- Love Among
- Transcribed by: SteeleChic
- From the episode written
- Lee Zlotoff
The scene opens at McCullum Estate in
1936. A garden party is in progress. At the top of the stairs,
middle aged John McCullum presents his young wife with a stunningly
expensive necklace, placing it around her neck while his guests
look on and applaud. Uncomfortable, she accepts it but while
her husband is socializing she is handed a note.
McCullum is the only one to see her slip away from the party
and she runs towards an open courtyard where a man waits in his
Auburn. She greets him enthusiastically with hugs and kisses
but she pulls away and they argue before she leaves him again..
She returns to the party but the necklace is gone from around
her throat, her husband notices its absence immediately.
Elsewhere on the grounds the man from the Auburn stands by a
tree examining the necklace while McCullum calls for security.
The man takes the necklace and buries it under some dirt, pushing
a big rock over the top.
McCullum and his wife arrive to find police arresting the man
from the Auburn. Despite longing looks the man says nothing,
McCullum and his wife argue and struggle but she breaks away
and runs through the trees and across the expansive garden.
The scene dissolves into Laura running across the very same grounds,
stopping briefly to lean against a tree and glance back over
her shoulder, she laughs and takes off again. Looking behind
her she squeals as Steele's arms close around her and her lifts
her to stand against a tree, his arms braced either side of her.
"Splendor In The Grass, Warren Beatty, Natalie Wood,
Warner Brothers, 1961," he tells her.
"I saw this afternoon more like Tom Jones,"
"Tom Jones?:" He shakes his head. "Albert
Finney never had to work this hard," he disagrees.
"Albert Finney never had to play the part with me,"
"Tom Jones, eh?" Steele wonders aloud.
"Rustic setting," Laura explains, "Not a single
word about work, the food, the wine," her hands move to
the front of his shirt as she leans closer, "Tons of fresh
air." They kiss slowly. "And lots and lots of running."
Ducking under his arm she's off again, leaving a bewildered Steele
looking after her.
"A film driven with passion and all she remembers is the
running," he mutters before heading after her.
Tearing through the park and across a road she is mindless of
the car headed towards her until she hears his frantic call,
"Laura look out!" She runs back up the embankment to
where he is standing.
"Are you all right?" he asks.
"I'm fine, where did that come from?" she replies.
"I don't know," Steele answers a little puffed, "Let's
take a breather shall we?" Taking her arm they begin to
walk along the road. Appearing behind them, the car, the Auburn,
guns its engine and heads towards them.
"Let's go, come on!" Laura cries as they start to run.
They cut through the bushes but the car is relentless, "Jump,"
Steele urges, drawing her with him as they leap into the greenery
and roll to the ground.
"This way," Laura suggests as they jump up and continue
The Auburn is stationary in a clearing. Laura and Steele pick
up branches to use as weapons and approach with caution. Each
ripping open a door they come face to face with no-one but each
other and stand up in confusion.
Back in the office Mildred is avidly reading a computer print
out, "Oh my, ... oh!"
"Oh Mildred you're here already," Laura greets her,
"Anything yet on that serial number?"
"What serial number? Oh right, from yesterday, you called.
No license plate just the make of the car and a serial number
"Right," Laura confirms, "Well maybe that's the
information coming in now-," she heads for the printer but
Mildred stops her.
"Oh no, no. No that...that, I think, um, I think it came
"Mildred," Laura is losing patience, "If that
isn't the information you're practically sitting on, then what
"Oh, trust me Miss Holt, you don't really want to see this,"
Mildred tells her.
"Mildred!" Laura sighs, moving to get past her. As
Laura picks up a page, Mildred tries to explain.
"I can't stop him, I try to trace it back to the source
but he's using an encoded signal and I can't crack it."
Laura gives her a withering look before reading from the page,
"He longed to unveil the mystic secrets of her flesh,
to run his hands madly across the soft, tawny curves of her shimmering
form. Whoever is sending this has done the obscene phone
call one better." Laura finishes.
"Oh, well, his style gets a little steamy at times,"
Mildred tells her, "But I wouldn't call it obscene."
"How long have you been getting these transmissions from
the Dark Prince?" Laura asks.
Shrugging Mildred replies, "A day or two, maybe three, a
"A week!" Laura exclaims.
"Oh, please, Miss Holt, don't tell Mr Steele. I don't want
him to think that I'm using company equipment for my personal
stuff," Mildred begs, "Can I count on you for that?
Sort of gal to gal?"
Tearing off the pages with a smile, Laura replies, "You
can count on me Mildred, gal to gal." Mildred goes on reading.
Back outside, Steele runs a hand along the Auburn fondly.
"What are you doing?" Laura asks from behind him.
"Oh, merely stroking a lady into revealing her secrets,"
he tells her as he stands up, "She's in outstanding condition
for an Auburn, 1936 I'd say, supercharged speedster."
"You hoping the horn will start honking or the lights will
blink on and off in Morse code?" she asks sarcastically.
"Ah, you'd be surprised the things a car can tell you with
a little, ah, forbearance," Steele explains, "Take
the fender for instance. It's been replaced."
"How can you tell?" Laura queries.
"The paint. The color's off just a hair, it has a different
feel to it, also, have a look at this. It appears something nicked
the grill work out of shape. Whoever straightened it out was
none too handy about it either."
"Anything else?" Laura asks, a little in awe.
"Well the gages have taken some scratching and the upholstery's
seen its share of wear and tear. That's about all I could get
from a quick once over. Oh, did Mildred come up with the address
of the owner?" Steele says.
"Dr. Ellis Harvey of Bel Air," Laura tells him, removing
a piece of paper from her pocket and handing it to him, "But
he has yet to file a stolen car report."
Looking at the paper Steele reads aloud, "And so he took
her, as only a man can take a woman, who yearns, who begs to
Glancing sharply at the paper she snatches it away and flips
it over. "This is the address," she says, hiding her
"Yes, thank you," Steele says with a smile as Laura
climbs into the Auburn, unable to look at him.
They pull into a drive and get out, "Well, what do you think?"
Steele asks, "Shall we try the classic insurance agent ruse
or something more unconventional like door to door evangelists
on a holy mission?"
"He's the one who's missing the car that tried to kill us,
why don't we let him do the talking?" Laura suggests.
As they wait at the door a man is watching them from around the
side of the house.
"Nobody answers," Laura states.
"Perhaps I should slip around the back and - ah -"
"Break in?" Laura finishes archly.
"Laura why must you always assume that my intentions are
criminal? Don't answer that. You keep an eye out and don't worry,
I'll be very discreet."
As he heads around the back, a taxi pulls up and Laura hides
behind some shrubbery. The man that had been watching them uses
the diversion to climb into the Auburn.
Gaining entry, Steele trips the alarm and the man stealing the
car almost runs down Dr. Harvey.
"Look out!" Laura calls as the Auburn drives away.
"My luggage, my car, my house, what's happening?" DR
Harvey asks confused.
Laura takes a deep breath, "Hello," she fairly sings,
grabbing his hand, "I'm Laura Holt and you must be Dr. Harvey."
Harvey snatches his hand away waiting for her explanation.
Inside, Steele tries to shut off the alarm with no success, opening
the door to a surprised Laura and Dr. Harvey he announces, "Ahh,
we're in luck, no cause for alarm, I think we arrived just in
time to scare them off. From the looks of things nothing was
"But they took the car," Dr. Harvey says.
"They did?" Steele is surprised.
"I'm afraid so," Laura adds, with deeper meaning meant
only for Steele.
As Harvey shuts off the alarm. Behind him Laura looks questioningly
at Steele but he brushes her off. They follow Harvey through
the house to the sliding door Steele had used to get in.
"Looks as if they came in through there," Harvey observes.
"Good thing we happened to be walking by just now, eh?"
"You were walking? In Bel Air? isn't that illegal?"
Harvey asks incredulously.
"Perhaps we should report the car to the police," Laura
covers, trying to change the subject.
"No!" Harvey answers abruptly, "That is, I'd rather
not involve the authorities if at all possible. The fact is I
was planning to sell it as soon as I got back anyway."
"Oh, you've been away?" Steele queries.
"In Europe for three months. I needed some time with my
wife. Practicing psychiatry really can be murder on a marriage."
"If you don't file a police report you won't even be able
to collect the insurance," Laura tries to explain.
"It's not that I don't want to get it back somehow,"
Harvey tells them, "Ellis stop it! You're allowing a defense
mechanism to suppress the guilt at the expense of your true feelings."
He admonishes himself.
A puzzled Laura looks to Steele. "I had an affair in that
car," Harvey admits.
"Dr. Harvey, you don't have to say another word," Steele
"Oh but I do," Harvey insists, "Shame is a non-growth
emotion even with total strangers. I offered to drive a young
woman home from a party. I guess with the wine we'd had and the
rush that Auburn gives you tooling it up through the canyons,
our libidos got the best of us."
"But your wife found out?" Laura asks.
"I had to tell her. She didn't compensate for it at all
well! She took a hammer to one of the fenders! Cost me fortune
to get it replaced. So we decided to take some time together
to recommit. Naturally the car became a symbol of my transgression
so that's why I decided to come back early and get rid of it.
I'm afraid that if she has to go through weeks of calls to the
police and the insurance company it'll be worse than if it was
sitting out there in the garage," he pauses, "I don't
know what to do."
"Perhaps you should consider hiring a private detective,"
"It so happens we have some friends who are wonderful with
this kind of problem, isn't that right dear?" Laura says
looking at Steele.
"Oh the best," Steele confirms, "Very discreet."
Harvey gives a pained smile.
On the street, Steele and Laura are being watched by police as
she makes a call from a payphone.
"Yes, I've been holding," she is saying, "No,
I don't want to buy the car, I'm just trying to find out who
owned it before a Doctor Har-, yes, I know your DMV computer
is very busy now but - no, no, no, no, please don't hang up on
me again!" Hanging up the phone, Laura seethes, "There's
nothing nice about a bureaucracy. Maybe Mildred's had better
luck, she should be here soon."
"I hope so," Steele says, "I think our friend
the doctor might be right about the streets of Bel Air."
Glancing at the police car Laura is indignant, "This is
city property," she tells Steele as he pulls her by the
jacket and urges her to start walking, "They can't do
anything to us." They are being followed by the police car.
"If Mildred's not here in five minutes," Laura suggests,
taking Steele's arm, "Let's look for a bus stop and neck."
"Laura!" his head turns to look at her.
"Most people are hesitant to intrude on something like that,"
"I applaud your thinking but I don't quite understand why
we're checking out the car's previous owners," he tells
"I got the idea from you," she says.
"Oh, I see," he replies, then after a moment, "No,
"The fender," Laura elaborates, "You were right
about having it replaced. Whatever's going on must have something
to do with that car, maybe one of the past owners can give us
Aware that they are still being followed, Steele turns to face
Laura as the cop pulls up and gets out of the car. He links his
arms around her, "I'm afraid we might have to forego the
bus stop," he tells her, leaning in to kiss her. They are
interrupted by a car horn as Mildred pulls up beside them.
"I got here as soon as I could," she announces, noticing
her employers in each others arms, "But did I come at a
"Ah, yes and no," Steele answers as Laura releases
him and climbs into the Rabbit, waving cheekily at their pursuer
as they drive off.
As they drive along, Mildred is explaining, "I'm sorry I
didn't get any more on that car but when the DMV's computer came
through, our computer was kind of tied up."
"Dead end, huh?" Laura comments, "In that case
we might as well head right back for the office."
"What's this car look like?" Mildred asks.
"The Auburn?" Steele begins, "Well, I'd say it's
very stylish without being flashy, uh, daring yet understated,
actually it looks a lot like -."
"Like that!" Laura exclaims, pointing.
"Laura that's it! Mildred follow that car!" Steele
"You really mean that Mr Steele?" Mildred asks.
"Quick Mildred, we're gonna lose it!" Laura prompts.
"Oh, Lord, my first tail!" Cutting off another car
and jerking Steele and Laura about, Mildred gives chase.
"You don't have to run him down, Mildred," Steele cautions.
"Right!" she answers.
Nearly running up the back of the car in front, Steele and Laura
lurch forward, "Just see if you can keep a couple of car
lengths back Mildred," Laura suggests.
"Right!" Mildred acknowledges as they fly along, "Damn,
he made me!" Mildred cries in disappointment.
"Mildred, quickly, catch up to him," Laura urges.
"No holds barred?" Mildred asks.
"Go, woman, go!" Steele tells her.
"You got it!" she cries gleefully.
Crossing to the wrong side of the road, Steele and Laura moan,
"Steady," Steele cries.
Turning the corner with a screech they appear to have lost the
Auburn and slow to a stop. "Where are they?" Mildred
"There he goes!" Laura cries, turning just in time
to see the Auburn drive off from behind them.
"C'mon," Laura urges.
"Hit it Mildred! Don't panic, don't panic," Steele
Throwing the car in reverse they give chase again but stopping
at a stop sign they have lost it again.
"I blew it! My first chase and I blew it!" Mildred
cries in disappointment.
"Steady on, steady on," Steele comforts her, "That's
a supercharged speedster you were trying to catch, even the vest
of them may have lost her."
"Maybe not," Laura says pointing across the street
to a car yard, "Look at that!"
"A-ha!" Steele exclaims catching sight of the Auburn
in the yard.
They are being watched again as they pull up and walk into the
car yard. Standing outside the office, Steele waves for the attention
of a salesman who rushes out to meet them.
"Hi, Wesley Poon, Timeless Motors," he shakes first
Steele's hand then Laura's.
"How can we serve you today?" Wesley asks, "Are
we looking to take a step up in our driving image" Or perhaps
a gift more becoming to Mother's speed and vintage""
"And what vintage is that supposed to -." Mildred begins,
"Now, Mother," Steele interjects, "I'm sure Mr
" - Poon was just trying to be helpful and the fact is we've
really been after that very special Auburn." Steele finishes,
leading a puzzled Poon over to the car.
"You know I ... I did have this car but I thought I sold
it," Wesley says.
"Uh-huh," Steele answers.
"I know I sold this car. It was a little more than a year
ago, to some doctor in the area," Steele is pretending to
inspect the car as Wesley tries to explain, "Ah, Vanessa,
Vanessa be an angel and bring me the file on this Auburn!"
The man who stole the Auburn from Harvey's is watching from across
the street as Vanessa arrives with the file.
"Oh, this car," Vanessa gushes, "You remember
this car, don't you Wes?"
"Vanessa, I remember every car I sell," he tells her.
"No, Wes, this car," she insists, "Remember
the night you won the Million Dollar Sales Club thing, we celebrated
in this car, remember" I brought the champagne..."
"Ah, Vanessa, Vanessa, that'll be all. They don't need to
be bored by your company chit chat, ha, ha," Wesley jumps
in hastily, to the amusement of Laura and Mildred.
"Oh, say, are you here about the letter?" Vanessa asks
"Letter?" Laura asks, her interest piqued.
"What letter?" Wesley echoes.
"The letter, it arrived a couple of months ago," Vanessa
explains, "At first I thought it was some weird kind of
promotional gimmick but it had Auburn in it so I stuck it in
"May I?" Steele asks, taking it from her.
The letter is made up of words cut out and stuck onto a piece
of paper and Steele reads it aloud, "The key to something
of great value is hidden in your Auburn and you know what I mean...soon...Well
that certainly makes everything very clear."
"It does?" Wesley questions, puzzled.
"Oh, of course, thank you very much now Mr Poon and you
of course Vanessa, you've been more than helpful," Steele
effuses and gets into the car.
"If you'd just let Mother have a copy of that file we'll
take it from here, I'll see you soon Mother." Laura adds
with a falsely bright smile.
"Ah, excuse me, where are you taking the car?" Wesley
"Oh, don't worry," Mildred assures him as Laura hops
into the Auburn and Steele starts the motor, "Gaylord's
a very good driver."
Its night and the Auburn is parked up at a lookout. Moaning and
heavy breathing can be heard coming from the car. Steele and
Laura surface with various papers and bits and pieces.
"Any luck?" he asks her.
"Last Nov -" Steele takes papers from her mouth, "Last
November's issue or Psychology Today and a parking ticket, what
"Six parking stubs and an aspirin. Doesn't seem like the
sort of things the letter had in mind, does it?" he tells
The car that has been following them all day approaches behind
"You know we still don't know if this letter has anything
to do with the car coming after us," Laura reasons and starts
"What?" Steele asks her, not getting the joke.
"Nothing, I -" she laughs again, tossing her head back,
"I just can't help thinking of Dr. Harvey's libido getting
the better of him in here."
"Ah, or Vanessa welcoming Wesley Poon into the million dollar
club," Steele adds, causing Laura to laugh again, "Although
it does seem an awfully tight space to trip the light fantastic,
doesn't it?" he asks, shifting almost imperceptibly closer
"Well, where there's a will..." Laura trails off.
"There's a way?" Steele finishes as they gaze at each
other, "Laura this afternoon when you suggested we, um,
neck?" he begins, "Was that really to avoid the policeman?"
Taking a quick breath, Laura answers, "Yes," then turning
her face towards him with a smile, "And no."
"Yes and no," Steele echoes in a whisper leaning towards
her. Curving his arm around her shoulders and bringing the other
hand up to frame her face they kiss as Steele eases her back
onto the car seat. Still kissing they slide lower in the car,
their heads disappearing below the dash board.
The man who has been following them takes aim and a bullet shatters
the windshield, causing Steele and Laura to resurface and break
"I think someone's shooting at us!" Steele announces.
"Why?" Laura demands, fingering the bullet hole in
"Because we're kissing," Steele explains in exasperation,
"Someone always shoots at us when we're kissing!"
The next morning, back in the office, Laura muses over the letter,
"The key to something of great value," she reads.
"The love she had protected for so long and now could
not wait to have snatched..." Mildred reads from her
computer print out.
"...is hidden in your Auburn," Laura continues.
"...deep in a place so private she hardly knew it herself..."
Mildred goes on, involved in her story.
"...you know what I mean..." Laura mulls.
"...oh, he knew what she meant..." Mildred is
"...soon," Laura finishes.
"...any moment the wave would crest, crashing through
her in rippling undulations..." Mildred continues.
"Mildred, this doesn't make any sense," Laura decides.
"Who cares?" Mildred asks her, finally looking up from
her page, "It's still wonderful."
"I meant this," Laura says, rounding the desk to place
the letter in front of Mildred.
"Oh," Mildred replies taking the letter from Laura.
"According to Wesley's file, the car was bought by a Joseph
Berkholtzer and before that it was owned by a Clarissa McCullum
"McCullum like the park?" Mildred interrupts.
"It could be, I don't know, but let's run a check on all
of them, including Dr. Harvey. This letter, the shooting at us
at Los Amantes Lookout, somebody must have something to hide."
"What were you doing in Los Amantes Lookout?" Mildred
"Oh, well," Laura stumbles, fidgeting with her collar,
"Mr Steele and I ... we ... stopped to, uh..."
"Yes?" Mildred prompts with eyebrows raised.
"All right Mildred, let's have it," Laura gives in,
"Cause I know I'm not going to get anywhere on this letter
with you staring at me like that."
"I'm sorry," Mildred says, "Who am I to think you'd
want to tell em about your personal life. I can't help wondering,
the picnic, the lookout, -do you and the boss have something going?"
Laura looks down at her feet sheepishly before responding, "Yes,
"Oh, oh!" Mildred is delighted, "And this something,
is it really- something?"
"If you mean the something your Dark Prince writes about,
no," Laura answers.
"Oh," Mildred says, a little let down, "What sort
of something do you have?"
"Well I, I don't really know yet Mildred," Laura admits,
"But it's definitely something. But I'll keep you posted,
sort of, gal to gal, all right?"
Steele pulls the Auburn into the Berkholtzer's driveway and as
he approaches the house the door opens and a bride rushes out.
"Oh, dear God!" she gushes, racing towards the car,
"Is it the same one? It must be! Oh, he promised me a surprise.
How on earth did you find her? Oh, you're wonderful!" She
throws her arms around Steele's neck and kisses him, her exuberance
sending them both back onto the car.
"I don't care, I don't care if it's bad luck to see him before,"
she cries to her bridesmaids, "Everybody, go get Joe quick!"
"I take it you must be Mrs. Berkholtzer?" Steele says.
"No, but I will be in 20 minutes if the reverend can remember
his lines," she tells him, "I suppose Joe told you that
we made love for the very first time in this car?"
"No, not in so many words," Steele answers uncomfortably.
"I was still married to Calvin then and, oh, I can remember
sitting there and telling Joe that no matter what we've got, it
was impossible for us, something that was never meant to be, but
I was wrong, wasn't I?" she finishes by shaking Steele in
excitement, "And here's the proof!"
"Well, I'd hate to shatter anyone's illusions but -"
he is cut off.
"Oh, no, no, that's not possible," she assures him,
"I thought I'd never get over Calvin's death, oh I knew that
it was just one of those senseless shootings you hear about on
the news all the time but I felt so guilty, I blamed myself, and,
and, now Joe is back, oh -" she breaks off and runs to her
husband to be, "Oh Joseph, I think you're the most extraordinary
As she kisses him we see it's the same man who took a shot at
Steele and Laura the night before. Looking over his bride's shoulder,
Berkholtzer mutters, "Am I now?"
Laura walks up some stairs to an apartment and rings the bell.
"Hi," a man answers, "What can I do for you?"
"My name is Laura Holt, I'm looking for a Clarissa McCullum,
she still live here?" Laura explains.
"Who is it Sam?" a woman appears behind him.
"Mrs. McCullum?" Laura asks, extending her hand, "Actually,
I'm from Classic Motor Magazine and my editor had this crazy idea
of doing an article tracing the histories of some great, classic
"I'm afraid we don't own anything like that," Sam tells
"What classic car?" Clarissa asks.
"A 1936 supercharged Auburn speedster," Laura answers,
"According to the DMV records, you were the original owner."
"The Auburn," Clarissa remembers fondly.
"What do you want to talk about an old car for?" Sam
"Oh, now, don't be rude Sam," Clarissa admonishes, "We
have a guest. Now go in and make us a pot of tea. Can I offer
you a cup?" she asks Laura.
"I'd love one," Laura replies, entering the house.
At the Berkholtzers, Steele follows Mr Berkholtzer as he pours
a drink and walk over to a mirror.
"Boy, you really put me in a bind showing up like that sport,"
he tells Steele, "Are you sure you won't change your mind
now and sell me that car? I'll guarantee you a 50% profit."
Clearing his throat, Steele begins, "Well, the car's not
really mine to sell, I'm merely looking into the little mystery
for a friend, ah, you didn't by any chance receive a copy of
a letter that looked like this?" He unfolds the letter and
shows it to Berkholtzer.
Berkholtzer reads aloud, "Something of great value is
hidden in your Auburn, you know what I mean, soon, heh, heh,
it's weird but it's news to me." He goes back to straightening
"And you can't think of any reason or anything that would
make someone willing enough to kill for that car?" Steele
"To tell you the truth, I never really bought the car,"
Berkholtzer explains while putting on his tie, "Way back
when, I, uh, did some work for the first owner, she ran out of
cash, so I took the car in trade. After a while I got bored with
it and I sold it to some car dealer."
"Well in that case, sorry for the inconvenience and thanks
for your time," Steele says shaking his hand.
"Hey, you're welcome to stay for the wedding if you want,"
"Ah, that's very kind of you but, ah, weddings make me cry,"
Steele excuses himself, causing Berkholtzer to chuckle.
Berkholtzer watches Steele leave warily and takes a long sip
of his drink.
Laura is going through photo albums with Clarissa and drinking
tea at the kitchen table.
"My husband John bought me that car," Clarissa tells
Laura, "John bought me lots of things, he seemed determined
to prove to the world how much he loved me, like he really knew
"What did you do?" Laura asks gently.
"I fell in love with someone else...Langston, Langston Drewes,"
as she says this we see a flash to the face of the driver of
the Auburn from the opening sequence, "My husband had hired
him to do some surveying on the estate, and I'd walk along with
him on the surveys. He was always checking his compass, counting
his strides, scribbling maps, but he was so frightfully handsome,
and I felt so empty..."
"And your husband never knew?" Laura queries softly.
"Not at first," the scene again flashes back to a young
Clarissa, running to embrace Langston in the Auburn as she continues
her voice over, "Langston would meet me in the Auburn by
the garden and we'd drive trough the woods to the large chestnut
tree with the bench and make love, the best love, not that sordid
stuff you see in the movies nowadays."
Laura is slightly uncomfortable, "I'm almost afraid to ask."
"Yes, John found out," Clarissa continues, "He'd
given me a senselessly expensive necklace and invited all our
friends over to appreciate his generosity," the picture
flashes again to 1936, "I got an urgent note, from Langston.
It was risky but I slipped away. When I met him at the car he
insisted that we run away together then and there!" The
scene moves back to the present, "Well, I hadn't expected
anything like that, I thought he'd gone mad, I was terrified,
I said no. Somehow he took the necklace, when I returned to the
party it was gone and John knew."
"Did you think he had something like that in mind from the
very beginning?" Laura asks gently.
"I couldn't believe that," Clarissa responds, "But
I didn't know what to think. Langston knew that estate better
than any of us, he knew they'd be waiting for him at the gate.
He was arrested and John used his influence to get him a hopeless
prison sentence. They searched the car a hundred times, the house,
the grounds, but to my knowledge the necklace was never recovered."
"And you never saw Langston again?" Laura adds.
"Never," Clarissa confirms, "Some time later,
John died, and, except for the Auburn, he left the entire estate
to the city. I think it's a park now."
"Then you met and married Sam," Laura finishes.
"Oh Sam and I aren't married, we're just living together,
I think it's much more exciting that way anyhow," Clarissa
corrects an amused Laura.
In a garage, bits of the Auburn are everywhere, breathing and
moaning can be heard coming from beneath the carriage of the
A very dirty Steele and Laura slide out from under the car dressed
in grubby overalls and holding tools and rags.
"How was it for you Laura?" Steele jokes inspecting
a round metal object.
"Oily," is her amused reply as she reaches over to
wipe some grime from his face with the cloth she is holding,
"But it hardly seems like the key to something of great
value." Taking it from him she looks it over herself.
"Well, the letter said it was in the Auburn, something was
keeping this wedged in place," he says, still referring
to the metal thing, "Come on."
"Back under," Laura announces as they slide back beneath
"Well, so far all we've managed to come up with is a mass
of recording tape caught in the seat crevice," she continues.
"The Yellow Rolls Royce," Steele tells her.
"This is still an Auburn, no?" Laura asks, puzzled.
"No, The Yellow Rolls Royce, Rex Harrison, George
C Scott, Shirley McLaine, Art Carney, Ingrid Bergman, Omar Sharif,
MGM, 1965," he explains with a smile as she looks at him
in mild exasperation.
"Is there a movie for every case we have?" she wants
"It seems that way, doesn't it?" he answers.
"Mmm," is Laura's only reply.
"You see this yellow Rolls Royce is passed on from owner
to owner, the only connection between them is that they each
had an affair in the car which changed the course of their lives,"
"This car does seem to have that effect on people,"
Laura observes, turning her head to look at him.
"With a passion," Steele agrees, leaning over to kiss
her. He breaks off, "Mmm, what was that?"
"What is it?" Laura asks.
"Oh," Steele picks it up and looks closely, "It
looks like a bullet," he pauses, "A bullet, naturally.
The grille of the car, come on!" They slide out from under
the car and move to the front of it, "The shot must have
torn through the grille, gone under the engine and lodged itself
in the carriage," he deduces.
"Didn't you tell me that the new Mrs. Berkholtzer said her
first husband was killed in a senseless shooting'" Laura
"I think it's time we had another little chat with Mr Berkholtzer,"
"That won't be necessary," Berkholtzer tells them as
he walks towards them with a gun, "I don't know how you
found out about me and Calvin but for what it's worth, it was
an accident. He'd gotten wise to me and Janette, he didn't know
she was going to break it off, so he threatened to kill me. We
struggled in front of the car, the gun went off," Steele
and Laura are listening in silence, "I was just a construction
worker for him then, I couldn't give Janette the life she needed,
but I knew if she ever found out I shot Calvin I'd never get
her back, so I dumped his body in the park, I fixed the grille,
I spent the last 8 years building a contracting company of my
"Yes, well, it seems you have everything now, doesn't it,"
Steele interjects sarcastically.
"Right," Berkholtzer tells them moving closer, "And
I don't intend to lose it now. I didn't want to do this. That's
why when I got your letter I tried to steal the car but you got
it back. Then I thought a couple of shots would scare you off
but you just kept coming."
"We never sent any letter," Laura corrects him, "But
that doesn't explain why you tried to run us down in the park
in the first place."
"What park?" Berkholtzer is getting agitated, "I
don't know what you're talking about but I've got a honeymoon
plane to catch and we're all out of time, I'm sorry."
"Move!" Steele yells at Laura, pushing her behind him
and grabbing a door off the Auburn to use as a shield. A shot
rings out but it's Berkholtzer who falls to the ground. Steele
and Laura run to him.
"I could have sworn you didn't have a gun," he says.
"I don't," Steele tells him. Grabbing Berkholtzer's
gun, Laura and Steele run to the door in time to see a dark car
"Incredible!" Steele announces.
"A little too well timed," Laura agrees, "Even
for a Good Samaritan."
"And we're not even kissing," Steele marvels, earning
himself a confused look from Laura.
When the ambulance and police leave, Steele and Laura wander
back in to the garage.
"The gun, the bullet, Berkholtzer's confession," she
recaps, "We've certainly done a heck of a nights work for
"Yep," Steele agrees, tossing away a rag, "Which
doesn't solve our problem, eh" Do you think whoever sent
those letters was out to blackmail Berkholtzer?"
"I'd like to think so but it just doesn't make any sense,"
Laura tells him, "If they knew about the murder why send
letters to everyone else? No, whoever's behind this wants us
right in the middle. Now all we have to figure out is why."
"Which leaves us with a coil full of tape," Steele
finishes, holding up a mass of tangled tape.
"Maybe there's something on this that can put all the pieces
together," Laura suggests, "I'll try to get this unscrambled."
She takes it and walks away.
"Well there certainly are enough pieces to go around aren't
there?" he asks but gets no answer, "Laura?" he
turns to see her leaving him in the garage, bits of the Auburn
still all over the place, "Laura!"
In the office the next morning, Laura is carefully winding the
tape with her fingers as Steele furtively enters the office holding
a brown paper bag.
"Morning," she greets him.
"Morning," he returns, moving quickly to his desk.
"You know I realized when I got home last night that we
still had to put the car back together," she apologizes.
"No problem," he tells her opening a drawer and tipping
tiny parts out of the bag into it. Doing the same with the other
drawer he closes them both and throws away the bag.
"Nothing left over," Laura comments dryly.
"Nothing of any importance," he brushes it off straightening
"Mm-hmm," Laura notes, amused.
"Ah, the tape," he indicates the machine. Laura presses
play and the sounds of two people, in the throes of passion,
fill the room.
In the outer office, Mildred enters and heads straight for Steele's
office. She stops short before knocking and listens with wide
eyes, her jaw dropping, thinking its Laura and Steele.
Both Steele and Laura are shifting uncomfortably and finally
he reaches out and switches off the tape, "Well, they seem
fairly engrossed in their, ahh, mysteries, I don't think its
doing us any good," he says hiding a smile.
"Well, one runs across this kind of problem time and time
again in detective work, the trick is simply to think of it purely
as evidence, nothing more," she can't look him in the eye,
so chooses instead to examine her nails.
"And you can listen to this without being..." he searched
for the word, "moved?"
Her only answer is a tiny forced smile as she switches the player
back on. Outside Mildred is just about to knock again when the
moaning and breathing resumes. Her hand goes to her mouth.
Steele gazes steadily at Laura, gauging her reaction. She fidgets
and can't look him in the face. Outside the door, Mildred doesn't
know what to do.
Under Steele's scrutiny, Laura finally cracks and switches off
the tape, "All right, so it's driving me crazy, so I'm human,"
she defends herself.
"So am I," Steele answers in a low voice.
"So?" Laura asks, eyes wide.
"So the whole bloody case has been like this," Steele
explains, "I'm starting to think that we're the only two
people in the state who've yet to make love in that car."
"Well, I didn't go looking for that," Laura is all
innocence, one hand coming to her chest defensively.
"What about Tom Jones then, eh?" Steele challenges,
"And all those other little hints you've been dropping'"
"What hints?" Laura demands indignantly.
Taking a piece of paper from his coat pocket, Steele reads, "And
so he took her, as only a man can take a woman, who yearns, who
begs to be taken..."
Laura's laughter fills the room as she throws her head back in
amusement but Steele is serious.
"Laura, can you honestly stand there and tell me that you
don't want us to be lovers?" he asks her softly.
"You know I do," she answers sweetly, in complete honesty.
"Well, then why aren't we on the phone right now?"
he wants to know as he rounds the table to stand before her,
"I mean, planning a weekend in paradise?" Coming to
stop directly in front of her, he gets to the point, "What
is it you're really afraid of?"
"Langston Drewes," she answers.
"Who?" Steele is puzzled.
"Exactly! Who," Laura explains, "A mystery man
who cut a fast tango through a woman's life and left her with
nothing but a scrapbook full of memories. I don't want that."
"You mean my past, don't you?" he realizes.
Outside, Mildred has decided against coming in and instead uses
a coat hanger to push the file she has with her under the door.
Steele and Laura catch sight of the waving folder and walk to
the door perfectly in sync. Laura bends to pick it up and Steele
opens the office door.
"Oh," Mildred says, getting to her feet, "I see
you got my research in Dr. Harvey and Clarissa McCullum."
"Ah, yes," Steele tells her reaching for the door again,
"We were just on our way out, ah, the case as it were..."
"The case," Laura echoes.
"The case," Mildred repeats with a knowing nod, backing
out as Steele closes the door again.
Steele and Laura arrive at Dr. Harvey's house and ring the bell.
"Good news Dr. Harvey," Steele announces as the two
of them brush past and enter the house, "We've found your
car by the way."
"Oh, that's wonderful," Harvey says, a little befuddled,
as he closes the door.
"Tell me, Dr. Harvey," Laura begins, "Has your
wife returned yet?"
"No, she decided to stay a few days longer," Harvey
"Well that's very interesting because according to our research,
you've never been married," Laura breezes on, "Now,
are there any other little corrections you'd like to make to
your story?" She hands him a piece of paper.
"You found the tape didn't you?" Harvey demands.
"As a matter of fact..." Steele produces it from his
"I knew when I came back and found you in here it was no
accident, and then when I went through my mail and found the
letter you sent," Harvey says, "How much do you want
to keep quiet about her?"
"Her who?" Steele doesn't understand.
"You know who," Harvey insists, "Monica! The patient
of mine I had the affair with."
"You had an affair with one of your patients?" Laura
"Oh I know you can get me drummed out of psychiatry for
something like that," Harvey goes on, "But when Monica
first came to me she was a broken spirit, crushed by betrayal
and rejected at every turn, and then, week by week, bit by bit,
we began to build a whole new life together, new job, new friends,
new clothes. You don't know what it's like to do that for someone."
Steele and Laura stand mesmerized, little does Dr. Harvey know...,
"Right before my eyes she blossomed and she loved me for
it. As a doctor I knew I should have discounted that- But, I
couldn't. She continued to come and see me even though we both
knew it was no longer necessary, we'd go out to dinner and call
it a session, we'd go to the theatre and call it a session, then,
one night, we went out for a ride in the Auburn and it was a
session no longer. Somebody must have got wind of it because
I found a tape recorder under the seat. The tape was all mixed
up with the coils. I tore out as much as I could but I always
suspected I... didn't get all of it. It was then I realized how
wrong I'd been." Steele is engrossed in the explanation,
Laura gives him a look, brow furrowed as Harvey goes on, "So,
a few days later I told her it had to end, she lost control,
she started to smash the fender with a rock, ha! Well after she
calmed down I referred her to another psychiatrist - at my expense
- had the fender fixed and took off for Europe to let things
"Dr. Harvey," Laura is finally able to get a word in,
"We never sent you any letter and we have no interest in
your previous indiscretions."
"Or the sounds of them," Steele adds, handing him the
tape, "There are no more copies."
"I don't understand," Harvey is baffled.
Glancing at each other, Laura offers a meek, "Join the club,"
before urging Steele to leave.
Laura and Steele head back to the McCullum Estate. Walking down
the stairs from the main house Steele muses, "Back to where
it all started, now what?"
"I don't know," Laura admits, "But if it wasn't
for Dr. Harvey and his tape or Berkholtzer and his bullet then
the only one left is Clarissa McCullum and her missing necklace."
"Well it's not in that car and you can take my word for
it," Steele tells her.
"She told me they searched the car when they stopped him
at the gate and they couldn't find it," Laura says, "But
he had it when he left here."
"He?" Steele asks.
"Langston Drewes," Laura answers.
"Ah, yes, the mystery man," Steele is unimpressed,
"Whatever happened to him?"
"According to Mildred's research, he died 6 months ago in
prison," Laura tells him, "They mailed his papers and
effects to Clarissa."
"Oh," Steele says, "Pity he isn't here to give
us a clue."
"Isn't he?" Laura asks with a double meaning not lost
"Maybe he is," he meets her challenge, "But I'm
not planning on cutting a fast tango through your life and I'm
not going to stop wanting you but those are the only guarantees
I can give you."
Laura smiles slightly, "I know," she tells him and
rises up to kiss him lightly.
"Shall we go?" Steele asks.
"I'd like some time to myself here," Laura declines.
"OK, see you in the car," he walks away.
Laura watches him go and her eyes fall on a couple clinging together
kissing. Looking away, she pulls the letter from her purse. Striding
to the car, Steele gets in.
Laura reads the letter, hearing Clarissa's voice in her head,
"He was always checking his compass, counting his strides,
scribbling maps...and we'd drive through the woods to the old
chestnut tree..." Looking up suddenly, Laura gets an
idea and takes off towards the car.
Sitting in the Auburn, Steele remembers his first inspection
of it, "Well, the gages have taken some scratching,"
He runs a finger tip over the scratches, takes out a pen and
begins jotting notes as Laura races across the courtyard to the
car and gets in.
"You were right," she tells him, "Langston did
give us a clue, a map of some kind." Steele is still making
notes as she continues, "Can you think of anything - ?"
"The gauges, the rims are all nicked but it's too regular
to be accidental," he explains, "Do you have a compass?"
Eyes wide Laura answers, "As a matter of fact I do, on my
key chain," she gets it out, "And I know where he may
"OK," Steele says as he starts the car.
"OK," Laura echoes with determination.
They drive through the woods to the chestnut tree where they
spent the afternoon of their picnic.
"Is this the place?" Steele questions.
"I think so," Laura replies.
"Where's that piece of paper with the compass markings?"
She hands it to him, "OK, let's go to the tree."
"All right, yeah, let's try it," she agrees.
"All right, OK" he mutters.
"North, 1, 2, 3, 4," they count together, watching
the compass, "1, 2, 3, 4," they pace.
"Sort of," Laura mutters.
"Well that's roughly it," he adds.
"Roughly, OK," he says as they turn and pace together
again, "1, 2, 3, 4," They stop next to a big rock.
"Well, if that's right, this is it," Laura announces
as Steele pockets the paper.
"OK, let's see," he says.
"Shall we move the rock?" Laura queries bending down.
They shove it aside with great difficulty and start to wade through
leaves and dirt, digging a little hole. Steele pulls out a cloth
wrapped package and they open it hurriedly.
"Uh-huh, OK, come on," he mutters, finally uncovering
it, "The necklace, the necklace."
"Found by the best detectives in the city," a voice
"Sam!" Laura cries turning around.
"Sam," he confirms.
"You sent those letters?" Steele clarifies.
"Guilty," Sam responds, "I thought maybe one of
the former owners had found what I was looking for and I had
to test their reactions. Who would've thought that an old car
could have so many secrets?"
"But if you knew about the necklace..." Laura begins.
"Knew about it, yes," Sam tells her, "But where
it was, how to find it, no. In the papers that they sent us after
Langston died, all he said was that the key to the necklace was
in the car, that was all." He goes on, "Look, you know
that Clarissa and I are not rich, now I thought if we could lay
our hands on that necklace I could give her everything that I
want for her, all the things that I can't give her. Without her
knowing, I took my savings out and I hired a private detective,
a cheap one, he took all my money and all I got in return was
a list the names of the previous owners," this upsets Laura,
"No key, no necklace, nothin'!"
"So you stole the car and tried to run us down in the park,
is that it?" Steele asks.
"That wasn't meant to harm you," Sam explains, "But
I didn't have any money and I wanted the best and that seemed
like a good way to get you interested."
"Then it was you who shot at Berkholtzer?" Laura asks.
Sam nods, "I never figured there's gonna be a killer in
this, but when he took those shots at you, I figured I'd better
stay close by, you were workin' for me even though you didn't
know it, I couldn't see you gettin' hurt. Well, now I, ah,"
Sam pulls out a gun, "I'd like to have that necklace if
you don't mind."
"Oh, Sam, don't do this," Laura says softly.
"Don't Sam!" Clarissa begs and touches his arm.
"I told you to wait at the car," Sam tells her, startled
by her appearance.
"I never was one to do what I'm told," she says, "You
"Clarissa," he pleads, "the necklace is worth
a million dollars, it could mean a whole new life for us."
"A little late for a whole new life now Sam," she tells
him, "I don't want the necklace, I didn't want it when John
gave it to me and I don't want it from you, not like this. Will
Sam have to go to prison like Langston?" she asks Laura
Looking back at Laura, Steele responds, "Well, he did save
our lives after all, um..."
"If he cooperates with us, there's a good chance he won't
have to," Laura adds gently.
"Put down the gun Sam," Clarissa asks him, "and
come home now. Someone to make the tea, keep our bed warm, you're
all I want now Sam, don't you know that yet?"
Sam hands the gun to Steele, "You know where to find me,"
he tells them before turning to Clarissa and walking away.
In the office the next day, Laura is leaning over the printer
engrossed in another of the stories being printed out.
"What's that?" Steele asks, coming up behind her, startling
"Oh, no, nothing, nothing," Laura stammers, folding
it up and turning her back to the printer, "Just a run down
of the case. I guess Clarissa meant what she said about turning
the necklace over to the city with the rest of the estate but
it's hard to stop thinking about all those people, all that passion,
all for love."
"Well, at least we won't be tortured by the constant thought
of what we might be doing in that Auburn, eh?" Steele asks
Laura laughs uncomfortably and turns away as Steele is distracted
by a young woman and her son entering the office.
"Excuse me, I'm Alma Prince and I'm looking for a Mildred
Krebs," the woman says.
"Uh, Miss Krebs isn't here right now but perhaps we could
help you?" Laura suggests, grateful for the distraction.
"Humph," Alma mutters, "Well it seems that my
son Robert has become a little too fond of playing with his computer
and has been sending Miss Krebs, among others, shall we say,
transmissions of a -sensitive nature, and I think that Robert
owes her an apology."
"You mean he's the Dark Prince?" Laura blurts.
"Who?" Steele looks at her quizzically.
"Well, I did it," Mildred bursts in, "Now before
you say anything, I want you to know we need another write off
and the agency could always use another car and Dr. Harvey let
it go for a song, so I did it, I bought the Auburn!"
"What!?" Steele and Laura jump in in unison.
"Ha, ha, I knew you'd be excited," Mildred mistakes
their reaction. Steele gazes thoughtfully at Laura who can't
look him in the eye and instead plays with her hair.
"Oh, hi," Mildred notices their visitors, "Who
might you be, young man?"
"Someone called the Dark Prince," Steele informs her.
"What?" Mildred is confused, "Oh!"
Steele puts an arm around Mildred as all three of them burst