Dreams of Steele
transcribed from the episode written by:
Brian Alan Lane

A well to do gathering late on a Los Angeles evening. Photographers take photos of the well-dressed men and women as they enter a building.

Inside a hotel banquet room, a spectacular dinner is taking place. A banner hung across the room proclaims" The Society for American Heroes Honor . . . Remington Steele". Flowers are everywhere, and on the stage behind the podium is a full size cardboard cut out of Steele in a tux.

As the dinner ends, Laura, wearing an evening dress, turns to Remington as he looks at the slips of paper he's just pulled from his pocket. A man is heading toward the podium.

"Looks like you're about to go up, Mr. Steele," Laura tells him. "Have your remarks ready?"

He smiled. "Indeed, Miss Holt. I thought I might talk about how I handled the Andreas affair. You know, a cuckolded husband, a mysterious woman in a wet suit, death by cattle prod . . ."

Laura looks furious. "The Andreas affair?! You actually intend to go up there and take credit for the fact that I had to climb fifteen stories up and elevator shaft to find the murder weapon while you were out dining on a yacht at a part thrown in YOUR honor?!"

"You wouldn't say that if you'd been on that yacht, Laura," he tells her. "Some of the worst veal marsala I've ever endured."

The man gets everyone's attention. "Ladies and gentlemen, it gives me the greatest of pleasure to introduce to you our newest American Hero- Remington Steele!"

The crowd rises, applauding, as Steele comes up to the microphone. He lifts his hands for them to be seated, and the room falls silent. "Thank you. Thank you so much indeed. Rather than bore you with my tired anecdotes, I thought I might field a question or two . . ." A woman, dripping with gems, lifts her hand, and Steele points to her. "Yes, Madame?"

"Mr. Steele, in one of your early cases, you were hired to protect the rarest gems in the world - - -," she begins.

"Ah, yes. You refer to the stones of South African Royal Lavulite. Stones so blue, it is said that they were once pieces of the sky . . ." Steele recalls.

"Whatever happened to that assistant of yours? The one who nearly bungled the job? Miss- Bolt, wasn't it? Nora Bolt?" Laura is beginning to fume. "I trust you encouraged her to find another line of work . . ."

"Alas, she still works for me, Madame," Steele informs the woman. "Because, there, but for the grace of God, go I."

The audience begins to applaud, but Laura has had MORE than enough as she leaps to her feet. "That's IT! I've heard more than enough!" She elbows Steele aside. "You see this man? This- so-called "Remington Steele"?" Steele tries to grab the mike from her, but she angrily slaps his hand away, leaving him to look worriedly at the two policemen on either side of him. "Well, take your LAST look at him. Because he's a paper hero!" She turns to the cut out and pokes her fist through the face, knocking it out. "The man's a fraud! A common thief, a scoundrel who stepped into our lives two years ago with the sole intent of STEALING the Royal Lavulite that I had been hired to PROTECT!" She motions to the two officers. "Cuff him!" she orders.

The woman asks, "But, then, where's the REAL Remington Steele?"

Laura turns the cut out around, revealing a life-sized cut out of Laura, the hole in the top above her head. "You're LOOKIN' at her! "Remington Steele" was a name I invented to make the public think that they'd hired a big, strong MAN to handle their cases." She looks at the cops again. "Take him AWAY!"

They lead him away, as he frowns in her direction. The crowd rises to its feet, applauding and cheering Laura as we see newspaper headlines.




A well dressed, obviously successful Laura makes her way through a crowd of fans, signing autographs, posing for photos, laughing as she waves and walks off down the street. As she turns a corner, she finds herself on a nearly deserted, dirty side street.

A dirty, disheveled bum slumps on the curb, bottle of wine hidden in a brown paper bag, a cigarette butt between his fingers. As Laura moves past, he looks up, smiling, revealing gaps in his once perfect teeth. It's Steele, but not the dapper, well-dressed Steele we know. This man is a pitiful wreck. "Miss Holt, Miss Holt, Miss Holt." he asks, holding out his hand. "A quarter for old times' sake, eh?" He's slumping, subservient.

Feeling generous, Laura pulls a quarter from her pocket and flips it into the air, toward her former "partner". But it misses the mark, ending up in the storm drain beside Steele. Laura shrugs and laughs as Steele drops to his knees beside the drain, trying to retrieve the coin. She slaps his bottom playfully, then continues on, still laughing delightedly- almost cruelly.


Laura is sleeping on Steele's sofa in his apartment. It's nighttime. She wakes suddenly, and sees Steele sitting nearby, working on something inside of a briefcase. He looks up as he realizes she's awake. "Decided to rejoin us, have you?"

She sits up, still trying to regain her bearings. "How long was I . . . away?" she asks.

"About an hour. What was so funny?" he questions, taking a drink of coffee. "You were laughing in your sleep."

Laura frowns as she sits near him. "I was dreaming about this case," she tells him, coming closer. "Don't you find it funny that I've put you in charge of protecting the very jewels you originally came here to steal two years ago?"

His response is less than amused. "Positively side splitting," he tells her, returning his attention to the briefcase.

Laura examines it. "You're sure this is gonna be sufficient?"

Steele closes the case. "This briefcase is absolutely impregnable," he assures her, thumping it. "Bullet proof, acid proof, flame proof. The only way in is to use these two latches," he tells her, pointing to them. "Each of which has been set by me to a combination known only TO me."

"And if something were to happen?" she questions.

"Ah," he says, taking another drink. "Anyone attempting to open the case without the correct combination shall find himself the recipient of a particularly nasty burst of DC current. About a thousand volts to be precise . . ."

"Charming. I knew I could count on you, Mr. Steele," she says, her arm around him.

"Trust. It's all I've ever wanted, Laura," he tells her sincerely. "Well, trust - and a new suit every now and again."

"Then tell me, as your precious Royal Lavulite comes back into our lives, - Who are you really?"

He looks uncomfortable. "Does that really matter?"

"It matters only that you won't tell me," she says, rising to pick up her jacket from the back of the sofa. "See you in the morning."

Steele nods, and sighs in frustration.

The next day, Steele and Laura are with a crowd of people on the grounds of a lovely mansion. A press conference is taking place. An elderly, gentleman and an attractive blonde are with Laura and Steele, as are two security guards. "And now, ladies and gentlemen," the man says, "my fabulous stones of "Royal Lavulite"." The crowd oohs and aahs over the six blue stones as they lay in a small steel box.

Laura gazes at them. "I'd forgotten how beautiful they were," she tells Steele.

He's frowning slightly. "I hadn't," he tells her.

A reporter asks the blonde, "Miss Custer, is Constellation Insurance satisfied with Mr. Steele's security arrangements for the gems?"

Clarissa Custer answers with a smile. "If we weren't, would we be insuring them to the tune of three point six million dollars?"

Steele takes the box, posing for a photo, then takes one of the stones out and views it through a jeweler's loupe. "Like pieces of the sky," he pronounces. Returning the stone to the case, he closes it, then watches at Clarissa places a seal on the latch. Laura hands him the case, and he places it inside, into the cutout for the box.

He closes the case with a smile as their host tells the reporters, "That's it. Thank you all so much for coming here to Santa Barbara. Hope to see you this evening at my "El Diego Hotel" in Los Angeles, where the stones will go on permanent display." He looks at Steele. "You take good care of them, now."

Clarissa asks, "Mr. Steele, how are you going to transport the stones to L.A.?"

Laura jumps in with the answer. "Mr. Steele has the situation well in hand. To confuse any would be thieves, we've made reservations on every plane, train, bus and boat leaving this town in the next three hours."

Mr. Holmes, their host, nods. "Well, good luck, Mr. Steele. Miss Holt."

Steele is at the Rabbit when Laura joins him. "So. How ARE we getting back to L.A.?" she asks. "Airplane?"

He indicates the Rabbit. "Why fly when you can drive? It's so much closer to the ground."

She's incredulous. "Drive? All the way there? THAT'S your clever plan? To be sitting ducks on the open road for a hundred miles?"

He puts the briefcase into the car. "You coming?" he asks, getting in as well.

Laura sighs, still uncertain, but goes around to climb in on the passenger side.

On the highway, Laura has fallen asleep, facing Steele, her head near the case. She wakes suddenly. "Guess I must have dozed off," she apologizes, sitting up and stretching.

"It's becoming a habit." He sniffs. "Is that a new perfume?" he asks.

Laura laughs. "I thought it was you." She sniffs as well, near the case. "It's on this. It's- kind of nice. Sort of - musky." Glancing at the mirror, she notices something. "Those cars been behind us all this time?"

He glances as well. "Not to worry," he assures her, then floors the pedal, shooting the little car forward- until he turns off into a construction area that takes them up to the top of a hill, where road machinery is sitting idle. It looks like the beginnings of an overpass. Steele parks the Rabbit on the edge, with a good view of the road below- and the route they took up there.

Laura gets out of the car, as does Steele. "Nice move," she comments.

Steele lifts a picnic basket from the back seat. "Lunch, Miss Holt?"

"Indeed, Mr. Steele. I'm famished."

He sets the basket on the hood of the car, opening it. "The simple plans are always the best. If anyone follows us up here, we'll know it's a tail. In which case, I've come fully prepared," he tells her, showing her the agency gun tucked into his waistband as he opens a bottle of wine. "And if someone's waiting up ahead for us, knowing that we're driving the Rabbit, then he's got a long wait. Because, after lunch, we're going to swap cars at the car rental agency over there. Of course, I've taken the liberty of reserving an unassuming domestic sedan in the name of, uh, Benjamin Pearson." Laura smiles as he hands her a glass. "Viola. Chin Chin," he toasts. She lifts her glass.

"Splendid vintage," she agrees, her eye caught by a car slowing on the road, possibly heading toward their vantage point. "Looks like we may have company," she warns. They both move away from the Rabbit to get a better look at the green car. Their attention is caught by the sound of heavy machinery, and they look around to see a bulldozer heading toward the Rabbit. Steele jumps toward the car, trying to get the briefcase, but he realizes he can't, and the bulldozer's first hit on the car sends him rolling off, down the hill. Laura follows him, dragging them both aside as the Rabbit flips down the hillside to land upside down, scattering items all over the place.

As soon as she can, Laura grabs Steele's right arm, pulling it over her shoulder. "Come on. Lean on me," she tells him, taking him closer to the car, then leaving him to sit down on the ground as a helicopter rises from behind another hill. Laura gets onto her hands and knees, searching the wreckage of her car. "The briefcase isn't HERE!" she tells him. "It must have been thrown from the car!"

Steele sits, in pain, fretting as she begins searching the area. "Well, it wasn't out of our sight long enough for someone to be waiting here to run away with it. Besides, we would have seen him!" he insists.

She finds it. "Right as usual, Mr. Steele!" she declares, taking it to him.

"Wonderful. Wonderful," he says, nervous. "What's the combination?" he asks, drawing a blank.

"I don't know."

"Ah," he says, recalling it and opening the latches. "Come on, come on, that's it." The box is there, and as he starts to open the case further, Laura slaps her hand on the case.

"Ah-," she warns.

"Just to be sure," he tells her, taking the steel box out and inspecting it. "Sealed. Tight." He puts it back as Laura glances at the car.

She finds a narrow black box with a small antenna on it. Ripping it from the car's under carriage, she tells Steele, "This is how they knew where we were. A homing device." She gazes at the car and at Steele. "I not sure which of you is in worse shape."

"I am," he declares. "Because I don't understand why anyone would go to all the trouble to ambush us and then NOT take the jewels."

"They obviously goofed. They didn't mean to knock the Rabbit down the hill here."

Remington gets to his feet, finding a sandwich from their lunch. He takes a bite. "Let's be on our way before they decide to come back, eh?"

Laura grabs an umbrella from the car and hands it to him. "This might come in handy," she says.

Steele nods, taking another bite of the sandwich. "I don't know about you, but violence and destruction gives me a hunger."

Laura and Steele arrive at Holmes' hotel, Steele carrying the briefcase, and limping, using the umbrella as a cane. Evidently they're late, and the reporters greet them, as do a worried Holmes and Clarissa, who has another man with her as well as they wait on the edge of a lagoon with swans in it.

"Nice of you to show up, Steele," Holmes says snidely.

Clarissa notices Steele's injured forehead and limp. "Are you two all right?" she asks.

"Flat tire on highway five," Laura explains. "Rolled right into a ditch," she tells them as Steele opens the case.

"Just the same, we have a delivery to make, eh, Mr. Holmes?"

"Would you give the stones to Mr. Doke?" Clarissa asks, indicating the other man. "He's Constellation's jewel appraiser. He'll authenticate the Royal Lavulite. Just a formality, you understand."

A smiling Steele hands the box to Doke. "I believe you'll find everything in order," he says, smiling at the reporters.

Doke takes it, examines it. "Seal- intact," he declares, cutting it off. "Miss Custer, if you please?" Clarissa unlocks the padlock. He opens the box. "Thank you. There we are." He picks up the six stones and begins to examine them using his loupe. He smiles nervously at Steele. "Yes. Good work, Mr. Steele."

Steele is still posing for the cameras. "Thank you so much. Thank you."

"Some of the best fakes I've ever seen," Doke says. "But now, where are the real stones?" Steele doesn't understand what's being intimated at first. But Laura's eyes widen. "Mr. Steele," Doke says again, "may I have the real stones? Your joke's gone far enough."

The words finally sink in. "What are you talking about? Those ARE the real stones. I checked them myself."

"I've been in this business for forty years, Mr. Steele," Doke insists. "I certainly know the difference between Royal Lavulite and pieces of colored glass."

Holmes is furious. "What are you trying to pull here, Steele?"

"What are YOU trying to pull, Doke?" Steele demands to know. "Those are the real stones. I'll stake my reputation on it!"

"They're garbage and you're a crook," Doke says in a deadpan voice.

The crowd gasps as Steele grabs for the gems. "Let me see those," he says. Doke closes his hand, trying to keep the gems from Steele. They scuffle, and the gems are tossed into the lagoon behind them.

"What's going on here, Steele?" Holmes demands.

Laura dives into the lagoon, Doke climbs into the water as well, and both begin diving, trying to retrieve the gems.

"He's lying, Laura," Steele insists.

Clarissa frowns. "Well, there's one sure way to get to the bottom of this."

Steele glances at her, worried.

Later that night, the lagoon is being drained, and Clarissa is with Laura, who's now covered with a blanket, and Steele. "I'm sorry," she tells them. "I'm beginning to feel responsible for all this."

"How's that?" Steele questions.

"For hiring you. I really thought it would a piece of cake. Good fee, good PR for your agency. Well, let's just hope there's been a terrible mistake . . ."

"No mistake," Remington declares. "Doke is doing this intentionally."

"But why?" Clarissa wonders. "What would he hope to gain? Archie's been with the company for forty years. He's as loyal as the day is long, and he's a recognized expert in gemology."

"So is Mr. Steele," Laura points out.

"I know, but- isn't there any way the stones could have been switched while you were in transit? Weren't they EVER out of your sight?"

"Never," Laura and Steele both respond.

"Those ARE the real stones," Steele tells her. "I promise you that."

A searcher comes out of the lagoon and gives something to Doke, who's been waiting at the edge. "Miss Custer," he calls.

Clarissa, Laura, and Steele join him. "Would you like to examine them again?" she asks Doke.

"No need," he says.

Steele grabs his loupe. "May I?" he asks. Clarissa hands the stones to Steele, who examines them. "Well, Mr. Doke, it's about time we proved you for the charlatan you are. As I said, Royal Lavulite, so blue, they're like- pieces- of-the- . . . " He pauses, swallowing heavily, looking sick.

"Well, Mr. Steele?" Clarissa asks.

He turns to Laura. "Laura, these are fakes," he tells her.

In a well-appointed back room of a casino, Steele, wearing a white dinner jacket, is holding the gems. A heavyset Frenchman says, "So, Remington, they are finally yours."

"And now they're yours, Jacques," he says, but he seems distant.

Jacques examines one of the stones. "Bien. The price- as we agreed?" Steele nods. "But tell me. All that time you were in America. I have never known you to take so long to achieve your objective."

Steele sighs. "There was a woman, Jacques. I was prepared to forget about the jewels if I could have had her instead. But a man can only wait so long . . ."

Jacques smiles. "Better the jewels," he says. "They are always there when you want them. The jewels, they will never break your heart."

Jacques puts the gems into a black bag and leaves him with a handshake. Later, Steele is in the casino, watching an attractive blonde woman deal chemin de fer. So intent is he on her he misses Laura entering the room. She takes a cigarette from her purse and comes to lean on his shoulder. "Light?" she asks him.

He looks at her, lighting the cigarette. She's not the Laura we know at all. She's wearing a red beret, LOTS of makeup, a tight striped sweater, black skirt slit to her hip, fishnet stocking and high heels- and rhinestones. "Long way from home, aren't you, Miss Bolt? Nora Bolt, isn't it?"

"I've searched the world for you, Mr. Steele," she tells him, running her hand over his chest. "Venice, Cairo, Mozambique. But I was always a step behind."

He seems unmoved by her appearance. "Some things never change, do they?" he asks, returning his attention to the blonde.

Laura breaks down, collapsing to grab his trouser leg, begging. "Please, Mr. Steele! Please! You're leaving forced me to re-evaluate my life!" she tells him sobbing. "I realized that perhaps I was ready to make emotional commitments after all!"

He looks down at her. "And how you?"

"Many times," she confesses, looking at him. "Three in the last hour, as a matter of fact. But YOU'RE the one I want- YOU'RE the one I need! Please take me back, Mr. Steele! Take me back!" She whimpers pathetically.

"There, there, Miss Bolt," he says, handing her his handkerchief, looking at the blonde again. "Your rhinestones are getting damp." She rises to her feet, as does the blonde. Steele puts his arm around the blonde.

Laura wipes her face. "Sorry, Mr. Steele. I don't know what came over me." She puts the handkerchief back in his pocket. "I realize now that I'm not worthy of a man like you." She gives him a kiss. "Please. Accept my apologies." He wipes his mouth with the handkerchief.

She starts past him, but he stops her. "For old times' sake, eh, Nora?" he says, placing a quarter into her hand. She smiles, glances at the blonde, and moves on.

Steele takes the blonde's arm and they move toward the door, but he pauses and glances back to find Laura laying across a table in the arms of a sailor, obviously enjoying herself. The blonde takes his arm and turns him toward the door with a smile as Laura and her "friend" knocks a bottle from the table. It crashes to the floor . . .

. . . As Remington hits several garbage cans as he drives the sedan down a residential street. His head is now bandaged, and he tries to regain his bearings.

"Are you all right?" Laura asks, concerned.

"Sorry, sorry," he mutters. "Daydreaming." He gives her a second look, recalling something from his dream.

"About Archie Doke?" she asks.

Steele looks at her again, then concentrates on the problem. "We know there was no time for the stones to be switched when we were ambushed," he recalls. "So, somehow, Doke did it right under our eyes."

"Then why the ambush?"

"Why not? If the ambush succeeds, he gets the stones there and then. If it fails it becomes a very clever slight of hand that makes us think we lost the stones there. Ah, but we're a step ahead of Mr. Doke."

"3906," Laura tells him, and he turns the car into a driveway.

She gets out of the car, waiting for Steele, who's a bit slower, thanks to his cane and limp.

They both knock, and when there's no answer, they enter the house. "Mr. Doke?" Laura calls. "Anybody home?" She starts looking around, as does Steele.

"I suppose it'd be too much to ask for him to have left the Lavulite lyin' around," Remington comments.

Laura finds a photograph on the mantle. "Look at this." It's of Doke and another man sitting beside a pool. "His son, do you think? Same features."

Steele hands it back to her. "Yes. What say we just wait for him to come home, and then- wring a confession out of him?" Laura smiles as she puts the picture back.

They go into the bath, both sniffing. "Do you smell what I smell?" He asks her.

"The odor that was coming from the briefcase." She opens the medicine cabinet and locates the bottle with the strange cologne. Opening it, she winces. "Ugh! No WAY this is a commercial cologne!" She smells it again.

"Smells like insect repellent."

"We'll have it analyzed," she decides, but before she can get the lid back on it and into her purse, Steele moves, knocking her hand, causing her to spill some of it on him. He frowns at her, as she looks apologetic.

"Nice catch," she comments.

"Easy for you to say."

She puts the cap on the bottle and stuffs it into her purse. "In spite of the way you smell, at least you can have the satisfaction of knowing that you were right: our bookworm Mr. Doke is definitely involved in the disappearance of the jewels."

She heads back toward the living room. "Laura, I repeat, I still think our best move is to wait until he gets home and then wring a confession out of him."

Laura opens another door, and freezes. Steele looks inside to see Archie, dead on the floor, a bottle of pills on the floor beside him. "Somebody may have already done the wringing for us."

Laura lets Clarissa into Steele's apartment. "Clarissa. Come on in." Clarissa looks uncertain.

"Thank you. I'm glad I caught you. Your Miss Krebs said I might find you here."

"I'm glad you came by," Laura begins. "As a matter of fact-," she's saying as Steele comes from the bedroom, zipping his pants.

"Ah, Miss Custer."

"Oh. Sorry," Clarissa says, embarrassed. "I hope I'm not intruding on anything."

"Merely freshening up after a run in with a bottle of toilet water." He puts on his belt. "Actually, we were just on our way to see you. Why don't you sit down?"

Clarissa sits, tells them, "I wanted to be face to face with you-to tell you that, umm, the agency is going to hold up your fee while they investigate the loss of the jewels," she finishes quickly. "And I am truly sorry." Steele and Laura look at each other. "What did you want to see me about?"

"Well, we're convinced that Archie Doke is behind the jewels' disappearance," Laura tells her.

Clarissa looks upset. "Oh, you haven't heard. The paramedics received a phone call, an anonymous phone call, a few hours ago. And they found Archie dead of a heart attack, with an empty bottle of nitroglycerin pills in his hand. And no sign of the jewels." Steele looks uncomfortable now.

"Tell us about Archie," Laura asks. "Did he have friends? Family?"

"Well, his family WERE his friends. His wife, Evvie, died about eight months ago. They were married for forty years. And then there's a son-Todd. A marine biologist. He works at the Hayden Institute."

"Is there anything on the street about the stones being moved?" Steele asks her.

"Not so far. We've contacted all the fences that deal in that kind of merchandise."

"We'll recover the jewels, Clarissa," Laura promises. "I promise you."

"Well you'd better find the jewels AND the thief, Laura, or they're going to say that you stole them and then chickened out and decided to give them back."

Laura and Steele go to the Hayden Institute. There, among the many fish tanks and buildings, a man is feeding something in a tank. "Help you?" he asks.

"We're looking for Todd Doke," Laura tells him."

"You may have just missed him," the man says as Steele looks into the tank. "I saw him about an hour ago. He was packing up to take a leave of absence. His father just passed away. Todd's taking the ashes back home to Rhode Island. He expecting you?"

Steele answers as he looks at the sea snakes in the tank. "I'm sure it must have slipped his mind."

"Yeah. Poor guy. He was so devoted to his dad. His lab's in there-," he says, pointing toward a building. "He may still be in."

Steele glances at the tank again. "Attractive creatures," he comments. "Reminds me of a woman I used to know in Nice." Laura glances at him, curious. "Of course, she was blonde."

The man closes the metal grate on the top of the tank. "Well, I don't know about your woman in Nice, but- one bite from these guys, and you'd be dead before you can say 'Ouch!'." The tag on the tank read: SEA SNAKES Hydrophis Cyanocinctus and Enhydrina Schistosa.

As he moves off, Laura asks Steele, "A blonde in Nice?"

"Yes. World class player of chemin de fer."

"And yet you prefer to remain here?" she asks as they near the building he pointed out.

"Well, like the man says, it's a question of bark versus bite."

"Lest you be fooled, Mr. Steele, I have been known to nip."

He pulls on the door. "One can only hope, Miss Holt." The door is locked, so Laura keeps watch while he picks the lock. While she's keeping watch, she sees a helicopter.

"Well, well, well." He joins her. "Why don't you check out that whirlybird while I see what's in there."

Steele nods. "Won't be a moment," he promises, hobbling off.

Laura goes down into the building, entering Todd's office. She finds something in a wastebasket, recognizes the scent, and takes out her bottle of "cologne" to compare them. There's a name on the vial from the trash, and after looking at it, she returns it to the trashcan. She puts the bottle back into her purse, then leaves it on the desk as she goes to the aquarium window that looks out into the sea snakes lair. "Ever play chemin de fer?" she asks them. Looking closer, she spies a locked box on the bottom of the tank. The fish occasionally strike at it. Laura smiles, and takes off, leaving her purse on the desk.

Steele checks out the helicopter, finding it equipped for a search mission, as Laura goes to the tank. Lifting the grate, she bends over the tank, taking a net and trying to scoop up the box.

She doesn't see Todd Doke come from another building and push her into the tank, closing the grate and latching it before taking off. Laura can't get out of the tank, and starts calling for help.

Steele enters the lab, looking around. "Laura?" he calls. He glances at the aquarium, turns his back on it to look around the room, missing Laura as she grabs the box. She reappears, but he's looking into the trashcan. When he does glance back at the window, she's gone again, probably getting air. She bangs on the glass, but it's too thick to make noise. Steele returns the vial to the trash, and sits down at the desk to wait for her to return, putting his injured leg up on the desk, making himself comfortable. Steele looks at a book, then notices Laura's purse on the desk. He picks it up, then turns and glances at the window. Seeing Laura, he jumps up and grabs an axe that is on the wall, smashing the glass with it.

The room is flooded with water, sea snakes, and Laura, who is shrieking. Steele rushes to her, leading her out of the room. In the hall, he says, "Calm down! Are you all right?"

"Oh," she shrieks. "It wasn't a fair fight! They have more TEETH than I do!"

He takes out his handkerchief, trying to dab her dry. "Well, I'd say you- you more than held your own, Miss Holt!"

"Better than your blonde in Nice?" she asks.

"What? Oh, this isn't a competition, Laura."

She shoves the box into his hands. "Just open this!"

"Okay," he says, using the end of his cane to break the latch. Inside, they find a fish head, but no gems.

"I had this great idea that the Royal Lavulite was hidden in there."

"Perhaps it was," he suggests. "In the meantime, that chopper up there has a tracking device that could have been used to home in on the Rabbit." He drops the box and they leave.

At the office, Mildred is manning the phones as a deliveryman waits for her signature. "No problem. I'm sure they'll understand," she says into the phone. "Goodbye. Hold please." Steele and Laura come in, both dripping wet. "Oh, Miss Holt. Miss Steele. Any luck?" she asks, following them into the office.

"Indeed, Mildred. All of it bad."

"Well, Mr. Apted called and said he'd decided not to hire private detectives after all, and Mr. Nestor called and said that maybe it would better for him to hire private detectives who were less newsworthy. And all the calls holding out there are pretty much the same. What do I tell them?"

Steele holds up a glass. "Drink, Mildred?"

"Oh, give me a snort of whatever you got. Oh, and this telegram just came," she starts, holding it toward Steele, but Laura grabs it out of her hand, so Steele puts a drink into that hand. "Thank you."

Laura opens the telegram. "Well, I didn't think it was possible for things to get any worse, but- this is from the State Bureau of Investigative Service. They've suspended our license pending an inquiry into the loss of the Royal Lavulite." Steele takes the telegram as Laura opens her purse, pouring water out of it as she removes the bottle. "Mildred, do me a favor and run this over the lab, will you? Tell them it's a rush."

Mildred takes the bottle. "You got it," she says, then leaves.

Laura uses a wet handkerchief to wipe her wet hair, sighing heavily. "Laura?" Steele asks. "You all right?"

"I think it's time for showers and a change of clothes. We have an image to uphold." He nods, finishes his drink and they leave.

Steele in the shower at his apartment, relaxing under the hot spray, when another dream begins. The doorbell rings, and he throws on a plaid robe and puts a towel over his head, making his way to the front door, kicking things out of his way. He opens the door, saying "Yes?", and revealing the white boxers with hearts on them beneath the robe. A VERY pregnant Laura is there, her hair in curlers, a Fedora atop them, carrying two bags of groceries as she rings the doorbell with her toe.

"Hi," she tells him. "Forgot my key." He takes the bags from her.

"Pretzels?" he asks, looking through the bags. "Did you get pretzels?"

Laura comes up to him, running her hands over him. "I interrupt your shower?"

"Hmm?" he asks, not paying attention. "Oh, no problem." He finds a bag of pretzels.

"Wanna take up where you left off? Only with some company?" she asks, kissing his neck as he moves away toward a lounge chair, glancing at his watch. ""I can't Nora. The ball game's starting. Excuse me." He breaks away and sits down before the big screen TV. He sits on a child's squeeze toy as we see the playpen and baby bed in the cluttered room. "Wanna get me a beer, Nora?"

"Sure, Hon," she says, digging in a sack.

"All right, Deacon! Way to hit!" Steele says to the TV. "That's my boy!" Laura brings the beer over, rubbing his hair. "Sack him! Sack him! Rubbish! That's terrible!"

"Who's playing?" Laura asks, handing him the beer.

"Thank you," he says. "Move out! Move-" Laura drops into his lap, and he cries out in pain. "Oh, Nora! Nora, you're sittin' on my-," he says, reaching beneath her to get the remote.

She nuzzles his neck. "Whaddaya say, lover? When it comes to ball games, you wanna be an observer or a participant?" she asks, showering him with kisses.

Steele is frustrated. "Don't' you ever get enough?" he asks.

Laura takes the remote and turns the TV off. "I'll heat up the jar of "emotion potion". Whaddaya say?"

"I say heat me up a twenty year old blonde and we may have a deal."

"OOH! You're so MEAN to me!"

He turns the TV back on. "Dammit, Nora, you made me miss the touchdown!" He puts the remote on her stomach. "You know," he says, putting his arms around her, pulling her close, "This game reminds me of the time that I was pretending to be a Mercenary in Malaysia so that I could smuggle out the Imperial art treasures."

Laura yawns. "Please. I've heard that story a thousand times. Your past was so much more exciting when I didn't know what is was and I could imagine all sorts of kinky things," she tells him, kissing him before getting up.

"Yes," Steele says, slapping her bottom, "But what about the time I crept into the Palace at Versailles and replaced all the mirrors with one-way glass so that I could-" Laura is picking up toys.

"Bor-ring!" she proclaims, going toward the bedroom as he belches.

The doorbell rings, and Laura reappears, this time carrying two babies, one in each arm. "Just a minute! Coming!" She opens the door, and Mildred is there, her arms filled with presents and wearing an expensive gown.

"I'll just be a minute, Count," she tells someone out of sight, then smiles at Laura. "Laura, Darling!" she says, giving Laura a kiss on the cheek, then turns to the babies. "Oh, and Little Laura, and Little Remington!"

"Honey," Laura says, "Auntie Mildred's here." Mildred comes inside, goes over to Steele.

"Ah, Auntie Mildred. Good to see you again, Angel." They kiss. "How's everything at the Agency, going, eh?"

"Oh, it is just great," Mildred declares as Laura puts the babies into Steele's lap. "It's a big year, my darling! It seems that everyone has a reason for hiring a private detective!"

"Ah, really?" Steele asks.

"How's work at the auto plant?" Mildred asks him.

"Best thing that ever happened to us, Mildred, losing our PI license, wouldn't you say, Nora?"

"Oh, yes," she agrees.

"No more late night stake outs, no more dodging bullets at ever turn. Now, once that whistle blows at five,-" he whistles, looks at the babies. "Sorry, kids. It's straight home to Nora and the kiddies!"

"How quaint," Mildred says.

"And how about you, Mildred?" Laura asks. "When are you and the Count going to settle down and start a family?"

"Oh, darling. Me? A housewife?" Mildred admonishes. "Over my dead body . . .body . . .body."

In the shower, Steele's dream ends abruptly. "Dead body. That's it! I know where the jewels are hidden!" He turns off the shower.

At night, we see Laura and Steele peering over a hedge at a funeral home. Both are wearing dark outfits, Steele is still carrying his cane. "Eee-yo eleven," Steele sings. When Laura looks at him, he explains. "Ocean's Eleven. Frank Sinatra, Richard Conte, and the rat pack. Warner Brothers, umm-1960. Sinatra plays a former army man who recruits his old platoon to rob some Las Vegas casinos on New Years' Eve. But after they rob the casinos, Richard Conte dies of a heart attack, and his buddies decide to hide the money in his coffin so they can get it out of town without the police finding it."

"Clever," Laura says.

Steele nods. "Until Richard Conte's wife has him cremated."

Laura smiles. "But cremation wouldn't hurt Royal Lavulite."

"Uh-uh," Steele agrees, and they both duck as the mortuary door opens and Todd Doke comes out, shaking hands with the mortician before leaving. Steele and Laura go over the wall, and Steele picks the lock on the door, and they go inside. Laura's uncomfortable with the set up as they pass through a corridor and room filled with coffins.

They find a room containing boxes of ashes, and Steele looks at the names. "Smyth, Tim. Simpson, Sam. Myers, Don. Doke, Archibald." He takes the box.

"We're going to go hell for this, I'm sure of it."

"Ah, no, no, no, no," he assures her, opening the box and going through the ashes. "No jewels," he tells her, coughing as he puts the box back. They hear the doors opening, and take off to find a hiding place. Laura leads him to an oversize coffin, getting in, and pulling him in after her. Unseen by Laura or Steele, someone approaches the coffin they're in, closes the hasp and places a pin in it to seal it closed, then takes the name plate off of another coffin that's waiting for cremation and puts it on that coffin before leaving.

Laura tells Steele, "This is just GREAT. Four years of college, two years of apprenticeship, three years of building up the agency, and poof, my license is suspended, and I'm stuck in a coffin with YOU."

"So now we're down to it, eh?"

"You're DAMN right, we're down to it. I should never have put you in charge of protecting those jewels."

"And what would YOU have done differently, Detective Holt?"

"The problem is not YOUR competence. The problem is that I stupidly went ahead and did what I'd sworn I'd never do: put my fate in someone else's hands."

"Maybe its about time you realized we're none of us ever in complete control of our fates."

"Then why do I feel embarrassed? Why do I feel guilty? I didn't steal the damn jewels."

"Do you ever have dreams, Laura? About us? About our lives?"

She looks at him. "I suppose. Sometimes."

"I have had some dreams recently . . . troubling at first, but now I realize they've helped put some things in perspective."


"And, I finally understand that I've stayed around not for the promise of what our relationship MIGHT be- but for the reality of what it is." She looks at him, and they are about to kiss- when something shakes the coffin, and they realize it's being moved.

The attendants take it to the burner, and put it inside, they turn up the flames.

"HELP!" Laura yells. "HELP! We're alive in here!" The attendants go across the room and get some coffee.

Steele turns to Laura. "Laura, hold me tight."

She glares at him, terrified. "This is hardly the time-!"

"And start rocking!" She finally understands, and they start rocking the coffin, sending it closer and closer to the gate on the burner. As the amazed attendants watch, the coffin flies out of the burner and onto the ground, where it bursts open to free Laura and Steele. They stand up, coughing. Steele looks at them. "You know, you ought to think about using microwaves. Far more fuel efficient," he says, then takes Laura's arm and leads her out.

Steele and Laura come out of the office elevator as Steele says, "Someone's tried to kill us twice in the same day. We must be on the right track."

"Try this," Laura suggests. "Todd and his father steal the jewels, and Todd plans on hiding them in the fish tank. Then, his father dies, and Todd decides to secrete the jewels in his ashes."

"Yes," Steele agrees as they enter the office, "But, if he's got the jewels, and we keep spoiling his hiding places, why doesn't he just run?"

"Perhaps he doesn't have the jewels yet."

"Oh," he says, following Laura into his office, where they find Mildred, sitting at his desk, her legs up, reading. "Ah, Mildred!" The cologne bottle is on the desk. "Sit down," he tells her, taking one of the other chairs. "The way things are going, that chair could be yours sooner than you think."

She stands anyway. "Well, I just thought with the both of you in so much trouble, the least I could do is burn a little midnight oil."

"How's it burning?" Laura asks.

"Lotta smoke," Mildred says, sliding a file folder across. "This lab report came in, and I can't make any sense of it.

Laura reads. "Spartina essence and methyltricholocyline."

Steele takes the paper. "The scent of an underwater plant, mixed with a chemical binder," he says in plain English.

"So that the scent would stick to solid objects," Laura realizes. "Like Royal Lavulite." She's beginning to smile.

"Why would anyone want the jewels to smell like underwater grass?" Mildred wonders. But Steele and Laura have figured out that answer to that question.

At the lagoon, they sneak around. "This must be where the swans were penned while the lagoon was being drained."

"Right you are, Miss Holt," Steele agrees.

"Over there a bit," she says. "Right there!" he takes a tissue and picks out a gemstone. "There's another one," she tells him.

He winces. "Ah, these swans must have a wonderful digestive system."

"Although they probably wondered what hit them when they smelled their favorite underwater flora but tasted Royal Lavulite instead." She pulls a business card from her pocket.

"What's that for? What're you doing?"

"When Todd Doke finds his jewels missing, we'll want him to know where to find them."

Back at Steele's apartment, Steele finishes cleaning the last of the gems with alcohol, dropping it into a glass with the others. Laura glances at her watch. "I wish he'd get here already. I'm tired."

"If he doesn't show up, and we can't return the jewels without being accused of having stolen them in the first place,- well, I'd love to teach you chemin de fer, eh?" he offers, sitting back

The doorbell rings. "Saved by the bell," Laura sighs. "It's open!" she calls.

Steele stands up slowly as he enters, gun in hand. "The gems, please."

"Oh, what's your rush, mate?" Steele questions. "The funeral home won't open for a few hours yet. You WERE planning to hide the stones in your father's ashes, weren't you?"

"That's the irony of it," Todd says sadly. "I got involved with this as a favor to my father. He wanted to lead the high life before his heart gave out on him. But- you know what they say about the best laid plans."

"And it was a brilliant plan he had. Putting the fake stones in the lagoon long before we ever got there, then making us that that the real ones were fake ones, angering Mr. Steele so that he'd grab for the stones and they could fall into the lagoon."

"Where the swans would gobble them up," Steele finished.

Todd edges over to the table, taking the glass with the stones and getting them into his hand. "My father's legacy. Thank you very much," he says, "I'll show myself out."

Mildred rushes from the kitchen, a gun in one hand and a tape recorder in the other. "Drop it! Buster!" Todd drops the gun. "I got it all, Chief!" Mildred tells Steele.

"Not quite all," Clarissa says. They turn to find her, dressed in black, holding a gun on them.

"It had to be you, eh, Clarissa?" Steele says. "Who else could convince a boring old bookworm like Archie Doke that he was missing out on the finer things in life, eh?"

She smiles. "He was a nice little man, but so short sighted. So lost when his wife died. He came to treasure our friendship. Todd, bring me the jewels."

"Mildred, if he moves, shoot him," Steele orders.

"Don't kid a kidder, Mr. Steele," Clarissa says. "Miss Krebs wouldn't harm a fly."

Todd moves toward Clarissa, and Mildred finally lowers the gun, near to tears. "I'm sorry. I can't."

"It's all right, Mildred," he assures her quietly. "Don't worry about it."

Clarissa takes the gems from Todd. "If it's any consolation, Laura, you and Mr. Steele did a bang up job. Unfortunately, so good that I'm going to have to kill you. I can't afford any loose ends."

"It was Todd at the tank," Laura realizes. "But it was YOU who locked us in that coffin, wasn't it?"

"It was getting risky, following you around, and then I had the thought that if you were missing and the jewels were missing, it would be case closed. But now, I'm just going to have to be a little messier . . ." She points the gun at Mildred.

Steele sees his chance and grabs the edge of the rug that Clarissa's on and pulls, pulling her and Todd's feet out from under them. Steele tackles Todd, Laura goes after Clarissa. Laura and Clarissa get onto the balcony first, and Laura pulls Clarissa back from the rope she used to climb up as Todd rushes toward it. Steele stops him, but he's so concerned with his own battle that, except for the one time he and Laura bump into each other, he doesn't think about her.

Until he hears both women scream as they fall over the edge of the balcony. Steele runs to the ledge. "Laura!!!" he cries out.

At a cemetery, Steele and Mildred at standing beside a coffin covered with flowers as a minister says, "Although I never knew- Nora Bolt, I'm told she was a kindly soul, who was concerned only for her friends and family-." Steele is wearing his sunglasses, holding flowers. Mildred is in tears, carrying a wreath. The minister picks up a handful of dirt. "Nora, we bid you- goodbye." The minister pulls off his collar, and leaves.

Steele places the flowers on the coffin, Mildred lays the wreath down. "If only her mother could have been here," she sighs.

"It was her bridge day," Steele comments, taking her arm and leading her away.

"Or her sister Frances."

"Right in the middle of redoing her den. Death can be so inconvenient at time. But I'm sure Laura would understand." Mildred sobs. Steele hands her his handkerchief. She blows her nose and hands it back.

"Life is so unfair! Clarissa survives the fall from your balcony, and now she and that Todd will be out of jail in just a few years, ready to renew their lives, but- our poor Miss Holt . . . "

He gives her a comforting hug. "Oh, there, there, Mildred. There, there."

"Oh, Mr. Steele. You're the one who must be devastated. How ever will you get along without her?"

"I'll get by," he tells her, giving her a kiss on the cheek. He turns, seemingly upset, and pulls down his sunglasses to look at the blonde from Nice, who's sitting in the limo, glass of champagne in hand. He opens the door, taking the glass, only to freeze as Laura's scream rends the air.

"HEY!" He turns to see Laura, looking very much alive and unhurt, standing in her coffin, pointing at him. "Don't think you can get rid of me that easily, Mr. Steele!"

Steele smiles. "Dinner and a movie, Miss Holt?"

She joins him as the blonde gets out of the limo and takes off angrily. "Why not?" she asks. He hands her the glass of champagne. "Chin chin," she says.

He nods. "Bottoms up."

In the hospital, Laura is lying in bed, her head bandaged, a smile on her face. "Lucky girl," the doctor is telling Steele and Mildred. "That hedge breaking her fall. She'll be fine. But we should let her get some sleep." He turns toward the door, and Mildred follows.

Steele lingers for a moment. "Sweet dreams, Miss Holt," he wishes.

"You too, Mr. Steele," she replies, one eye opened, then closed as she continues to smile.

The End