| Written by: Debbie Sarjeant |
Directed by: Ronald L. Schwary
Episode Number: 114
Original Broadcast Date: February 11, 2000
Guest Stars: Jamey Sheridan (Ben), Faith Prince (Janet), Adam LeFevre (Bank Manager), Cynthia Roman (Flowershop Girl)
Surprised, Lisa stares at Ben as her client goes on. "Must be a very well-adjusted fellow. My second wife was an attorney, and the more she would assure me that her dinner meetings were strictly business, the more I would just think that..." He stops and sighs, taking a better look at the photo he's holding. "This can't possibly be as nice as this picture makes it look." Ben glances back up at Lisa, but she remains silent. "You didn't answer my question."
She laughs nervously. "Well, to be completely honest, I'm not really that familiar with this piece of property."
"Well, that's nice," Ben says. "I'm trying to ask you in a clever way about your husband. This game isn't going to work if you force me to play it alone."
"I'm... a widow."
"Oh," Ben replies. "I... I saw the ring."
"Well, I haven't been able to bring myself to take it off."
"No, no, I, uh... you shouldn't have to," Ben protests. "Why? So jerks like me will know whether or not to try and pick you up."
"You didn't know?" she asks, incredulous.
"You thought I was married?"
He looks at her with an almost sheepish expression. "Yep."
Lisa sighs. "I am so confused."
"I like married women," Ben explains. "I've had great luck with married women. Married women - not all married women, mind you - but... married women... with a little bit of an itch. They're not that different from someone like me. They don't want to get caught. They don't want complications. They just want to hook up with someone, uh..."
"Pleasant," Lisa finishes acidly.
"I really have to go," Lisa says, getting up. "I really have to go... wash."
Ben stares at her, perplexed. "Wash?"
She grabs her purse and coat. "Yeah. I have to go wash with a wire brush."
As she storms down the street, Ben runs out of the restaurant. "Hey, Lisa, stop!"
Lisa keeps walking, frustrated. "Oh..."
"I still want to buy a house!" Ben calls after her.
"Just..." Lisa snaps, "blow it out your..." The credits roll, the main theme plays, and the rest of the insult is left to our imagination.
The next morning, Michael and Dr. Morris are sitting on a park bench in the city. "This is a very strange place to have a top-secret meeting," Michael observes, looking around at a man tossing bread crumbs to a group of pigeons.
"Not really," Morris says. "Sometimes the safest place to discuss the most sensitive subjects are out in the open." Michael is still looking away. "Mr. Wiseman? Why are you staring at the pigeons?"
"I'm jealous. That bread looks awfully good to me."
Morris hits him lightly in the arm as Michael faces forward again and an older man comes up to them. "I was asked to make contact with you. Thanks for meeting here on such short notice. You know why I'm here?"
"Well, obviously I know," Morris answers. "My budget is coming up for review. I assume it has something to do with that." The man looks nervous. "What?"
"POTUS wants to talk to you."
"POTUS himself?" Morris asks, surprised. "When?"
"Now. Shall we?"
Nodding, Morris gets up to follow the man, but Michael, who's still sitting there, clears his throat loudly to get their attention. "Don't you remember?" he asks Morris. "Mom said you can't go anywhere with your friends today. You have to baby-sit me."
"Is this man with you?" the government man asks curiously as Morris rolls his eyes.
"No one told you that I would be bringing someone?" Morris asks.
"With all due respect, Dr. Morris, this isn't a high school dance. This is POTUS. I was told to bring you and only you."
"I just need a minute," Morris says, crouching down to Michael's level to speak to him. "Mr. Wiseman, there's been some sort of miscommunication."
"You're telling me," Michael says. "This guy's acting like I'm not even here. And, by the way, what's a POTUS? What?"
"The O stands for 'of' and the T stands for 'the.'"
Michael still doesn't get it. "Thank you, Vanna. I'd like to buy a vowel now."
"President of the United States," Morris tells him, frustrated.
"What about him?"
It takes a second, but Michael makes the connection. "That's who you're going to see?"
"Yes. And I need you to stay right here on this bench until I get back."
"Wait a second. You're running off to see the leader of the free world and you want me to just sit here in Birdland?"
Sighing, Morris turns back to the government contact. "How long do you think we're looking at here?"
"It's POTUS, for God's sakes," the man tells him. "My guess, he's got less than ten minutes to spend with you."
"I'll be back before you know it," Morris tells Michael. "You will not move."
"Not so fast, Mr. Loco Parento," Michael says. "Money for food and I can go anywhere I want for half an hour."
"No money, but you can walk around in this little fenced-in area here."
Michael glances around him before replying. "Ten bucks and five square blocks."
"Not a dime," Morris insists. "Two square blocks and for only 15 minutes. And you have to be back on this bench when I get back. And if I find out you did anything extraordinary to call attention to yourself, I will personally open you up and forget the anesthesia - if you get my drift." Still enjoying the art of irritating Morris, Michael moves as if to hug him. "I love you."
"G-g-get, get your hands off me," Morris snaps, pushing him away and standing back up. "15 minutes. It's a quarter of now. I want you back on that bench at the top of the hour."
With that, he and the government man get into a truck, and it drives away. Michael watches them go for a moment before getting up and hopping over a railing, dispersing the pigeons as he strides across the park.
As he walks down Fifth Avenue, a Valentine's Day display in a flower shop window catches his eye. The girl at the counter takes a second to notice his entry, taking her headphones off. "Can I help you?"
"Uh, I think I'd like to send my wife a dozen white roses," Michael says. "She loves white roses."
She hands him a form and a pen, telling him to put the name, address, and phone number where he wants them delivered as well as a message. "That'll be $38," she says after he fills out the form and passes it back, "Mr... Wiseman."
"Huh? Oh, no, no, I'm Newman," Michael stammers, trying to cover his tracks. "She's Wiseman. I'm Newman. She kept her maiden name. My name's Newman. Big bone of contention in the marriage, but what am I going to do? I love her." The flower shop girl stares at him with a complete lack of interest, and Michael makes a show of checking his pockets. "Oh, wow. I don't believe it. I forgot my wallet. Darn, but I know my Visa number. Can you do it without the card?"
Her answer is in the negative. Several times. Frustrated, Michael persists. "I mean, if I called you and I ordered the flowers and I told you my credit card number, you'd send them."
But she simply writes down something on a slip of paper and hands it to him. "Call it in. Here's the number."
Michael sighs. "Can I borrow your telephone?"
"Sure, you can borrow the phone. The only thing is that this is the only phone we have and it's for incoming orders only." She glares at him. "So, if you use this phone to call me, I won't be able to answer it to speak to you."
With that, she turns away. Michael thinks for a moment before turning and walking out of the shop... and heads for his old bank, snatching up a deposit slip and filling it out, signing his own name. When the teller asks for his photo I.D., he tells her he lost his wallet on the subway. She insists he needs photo I.D., but Michael doesn't give up. "You have my signature on file, right? It's a match, right? All I need is $40. I got to get them to get me a new license, new everything. I just need $40 to tie me over - and... it is mine." He gives her his best puppy-dog expression. "Can't you help me--" here he reads her name tag-- "Julia?"
"All right," she says after a moment, filling out a new deposit slip and passing it to him. "Sign it again, in front of me."
"Thank you, Julia," Michael says, signing the slip and handing it back. "Anyone ever tell you, you have very beautiful eyes, Julia?"
Julia smirks. "Only men looking for money." She brings up the signature. "Mr. Wiseman, your signature checks out." She gives him the money, and he thanks her and prepares to leave.
Unfortunately, a bunch of robbers choose that moment to hold up the bank. Julia manages to press the silent alarm beneath the desk before the robbers herd everyone into the bank vault. Remembering his promise to the Doc, Michael has no choice but to allow himself to be herded into the vault with the rest of them.
Once inside the vault, the bank manager stands up and assures everyone that they will be fine - there's plenty of air, and the police should be coming to get them out. He advises everyone to make themselves comfortable. Michael asks a woman for the time - it's five after ten. He winces, knowing Morris is going to give him hell for this.
Suddenly, one of the men trapped inside the vault starts gasping for air, clutching his chest as he collapses to the floor. A woman pushes through the crowd, insisting that she's a doctor. She attempts to perform CPR on the man as Michael kneels down beside them. "Is there anything I can do?"
"Yeah, open that door," she tells him, pointing at the bank vault door. "I need to get him to a hospital." She resumes performing CPR as Michael stares at the door for a moment, making a decision.
He manages to get the rest of the hostages to move back into one of the side alcoves to give the unconscious man some privacy, but also because it's out of sight of the vault door. As he sneaks over to the door, examining it, the manager follows. "There's no internal release," the manager tells Michael.
"We've got to get him out of here," the doctor insists, still desperately trying to revive the man.
"Look - there's bolts all around that door," the manager tells Michael. "When they're engaged, they go five inches into the walls."
Michael glances back at the man lying on the floor of the vault, then turns back to the door. "Sorry, Doc," he mutters before leaning into the door, pushing it with all his might. Outside, the sound of metal bending and creaking can be heard. Suddenly, the bolts around the vault door start popping out, one by one, under the strain, and Michael pushes the door open.
As he does so, a security camera above and behind him comes on, giving the viewer only a shot of Michael's back as he pushes the door open. Several cops rush in, wondering who blasted the door open, but Michael tells them to call an ambulance. "What time you got?" he asks one of them.
"It's 10:22," the cop says.
"Oh, man!" Since the police are distracted by the plight of the other man, Michael is able to slip past them and hurry out of the bank.
The next morning. The Wiseman's doorbell rings, and Lisa opens the door to find a delivery boy standing on her doorstep with a dozen white roses. "Happy Valentine's Day."
"Wait - wait a second. Who are these from?"
The delivery guy reads off the card. "'A secret admirer.'"
Thinking this is Ben's doing, Lisa closes the door in his face. He rings the doorbell again, insisting he isn't allowed to take them back. "Give them to me," Lisa sighs, taking the flowers from him. She shuts the door and heads right for the kitchen, promptly stuffing the flowers in the trash can.
Back at the townhouse, Morris is livid, pacing back and forth while Michael sits guiltily on the bed. "15 minutes I waited at that bench for you. 15 minutes."
"You know, you yelled at me about this yesterday - all yesterday."
"Well, I'm still furious about it today," Morris snaps. "15 minutes. And then the limo finally shows up and we go looking for you."
"Well, that was your mistake. If you had just stayed at the..."
Morris whirls on him. "If I'd just what?"
"We would've hooked up, and I wouldn't have made it to the flower shop with the money," Michael finishes.
"And that's another thing - sending flowers to your wife?" Morris says with mock cheer before glowering at Michael again. "What were you thinking?"
"I was thinking, 'wouldn't it be nice for her to know that someone out there remembered her on Valentine's Day?' Wow, what a radical idea - flowers on Valentine's Day. What'll he do next, send her a card?"
"You know what POTUS said to me yesterday?" Morris asks.
"POTUS? That would be the president? No, I don't believe I was included in that conversation," Michael replies bitterly.
"He said: 'Dr. Morris... while I admire the work that you are doing and believe that it may someday play a crucial role in our country's security not everyone shares my opinion. The next several weeks you and your program will be under review by a top secret committee at the Pentagon. This review will be critical... cri-ti-cal... to your program's survival.'"
"You want to say 'cri-ti-cal' again?" Michael snaps. "Your spittle didn't quite hit me that last time."
"I don't think sending flowers to your widow, making a spectacle of yourself in public, ripping open bank vault doors in front of civilians is something the Pentagon is going to look kindly upon. I just don't!"
"A man was having a heart attack. A heart attack, for goodness sake," Michael cries, getting up. "What was I supposed to do, just let him die?" Morris glares at him, the answer apparent in his expression. "Oh... you are cold, my friend. You are glacial."
"No. I'm concerned," Morris tells him, "about the future of this project - the future of you!"
"Well, relax. No harm done. Nobody was hurt. Quite the opposite, in fact - a man's life was saved, and I saved it and I don't regret doing it for a minute."
Morris' cell phone rings, and he answers it. "Yes? No. You know there are no televisions here. Fine. Bring one over."
As he hangs up, Michael sees the disturbed look on his face. "What?"
"Are you sure you told me everything about what happened yesterday?" Morris asks him. "Everywhere you went? Everything you did?"
"Absolutely," Michael says. "I think."
Lisa comes into the office to find Ben sitting at her desk. "Good morning."
"I'll be the judge of that," she snaps, turning to talk to Janet and Carla. Carla admits that he was there when she opened up, and she just let him in because he looked so sad.
"Yeah, what's up?" Janet asks. "He's been sitting at your desk for 45 minutes looking like some puppy who's chewed up somebody's slipper and feels bad about it. Did everything go all right yesterday? I mean, I know he's a little strange, but I do not think you are wasting your time. We took the liberty of checking his T.R.W. and he is definitely what you would call a qualified buyer." Lisa sighs. "He made a pass, right?"
"A pass?" Lisa echoes. "No. No, no. He tried to kick a field goal while my team was still in the locker room."
"Wow," Carla murmurs, smiling. "Do you think he's dangerous?"
Janet grins. "One can only hope."
"Relax," Lisa tells her. "You're not his type. He's not interested in anyone that's available. Separated, divorced, need not apply."
"Wow. I've never even heard of one of those," Janet observes, but Lisa isn't amused. "Look... I know what you were thinking, and I would certainly never ask you to do anything that makes you uncomfortable, but - in my opinion, that man is an excellent prospect, and frankly, Lisa, you could sit at that desk three weeks before another qualified buyer walks in."
Sighing, Lisa relents, going back to sit at her desk. "Well, you have got them completely snowed," she informs Ben.
"Mm-hmm." She glances over at Janet, who's not-so-subtly trying to eavesdrop. "My boss wants to give you a saucer of milk."
In the car, Ben can't believe she's not even a bit flattered. "No," Lisa snaps. "Not by what you said last night; not by what you're saying now; not by the flowers this morning; not by any of it. No."
Ben has no idea what she's talking about; he didn't send her anything, and wouldn't pull the secret admirer shtick. "There's nothing secret about me. I made an ass out of myself in front of your whole office. Besides, who sends white roses?"
"What?! I love white roses. My husband always sent..."
Cut to the townhouse, where Michael and the Doc are watching a videotape of a newscast talking about the bank robbery. Michael is horrified to see the security tape of him pushing open the bank door. Fortunately, since the camera was designed to catch someone breaking into the vault, there's no image of his face on the tape. "Honestly, I'm sorry," Michael groans.
"The bad news is," Morris adds, "the image of you - your back to the camera, your body pressing against that door as it cracks open, is on the front page of virtually every newspaper in the country."
"Okay, so what do we do?" Michael asks. "There's got to be something we can do."
Morris turns. "'We?' Did I hear you say, 'we?'"
"Did we do this?" Morris demands. "I don't think so. I don't think you were thinking about me or this project when you decided to imitate Conan the Barbarian in front of that security camera. We are under financial review by the Pentagon, Mr. Wiseman, and we are hanging on by a thread."
"All right! Enough!" Michael cries. "Kill me now, because it would be preferable to this!"
"Don't tempt me, Valentine boy!" Morris shouts. "Don't tempt me!" He hesitates, becoming calmer. "The good news is... if we're careful - if we're smart - it will blow over eventually."
"Really? You think so?" Michael asks hopefully.
"Again... eventually. Every day there's new news. Planes fall out of the sky and we never figure out why. World leaders behave badly and we pretend not to notice. There's a videotape of an unidentified man pushing open a five-ton vault door in Manhattan and no one has an explanation. The trick is, we've got to keep that man unidentified. And we have to do it until we get our funding renewed."
"Okay. How do we do that?"
"From this moment forward, Mr. Wiseman," Morris replies, "until such time as I receive word that our funding for next year is in place, you will not leave this townhouse under any circumstances."
"Okay," Michael says quietly. "Sure."
"And not only that. I, or someone under my command will be with you every minute of every day. Are you clear?"
Michael sighs, resigning himself to the punishment he's earned. "Absolutely, I'm clear. I'm totally clear."
Lisa comes home to an empty house - Heather's out somewhere. She goes to the trashcan, where the roses are still stuffed inside, and checks the card for the flower shop it came from. She calls the shop, asking to speak to the girl who actually sold the flowers. "I was just wondering if you happen to remember... you do? Great. My husband? He said he was my husband. I see. And you remember because his last name was different but he said he was my husband. Well, um... do you remember what last name he used? Oh. You think it might have been 'Redford.' no. No, that doesn't ring a bell. I'm... I'm just curious. Do you remember what he looked like? He looked like a guy named 'Redford.' Of course." Defeated, she hangs up.
Later that night, Lisa is woken up by the phone ringing. It's the bank manager, asking to speak with Mr. Wiseman, since he withdrew some money the day before. "Some things happened during the robbery I can't make sense of and I thought if I could just speak with him..."
Lisa sits up in bed. "Mr. Burroughs, my husband passed away over a year ago."
"My husband is dead, Mr. Burroughs. So whoever it was that you think made that withdrawal, I can assure you that it was not my husband."
"But his signature matched perfectly," Burroughs protests, then realizes how that sounds. "I can't believe I just said that. Please accept my apologies, Mrs. Wiseman. I'm sure it's just some kind of a mistake. I promise you, first thing tomorrow morning I'll restore whatever moneys are missing from your account."
"I would appreciate that," Lisa tells him, hanging up the phone. She lies back in bed, confused.
"You want to tell me about it?" Ben asks Lisa the next morning in the car.
"Huh? Tell what?"
"Whatever it is that's preoccupying you."
"Oh, come on. Now, don't pretend that you care," Lisa says. "It'll destroy whatever chemistry we have."
He smiles. "Well, for you I'm willing to risk it. What's on your mind?"
"Do you remember the flowers that I accused you of sending me?" she asks. "Well, it turns out that my secret admirer is a man named Redford, and I don't know a man named Redford."
"Wow. You've got Robert Redford sending you flowers. I don't stand a chance."
"Very funny. And it turns out that someone is using my husband's name to withdraw money from my checking account."
"That would be Paul Newman, I'm guessing."
"Right. Right, Redford and Newman." Lisa hesitates, suddenly making the connection. "Oh, wow. Mr. Newman. I never thought of him."
They go back to the real estate office, since Lisa has to find some keys for Carla's early morning showings. Ben notices she's still distracted. "Oh, don't be ridiculous," Lisa says. "I'm hanging on your every word."
"Okay. Great. You know those five houses we looked at today? I think I want to buy all of them."
"Could I just bounce a theory off of you?" Lisa asks. "The I.R.S. - now, they would have my husband's signature on file, right? I mean, all those years of signed tax returns. Now, why that man would want to get money out of my bank account, I don't know. Or why he would be sending me flowers, for that matter I don't know. All I know is, every time something like this happens, Mr. Newman is somehow connected. There they are. So I am starting to think that maybe this is somehow connected to Michael. Maybe he knew him. 'Cause that's the feeling that I get every time he's around - that he knows things about me. about my daughter. This whole thing makes me feel so powerless."
Ben laughs at that, and Lisa frowns. "What's so funny?"
"Check me on this, but aren't you the lady who told me to blow it out my butt when you realized my intentions were what they were?"
"What does that have to do with this?"
"This guy obviously has you spooked, and maybe more," Ben answers. "I just find it difficult to believe that a woman of your obvious strength can't find a way to pick up the phone and say..."
"I already told you, I don't have his number. I just can't seem to get that number."
"All right, then, go over to his place and say, 'Hey... are you the man who did this, this and this? And if you did, why? And if you don't stop...'" Ben trails off. "Assuming you want him to stop."
"Of course I want him to stop." Lisa calls Heather, telling her to order a pizza; she'll be running into New York.
"Would you mind if I called you at home later?" Ben asks. "Just to see how it went. To see if you're okay."
"Didn't I already warn you about our chemistry?" Lisa quips, smiling. "Yes. Call."
That evening, at the townhouse. Morris is in his pajamas, while Michael lies on his bed, bored. Morris sits down to read a book, irritated by Michael's questions. "Mr. Wiseman," he reminds Michael, "the purpose of my being here at this hour of the night is not to provide you with conversation or companionship."
At that moment, the doorbell buzzes. The two men sit there, at a loss for what to do, as the doorbell buzzes again. They go down to the foyer, and Morris turns on the intercom for Michael. "Hello? Who is it?"
"Mr. Newman... it's Lisa Wiseman. I--I--I know it's late, but I was... just wondering if I could talk to you."
Michael sighs, and Morris glares at him. "Listen, uh... right now is not a good time for me. uh, maybe some other time? I'd love to speak with you, but maybe some other time." She persists, but Michael is still forced to brush her off further. "Maybe in a month... six weeks."
"A month... a month or six weeks? No," Lisa mutters. "Mr. Newman... I really need to talk to you."
"I'm sorry," Michael sighs. "It's the best I can do." With that, he follows Morris back upstairs.
Lisa stands there for a moment, irritated. "It's the best you can do? Oh, no..." She hits the buzzer again, then again. "Mr. Newman, I'm not going away!"
Upstairs, the pounding and buzzing, plus Lisa shouting over the intercom, can be clearly heard. For the nth time, Michael tells the Doc he's sorry. "Are you really sorry for what's happened here, Mr. Wiseman?" Morris asks. "Because I think I know a way you can prove it."
He tells Michael to let Lisa in - to tell her that he never wants to see her again. He gives Michael the code to the door, telling him he'll be hiding in the closet to hear what's going on. "Oh, and Mr. Wiseman," he adds, "if you run... if the two of you run... I will kill you both."
Michael lets Lisa in, taking her back up to the bedroom. Lisa looks around, remarking, "Who's your decorator... Kafka?"
"So..." Michael asks nervously. "What is it I can do for you, Mrs. Wiseman?"
"I, uh, received some flowers... on Valentine's Day."
"Yeah. White roses."
"Do you know anything about that?"
Lisa sighs. Impulsively, Michael blurts out, "Did you like them?"
"What?" Lisa asks, surprised. In the closet, Morris rolls his eyes.
"Well, I - I don't know... uh, you came all the way over here to talk about them," Michael stammers. "I don't want the trip to be a complete waste. I mean, I don't know anything about them, but now that you've brought them up I would be curious to... know what you, uh... thought of them... I... not that I sent them... 'cause I didn't."
"You forged my husband's signature, didn't you?"
"Forged - yes. You're the one who's been going into my bank account and stealing from me, aren't you?"
"Stealing, yes!" Lisa cries. "What is this, a game with you? You go into your files-- you find out things about people and mess with their heads?"
"Look, I don't have any files," Michael insists. "I didn't buy you flowers, and I didn't steal $40 from your bank account."
Lisa stops. "Who said it was $40?" Caught, Michael doesn't answer, and she continues angrily. "I want you to hear me, Mr. Newman. I want you to hear me loud and clear. I know who you are. I know where you live. You so much as think about me or my daughter I will report you to the authorities. I have witnesses now. The girl in the flower shop, the bank manager - they can identify you. I want you out of my life, Mr. Newman. I want you out of my head. You hear me?" He stands there, silent, with a pained look on his face as she adds, "I'll let myself out."
She turns and heads down the steps, past the pool, and down to the foyer. Michael stands there, shock and pain etched across his face, as the sound of the door slamming can be heard. Morris steps out of the closet, grinning from ear to ear. "Well, not exactly the scene I had imagined... but one could hardly quibble with the result." Michael doesn't reply, doesn't move. "Now if we can only get you off the front page."
The next day, at the bank, the manager is trying to collect on the insurance to fix the vault door. "I don't understand. What is it you want me to do? I know what I saw."
Roger, who is handling the case, chuckles. "Oh... my, yes, everybody in the world knows what you saw. You tell us every chance you get - television, radio, newspapers - but let me just be clear. As regards to the matter of repairing your vault Grand Empire does not pay because a superhuman man happened to push the door open while it was locked. Now, if there had been some small unreported earthquake which might have contributed to this, then we would pay or if it turned out there was some... structural damage in the wall which had gone unnoticed until now, then we would pay."
The bank manager stands there as Roger continues, chuckling. "Really... we want to pay. Your bank, all 1,400 branches of it, is a huge customer of ours, but we can't set the precedent of paying off because, uh, Captain America dropped by and was a little rough with the furniture." Roger stops chuckling. "I'll let you think about it."
He leaves Burroughs standing there, alone with the broken vault door. Stunned, he runs a hand over the torn seam, unsure what to do.
Cut to a newsstand, a day or two later. A news truck pulls up to the curb and tosses off a stack of papers, and the headline is perfectly clear: "Bank Manager Recants Statement - Super Guy May Have Had Help From Faulty Vault Engineering."
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