Fred's found his muse, and has
been trying to build his vocabulary! Enjoy
this first season ep - you guess which one.
Thanks as always to Lauryn for
skillful editing and suggesting, and to
Susannah for LA fill-in-the-blank location information!
Nancy, you may archive, and feedback is welcome and appreciated.
Steele Drivin' Man 19/?
DATE: February 27, 1983
MAINTENANCE: Air filter
I never thought the day would come
when I would be humiliated by a nobody in a yellow Pacer, but
it happened, and this week turned out to be a bad
stretch for me. I mean, it's been just six months since Miss Holt sent me
to school to learn how to tail and avoid being tailed. I blew it.
Mr. Steele's week didn't go so hot
either. But his problems were a whole
other story. Looking back, I think I should have picked up on it when every
Tuesday Miss Holt would bring her car, and would be out of the building like clockwork at 5:15.
Wednesday morning I took Miss Holt
and Mr. Steele over to an art gallery on
Melrose. She spent most of the trip wondering out loud what movie he
thought he was in. When they got out she was on his case about getting a
little too wrapped up in things, something about a lovers' triangle. I
found a parking spot next to the alley and waited. After about fifteen
minutes there was some kind of commotion behind the building, and I saw some tubby guy make the corner, with Mr. Steele and Miss Holt not far behind. I
headed their way to see if they needed help, but it looked like Mr. Steele
had things under control. Actually Miss Holt looked like she was holding
him back. They let tubby go and went back in the gallery for a minute.
I got the car started and as soon
as they got in I started tailing the
yellow Pacer Miss Holt pointed out. Yuck! That wasn't much of a challenge.
He needed a valve job in the worst way - the blue smoke followed him for a block. I knew he'd be easy to pick out in traffic, but I didn't want him to see me. While we were tailing him, Mr. Steele and Miss Holt were obviously
on two different pages, but I could tell from his voice that he was wanting
to change the subject, and she was in full speed ahead mode. He definitely
had something on his mind, and he tried, but she was off on her own race
Well, tubby turned out to be better
at this than I thought, because he made
a big yu-ey in front of us, came around up beside us and started hollering.
I had warned them he'd made us, and then I wanted to slide down in my seat
from embarrassment. He wanted to know if we were following him in our
'ocean liner' - that hurt but he had a good point. Mr. Steele lied pretty
well, in that smooth way he has, as if meeting up was just something that
happened all the time. Tubby took off when the car behind him honked to get a move on.
Mr. Steele had the car phone in his
hand and told me to get on him good. I
was ready to mow this jerk down if I had to. I followed him through a gas
station, and then I saw him turn, but Mr. Steele put down the phone long
enough to tell me to keep going and not follow him. For some reason he was
on the phone with a taxi dispatcher. I crossed my fingers he knew what he
was doing and sailed on by. Mr. Steele sent me around the corner, and
before I could slam to a stop they were out of the car and back around that
corner. I parked and followed, just in time to see Mr. Steele and Miss Holt jump in the cab. They took off after tubby, and I went back to Century City to re-read my driving school book.
Later in the day I took Mr. Steele
and Miss Holt to a really fine house in
Malibu. They spent about half an hour in there, and then we headed back to
town. It didn't take long for the yellow blob to appear in my rear view
mirror - somehow I knew we hadn't seen the last of him. I kept my cool
while Mr. Steele and Miss Holt had the most bizarre conversation. He told
her about a phone call he took from somebody named Giovanni, and I could
tell it took a lot for him to bring it up. Miss Holt looked kinda
embarrassed, and admitted he wasn't supposed to know about him. Mr. Steele
was in shock when Miss Holt told him about her lovers. I tried not to
swerve when I heard that. Eyes front, ears shut. He was definitely losing
control when she brought up the torch. Finally, she put on the brakes on
this conversation and tried to clear the air with him, but it was a lost
cause, and she invited him along to whatever she was involved in next
Tuesday. I thought Mr. Steele was on his way to a full blown fit when Miss
Holt stopped him in mid sentence and picked up a little microphone. A bug!
In my car! That little creep! He must have wired the car when I had walked
down the road while I waited at the beach house. I gripped the wheel and
tried to get a hold of myself, but I was so distracted I didn't see Miss
Holt digging in her purse. She came up with a whistle and blew it hard. I
just about came out of my seatbelt, and Mr. Steele was obviously in pain,
but it was all forgotten as I watched tubby go off the road and into some
poor family's picnic lunch. Ha!
When we got back to the city I took
them to a loft on La Brea Boulevard in
some arty neighborhood. Everyone looked a little pale when they came back
to the car.
It was really late when I took them
home. I was tired and really having to
concentrate on my driving. Mr. Steele was fidgety and seemed to want to say something, but wouldn't come out with it. Finally he told Miss Holt that he was sorry for getting on her case about this Giovanni guy. She seemed ready to let it go, but when the phone rang and Mr. Steele started to sound like
he was on the edge of phone sex, I could see the storm brewing. She started her sentence over three times, each time more angry then the last. I pulled up to the curb, and before I could get out to help, she kissed him a good
one, jumped out and slammed the door in his face. Mr. Steele called after
her but it was useless. I stayed eyes front, deaf and blind like a good
boy. My wheels were spinning trying to get a handle on what just happened,
but I couldn't put it together in a way that made sense. I could see Mr.
Steele shake his head, and he told me love must truly be an enigma. I asked him what he meant, and he said he didn't know if he was winning or losing.
After I dropped him off I went home and got out the dictionary to look up
'enigma'. I'm still not sure.
The next morning I picked up Mr. Steele
and we went to pick up Miss Holt.
He didn't look like he'd slept very well, or very much. That Darlene must
have been waiting after all. Well, I'm not going there. While I waited
that damned Pacer rolled up behind me. It was still early in the day and
already I'd run out of patience with him. It took everything I had not to
get out and punch his lights out. Right before Mr. Steele and Miss Holt
came out, he honked his pathetic horn (don't ask me why) and then followed
us to the gallery. Since he doesn't move so fast, it was a minute later
that tubby went in the door, and then they were all right back out again.
They stood around on the sidewalk like they were looking for something or
someone, then went back in the gallery. A regular carnival arcade game.
I had just finished my latest Daredevil
when they came out again, and we
were off down the 405 toward Santa Monica. Tubby followed again. I found a spot to park on Palos Verdes Drive below the cliff, and they started
climbing up the hill. I felt bad that I couldn't get any closer, but I did
enjoy watching tubby follow way behind to the top. He was wheezing and
sputtering like a V8 missing a spark plug. They were gone quite a while,
and when they came back Mr. Steele was straightening his shirt and tie, like he'd been in a tussle.
We went to the warehouse loft again,
and tubby the big shadow went in with
them. After about twenty minutes two cop cars pulled up, and they went
inside. Eventually Mr. Steele and Miss Holt came out with the officers, and tubby was in cuffs! I always thought it should be illegal to drive a Pacer, but I didn't know there actually was a law on the books.