Remington Steele enters the Agency reception area, hears a woman weeping, and sees Mildred listening at the door leading to his office.
"Mildred, what's going on in there?" he asks.
"It's a client," she explains, a bit embarrassed at being caught out listening. "Miss Holt's trying to calm her down."
Steele enters his office, giving Mildred a chastising look as she tries to peer around the door at the late middle aged woman who's sitting before his desk, crying loudly. Laura gives him a shrug, and the woman looks relieved to see Steele.
"Oh, Mr. Steele!" she declares, then looks at Laura, then back at him, suddenly uncertain. "You *are* Mr. Steele, aren't you?" she asks.
"Oh, without question, yes, how can I help you, Miss-" he asks, kneeling beside the distraught woman.
"Melnick. Bertha Melnick," Laura tells him when Bertha begins to cry again.
"Ah, well, what seems to be the problem, Miss Melnick?"
Laura responds again over the crying. "Actually, it's- it's Mrs. Melnick and she thinks her husband Fred is in some kind of trouble."
A tearful Bertha explains, "He gets phone calls in the middle of the night, he takes unexplained trips to San Francisco. I went through his bills." She takes some papers from her purse and hands them to him. "He's been going to all those fancy places. Top of the Mark, Marty's restaurant, Alcatraz. He's up there now, probably running for his life."
Now it's Steele who looks uncertain. "Ah, dear, dear, dear. Would you excuse us a moment, Mrs. Melnick? Miss Holt, can I have a word with you, please?" Bertha continues to cry as they go into Laura's office, leaving the connecting door open. "Sounds like an errant husband doing a little long distance cheating on his wife," Steele notes.
"Then again, maybe he's in some real trouble."
"You're not suggesting we accept this case, are you?"
Laura indicates Bertha in the other room. "Look at that poor woman. I mean, she's half crazed imagining all kinds of terrible things happening to her husband. It wouldn't hurt to take a quick run up to San Francisco. Check it out."
"Obviously your mind's made up--" Steele decides, sounding resigned to the fact.
"I'll have Mildred make the reservations. See if you can get a picture of Fred Melnick and- uh, pick me up at my place."
"Um-hmm." He watches her leave her office, then turns and slowly returns to his own, his gaze on Bertha. He closes the door, and then smiles at her, giving her a big air kiss. "Excellent performance, Bertha! Excellent!"
"Oh, you should have seen my Blanche Dubois in 'A Streetcar,'" Bertha tells him, smiling as well. "'I've always depended on the kindness of strangers.' The Orange County Community Players had never seen anything like it. *Six* curtain calls!"
Steele smiles, delighted. "I knew when I auditioned you, you were touched with greatness."
"Listen, can I ask you a question?"
"Uh-hmm." He kneels beside her.
"What's this all about?"
"Well, it's- it's rather involved, Bertha, but putting it in it's most succinct form, whenever Miss Holt and I have attempted to, uh, steal away for a few private moments, a case has always interfered, so I thought it only fitting that a case should take us away for an amorous interlude." He hands her some money.
"Ah, that's clever!" she tells him as she puts the money into her purse.
"A ploy born out of desperation, I assure you. Now, who's gonna play the mythical Mr. Melnick?"
"Oh, my brother Seymour. Seymour Glass." She takes a picture from her purse and hands it to him. Steele studies the photo of the elderly, white haired man. "He's a retired locksmith, lives in Orlando with his daughter. He has to go back to San Francisco- some unfinished business for a former client."
"Now, how can I be sure that he's going to lead us to all those wonderfully, romantic locales the city has to offer?"
"Ah, Seymour loves San Francisco. He hasn't been there in four or five years. He told me he was going to visit all the places he remembered. Marty's restaurant, Fisherman's Wharf, Chinatown."
"Oh, well, then, Seymour is precisely the man I need. You look splendid, Bertha." He leads her toward the office door.
"Thank you, thank you."
"In character, in character," he prompts.
Bertha lifts the handkerchief to her eyes again, saying tearfully "Oh, thank you, Mr. Steele."
He opens the door for her, speaking gently. "Good day, Mrs. Melnick. Good day. I shall look into the matter."
"Take care now. Mind yourself. Good day." Steele chuckles as he thinks about how wonderfully his plan is going.
As a 747 takes off from LAX, we hear Tony Bennett singing.
*'I left my heart in San Francisco, high on a hill, it calls to me. To be where little cable cars climb halfway to the stars, the morning fog, may chill the air, I don't care. My love waits there . . .'*
The sights of San Francisco greet us. The Golden Gate, Alcatraz, Fisherman's Wharf, row houses. A cab pulls up to the Mark Hopkins Hotel.
Laura and Steele enter the hotel and approach the desk. The clerk smiles at them. "Hello. Welcome to San Francisco."
"Glad to be here. The name's Steele. Remington Steele. Thank you."
The clerk checks his computer. "Ah, yes. Party of two. If you'll please fill this out, sir."
While Steele writes, Laura asks, "Do you have a Fred Melnick registered here?"
The man consults the computer again. "No, I'm afraid not."
"Perhaps he's using an alias," Steele suggests to her, handing the man the papers. "We'll just have to keep a sharp eye peeled, won't we?"
The clerk hands them some keys. "That's 426- and 428."
Steele's enthusiasm wanes a bit. "Separate rooms, Miss Holt?"
She smiles up at him. "Separate but equal, Mr. Steele." Having said this, she turns toward the elevators.
"Oh." Steele gives the clerk a look, then follows.
The bell hop places Steele's luggage on the bed. "Thank you very much- fine- that will be fine- okay. Here you go. Thank you. Bye now." He tips the bell hop, and the man leaves. Smiling, Steele goes to the connecting door from his room to Laura's. He grasps the knob, and the smile fades as he realizes that it's locked. He calls through the door, "Uh, uh, Laura, you, uh, forgot to tell the bellboy to unlock the, uh, connecting door."
"No, I didn't," she calls back.
*'Why can't I free your doubtful mind and melt your cold, cold heart?' * Tony Bennett sings.
Steele examines the door, becoming frustrated with the situation. He goes over to his suitcase on the bed, and calls back to her, "Well, isn't that going to make things a little, uh, you know, uh- awkward?"
"We're here on business, Mr. Steele. Remember?" Laura reminds him through the door.
"Ah, yes. How could I forget. It's emblazoned on my mind." He takes a bottle of cologne from the bag and opens it, patting his face.
In her room, Laura is putting on some perfume as Steele calls, "Should we, uh, stake out the Mark, see if our quarry makes an appearance?"
"Ready when you are." She smiles at her reflection and picks up her purse to head for the door out of the room.
At Top of the Mark, Laura and Steele are looking out over the city as she tells him, "When I was at Stanford, a bunch of us used to drive up to San Francisco for the weekend." She sighs deeply. "Ahh. I think it's the most romantic city in the country."
Steele smiles, feeling that all is right again. "You do? Really." He turns to their table and pulls out a chair. "Here you go."
A waitress approaches them. "May I get you something from the bar?"
"Uh, why not, yes. Dom Perignon. '76, if you have it." The waitress leaves them alone.
Laura's gaze is on the view of the city. "You know, if it weren't for this case . . . this would almost be like . . . "
"Oh, I don't know. A holiday. A vacation. I mean, here we are, just the two of us, away from the hustle and bustle of business, having drinks in a beautiful setting-" She stops and her eyes widen. "There he is!"
"Fred Melnick." Steele turns to see "Fred Melnick", who's really Seymour Glass, arrive at the bar and shake hands with another man who's already there.
Steele isn't at all curious. "Oh."
'Melnick' engages in a conversation with the other man, who pulls a manila envelope from his jacket and lays it on the counter between he and Seymour. Laura watches with interest as Seymour savagely slides the envelope back toward the man and slaps the counter angrily. 'Melnick' gets up and leaves.
Laura jumps up to follow their quarry. "C'mon."
Steele follows, upset. The waitress sees him leaving and asks, "What about your champagne?"
Steele signs the ticket and tells her, "Keep it cold, will you?"
After Steele and Laura leave the Mark, the man 'Melnick' was talking with asks the waitress, "Excuse me? That guy who just left looked familiar."
She looks at the ticket. "Name's Remington Steele."
He smiles. "Remington Steele, of course. He staying in the hotel?"
"Well, maybe I'll pay a call on him later." Once the waitress leaves, the smile vanishes.
Laura and Steele watch as Fred Melnick is talking on the phone, his actions revealing that he's aggravated. He hangs up and leaves the hotel.
As Tony Bennett sings, Melnick gets onto a cable car, and Steele and Laura follow him onto the car.
*'To be where little cable cars, climb halfway to the stars.'*
Laura is watching Melnick as Steele, having donned his sunglasses, stands behind her.
*'The morning fog, may chill the air, I won't care.'*
Laura seems a bit chilled, and rubs her arms, moving closer to Steele for warmth. Steele grins, delighted, as she lays her head against his shoulder. He grabs a post that's in front of Laura, basically putting his arms around her.
*'My love waits there . . .'*
Melnick departs the cable car, moving down the street. Laura and Steele follow him to Lincoln Park, overlooking The Golden Gate Bridge, where he meets with another man. The other man puts an arm around Melnick's shoulders, and they move out of sight.
Suddenly we hear a cry, and Laura says, "Come on."
"I wish you'd stop saying that," Steele frets, following her.
They find the second man facedown in the grass, a knife sticking out of his back. The man looks up at them and says, "Trapman," before he dies.
Kneeling beside the body, Laura tells Steele, "It appears our Mr. Melnick is a murderer."
Steele sits down on the ground, stunned and disappointed by this turn of events as Tony Bennett sings.
*'I guess I'll have to change my plan. I should have realized, there'd be another man. I overlooked that point completely. Until the big affair began.'*
Back at the hotel, Laura and Steele are in her room. Steele, his jacket off and shirt sleeves rolled up, still looks a bit stunned as Laura paces the room.
"Alright, we have a dead man, a Willis Fishbane, a doctor from Sausalito. We also have the name Trapman. Obviously Dr. Fishbane was identifying his murderer." Steele nods as Laura grabs the phone and speaks into it. "Front desk, please."
Steele jumps up, worried. "What- What are you doing?"
"You said yourself Fred Melnick could be using an alias," she reminds him. "Uh, yes, do you have a Mr. Trapman registered here? Thank you." She hangs up. "No Trapman."
"Ah, well, there you see, Laura-hmm?"
"Yes, operator. I'd like Los Angeles, please. 555-3535." She sits on the edge of the bed.
"Uh, what now?" Steele asks.
"Detective work, Mr. Steele. That's what we're here for, isn't it? Bertha Melnick's husband is obviously mixed up in more than marital hi-jinks-" she's telling him when the phone is answered. "Uh, Mildred? . . . I want you and your trusty computer to check out a Willis Fishbane of Sausalito along with Bertha and Fred Melnick . . . Yeah, get back to me ASAP." She hangs up.
Steele looks at his door. "Was that my phone?" he asks, going to the connecting door to place an ear against it.
"I don't hear anything."
"Ah, my shower, Laura- . I think I left my shower on, excuse me just a second." He takes off through the other door, leaving a confused Laura sitting there.
Steele rushes back to his room and grabs the phone. "Yes. Operator, please . . . Ah, I'd like a long distance call to Los Angeles. 555-3535. Thank you very much . . . Yeah, 3535."
Mildred answers. "Boss? Yeah, Miss Holt just called and I'm feeding those names into the computer right now."
"Forget it," Steele orders.
"What do you mean 'forget it'?" Mildred asks, confused.
Laura walks in.
"Forget the,-" Laura walks into his room through the door that he left open in his haste. "-er, shrimp cocktail I just ordered," he ad libs.
"What shrimp cocktail?" Mildred asks.
Steele thinks quickly. "Ah, that order you were just given, cancel it."
"You mean from Miss Holt?"
Steele smiles at Laura. "That's the one."
"You mean you don't want me to check these people out?"
"That is correct. Absolutely and irrevocably correct," Steele confirms. "Yes, goodbye." He hangs up quickly.
"What was that all about?" Laura asks him.
"Room service. So dense, so obstinate, and at these prices, oh boy." He pretends to consider this for a moment, glancing at Laura. "Now, since Fred Melnick seems to dine at Marty's whenever he's in town, I think we should give the place some careful scrutiny." He starts fastening his cuffs. "Besides, I'm starved."
"But you just cancelled food."
"Yeah, finger food, barely keep a goldfish alive."
"I'm not sure we can afford to waste a lot of time sitting in a restaurant." Laura tells him.
"Laura, we have to eat. I mean, we haven't eaten since we left Los Angeles. Hmmm, eh?" He puts on his jacket. "Come now, a little veal picatta, some mozzarella marinara, some linguini bathed in clam sauce, mm-mmm," he reels off temptingly, pushing her gently backwards to the door. He kisses her hands.
"I am a little hungry," she admits.
"Okay, you go freshen up and I'll go make the reservations. Okay? See you later," he says, closing the door behind her and rushing back to the phone as Tony Bennett sings.
*'You may not be an angel, cause angels are so few. But until the day that one comes along, I'll hang onto you . . . '*
He sits down, using some breath spray as he waits. "Operator? . . .Yes, uh- Could I have the front desk please? . . . Yes, do you have a Seymour Glass registered here? . . . He checked out? . . . Oh, well-uh- Did he leave a forwarding address? . . . Oh, . . . uh, no, no, no. Thank you very much. Bye, bye. Thank you very much. Bye." He hangs up, troubled, and searches his pockets for Bertha's number. "Bertha. Bertha. That's it. Bertha. Where's your number, darling? Where's your number? Oh, Bertha, where-" he finds the phone number. "Ah-ha, oh yes. Ah, Bertha Melnick. Good girl." He picks up the phone again. "Here we go," he says, dialing. "Yes, Operator, could you get me Los Angeles please?" There is a knock at the door. "Oh sh-ugar!" he says, hanging up and going to the door.
Laura is there, having changed into another outfit. She's putting up her hair. "You all set?" she asks.
"Just waiting for you," Steele assures her and joins her in the hallway.
Laura looks up at him. "Did you make a reservation?"
Steele's smile fades as he turns away to go back into his room. Laura stands and waits for him.
At Marty's, Steele and Laura are sitting at a table, as Tony Bennett sings once again.
*'Isn't it romantic? Music in the night.'*
Steele reaches over and taks Laura's hand in his. "Did I remember to tell you, you look especially beautiful tonight?" he asks her as she studies the menu.
"And you look very handsome," she tells him, covering his hand with hers.
"We make the perfect couple, don't we?" Laura smiles at him.
"Have you decided, sir?" the waiter asks.
"Yes, uh, we'll have some mozzarella marinara to start with," Steele tells him, his eyes on Laura as she practically swoons. "Some veal picatta, not too heavy on the lemon butter, some linguini in white clam sauce, and a bottle of Dom Perignon, -'76 if you have it."
"Very good, sir." The waiter leaves them alone.
Steele suggests, "After dinner why don't we, uh, scour Fisherman's Wharf, perhaps take a wander down by the-"
"There he is!" Laura hisses.
"Oh." Steele looks a bit ill as they watch 'Melnick' sit down at a table with a blonde woman. He tells her something, and she starts to cry.
"I didn't realize Mr. Melnick has such a dramatic effect on people," Laura tells Steele.
"Oh," Steele says, nodding.
'Melnick' and the blonde get up to leave Marty's, and Laura is right behind them. "Let's not lose him this time."
The waiter arrives with the appetizer. "What about your food, sir?" he asks.
"Keep it hot," Steele tells him, then follows Laura.
Downtown, 'Melnick' and his female companion emerge from a cab in front of a strip club. A second cab pulls up with Steele and Laura inside.
"We lost them," Laura declares.
Steele notices the blonde woman's picture on the wall of the topless bar. "Well, if you want some sleaze . . . C'mon, let's go inside."
Inside, two men have nabbed 'Melnick' and the woman and are dragging them away. Steele and Laura run up to them.
"Excuse us. Excuse us, but-we saw them first okay, buddy?"
"Back off, buddy," one of the men warns.
A fight ensues and 'Melnick' and the woman slip out. A man points a gun at Laura and then at Steele, who raises his hands.
"Alright, alright, alright, alright, alright."
"You want in?" one of the men asks. "You're in." He and his partner push Laura and Steele to a table, where the man that Melnick met at the Mark is waiting.
"Hi. Hello," Steele tells him as he's forced to sit down beside Laura.
"Well, we really appreciate it, but I think we should be going." He starts to get up, only to be pushed back down into the chair again.
"What do you want with the Trapman?"
"Who?" Laura asks.
"Don't be cute," one of the thugs tells her. "You've been on his tail ever since he got to San Francisco."
"Oh, merely a coincidence," Steele assures them.
"You're a private dick," the man from the Mark says. "Remington Steele."
Steele gets that look he gets whenever someone has recognized him. "Oh, really? I didn't know my fame had spread this far north."
"Hardly the time to preen, Mr. Steele," Laura warns.
"Who hired you? Who are you working for?" the other man asks.
"We're just here on holiday," Steele tries to tell them. "Enjoying the sights and sounds of your enchanting city, that's all." He glances around at one of the dancers. "Look at it all."
"Well, I'm glad you like San Francisco, cause you're gonna end your days here," the man from the Mark tells them. "I think Candlestick Park will be nice and quiet this time of night."
Laura eyes a couple of uniformed policemen who just entered the bar.
"Let's go," the man says.
Standing up, Laura starts yelling, appearing offended. "TWENTY BUCKS!" She picks up a glass of water and throws it in Steele's face, surprising him. "I am worth a hundred if I'm worth a penny!!"
"Sit down. Stop it," the man tells her, nervous of the attention she's attracting.
Steele sees the cops as well and stands to confront her. "A Hundred bucks!? For what? I've seen better bodies in the morgue!"
"You pig!" She slaps him. "You Limey pig!"
Eyeing the cops, the man says, "Sit down."
"Hey, hey, hey," one of the cops asks, "What's going on here?"
"Nothing officer," the man from the Mark insists. "Just a little bit too much good cheer."
"This guy tried to buy my bod for twenty bucks!" Laura tells them, still pretending to be furious.
"What do you mean? I was being generous, I mean look at her, she's all skin and bones! I like a little meat with my potatoes!"
"Meat!? I'll show you-!" She grabs Steele, shaking him.
"Officer, get this woman off me!" Steele is saying, but the other man pulls Steele to his side as the cop grabs Laura.
"Hey, hey, hey . . . lady, lady. Just calm down now, will ya? Or we're gonna have to run you in for soliciting."
"Why is it always the women?!" Laura demands. "Never the men! The filthy, oppressive, exploitative men who drove us into this by denying our rightful place in society!" She stomps on the officer's foot for good measure.
"Ow!" the cop yelps. "Come on." They start to drag Laura away.
"Sit down, pal. I wanna buy you a little farewell drink," the man tells Steele.
Steele asks in desperation, "What about me, Officer?"
"What about you?"
"Well, I made a proposition. I mean, I attempted to buy this woman's body for carnal purposes. I mean, I think she's right. I'm just as guilty as she is, don't you agree?"
"Yeah!" Laura agrees.
"Have it your own way, pal. Take him, too." His partner grabs Steele.
"Ah, thank you. Okay, well . . ." he turns to the three men. "We'll have to take a rain check on that drink. Another time, okay?" he tells them.
Steele and Laura are on a ferry to Sausalito as it passes Alcatraz. "I must say," Steele tells her, his collar up against the chill air, "the judge was quite lenient under the circumstances."
"I'd just like to know why your bail was two hundred and fifty. And mine was five hundred," Laura wonders.
"Well, you were the professional in the group." He smiles at her.
They get out of a taxi and go up the stairs to the house of Dr. W. Fishbane. They are about to knock, when one of the men from the club begins firing at them from across the street. They jump into a small porch that's below sidewalk level beside the steps in order to avoid getting hit, and land on some trash.
"What is going on here?" Laura asks
"Oh, Laura, you're never gonna forgive me," Steele worries, removing his sunglasses.
"For what? You didn't even want to take this case in the first place."
"I lured you up here under false pretenses," he confesses.
"What are you talking about?" She raises her head to sidewalk level, and the man takes another shot, forcing them to duck down.
"Well, you see, everytime we planned to get away together a case would interfere, so I hired that woman, Bertha Melnick," he explains as Laura crawls to a set of doors and shakes them, Steele close behind her, "to make up a story about her husband being in trouble, you see?"
"Open the door!!" Laura calls to whoever might be inside.
"My plan was to chase the make-believe Mr. Melnick all over the most picturesque parts of San Francisco and then eventually discover that he was here for some truly innocuous reason, and in the meantime, you and I would have few days of uninterrupted -" The gunman fires three more times, through the door, causing Steele to pause before continuing, "- bliss."
Laura doesn't respond, but moves back to the other side next to the steps.
"Ah, Laura . . . " Steele says, following her out of the sight of the gunman.
"Are you telling me this entire case was just a ruse to get me alone in San Francisco?" she asks.
"I'm a terrible, rotten, degenerate human being. Laura, forgive me, please."
"That is . . . without a doubt . . . the most . . ." Steele winces, expecting the worst of her temper as she continues ". . . *romantic* thing anyone has ever done for me!"
"Should I take that to mean you're not angry with me anymore?" Steele asks her.
"Angry? I'm beside myself with joy!" she declares, going into his arms for a passionate kiss.
Steele hugs her tightly. "Ah, ah. Now all I have to do is live long enough to reap the benefits. Come on, let's go," he says, rising up slightly. They kiss again, then look over the edge to see that the gunman is trying to reload his gun. "Grab a lid." He instructs and they grab garbage lids to use as weapons, then take off running. They toss the lids toward the surprised man like Frisbees as Tony Bennett sings an upbeat version of "Isn't it Romantic?"
*'Isn't it romantic? Every note that's sung is like a lover's kiss. Isn't it romance?'*
Steele's first throw misses, but distracts the gunman, and his second throw hits the man in the chest, knocking him down. Steele and Laura take off.
"Quick, in here. Laura, I think we lost them."
"Who are those men and why are they trying to kill us?"
"Simple, Laura. We had a chance to be alone together in a city famed for romance. I mean, could we expect anything less that a group of dedicated killers dogging our path."
"We better locate Seymour Glass slash Fred Melnick. Maybe he knows what's going on."
"He's a retired locksmith from Orlando. And according to his sister, he's up here on some unfinished business with a former client of his."
"Could that former client be this Trapman everyone keeps speaking of? Only at the topless bar they kept talking about him as "The Trapman". Could that be a name or something else?"
"I suppose you're determined to find out, aren't you?"
"Mr. Steele, it's what I do for a living."
"Oh, must be exciting work."
Back at the topless bar, Laura and Steele show the bartender a picture of the blonde woman.
"Name's Rita Del Rio," he tells them.
"Do you know where we can find her?" Laura asks.
"Uh-uh," the barkeep says.
"Ah, would President Jackson help jog your memory, eh?" Steele offers, pulling out his wallet.
"Hey, I own this establishment. Don't insult me by shoving money in my face."
"Apologies, okay?" Steele says, backing off.
"I get all sorts of weirdoes coming in here looking for my girls. They could get cut up, or worse."
"Can you get her a message for us?" Laura asks.
"Tell her that the two people who helped her last night would like to talk to her about the man she was with."
"Top of the Mark," Steele tells him. "Nice and public. If she doesn't like what she sees, she can take off, okay?"
"I'll do my best."
"You wouldn't happen to sell food in here, would you?" Steele asks him.
"We only serve booze."
"Well, how about the things you put in it . . . pineapples, olives, cherries?" Steele continues.
"We'll grab something after we give Dr. Fishbane's a try," Laura promises him.
"Well, let's just hope for the moment the man with the gun doesn't think we're stupid enough to go back there alone." To the bartender- "Thank you."
At Fishbane's, the man stands on the opposite side of the street, leaning against a tree, watching the house.
Laura and Steele get out of cab, and Steele hands the driver his fare. "Here you go. Thank you very much." Glancing at the man, he tells Laura, "He must rent that tree by the month."
"He probably came back after the police left. We'll deal with him later on," Laura decides.
"Oh good," Steele says with a frown as they approach the house along with several other people. "It's always nice to have something to look forward to."
As they enter the house, Steele's stomach growls loudly. He looks embarrassed, Laura frowns. "Can't you control that?"
"It's a simple procedure, Laura. I just put some food in it, and it shuts right up."
They find a coffin with a man's body inside. Laura asks Steele, "Who do you suppose he is?"
"Yes," Steele muses.
A smiling, gray haired, matronly woman says, "Thank you for coming. Did you know the judge long?"
"The judge?" Steele asks.
"My late husband, Judge Morris Fishbane," she tells them, indicating the man in the coffin.
"We had a passing acquaintance with a Willis Fishbane," Laura tells her.
Steele adds, "We were under the assumption that this was his house."
"It is. He is-" she pauses, "-he *was* the judge's brother. Poor Willis. He was stabbed to death yesterday in Lincoln Park. The police think it was an attempted robbery."
"I don't mean to appear morbid, Mrs. Fishbane, but how did your husband die?" Steele asks the widow.
"Heart attack. Yes, he'd just finished playing six sets of tennis. Oh, Morris had the finest topspin in Hillsboro. That's where we live. I know that he would have wanted his final farewell there, but - the other night our house was vandalized; floors, walls, ceilings RIPPED apart. It was as though someone had taken an axe to everything. The most wanton destruction of personal property I have ever seen. Oh, it's going to take months to restore it to just a semblance of what it was. That's why we had to have the final farewell here."
Steele's stomach growls again. "Excuse me. Terrible cold. Terrible cold."
"We don't want to intrude anymore, Mrs. Fishbane. Thank you, and again you have our heart felt condolences."
"Come back tomorrow. We're having Willis' final farewell at ten."
"Oh, thank you. We'll look forward to it-," Steele tells her, then realizes what he's saying. "I mean- We'll try, we'll try. Good day." She walks away.
"Now we have to contend with our friend out there," Laura tells Steele.
"I'd feel a lot more sanguine if we had the element of surprise on our side."
"There has to be a rear entrance to this place. Let's find it."
"Excuse me?" Laura calls, distracting the man by the tree, causing him to walk into Steele's fist, which knocks him out. Laura searches for his identification as Steele keeps a lookout. "Um, Inspector Barney Neill. San Francisco Police Department!?"
"The police- are trying to kill us?" Steele realizes. "Would it be injudicious to run like hell?"
"Sounds good to me!" She stuffs the man's ID back into his pocket.
"C'mon!" They take off.
At the Top of the Mark, Laura and Steele are slow dancing. Laura is fidgety.
*'Songs were made to sing while we're young. Everyday is spring while we're young. None can refuse, time flies so fast, too dear to lose, and too sweet to last.'*
"Relax. Relax," Steele tells her in a quiet voice.
"We can't very well spend the rest of our lives hiding in the middle of the dance floor."
"We're not hiding. We're waiting."
"Rita Del Rio isn't going to show. Maybe we should go back to the bar and try and find her."
"Well, if we bump into Inspector, uh, Barney Neill, what do you suggest we do, call the cops?"
"Well, providing those other gentlemen are also members of San Francisco's finest, why do the police want to see us dead?"
"Don't happen to have any unpaid parking tickets, do you?"
She laughs. "I can see you're taking this with your usual blend of caution and concern."
"If these are to be our last days, I mean, at least we're spending them in elegant splendor, don't you think?"
"Oh, the hell with our killer cops. Let's enjoy the night and the music."
"Now you see the wisdom of my strategy."
She stops dancing and tells him, "You know, *that* is one of the problems with us. It came to me one, lonely night. It wasn't exactly the burning bush, but still it got my attention. You're uh- You're one of the things that I have to guard against. The part of me that I can't ever allow myself to be. Reckless, indulgent, frivolous . . ."
"Seductive at any rate. And very dangerous."
"I wish you'd stopped after seductive." The being to dance again, small kisses are exchanged until Laura slides her arm around his neck and lengthens the kiss.
'Though it may be just for today, Share our love we must, while we may.'
They kiss until Laura notices Rita and goes stiff in his arms, ending the romantic moment.
"What?" Steele questions.
"There she is," Laura tells him.
"Rita Del Rio." Steele turns slowly to find Rita standing uncertainly. They walk over to her. "Miss Del Rio. Thank you for coming."
Laura takes one arm, Steele the other. "I can't stay long. I gotta be at the club in half an hour."
"Here you go. Sit yourself down," Steele invites as they go to the bar.
"Now, the man you were with last night, Seymour Glass, tell us what you know about him."
"I don't know anything about him."
"Well, you and he were engaged in a rather intense conversation at Marty's restaurant."
"Oh, that. He told me Dr. Fishbane was dead."
"And what was your relationship with Willis Fishbane?"
"I never met the man," Rita tells them.
"Then why did his death reduce you to tears?" Steele asks her.
"You're not with one of them scandal magazines, are you? You know, the kind you get in the supermarket?"
"We're private investigators, and we're here on a case," Laura explains. "We think."
"Well, I was, kinda, you know, involved with Dr. Fishbane's brother."
"The judge? Morris Fishbane?" Steele asks with a smile.
"Yeah, he was such a sweet guy. A little stuffy maybe, but real sweet, you know? Anyway, Mr. Glass did some work for the judge ten, twelve years ago."
"What kind of work?"
"I don't know, but he said some heavy duty people didn't want him to finish it, and, they were going around knocking off anyone who was close to the judge. That made me a little nervous. I always cry when I get nervous."
"Do you know where Seymour is now?"
"No. He split right after we left the club last night and I haven't seen him since. Listen, I really gotta shove off," Rita says, standing up. "But if you find him, tell him to give me a call. I'm a little worried about him."
Laura nods in understanding. "So are we, Miss Del Rio."
"Bye," Steele tells Rita as the woman leaves.
Laura's disappointed. "Well, Mr. Steele. What's our next move?"
"Let's go to my room." He fastens his jacket, and starts off. Laura watches after him, uncertain.
In Steele's he's on the phone, Laura is sitting on the bed. "No, no, no Bertha, Miss Holt and I are having the time of our lives. Seymour is leading us on a wonderfully, merry chase. As a matter of fact, he really does think we are chasing him. And uh-I just wondered if you might know where he would hide if he was in some sort of trouble."
In Chinatown, Seymour is sitting, reading the menu in a Chinese restaurant.
Laura comes up and slaps the menu down. " Glass? I want to speak to you."
Seymour, alarmed, gets up and turns toward the back of the building, only to find his exit blocked by Steele.
"Ah, it's very impolite to eat and run, Seymour," Steele chides, grabbing Seymour's arms and pulling him back toward the table. "Come and sit down."
"You're not getting' it out of me. You can pull out my fingernails with rusty pliers, you can bury me in sand up to neck, with ants dancin' on my eyes-"
Steele winces, tries to calm the man down. "Seymour, Seymour, Seymour, Seymour, please, you're getting disgusting."
"Mr. Glass . . ."
Steele notices the waiter. "Ah, good, food."
Laura tells Seymour, "We want an explanation."
"We want some egg rolls . . " Steele tells the waiter.
"Who are you?" Seymour asks, sitting between them in the tiny booth.
"Clay pigeons," Laura explains as Seymour looks back and forth between them.
"Fried shrimp . . ." Steele adds.
"Sitting ducks," Laura expounds.
"Minced squab . . ."
"Shredded pork . . ."
"Take your pick," Laura finishes.
"And that should do it."
"And we're sick and tired of all those people out there with guns aimed at us."
Steele tells Seymour, "He's still standing there. He hasn't moved." The waiter is grinning widely.
"He don't understand English," Seymour explains.
"Uh? Oh, god," he sighs, turning his face toward the wall.
"What's more important," Laura asks Steele, "your stomach or our lives?"
"Well, at the moment, Laura, it's a bit of a toss-up," Steele insists as Laura waves the waiter away.
"You're gonna sit there until you tell us what in the world is going on," Laura informs Seymour.
"Why should I?"
"Why?" Steele asks. "Cause we're friends of your sister and you're in trouble and you want our help, that's why."
"How do I know you know Bertha?"
"Blanche. 'Streetcar Named Desire'. She earned six curtain calls," Steele rolls off.
Seymour smiles proudly. "Her greatest triumph."
"Mr. Glass, those men who tried to hustle you out of that topless bar last night, at least one of them is a policemen," Laura tells him, lowering her voice.
Seymour isn't surprised. "They're all cops."
Steele frowns. "Oh, This gets better and better, doesn't it?"
"What do they want with you?"
"The trap," Seymour explains.
"You mean, *you're* the Trapman?" Laura asks.
"That's me," he admits proudly.
"What the hell is a Trapman?" Steele wants to know.
"A guy who installs traps. You know, secret panels, hidden safes. They're mostly for the mob. Oh, occasionally you get your doctor, your dentist, anybody who's got something they don't want somebody else to find. Usually it's cash."
"That's fascinating," Laura admits.
"So your trap belongs to this judge, Morris Fishbane?" Steele realizes.
"Yeah, well when I read that he kicked off, I flew right out here to open it. You see, the only time a Trapman is allowed to tell the secret is when the owner of the trap dies."
"And you told the judge's brother, Willis Fishbane?" Laura realizes.
"Yeah. Look what happened to him."
"What's in the trap, Seymour?" Steele asks.
"Oh, only the judge knew that."
"Well, obviously it's important enough to kill for," Laura says.
Steele asks, "Well, have you told Mrs. Fishbane?"
"If I go anywhere near her, she winds up napping alongside the judge."
Laura wants to know, "Who was that man at the Top of the Mark, the one you argued with?"
"George Broder. Captain Broder. He tried to give me one hundred grand *not* to open the trap. I told him what he could do with his money. You see, a Trapman lives by his honor- or he don't live long."
"And since you were the key to locating the trap, they were probably trying to kill you in the park, not Dr. Fishbane."
"Uh-huh. Silence you and their worries are over, mate," Steele agrees.
"And because we've been following you around San Francisco, they're probably convinced we've been working for someone who wants you to open the trap for them."
"Well, don't worry about me. I'm flying back to Orlando in the morning."
"Seymour, once you turned down that hundred thousand, you were a marked man," Laura tells the old man. "Returning to Orlando will not solve your problem."
Steele explains. "They still have to kill you to make certain that trap stays closed forever."
"And us," Laura adds, "Just to make sure we didn't know where it was. Welcome to San Francisco, Mr. Steele."
"Oh, glad to be here," Steele says as he picks up the remains of some soup sitting on the table.
Back at the hotel, Steele and Laura are asking Seymour about street names from a map. "Pinto Place," Steele suggests.
"La Serena Drive," is Laura's offer. They look at Seymour, who's sitting on the bed.
"Van Dyke Avenue?" Steele continues.
Seymour asks, "Did you ever hear of the Bug?"
"Bugsy Siegel. Gentleman gangster. I'm the one who put the trap in the Flamingo Hotel for him."
"Seymour, do any of these street names sound familiar?" Laura asks.
"Uh-huh. Ah, what a guy that Bug. He was the father of Las Vegas. A Visionary. They blew his head off. Terrible tragedy."
"Concentrate, Seymour," Steele says. "Concentrate."
"I told ya, I was only in Hillsboro once when I installed the trap for the judge and that was twelve years ago."
"No wonder the judge's house was vandalized," Laura realizes. "They were looking for the trap."
"Well, apparently they didn't find it, otherwise they wouldn't still be trying to kill Seymour."
"Ah, those were the days," Seymour recalls. "Flying here, flying there. Chicago, Vegas. Cuba."
"Custodian Drive?" Steele suggests.
"Oak View Terrace?"
Seymour is lost in his memories. "No matter what you hear, you know them mob boys, they didn't win much for safe deposit boxes or them numbered Swiss bank accounts. No sir. They wanted to get their mitts on their money quick."
"Seymour, this is a matter of life and death," Steele tells the little man.
"Ours," Laura finishes.
Seymour tells them, "Well, hit the right street and I'll remember it!" Steele groans, exhausted. Laura picks up her map and moves to sit beside Seymour on the bed. "You know, when the owner of a trap dies, the Trapman gets a percentage of whatever's in it. And that can add up to a nice piece of cash, I'll tell you." There's a knock on the door. "I remember once when-" Laura places her hand over Seymour's mouth to silence him.
"Who is it?" she calls out.
"Oh, thank God for that," Steele sighs, getting up and starting for the door.
But Laura grabs his arm, stopping him and whispering. "We didn't order any room service." She gets up and gets closer to the door. "Uh, we didn't order any room service."
"It's a fruit basket. Compliments of the management."
"I'm not dressed. Just leave it outside." Steele searches his pockets for his picks.
"Sorry, can't do that ma'am. You gotta sign for it so the manager knows I didn't swipe it for myself."
"Just a minute. I'll have to throw something on."
Laura turns around to find Steele picking the lock on the connecting door. He grins like a little boy caught out by his mother. "Believe me, Laura. I wouldn't do this if it wasn't an extreme emergency. Really."
She waves for him to continue. Steele goes into his room, opens the door, peers out and finds a man with a gun standing outside the other door. He looks around his room, and grabs a metal pitcher. Moving cautiously, he sneaks up behind the man and clonks him on the back of the head, knocking him out.
"Laura, open the door. Here you go. Catch." He tosses her the pitcher, which she hands to Seymour. He hands her the gun. "One gun."
"All right," Laura says, stepping back to put the gun under a seat cushion as Steele drags the unconscious man into the room. She closes the door once they're in. Steele sits, searching the man's pockets. "Well, we must be coming up in the world. This one's a Lieutenant."
"Well, they know where we're staying now," Laura tells them. "We can't come back here until this thing's wrapped up."
"When do you think that will be?" Seymour asks. "My plane leaves at nine."
Laura grabs her purse and opens the door. "C'mon."
The three of them are in a cab on the streets of Hillsboro.
"That's the one!" Seymour declares.
"You've been saying that for the last hour and a half, Seymour," Steele points out, sounding tired and exasperated.
"I tell ya, that's the judge's house," Seymour insists.
"Pull over, driver," Laura orders. They get out of the cab, and once Steele taps the roof, the driver pulls away, leaving them standing across the street from a columned mansion.
Seymour grins greedily. "Oh, if this ain't gonna be the best day of my life, I guarantee it's gonna be one of the richest!"
They take three steps, and the house explodes.
"Well, there goes our trap," Laura says despondently.
Seymour grins again as if he knows something. "Not necessarily."
Steele jumps in the pool and reaches the trap, as Seymour flips a switch hidden in the lawn sprinkler. He emerges from the water and hands Laura a metal tube. As he hangs by the edge of the pool, catching his breath, Laura opens the tube and looks inside.
"How much?" Steele asks.
"No money," Laura tells them, removing a roll of papers from the tube.
"Then what did we risk our lives for?" Seymour asks.
Laura studies the papers. "A list of briberies, . . . payoffs, . . . underworld connections. A veritable cornucopia of corruption- involving a former police commissioner, . . . several judges, . . . and a packet of politicians. Well, Judge Fishbane was probably blackmailing these imminent citizens."
"Well, we can't take our find to the police because we
don't know which ones to trust,"
Laura gets an idea. "The F.B.I. We'll go to the F.B.I." she decides. "We have to find a safe place to stay the night until we can contact them."
Seymour tells them, "Stick with me, kids."
In the dressing room for the topless club, Seymour, Laura and Steele are sitting. Steele has a towel over his head. The scantily clad girls come and go, getting costumes for their performances.
"This is not quite the way I envisioned our stay here," Steele tells Laura.
She smiles. "Oh, I don't know. It's had some interesting twists and turns."
He turns to look at her, and finds a red feather boa hanging in his face. He blows at it, then dips his head to look at her and asks, "Why do you have to be such a good sport about all this?"
Rita, in costume, rushes up to grab some things and asks, "Everything okay? You want anything?"
"Food," Steele declares darkly.
Rita frowns apologetically. "I'm sorry they only-"
"Serve drinks, I know," Steele finishes. He removes the towel and stands up. "I saw a hotdog stand across the street. I'm going to get something to nibble on."
Rita stops him. "I don't think you should leave. I mean, what if somebody should see ya?"
"Rita, no one knows we're here," Steele tells her.
"Get me a chili dog," Laura tells him. "Cheese, mustard, no onions."
"Uh yeah, I'll have one of those, too," Seymour decides. "Mustard, onion, and no cheese."
"What the hell?" Rita says. "Make mine cheese, onions, no mustard."
"No mustard, no cheese, no onions," Steele repeats. "Got it."
Steele crosses the street, dodging traffic to go to the hot dog stand. "Oh, I pray you are open for business," he tells the attendant.
"What can I get for ya?"
"Four chili dogs, please."
"What do you want on 'em?"
"What do I want-" he pauses, looks lost, and then glances back at the club. Turning back to the stand, he tells the man, "Oh, ah-uh everything. Yeah."
While Steele is waiting, he sees two of the men who've been chasing them pull up and enter the bar. Chili dogs forgotten, Steele follows them into the club. He makes a flying tackle and knocks one of the men into a table.
Rita sees them and turns toward the back of the club as Steele struggles with the cops. They toss him onto the stage, and keep hitting him.
"They're here!" she tells Laura and Seymour.
"Who?" Seymour asks.
"The guys that are after you and me!" Rita tells him. She grabs Laura's arm.
"Well- what about Mr. Steele?" Laura asks.
"He'll be fine," Rita insists. "Come on. We gotta get outta here!"
Steele finally gets the better of the two men, using a pole to swing again and slam one in the chest with his feet, sending him to the floor. One of the dancers falls backward into Steele's arms, and as he stands there, arms around the barely dressed woman, the bartender demands to know, "Who's gonna pay for this?"
"Let me ask you a question," Steele responds
"How did they know we were here? . . . Laura." He calls louder. "Laura!" Releasing the blonde, Steele says, "Excuse me, darling," and takes off.
Rita pulls up outside an apartment building. "Apartment 3," she tells Laura, handing her the key to the door.
Laura takes it, looks at it, and then asks, "Aren't you coming?"
"I got six more shows to do," Rita says.
"You won't be safe there," Laura reminds her.
"They don't want me," Rita tells her, then looks back at Seymour in the back seat. "They want him."
Laura looks at her, then at the key.
Inside Apartment Three, Broder waits. We hear someone approach the door, and then unlock it. He points a gun at the door. Rita opens the door, and before she can cry out, Broder shoots her. Broder steps out of the door and kneels beside Rita, pulling her over to check on her. He's hit over the head with an tire iron. Laura and Seymour step over Broder and Rita.
*'The party's over. It's time to call it a day. They've burst your pretty balloon and taken your moon away.'*
Steele and Laura are in his hotel room, gathering luggage, preparatory to leaving. Laura comments, "Well, Seymour's safely on his way back to Orlando."
"I'm sure he's delighted as much as we are." He looks at her. "Tell me, how did you know there was a trap waiting for you and Seymour back at Rita's apartment?"
"I began to wonder why she was so positive they only wanted Seymour after she told us they were killing anybody who was close to the judge."
"Poor old Judge Fishbane. She only got involved with him so she could get close to the trap, I guess."
There's a knock on the door, and Laura opens it for the bell hop. "Come in."
"Here you go, my good man. Take it away. Thank you very much indeed. Wallet. Keys, that's what I need. There you go. Right. Okay." Steele seems hesitant to go, and lingers for a moment, sitting on the bed. "You know, it's going to be a pity to leave this place. After everything has finally calmed down."
"Well, it's not your fault the entire hotel was booked for a chiropractors convention," Laura agrees. "Still, it's the thought that counts."
"Well, perhaps I'd hoped for something more than, uh-" he bounces on the bed "-you know, mental stimulation," he says suggestively as Laura stands over him. He chuckles a bit.
"You know, we've gone through this whole case without you once coming up with a movie reference," she notes.
"Well, here you go. I've got an appropriate one."
Laura sighs, with an 'I-might-have-known' look. "Oh?"
"'The Lost Weekend'. Ray Milland, Jane Wyman. Paramount. 1945." He gets up and takes her arm to escort her from the room.
*'The party's over. It's all over, my friend.'*
As he closes the door behind them, the "Do Not Disturb" sign is hanging there on the knob.