Our scene opens with nervous fingers drumming on a phone set with a prodigious number of lines. One of them is ringing.
Phone number: 202-555-3478.
TwitchyFingers turns out to be our man Steele. He seems reluctant to pick up. I wonder why?
“Bruno!” (Ah! Of the investment firm of Bruno and Guido, Ltd., presumably) Mr. Steele is explaining to Mr. Bruno about the “bookkeeping boggle” that is apparently holding up his payment for Danny’s Dessert, when a rather casually dressed gentleman bursts in.
“Good to see you, Mr. Steele. I’m-“
“-interrupting.” Mr. Steele’s customer service skills could use a bit of honing.
Mr. Steele is preoccupied with his phone conversation. The term “stiff” seems to have been introduced by Bruno. Steele doesn’t appreciate his context! Bruno doesn’t appreciate Mr. Steele’s equivocating. The call ends abruptly. Curiously, though we didn’t hear a trace of Bruno’s voice – one suspects it was raised – during the call, the dial tone comes across loud and clear. Perhaps Mr. Steele accidently hit the speaker button.
TrackSuit introduces himself: He’s Jim Meecham, of Meecham Exploration and Development. “Let’s huddle!”
Hm. Not sure football is Mr. Steele’s game.
Perhaps a brisk innings of cricket, eh wot?
“See Miss Holt. She huddles.”
Meecham ain’t buyin’ it.
He doesn’t scrimmage with second-stringers!
Ahem. Time to give that metaphor a decent burial, I think.
Meecham is in oil and gas, based outta Oklahoma City.
Mr. Steele is … erm … captivated. He scrutinizes a tiny tablet.
Meecham’s pencil-pusher told him to diversify, so he bought into Dillon Electronics. (Side note: I believe Mr. Meecham could give Mr. Steele a run for his money in the chest hair department. Or is that a furry cravat he’s sporting under that tracksuit?)
Unfortunately, Meecham explains …
“Ever since I’ve been on that team, it’s been third and long. Somebody’s been red-doggin’ it.”
“We don’t handle animal cases,” Steele retorts. And that includes red dogs AND dead horses!
Meecham informs Steele that he’s ALREADY handling this one: Dillon, Jr. hired the firm to find out who has been stealing their research. “They were just about to sack the guy in a hotel, when some airhead busted up the play.”
Please. Make it stop.
Mr. Steele notes that “competent help is hard to find in any profession.”
Meecham concurs. That why he wants Steele quarterbacking (sigh) this thing.
“It’s time to stop pussyfooting around hotels and get to the bottom of this thing.”
Hurray! I strongly endorse cat-related metaphors.
Steele explains that he never involves himself directly in a case; he functions best in an advisory capacity.
Meecham ain’t buyin’ it.
“I subscribe to the George Steinbrenner philosophy of life.” (Oh, no! Now we’re on to baseball?)
“You want a piece of talent, you buy it.” Meecham wants a piece of Steele!
“$25,000 cashier’s check, made payable to you.”
Hm. Somehow I get the feeling that Mr. Steele might be persuaded to involve himself directly – just this once.
I’ll stop there. Does anybody else think Mr. Steele is kind of a jerk in this scene? True, Meecham is a blowhard, but since Mr. Steele’s primary responsibility in the agency is to glad-hand the clientele, it seems he might be a little more polite.
Dealing with sketchy characters like Bruno doesn’t seem like Steele’s style – and an investment in a lame race horse isn’t likely to provide the quick pay-off that the con man’s previous operations presumably did. Perhaps Steele decided to, as Meecham put it, “diversify” his interests. Could this investment deal be a new thing for him – and he finds himself over his head?