- Thou Shalt
by: Jan Andrews
- From the
episode written by:
- Lee Zlotoff
It is night, and inside a museum, laser beams are flashing across
the floor. In a corridor, a figure dressed in black and wearing
a ski mask is trying to swing to a switchbox on the wall. After
several attempts the person manages to hook a rope around the
switchbox. A guard is in another room with his back to the open
doorway, brushing a set of false teeth with a toothbrush. The
thief opens the switchbox and moves some wires. The sensor lights
in the floor turn off and the person drops to the floor, unhooking
the ropes. The guard continues to clean his false teeth.
The thief approaches the corridor with the laser beams, bending
down to remove a small box on wheels with an antenna. Using a
remote control the thief sends the small robot down the corridor
passing the guard, whose back is not facing the door as he picks
his teeth, which are now in his mouth. When the robot reaches
a control panel in the wall, the thief places the antenna against
the panel, causing it to blow a fuse. The laser beams stop and
the thief runs down the corridor and into a room. On the wall,
there is a painting of five women reclining in various states
of undress, one of them playing a lute. The thief holds out a
small sensor and walks towards the painting. Suddenly, the alarm
goes off. The guard drops his dental pick and rushes out. The
thief tries to grab the painting but it is secured to the wall.
Quickly, the thief leaves the room. Two guards run down the corridor
and into the room, flashing their lights onto the painting.
A slide of the same painting is being shown to Steele in his
office. "'The Five Nudes of Cairo'," he says.
There are two other men in his office. "Then you are familiar
with the painting?" asks one of the men, a bearded middle-eastern
"Only from reading."
"Possibly our most important acquisition," comments
the other, grey-haired man as Steele continues to use a remote
to click through a series of slides showing various close-ups
of the painting.
"It represents the absolute *peak* of Pouset's(?) career,"
says the bearded man, "and it was actually painted on Egyptian
ground during the building of the .."
"Suez Canal," finishes Steele.
The man is surprised, "I see your reading must be quite
"The work does have a rather colourful history," replies
Steele with a faint smile.
"We have good reason to believe this is what the thief was
after," informs the grey-haired man.
"Which is why I insist we must remove it from display and
place it in the vault immediately or give it to Mr. Steele for
safe-keeping," says the bearded man.
"Out of the question. The insurance company will only cover
us if the painting remains in the museum. Besides, the exhibit
is due to open tomorrow. The promotion, the media campaign. We're
simply too close to stop all that."
"Mr. Steele, please explain to this philistine that if we
lose this painting there will be no exhibit!" appeals the
"Now spare us your precious temper, Achmed," placates
the grey-haired man, "The alarm system proved effective
enough and I'm confident Mr. Steele *knows* how to catch a thief."
"Alarm systems," scorns Achmed making a spitting motion
in disgust before turning to Steele. "I tell you, Steele,
this thief will not sleep until the 'Nudes' are in his arms."
"Yes, well I appreciate your mutual concern of the situation
gentlemen, however, I'm afraid there is nothing my agency can
do for you."
"What?" the grey-haired man is stunned.
"I'd only be too glad to suggests some others if you'd like."
"But you come so highly recommended. I realize the money
may be less than you're accustomed-."
"It's not the money, Edward," interjects Achmed, looking
at Steele. "It's the curse, isn't it?"
Laura is standing in a crowded lift next to a man who is writing
on a notepad, "This isn't really necessary. It was only
a small dent. I said I'd pay for it. I'm very late. I said I'd
pay for it."
"Just tell it to the insurance company," replies the
man, handing her the notepad and her purse he was using to write
on. "Oh, ah excuse me," he says to one of the other
Laura hands him her business card. He takes it as he gives her
another piece of paper, "Oh, I believe the moving violation
is yours too." Laura snatches it from him and walks from
the lift. She enters the office and tells Bernice, "You'll
have to call my insurance company and pay for this - but before
that I want to know what my schedule looks like this week."
Bernice takes the papers from Laura and tells her, "You
know, the museum people are already in there pouring out their
"I thought I asked you about my schedule," cuts in
Bernice looks up in surprise, "Yes, ma'am. Ahh, the schedule,
this week, light to moderate, scattered lunches."
"Not good enough. By punch-out time *today* I want it wall-to-wall.
As Laura walks off Bernice snaps the diary shut, "You're
right, 'Have a nice day' has lost all its meaning."
Inside Steele's office, Edward is trying to convince Steele to
take the assignment. "Surely Mr. Steele you don't subscribe
to all that superstitious nonsense."
Laura enters the office, "Not in so many words. Ah Miss
Holt, my associate, gentlemen."
"Edward Coxworth, I believe it was you I spoke with on the
Laura takes his proffered hand "Yes, of course."
Edward turns to Achmed, "And our curator, Achmed Khalil."
"A pleasure," says Achmed shaking Laura's hand, "Particularly
if you can help persuade Mr. Steele to accept our cause."
Steele sighs as Laura responds, "I beg your pardon?"
"Well, I had the impression from our 'phone conversation
that your agency could help us, but Mr. Steele feels his case
load is already overwhelming."
"Does he really?"
"What with the Murphy affair and the Wolfe case-,"
Steele tells her.
"Ah yes, the Wolfe case. Well, as a matter of fact some
urgent has *just* come up." Laura looks purposefully at
Steele. "If you could spare a moment of your time, sir,"
she then looks to the two men, "With your permission, gentlemen."
Steele turns and follows Laura into her office. As soon as the
door is shut she says, "You turned them DOWN?!"
"Believe me, Laura, we want no part of this one."
"Falling in love with our letterhead *again*, are we? Since
when do you decide which cases *I'm* going to take?"
"This picture has a very *nasty* background. I was only
thinking of the agency."
Laura is not buying it, "Well, the agency has bills to pay
and a reputation to maintain."
"Surely then there's a missing person we can find?"
" 'Fraid not."
"An unsolved murder that's baffled the finest minds in law
"A child, weeping for its' lost cocker spaniel," he
says in a last ditch effort.
"Really." Laura can't believe what's she's hearing
and walks to the connecting door.
"Laura, I realize we haven't known each other very long
and that refusing this case may cost the agency a great deal.
Nonetheless, with no questions asked, no explanations demanded,
I'm simply asking that you accept my instincts about this on
faith and trust me."
In the office's reception area Achmed and Laura are shaking hands
as an unhappy Steele shakes Edward's hand. "Well, I'm pleased
that you could see your way clear to help us," says Edward.
Achmed bends to kiss Laura's hand.
"A case simply to compelling to ignore," says Steele
watching as Achmed continues to hold Laura's hand.
"And apparently a most persuasive associate," says
Achmed in appreciation. Laura smiles at Bernice.
"We'll be expecting you soon," says Edward. "Come,
Achmed." Achmed finally lets go of Laura's hand and follows
Edward from the office.
Before Steele can speak, Laura heads for Murphy's office asking
Bernice, "Has Murphy come up with that museum research I
"I..." Bernice answers holding up her hand as she watches
Laura leave reception.
Steele looks after Laura and then leans onto Bernice's desk,
"Miss Wolfe, does it strike you that Laura seems unusually,
"Wired, cranky, bent out of shape?" fills in Bernice.
"In a word. Any reason for the cause?"
"Well, she did ask me to overload her schedule once before,"
recalls Bernice, "when she was expecting .."
"Somebody call for the car." Laura comes from Murphy's
office, "Tell him I need to see him as soon as he can get
to us." She continues into her office.
Steele turns back expectantly to Bernice who holds up a note,
that reads "Don't ask."
"As usual, you've been an enormous help, Miss Wolfe,"
comments Steele as he walks into Laura's office. "Laura,
I don't mean to pry but if something's happened-."
"I'm fine," assures Laura, "and we've got work
"But you're ..." he is at a loss for words.
Laura snaps, "Look, I don't know what your problem with
this case is but you're beginning to sound a lot like my .."
"Hello," a voice filters through from reception. "Anybody
Laura visibly winces uttering, "Mother."
"Mother?" asks Steele in surprise. Laura takes a very
Mrs. Holt sees them in Laura's office and walks towards them
holding out her arms, "Laura, dear."
Laura smiles and goes to her mother. They touch cheeks as Bernice
and Steele look on, Bernice in amusement, Steele in amazement.
Mrs. Holt holds Laura at arm's length, "Still have to wear
your hair up, I see."
Laura ignores the disapproval in her mother's tone and answers
unnaturally, "Hello, Mother, you know I would have picked
you up from the airport."
"Oh, well, it's all right. I mean, the cab drivers have
get to rich on somebody's money."
"Mmm," Laura forces a smile and turns, "Ah, you
"Oh yes, it's been so long. You're well?"
"Very," replies Bernice.
"And who might this be?" asks Mrs. Holt turning her
attention to Steele who smiles and walks forward waiting to see
who he is introduced as by Laura.
"Who, ah, um, oh, this is," she swallows, "Remington
"So, you're Laura's mother," Steele smiles as he shakes
"At last, I get to meet her boss."
"Heard a lot about me, have you?"
"Oh," says Steele, not sure what to say, looking at
Laura who continues in an unnatural voice.
"I'm afraid we have to run right now. Bernice can get you
settled at the house. Perhaps we can have dinner together."
"Splendid idea," Steele says. "I know just the
place. In fact, the very table."
"Oh," Mrs. Holt is very pleased.
"Don't you have some previous engagement, Mr. Steele?"
asks Laura looking at him pointedly.
"Oh, I'll cancel it, whoever it is. Until then ah ..."
"Abigail," supplies Mrs. Holt.
"Abigail," repeats Steele.
"We mustn't be late Mr. Steele," says Laura before
leaving the office with a smiling Steele.
As they leave Abigail turns to Bernice and comments, "You
know, these offices aren't really bad at all."
In the museum corridor, Steele is inspecting the switchbox panel
on the wall and asks Laura, who is holding a mass of cables.
"You mean to tell me you haven't spent any time at all with
your mother in nearly three years?"
"We don't communicate very well." Laura hands the cable
to a security guard, "Thank you. It appears as if the thief
came in through that skylight up there, got a rope over the rafter
and disconnected the floor alarm here." She points to the
"But she gave you life, nurtured you from infancy."
"Can we just *drop* it please?"
"Sorry. I never realized she was such a jolt to your equilibrium."
"There's nothing wrong with my .." Laura turns and
walks straight into Khalil who is approaching them. "Excuse
me," she mutters to Khalil, not meeting Steele's gaze.
Khalil hands Steele the small remote used by the thief, "Steele,
here is that device used on the laser system."
"I assume the alarms on the outside of the building were
cut by the thief as well?" asks Laura.
"No, I don't think so but I'll have them checked."
Steele hands him back the remote. "Come, please, the painting
is this way."
Khalil shows Laura and Steele into the room containing 'The Five
Nudes of Cairo' on the wall. "With the exhibition only a
day away we thought it best not to inform the police. If the
choice were mine I'd cancel it all together and lock the Pouset
away. Alas." It is clear he is unhappy his choice will not
occur. They stop next to a blonde woman wearing glasses. Steele
sees her and looks lightly uncomfortable but smiles as they are
Khalil starts with the introductions, "Ah, my assistant,
Katherine Simone, Miss Holt."
"Hello," says Laura shaking Katherine's hand.
"How do you do?" replies Katherine.
"Mr. Steele," Khalil finishes the introductions as
Katherine shakes Steele's hand.
"Thank you for responding so quickly," says Katherine.
"It was Katherine who first suggested your agency to us,"
says Khalil as Steele continues to meet Katherine's eyes.
"You say the alarm in this room is what stopped him?"
"What kind of alarm was it?" asks Steele.
"Forgive me, but our insurance company forbids us revealing
..." replies Khalil.
"Yes, of course," says Laura, "we understand."
"We knew when we acquired the 'Nudes' there would be trouble.
"The curse?" queries Laura.
The two women move to stand in front of the painting as Katherine
explains, "The women's religion forbids them from appearing
nude in front of any man except their husband. Somehow Pouset
managed to get them to pose for him."
Khalil whispers to Steele, "I need to see you, alone. Tonight."
Steele nods imperceptibly, "Where?"
"I'll find you."
"Anyway," continues Katherine, "the reigning pasha
got wind of this so he tried to have the picture destroyed, but
it was smuggled out of the country, so he placed a curse on any
one who dared to possess it." Katherine removes her glasses
and places them in her pocket.
"Sounds rather bizarre, doesn't it?" asks Laura.
"Not to the last five owners, they were all killed. Accidentally,
"Shall we all proceed this way," says Khalil as he
waits for Laura to leave the room. Steele follows Katherine who,
as they leave the room, pulls him behind a statue and into a
kiss. Steele responds, but opens his eyes widening as the kiss
deepens. They break it off, and he asks, "Katherine, wasn't
it? And I always thought Felicia suited you so much better."
She looks up at him. "You're hardly one to talk of names,
Mr. Steele. Have you missed me?"
"Poetic that the 'Nudes' should bring us back together again,
"Don't tell me, let me guess, you're here to steal it."
"No, darling, you are." Felicia kisses him again as
Laura walks towards the statue calling out, "Mr. Steele?"
Laura sees him wiping his lips as he turns around, "Would
you care to join us?"
Steele recovers, "Remarkable sculptor, that Rodin,"
as Felicia walks out from behind the sculpture.
Laura looks skeptically at the sculpture and informs him, "It's
Steele is not sure if Laura saw him with 'Katherine'. "Still
love it. Miss Holt?"
Laura looks at Katherine and the sculpture before walking down
the corridor with him.
That night Laura is standing in front of her hall mirror putting
bobby pins in her hair. She walks to her bathroom and stops in
surprise as she sees her mother kneeling as she scrubs the shower.
"Mother, you don't have to clean my bathroom. It will aggravate
Abigail looks up, "Oh, well, you know how I hate mess,"
then returns to her scrubbing. Laura looks on at a loss. Abigail
stops again and puts one hand on her hip, "Have you spoken
to Frances recently?"
"I called her on her birthday, all right?"
"But did you *really* listen to her?"
"Mother," starts Laura with a breath.
Abigail points at Laura, "Your sister has done very well
for herself Laura. You could take a lesson from her. Do you know
that her husband Donald's company now owns *twelve* athletic
"I stopped counting at seven."
Abigail laughs, "Well, do you have any idea how far the
jogging shoe has come in the last five years."
The doorbell rings. "I have to go answer the door, now mother,"
says Laura glad for the escape.
As Laura leaves Abigail comments to herself, "Always running
Laura opens her door. It is Murphy, "Hello, partner."
"Hi," replies Laura wearily.
"I got the background information on that painting you asked
for." Murphy stands in the living room as he looks around
and asks, "So where's your mother?"
"Cleaning the bathroom," replies Laura with resignation
in her voice.
"You made your mother clean the bathroom?" asks Murphy
not believing what he is hearing.
"I didn't make..." Laura quickly answers then stops
herself putting a hand to her forehead, "Look, just give
me the highlights, all right."
"Okay." Murphy notices Laura's tension. "All right,
'The Five Nudes of Cairo'." They both sit on the couch.
"They've been through a lot of hands and yes, most of them
are not around to talk about it any more. But get this, apparently
six years ago the painting was stolen from a private collector
by a woman and a guy calling himself 'Michael O'Leary'. Ring
"Michael O'Leary," repeats Laura as she thinks aloud
and then stops. "Wait a minute. When we first investigated
our priceless Remington Steele didn't we come across five passports
with five different names?
"One of them was for a..."
"Michael O'Leary. But you're not seriously suggesting...?"
Laura asks the open-ended question.
"Think about it. If he really is a thief, what better place
for him to watch for a big score to come along than in a detective
Laura is not subscribing to Murphy's implication, "But he
didn't even want us to take the case."
"Less interference that way. I'm telling you, Laura, he's
been waiting for an opportunity like this and there's nothing
to keep him from lifting the canvas and leaving *our* agency
to take the rap for it. He's STOLEN it once already."
Laura puts a hand on Murphy's shoulder, "I think you're
jumping to conclusions. I know him better than that."
Murphy looks away and sighs before turning to look at her, "No,
Laura meets his eyes briefly before standing, "Then we'll
*both* try and keep an open-mind about it. In the meantime, I
want you to run a check on the museum's employees. Those outside
alarms weren't cut so whoever went after that painting already
had access to the museum."
Murphy stands and head for the front door. "Okay. And you
call me if you need me all right?"
Murphy hesitates before opening the door, "Is your mother
really in there cleaning the bathroom?"
Laura waves him away with a frustrated look. Murphy smiles and
Laura and her mother pull into the driveway at Steele's apartment.
Abigail is informing Laura, "She has a loving husband with
a *thriving* business. "
"I'm *thrilled* for Frances," replies Laura sounding
"Why, is it so awful, to settle down with someone like Donald."
"Because I don't want to marry a pair of *jogging* shoes.
"Who's asking for that? There are other alternatives, you
"Do *you* really mean that?" Laura is surprised at
her mother's statement.
"Of course, take your Mr. Steele for instance. I bet there's
a catch and a half."
"Mother, men aren't *fish* any more, and my line isn't out
there to *hook* a *big* one and reel him in."
"Well, your line has to be somewhere."
"I'm a licensed private investigator, remember?"
Abigail shakes her head, "I only wish I understood exactly
what that is."
Laura is losing her patience, "Are you coming upstairs with
me or not?"
"No, thank you, I will just sit here and wait and collect
Laura pauses, then leaves the car.
Steele, wearing his dressing gown, leaves his bathroom when he
hears the doorbell ring. As he leaves, a person dressed in black
and wearing a ski mask drops down from a rope onto his bedroom
Steele opens the door. "Ah Laura." She looks at him
surprised he's not dressed yet as he asks, "Isn't ah, Abigail
with you?" He pokes his head out into the hallway.
"She's downstairs in the car," Laura tells him.
Steele realizes she's looking at his state of undress. "Sorry
I'm not dressed yet." Laura holds up her hands in acceptance.
"Wonderful. Pleasant, ah reunion?" he asks.
"Just peachy. Do you have any aspirin?" He points her
to the kitchen and they head in that direction.
Inside his bedroom the clandestine figure closes the bedroom
door, but does not shut it, leaving it slightly ajar.
Laura and Steele walk into the living room as she asks, "I
was just curious why you were so anxious not to take this case."
"Why- the curse, of course."
"You never struck me before as the superstitious type."
The person in the bedroom removes their ski mask and it is Katherine/Felicia
from the museum. She unzips and removes her black jacket to reveal
she is wearing nothing but a gold necklace.
In the living room Steele continues talking. "A minor flaw
in an otherwise 'stainless Steele'. For some it's, ah, walking
under ladders, black cats, opening umbrellas indoors."
"For you, it just *happens* to be paintings with curses."
Laura sips from her glass of water.
"Particularly those with a track record."
"Mmm. Tell me, how do feel about, Irish names. Any favourites?"
Steele is holding a champagne bottle in one hand as picks up
and puts down another bottle. "Irish names, Irish names,
mmm," he muses, "I once knew an O'Casey I was rather
"Mmm. How about an O'Leary?"
"O'Leary?" he silently mouths but before he can answer
they both turn around in surprise as Felicia appears in the bedroom
door wearing a dressing gown.
"Remington, be a dear and fix me another one of your *fabulous*,"
Felicia stops as she sees Laura who puts her glass down. "Oh
I'm sorry, darling. I didn't realize you were expecting someone
"I'm a touch surprised myself," comments Steele trying
to gauge Laura's masked reaction.
"Miss ... Bolt isn't it?"
"Holt," corrects Laura.
"Is she here on business or did you have something wicked
in mind?" Felicia asks him.
Laura pauses, "Shame I didn't know about it sooner. Sounds
like fun, but I have my mother downstairs."
"Ooh, that's too kinky for my blood," responds Felicia,
to which Steele flinches.
"Well I, -I won't hold up the action any longer. I'll give
mother your apologies, Mr. Steele." Laura smiles then strides
purposefully for the door.
Steele gives chase after her, "Laura, would you believe
me if I said I had absolutely no idea how that woman got into
my bedroom or my bathrobe?"
He flattens himself against the wall as Laura opens the door
and says with emotion, "Not a chance!"
"Yup! Just thought I ask," says Steele as he hops on
one foot while holding the foot Laura stepped on as she left.
In the hallway, Laura leans her back against the wall clutching
her fists with a look of hurt and anger on her face. The anger
takes over and she punches the wall then walks to the lift. She
pauses to collect herself before pushing the lift button. The
door opens, and the man in the lift pulls her toward him covering
her nose and mouth with a black cloth. Laura's screams are muffled
as she tries to punch the man's arm into releasing her hand,
but she quickly collapses.
Back inside Steele's apartment Steele is following Felicia into
his bedroom. "Formidable entrance, Felicia."
"Wasn't it, though?"
"What, the front door too traditional for you?"
"Too dangerous. There are some desperate men looking for
me right now."
"So you thought you'd pop in and tell me all about it."
"Well, the evening does seem to be ours now, doesn't it?"
Felicia smiles as she lies down on the bed with an inviting smile.
Downstairs, an annoyed Abigail leaves the Rabbit and heads for
the entrance. The man who has drugged Laura is pushing a trolley
with a barrel. He signals to Mrs. Holt through the glass door,
"Miss, Miss, please, get the door." Abigail opens the
door and the man passes through. "Thanks very much."
He stops her from walking past him and points to Laura's car.
"Hey, I hate to bother you again,but is that your car out
there? I think it's blocking our van."
"My daughter parked it there." She sighs in exasperation,
"I'll move it for you."
"Thanks a lot. That's a really big help, I really appreciate
Steele, now dressed in trousers and shirt, is buttoning his cuffs
in his bathroom as Felicia looks on from the doorway. He asks
her, "So, you swindled a small fortune from this Guttman
character, is that it?"
"I had every intention of paying him back in Monte Carlo,
-with interest, but dice can be so cruel. You know, he threatened
me with rather grisly results if I didn't find a way to make
amends." She watches as he tucks his shirt into his trousers
and does up some buttons.
Steele walks to the bedroom mirror and starts tying his tie.
"Why do it with 'The Five Nudes of Cairo'? As I recall,
the insurance company we recovered it for showed their gratitude
by *not* paying us."
Felicia walks over to sit on the bureau in front of the mirror.
"Sentimental reasons. I just happen to chance upon a photograph
of the famous Remington Steele. And when the painting happened
to be in the same city ..."
She lets the words trail off as Steele bends down briefly and
finishes for her, "Kismet," before returning to his
"I knew you'd be only too willing to help if I lost my footing."
Felicia smiles up at Steele and starts to untuck his shirt.
He looks down and lightly slaps both her hands before turning
his attention back to his tie, "You know Felicia, I detect
a note of blackmail in your voice."
"Well, it sounds so tacky when you put it like that."
She stands and starts to untuck his shirt again, "Instead
why don't we simply steal the painting together again,"
she pulls him towards her as he tries re-tucks his shirt, "
Disappear to some place decadent and *brush* up on our bacchanalian
He takes her hands from his waist and moves away, "I'm afraid
I'm all whirled out these days."
Felicia is surprised at his lack of interest. She leans on the
drawers with a hand on one hip and asks in incredulity, "Well,
surely being Remington Steele can't be all that much fun?"
"You'd be surprised." Steele is now sitting on his
bed conducting the final moves with his tie.
"But I'd so hate to expose him to the world as a fraud.
What an awful flap." She sits on the bed next to Steele.
"And that lovely associate of yours? Won't she, be *crushed*
when she finds out you're not really Remington Steele?"
"Mortally, I'm sure," replies Steele giving her a sideways
"Well then, have we reached an understanding?" Felicia
puts a hand on his shoulder and lies down behind him.
"It seems you've left me with little choice." Steele
tucks his shirt into his pants and turns to look down at Felicia.
"Hardly, the choices are just beginning." She pulls
his head down and kisses him. When the kiss ends she looks puzzled.
"You know, darling, if I didn't know you better I'd say
some woman's finally caught you by the heart."
"What makes you say a ridiculous thing like that?"
"Well you hardly seemed glad to see me at all. But it's
not just that. There's a new feel about you, as if you've been
"What?" Steele quickly asks.
"Smitten." Felicia is surprised at her response.
Before they can talk any more the doorbell buzzes. "Excuse
me," says Steele, looking equally surprised as Felicia,
who remains on the bed, puzzled.
Steele sorts out the sleeves on a vest as he walks to the door
opening it to see Mrs. Holt whom he greets. "Abigail!"
Mrs. Holt walks straight in. "I like to consider myself
a patient person, Mr. Steele, but if Laura thinks she can *leave*
me SITTING down there by myself..."
"You mean she not with you?" Steele is worried.
The man who has drugged Laura drags the container from the back
of a van. An older, slightly portly man looks on. "Well,
Felicia, you disappoint me. First you fail to deliver the painting
on time and then you go running to a *famous* detective."
The younger man lifts the lid as the older man looks into the
container. "You fool! This is not her!"
"Oh no, Guttman. You're not getting out of paying me this
"But you've snatched the wrong WOMAN."
"You told me to grab the woman in Steele's apartment, right?
Well, this woman came out of *that* apartment," he thrusts
the container onto its side, "and I grabbed her."
Laura slowly comes to, lying half-out of the container. The older
man walks to stand over her. "I should know better than
to hire a man who pumps iron for a living." He slams one
of the back doors on the van shut.
"Hey, my body is my temple, so you just lay off."
"Well this is not Felicia but she might know something.
I want you to make her talk."
"Well, that will cost you extra."
"No, it won't," pipes in a groggy Laura who is slowly
rising to her feet using the back of the van as leverage, "I'll
just, call a cab or -something."
"Grab her, Sherman," instructs the older man. Laura
cries out when the younger man puts an arm against her throat.
Before he can pull her back Laura starts to cough and wheeze.
Sherman looks at Laura, "I don't know. She can't breathe."
"Well, get her some water." Sherman runs off as Laura
sits in the back of the van. She continues to struggle for breathe
but manages to point to her throat and then her handbag, "My
As the man bends down to retrieve her handbag, Laura opens the
van door that was closed hitting the man on the head, knocking
him into a truck parked in the closed garage. She quickly stands
and runs down the inside of the van and starts the engine.
The portly man recovers yelling out, "SHERMAN!"
Sherman runs to the van trying to open the driver's door but
Laura screeches the van into motion, smashing through the shut
garage door. The van stops and she hops out and runs out into
what appears to be a truck yard. Sherman staggers through the
crashed door but fails to see in which direction she went.
In Laura's living room, Mrs. Holt walks in carrying a large teapot.
"Laura has always been a very sensitive girl. My middle
one." Steele, sitting in an armchair, holds out a tea cup
which she fills. "We had a fight in the car on the way over
and," she raises her free hand in resignation, "I guess
that's why she left." Abigail pours her own tea before sitting
down facing Steele.
"Mmm. I'm afraid she was rather out of sorts with me, as
well," he says.
"Ah, I remember one time we thought she'd run away from
"But you found her."
"Yes, in the laundry hamper." Steele starts to turn
around, "I already checked," Abigail informs him before
continuing. "I hope you don't take this the wrong way, Mr.
Steele, but the truth is, I just cannot bear to tell Laura's
grandmother what she really does."
"No? What do you tell her instead?"
"That's she's a dental assistant. With great prospects of
marriage." Abigail looks unsure, "Is that awful of
me, to create a complete fiction about someone, like that?"
"Sounds more like a family trait," comments Steele
as Abigail looks at him quizzically.
Laura comes in the front door. "I did it." She is ecstatic
and laughs, "I got away!"
Abigail and Steele look at each other then proceed to the hall.
Laura takes her coat off, "Pay the cab driver! What's here?"
She lifts a teapot from a table near the door and peers into
it as she starts to walk to the hall, "What have I got?"
She looks up and sees she is not alone. "Mother!" She
pulls herself up when she sees Steele, "Mr. Steele."
Steele is looking at Laura bemused while her mother looks aghast,
"Laura, look at YOU!"
Laura ignores her mother's tone and walks towards her, "Mother,
you should have SEEN me," she puts an arm around her mother
to lead her into the living room, throwing Steele a glare, "I
Abigail is not impressed, "Laura, Mr. Steele was kind enough
to ask us to dinner. You DISAPPEAR for over two hours, show up
looking like this and call it brilliant? Well I certainly don't."
She turns and walks into Laura's bedroom.
Steele leans against the wall to let her pass and stays there
as Laura starts to follow Abigail, "Mother, you don't understand!"
Laura turns around in frustration and throws her hand out against
the wall, "DAMN!" Her hand narrowly misses Steele's
He looks down at her concerned, "Try to be patient with
her, Laura. It's more than she expects from a dental assistant."
"WHAT?" Laura has no idea to what he is referring.
The doorbell rings, "The cab driver." Laura goes to
the door and gives the cabbie some money, "Here, keep the
As she shuts the door Steele asks her, "You had some sort
of mishap. Are you all right?"
Laura turns to him, "I was kidnapped by someone named GUTTMAN
coming out of your apartment."
Steele cannot look her in the eye, "I knew we shouldn't
have accepted this case."
"What do you know about this?" Laura pushes him against
the wall in the entrance and points the finger on one hand into
his chest while the other hand pokes him with the teapot's spout.
"But it's not too late. We could still drop it and take
off for a brief vacation. New Zealand perhaps?"
"*I* asked you a question."
They start to talk over each other.
"Who is this Guttman ..."
"Now, Laura, it's important that you not jump to any hasty
"... and what does he know about this woman Felicia?"
"This is a most *dangerous* situation ..."
"I nearly got my NECK BROKEN TONIGHT ..."
"... and mutual trust is absolutely essential for us all
to survive in one piece."
"... so don't think you can out of it by giving me some
"... so please try to have a LITTLE FAITH!"
They both stop at the sound of three steady knocks on the front
door. Steele opens the door as Laura stands back holding up the
teapot pointing the spout at the door. She gasps as they see
Khalil slumped against the doorframe.
"Khalil," says Steele looking at the man's ill state.
Khalil mutters, "It's the curse," before collapsing
in the doorway.
Laura and Steele watch him fall over the threshold and then look
at each other. They both squat by Khalil and Laura asks, "Is
Steele feels for a pulse but finds none. "I'm afraid so."
"Laura?" Abigail calls out as she opens the bedroom
"Oh God! This isn't happening." Laura's voice has gone
up an octave. "My mother's NOT going to find a dead body
in my house." She shoves the teapot into Steele's hands,
takes a deep breath and goes to the bedroom leaving Steele at
"Hello, mother," Laura puts both hands on mother's
shoulders and moves her back into the bedroom shutting the door.
Abigail is apologetic, "Laura, I'm sorry I lost my head
a moment ago. But ah, not, -not that I forgive your behaviour
but it was wrong of me to say so in front of your employer."
"That's all right, mother," assures Laura.
"I know, but I feel I owe Mr. Steele an apology as well."
"Oh no. It *really* isn't necessary," says Laura shaking
"I think it is."
"But Mr. Steele is with a client right now."
"Here? At this hour?" Abigail doesn't believe Laura.
"Ah, he just- dropped in."
"Well, it will only take a moment," Abigail pats Laura
on the cheek as she opens the door, "I'm sure he'll understand."
Laura throws up her arms in dread, "Mother!"
Her mother walks into the living room with Laura following gingerly
behind. Abigail stops, surprised to see Steele talking to man
sitting in an armchair with its high back facing her and holding
a lighted cigarette.
"Fascinating piece of evidence, Achmed, hmm?" comments
Steele. He looks up as he notices the two women. "Ah, Abigail,
Laura." Laura is wide-eyed as he asks, "Is there something
I can do for you?"
"No. No, no. I just wanted to apologize for my little outburst
a while ago," says Abigail.
"Barely remembered it. Would you care to join us?"
Laura throws Steele a 'what are you doing?' look. Abigail replies,
"No. It's been a *very* difficult evening. I think I'll
just turn in. Good night, Mr. Steele. Good night, dear."
Abigail touches cheeks with Laura, who is still in shock but
manages to utter, "Good night, mother."
Abigail starts to the bedroom but turns around, "Oh and
ah, good night to you Mr..."
"Khalil," supplies Steele.
"Sleep well." Abigail then returns to the bedroom and
shuts the door. Laura lets out the breath she has been holding
and slumps against the wall as we see the dead Khalil in the
armchair with his arm propped up to hold the cigarette. She looks
at Steele with a questioning look. He turns to Khalil and asks
him, "Pardon?" before returning to look at Laura with
The next morning Laura walks into the office and is met by an
agitated Bernice who puts out an arm to stop Laura. "I hope
you know what's going on because our *titular* head 'phoned me
at six this morning with a *hell* of a shopping list." Bernice
gives Laura a pad and Murphy walks out from his office as she
continues, "Look at that. A hundred feet of nylon rope,
six pounds of marbles .."
"A spear-gun?" questions Laura, not sure if she's reading
"He told me to go out and rent a dark station wagon with
a big engine," adds Murphy.
Laura hands the pad back to Bernice and asks Murphy, "Have
you come up with anything more on the museum staff?"
"So far they all check out okay."
"And what about the assistant curator?"
"She's only worked for the museum a couple of months. I'd
have to dig a littler deeper."
"What am I looking for?"
"Felicia. And see what you can find out about someone named
Guttman," instructs Laura as she walks to Steele's office.
Murphy looks at Bernice then asks, "How long are you going
to let this go on, Laura?"
"I don't know."
Inside his office Steele is sitting at his desk studying an architectural
blueprint. Laura enters, closes the door and walks to his desk,
Steele doesn't look up from the plans. "If it's about Khalil,
don't be. The police found him in a 'phone booth. Not far from
where you live, actually."
"Thank you. But that doesn't really alter the situation."
"Which, ah, situation is that?"
Laura leans both hands on the desk, "I'm no longer sure
our arrangement is in the best interests of this agency."
Steele looks up from the plans, "We're close to that point,
"Is there anyway back from the edge?" he asks moving
around the desk to stand in front of Laura.
"You MIGHT try an explanation of your actions."
"Suppose I said I was only out to protect the good of the
agency." He sits on the edge of the desk.
"I wish I could believe that, keep trying."
"How about- an old lover, in desperate trouble has suddenly
reappeared and is blackmailing me into criminal behaviour."
Laura turns away frustrated. "Maybe this was a bad idea."
She faces him again, "Are you really telling me the truth?"
she asks, unsure but wanting to believe him.
"I think I'm trying."
"Well I think I need *more* than that. Something, some statement
or gesture that indicates you appreciate the gravity of this
"How about stealing the painting with me tonight?"
"That wasn't it," says Laura with a dejected look.
"This can't be it," comments Murphy. It is night, and
he and Laura are sitting in a large, black station wagon.
"Look, I know it sounds twisted, but it does make a certain
amount of sense."
Murphy is not convinced, "Laura, we were hired to *catch*
"And the thief is after the painting, so if we have it,
then the thief is forced to come to us." Laura is trying
to reassure herself of the reasoning.
"But what if HE'S the THIEF."
"Then I'd be the last person he'd ask to help him, right?"
She looks to Murphy for confirmation.
"Well, who knows with this guy? I mean, you said yourself
"Well, I can't very well go to the museum or the police
and tell them we suspect the head of our *own* agency now, can
I? At least this way, I know what he's doing and where the painting
"Look, just don't turn your back on him."
Steele crouches down by Laura's window, "Turn back? Nonsense.
We're right on schedule. Ready?" He opens the car door for
Laura and she walks to the museum as he bends back down to give
Murphy instructions, "Keep the engine warm and the eyes
sharp, old chap."
Murphy reaches across the passenger seat and grabs Steele's arm,
"I know *exactly* what to do, old chap. And so help me,
if you split one hair too many and I'll do it."
"Nice to know the backup's there," Steele replies calmly.
A guard walks past a darkened doorway on the outside of the museum.
Laura's voice is heard, "How do we get in? The roof? The
window? The sub-basement?"
Laura and Steele poke their heads around the doorway as he tells
her, "I thought the service entrance would be simpler."
He holds up a key, "A little going away present from Khalil."
Once inside they turn into a corridor and hide behind a statute
when they hear a guard approaching. After he passes Laura observes,
"They've put on a lot of extra guards."
Steele is thoughtful, "Hmm. That just may come in handy.
Come on." They walk to the start of the corridor the thief
entered in the opening scenes.
"There's the alarm box," points out Laura.
"We'll never get through that in time."
"Maybe we'd better take a rain check on this." Laura
is starting to lose her nerve but Steele is scouting out the
surroundings and notices an air-conditioning vent on a far wall.
"Hand me that spear-gun," he instructs Laura who looks
blankly at him.
"Spear-gun?" Laura looks down at the bag.
The same guard from the opening scenes is flossing and checking
his bite in a mirror as Steele aims and shoots a spear-gun to
the air-conditioning vent. A metal tip lands in the vent and
Laura sighs in relief. Steele hands the end of the rope attached
to the metal tip in the vent to her and says, "Here, pull
this through. Gently." As she follows his orders, a grappling
hook is conveyed along the length or rope. When it reaches the
vent, it collapses as is pulled through the grate only to re-open
and secure itself on the inside. Steele secures the other end
of the rope around the top of a statue as Laura remarks, "You've
done this before, haven't you?"
"What makes you think that?" He stands and Laura passes
him the bag of equipment. He licks the tips of his gloved hands
and then slides down the makeshift flying-fox, landing away from
the sensor lights in the floor. Laura slides down the rope and
into his arms, "Stimulating, wasn't it?" he asks sliding
her down his body to the floor.
"Different. Shall we continue?" She smiles up at him,
beginning to enjoy their adventure.
"I was hoping you'd say that."
A guard with a torch walks past the end of the corridor with
the flashing laser beams. Behind the base of a statue Steele
and Laura are sitting on the floor against the wall. Steele is
holding a small, stainless steel thermos. As he undoes the lid
Laura asks, "What's that?"
"An excellent cognac. Care for a touch?"
"No, I couldn't."
Steele has a drink and they hear a guard walk close by. "Well,
maybe just a touch," says Laura taking the thermos from
"To our first time, eh?"
She quickly swallows from the thermos, "To our only time.
I don't intend to make this a frequent aspect of our work."
She hands the thermos back to him.
"Pity, really. There are so few forms of true intimacy left."
"This isn't a *date*, you know."
He pauses, "Certainly beats a night in the laundry hamper."
Laura stops and then looks at him with a slightly worried look
before asking, "How are we going to get through those lasers?
I'm sure they've re-shielded that other alarm as well."
She stops as Steele hands her a small, green, fuzzy wind-up toy
with a metal hook nose and eyeballs on small metal springs jutting
from the creature's body.
"I thought we'd ask the monsters to escort us." Laura
takes the toy and he hands her a small key instructing her to,
She hesitates and then takes the key and starts winding, rolling
her eyes heavenwards.
In his office the guard with the false teeth is on the telephone,
"No sir, I'm not playing my radio anymore. Yes sir, everything
is fine sir. Right. Okay." He hangs up the telephone, "Nobody
stifles Stakosovky." He hears an electronic noise and grabs
his flashlight before rushing into the hallway. He takes a step
back when his torch shines on Steele's 'toys'. The guard goes
back into his room and turns the switch to deactivate the laser
beams before running back into the corridor to follow the trail
of the 'toys' to their source - behind the statute where Laura
and Steele were hiding. Seeing no-one there, the guard continues
down the corridor. From the opposite direction Steele and Laura
walk past the swarm of toys with Laura stopping to right a toy
Steele has knocked over as he walked through. Again they hide
from a guard by crouching behind a statue.
"Won't they start searching for someone now?" asks
"Eventually. But most museum guards hesitate to report an
army of little green monsters marching at them. Looks bad on
Laura is impressed, "You know, you're *very* good at this."
"I think you just made my evening. And here was I beginning
to think you didn't like me."
"I do. Some."
"But not all?" Steele looks at his watch.
"Only the parts I know."
"And the parts you don't?"
Laura looks at him, "They frighten me a little."
"Fear can be a most intoxicating brew."
"Promise me something."
"Never tell my mother about this."
A guard calls out, "Hey, Flick! Come here. Get a look at
Steele places a hand on Laura's arm to caution her, "I truly
hate for this to end but I think it's time we parted company."
"What!" Laura is alarmed.
"I'm still guessing about the alarm around the painting
itself. If I'm wrong and it goes off I may need you in another
room to create a diversion."
"But don't you want any help to get around it or something?"
"I suspect it's some sort of *heat* sensitive device."
He smiles, "In which case, ah, two warm bodies will only
set it off that much faster."
Laura is not sure, "I really think we should stay together."
"You almost sound as if you didn't trust me," says
Steele who then moves off leaving Laura behind.
Several guards are in Stakosovky's office as he speaks into the
telephone, "No sir, now look, I, I ,I I, have *not* been
drinking. Now the other guys can verify that." He looks
around the room at the guards holding the 'toys' looking for
an affirmation, "Right?" The guards remain silent so
he asks again, "RIGHT?"
Steele enters the room with the 'Nudes', "Hello again, my
lovelies." He kneels in front of them and removes what looks
like a small fire-extinguisher before looking up at them. "Do
try and be gentle with me this time." He then extracts a
thin metal rod with a coiled cord, elongates it and points the
tip at the floor. An electric static sound is heard. Steele sprays
the extinguisher on the floor before taking a step and pointing
the metal rod again. Following this procedure he reaches the
painting. "Cover up ladies, you're liable to catch a chill."
He starts to spray around the painting's frame.
Laura starts to move from her hiding place behind the statue.
Steele uses a small knife to remove the painting from its frame,
"I was always a cut above the rest, don't you think?"
he asks the 'ladies'.
Laura continues down the corridor sans laser beams as Steele
rolls the canvas, now freed from the frame. He removes a cloth
tube from around his neck and inserts the canvas into it.
Stakosovky is still on the telephone, "Ah, no sir, I ah,
*didn't* turn off the alarm." He reaches down and turns
a switch. The laser beams re-appear and Laura is caught amongst
them. She starts to run and Stakosovky puts down the telephone,
"Come on you guys." The guards rush out of the office,
"Get out there! Now, spread out, will you."
Steele quickly removes his black jacket to reveal he is wearing
a guard's uniform.
Laura sprints down a corridor followed by two guards yelling
Steele just manages to do up his jacket when a guard comes into
the room. Steele turns around, "Quick, they've got the painting.
Follow them. They went out that way." He walks out of the
room in the opposite direction to which he pointed the guard.
Laura's flight is stopped as she runs into Steele. Stakosovky
comes up next to them as two guards approach from behind. Stakosovky
says, "Well, well. We caught one. Now go turn off the alarm."
One of the guards heads off.
"But I can explain everything," cries out Laura.
"Oh sure, I've got somebody who wants to listen to that
story too," says Stakosovky as he and the remaining guard
lead her away. Steele remains where he is until Stakosovky notices
him, "Hey, you, go check the grounds. There might be another
one." Steele slowly moves, resting his hand on a waist-high
amphora vase complete with lid in the middle of the corridor.
"HEY! GET GOING!" orders Stakosovky. Laura looks behind
her but doesn't give away Steele as she tries to shrugs off the
guards' restraining hands. As the guards continue to escort Laura
she glances back as Steele turns and walks away.
Laura and her mother are leaving a police station. "Thank
you for posting the bail," Laura tells mother.
"I fed your fish. And your refrigerator was half-full so
I, picked up some things at the supermarket and there were some
messages on your machine."
"MOTHER! I just spent the night in jail!" Laura, exasperated,
stops walking and turns to Abigail.
"That would have been all right in the sixties. *Everyone's*
children went to jail in the sixties!"
"MY TIMING IS LOUSY."
"Are you all right?" Abigail's concern is evident.
"I mean, I ... I have *read* about women in prison."
Laura eyes widen in horror at her mother's comment as Murphy
runs up to them, "Laura! Sorry I didn't get here any sooner,
but I spent the night looking for -somebody."
"Hello, Murphy," says Abigail.
"Hello, Mrs. Holt," he replies Murphy then asks Laura,
"Are you all right?"
"I think so," reply Laura and her mother in unison.
Murphy turns back to look at Abigail until Laura asks him hesitantly,
"This someone you're looking for ... you don't mean..."
"I told you this was going to happen. He set us up,"
nods Murphy with an 'I told you so' half-smile.
"Who?" asks Abigail.
"Maybe ..." starts Laura searching for some rationale.
"Maybe? No. He's gone, Laura. How much more do you need?"
"There might *still* be a good explanation," reasons
Laura with a touch of emotion in her voice.
"For what?" asks Abigail who has been following Murphy
and Laura's exchange, at a loss.
"What are you protecting him for?" asks Murphy.
"I'm only thinking of the agency!"
"So you keep telling me. Just what exactly went on in there
"Ah! You know about women in prison too, don't you,"
states Abigail, sure she now has a grip on the conversation.
Murphy, puzzled, pulls slightly back.
"Miss Holt," Edward Coxworth approaches the trio, "Since
midnight, I've been trying without success to reach Mr. Steele.
*You*, on the other hand, are painfully easy to locate."
"Mr. Coxworth, I assure you there is a good, a *very* good
explanation for this."
"Explanation? My curator has been murdered. A painting worth
several million dollars has disappeared and the exhibit around
it is set to open in a few hours." The man is not happy.
"I assure you the agency is doing *everything* in its' power
"Power? You and that agency, Miss Holt, are in no position
to assure anything. What your actions lack in competence they
may yet make up for by being criminal!"
"I BEG your pardon," starts Abigail as Murphy tries
to stop her by placing a hand on her shoulder, "How dare
you talk to her like that? I mean, Laura may have her faults,
but she's INCOMPETENT and she is CERTAINLY not a criminal!"
Murphy points to Abigail and pleads with a look for Laura to
stop her mother's spiel.
"Who is this woman?" Edward is perplexed.
"Mother," tries Laura but to no avail as Abigail continues.
"She is an intelligent and capable young woman ..."
"Mother," tries Laura again as Murphy continues his
"... and whatever your problems may be, they give you no
call to slander her."
" ... There are *laws* against that ,you know.."
"MOTHER, PLEASE!" Laura's yell stops Abigail in her
tracks, but she glares at her daughter.
"Mr. Coxworth," starts Laura, "You hired Mr. Steele
because of his impeccable reputation."
Edward looks directly at Abigail, "That was before I knew
he took on relatives."
Laura is struggling to maintain her composure, "I *still*
suggest that you should reserve judgment until Mr. Steele PERSONALLY
can present us with all the facts." When she finishes, Laura
gives Murphy a worried look.
Steele is in a telephone booth looking at a plastic wrapped leather
wallet as he talks, "Never mind who this is. If the department
is interested in finding Khalil's murderer, you'll proceed at
once to the address I gave you. His name is Guttman, and his
car is a silver four-door of a German persuasion." Steele
looks across the road to the car he is describing parked in a
driveway. "In it you'll find some of Khalil's personal effects.
If not the murder weapon itself." Steele hangs up the telephone
and bangs it in an unsuccessful bid to retrieve his coin. He
then crosses the road and sits in the driver's seat. As he is
leaning down to place the wallet on the floor of the seat a gun
is pressed against his cheek. "Funny, I could have sworn
this was my car." Sherman is holding the gun, smiling and
shaking his head, as Steele tries to extract himself from the
situation, "Ah well, my mistake."
He starts to leave the car, but Sherman shifts the gun and stops
him, "Uh uh."
Guttman walks up the car and sits in the back seat, "Well,
Mr. Steele, when dealing with 'The Five Nudes of Cairo' one can't
be too careful."
"So I gathered," acknowledges Steele.
"You called and promised me the painting. But it doesn't
seem to be in your apartment. Let's *all* go some place quiet.
You don't mind driving, do you?"
"I prefer to walk, actually," Steele moves to open
the car door, but has a restraining hand put on his shoulder.
"But I'm flexible. Fasten your seat-belts, please,"
says Steele as he starts the car.
Laura and her mother walk through the office's main door as the
latter is talking, "I mean, do you have any idea what Mr.
Steele might say if he hears about this?"
Laura ignores her mother and asks Bernice, "Nothing?"
"Not on this end," Bernice is ready to leave, "Murphy
still out looking?"
"I put some fresh clothes in your office."
"Right." Laura looks worried.
"I'll go back to his apartment and check. And there's someone
here from the museum to see you."
"Oh, not another one," Laura is disappointed.
"Now Laura, if it's from the museum," says Abigail
as she puts a reassuring hand on Laura's shoulder.
"Mother, please, please." Abigail sighs and turns away
as Laura walks Bernice to the door. "Look, ah, call in every
hour no matter what, all right?"
Bernice is concerned for her friend, "If we don't find him
that's it for us, isn't it?"
"You really think he's gone for good, too?" asks Laura
still not wanting to believe it.
"Hey, me I'm not worried about. All I'll lose is a job."
She rubs Laura's arm in support before leaving.
Laura looks despondent but draws herself up and heads for Steele's
office. She walks in and is surprised to find Felicia sitting
on the desk sipping from a glass of red wine. "Miss Simone.
Or should I say Felicia."
"Well then, I guess he's told you everything."
"We-elll, not exactly everything."
"You know I came here looking for a blue ribbon cat-fight,
but now there hardly seems much point in all that scratching
and spitting. I only tried the blackmail gambit because I needed
his help so badly."
"To steal the painting."
"It was the only way to get Guttman off my back. The truth
is, I never would have exposed him."
"You mean as Michael O'Leary."
"Ohh, that's not his real name."
Laura is suddenly animated, "You know what it is?"
"I doubt there is anyone who knows that, BUT if across some
satin pillow he should happen to tell *you*, I'll expect a telegram.
That much you can let me have."
"I don't think you understand. Ours is purely .."
"Oh I understand all right, " Felicia cuts in, "He
stood *me* up to steal the painting with *you*." Felicia
gives a half-laugh, "Strange. You never struck me as his
Laura looks disappointed, "Me neither."
In the background the telephone rings and Abigail, sitting at
the reception desk answers it. "Hello."
Steele, tied by his feet and hanging upside down from a warehouse
roof with Guttman standing beside him holding the telephone,
asks, "Miss Wolfe?"
"No, she stepped out. Can I help you?"
"Abigail? Is that you?"
"Ah, Mr. Steele."
"Abigail, is Laura there?"
"No, she's in a meeting."
"Interrupt her. It's important that I speak to her right
"The painting," reminds Guttman in an insist tone.
"If it's about her being in jail last night, Mr. Steele,"
starts Abigail, "I just want you to know that nothing like
this has ever happened before. And what ever went wrong, I know
that she meant well. It's been a very difficult evening and I
just don't want you to be upset with her."
"I'm not upset with her, Abigail. It's about the painting."
"All right. I'll buzz her. Do you know which button to push?"
"No, I'm afraid I don't. I don't mean to rush you, Abigail,
but if .."
Guttman takes the telephone away from Steele, "Tell her
to bring it to seventy-two forty-nine Hammett Street."
"Did you say something?" asks Abigail. "Would
you just hold on and I'll go get her for you."
Guttman has returned the telephone for Steele to speak, "Abigail,
tell Laura to watch out ..." Guttman hangs up the telephone.
"You've already been clever enough for one day, Steele.
Or are you in a rush to join Achmed Khalil?"
"He rubbed you the wrong way, did he?"
"He discovered Felicia had lied about her past to become
his assistant. He was going to report her to the authorities.
We couldn't let him do that."
"Do suppose we could continue this conversation with me
the right side up? Hmm?" asks Steele hopefully.
The Rabbit is seen driving down an industrial street. Laura is
reading the street address, "Seventy-two forty-nine."
The car stops. "What the *hell* is he doing here?"
she asks as she and Felicia leave the car and enter the door
of the warehouse.
"Are you sure this is where he said to meet him?" asks
Felicia. They are walking down a corridor with wooden crates
stacked ceiling high either side.
"Not completely. Mother wasn't sure she heard it clearly."
"Well, I think it's really sweet asking your mother to work
with you like that. I could never do it."
They walk around a corner and Laura sees Steele, now hanging
the right-way up tied by his hands but very still with his head
bowed down. "Oh my God." Both women run up to Steele,
"Good heavens!" says Felicia pulling Steele around
to face her.
"Oh Laura, Felicia."
"We thought for a moment you were ..." trails off Felicia.
"Just resting actually," says Steele.
Guttman walks from behind one of the crates pointing a gun. "So
glad you could join us ladies. You bought the others with you,
I trust." Laura realizes they've walked into a trap.
At the office, the telephone rings and Abigail picks it up and
listens. "Ah, hello, Laura. No. They're not back yet. Did
you find him all right? All right. I'll, I'll go look."
She puts the telephone down on the desk and walks into Steele's
office. She kneels on the couch and reaches down behind its'
back pulling up a cylindrical cardboard container. She walks
to the telephone on Steele's desk and pushes a button, "Ah,
yes dear. I found it. What should I do now?"
At the warehouse Steele is still hanging by his hands and Felicia
has her hands on his waist as she leans her head against his
body and gently rocks him. Laura is standing to the side looking
slightly uncomfortable as Felicia reminisces, "You know,
I'll miss you feeding me strawberries on the Riviera. The wild
drives with the top down on the autobahn." She stops and
looks at Laura, "He's shown the mastery of his Tibetan massage,
"Not recently," replies Laura.
"There's no point in trying to make Miss Holt jealous, Felicia.
Ours is a purely *professional* relationship," says Steele.
"She tried to tell me the same thing," says Felicia.
"A necessary posture for clients, I suppose. Well, assuming
we all walk away from this, I'll keep your little secret to myself."
"Laura?" Abigail is heard calling out, "Are you
"Mother, don't come any further! Just leave the painting
and, and, and LEAVE."
"What, dear?" Abigail walks around the corner and Guttman
rushes up to her before she notices him. They struggle as Guttman
wrestles the cylindrical container from her hands, "Let
go of me! I, I, I beg your pardon!" Guttman finally grabs
the container and shoves Abigail towards Laura.
"Oh, Mother. Oh, I'm so sorry you had to get dragged into
Abigail notices Sherman. "Laura, that man."
"He was at Mr. Steele's apartment. He's the one I moved
the car for."
Guttman opens the container and pulls out a blank canvas. He
throws it down in disgust and walks towards them. "Your
foolishness has exhausted my patience, Steele!"
"You didn't like the painting?" asks Steele.
"Obviously, I'll have to kill again to get it. Sherman,
take your pick."
Sherman releases the catch on the gun and Abigail starts to hyperventilate.
"Mother? Mother!" Laura follows Abigail, patting her
on the back, as she kneels to the ground.
"You don't expect us to fall for that twice."
"But she's NOT FAKING! She needs her INHALER! Oh!"
Laura dashes for her mother's handbag, but Guttman stops her
forcing her back.
"No-one moves. I want that painting," demands Guttman,
looking at Steele.
Laura stands, "You son-of-a-" and hits Guttman in the
face with her handbag. He falls back and crashes through the
side of a wooden container.
Sherman follows Guttman's trajectory, "Hey!" Steele
swings around and wraps his legs around Sherman's neck, forcing
him to drop the gun. Felicia bends down and picks up the weapon
aiming it between the now unconscious Guttman and Sherman who
is struggling to escape Steele's grip.
"I wouldn't resist any further, gentlemen. Felicia is rather
a good shot," advises Steele.
Laura runs and picks up her mother's handbag, handing her the
ventilator, which Abigail grabs and starts to inhale. Laura looks
on worriedly, "Oh, mother, I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry. I'm
Abigail finally catches her breath. "Oh, oh don't be, don't
be darling," she pulls Laura to her, "It's all right.
I mean, now I know what you REALLY do."
At the museum a security guard is walking behind Laura, Steele
and Edward Coxworth. The latter asks, "If Miss Holt doesn't
have it and neither do you, where is the painting?"
"In the museum," replies Steele, "where it belongs,
of course." They walk to the amphora vase in the middle
of the corridor. Steele starts to lift the lid as Laura worriedly
tries to stop him. Steele reaches his hand into the vase and
lifts out the cloth tube containing the painting. He watches
Laura as he removes the cloth tube from the painting and passes
it to Edward. Laura meets his gaze before, seeing Edward inspecting
the canvas, which he then passes to the security guard, "Quickly.
Get it into its frame. There is still a chance we can make the
opening." Steele tosses the cloth tube to the security guard
Edward looks at Laura, "But I don't understand. If you knew
where the painting was, why didn't you say something?"
"Well ..." starts Laura only to be cut off by Steele's
"Too risky. Guttman had to believe the picture was in our
possession or else he never would have come forward."
"For you to catch him," concludes Edward.
"Actually, Miss Holt is responsible for that. Umm, I was
indisposed at the time."
Edward turns to Laura, "Well, either way, I, I must apologize
for being so hard on you at the police station." He shakes
Laura's hand and then Steele's. "Now, if you will excuse
me, there are several million things to be done."
Edward leaves them as Laura looks at Steele. "I'm afraid
I've been a bit hard on someone myself."
"Nonsense. Your mother's a strong woman, she'll get over
Laura pauses, "But you could have kept the painting and
disappeared. What made you decide to leave it in the museum?"
"You're not serious? I don't want 'The Five Nudes of Cairo'.
The picture's got a bloody curse on it!"
Laura starts to smile at him.