If "Jaws II" is a success at the box office, Universal Pictures will have no choice but to begin production on "Jaws III." The problem is, how many times can you frighten people with a man-eating shark?

I've been giving it a lot of thought. There is nothing that says "Jaws III" has to be a shark. As Elizabeth Ray once said, "There are a lot of other fish in the sea."

I have my own screen treatment for the third film. "Jaws III," instead of being about a shark, should be about the great snail darter.

The movie would take place at the TVA Tellico Dam in Tennessee. One night, a young workman and Miss Tennessee of 1977 are lying on the banks of the Tellico River telling dam stories, when the girl decides to go swimming. Her boyfriend tells her it's too dangerous, but she goes in anyway.

Out of the murky water appears the cruel head of a monster snail darter measuring three inches from jaws to tail. It swims back and forth, perplexed by the strange body in the water. Suddenly it bares it cruel, razor-sharp teeth and nips the girl on the arm. She screams, but it's too late. The snail darter nips her again on the tigh, then it nips her yet again. The girl frantically swims to shore with nips all over her body.

The workman and the girl go to see the chief of police.

The chief of police reports the incident to the head engineer of the TVA project. "It's obviously a snail darter, the most vicious fish known to dam builders," he tells the chief. "If the story gets out that we have snail darters in the Tellico River, they'll keep us from completing the dam. We have to keep this a secret."

"But I'm responsible for the lives and safety of the people along the Tellico," protests the chief of police. "Suppose somebody else gets bitten by the snail darter?"

"Don't worry," the engineer assures him, "having nipped Miss Tennessee of 1977 it could be miles from here by now."

Two days later, the attorney general of the United States is fishing off a pier when the same snail darter sees a toe in the water. Curious, it swims around for a few moments and then suddenly opens its jaws wide and grasps the toe. The attorney general falls over into the water and fights the snail darter for an hour, but the odds are hopeless. The attorney general is finally dragged out and returns to Washington, vowing to get the snail darter if it's the last thing he does.

The secret is out. News of the snail darter spreads like wildfire.

In order to save the dam the town decides to hire a tough sea captain who has hated snail darters ever since one had bitten off his fingernail years ago. From the description by the victims, he suspects this particular one was the same type of fish that had destroyed the use of his left hand. He is determined to get the snail darter, even if it costs him his life.

He goes out in a rowboat with a Swiss-made Pocket knife.

Ten yards offshore, the snail darter starts circling under the boat. It nuzzles the sides, then it nips one of the oars. The captain glimpses its brown stomach. He is sure now that this is his hated enemy. He takes out the pocket knife and is about to stab it when the chief of police runs down to the shore and shouts, "Stop. The Supreme Court has just ruled 6-3 that the snail darter is an endangered species. If you touch it, I'll have to arrest you."

The captain, his arm raised, pretends not to hear, and the chief takes out his gun and shoots the berserk captain in the chest, explaining later at the inquest, "I had to do it, It was the law of the land.