“Hearts And Flowers”
January 30, 1994
Tight shot on a beautiful bird of paradise bloom...the camera pans out to reveal a lush, tropical garden—a riot of color, framed by a few palm trees. In the distance, we hear a voice...the camera follows it, gliding over a rock waterfall to a sparkling blue swimming pool.
Lounging on a chaise, next to the pool, is a man, wearing sunglasses and Hawaiian-print bathing trunks. His ample stomach rises impressively out of the trunks. A heavy gold chain nestles in his chest hair, while a signet ring winks from one pinky. The man holds a cordless phone to one ear, with a distinct look of annoyance.
Man: A week? You can’t have it for me for a week?
There is a garbled defense coming from the other end of the line.
Man: So they grow slow...I know! Listen, I’ve got investors coming from Japan on the 10th...and they’d better be here by then!
Man: All right—well, see to it that you do!
He punches the ‘Off’ button on the phone much harder than necessary, and turns to a waiting servant, who offers him an umbrella cocktail.
Man: Swear to God...these people...
Blue Moon Investigations
David Addison’s Office
January 30, 1994
David sits in his chair, the phone to his ear, making notes on a yellow legal pad. In spite of tired, bloodshot eyes, his demeanor is intense…businesslike…in other words, not very David.
David: Yeah, that’s right…one of those corner deals. Mmm-hmm...soup to nuts. (He chuckles, then a pause) That’d be good…yep…(another pause) No, I’ll be providing that—I just need you guys to handle the ambiance.
A knock sounds on the door.
David: (covering phone receiver) For Pete’s sake...whoever you are...haul your ashes in here!
Agnes enters, holding some messages.
David: (into phone) Well, this is a VIE…Very Important Event. (Pause) Yep, that should about do it. OK, thanks…see you then.
He hangs up the phone and turns to Agnes.
David: All right, Mrs. Viola, who’s hunting me down now?
Agnes flips through the message slips.
Agnes: Let’s see…here’s one from Dora’s Flora, Ms. Hayes’ hairdresser, Mr. Turturice ….and Drive You Crazy?
David: A limo company.
Agnes: Is all this for a case, Mr. Addison?
David: You could say that…a case of the blues, Agnes.
Agnes: Uh-oh…let me guess. Ms. Hayes?
David: Yes, indeed.
Agnes: (sympathetically) Is it the baby?
David: Yes…and no. She keeps telling me she just doesn’t feel like herself. She’s exhausted, has no energy, wants to shoot someone if she sees another load of laundry…
Agnes: (nodding sagely) Very common.
David: And Ellie—she’s going through…something. Every day from 8:00 until midnight, she gives a concert: Screaming Baby in A Minor. We can’t figure it out—she doesn’t want to eat, doesn’t want any of her toys, and especially doesn’t want to be put down.
Agnes: What does the doctor say?
David: That it’ll pass…ha! Easy for him to say—he’s not having to order the Loud N Clear off of QVC.
Agnes knows the doctor is probably right; she also knows David is in no mood to hear it. She pulls out one last message slip.
Agnes: This one’s from Mrs. Bishop, returning your call.
David looks up from a gloomy contemplation of his desk blotter, taking the message from Agnes, who exits the room, closing the door—softly—behind her. David picks up the phone and dials.
Terri: (OS) Well, if it isn’t my old partner-in-Lamaze. Haven’t seen you around much lately—I always seem to be leaving your place just before you get home. How’s daddyhood?
David: It’s a dream—though I wish we were doing a little more dreaming.
Terri: Not sleeping so much, huh?
David: Not sleeping so much, uh-huh. Ellie’s decided she wants to make an early start on training for the opera...and let me tell you, her verbal range is impressive.
Terri: Oh, dear. No wonder I hadn’t heard from Maddie in a while—she must be exhausted.
David: Got it in one. Which is why I’m planning kind of a special shindig and I need your help: I want to give Maddie an afternoon out…hair done, new dress, the works. Then I’m gonna sweep her away to the Inn of the Seventh Ray.
Terri: (whistling) That’s some romantic real estate, Addison. Hoping to get lucky?
David: Naw, I’m already luckier than a chump like me has a right to be. I just want to give her a little getaway. So…
Terri: Sounds great. Where do I come in?
David: Well, I’ll be covering the afternoon, but I need someone to take care of Ellie in the evening. We’ve never left her before, so I thought Maddie would be more comfortable with an experienced mom in charge.
Terri: Let me guess: I’m the experienced mom?
David: Bingo! (Excitedly) Oh, this is gonna be great! I’ll need you from about 5:30—
David: Our reservations are at 6:30, so we should be done around—
Terri: I haven’t said I’ll do it yet.
David: (bats his eyelashes and pleads) Aw—but you will, right? We’ll be home before the Holler-lujah Chorus starts.
Terri: (chuckling) Of course. I’d love to have little Ellie for the evening…she and Melanie and I can sit around painting each other’s toenails. Is it this Saturday?
David: No—two weeks from Saturday. (Proudly) I’m planning ahead.
Terri: Two weeks? Where’s ol’ Devil-May-Care David? Ad-lib Addison?
David: It’s tough to ad-lib when you’ve got an eleven-pound dictator in the house.
Terri: Been there! OK, let me see…wait a minute. That’s February 14.
David: You got it, sister.
Terri: David…that’s Valentine’s Day.
David: Why do you think I’m putting this together ahead of time? Yep…the ol’ feast of St. Valentine. V-Day…Victory Day, if you’re lucky. VD if you’re not.
We can practically hear Terri rolling her eyes over the phone.
Terri: Well, as much as I’d love to help you out…I’m afraid I can’t.
David: (taps phone) You—what? Sorry—you’re not coming through clearly. I thought you said you can’t.
Terri: That is what I said.
David: Awww, Terri, come on. Be a pal. Besides, what’ve you got to do anyway—your hair?
Terri: (huffy) Does it not occur to you that I might have plans with my husband?
David: And here I thought romance took a permanent vacation after bambino numero dos.
Terri: Well, you thought wrong. Just wait—you’ll see.
David: Ha! At this point, we’ll be lucky to survive one.
Terri: It’ll pass…
David: (groans) Oh, God, not you, too.
Terri: So how about a referral?
David: For what?
Terri: For a babysitter, you numbskull. I’ll get you our number-two girl.
David: I’m guessing number-one is already taken?
Terri: You guessed right. Been booked for a month now.
David: Fine…just hope I can sell Maddie on the whole “leave-Ellie-with-a-stranger” thing…
Terri: Well, at least she comes with a personal recommendation. And besides, you have plenty of time for a trial run, if you want to do that.
David: (sounding resigned) Yeah, OK, give me the digits.
He is busily writing when there is another knock, and Magillicuddy enters.
David: Duty calls, Terri—gotta go. But hey—thanks.
He hangs up the phone as Magillicuddy approaches the desk.
Magillicuddy: Mr. Addison, I wanted you to be the first to know…
David: I usually am.
Magillicuddy: I’m getting married!
David: (checks watch) Wow…five months! You really kept her on a string this time, didn’t you, Jack? (Magillicuddy gives him an odd look) I’m kidding. Congratulations!
He puts out a hand; Magillicuddy recovers his smile and takes it.
David: So, how’d you do it? Skywriting? Jumbotron at the Clippers game? Full moon at Griffith Park Observatory?
Magillicuddy looks more and more chagrined, listening to David’s recital of Amazing Proposal Venues.
Magillicuddy: (stuttering) Well…no…uh…I took a picnic out to the library lawn, in front of the fountain? The ring was in the bottom of the basket…I…I guess it wasn’t very fancy.
David: Mary doesn’t need fancy—she’s got you!
Magillicuddy still seems dubious; David realizes that perhaps the teasing has gone on long enough. He comes around the desk and claps Magillicuddy on the shoulder.
David: I’m sure Mary’s thrilled.
He starts to walk Magillicuddy out, chattering all the while. Magillicuddy hesitates.
Magillicuddy: But...Mr. Addison...there’s one more thing.
David: (slaps forehead) Of course! You’ll need a little time off...for the honeymoon! Where are you taking her—Hawaii? Mexico? One of those Club Wed places?
Magillicuddy: (doubtful) Actually, we’re keeping it pretty low-key—
David: (nods understandingly) Vegas, then?
Magillicuddy: No...we were thinking more along the lines of Monterey and Carmel. Mary wants to visit the John Steinbeck Museum, Cannery Row, the Mission...
David: (with muted enthusiasm) Welllll...that sounds...great. (Once again, reaches for the door knob) Now, you make sure Ms. Hayes and I get an invite—
Magillicuddy puts one hand on the door, to keep it from opening. He beams back at David.
Magillicuddy: But we won’t need to send you an invitation, sir! We want you to be a part of the wedding.
David: Sorry...I’m afraid my certificate from Ordinations R Us got lost in the mail. But I could do a little song—maybe some “Good Lovin”....always liked that one—
Magillicuddy: I want you to be my best man.
David: Best what?
Magillicuddy: My best man. I don’t have any brothers...and it would mean a lot to me.
David drops the door handle in surprise.
Magillicuddy: You see, you and Ms. Hayes...I know you’ve gone through a lot, but what you’ve built in the last four years...Well, I really admire you both.
David: (thawing) Thanks, Jack, but—
Magillicuddy: And, if it hadn’t been for you...I’m not sure Mary would’ve chosen me. So, will you?
David: Well...what can I say? I...I’d be happy to.
They shake hands.
David: I throw a hell of a bachelor party, y’know.
Magillicuddy: (stepping out the door) Sounds great. Hey—thanks, Mr. Addison.
David: By the way, when is this blessed event?
Magillicuddy: (sticks his head back in) Oh! It’s in two weeks. February 14.
David: OK. February 14...wait...Valentine’s Day?!?
Magillicuddy: What better day to celebrate our love? (looks moony)
David looks back at the legal pad and pile of messages...and sighs.
David: This advance planning stuff is not all it’s cracked up to be.
The Hayes-Addison Home
Maddie sits in the rocking chair, Ellie in her arms. The sweet blond head nestles on Maddie’s chest, one tiny fist curled against the downy cheek.
Maddie rocks, slowly, watching as the long lashes flutter closed...and keeps rocking, back and forth, for another few seconds. Carefully, she lifts Ellie into her crib, checks the green light on the baby monitor, and tiptoes out of the room. She pulls the door shut behind her, turning the knob carefully to avoid a loud CLICK!
We follow her as she steps quietly into the master bedroom, where a huge mound of laundry awaits on the bed.
Miss Me pops up from her cushion in the corner of the room, and Maddie’s reaction is swift—
Maddie: Shhhh! I’ve just gotten her down. (With sympathy) I’m sorry, girl—I know you want to play...but our little princess needs her rest. It’s quiet time.
Miss Me settles back down on her cushion, whining a little.
Maddie examines the laundry Everest, runs one hand through her tousled locks, and sighs. She flops down onto the fraction of available bed.
Maddie: I need a little pick-me-up. (To Miss Me) Let’s call Nana.
She picks up the phone and dials.
Virginia: (OS) Hello?
Maddie: Hi, Mom.
Virginia: Maddie! How are you, darling?
Maddie: (hesitant) Oh...fine.
Maddie: Well...you know...
Virginia: Yes, I do know. How is my gorgeous granddaughter?
Maddie: Beautiful as ever—she’s getting some hair now.
Virginia: Dark like her father?
Maddie: Nope, it’s still blonde. But now there’s enough that you can actually see it.
Virginia: (sighs) Oh, I wish I could be there. Will you send some photos?
Maddie: I will.
There is a pause.
Virginia: And how is she sleeping?
Maddie: Not too bad...if you don’t count most of the night.
Virginia: Oh, Maddie—you must be just exhausted.
Maddie: It’s not so much that I’m tired—David takes her sometimes, so I can try to sleep. It’s more that...
Another pause; Maddie’s eyes fill with tears.
Maddie: Oh, Mom—it’s been so hard...she cries and cries...nothing I can do helps.
Virginia: How’s David handling it?
Maddie: (smiles through tears) Oh, you know David—he takes it as a personal challenge. He rocks her, sings to her, tells her jokes...
Virginia: Does it work?
Maddie: Sometimes...Ellie’s just so surprised by his ridiculous faces that she forgets to cry! But not for long.
Virginia: It can’t be easy on you, dear.
Maddie: No—it’s not easy on either of us. Before, when David got home, we used to be able to spend a little time together after we put Ellie down. Now, we can barely talk to each other over the screaming. And as for anything else—
Virginia: Perhaps if you got away, just for a little while—
Maddie: (on edge) I can’t leave her, Mom. Even if I’m not doing any good.
Virginia hears the tension in Maddie’s voice and wisely decides not pursue that line of thought.
Virginia: What does the doctor say?
Maddie: (with deep breath) He says not to worry about it. She’ll grow out of it.
Virginia: Yes, but will you make it that long? You know, it’s funny—they used to say exactly the same thing in my day: “Oh, it’s just a phase.” You would think in forty years, they could come up with some better advice.
Maddie is able to laugh a little at this.
Maddie: Thanks, Mom.
Virginia: Maddie, you just remember something, alright? You’re a wonderful mother—
Suddenly, the doorbell rings. Maddie jumps up as though she’s on fire.
Maddie: Mom—the doorbell—I’ve got to go before—
But she’s too late. Miss Me, scenting excitement, bounds down the stairs, with Maddie in hot pursuit. The bell rings again, and Miss Me skids across the tiles, barking for all she’s worth. Maddie’s “Shhhh!” falls on deaf doggie ears.
And then, from upstairs, Ellie’s plaintive cry.
Maddie opens the door, and fairly grabs a package from the UPS man standing on the stoop.
UPS Man: Can I have your sig-
Ellie wails. Miss Me barks. Maddie looks frenzied...and the man quickly backs away from the door.
UPS Man: No problem...I’ll sign it...forgery isn’t a major crime...
He hightails it back to his big brown truck.
Maddie slams the door, and addresses the still-barking dog.
Maddie: All right, that’s enough…you are headed for a nice long stretch in your crate, missy. Just wait til your father gets home!
She trudges up the stairs to her squalling daughter.
In the Lexus
Nine Days Til V-Day
David and Magillicuddy are driving. A huge map of the greater LA area is open on Magillicuddy’s lap.
David: I thought this best man gig would involve a lot of beer, maybe some blue movies...thought the centerpieces we’d pick out would be more of the leggy variety.
Magillicuddy: Well, Mary knows I love gardening...and her job keeps her so busy, you know—
David: What about YOUR job?
David shoots him a disapproving look...Magillicuddy looks a little ashamed...David can’t hold on...he bursts into laughter, and Magillicuddy gives a confused smile.
David: Yeah. I see your point. So, where to now?
Magillicuddy: (squints at map) Take a right on Balboa, and then it’s your second left.
David looks around at the immediate neighborhood, which features several auto-body shops, peppered with a few tattoo parlors.
David: How did you find this place?
Magillicuddy: (proudly) Same way I found Mary...on the Internet.
David: I might’ve guessed.
Magillicuddy: (enthusiastic) They had gorgeous photos...and their prices were so reasonable! They only wanted a $250 deposit—
David: Wait—you gave them money? Over the Internet?
Magillicuddy: Sure—on my credit card. It’s the new commerce, Mr. Addison. Pretty soon we won’t be paying cash for anything!
David: (under his breath) Pretty soon we won’t have any cash to pay.
Magillicuddy senses David’s doubts.
Magillicuddy: Just wait—you’ll see.
David: I’m sure I will.
Magillicuddy: (looking at map) Oh...left—left NOW!
The Lexus tires screech as David makes the turn. They pull up in front of an industrial-looking building, which carries a distinct air of desertion. Magillicuddy consults a small leather-bound dayplanner.
Magillicuddy: It’s Suite 205.
He and David walk over to the glass door marked “205.” Magillicuddy rattles the handle. Locked.
Cupping a hand around his eyes, David peers inside. It’s completely dark—impossible to see anything.
David: Are you sure this is the right place?
Magillicuddy checks his planner again, then points out a notice to the left: “Please Use Other Door.”
Magillicuddy: Of course! We’ll have to go around, I guess.
Their shoes crunch on the gravel of the empty parking lot. David scans the area, clearly suspicious, but is unwilling to dent Magillicuddy’s determined optimism unless he has to. They round the corner to the rear of the building, and...nothing. In the light breeze, a few scraps of paper skitter over the ground.
Magillicuddy kicks viciously at an empty soda can. David puts a comforting hand on his shoulder.
Magillicuddy: I can’t believe I was so stupid. When will I learn?
David: You aren’t the first person to be “‘Netted,” Jack. I’m betting they’re catching an awful lot of fish that way.
Magillicuddy: Yeah, well—that’s not gonna last long! When I get back to the office, I’m calling the...police...the FTC...the SEC...SOMEbody!
Grabbing a small rock, he hurls it at the back door of Suite 205. It bounces off the handle, knocking a square card to the ground.
David: Wait a minute...
He picks it up, and the camera zooms in:
Buds N’ Blooms
You can find us at
44044 Overland Blvd
Culver City, CA
Magillicuddy’s face lights up.
Magillicuddy: See? I knew it wasn’t a swindle!
David rolls his eyes, but Magillicuddy is already making his way back to the car.
Magillicuddy: Come on, Mr. Addison! If we hurry, we can make it there by one!
David: (sarcastic) Great. That will give us plenty of time to design the favors...and perhaps file bankruptcy papers for our neglected business.
On Overland Blvd.
David and Magillicuddy pull up to a building that looks very much like the one they just left...except for the five or six cars dotting the parking lot. They climb out of the Lexus.
David: (to camera) Well, you can’t blame them—d’you know how much it costs to build a new Virtual set?
He and Magillicuddy walk over to Suite 205...0. This time, the door opens easily, a row of bells giving off a cheery jingle. Magillicuddy shoots a triumphant look at David.
They step into a small front office. A round table and two chairs sits in one corner, flanked by a bookcase full of white binders. On the wall behind a reception counter hang spools of ribbon, brightly-colored paper, and cellophane; across from them, shelves bearing vases and a few sample arrangements complete the picture.
A door in the middle of the wall opens; through it steps a perky-looking young woman, brown curls bouncing on her shoulders.
Perky Girl: Hi! How can I help you today?
Magillicuddy comes to the counter and extends a hand.
Magillicuddy: Hi. I’m Jack...Jack Magillicuddy? I had an appointment at 12:00 for a consultation? I’m sorry we’re late—we went to your old location.
Perky Girl: (apologetic) Oh...I’m so sorry! I’ve asked them to change the address on the website, but I guess they haven’t had time.
Magillicuddy: That’s OK...as long as we can still—
Perky Girl: Of course! Give me one sec...
She types busily on her keyboard.
Perky Girl: Now, just let me see. Magillicuddy. Yep, they’ve already created a file for you.
Magillicuddy looks at David as if to say, See? I already have a file.
Perky Girl: (continuing) ...and I see right here that you’ve paid your deposit, so...you’re all set!
Magillicuddy: (relieved) Great!
They stand there awkwardly for a moment.
Perky Girl: Well, if you’d like to start selecting...we have lists of different themes, colors, seasonal suggestions, along with photos, in the binders there. (she gestures to the bookcase) Take your time, and if you have any questions, just ask. My name’s Megan.
Magillicuddy: Nice to meet you, Megan.
Megan: (hands him a form) You just mark the arrangements you like on here, then we input it into the system and set up the delivery time and place. (smiles brightly) That’s all there is to it!
Magillicuddy: Easy peasy!
Behind him, David rolls his eyes and sits down, grudgingly.
Tight shot on the clock above the door: 1:15. Intercut with Magillicuddy opening a binder...then the clock again, 1:45...then the table, covered in photos of flowers...then the clock, 2:30...then David...
His suit jacket is off and his tie is loosened; his hair looks like it’s been caught in a level-5 hurricane. He checks his watch while Magillicuddy scribbles something on the form.
David: OK, Jack, are we about ready? I might need to conduct a little business today, y’know. Trying to keep us all from the poorhouse...
Magillicuddy: (not listening) Almost done! Look at these freesias, Mr. Addison...they are really something, aren’t they?
David: (looks at price list) They sure as heck aren’t free—
Just then, the door behind the counter opens. A huge man enters, making Megan jump. No wonder...this guy looks like he was carved out of rock: black hair, cropped close to his head; a punishingly strong jaw; biceps straining the seams of his yellow t-shirt. Buds N’ Blooms’ logo, complete with bouquet and trailing ribbons, stretches somewhat incongruously across his well-defined chest.
The man slaps a clipboard against one meaty hand, the sound reverberating through the small room. Megan jumps again.
Huge Guy: This delivery—is it here yet?
Megan: (peering at the clipboard) No...no, I don’t think so.
Huge Guy: Well, where the hell is it?
Megan: (with pointed “we have customers” look) I don’t know—have you double-checked the back?
The man leans in, his voice a low growl.
Huge Guy: Yeah, I’ve double-checked...now how ‘bout you double-check your precious computer?
Megan tries, and fails, to stare the man down. She turns and types something on the keyboard.
Megan: It says here...2:00.
Huge Guy: It’s 2:40.
Megan: I know.
Huge Guy: If I don’t get that stuff by 4:00, I’m a—
Again, Megan looks significantly over at Magillicuddy, who is oblivious, and David, who has been listening interestedly the whole time. At this, he gets up and saunters over to the counter.
David: What’s the matter...somebody black-eye your Susans? Steal your bachelor’s buttons? Phlox up your plans?
The man has “mind your own damn business” written all over his face, but says only—
Huge Guy: It’s nothin’.
David: (cheerfully) Didn’t sound like nothin’.
Huge Guy: Naw, it’s just—got a really big job to do tonight, and I can’t do it without these...peonies.
David: Lotta pink posies, huh? What—for some celebrity or something?
The man’s beady black eyes light up, as if he’s just discovered the solution to a problem.
Huge Guy: Yeah—yeah, exactly. A bunch of ‘em. It’s a...a benefit...some heart foundation...y’know, Valentine’s Day...hearts...
Megan raises an eyebrow at him.
Magillicuddy: Aaaaand...that’s it!
He stands up, waving the form gleefully, while David takes one last, long look at Megan and Huge Guy.
David: You know, as long as I’m here...
He gestures toward an arrangement on a shelf, one mostly blocked by the bulk of Huge Guy. It’s a small, round vase with a pretty blue-and-gold lattice pattern; planted inside are several creamy yellow tulips.
Megan takes it down from the shelf and hands it to him.
David: This oughta do just fine.
Megan: That’ll be $19.95.
David: (with whistle) Whew! That’s a lot of pennies for some petals...lotta greenbacks to be made in greenery, I guess.
Huge Guy stares at David suspiciously, while the clipboard clatters on the concrete floor.
Magillicuddy: Ready, Mr. Addison?
David flips his car keys around one finger, eyes still locked on Huge Guy.
David: Guess so...(holds flowers out)...got an important delivery of my own to make.
They walk out to the parking lot, the bells on the door ringing merrily behind them.
Magillicuddy: (claps David on the back) That was great, Mr. Addison! Just think— (he opens his planner) — we just have the cake and the DJ left to go!
But he gets no reaction from David, who is lost in thought...
The Hayes-Addison Home
Later that Evening
David comes through the front door, listening carefully. All seems quiet, and he slips off his shoes, inching toward the kitchen with flowers in hand. His silent entrance is all for naught, however, when Miss Me comes careering around the corner, barking joyfully at the prospect of a walk-and-fetch session. She sails over the tile, right smack into David’s legs; he overbalances and the vase flies from his hands...up...up...up...
Making a superhuman effort, David leaps after it and manages to catch it, upside down. Water and blossoms spray everywhere—most especially over the front of David’s suit.
Maddie: See what happens when you deliver your own flora?
David: (dripping) Yeah, the fauna ain’t no picnic either.
Maddie comes down the stairs. She wears a less-exhausted, altogether more hopeful look than she has in the past week. Strapped to her chest is little Ellie, adorable pink-and-white covered legs sticking out, and snoring...apparently peacefully.
Maddie: And you (with admonitory finger at Miss Me)...that’s twice today. If you think you’re getting a treat tonight—
Miss Me picks up a tulip in her teeth, carrying it over to Maddie.
Maddie: (shakes head) You sure know how to turn on the charm...just like someone else I know.
David: You better be talking about me.
Maddie crosses to him, taking the vase and setting it on the console table before returning to David.
Maddie: That’s for me to know...
She leans in and kisses him...once...twice...three times. Things are just about to get interesting when Miss Me, leash in her mouth, paws David’s legs; her whining wakes Ellie. Through a chorus of barks and wails—
Maddie: It was a nice thought, anyway.
She bounces Ellie for a moment and the baby settles.
David: And don’t think I won’t take credit for it. (He gestures to Ellie) What’s with the papoose...or should I say, front-poose?
Maddie: It’s called a Baby Bjorn. It’s supposed to be soothing for the baby—keeps her close, just like she was in the womb. And your hands stay free, so you can fold the laundry, do a crossword, eat lunch—
David: I can think of a few other uses for your hands...
Maddie: David! Not in front of your daughter!
David: Hey—I was just talking about mixing a cocktail!
Maddie: You look like you could use one.
David: It was a long day on the Wedding Bells Express.
They walk into the living room. Stripping off his wet suit jacket, David flops on the couch. Maddie goes on into the kitchen, from whence come the soothing sounds of ice clinking and liquid pouring.
She returns with a drink, which David sips gratefully, and levers herself slowly down on the sofa..
Maddie: So, what was today’s agenda item?
Maddie looks out at the mess on the floor. Miss Me, having given up on her walk, is now having a fine time scattering yellow petals everywhere.
Maddie: Ah. So, who did Magillicuddy and Mary choose for that? I don’t suppose they made it easy on you and used the florist in our lobby.
David: Oh, no...we had to drive all the way out to hither and take a left at yon for this place.
There is a silent beat while David stares off into space, clearly thinking. Maddie nudges him with one foot.
Maddie: Where are you? Leave your mind tiptoeing through the tulips?
David sets his drink down on the coffee table and checks his watch.
David: Hey...I may have to go out for a little bit. That OK?
Maddie: What—now? You just got here!
David: Not yet...probably around 8ish.
Maddie: And where, might I ask, will you be going?
David: No big deal—just a little surveillance. I should be home by 10:30, 11:00 tops.
Maddie: Famous last words. So whom or what will you be surveilling? Did we get a new case today?
David: I think maybe we did.
Maddie: David—that’s wonderful! I know we need it. (Pause) Did you say ‘maybe’? What does that mean?
David: Well...technically it’s not a case. Not yet.
Maddie folds her arms, tapping her toe on the Berber carpet. The expression she wears lets David know he’s not getting away with anything.
David: Magillicuddy let his keyboard do the walking to find his posy purveyor...something stinks in there, and it ain’t the week-old daisies!
Maddie: Not sure why that should be our concern. I didn’t hear the word ‘client’ in there...
David: C’mon, Blondie—Magillicuddy’s just given them $250 of his not-so-hard-earned clams. I’m his Best Man—the least I can do is make sure he’s not cheated out of his camellias!
Maddie: (skeptically) I don’t know, David...are you sure you’re not just doing this to get out of the house? (Sighing) Not that I would really blame you...along about 9:30, I’m sure I’ll be tempted myself.
David: Maddie, I’m shocked. Are you implying that I would—
Maddie: David, you had two extra bowling ‘practices’ last week.
David: (defensive) I had to teach Lefty McGraw to bowl two-handed. His fingers don’t fit in the holes anymore. (Whispers) He’s put on a few pounds since the missus ran away with their plumber.
Maddie: Yeah, yeah—can the Mother Theresa act, Addison...the wardrobe wouldn’t suit you at all.
David slides over to Maddie, puts his arm around her, and nuzzles Ellie’s head.
David: You know nothing gives me greater pleasure than to be with my girls.
Maddie: Even when one—or both—of us is screaming?
David: Even then.
They share a sweet kiss, and we
Later that Night
Buds N’ Blooms
David pulls up in front of the industrial complex and sits for a moment, thinking. The parking lot is wide open, and, at this hour, totally deserted; the Lexus would stick out like a sore thumb if he left it there.
He continues on down the street, and takes his first left, skirting the small hill that rises behind the complex. Parking the Lexus, he grabs his binoculars and scrambles up the hill. He takes up a position in some tall grass, where he has a good view of the parking lot, and waits.
Minutes later, a white delivery van pulls up behind the building. A man hops out and goes to the florist’s back door. David focuses his binoculars; we can see the man ringing a doorbell.
After a moment, a garage door slides up, and Huge Guy comes out, carrying his clipboard. The two men go to the back of the van and open the double doors.
David sits up on his elbows and refocuses the binoculars...this is it!
David: Damn! Knew I should’ve brought my camera! All right, come to Papa...What’s it gonna be, boys? A little ganja? Guns, maybe?
But the men are carrying in trays of small blooms, that look to David like your average, run-of-the-mill accent flowers...then come several innocuous-looking potted plants, including a twin of the ficus in Maddie’s office. Nothing exotic at all...and nothing remotely illegal.
After several trips, however, Huge Guy lifts out a large, flat plastic bag of...something. Given the way he is grunting, whatever is in it must be pretty heavy. The smaller man follows him, and lifts out another one.
David: OK, what’ve we got here? A nice bag of blow? Sack of smack?
The small guy staggers and drops his bag...right on his foot. His shout is loud enough for David to hear clearly.
Small Guy: Damn!
As he grasps the sack to pull it back up, the plastic tears...and out spills...
A bunch of dirt.
David: Oh, come on. I came all the way out here for this?
A few more minutes tick by, but he sees nothing of interest. Groaning, he gets up from his prone position and stumps back to the car.
He never hears the footsteps hurrying along the path behind him.
Six Days Til V-Day
The phone rings. Agnes picks it up, looking rather dreamily over at Bert....
Red hearts and pink flowers
It’s that time of year
The time for ‘I love yous’
So be of good cheer
Nice dinners and chocolate
Champagne with bubbles
Unless he forgets...
And then he’s in TROUBLE!
The front door opens, and in walks Megan, carrying a small box.
Agnes: (into phone) Please hold. (To Megan) Can I help you?
Megan: Uh...yes. Is there a...Jack Magillicuddy here?
Agnes: Oh, sure. He’s right there— (She points to Magillicuddy’s empty desk) Only he’s not. He must’ve stepped out.
Bert: He’s in Mr. Addison’s office.
Agnes: Oh! OK...it’ll just be a minute. (She picks up the phone, then stops) What did you say your name was?
Megan: I didn’t. But it’s Megan Harper—from Buds N’ Blooms.
Magillicuddy sits in the chair in front of David’s desk, making notes in his day planner. David rubs his eyes.
Magillicuddy: Well, I’m glad you liked the red velvet, Mr. Addison. I thought the German chocolate was a little over the top. Besides...red velvet is Mary’s second favorite.
David: What’s her first favorite?
David: (bewildered) So why not have chocolate?
Magillicuddy: (with exaggerated patience, as though this should be obvious) Some of our guests have ‘special dietary needs,’ and Mary feels we should accommodate them.
Magillicuddy: Yeah...(disgusted)...apparently, Viola is ‘allergic’ to chocolate.
David: What? Allergic to chocolate? How is that possible—that’s like being allergic to oxygen!
Magillicuddy: (with martyred sigh) Still...I suppose we don’t want him breaking out in—
Agnes: (OS) Excuse me, Mr. Addison, but there’s someone here for Mr. Magillicuddy. Her name is Megan...from Buds N’ Blooms?
David’s eyes light up. The day has just gotten more interesting...maybe he can corner Megan and see what she knows.
David: Send her in.
Megan enters, brandishing the box.
Megan: I brought you some samples, for the boutonniere and bouquet. So you could choose which ribbons you want...
David: Since when do florists make house calls? (Mimes being on phone) Come quick, doc, I’ve got a runny rhododendron!
Magillicuddy: (pointedly ignoring David’s antics) Thanks, Megan. That’s very nice of you.
Megan: (shrugs) Oh, that’s OK. I was in the neighborhood.
While Magillicuddy examines the flowers, Megan takes her time perusing the room. David watches her.
Megan: So...you guys are detectives, huh?
Magillicuddy: (proudly) We sure are!
David: Well, one of us is, anyway.
David senses an opening.
Magillicuddy: Oh, boy—this is so tough. The dusky rose, or the crimson? I just can’t decide.
David: Hey Jack, go on out and ask the girls—they’ll know! I’ll get Megan here some of our special Viola-intolerant milk.
Magillicuddy: That’s a good idea.
He exits, and David crosses the office to his fridge. He pulls out a carton and pours them each two fingers in a highball glass.
David: Sooo....why are you really here?
Megan: What were you doing at the shop the other night?
David: (feigning innocence) I wasn’t in the shop.
Megan: Up on the hill? With the binoculars? Took me a minute to figure out who you were...but then I saw your car drive away, and I recognized it.
David: OK, you’ve got me. (With stern look) Why were you there, young lady?
Megan: None of your business. And you haven’t answered my question.
David: Well...let’s just say I thought Andre the Giant Loser was acting pretty suspicious when we were there. I was trying to figure out why.
Megan: (arms folded) And did you?
David sets his glass down and folds his own arms.
David: Nope. Anything you’d like to tell me?
Megan: (hesitates) You’re not going to call the police, are you?
Megan: I don’t want you to do that—at least, not yet. Not until I can prove it.
David: And what exactly are we trying to prove?
Megan: That’s the problem. I don’t really know. But I do know that we left the last place in a great big hurry.
David: The place on Balboa?
Megan: Exactly. Hugo—that’s the big guy—got a phone call one morning. He told us some story about a 24-hour notice to get out of the building because they found asbestos or something. We worked straight through til midnight packing up, and that was it.
David: That’s odd, but not actionable. What else?
Megan: The deliveries...like last night. Sometimes they come during the day, but more often, I come in in the morning and there’s a whole new rack of stuff for me to inventory. So far, I haven’t seen anything out of the ordinary.
David: How long have you worked for this guy?
Megan: Only six weeks or so. I graduated from UCLA in December, and I’m heading off to grad school in August. I just needed something to fill in the next few months... (rueful)...and apparently, there’s not too much else you can do with a Bachelor’s in botany.
David: What about the ‘benefit’ Hugo was talking about yesterday?
Megan: I’d never heard of it, and it wasn’t on the schedule. I asked him about it—he said it was just a side job, a personal favor he owed somebody. He told me to forget about it, that he and the boys would take care of it.
David: Who are ‘the boys’?
Megan: There are three owners: Hugo, Pico, and Meed. Pico makes the deliveries—you saw him last night. Meed’s not around much—just shows up in his fancy suit every once in awhile.
David: When was the last time he was there?
Megan: Last Wednesday. He came by to show us his new Porsche. (Rolls eyes) Like I care...when I’m still only making five bucks an hour.
David: I bet they’d pay you a lot more than that if they knew you were talking to me.
Megan: (looks scared) Pay me more? Yeah, right...in cement shoes, maybe.
David: Nah...cement shoes are so eighties...they’d probably go for the tie-you-in-the-trunk thing. (Megan is not finding this funny) Sorry—bad timing. Anyway, is there a time we can get in to the shop, when the Big Bully isn’t there?
Megan: I don’t think so...he always locks up right after I leave. I don’t know the alarm code.
David: C’mon, Megan—bright girl like you? I bet you can figure it out.
Megan: (smiles tentatively) I’ll try.
David hands her a card.
David: Let me know when you’ve got it and we’ll get over there. If there’s anything to turn up, we’ll turn it up.
At this point, Magillicuddy comes back into the room looking dejected. He holds out the box with the flowers.
Magillicuddy: It’s 50/50—the girls said dusky rose, and the guys said crimson. Well, actually, O’Neill said I should shove it—
David shoots him a look.
Magillicuddy: So anyway, what now?
Megan: (decisive) Go with the rose.
Magillicuddy: OK! We have a winner!
Focus tight on Magillicuddy’s grinning face, and CUT TO
Three Days Til V-Day
The door opens, and in walks a courier. He carries a tiny teddy bear holding a bud vase; an envelope at the top reads, in large letters, “FOR SWEETUMS.”
Courier: (checks clipboard) Um...is there an Agnes Viola here?
Agnes blushes and claps her hands together.
Agnes: For me?
Courier: Apparently. Sign here.
Agnes signs, and watched by all the Wobblies, pulls the envelope out of its holder. She is too preoccupied to notice the looks of dissatisfaction—and in some cases, outright envy—on their faces.
Agnes looks up.
Agnes: Where’s Bert?
O’Neill: (morosely) Falling down the elevator shaft, I hope.
Agnes clasps the card to her bosom and sighs. Kris, Inez, and Jamie look thunderously at their own empty desks.
Bert comes in and Agnes upsets her stool running to embrace him.
Agnes: Herbert! That was so sweet! But...(whispering)...Valentine’s isn’t for three more days!
Bert looks at her tenderly.
Bert: One day isn’t enough to adequately express the devotion and passion I feel for you, my little flower...
Bert: Can I take you to lunch, my angel?
Agnes looks imploringly at the girls, who immediately start bickering about whose turn it is to take Agnes’ lunch break and why the guys never have to do it. Agnes looks hesitant.
Bert: C’mon, Mrs. Viola—they’ll figure it out.
As they exit, Jergenson shoots a departing spitball at them. A beat later, David comes through the door. He looks around—the depression in the room is palpable.
David: Why so glum, chums?
Kris: (throws her nail file down) Stupid Valentine’s Day! It’s like a holiday created especially to make people feel terrible.
David: Yeah—I imagine good ol’ St. Valentine would agree with you...that whole beheading thing couldn’t have felt good. (He pulls his shades out of his pocket, the signal that high jinks are about to begin) But there’ll be no beating with clubs today! Now come on, tell Uncle Dave—how many of you have a special Valentine this year?
Only Magillicuddy raises his hand, eagerly waving it in the air.
David: (comment under breath?) OK then. Someone get me a coffee cup—no, two! Jamie, write everybody’s name down on a slip of paper...wait—not Magillicuddy.
David: Put ‘em in the cups—guys in one, girls in the other!
Inez: What are we doing, Mr. Addison?
David: Clandestine Cupid! (at confused looks) Y’know, like a Secret Santa, except for Valentine’s Day. You buy a little something and give it to your Cupid...brighten up the place a little.
The female Wobblies exclaim excitedly at this, while the boys groan.
David: (to guys) Gee, I can’t imagine why you charmers don’t have dates.
Jamie brings the cups over to David.
David: OK, ladies first.
He starts to hand the cup around, then stops.
David: A few things—one, no peeking at your slips until after you leave today. You’re on the honors system, kids! Two: gifts are to be delivered sometime after lunch on Friday. Three: your challenge is to get your gift to the recipient without being seen by the other team...that’s the “clandestine” part. Everybody in?
The girls cluster around and pick a slip from one of the cups; the guys from the other. All of them put their slips on their desk. The guys immediately start a confab about what they’re going to buy, accompanied by much nudging and high-fiving. Watching this, Jamie shrewdly raises her hand.
Jamie: Can we have some gift guidelines?
David: Such as?
Jamie: No edible underwear.
The guys look crestfallen and start to protest.
David: All right, let’s keep it clean here, people. Remember, this is a family show!
There is a grumble of assent, and we
Two Days Until V-Day
It’s Maddie’s day in the office. She sits behind her desk, pencil at the ready, a long line of tape already coming out of the adding machine. Across the room, Ellie watches her father from her car seat. Suddenly, she breaks into a drooly grin.
And no wonder—it is a pretty amusing sight. David is apparently attempting to don the Baby Bjorn...with little success. One strap crosses his chest, another hangs over a shoulder, while a third loops around his neck. He picks up a direction sheet and waves it in frustration.
David: Pull Tab A through Slot B...yeah...that’s rich.
Maddie: (looking up) You know what they say...
David’s right arm is now flailing behind his head, grabbing for the back of the carrier.
David: Damn Swedes! No, what do they say?
Maddie: (laughing) Gotta be smarter than the Bjorn.
She pushes a stack of papers to the side and gets up, coming around the desk to free David from the cloth contraption. Laying it out on the sofa, she efficiently snaps, slides, and adjusts it, before holding it out to David. He slips his arms through the now-obvious holes, and she buckles it around his waist.
David: You woulda made a hell of a valet, Blondie.
Maddie: Thanks, but I get enough of dressing people these days.
David: You’re probably right. (low) Besides, I’d rather you were undressing me.
He pauses her in her ministrations long enough to give her a soft but searing kiss. With the instinct common to even the tiniest children, Ellie chooses this moment to squirm and fuss in her seat.
Maddie: All right, you...
She scoops Ellie up and hands her to David, then fastens the carrier around her.
Maddie: There you go—snug as a bug.
David tries a few experimental bounces, and Ellie calms down.
David: Hey...pretty good!
Maddie: Yeah. (Huge yawn) I just wish it worked during the witching hours...I feel like I’m wearing a hole in the nursery carpet.
David: I know...and if I sing ‘Danny Boy’ one more time, The Three Tenors are gonna hunt me down.
There is a significant pause.
David: Y’know, I wish you’d reconsider coming to the wedding.
Maddie: I just don’t think I can. If Ellie starts fussing, Magillicuddy and Mary won’t even be able to hear their own vows!
David: Which is why we should book that sitter.
Maddie: I don’t know...I’m just not comfortable leaving her with a stranger, David.
David: If we meet her, she won’t be a stranger. Terri says she’s been working with them since before Melanie was born—lots of experience with infants. I’m sure she’s seen a case of the fidgets before.
He pauses, looking into her tired eyes.
David: You deserve a night off, honey...and besides, we’ve had some of our best dances at weddings.
Maddie is clearly torn, but softened by the look in his eyes.
Maddie: All right, I’ll think about it.
The phone buzzes.
Agnes: (OS) Mr. Addison, Megan Harper for you on line one.
David: Thanks, Agnes. You can put it through here.
David picks up the phone.
David: Megan? What’ve you got? (pause) Mmm-hmmm...yeah...OK...sounds good. Yep, I’ll be there! (hangs up and turns to Maddie) The cat’s away and the mouse has the cheese...we’re on for 8:00.
Maddie: Let the games begin...maybe tonight’s the night I try out the swing.
David: For you or for her?
Maddie: Guess you’ll have to wait and see.
Near Buds N’ Blooms
Later that Night
David and Megan pull up a darkened street and park.
David: So where did Hugo say he was gonna be?
Megan: Well, my Spanish isn’t that great...but I think he said they were headed across the border. It sounded like he had a source there.
She and David hurry down the street and through the back of Buds N’ Blooms’ parking lot. They pause behind a Dumpster and scope out the building...the coast is clear.
David: Probably should’ve asked you this already, but what about security cameras?
Megan: We only moved two weeks ago—they’re still waiting for the guy to install them.
David: (to camera) How conveeeenient.
Megan taps a few numbers into the keypad next to the door. There is a metallic ‘click,’ and she pushes the door open, reaching for the light switch.
David: Leave it off...just in case. (Pulls flashlight from pocket) We don’t need it anyway.
He shines the light around the capacious back room. We can see a long counter, with a trough sink set into it, and stacks of plastic trays underneath it. Next to the counter, bags of potting soil are piled high; further down stands a rack of large earthenware pots.
David: I hate to say it, but nothing looks out of order here...
Megan: Let’s check the cooler.
David: The cooler?
Megan: It’s the big refrigerator, where they keep the cut flowers.
Megan pulls at a huge silver handle, and a metal door swings open. Inside the walk-in are rows and rows of blooms: roses, lilies, tulips, carnations, etc., each in a tall plastic bucket. A series of half-finished arrangements sits to one side.
Megan: Those are the ones for Mr. Magillicuddy’s wedding.
David: Well, at least we know he’s not getting hoodwinked by ol’ Hugo.
Megan shuts the door, and David returns to inspecting the room. A stack of boxes stands next to the door, which turn out to be full of plastic floral wrap and paper towels.
Megan: There’s got to be something....
Right on cue, the flashlight beam picks out an odd patch of wall behind one of the steel racks, which holds more pottery.
David: What’s that?
Megan: What’s what?
David pushes the rack away from the wall, revealing another large metal door. This one has no handle, however, only a circular metal pull inset into the door itself. David yanks on it...to no avail.
David: (to camera) Didn’t think it would be that easy, didja?
Running his finger alongside the door, he activates a spring latch that opens to another keypad. He motions Megan over.
Megan: I don’t know the code for that one—I didn’t even know it was here!
David: Try the back door code.
Megan obediently enters it, and a muffled click! follows.
David: (shakes head) Is it just me, or are the bad guys getting dumber?
He pulls the door open. It is another walk-in, smaller than its neighbor, and slightly warmer. Here, too, are shelves of flowers, but these are planted in pots of varying sizes. And no common carnations or everyday daisies...these are flowers rarely seen outside of a travel brochure. Bright bursts of color; delicate, cup-shaped petals; and a heady, exotic scent fill the air.
David: Guess this is where they keep the posh posies.
Megan: (whispering) You mean the illegal inflorescence?
David: (at quip) Good one. What d’you mean, illegal?
Megan walks into the cooler. She touches a fragile purple petal with one finger.
Megan: Calypso orchid...endangered in the U.S. (turns to another plant) Water hyacinth...prohibited for clogging waterways and destroying habitats...and then there’s this one—
She points to a round, fuschia bloom, only partly opened.
David: Even I know that one—it’s the state flower.
Megan: Not exactly—you won’t find this growing by the side of the freeway. It’s papaver somniferum...the opium poppy.
He steps in for a closer look, and there is a sudden whooooosh as the door shuts behind him. Turning around, David pushes at the door, but, of course, it doesn’t give...they’re locked in.
David: (checks watch) There goes my chance at some swing time.
Headlights curve into the lot, and a large van parks behind the building.
David and Megan turn around in the tiny space, rubbing their palms together and stamping their feet. Suddenly, David stops.
David: Wait—what’s that?
A muffled beeping can be heard.
Megan: (grabs David’s arm) That’s the alarm...being turned off.
David: Looks like the shrub squad’s shown up.
Hugo comes through the back door, holding a flashlight and pulling a cart in behind him. He unloads a few trays of plants, and places some used gardening implements in the sink. Finished, he starts to push the cart back outside when something catches his eye; he points his light at the far wall.
Hugo: What the hell?
Abandoning the cart, he rushes over to the out-of-place rack. The cart crashes into the back door, slamming it shut. Hugo shoves the rack out of the way, springs the keypad cover, and punches in the code. One twist of the ring and the door is open.
For a moment, he stands there dumbfounded, staring at David and Megan...and then—
Hugo: (to David) You...and (seeing Megan) YOU!
David: Whatsamatta, Hugey? Panicked about your poppies?
David chucks an orchid right at Hugo’s head. With a cry, the big man leans back, trying to catch it; meanwhile, David lunges for his knees.
David: (to Megan) RUN!
Hugo falls backwards, toppling the steel rack and the pottery stored on it. A tremendous CRASH! echoes from the concrete floor. Megan dashes out of the cooler.
Hugo scrambles up, pushing David back on his heels, and takes off after Megan. David struggles to his feet. Pounding out of the cooler, he grabs a bag of potting soil, intending to hurl it at Hugo.
To his surprise, the bag is light as a feather. It flies out of his hands and bursts against the wall...
Green bills rain down from the ceiling.
David: I’ve heard of a cash crop before, but this is ridiculous!
Hugo bellows with rage, and grabs at David. The two men scuffle, but Hugo clearly has the advantage in terms of weight and size; it isn’t long before he has David’s arms locked behind him, forcing him down to the floor.
David: (with a grunt) What happens now?
Hugo: Now? Now, I tie you up with my belt...(fastens David’s wrists together)...and then I go to my car, get my gun, and shoot you.
David: Didn’t bring it in with you?
Hugo yanks on the belt, and David yelps.
Hugo: I wasn’t planning on company.
David: Dontcha just hate it when people drop by unannounced?
Hugo: Yeah...killing them is such a hassle.
Satisfied with his work, Hugo stands up...when out of nowhere comes a flying shovel. It wallops him in the chest, and he leans back, surprised...
David sticks his foot up, and Hugo trips backwards...into one of the shelving units. A massive pot lurches off the top shelf, cracking him squarely in the head, and leaving him unconscious in a pile of dirt and ceramic.
Megan frees David, who retrieves his flashlight, running the beam over the hapless Hugo.
David: Bloom where you’re planted, I always say.
One Day Before V-Day
It’s 12:00, and there is a hum of excitement in the front office. Rather than the usual mass rush to the door, everyone stays put, watching, waiting for their opportunity to play ding-dong-desk with their gift.
Finally, Jamie gets tired of the mutual staredown.
Jamie: I’m going to lunch. Girls, anyone with me? Mr. Addison said we could turn on the answering machine ‘til 1:00.
Kris: I’ll go.
Inez: Uhhhmmm...I think I better stick around and finish this filing.
Jamie: Suit yourself!
Jamie and Kris exit. There is a long pause. Simmons starts to root around in a desk drawer...then under his desk...then stares off into space...and finally, slaps his forehead.
Simmons: Dangit! I left it in the car.
He gets up and leaves...and now there are three. Jergenson and O’Neill stare silently at Inez.
Inez: Hey, don’t mind me...I won’t tell.
Jergenson: We’re supposed to do it without being seen, remember?
Inez: That’s what worries me. I don’t want to go to lunch and come back to find a rubber snake—or a rubber anything else—on my desk.
O’Neill: (mock-indignant) What...you don’t trust us?
Inez: Not as far as I could throw you...(she looks him up and down)...which, considering all those doughnuts you’ve been eating lately, isn’t too far.
O’Neill: Now, is that any way to talk to your Cupid—er, potential Cupid?
Inez: OK...what’d you get me, then?
O’Neill: Just a little—hey!
Inez: Outsmarted again, Irish boy. Hand over the goods.
O’Neill shambles over and hands her a small red bag, with tissue peeking out of the top. Inez reaches inside and pulls out a small box of cinnamon hearts.
Inez: Not very original...but tasty...
O’Neill: There’s more.
Inez dips a hand in again, and comes out with a thin envelope. Inside are two tickets.
Inez: Two movie tickets? That’s actually pretty nice. (smiles) Thanks, O’Neill.
O’Neill shrugs and kicks at the carpet with one foot.
O’Neill: And, y’know, if you need someone to go with you...
Inez: Don’t push your luck.
Inez packs everything back in the bag and stands up.
Inez: Well, my work here is done. Have a nice lunch, boys!
She leaves. Jergenson gets a small, flat box out of his desk and starts across the office with it; he makes it as far as Bert’s desk, when O’Neill yelps—
O’Neill: The girls! They’re—
Jamie and Kris come through the front door, each holding a white plastic bag. They stop short when they see the guys.
Kris: I thought you guys had gone!
Jergenson surreptitiously slides his box under a file folder on Bert’s desk.
Jergenson: We were just leaving...right, O’Neill?
They exit. Kris and Jamie check the hallway to make sure they’ve really gone...as they cross the room with their bags, we
David is giving Magillicuddy the lowdown on the events of the previous night...
David: ...So it looks like Humongous Hugo was running a nice little import/export business on the side. Apparently, people will pay through the nose for some of these weeds. He kept the dirty cash disguised as...well...dirt, and then funneled it out in his delivery vans.
Magillicuddy: But if the cops got him...did they confiscate everything?
David: Only the illegal stuff. (smiles) Not to worry, Jack...your centerpieces are safe. Megan still has access to the shop, and she said she’ll have everything ready for tomorrow.
Magillicuddy: That’s a relief.
David: Yeah...and as a little thank-you, the LAPD is fronting the costs...so your flora is free and clear.
Magillicuddy: Really? (pause) Mr. Addison...you’re the best.
David: (grinning) You bet your aster I am.
Agnes and Bert return from their lunch. Agnes goes to the machine to check messages, while Bert plops down at his desk. He picks up the file he was working on, and finds a small pink-and-white striped box underneath. With a grin in Agnes’ direction, he opens the box.
Sauntering over to the reception desk, he leans over.
Bert: (low) I got my present...
Agnes: Your what?
Bert: My present...though I guess the real gift is when you wear it for me tonight.
Opening his hand, he lets the red-and-black garter belt dangle from his fingers...just as Jergenson walks in.
Jergenson: Hey! What do you think you’re doing?
Jergenson grabs at the garter, and a tug-of-war ensues.
Bert: What the—this is MINE!
Agnes: But Bert—
Bert pulls just a little too hard, and the elastic on the garter snaps in half. Sequins go flying everywhere, and Bert collapses in a heap. Jergenson throws the sad scrap of red satin and black lace to the floor.
Jergenson: Great! Now I’ve gotta find something else!
He stomps out, and we follow him down the hallway, to the elevator. Punching the button, he checks his watch—12:55; Jamie and Kris are due back at 1:00.
The elevator doors slide open, and Jergenson jogs across the lobby to the florist’s shop. He looks around wildly, but the shelves are mostly bare. A bedraggled cashier sits behind a register.
Jergenson: Where’s all your inventory?
Cashier: It was crazy in here at lunchtime...they cleaned me out...
Jergenson: Well, I gotta get something...and quick!
Cashier: That’s just what everybody else said. I’ve got three things left—take your pick.
She points to a shelf, on which stands a teddy bear, the twin to the one Bert bought Agnes a few days ago; a huge, bright pink balloon, emblazoned with “I LOVE YOU”; and a small lavender vase, in the shape of a candy conversation heart, reading “You’re Sweet.” Inside is a small bouquet.
Considering the alternatives, Jergenson grabs the candy heart vase and tosses a bill at the cashier. A few steps out of the shop, he turns around and comes back to the counter.
Jergenson: Do you have one of those little cards?
The cashier hands one over, and Jergenson quickly writes something on it, then sticks it in the bouquet and dashes off to the elevator.
Jergenson steps off the elevator and charges down the hall. Rounding the corner, he sees Jamie just ahead of him. He quickly ducks into a water-fountain niche, breathing a sigh of relief when he sees her turn into the ladies’ room.
Hightailing it down the hall, he turns in to the Blue Moon front door, where a party atmosphere prevails. He quickly sets the vase down on Jamie’s desk—no one has even noticed him—and takes in the scene.
Inez is waving her movie tickets around, wondering what to see. O’Neill lobbies hard for Ace Ventura: Pet Detective; Kris argues for Reality Bites, while she passes around the large cardboard heart filled with chocolate that was on her desk. Simmons is tying on his new tie, featuring the Tasmanian Devil dressed up as Cupid, and O’Neill proudly fills a coffee cup declaring him to be a “Red Hot Lover.”
Jergenson walks back to his desk. On it are a nice set of barbecue tools, and a jar of “Hank’s Heart-Stoppin’ Slathering Sauce,” capped by a red bow. A card reads, “Heard you had a new grill...hope you like these.” He looks up—Jamie is just coming in the door. She sees him, card in hand, and gives a little smile, which broadens when she sees the bouquet on her desk. Picking it up, she notices the card and pulls it out. The camera zooms in on it:
“I’ll take the phones for you anytime.”
Jamie looks around at O’Neill and Simmons, who are oblivious, and then meets Jergenson’s eyes again. She raises the card in salute, and mouths one quick word: “Thanks.”
The Big Day
In spite of its short preparation time, Magillicuddy’s wedding has clearly come together beautifully: white cloth-covered tables sparkle with crystal and silver, the lighting is soft and intimate, the gussied-up guests chatter and laugh. Thanks to Megan, the flowers are spectacular—pink garden roses, white calla lilies, red carnations, baby’s breath, and leafy green fronds spill in profusion over the tables and in hang in garlands around the room.
Mary is a lovely bride, in a white lace dress with puffed sleeves, a sweetheart neckline, and a fingertip veil; she grows even prettier with every glance from her adoring new husband.
The Blue Moon crew is having a good time, too: at one round table, Jamie, Inez, Kris, O’Neill, Jergenson, and Simmons are all playing nicely together, for once. Bert and Agnes are next to Maddie and David at the head table; Maddie looks relaxed and gorgeous in a simple red column dress, pearls at her throat.
David stands up, clears his throat, and uses the time-honored method of clinking his spoon on a glass to get everyone’s attention.
David: Evening, all. I’ve known Jack Magillicuddy for a good long time. As some of you know, we work together at a detective agency. This is the kind of job that can really dent your faith in human nature; you see plenty of the ol’ Seven Deadly Sins...and that’s just around the office! (Appreciative laughter) But not Magillicuddy...his optimism has never soured...he has always believed things will work out for the best. And turns out, he was right...because it doesn’t get any best-er than this.
David looks down at the happy couple and raises his glass.
David: To Jack and Mary!
Guests: To Jack and Mary!
Everyone drinks; Magillicuddy and his bride share a kiss, to everyone’s satisfaction. Under cover of the applause, Maddie whispers to David—
Maddie: Nice work, Addison.
A while later...
The first bars of a dreamy, romantic tune play. David and Maddie move out on to the dance floor, falling into a comfortable, easy rhythm.
If there were no words
No way to speak
I would still hear you
If there were no tears
No way to feel inside
I'd still feel for you
David: Now, see...isn’t this nice?
Maddie: (laying her head on David’s shoulder) Mmmmm...it is.
And even if the sun refused to shine
Even if romance ran out of rhyme
You would still have my heart
Until the end of time
You're all I need
My love, my Valentine
David: Though it’s not as nice as what I had planned...
Maddie’s head comes up.
Maddie: Planned? You had something planned?
David: (mock-indignant) It is Valentine’s Day, Maddie! And our first Big Night Out! Of course I had something planned!
A slow smile spreads across Maddie’s face. She comes a little closer.
Maddie: And just what did you have planned, mister?
David: Oh, no...I’m not telling. I’m keeping it in reserve...for our second Big Night Out...which, by the way, I was hoping we could schedule for next weekend.
Maddie: I guess that depends on how well Ellie does tonight.
David: Guess so.
I've dreamed of this a thousand times before
In my dreams I couldn’t love you more
I will give you my heart
Until the end of time
You're all I need
My love, my Valentine
David: I’m impressed, by the way.
Maddie: Yes, I thought Ashley seemed very experienced—and her references were excellent.
David: Not with the sitter, Blondie.
Maddie: (coy) Oh?
David: No—with you. I’m pretty sure you’ve only called her three times. Maybe four.
She looks a little sheepish.
Maddie: How did you know?
David: Not even you can powder your nose that many times, honey.
Maddie: I suppose you think that makes me a silly, overprotective mother...
David: No...I think it makes you a loving and concerned mother. Besides, I might have called a time or two myself. (grins) How is she, anyway?
Maddie: Ashley said she was fine...but (worried look) maybe we should—
David spins her out, then pulls her back in, very close. Their eyes lock together.
David: No. No, we shouldn’t. She’s just fine.
Nose to nose, they move across the floor, perfectly in sync...the temperature of the room rises noticeably...they are lost in each other...
And even if the sun refused to shine
Even if romance ran out of rhyme
You would still have my heart
Until the end of time
‘Cause all I need
Is you, my valentine
Maddie’s hand moves from David’s shoulder to the back of his neck...one finger dips inside his shirt collar...he kisses her cheek, then just below her ear, and breathes—
David: I’d almost forgotten what this does to me.
Maddie: (sighing) What what does?
David: Dancing with you like this. It should practically be a controlled substance...highly addictive...
He leans in to kiss her...but his lips meet a microphone instead. A young man stands perilously close to them, a large videocamera on his shoulder and said microphone in his outstretched hand.
Videographer: Any messages for our special couple?
Only Maddie can hear the low growl in David’s throat; she steps in.
Maddie: We’d just like to wish Mary and Jack long years of health, happiness, and—
Maddie twirls back around to face David.
Maddie: And dancing. Definitely dancing.
The Hayes-Addison Home
Maddie is standing by Ellie’s crib when David creeps in.
Maddie: (whispering) Did Ashley get off all right?
David: Fine. I gave her the special “sleeping baby” bonus...she seemed pretty pleased.
Maddie: We’ll have to find out what she did.
David: You can ask her next Saturday, around seven.
Maddie: You already booked her?
David: I did.
He moves behind Maddie and puts his arms around her waist; together, they look down at their sleeping daughter. Ellie stirs, just a little, and Maddie adjusts her blanket.
Maddie: She gets more beautiful every day.
David: Just like her mother.
He kisses the side of her neck and whispers—
David: Happy Valentine’s Day, Blondie.
Maddie: Happy Valentine’s Day.
The camera pans out, and we cut to an exterior shot: the light in the master bedroom clicks off...the moon shines brightly behind the house...and very softly, the Moonlighting theme music comes up.
All is peaceful...finally.
I've dreamed of this a thousand times before
In my dreams I couldn’t love you more
I will give you my heart
Until the end of time
You're all I need
My love, my Valentine
Song credit...”My Valentine” by Martina McBride
For Crusin’ Connie, always there with an ear (or a text) when I needed it...
For Lizzie, who makes sure I make sense...and is adding exponentially to my vocabulary...
For Diane, Mistress of the Floral Pun, who always knows just the right thing to say...
Thanks, my friends. It’s an honor and a privilege.
AND OF COURSE...
...a VERY Happy Belated Valentine’s Day to our loyal readers...you guys are the reason and the inspiration. Sending hugs, kisses, and candy hearts to you all!