The Professor and Ginger are standing in the space in front
of the Skipper’s cabin. The Professor is wearing deck shoes,
brushed denim jeans, and a white shirt open at the throat.
Ginger is wearing spike heels, false eyelashes, and a white
satin kimono. The Professor looks at her with veiled lust
in his eyes. He raises an articulate eyebrow and addresses
her as Cio-Cio-San. Ginger blanches and falls on her knife.
* * *
Meanwhile it is raining in northern California. In a tiny
village on the coast, Rod Taylor and Tippi Hedren are totally
concerned. They realize that something terrible is happening.
Each has been savagely attacked by a wild songbird within
the last twenty-four hours. Outside their window thousands
of birds have gathered in anticipation of the famous school-
yard scene. Tippi Hedren is wearing a colorful lipstick.
* * *
Ginger stares back at the Professor. His sullen good looks
are the perfect foil for her radiant smile. The Skipper and
Gilligan come into sight. The Skipper has been chasing
Gilligan around the lagoon for a long time now. Gilligan
holds onto his hat in the stupid way he has of doing things
like that. The Professor’s lips part in a sneer of perfect
contempt. Ginger bares her teeth, as if in appreciation.
* * *
Jackie Kennedy bares her teeth. Behind and above her, the
muzzle of a high-powered rifle protrudes from a window. A little
man is aiming at Jackie Kennedy’s husband. The man is wearing
bluejeans and a white T-shirt. There isn’t a bird to be seen.
As he squeezes the trigger, the little man mutters between
clenched teeth, “Certs is a candy mint.” The hands of Jackie
Kennedy’s husband jerk automatically toward his head.
* * *
The Professor is noticing Ginger’s breasts. He thinks of
the wife he left at home, who probably thinks he’s dead.
He thinks of his mother, and all of the women he has ever
known. Mr. and Mrs. Howell are asleep in their hut, secure
in their little lives as character actors. Ginger shifts her
weight to the other foot. The intensity of the moment reminds
the Professor of a Japanese city before the end of the war.
* * *
In his mind he goes down each aisle in his government class,
focusing on each face, each body. He is lying on his bed
with his white shirt off and his trousers open. Dorothy
Kirsten’s voice fills the room. He settles on a boy who sits
two desks behind him. He begins to masturbate, his body moving
in time with the sad music. At moments like these he feels
farthest away. As he shoots, his lips part and he bares his teeth.
* * *
The Professor and Ginger are watching each other across the
narrow space. The Skipper and Gilligan have disappeared down
the beach. The Howells are quietly snoring. The Professor
and Ginger are alone. From the woods comes the sound of
strange birds. From the water comes a thick and eerie
tropical silence. The famous conversation scene is about
to start. Clouds appear in the sky, and it begins to snow.