Written by: Ted Humphrey
Directed by: Vincent Misiano
Episode Number: 111
Original Broadcast Date: January 7, 2000
Guest Stars: Ellen Bethea (Dr. Rivers), Jean Debaer (Robin), Christine Jones (Melanie), Peter McRobbie (Dr. Prescott), Peter Rini (Bill), Dahlia Salem (Miss Avalone)

Upper East Side, New York City. A woman named Melanie and her friend Robin are in Melanie's apartment. Melanie is smoking as they watch videotapes, home movies of Melanie's daughter at age seven. Now the daughter is 22 and not speaking to her mother, which distresses Melanie to no end.

Robin assures her that things will pass. "Things will be normal again. That's the nature of things with kids. Things are normal, then they're abnormal and then they're normal again." Despite Melanie's protestations, Robin goes into the kitchen to make them tea, leaving Melanie alone in the living room.

Still fixated on the videotapes, Melanie refuses to believe it will pass; she can't reconcile her grown daughter with the little girl on the screen. "It doesn't make sense."

"Old friends make sense," Robin calls from the kitchen. "Cats make sense. Children never make sense."

At that moment, there is a sudden, brilliant flash of light in the living room. It lasts for only a moment, but the intensity of the flash startles Robin. She comes into the living room to find the television set only broadcasting static and Melanie sitting on the couch, with the lit cigarette resting in her hand. Her skin looks grey, and she is not moving.

"Oh, Mel. You look terrible," Robin says. "I'm telling you-- it's the smoking. You have got to quit." With that, she reaches over and takes the cigarette from her friend's hand.

That slight movement is enough. Within moments, Melanie - what's left of her - crumbles into ash, as Robin screams in horror.

Somewhere in New York, Dr. Morris is running tests in a weather lab, testing Michael's endurance in specific conditions. Michael is doing push-ups in a small, insulated room which can simulate extreme weather conditions. The temperature in the unit is -34 degrees, and he's only wearing a tank top and pants. He's reached 765 push-ups, and insists that the Doc let him out before he freezes to death. Communicating with Michael via an earpiece and a video monitor, Morris retorts that Michael is not about to freeze to death; his blood pressure, heart rate, and all his vital signs are normal.

"Yeah, well, my vital signs don't feel good," Michael complains. "My vital signs feel like they're part of a tv dinner."

"That's just your mind playing tricks on you. You know the air around you is cold and four decades of conditioning have trained your brain to react as if it, too, is cold. It is not. And neither is your body. Your body was built with this kind of cold in mind."

Michael isn't buying that for a second, but his protestations are cut off when the door buzzer sounds. To Michael's distress, Morris shuts off the video feed and removes his earpiece to go deal with the team of scientists waiting outside, led by Dr. Prescott. It seems that while the Pentagon has ordered them to move their work to other parts of the facility while Morris works, Prescott insists that they must take specific measurements in the lab at 1:00 p.m. Morris isn't happy about this, but he has to let them in. Worse, one of the scientists, Dr. Rivers, is a single mother, and she has her baby with her - a loudly crying baby.

Morris moves back to the weather unit, putting in his earpiece. "Mr. Wiseman, I can't put on the video, but how are you coming with your pushups?"

"998..." Morris can't see it, but Michael is really sitting to the side, leaning against the wall of the unit instead of doing push-ups. "Hey, Doc! 999... What's all that ruckus out there?"

Pulling out his earpiece, Morris gets up and strides over to where Dr. Rivers is trying to quiet her baby down. "Excuse me, but this is not a day care center. This is a laboratory. I'm trying to get work done. Do you think you could possibly..."

Hearing that, she turns around and smiles brightly. "I'm sorry. Were you speaking to me?"

Instantly smitten, Morris cuts off his tirade. "No. Just... welcome."

Meanwhile, Michael tries to get up - but with the freezing temperatures, he finds that his shoulder is stuck to the metal wall. "Doc! Doc! Doc!" he screams, unable to be heard through the earpiece in Morris' pocket. "Doc, let's cut it with the chitchat and get a heat lamp in here. Doc! Doc!!"

Late that night, Roger wakes up from a particularly vivid dream. He wakes up Ruth to tell her about it, much to her irritation. He dreamed that they were out with Lisa and Michael for their wedding anniversary. "What do you mean? Their last anniversary?" Ruth asks.

"No. Their next anniversary, this anniversary. We were all out to dinner and then... suddenly we were halfway though the meal and we couldn't find Michael. He was just... gone." Ruth assures him that it was just a dream, but Roger realizes that Lisa and Michael's 18th wedding anniversary will be coming up in three weeks. He's confused, wondering what the protocol is for this sort of thing - sending an anniversary card wouldn't work.

"There is no protocol," Ruth groans. "You do nothing. There is no anniversary because there is no marriage. You ignore it as if it was our marriage. Trust me. That's what Lisa wants." Roger isn't convinced, but he decides to accept that for now and lies back down.

Lisa also wakes from a doozy of a dream, and wanders into Heather's room, inadvertently waking her daughter up. "Do you want to go away some weekend?" she asks. "Just get in the car and go for a drive upstate to eat some fried food, stay in a motel? See the sights?"

"Must have been some dream," Heather observes.

She tells Lisa that she just can't do it - she has school, and soccer, and band practice. Maybe it could wait until summer. "Well, do you mind if we continue this discussion in the morning?"

"What?! You have a problem with your mother standing in your bedroom watching you sleep?"

"All right, let me put it this way," Heather says. "Get in or get gone."

Lisa hops into bed with her daughter, and after a moment someone starts tickling someone, and they both start giggling.

The next morning, Dr. Morris peels the bandages off of Michael's shoulder to reveal - nothing. "Not a mark on you. Damn, I'm good."

The first-degree frostbite that Michael received in the weather lab has healed completely overnight; Morris notes that Michael heals in the fraction of the time an ordinary man would. "How do you feel?"

"Good..." Michael answers, "physically."

"What do you mean? You don't feel good mentally?"

"Yeah, I suppose. Actually... I've been having this sense of dread lately. It's like something important is coming and I don't know what it is, and I'm not prepared. And no matter what I do, I'm going to disappoint people, disappoint myself."

"Well, the only person in your life you need concern yourself with disappointing is me," Morris says. "And I assure you, Mr. Wiseman, if you let me down in any way, I will make it my business to let you know."

Michael sighs. "Yeah, that was a real concern of mine."

Morris chuckles. "Come on. Let's get our workout going. I'd like to get it behind us so we can be at the weather lab before 1:00."

"Why?" Michael asks suspiciously. "What happens at 1:00?"

Switch to the weather lab. It's a moment to 1, and Michael has finished his 6,000 repetitions on the rowing machine - this time, the temperature in the unit is 134 degrees, and he's sweltering. Morris is fixated on the clock, and ignores Michael's pleas to let him out as the buzzer rings. He turns the video off and opens the door to admit Prescott's team, this time with a welcoming smile. Dr. Rivers is among them, with her baby, who is mercifully asleep. Morris awkwardly tries to start a conversation with her, but doesn't do very well. "Nice to meet you, Miss..."

"Doctor."

"Miss Doctor. My goodness. Has anyone ever told you that if you got your PhD you'd be Dr. Doctor?"

"I have my PhD."

"I knew that."

She's less than impressed. "Didn't you mention something about walking over there?"

"I did, didn't I? Watch this." He reluctantly turns away.

He's only halfway across the room when Michael slams his body against the wall of the unit, the banging startling all the scientists. Morris runs to the monitor, grabs the earpiece and demands to know what Michael's doing. Michael has about had it, and swears he's going to melt if Morris doesn't let him out. "I can't let you out yet," Morris whispers. "The place is filled with people."

"You can't fool me. I heard the whole thing. You're trying to figure a way to make a move on Dr. Doctor out there. And you know what?" Michael adds. "If I may say so, for a guy who I always thought was a really smooth operator, when it comes to chatting up the ladies you suck like a Hoover, Doc."

Morris can't believe this. "Excuse me?"

"You heard me. You have the conversational skills of a monk."

"Oh really?" In his anger, Morris doesn't notice the stares he's getting from the other scientists. "And who made you the expert on all things conversational?"

"I'm an insurance man. I could sell holes to a doughnut. If you don't get me out of here, I will huff and I'll puff, and I'll..." Morris pulls his earpiece out.

He turns back to the others, who are staring at him. "Ear infection. Nasty." Michael bangs against the unit again, and Morris puts the earpiece back in. Michael is furious; he's finished the repetitions and the heat is miserable. Morris apologizes and promises to turn the heat down. He gets up and goes to the temperature indicator, but before he can turn the heat down, his attention is again captivated by Dr. Rivers. To Michael's dismay, he approaches her again. But he's completely tongue-tied.

Frustrated, Michael inadvertently talks him through it. "Just say, 'So, you're a scientist.'"

"So, you're a scientist."

"Yeah."

"'Well, so are you.'"

"Well, so are you."

"No, not 'me,'" Michael says. "'You.' You're the scientist. Say, 'Well, so am I.'"

"I-I-I... I mean... I'm a scientist, too. Yes."

"I believe everyone in the room is a scientist," Dr. Rivers informs him.

"Exactly," Michael prompts.

"Well, exactly."

"'So, of course, you'll appreciate the value of experimentation.'"

"So, of course, you'll appreciate the value of experimentation."

Dr. Rivers looks at Morris curiously. "I have no idea what you're talking about."

"You're not alone there," Morris admits.

"You don't have to do that," Michael says. "I can hear her. Just say what I'm saying. 'See, when I came over before and made that joke about the PhD...'" He continues to prompt Morris through the earpiece.

"You see, when I came over before and made that joke about the PhD... I was just experimenting to find out your name."

"Dr. Rivers."

"'Your first name,'" Michael prompts.

"No, no, I... I meant your first name." She doesn't respond, and Michael continues prompting Morris. "But my experiment failed. So I went back to the lab... and developed a new methodology. It's called the direct approach. You walk up to the person you're interested in... and say, 'Excuse me, my name is Dr. Theodore Morris. What's yours?'"

She looks at him for a moment before smiling. "Lauren. Dr. Lauren Rivers."

"Now shake her hand," Michael says, "and sell her some insurance."

Morris is beaming. "It's nice to meet you, Dr. Lauren Rivers."

The next morning, Michael is less than thrilled at his bland breakfast - some kind of oatmeal. (It's bland. Period.) "Say what you will, Mr. Wiseman," Morris informs him, "but our latest blood work reveals that you have the arteries of a six-year-old."

"Great. So how come you have me eating like a toothless 90-year-old?" Michael wouldn't mind something a little more palatable, even if it gives him the arteries of an 11-year-old.

"That's the great paradox, isn't it, Mr. Wiseman? To keep you young and healthy we must deny you the things you believe make life worth living."

"Took the words right out of my appetite, Doc." He brings up the question of when Morris is going to ask out Dr. Rivers, which Morris insists is none of Michael's business. "Flag on the play, Jerry Mahoney. Am I not the guy who told you what to say so you could meet this woman?"

"Mr. Wiseman, it's true that, in a vulnerable moment while I was temporarily tongue-tied, you provided me with some... suggestions."

Michael insists that Morris couldn't have had a coherent conversation with Dr. Rivers without his help, a fact that Morris adamantly refuses to admit. "I don't need your help speaking to women. And I don't want your help speaking to women."

"Well, fine, because you're not getting my help."

"Good."

"Great."

"Fabulous."

The ride in the limo is a dead silence.

"Mom, I think the Schoenfelds' dog crapped on our lawn again. Mom?" Heather comes into Lisa's room only to find that Lisa has locked herself in the bathroom. "What are you doing in there?"

"What am I doing in here? It's a bathroom, Heather. I'm betting, with a little bit of thought you can crack this mystery."

Unconvinced, Heather's sure her mother's up to something. She grabs the cellphone and calls home, the ringing phone bringing Lisa out of the bathroom to pick up the receiver. Heather comes back into the bedroom and screams to see that Lisa's colored her hair a shade similar to her own, which Lisa doesn't think is that horrifying. "You're a mom. My mom," Heather argues. "You're not supposed to look different. You're supposed to stay the same all the time."

"Oh, come on. You'll get used to it," Lisa says, sitting down on the bed." I just... I don't know. I just... I get up every day and... and look in the mirror and that's me. Same me I've been looking at for years and years. And then I just start to think of all the other things I'm used to having in my life for years and years. Like... your dad. The other night, I woke up and... I realized that our 18th anniversary was coming up. And then I realized it wasn't coming up. I don't know. I just wanted to look different. Be somewhere else. You know?"

Heather sits down next to her. "Mom, if you still want to take that weird road trip I can get out of my stuff. I'll go with you."

"Naw, that's okay," Lisa tells her. "I got other ideas. But... could I borrow your color for a while?"

"Only if I can dye mine blue."

"Ooh! You really are treading on thin ice," Lisa tells her, suddenly remembering the reason Heather sought her out. "Like the Schoenfelds' dog."

In the weather lab, Michael is running on a treadmill in the midst of a blizzard. It's 1 pm, and Morris happily lets Prescott's team in, removing his earpiece and turning the video off first. He heads straight for Dr. Rivers. "It's nice to see you again," she says.

"It's nice to be seen," Morris replies as she sets her baby down.

"Is there something I can do for you?"

"I was wondering if coffee you'd like to get perhaps?"

"Excuse me?" Dr. Rivers asks as Morris realizes what just came out of his mouth. Hearing the whole thing, Michael chuckles.

Morris tries again. "No, no. I was wondering, if you... walked with me, wanted coffee, and get it." It still isn't working. "Excuse me."

He runs over to the monitors and puts in the earpiece. "Mr. Wiseman?"

Michael can't resist. "Ask something me want to you?"

Morris and Dr. Rivers are walking down a street in town, with Dr. Rivers pushing her baby in a stroller. Michael is on the other side of the street, keeping pace with them and prompting Morris. "He was my lab partner," Dr. Rivers is saying. "We fell in love in college, got married. I got pregnant went to work, then he started college. There was always another course always another credit. It wasn't until I had Keisa, though that I realized that my husband wasn't going to finish college - that he loved the idea of lectures and libraries, co-eds and bonfires - and that he wasn't interested in a home of his own or a family." She still loves her work and loves being a mother.

Their conversation is brought to a halt when Keisa starts crying. Dr. Rivers stops and picks the baby up, trying to quiet her. Michael suggests Morris ask to hold the baby. Morris refuses. "It's a baby... it's small... and leaky."

"Doc, there are very few sure things in this world and this is one of them. Now, just do what I tell you. Smile at her, like this crying doesn't bother you a bit. You'll see. She'll love it." Morris does so, and Dr. Rivers smiles at him over an armful of crying infant. "What did I tell you? Now, hold your arms out... and say, 'may I?'"

Morris sighs, resigning himself to the task. When Dr. Rivers hands over Keisa, the baby doesn't stop crying. "Now, make a face or something," Michael suggests. "Make that raspberry sound. Kids love that. Oh, go, 'goo, goo.'"

Having ideas of his own, Morris pulls out the earpiece before starting to sing. "Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer, do... I'm half crazy over the love of you... It won't be a stylish marriage, I can't afford a carriage, but you'll look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle built for two." His voice soothes Keisa, and her crying stops. "That's better." They continue on, with a relieved Morris still carrying the baby.

It's three weeks later. Morris comes into Michael's bedroom, absolutely gushing over his last date with Dr. Rivers. In contrast to his glee, Michael is simply sitting there, still in his pajamas, staring blankly out at the window. "What's today's date?"

"I can't tell you that. You know that."

Michael groans and rubs his temples. "Remember, I told you I had this bad feeling? Like something important was coming but I didn't know what it was, and that I wasn't prepared? And that no matter what I did, I knew I was going to disappoint people, disappoint myself? Well... I figured it out. My anniversary. My anniversary's coming. It may even be over already, but I know it's right around this time of year right around now. So, come on, Doc, what's the date?"

Morris refuses to tell him. "The reason there are no calendars here, the reason you are denied television, telephone, newspapers, magazines and radio is so that you could focus your attention on your work. No. No. I-I'm not going to tell you the date. I don't want you memorializing special events, birthdays... least of all your anniversary. For oodness sake, it's not even really your anniversary anymore."

"I see. I see." Michael gets to his feet. "So I can help you, tell you what to say to your lady friend and that's okay."

"You know the rules."

"When you need a favor from me, I'm right there, but when I say to you, 'Tell me the freaking date...'"

"It's not the same thing."

"Why?!"

"Because you're dead - and dead men don't have anniversaries, because dead men don't have wives. They have widows." There is a moment of cold silence. "I'm going to step outside for moment and make a phone call. Be in the gym when I get back.

"Do yourself a favor, Doc," Michael snaps. "When you come back, don't be whistling."

Lisa is on the phone, trying to look up her old college roommate Claire. She finally gets through to Claire, with the intention of stopping by to catch up on old times. Her balloon begins to deflate when she learns that Claire is divorced and living with fourteen cats - one for every year since the divorce. "Well, yeah, it's really good hearing your voice, too. Um, and you know what? I'm going to get back to you as soon as I firm up my plans. Bye, Claire." She hangs up the phone and sighs, defeated.

In the limo, Morris has no newspaper; he doesn't want to tempt Michael into reading the date. "Well, aren't we smug?" Michael observes.

"What can I say?"

"Three weeks ago, not very much."

"Well, it isn't three weeks ago."

"Ooh, what was that? Confidence? My, my, my, it must be going pretty well with Dr. Rivers, huh?"

"It's going wonderfully with Dr. Rivers, thank you."

"Isn't that nice?"

"Hmm."

"I bet the two of you just chat up a storm."

"Something like that."

"Words just roll out of your mouth?"

"Trip off my tongue."

"Hmm, that's great. That's wonderful. I'm happy for you." Michael turns to stare out the window again before adding, "Bastard."

Michael is pedaling in a rainstorm this time when Dr. Rivers taps on the lab window, much to Morris' delight and Michael's disgust. Morris thoughtfully sets the intensity to monsoon before stepping out in the hall to talk to Dr. Rivers.

His delight fades when she tells him what's going on. "My husband called last night. He's left school, found a wonderful job in Albuquerque. He wants to try again."

Morris is stunned. "Us about what?"

"Huh?" Dr. Rivers asks, confused.

"You know, the us of two."

"'The us of two'?" she echoes.

Horrified at being tongue-tied again, Morris dashes back into the lab. "Move don't." He grabs the earpiece. "Mr. Wiseman?"

"Don't bother me now," Michael answers. "I'm trying to round up two of every species."

Morris begs Michael to help him - but Michael demands to know the date. Morris refuses, and then Dr. Rivers walks in. "Is this a bad time?" she asks. "Should we finish this conversation later?"

"Lord, no. This is the perfect time."

"All right... if you're sure. It's just... Well, it's important to me that you know that if I'd even had an inkling... but... but..."

"Oh, but..." is all that Morris can manage.

Michael applauds. "Very nice. Took the words right out of my mouth."

"It's just I don't feel like I have a choice," Dr. Rivers explains. "He's Keisa's father."

"Yeah, I know, but still..."

"Slow down!" Michael shouts. "I want to get this on paper."

Dr. Rivers kisses Morris gently on the cheek. "I'm sorry." She turns and walks away, leaving Morris standing there.

"Man, for a genius, you are thick," Michael groans. "Say, 'stop.'"

"Wait. Stop."

She turns, almost hopefully. "Yes?"

Sighing, Michael realizes he's back to playing Cyrano. "Well, tell her... tell her, 'you can't just leave like that.'"

"You can't just leave like that."

"I can't?"

"Well, go ahead," Michael prompts. "Go to her. Tell her you know he's her husband."

Morris does so. "I know he's your husband."

"And you know he's the father of her child."

"And I know he's the father of your child."

"'And I know you're supposed to go back to him today, the 12th.'"

"I know you're supposed to go back to him today, the 12th."

"What are you talking about?" Dr. Rivers asks. "Today's the 17th." Morris' eyes widen as he realizes he's been tricked.

"It is?" Michael exclaims happily. "That means today's my anniversary. Wow."

"Theo, I don't understand," Dr. Rivers says. "Why did you say that about the 12th?"

"I don't know. Why did I say that about the 12th?"

"Sorry, sorry, sorry. Where was I?" Michael catches himself before the prompting resumes.

"Look, I know what you have to do..." Morris says, repeating what Michael tells him. "And I know what you're supposed to do. But for a little while, anyway... I was the keeper of your heart... and you were the keeper of mine. So, know... if it doesn't work out... there's a place to come to."

"Now, this is tricky, Doc, so follow carefully," Michael tells him. "Take your arm and gently place it around her waist..."

"Oh, shut up," Morris sighs.

"Excuse me?" Dr. Rivers asks.

Morris removes the earpiece. "Not you." With that, he kisses her... for a very long time.

The silence causes Michael to stop pedaling. "Hello? Anybody home? It going all right out there? I don't hear anything." Neither do Dr. Rivers or Dr. Morris.

Heather is about to go out to the movies, but she's uncertain about leaving Lisa alone. "Well, I just kind of remembered it's a special night, isn't it?"

"It was. It still is. I'm fine. I like the idea of being here tonight."

"And you're okay being by yourself?"

"Well, don't take this the wrong way but I'm kind of, sort of looking forward to it." To emphasize the point, she gives Heather some cash for the movies. Heather takes it, thanks her, and leaves.

Back in the limo, Michael turns to Dr. Morris. "Hey, Doc. I just want you to know..."

"Thanks. I know." He pauses for a moment before adding, "Happy anniversary, Mr. Wiseman. Happy anniversary."

Meanwhile, Lisa is again in the bathroom, in a bubble bath with candles scattered around and a wine glass in her hand. "Happy anniversary, Mike," she whispers.

Alphabet City, New York, presumably the next morning. A young woman pulls out of the embrace of her lover and hurriedly gets dressed, much to his annoyance. "Do you understand how nuts this is?" he asks, sitting up with a cigarette in one hand. "How nuts he is?"

"No, he's not nuts, and I'm not leaving him," she replies. "So you're just going to have to find a way to make it work."

"Oh, I have to make it work? It's up to me to make it work? Screw you. Screw him. Screw all of it. I'm a man, do you understand? I'm a man, and I'm not sharing you with anyone. Just forget it. It's over. It's all over. I'm out of it, and you can all go to hell."

She stands up, pulling her shirt on. "Oh, really? Well, I've got news for you. You're the one who's going to hell."

With that, she turns and stalks out of the room. "No, darling, you're going to hell," he calls after her.

Immediately, the doorway is illuminated by another bright flash of light, and the woman turns, heading back into the room. "Bill?" She enters the room, and a few moments later her screams of horror can be heard.

To be continued...

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