is being kept to see if he can assist in getting Birdy out of his near comatose state. Having always had issues with authority, Al is less than forthright with the doctors about Birdy's mental state prior to the war. As Al tries whatever he can to help Birdy using
Genre: Drama, War
Director(s): Alan Parker
Production: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  3 wins & 1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
120 min

She likes you. You see, Melanie... she's every bit as pretty. You've been very nice. Now you can have what you want. Hey, you! Birdboy! Mrs. Angelucci said them feathers|can give you asthma. I've got a great idea. Let's enlist. Kids got to play, honey. Go tell that to your son. Birdy! Are you all right? Switch shifts on Th8ursday? How come they didn't|change the bandages? No, ma'am.|He's 8unavailable right now. Can I have him call you? That's Doctor Moore. How long do I wear these things? We'll take them off when you|get back from seeing your friend. Then I'll see if you got|everything back in the right place. Should be okay,|give or take an ear or two. I think the graft is|going to be just fine, Al. After a while it'll start itching,|but you can't scratch it. This ought to hold you. How do you feel? Like the invisible Man. Come see me when you get back, okay? Sure thing. Don't worry. Don't stare, honey.|It's rude. Sh*t, Birdy. The things you put me through. They always said you were weird.|Even my kid brother. Do you remember the time|with the knife? Jesus Christ!|These damn kids! Way to go! Now we'll never|get it back. The lady's a witch. Stay out of my yard! You hear? We don't have another ball.|How else we going to play? By not hitting it here.|Go somewhere else and play. This ain't no ballpark.|This is my yard. Why don't you do something about it? Kids got to play, honey. You tell that to your own boy. I don't want to. Come on, why not? I just don't feel like it. Sure you feel like it. Well, if I let you... can I wear your letter jacket? Yes. Hey, Al. - Al!|- What? He's down the street.|The weird kid. Later, Mario. Get lost. Come on, you promised. Hey, birdboy! What's your name? This is like talking to the air. Got a knife I can borrow, kid?|Got a splinter. This it, Mario? Yeah, that's my knife. You thief!|My brother says it's his. Back off!|Don't mess with me! Don't mess with my brother! He's a wrestling champion! Now you're in trouble!|This really better be your knife. It is.|Ziegenfuss stole it from me. I thought you said he stole it! No! I just said he had it. Jesus, Mario. I bought it from Ziegenfuss.|But if he stole it, you can have it. Don't touch it. - It's mine.|- We'll get you another. Here. Thanks. Where'd you learn all that stuff?|You wrestle or something? No. You should. You like pigeons? What's to like? They fly. They fly. So what? That's enough. Come on, Al. Are we going, or what? I'm training these|to be carrier pigeons. You mean with the notes,|like in a war? I got a class. I've got to go. So go. Up yours! Pretty ugly birds. You know, if he really can train|them to carry notes, I'd buy one. - You would?|- Sure. A lot of kids would. Wait a minute! How about if I help you catch some? It's funny how they do that. If it hadn't happened every|five minutes for the last 50 years.... Dumb. They always come back|to the same place. See? Same exact spot every time, and just|carry on with their business. - Come on.|- Where you going? Higher. - We got to get up to talk to them.|- Are you kidding? Are we allowed up here? Looks awful high to me. F*** you! It worked! Birdy, where are you? Very funny.|Now where the f*** are you? Come the hell out.|I know you're in here, birdbrain. What's that? A pigeon suit I'm making for you. This way, they'll think|you're one of them. I don't want them to think|I'm one of them. Come on, just try it. No way would I be caught dead in that. I feel ridiculous. You look terrific. Come on. It's over here. I want to go change.|I look stupid! Not to a bird, Al. That's some view. Can you see the Tower Theatre? That must be City Hall over there. Stars, Al. Look at the stars. What stars? We should come back|to just look at them. What are you doing?|For chrissakes, get down! Hold my legs, will you, Al? You'll like this one, Al. She looks like your dad. I got to get a little lower. Let me down a bit more. Jesus, Birdy! Give me a bag. F***! No! Birdy! Hold on, I'll get help. I can't hold on that long. What's so funny? You. You look so serious. It is f***ing serious! Sh*t! Look, this isn't going to work. I'll try to make it to the sand pile. - What are you talking about?|- It's easy. You'll jump? No, Al, I'm going to fly. Don't jump! Let go! Birdy, are you all right? Birdy, are you all right? I flew, Al. Sure, you flew. It was beautiful. It was like.... You look awful pale, Birdy. Should I go get somebody? You might have busted something inside. You'll break your crazy neck|one of these days. God, Birdy!|Don't do anything like that again. What do you think, sergeant? Sir? Your friend. How does he look to you? It's hard to say.|I'm not sure I understand your question. It's a simple question. How does your friend look? Are you his doctor? Why are you asking me? Obviously, because I want to hear|what you have to say. He doesn't look good.|Does he just sit there like that? For the most part. Was he wounded? Yes, but his wounds|were relatively minor. This is not a physiological condition. Then how'd he get like this? All we know is that he was|missing in action for a month. For a while, we didn't even|know who he was. Does he know who he is? I don't know. He hasn't talked since he was found. So you really don't know anything. I think I know a few things, sergeant. It was my idea to bring you here. Why am I here? The patient's mother|thought you might be... well, of some help. Frankly, I'm willing to try anything. - And I'm it?|- For now. When I found out about|your condition.... It seems like it might be|an interesting therapy. For him or for me? I hope for both of you. Come with me.|There's something I want you to see. No, tuna salad, not chicken salad. Lots of mayonnaise and none of those|little celery chunks. Two of them. Do you want anything? Coffee? Two coffees, cream and sugar. Okay, yeah, that's it. Strange, huh? Jumping and twisting,|like he was trying to escape. You sure can't blame him for that. No one is, sergeant. He wouldn't like being cooped up here. What do you suppose impels him|into these strange positions? Like what? Like this... cringing position. Was there any psychological trouble|before he was in the military? How close were you? We was real good buddies.|Pretty close. Very close? We weren't queer for one another|or anything like that. We were normal, crazy Philly kids. How crazy? You ever been to Philly, sir? You have to be pretty crazy|to live there. I don't understand yet|what's brought him to this. You got any ideas? He got drafted. All wars have|their casualties, sergeant... and the Army takes care|of their own. Certainly took care of me, doctor. Major, sergeant. Major, sir. I know that this is difficult|for you at this time. And I know it's hard for you|to come here like this. How does your face feel? It's okay. No problems? The bandages are a little hard|to get used to, sir. When the doctor...|The major... said one of the things they|had to do was give me a steel jaw... l thought, "Great!|A steel jaw! Maybe I'll be the next La Motta." Turns out, a punch could knock|the pins into my brain... so it's worse than a glass jaw. It's pretty funny, huh? A lot of people wouldn't think so.|Aren't you concerned? Sure, kind of. You know what would be|a good idea, Alfonso? - Al.|- It might be helpful... if you visited your friend now. It's important that|I make some progress soon. Ronsky? Send Renaldi in here. You'll like Renaldi, Alfonso.|He's Italian too. What's going on here? Occupational therapy.|Some genius at Boeing thought it up. Who better to sort out|the nuts than nuts, right? - What do you do here?|- Pretty much everything. Mostly I help take care|of the patients. I take them for walks,|read them the funnies... blow their noses,|change the bedpans... wheel them into the TV room.|Stuff like that. How'd you get that shitty job?|They bust you? I'm a conscientious objector. You're kidding. An Italian conscientious objector? That's right. Hi, Ned. Nice day. Ned's elevator doesn't go|up to the top floor. Combat stress. He's quiet today. Normally, he's throwing sh*t|against the walls. Here he is. I'll be back soon, and|I'll take you to your bunk. They have you in with me. Take it easy. Hey, Birdy. Is this for real, or what? If this is some act you cooked up to|get out of Nam, it worked. You can stop now. Come on, Birdy. It's me under all these bandages. It's Al. Maybe I'll get into|something crazy myself. Can't you see it? " Neighborhood Boy Turned a Lunatic|by the Horrors of War." All I'd have to do|for a pension is growl... or go beat somebody up|on Market Street. So much for that. God, this place gives me the creeps. It's awful quiet for a loony bin. You know, they keep saying|I'll be fine. I keep hearing them. "Quit worrying how you look,|Columbato." But I saw a guy at Dix|who they also said would be fine. And he had a face like|a medium-rare cheeseburger. I'm scared I won't recognize|who I'm shaving in the morning. Jesus, Birdy, what happened to you? That fat-gut shrink,|he wants me to jog up your brain... by getting you to remember|the things we did together. Did we jack one another off?|Stuff like that. I don't trust that guy. Everything's too interesting to him. So what do you want to talk about? Maybe we should talk about|one of the 85 million times... we tried to find where your mother|hid the goddamn baseballs. Okay, you don't like that one. Remember that statue of Billy Penn|on top of City Hall? How, from certain angles,|it looked like he had a hard-on? And how we used to stand there|with the pigeons? Every time some old lady would walk by,|we'd point at Billy Penn. They'd look up, and they'd see|Billy with his dong sticking up. Sh*t! Do you need a hand? What are you doing here? I'm his friend.|The doctor brought me. Right! Now I remember. - What's your name?|- Columbato, Al. You know, I'm not in the Army. You can tell me your name|frontways if you want to. I'm Hannah. He eats that? Looks horrible, doesn't it?|It's all he'll let me feed him. You have to feed him? Can't he feed himself? I don't know. He doesn't. He won't let the orderlies feed him. For some reason, he lets me. Sh*t, maybe I'll stop talking. I like your friend. But I wish he wouldn't do this. Listen, I'm going to go. You can stay if you want. That's all right.|I'll go bunk out for a while. Okay, hang on. I'll unlock you. Hi there.|Let me take a look at your back. Tell me where it hurts. My buddy's broken his leg. Maybe his back. I hope not his back,|because that can make you crazy. He's a little crazy.|He thinks he can fly. He thinks he's a bird. It's all here, the whole thing,|how he fell off the gas tank. There's a picture showing where he|jumped and an "X" where he landed! I don't want to hear any more!|Not birds, not nothing! You can start now... by cleaning the pigeon sh*t|off the front porch. Face it, we're out of|the pigeon business. - They ain't coming back.|- They'll come back, they were homed. What kind of home is it when|your witch of a mom chops it up... and chases the birds away? It's home to them. It's not the lumber and nails.|It's the place. I got to tell you something. But you have to promise|not to go ape-sh*t on me. What? Do you promise? You're right.|Those birds kept coming back. Your mom puts down poison|and knocks off half of them. But those blue bars get smart|and still keep coming back. So she calls Mr. Solari. Mr. Solari, the poultry guy? Yeah, the butcher. That guy would dress his mother|as a chicken... if he got 69 cents a pound. He must've taken them.|They ain't been back since. No, you don't get it, Al. Those blue bars saw Solari. That's why they didn't come back. You're wrong!|Solari bagged them. They're dead!|Plucked and f***ed! You don't understand birds, Al. I got an idea for something else|we can go partners on. You know that old Ford|at the junkyard? Yeah, okay. It's a good thing those blue bars|recognized Solari, huh? Pigeons ain't stupid, Al! Remember that statue|of Billy Penn on top of City Hall? How, from certain angles,|it looked like he had a hard-on? If I'm going to learn,|I'll have to watch them closer. Be there when they fly. I want them to be|as free as possible. Nobody wants to be in a cage. How are you doing back there? - You okay?|- Yeah, just great. That is some piece of sh*t. Does it go? Not yet. But it will. - How'd it get here?|- We pushed it. - It's a piece of sh*t.|- Thank you. Don't use any of my tools. No, sir. You'll have to register that|before you sell it. How, Mr. Columbato? You wait till you're old enough. - Maybe I'll do it for you.|- That'd be great, Dad. F***ing garbageman! Come on, sister! All right. Well, now! Top down! There she goes! We're doing 80 on the expressway. Look for 76 and the Walt Whitman.|Watch out for cops. We need quarters for the toll. No, I'll drive straight through. It's not my fault you left|the gate down! Yeah, you too, motherf***er! Watch out! That was a close one. Tailspin. We're just driving. Where we going? Where else? The ocean. I've never been there. You're kidding. This is great!|It's like flying in thick air! Are we going to go see the boardwalk|and pick up some chicks? Okay, just one more time,|all right? You ready? On your mark. Goddamn it! One Mississippi, two Mississippi... three Mississippi,|four Mississippi... five Mississippi.... Ten Mississippi, Birdy! Thirteen Mississippi. It's a 15 Mississippi, Birdy! Sixteen Mississippi! I don't know how to swim! Now don't go do|anything stupid, Birdy. I know what's in that|goddamned fool mind of yours. Right down here, on this|same street, they got this ride.... Expectant mothers, the young... go see the greatest attraction|in the world today. See Apasha, the Gorilla Girl. See her change from a woman|to an ape. A gorilla! It's gross! - Horrible!|- Was he born like this? No way, it's a gyp.|His legs are stuck. - It's a false bottom.|- Isn't it amazing? Introducing Zimmy, the human fish. Folks, let's hear it for Zimmy. - How does he do it?|- Does what? Hold his breath so long.|I have to keep coming up for air. We've been here four minutes.|He hasn't come up for air. Think he has a wife? You okay? I can hold my breath|for two minutes, 40 seconds now. Do you want to try? You play sports? Of course not. AI and I throw the discus sometimes. So you play on a team? We just throw it|to see how far it'll go. AI used to be on a team. He used to be a wrestling champ. Are you guys finished yet? I'm leaving! I ain't hanging around with|that creep no more! Why do you always do this? You stuck me with... Shut up! What are you going to do now? F*** it! What? You have got to learn... to be more sociable! I don't think she liked me. You got to make them like you. Talk like you're interested|in all that crap they go on about. You just got to talk more. I don't care about what,|as long as it's not flying and birds! What if that's what|I'm really thinking about? That's the first thing you got to|understand in your dealings with women. Never let them know|what you're thinking. I'm not thinking about them. Then just lie, for God sakes! You're the best|goddamn liar I ever met. Don't you know your chick|had great jugs on her? I don't understand.|What's the big deal? - They're just overgrown mammary glands.|- Mammary glands? Mammary glands? We're talking tits here! Big tits! Round tits. Fleshy tits. - Just a lot of dumb development to me.|- Full tits. Women carry them around|their whole lives. - Flopping around, getting in the way.|- They don't get in the way. They're needed.|They're necessary. I seen a picture in|National Geographic. Just like on a cow,|but in a more stupid place. It's not like a cow at all. I'm telling you for your own good. You don't know what you're missing. That girl, Shirley... l didn't even have to ask her. She just lifted her shirt|and put my hand under it. And then she undoes her bra for me. I start feeling the whole tit,|nipple and all. She's poking her tongue down my throat. And then, I'm reaching down|with my hand. I'm working my way down.|She's work... - That your '53 Ford back there?|- Sure, why? Could you stop walking around?|You make me nervous. I cannot stand this much longer. I hope your old man comes soon. Well, I don't. Hi, Dad. Hi, Mom. Ever wonder what our lives down here|must seem like to a bird? You two shut up! F***ing f***!|I'm always f***ed! - Good luck.|- Thanks. Hi, Al. How are you? I'm pretty good, Birdy, thanks. You know, Al... I'm glad you came to see me. We haven't seen each other|in a while... and there's a lot of water|under the bridge. But it's good just to sit here|and not talk with you. Yeah, it's a real blast.|But, you know.... Come on, Birdy! Talk to me. Okay, don't talk to me. You think I don't know|what you're doing... with this squatting|and sideways staring stuff? So you're finally a bird.|Big deal! If Weiss finds out, he'll put|you in a display case... and write papers on you forever. Damn cats are driving me crazy! I'll get a BB gun and pop them off. They'll give the birds a heart attack,|scaring them all day. Let's get this door closed|so they don't get out here. That's it. You know my mother. And that's Mr. Tate. He's deaf.|He doesn't hear anything. He loves the birds singing,|like Beethoven. I said you're like Beethoven. You like that one, huh? She's a good-looker, all right. But don't go for flyers when|you're looking for a good breeder. Come on, honey. Come here. Don't you want to eat? She's a pretty one,|but won't notice any of the daddies. She's a heartbreaker.|So particular! Rhett and Ashley can't get near her. It sure ain't like in the movie. I don't let them mate|more than one at a time. No brothers and sisters. It ain't right.|Says so in the Bible. Mr. Tate... lets them all in together,|like a Roman orgy. Ain't natural. Here's Melanie. Come here, Melanie. The first day I saw Perta... l knew she was special. The way she took to the air... Iike it was hers. She likes you. Don't get taken in|'cause she's a flyer. Melanie here, she's a darling bird.|Every bit as pretty. No, I'll take this one. You can't do anything about it. He sold it before he ever|told me about it. At least we got|what we paid for the car. I'll give you my share.|We can use it for your ornithopter. I don't care about the money. It's the principle of the thing. The only principle is my old man|does whatever he wants. Do you want me to pin him?|I wish I could, but I can't! We're going to get it back. Are you crazy? Suicidal?|He doesn't even like you. He'll break your neck. I don't care. It's our car. You can't do this.|You know what he's like. I tell you, he'll kill you! Jesus, sometimes you're|so full of sh*t! All right, but you're on your own. I'm not going with you. I don't want blood|splattered all over me. Sh*t! - I want the car back.|- What do you mean? - You got your money!|- You had no right to sell it! It's worth more than the money! It belongs to us.|We didn't want to...! That car was in my name.|I'll sell it to whoever. Would you get out of here?|I'm trying to read my paper. Tell me the man's name|who thinks he bought it...! Get out of here. I'll call the cops! I was about to do that myself!|I'd like to report a stolen car! Are you calling me|a crook in my own house?! Are you crazy?! Are you trying to say|I stole that junk heap?! Don't embarrass me|in front of my family! You sold something that wasn't yours! Give me the man's name|who thinks he bought it! I'll tell him you made a mistake! I sold the car to a friend|of my brother-in-law! This guy is not|giving you the car back! You mess around with him and you'll|wind up in a concrete shirt... at the bottom of the river! I don't want to go to the police... but I got a receipt of purchase|from Mr. Russo... at the junkyard! You think it's yours|because you registered it for us. It's legally ours because|you don't got no proof-of-purchase! Why do you want to be a hard-nose for? I can't get you the car back... even if I wanted to!|- So tell me his name! Shut up, you skinny bucket of piss! You're not worth going|to jail for, for murder. Here's what I'll do. - Here's the money.|- I don't want it. - That's all I got...|- It wasn't yours to sell! Shut the f*** up! He's going to take it. Read your paper, honey. Please.|He'll take the money. You'll take the money. I'll get you more from|my brother if you want. Don't make no trouble.|Please! Here.|I don't want it. Half of it's yours.|You deserve it. It was our car, Al. I could never stand up|to my old man like that. Maybe life is shitty. It is shitty. I'll tell you something. I'm not trying to pin life anymore. I don't even f***ing understand it. I just want to make it through with|some dignity, like everybody else. Of course, if there was any real|dignity, there wouldn't be any sex. I'm going to go now, all right? All right? But I'll be back. Renaldi! Let me out! Let me out!|Let me out! You okay, Al? You were moaning as if in pain.|Is your face bothering you? - You won't tell anyone about this?|- No, of course not. No, sir, not yet. Yeah, he's here right now. His file came in this morning. Would you come over here, please? Is your serial number|10107003 or 10107008? It's 003. Why? I want to get it right. It's C-O-L-U-M-B-A-T-O,|Sergeant Alfonso? What is this?|Am I being taken prisoner? The major wants some more|information on you. What do you got, my file? Everything about you. There we go. Is there any history of insanity|in your family? No. Why are you asking me? Suicides? What? Any suicides? Not yet. Finish that later.|Bring me what you've got. Come on in. Excuse me, Major. Is something wrong|with your secretary? Oh, you mean the spitting. Ever since combat,|he's had a bad taste in his mouth. Don't worry. We're working on him.|Have a seat. Why was he asking me|all those questions? I'm not a patient here. I like to know who I'm dealing with. How do you think|the Army's treated you? Not bad. Okay, I guess. It says you attacked|a superior officer... just after you arrived in Saigon. We were in a bar. I just hit him. You knocked out four teeth|and broke his nose. I hit him hard.|He was dogging me. - You think you might have overreacted?|- Maybe. Sir, we all make mistakes. But it's important to learn|from our mistakes. Don't you think? Shouldn't we be talking|about the patient here? Whose idea was it to steal that car?|Yours or his? Steal a car? I believe it was in Atlantic City. Oh, that! That was a misunderstanding. My father had it registered|in his name. We were having a good time, you know. Is that how your father saw it? No, not exactly. What did he do? He took away my allowance. Listen, you wise guy. I've got better things to do|than play games with you! I should probably|send you back. You don't have to do that, sir. Maybe you haven't noticed... what happens to men like your friend,|without special attention. What do you mean? They stay here for|the rest of their lives. They rot.|Sometimes they just die. I'm sure I can get through to him.|I just need some more time. All right, sergeant. This is not an|indefinite stay for you. You can go. One more thing. Did you or your friend|resent your father... for that misunderstanding|about the car? No, sir. We both really liked my father. He was a heck of a guy. Not so bad, right? Oh, sh*t! I should be done|with him by now. Would you feed him|while I go finish up? - Sure.|- Thanks. Take this. I'll be right back. I saw that cockeyed look of yours. That look always means something. You think I was hitting on her,|don't you? You think maybe she likes me? You really got to quit it|with this crap. I got to get out of here. That shrink gives me the eye|like I'm crazy. It's not a great feeling. Not that it ever|seemed to bother you. Come on, Birdy, eat it. If you could see yourself|squatting here... and me shovelling|this crap down your throat... you'd probably laugh|yourself to death. What? I won't have another|talking-to-the-wall conversation. Decide if you're listening or not. We'll do it your way. We'll sit here and commune|like goddamn birds. Hey, pretty. Come here. How do you do that? Your mother said enough for tonight.|It's almost 3 o'clock. I'm working on my ornithop... Come on, enough's enough!|We're supposed to be asleep! Tell him.|You're his father. Come on, son. Leave the bird alone. Then the bird's feather. It has a hollow shaft, with|feeders for blood circulation. On either side are branches, barbs... which branch into barbules... which have little barbicels|with hooks on the end of them. It can all be pulled apart,|like a zipper. And then re-zipped. A bird runs its beak|through its feather... re-zipping feathers|that have come apart. Flying is much more than flapping wings. A bird can flap its wings|and not move an inch. When it wants to fly... the slightest flicker|sends it up to the sky. You must feel that air has substance|and can hold you up. It's mostly a matter of confidence. F*** them.|What do they know, anyway? Did you notice Doris Robinson|giving you the eye? She must be hot for|mad-scientist types. - You ought to ask her out.|- I don't think so. I can't afford to take her out. It doesn't cost anything. You think Cheryl's charging me for it? I'll go to the cafeteria.|You want to come? I want to go down and talk to my dad. Dad? Dad! I'm in here. Come on in. You had lunch yet? - I'm not hungry.|- You got to eat. Grab a sandwich and sit down. Dad... l want to ask you a question. Shoot. I want another canary,|a male for mating. Maybe you can talk to Mom. I don't know.|We don't want to antagonize her. I had a heck of a time getting her|to let you build the aviary. She's worried... about what it's costing|for the feed... the lumber and whatnot. The birdseed's cheap. - AI and I swipe the lumber.|- I sure won't tell her that. She's convinced|your friend is AI Capone. I know. Don't think your mom|doesn't want what's best. She's concerned that you develop|interests and friends... that'll help you fit in. Fit into what? Whatever. You know, life. She thinks I won't fit|in with AI and a canary? It's not that.|It's just, well.... Take me. I've always had an interest in wicker. When I met your mom,|I could make a better wicker chair... than any man in Philadelphia. I still could, if anybody wanted one. But nobody cares about wicker anymore. So I don't fit into|the scheme of things. You see what I'm saying? Your mother just wants you|to wind up better than me. Every parent wants that. I'm just saying you should be|interested in something practical too. It's hard to be good|at something nobody wants, huh? You really want this, don't you? I'll talk with your mom. Don't worry, I won't let him out|till you're sure of him. I think he's mostly bluff. How you doing? You got another one! - His name's Alfonso.|- What? He likes to fight and show off a lot. You named him after me.|Thanks a lot. - It's not really his real name.|- What's his real name? I don't know.|I don't speak canary yet. F***! This is getting weird. Didn't I tell you to stop that? I told you, Mom.|It's for gym. I don't know.|It looks crazy. She's calling you crazy. Ask her what she's been doing|with our baseballs all these years! I think she buries them.|We just have to find out where. I think she burns them.|We'll never find them. Yeah, probably. How long? Same. An hour. I'm up to 10 pounds. With that and all the weight you lost,|you could really clean up in wrestling. Do you realize that's 40 pounds|of flapping power? You won't fly any more than I could. You couldn't fly because|you don't believe you could fly. It's a snake! Damn snake! Got its whole foot in its mouth. It must have been two feet long. - I think it was a rat snake.|- I don't believe you. - It was that long!|- Yeah, right. Are we getting started or what? Patience, Al.|You just got to have patience. This place is a garbage dump. Four, five, six.... It smells. Nine, ten, eleven.... You sure this is going to work? Sixteen. Stop at the edge. I don't want you|or my bike in the water. How about you? I've been practising off my roof. I can fall 20 feet|without hurting myself. That's got to be|a 40-foot drop out there. It's all a matter of weight|versus density. At my weight,|travelling at 32 feet a second... my downward velocity|won't increase after I fall 20 feet. What does that mean? The worst thing that can happen|is I get the wind knocked out of me. It won't happen.|I'm going to fly. How do I look? Dumb. Ready. Faster! Faster! Birdy! I'm coming! Just hold on! Are you okay? Yeah. Are you? Sure. I don't know what happened.|I was going really good and just... fell out of the sky. Gesundheit. How come every time|I tried to save your ass... l ended up getting sick? You thought that was funny, huh? Who are you supposed to be,|the Mona Lisa or what? That is a smile, isn't it? " Dissociative behaviour"? - A smile's a smile.|- Not necessarily. It might be an involuntary manifestation|of some unconnected emotion. To be significant,|it must be reactionary. He was reacting. To what? - The joke.|- What joke? I always got sick when he was hurt. Do you think he smiled at that? It's a private joke. Why don't you explain it to me? I don't know if I can.|It's complicated. I wish this gave me hope,|but there's no concrete progress. He's more responsive to drug therapy... Yeah, right! You pump him up so full of sh*t,|he doesn't know who he is! Who do you think you are? I'm his doctor|and your superior officer! I am familiar with your|anti-authoritarian tendencies! And I don't care to see them here! Why do you think it's difficult for you|to control your violent impulses? It's not. Then why do they keep recurring? Look... l'm sorry. I'm frustrated. I just want to help my friend. I don't think you can anymore. I can. I know it. Sorry, I don't see any point to this. It's time you return to Fort Dix. It's time for your bandages to come off. Excuse me. Ronsky, see Sergeant Columbato out,|would you? You wanted me to remember something|about his past that might help. Well, there is one thing. It sounds a little crazy, but... He lived just over the field fence|of our baseball park. When anyone hit a homer,|his mother hid the balls. She wouldn't give them up.|It's weird. It's almost like|he felt guilty about it. He was always apologizing to somebody,|swearing he'd get their balls back. It was an obsession.|He spent hours looking for them. We figured maybe she buried them. He never found them.|I was wondering... if she sends them here,|that might do something. How long ago was this? All through high school, sir. There must be a lot of baseballs|in that collection. I'll extend your visit till|I find out about these baseballs. - I hope this works.|- Me too. - How's it going?|- How you doing? - Just shooting some hoops.|- F***ing A! Funny, any other war,|we would've been heroes. Oh, man! We didn't know what we were getting|into with this John Wayne sh*t. Boy, were we dumb! We were always dumb. Before the government, it was|some a**hole on a street corner. Remember with Sagessa and the dogs? Somebody buys a cute puppy|for Christmas. Once they find out how much it eats|and shits, they dump it cross-town. Soon you got packs of wild dogs,|big, hungry and not so cute. - People want to shoot them.|- How do you find homes for the dogs? If I tell you that, you don't need me. You forget my dollar-a-dog proposition.|You go into business for yourself. This ain't like you, Sagessa. Since when were you out to make|the world better? You never heard of|enlightened self-interest? The way I got it figured... we're doing a good deed|and making a buck besides. There's one! These dogs can really bite. There she is! Watch this. Go slow. Okay, watch me now. Slow and dangerous. You got to let them know who you are. Okay now. Watch me. Sh*t! Dollar a dog. All right, we got them now. I'll take this mean one.|He's the leader. Damn it! Sh*t! Lift him up! Grab that one. Where we going? That's my department. Do you want|to get out of here or what? I just thought this was some... You sons of b*tches!|You got my dog! My dog is in the goddamn truck! He's crazy! You got my dog! What's your problem? You got my dog in the back|of your truck, you little sh*t! If it's his dog, you should stop|and give it to him. - Bullshit, we're almost there.|- Where? Jesus! What is this place? I've never seen so many flies. What's going on here? They're electrocuting them, morons!|Where's my dog? Are they electrocuting these dogs? It's humane, ain't it?|What do you want them to do? Hit them over the head? Get off my truck!|Your goddamn dog ain't here! - What the f*** is going on here?!|- Get the dogs out! They're killing them|to make dog food! Dogs got to eat too. Chico, come here! Run, Birdy! What is it? The cat. I'm starting to worry I'll never fly|the way I've been going. As scary as a bird's life must be... at least they have that. They can always fly away. Do you know them damn birds|attract mice? Mrs. Angelucci said them feathers|can give you asthma. Time's running out.|I'm not giving up on you. I'm going to get you to talk,|even if I have to punch you out. I'm not kidding around.|I can't hold Weiss off. I almost told him|about the flying yesterday. Goddamn it!|Why can't you listen to me?! You want to fly? He'll send you air freight|to a cage in a nut house! He'll probably send me too! We'll have perches, cups,|the whole f***ing deal! Maybe your mom can dig up|your pigeon suit! Weiss can sell you to a sideshow! You can double bill|with Zimmy the Fish! All right, Birdy. It's time to start|flapping your wings and peeping. I don't believe it, you know. If you want to spend your life|as a bird, at least be consistent. Look at you.|You don't hop like a bird. You don't really sit like one. And you sure as hell|can't fly like one. If you don't like what I'm saying,|why don't you tell me to shut up? You always were hard to hurt, Birdy. Real losers never hurt. Here you go!|Here comes Hannah to feed you. You like that, don't you? - What are you doing?|- I'm going to watch you. It's fun, watching him be fed.|He's cute when he's fed. Stop taunting him. He's reacting to me! He's giving me that look.|You're pissed! Stop it! It isn't working. - How do you know?|- It's obvious. You f***ed it up!|Why did you come in? I work here.|He's part of my job. Yeah? Well, he's|part of my goddamn life! Come on. Look up. Look up. Open your eyes. Can I talk to you? Back there... l didn't mean to|make you feel worse. I know he means a lot to you. It's all right. What? I'm sorry. - I didn't mean to do that to you.|- Don't be. I haven't touched|a woman in a long time. Al, it's all right. Really. I got to go. Come here. What do you want? You want to go outside? Want to go outside|and play with the other birds? You going to give me a kiss? In a dream... I'm trying to decide what I am. When I sleep,|I'm giving myself strength. I'm reaching for the force to fly. Perta waits... cups herself to receive me. I hover... then lower myself into her. Perta and I become one. I see through her eyes. Fly on her wings. I am no longer alone. It occurs to me... that all I did was|put two birds in the aviary. Food and water and nothing else,|and now there are four of them. I know this is perfectly natural. It's one of the things|life is about. But to see it happen|in my bedroom... under my own eyes... is magic. All I want to do now|is watch the birds. I don't care about the things|that happen in the outside world. I feel turned upside down. Somehow the babies seem to know|their place is in the air. It must be the knowing... not the flapping of wings. Are you sleeping or what? Doris is on the phone.|She wants to talk about the prom. Don't give me that look.|I swear to you... if you don't go to the prom|like other kids... I'm getting rid of these birds! - Hi, Dad.|- Hello, son. Kind of a mess in here,|with these boys drinking. Can't hold their liquor. I was looking for you. I didn't want to embarrass you|with your date. You wouldn't embarrass me. I wanted to give you this,|so you could go someplace afterwards. Your girl there is real pretty. She's not really my girl. Thanks. Well, here we are. I'd like to keep it as a souvenir. I know you didn't want to take me. You've been very nice about it... and now you can have|what you want. I'm sorry. What? I'm not very good at this. It's okay. It doesn't matter. How do they do it? I don't know. We should go. Will I see you again? I'll see you in school on Monday. The dream is as real to me now|as my waking life. I don't know where one begins... and the other ends. I wish I could tell Al. But I'm afraid to. In my dreams... nothing holds me down. Everything is out and away. There's nothing in my life|to keep me here anymore. I wish I could die|and be born again as a bird. Here you go. Come on, go ahead. I'm sorry about before. You got to eat. I'll just leave it here for you. You got to come back, Birdy. Help! Help! Medics! Smitty's been hit. He's been hit! Jesus, Birdy! I'm losing it. Here comes Santa Claus|Here comes Santa Claus Right down Santa Claus Lane|How you doing, Al? - What's this?|- I don't know. - His mother sent it to you.|- You're kidding! No, it couldn't be! I don't believe this! Okay, I got you now. Just wait till you see this. Direct from their endless|engagement in South Philadelphia. You thought you'd never see them,|but here they are! It's the baseballs! Your mom sent them.|Can you believe it? Come on!|This is it! This is your last chance! You got to give me|some kind of reaction! Come on! I need you! If Weiss gets a look inside my head,|he's going to lock me up too. I'm scared, Birdy. I'm more scared now|than I was in the war... and I was more scared there|than anybody I knew. Talk to me again. Hey, Birdy, where are you? Oh, no! Well, now! What happened to you? You get so hot with Doris,|you forgot to put your clothes on? If your old lady saw you like this,|she'd have a stroke. Okay, lover-boy! Tell me about Doris,|with plenty of details. There's nothing to tell. Don't give me this|gentleman-of-honour crap. I want to hear about last night. I'm not sure I can explain it to you. I knew it!|I knew she'd do it. Tell me what happened. Not with her. With me. Last night I flew. I know what|it feels like to fly. Oh, you flew?|How you flew? I'm not sure. It's not something you can|really take apart. When I fly, it's like in a dream. Only it's not a dream. You can't put it into words.|You kind of have to feel it. You can fly like a bird? When I fly... l am a bird. This is getting too weird.|You got to stop it. I thought you would understand. Well, I don't. - I don't want to hear about it.|- Why? Because I'm tired of it! We used to have fun together. Now you're always off by yourself... flying around inside|your goddamn head! I hope this dream,|or whatever it is, goes away. I think it's bullshit. I shouldn't have said that. I shouldn't have left you then. It's working.|He just needs a little more time. I'm not blind. I'm sorry the baseballs didn't work. There's no sense|in going on with this. His condition is deteriorating. He hardly moves anymore.|He's stopped eating. We'll have to put him on an IV. - I could stay and...|- You should be back at Fort Dix. There's nothing to keep you|here any longer. I just want to say goodbye. Go ahead. Alone. I'll see you in my office afterwards. Perta! Come back! Don't worry. I'm not leaving you again. You all right? Doctor Weiss asked me|to come and get you. I'm not leaving him. - They're not going to let you stay.|- Why not? Don't you have to go back|to the hospital? I'm not going back. Come outside and we can talk. I don't want to talk. That's all I've done|since I've been here. Besides, nobody listens to anybody|anyway, even if they aren't crazy. You go tell Weiss|I'm staying with my friend. Tell him! Don't worry, they can't|make me leave you. I can't go out there. I couldn't make it. They got the best of us, Birdy. We're both totally screwed up. We haven't had anything to do|with making our own lives. F***! I was always so damned sure... about being myself... and how nobody was going to|make me do anything I didn't want. And now, here I am. They finish you off with a discharge|or put you on a casualty list. It doesn't matter|how special you are or were. I feel like one of those dogs|nobody wanted, remember? You know, when that shell|went off in my face... l could smell burning flesh. And it was crazy... because the smell was so sweet... so familiar. Then I realized that it was|my own skin that was frying. And I couldn't even touch the pain. I don't even know|what I look like anymore. I don't know if it's me|under these bandages... or what some Army meat-cutter|thinks is me. I don't want a patched-up,|instant-pity excuse for a face. I just want it to be AI under here. Not some sewn-together freak mask. Sh*t! What's so great about|their f***ing world anyway? We'll just stay here|and keep the hell out of it. I don't have to go get|these bandages off. I figured out what you're doing. You're right. We should just hide out|and not talk with anybody. And every so often... go crazy... and run up the wall... and spit! And throw sh*t at them,|like the loony across the hall! That's what we can do. That's what we can do. Sometimes you're so full of sh*t. Was that you? It was! You talked!|It's really you! I can't believe it.|Say something else. I can't believe it.|It's really you! How come you decided to talk? I didn't decide. It just happened.|I don't know. You needed me, didn't you? They think we're both crazy. What's going on? He talked!|Come on, say something. Goddamn it, talk! - He talked before.|- This won't work. I'm telling the truth!|What are you doing, dumbshit? Don't you know|they'll keep you forever?! Goddamn it, talk! Jesus, Mary and Joseph!|Birdy, talk! - Come on, let's go.|- No! Goddamn it! I'm staying here with him! This isn't a game anymore.|Why wouldn't you talk? I didn't have anything to say to him. What are you, crazy? We have to get out of here. Come on! Birdy, don't! What?

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Sandy Kroopf

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Birdy" STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 22 May 2024. <>.

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