We rejoin Laura, who has added some kind of rolls to the top of her hairstyle, then hurried to give Mr. Gordon Hunter the good news (guess Murphy is tying up the phone lines at the office trying to prove NotPearson is a phony).
She finds their client in some venue, surrounded by men who appear to be wearing bathrobes. Is this a mental ward? Laura explains that “Mr. Steele feels the case warrants his closest attention.” He’ll be arriving late tonight!
Hunter seems very happy. He gives Laura a tour of the event space, and takes the opportunity to take a tour of Miss Holt. Keep your hands to yourself, Gordo!
Apparently, Hunter has arranged this whole event to launch his new luxury car. And leased the jewels because …. er …. honestly, I’m not sure what jewels have to do with a car. But the big sign tells us they’re connected.
Hunter asks if Laura has ever had a dream to “get her talents recognized, her efforts applauded.” The slightly wistful look on Laura’s face gives the answer.
Hunter rattles on about how he’s dreamed of this since he got his first job welding car doors, worked his way through engineering school on three hours of sleep, took public speaking lessons, yada yada. Wonder if he took any business classes while he was at it? Oh, well. That’s probably not necessary to launch a major company, right? He tells Laura that this might just be a job to her, but it’s his life!
Irony! Laura cryptically answers that, “in my own way, I’m also risking everything I have.” For some reason, she omits that she’s concocted a phony figurehead to attract clients like Hunter to trust her with their life’s dream. I wonder why?
Hunter is happy with this explanation, declaring that he never likes to do business with anyone who doesn’t have as much to lose as he does. Because two desperate, teetering-on-the-brink-of-ruin heads are better than one!
Suddenly we find ourselves looking at a developing photograph, bathed in orange light.
A jaunty theme is playing on the soundtrack to accompany this. It sounds very much like Van Morrison’s “Moondance.” Good song! Not sure what it has to do with this, however.
We discover that the photos are being developed by our Mr. NonAgent NotPearson!
It’s not clear where this is happening. Did he convert his hotel room bathroom into a darkroom? Presumably when the maid cleans the room next morning she’ll simply attribute the chemical smell to him cooking meth or something (did they have meth in the 1980s?)
NonAgent NotPearson scrutinizes a print carefully. Aha!
Busted, Murphy! “Dr. Livingstone, I presume!” NonAgent NotPearson declares, apropos of nothing.
After a brief commercial interruption, we’re back! Laura is sitting in a lounge someplace. She appears to be waiting for someone. Blind date? You’re going to have to wear something a little more alluring if you want to snag a fella, Laura. Try showing a little cleavage.
Look at those two gentlemen sitting behind her. They couldn’t be bothered to remove their hats. How rude! Hm. Nobody else in the restaurant is wearing a hat. These guys must be trying to appear inconspicuous! (#fail) In a possibly–but probably not–related development, Laura seems to have unrolled the top of her hairstyle …
Suddenly a waiter appears with a bottle in a bucket and a glass.
Laura informs him she didn’t order champagne. Waiter explains that a certain gentleman wants to buy her a drink. Who could it be?
Why, it’s NonAgent NotPearson! He’s traded in his safari gear for a very sharp suit. Laura declines the offer, but NonAgent NotPearson (NANP!) saunters over. He’s very, very smooth.
Laura remarks on his oversized … bottle, wondering if NANP “always does things on such a grand scale.”
“Only when I’m aroused …” he answers suavely. Are your hands in your pockets again, NANP? Tut tut! Some things are meant to be private!
“… with curiosity,” NANP clarifies, for the benefit of dirty-minded bloggers who might be making snarky remarks 31 years later.
NANP shows himself to be a scintillating – if somewhat unconventional – conversationalist when he opens with,
“Tell me, Miss Holt. How did you become a dick?”
Laura is nonplused by this new form of flirting. She’s been out of the dating game for a while, it seems!
“I beg your pardon?”
NANP clarifies: “Isn’t that what you Americans call a private detective?”
“Only in movies.” She explains that she’s always loved excitement. So she studied, and apprenticed, and eventually joined a large detective agency. Thanks for the exposition, Laura – except we already knew all that from the opening credits!
NANP wants to know if being a detective has “fulfilled her fantasies.” Why do I get the impression he’s picturing her in a trench coat with nothing underneath?
Laura admits she loved the work, but didn’t get enough recognition. I know how to solve that problem! Start your own agency and invent a fictional detective; you can do all the work, and he can get all the credit! Hmmm …
NANP clucks sympathetically about “tawdry” male chauvinism, and Laura reminds him he exhibited it himself when he assumed she was a secretary. He offers the excuse that private investigator is a highly unusual occupation for a woman, “especially one of such obvious breeding and intelligence.”
Oh, dear. Miss Holt seems less than impressed with this explanation. If you’re looking to get lucky tonight, NANP, you’d better try another tack!
NANP mutters something about the work involving “blazing guns and smashing fists.”
I think he’s intrigued by this feisty young woman, don’t you?
Laura tells him that private investigating …
“… requires more brain than brawn.” She is SO OVER this macho attitude!
Steele is apparently still thinking about sexy trenchcoats, because he notes that “sex apparently isn’t a problem for Mr. Steele.” Of course, what he means is that Steele isn’t prejudiced against Laura’s gender.
On the contrary! Laura explains that Mr. Steele is the ideal man: “He’s the most generous, understanding, supportive man” she can imagine. Ha!
NANP pours Laura another glass.
Tsk, NonAgent NotPearson! You’re not trying to get Laura tipsy to take advantage of her, are you? Cad!
He admits Steele’s shoes would be difficult to fill, and Laura warns him few men would be foolish enough to try.
“Unless, of course, one enjoys impossible challenges.” Smooth, Mr. NonAgent NotPearson. Very smooth.
NANP feels Laura out about the security arrangements tomorrow. Will Steele be there? And that competent chap, Murphy? She reassures him that her associate will play a vital role.
“Until tomorrow, then!” Steele toasts. “May everything go as smoothly as I hope.”
Oh, NonAgent NotPearson, I begin to wonder if you have Laura’s best interests at heart.
Laura suddenly gets to her feet. It appears her “appointment” has arrived. She thanks NANP for the champagne … and the curiosity.
I’ll leave it here. What do you make of NANP and Laura’s conversation? Lots of sexual tension, no? But was he merely playing Laura for information? What do you think would have happened if Laura hadn’t had a previous engagement? Would NANP have continued plying her with liquor? How would she have responded to his flirting after another glass or two?