Birdwatch

by Brigette ReDavid

INT. THE WOODEN CRATE - DAY
Izabella stands forlornly, head down, in the corner of the cramped crate. Shafts of sunlight beam between the slats.
HERMES
She ain’t sayin’ nothin’.
THANATOS
What do you want her to say, ‘Thank you for putting me in this box.’
Izabella hears them talking and presses her wings and head against the sides of the box to listen.
Thanatos looks down at the crate and nudges Hermes. They hold their scripts up to their faces and read slowly as they speak. They are bad actors.
HERMES
I thought Rob was kinda sweet on her?
THANATOS
If he is, he’s got a funny way of showing it.
IZABELLA
Could you let me out, please?
Thanatos and the Hermes give each other a startled look.
HERMES
(whispers)
That ain’t in the script!
Thanatos nudges him angrily.
HERMES (CONT’D)
Ah. We ain’t here.
Thanatos covers Hermes mouth with his wing.
IZABELLA
If you could just let me out so we could talk.
They look at their scripts to find their places. Thanatos shows Hermes a line and nods.
THANATOS
Rob says you gotta stay in the box.
IZABELLA
Rob!
HERMES
Now she knows it is Rob! Just don’t tell her his father is the one that captured her the first time.
Izabella’s eyes grow wide and she covers her mouth with her wings as she slides slowly down the side of the box.
THANATOS
Now you did it. Now she knows it is Rob.
Hermes nudges Thanatos and points to the script.
HERMES
(whispers)
You got them all mixed up. Seymour’s gonna be mad if we don’t get it right.
Izabella stands up and presses her wings against the crate. She is more desperate than ever.
IZABELLA
I’ll pay you if you let me out.
Thanatos puts down his script. Hermes takes a bite out of his.
THANATOS
We already get paid.
IZABELLA
I’ll pay you more.
Thanatos has an idea. He nudges Hermes because he is going to test his newfound improvisational skills.
HERMES
Nobody has more money than Rob!
The vultures laugh heartily at that.
A truck rumbles over the bumpy terrain. It stops in front of the Chevy. The vultures stare stone-faced at the driver’s assistant who gets out of the truck. 
The man looks warily at the vultures who hop to the Chevy. 
DRIVER (O.C)
Need some help?
The assistant bends down and lifts the crate awkwardly.
Izabella slides in the box. She puts her wings out and pushes against the side to avoid slamming into it. 
ASSISTANT
No, it’s just this one.
Izabella looks frightened and lonely. She can hear the man walking, pebbles crunching under his feet, and then the sound of the metal rollers as the back of the truck is raised.
Izabella watches the shafts of light disappear, and hears the clanking sound of the trucks’ back door roll down.
INT. AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL CENTER - DAY
Rob paces nervously as the other birds do their jobs.
ISIS
They’re getting into formation.
Rob stops and looks out the  window.
He sees GILBERT, a Canadian goose wearing an aviator’s cap, positioning geese on a branch. More geese fly in and land.
ROB
Izabella’s always here to watch them take off. Tomorrow’s the last day. She wouldn’t miss this.
CARDINAL
I stopped by her birdhouse this morning but she wasn’t home.
ROB
Something’s wrong.
PIERRE
Izabella probably wanted a day off. She’s been working pretty hard.
The doves nod their heads in affirmation.
Prudence stands before the chalk board where all but two days are X’d out. She tries to break the tension.
PRUDENCE
Tomorrow’s the big day, Rob.
Rob doesn’t look excited. He looks miserable.
ROB
Pierre, do you think she’ll be here?
PIERRE
Sure she’ll be here. Izabella wouldn’t miss your big day.
Rob’s usual bravado escapes him as he watches the birds work.
ROB
It’s our big day. I should have thanked all of you weeks ago for working so hard.
Everyone looks at Rob. He turns to Pierre.
ROB (CONT’D)
Especially you.
Pierre looks startles at first, then happy. Rob walks to him.
ROB (CONT’D)
All wings in.
Rob thrusts out his wing. Prudence puts her wing on top.
ROB (CONT’D)
We’re a team.
All join in the wing pile. Rob lifts his wing up.
ROB (CONT’D)
Go, team.
They high five. Everyone hustles back to their tasks smiling and pumped.
GILBERT (O.C.)
We’re all in position.
Frazer leans to the microphone as Rob returns to the window.
FRAZER
Roger that, Gilbert.
ROB
It doesn’t feel right without Izabella here. 
Rob walks toward the door.
PIERRE
Where are you going, Rob? Gilbert’s in position.
ROB
You guys handle it. I’m going to find out why Izabella isn’t here.


Writer's excerpt courtesy NYWIFT (NYWIFT.ORG)