Exhibit 15.18

A Plot Synopsis of the Movie Adaptation of Dave's Book on Taxidermy

In a world with only one salaried taxidermist at an American museum, that taxidermist is about to uncover a conspiracy for the ages and discover just how alone he really is...

The story centers on Carl Akeley the Fourth, a taxidermist with a taxidermy degree from MIT and an advanced taxidermy degree from Oxford who comes from a long line of taxidermists that believe in the legend of a fantastic treasure trove of artifacts and gold, hidden by the founders of the American Museum of Natural History, and forgotten to all but a few. The first clue was given to Carl's great-great grandfather Carl Akeley the First by Theodore Roosevelt, former president and noted naturalist, saying simply, "The secret lies with Charlotte.” At this point it’s important to know that Charlotte is the name of an elephant Roosevelt shot and had stuffed.

Using sophisticated computer arctic weather models, Carl, with his friend Steve and financier Harold, finds the wreckage of a ship from an African hunting expedition, the Africana, containing Charlotte’s body on which they find a tusk engraved with a riddle. It’s a very big tusk, but they figure they have to take it with them and that if this whole treasure thing doesn’t work out, they can sell it on the black market. After examining the riddle, Carl deduces that the next clue is on the back of the American Bald Eagle under heavy security in the American Museum of Natural History. While Carl sees gaining access to such a highly guarded artifact as an obstacle, Steve finds no problem in stealing it. In the standoff, Steve escapes and the Africana explodes with Carl and Harold inside, nearly killing them.

They attempt to warn the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and Dr. Susan Cotter at the American Museum of Natural History, but no one takes them seriously, believing the eagle to be too heavily guarded to be under any threat. Carl thinks otherwise, however, and decides to steal it to keep it from Steve. Carl and Harold manage to steal the Eagle during a 70th anniversary-gala, just before Steve arrives. Dr. Cotter, who is holding a replica eagle, is kidnapped by Steve who thinks she has the real one, and Carl has to engage in a car chase to rescue her. As she will not leave without the eagle, and Carl will not let her leave with it, she is forced to go along with them to protect the eagle. The eagle is so big it barely fits in the backseat of the cab. Not to mention the tusk which Carl estimates is probably worth about a $1,000 bucks. There is a lot of discussion on how to fit it all. In the end, they manage.

Carl and Harold agree that the only place to hide from the police would be Jon Voight’s house. Despite Jon Voight’s disbelief in the treasure, Carl manages to reveal an Ottendorf cipher on the eagle’s back stitching, referring to characters in the (original) Carl Akeley’s Fundamentals of Taxonomy. The coded message in the letters leads them to the Field Museum in Chicago, where they find special deer taxidermied by Carl Akeley inside of an exhibit in the building. Carl examines the back of the deer with his glasses, to find another clue. After a short chase, Steve gets the eagle from Harold and Susan, and the FBI arrests Carl, who has the tusk (which he offers the FBI as a bribe, slightly exaggerating its value to $1,500 bucks to make it a more attractive bribe). Carl is actually a little relieved he’s arrested as by now he has an eagle, a tusk, a deer, and his rather cumbersome aviator glasses to carry.

When the FBI attempts to use Carl as bait to get the eagle back, Steve arranges to have him escape by jumping from the deck of the USS Intrepid into the Hudson River, a feat not too difficult for Carl as a graduate of the Navy Diving and Salvage Training Center. Did we mention that? Well, he is. Using Jon Voight, Harold, and Susan as leverage, Steve forces Carl to interpret the clue on the back of the eagle, a reference to a secret chamber under the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. When they arrive at a seemingly dead end, Jon Voight makes up another clue to keep Steve going, telling him a wood mouse is the clue to the Natural History Museum in Wisconsin. Steve goes to Wisconsin with his men, leaving everyone else to die in the caverns. Carl is a little bummed the men are gone as they were carrying his animals and animal pieces and it's like no one else is even helping.

After Steve leaves, Carl reveals there is another exit that must be through the treasure room. They find a secret passage into another chamber. To their disappointment, they find it empty, and assume that the treasure was already moved. However, they realize a secondary exit must have been created in case of cave-ins. Carl examines the walls of the room, to find a hole the shape of the tusk from Charlotte (the elephant). This lock opens a door into the true treasure room, containing artifacts from all periods of taxidermy. But it also consumes the tusk, totally costing Carl like at least $1,800 bucks.

When they leave through the second exit and the FBI arrives, Carl discovers that the chief investigator, Special agent Chip Kind, is a taxidermist. Carl proposes to give the treasure to various museums around the world, with credit being given to the entire Akeley family and Harold, with Dr. Cotter not being penalized for the theft of the eagle. However, Kind says that someone has to go to prison for the theft of the eagle, so they fly to Wisconsin, where Steve and his men are breaking the lock to gain entry to Wisconsin Natural History Museum. FBI agents emerge from hiding and arrest them under charges of "kidnapping, attempted murder, and trespassing on government property." The U.S. government offers Carl and his friends 10% of the taxidermy, but Carl only takes 1% and splits it with Harold. This amounts to approximately one turtle. With his share, Carl and Susan buy a mansion once owned by a man who knew Carl Akeley, and Harold buys a red Ferrari 360 Spider. Oh, it should be mentioned that both Carl and Harold are independently wealthy.

The end.

1 comment:

Dusty said...

This is, okay [fingers templed together over lips], a good start. What I might—if I may?—suggest is that the treasure found in the secret vault at the end be the fully mounted specimen of "the Libson rhinoceros" that King Manuel of Portugal gave to Pope Leo X, back in the early 1500s? Because—and I know I'm a bit more invested than the average reader ... er, viewer—but that would be like the most coolest thing ever.