(*Author’s note: yesterday Matt Damon came to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s campus to help his nephew out with new student enrollment. A fellow writer, Dave Feit sent me a tweet requesting that I try my hand at a story about why Damon was on campus. This. . .is that story. This is my new short film, called The Osborne Identity.)
EXT. OAK LAKE, LINCOLN, NEBRASKA, MORNING
An old man is pushing his boat out onto the waters of Oak Lake. The first rays of sun are spilling over the horizon, molasses slow. Molasses thick.
The old man putters out to the middle of the lake, humming a tune to himself from a bygone era. He prepares to cast his line and catches himself, mid-swing. There’s something in the water.
He tosses his fishing pole onto the floor of his boat. He steers the boat closer.
CLOSE UP: IT’S A BODY FLOATING FACE UP IN THE WATER. THE BODY IS WEARING A TAYLOR MARTINEZ JERSEY
JASON BOURNE (Played flawlessly by Matt Damon) appears motionless. Lifeless. The old man pulls with all of his might and yanks him into the boat.
Wake up, sonny! Wake up!
He begins slapping Bourne’s face and pounding on his chest. He’s doing all the George-Clooney-on-E.R. things that he can remember.
Bourne suddenly sits up, jerking upright and coughing up more water than Louie Anderson on a reality diving competition TV show.
What?!?! Where? Where am –
Relax, son. You’re okay. You’re in Lincoln Nebraska. The greatest city in America.
Home of the free and land of the brave. A place with a football team as sweet as the
good life, a phallic capitol building that’d make Freud crap his pants, and a Unicorneral
All of that, huh? Well, what am I doing here? Who — who am I?
The old man merely shrugs his shoulders.
I couldn’t tell ‘ya that. We’d better get you back in off this water before you
freeze to death. C’mon, I’ll make sure that you get taken care of.
The old man and Bourne motorboat slowly back to the shore. The old man pulls a blanket out of his trunk and gives it to Bourne who gratefully accepts.
Please, though. No police.
Why? Hey you’re not in some kind of trouble are ‘ya? You’re not one of those bath
salt smokers or something? Eh?
No. Just I don’t want them to grab me before I have a moment to clear my head.
A moment to figure out who I am.
Okay. Sure. Say, I left my coffee in the front seat of my truck. I’ll be right back.
Bourne nods warily. He knows the old man is going to call the cops (*Author’s note: because he’s Jason F-ing Bourne) and reaches down to tie his shoes.
CLOSE UP: THE OLD MAN DIALING 911 ON HIS PHONE WITH SHAKING FINGERS
Yes, that’s right. He’s still here. Please hurry. Yes, of course. Sure, I’ll try to stall him.
(Louder as he calls back around the truck)
Hey, sonny? I just can’t function much without my coffee. Would you like so–
As he comes around the edge of the truck he sees that Bourne is gone. Vanished silently into the prairie winds, human smoke alight on the breeze (*Author’s note: Because he’s Jason F-ing Bourne.)
EXTERIOR: THE STUDENT UNION AT THE UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA-LINCOLN, AFTERNOON
Bourne comes running up to the doors of the student union. He’s out of breath but clearly in magnificent shape. He quickly walks inside, still wet from the lake, and follows a crowd where he waits in line. While waiting he is antsy, paranoid. While looking over his shoulder, he unwittingly steps up to the counter to order.
Welcome to Runza, may I take your order?
(Looking confused for a moment)
Hi. Ummm. . .let me see. It’s actually my first time –
Well what do people here usually. . .
He blinks twice and reflexively reaches for his wallet. He pulls out a wet wad of bills and papers and fumbles around for a moment.
Can I help you?
(The words suddenly rushing out of his mouth, he appears shocked to hear them himself)
Yeah. I’ll have 2 Runzas with a side of Dorothy Lynch and a large drink.
He bobbles the money and eventually hands it to the cashier. She gives him his change and his cup and he takes a seat in a corner booth where he continues to eye the crowd nervously.
(Quietly to himself)
What the hell is a Runza? And who is Dorothy Lynch? How did I know
what to order here? It’s almost. . .like I’ve been here before.
He gets his food and eats while examining the papers that were in his back pocket. There are several random numbers. A 70, a 71, a 94, a 95 and a 97. There’s also a picture of an old man wearing a red sports coat. Bourne feels drawn to him. Something about him seems. . .familiar.
INTERIOR: THE BOWELS OF A SECRET ESPN STUDIO
MARK MAY, LOU HOLTZ, and KIRK HERBSTREIT are all standing silently around a TV monitor. On it there’s a picture of Jason Bourne and surveillance footage of TOM OSBORNE enjoying a slice of Valentino’s pizza with a blissful look on his weathered face.
Thish can’t be happening!
But, sir, we had him. I mean, he was absolutely dead. I put 15 bullets
in his back. That’s, like, 6 more than 50 Cent lived through. It should’ve
I don’t think you understand, Mark. When Dr. Lou tells you to get something
done. . .
then you F-ING DO IT!
He lunges wildly for May, his spray tanning glistening in the artificial light if the diabolical lair. Holtz steps in between them and raises an ancient hand to spread them apart.
Enoutfth. This solvseths nothing. We heard on the police scanner for ourselves.
Jathon Bourne is sthtill alive. And, more importantly, so is Tom Osborne.
This is perplexing. Bourne has never failed us before. He’s never failed to
complete his mission once we’ve activated him. We need to get to that campus.
I want both of them dead before the night is over. Activate agents Bayless and A. Smith
For this. Now.
INTERIOR: THE NEBRASKA STUDENT UNION
Bourne has finished his food and is walking the halls of the union. He has a hat pulled low and keeps repeating the numbers to himself, hoping that something will come back to him. AGENT BAYLESS can be seen lurking over his shoulder, stalking him. At one point he gets a little close and Bourne stops for a moment, furtively glancing into the glass of a trophy case to spy his would-be assailant.
A group walks by and Bourne latches onto the kid at the back.
Hey, kid. What’s this tour for?
Oh, hey there dripping wet, creepy dude. It actually just a tour for
new student enrollment. What are you, a non-traditional student?
Not exactly. Listen, I’ll give you fifty bucks if you just tell everyone I’m your
Uncle from the west coast and that I’m here to help you out with enrolling.
Make it 60.
Done. What’s your last name, kid. We need to make this authentic.
They call me Ishmail. Ishmail Jackson. But all my friends just call me Damon.
He was my favorite baseball player as a kid. Johnny Damon.
Hmmmm. . .Damon, huh? I like that.
He grabs a nametag off one of the check-in locations as they walk past. He quickly snatches a pen from the Kid’s hand and inks “M. Damon” on the front.
Hey, what’s the “M” stand for?
(Pausing for a brief moment of serious introspection)
I don’t know. Something about it just. . .feels right. He hands the kid three
smashed up twenties and follows the group towards the doors of the union.
EXTERIOR: THE STEPS OF THE STUDENT UNION
The tour group exits the union and is heading towards a trolley where they will board for the next leg of their tour. Agent Bayless is anxiously waiting in the bushes near the bike rack. Moments before Bourne boards the trolley, a black Mercedes convertible comes squealing up. It hops the curb and smashes over a meter. Broke college students quickly scurry into a mob scene trying to get the change to pay for $400 textbooks. The passenger of the car stands up in his seat and shouts at Bourne. It’s BO PELINI.
Jason. Get in the car now.
How do you know my name? Wait, is that my name?
Just get into the car. Now. You’re in serious danger.
Seeing that his window of opportunity is closing, Agent Bayless leaps from the bushes and opens fire. Members in the crowd scream and run for cover. A bullet goes whizzing by Bourne’s head and he turns and leaps into the backseat. Leaning forward he looks into the front seat and points to the driver.
Wait, who is that guy?
That’s Ndamukong Suh. The best wheelman in the business. Kind of.
NDAMUKONG SUH immediately crashes the Mercedes into a light pole, peels out and slams into the back of the trolley. Finally he gets the car back on the road. Agent Bayless sprints after the car, leaping into the backseat where Bourne knocks the gun out of his hands. Bo grabs a thick playbook from out of the glovebox and uses it to snap Bayless’ larynx like a Popsicle stick.
Holy, hell! Where did you learn to do that?!?!
Just come with me and I’ll show you.
Suh crashes the car into one more parked vehicle and then they turn a corner. They drive directly towards One Memorial Stadium and head straight towards the massive wall, appearing to be moments away from crashing. Suh expertly steers the car into what is, apparently, a mere hologram of a stadium wall and into a secret lair.
INTERIOR: A SECRET LAIR IN THE DEPTHS OF MEMORIAL STADIUM
The three men get out of the car. Suh heads for one door, Bo and Bourne head for another. The door is locked with a high-tech security system. Bo leans in and scans his retina, then the door beeps.
Please shout 8 swear words.
Bo screams until the veins in his head appear ready to burst.
(Pushing open the door for Bourne)
INTERIOR: A BEAUTIFUL WHITE ROOM
Seated on a throne made out of Sears Trophies and the skulls of vanquished Big 8 and Big 12 opponents is TOM OSBORNE. At his feet is a beautiful pool of water. He stands up, turns the pool to wine and walks over to Bourne.
Jason, my dear fellow. Have a seat. Would you care for a drink?
(Declining a drink or a chance to sit)
Who are you? What am I doing here? Better yet, who am I?
Your name is Jason Bourne. You are the prototype for a new ESPN-funded
super-soldier. Designed to go in and fire people in the name of Disney, forcibly
un-retire Brett Favre on a yearly basis and assassinate anyone who got in their way.
Bourne sits down on the floor heavily, a cinematically convenient flood of anti-amnesia suddenly rushing back over him. He grabs at his head, eyes bulging as he takes a flash-back trip to a few nights earlier.
But, wait, wasn’t I hired to. . .
Kill me? Yes. But you just couldn’t bring yourself to do it. You watched me
go for two in the 1984 national championship game, lose, and then gain sweet
sweet redemption on loop mode for 12 straight hours and it completely un-brainwashed
you. Is it coming back to you now?
Yes. Some of it is, now. My name is Jason Bourne and I was sent here to kill you.
But who sent me? How long have I been doing this? Why don’t I
In due time, Jason. In due time. In the meantime, here’s the man you’re looking for.
Good luck, Jason Bourne. Oh, and one more thing. Agent A. Smith is waiting for you
outside the holographic entrance to our lair.
Thank you. I can’t stay. I’ve got to find out more about who I really am.
He turns to head for the door, but Osborne stops him.
Oh, and one more thing. You’re going to need this.
He hands him a gun. Bourne takes it and heads for the door.
What is it?
It’s Thunder Collins’ gat. Good luck.
The words “TO BE CONTINUED. . .” scroll across the screen as the theme song for the tunnel walk plays.