|For Whom the Wedding Bell Tolls
Author: Jenny Timmons PM
The conclusion of Remember WENN. This is my take on what Episode 57 would be. I would appreciate any comments. Thanks!Rated: Fiction K - English - Drama/Humor - Words: 10,138 - Published: 02-29-08 - id: 4102801
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
For Whom the Wedding Bell Tolls
By Jen Timmons
Remember WENN and its characters are the property of Rupert Holmes, Howard Meltzer Productions, and American Movie Classics. No copyright infringement is intended. Mr. Paul Bishop is my own creation.
I owe a huge debt to my sister, who volunteered as my editor. She also assisted with, and offered suggestions for various lines.
The camera opens on Bob Dorian, seated in an armchair.
"At the beginning of World War II, the United States didn't have any organized secret service agency. There was the FBI, but they worked primarily alone and didn't coordinate with the other branches of intelligence.
At the urging of the British government, FDR created the Office of the Coordinator of Information, or COI, in July of 1941. This brought all the elements of US intelligence together, ensuring some form of cooperation. By the next year, the COI split into two branches, first the Office of Strategic Services, which was the predecessor for the CIA, and the Office of War Information, which handled propaganda and media during the war, primarily the radio.
Now, back at my favorite radio station in Pittsburgh, most of us, like Betty Roberts, have been wondering what exactly Victor Comstock has been doing in Washington all this time. It seems as if he's been going there incessantly, with not much in the way of an explanation. And we were left, as I'm sure you remember, at an extraordinarily complex pass. Who did Hilary marry? Will Mr. Foley reveal his true feelings? And of course, what will Betty do, presented with an impossible choice?
Tune in now, and maybe we'll find out what happened to all of our friends at WENN. I give you, the answer to the questions, the end of all endeavors, the sayonara signoff, the final finale, and the closing curtain call!
Here's episode 57, 'For Whom the Wedding Bell Tolls', the conclusion of Remember WENN."
The scene closes and the opening credits roll.
When last we met on Remember WENN: Victor says, "Like they say over at the Buttery, Betty: 'I'm ready to take your order?' What'll it be?"
The episode opens in Victor's office, with Betty looking back and forth between Scott and Victor.
"Well, I didn't mean I wanted to decide," Betty broke the uncomfortable silence. "I just don't want you… anyone…going off to war because of me."
To her disappointment, no one said anything in response to her entreaty. She wanted to avoid "choosing" and thereby sending someone to London. In fact, she would have preferred it if they both would stay, especially with the new workload they'd have to manage. She realized that she would have to direct a question at someone, in order to get a response.
She interrupted the silence again. "Victor, you know what we need for this new assignment…who do you think…"
"Oh, and I don't?" interjected Scott before Betty finished or Victor had any time to speak. He looked at Betty with a very pained expression on his face.
"It's not that you don't know, Scott. It's just that Victor's the Captain and you're not in the position…I mean…" Betty said awkwardly.
"I see how it is," Scott said. "If that's the way you want it, Betty." He pulled the officer's hat down nearly to his nose in an attempt to hide the tears that came unbidden to his eyes. He turned smartly on his heels and left. He couldn't believe it! After pouring his heart out to her! He felt so stupid and gullible.
As he looked down the hall he stopped dead in his tracks. There, talking to Gertie at the switchboard was Maxine, his old girlfriend from London. Now all he felt was fear.
"Hey sister?" Maxine said in a thick British accent. "Do you know if I could find a Scott Sherwood around here someplace?"
Gertie stared up at the strange woman. "Um… is he expecting you?" she managed to say while looking her over.
"He should be expectin' me the way he left me in London. The name's Maxine."
Not her again! Scott thought. Out of all the women he had known, Maxine was the one who would just never take 'no' for an answer. Most girls in that line of profession would move on pretty quickly after being dumped; it was part of the business. But not Maxine; she would never leave him alone.
The camera turns down the hall towards the receptionist desk and then switches to Gertie
Gertie said to the newcomer, "Well, Ma'm, I could go find him for you and let him know you're here."
"Oh, no thanks!" answered Maxine. "I want to surprise him. Don't you worry a thing about me!" She turned and strutted down the hallway as if she knew exactly what she was doing.
"Honey, it's not you I'm worried about," Gertie said under her breath as she left.
Maple was sitting at the table in the green room, reading a magazine, when Scott entered, barging through the doors and quickly shutting the blinds.
"Hey! What's wrong, Scottie?" she asked. "Why are you in uniform? You didn't join the army, did you?"
"No," Scott said in a relieved voice, "I haven't yet. I just thought I'd try to impress Betty with an officer's uniform. I was gonna sign up tonight, though, at the nearest recruiting station I can find. I don't know what I was thinking."
"I think you were thinking that you loved her," Maple offered.
"Yeah," Scott mused, "can't imagine what I was thinking. You know, whatever I do, I guess Victor is always gonna be one step ahead of me in Betty's eyes. He's a Captain. I know I should have gone for a higher rank, but my friend only had a uniform for a Lieutenant." He motioned at the single gold bar on one of his shoulders. "But Mapes, that's not all that's got me worried right now."
"It's not?" Maple asked.
"No, actually, one of the girls I knew in London is here, in reception, looking for me right now, and I know I'm not going to be able to shake her off my trail this time unless she actually sees me with…you know… (Maple raised her eyebrows)… another woman. I tried to tell her I was seeing someone else, but she didn't believe me… Well, I guess I was lying, but really, Mapes, if you could help me out here and pretend like we're together…"
"Then maybe she'll leave you alone," Maple finished. "You can always count on me, Scottie."
"Hey, you're alright! Thanks, Mapes." Scott noticed something that he'd never noticed before. She wasn't just kidding around, but really liked him for who he was. He didn't have to pretend to be anyone in front of her and he felt relief at the honesty (strangely enough) because she already knew most things about who he was. He took a seat in a chair next to her.
"Ahh, Scottie," Maple said playfully, "get outta here." She blushed a little.
Suddenly, the door cracked open a little and Maxine poked her head in. After she saw Scott, she bustled into the room and held out her hands to him. "Oh, Scottie!" she exclaimed. "Well didn't it take me a long time to find you!"
"Not long enough, Maxie," Scott said with a forced smile.
"Oh, Scottie! You haven't changed a bit, have you?" she replied, acting as if he were joking. "I hope you didn't pick her up just to try to get rid of me again?" she said, nodding at Maple.
"Oh, yes. Actually, Maple, here, and I are going out; just her and I," Scott said quickly.
"You're too much Scottie! Really, just tell me the truth." She seemed to not be able to believe him.
"Sure. I came to Pittsburgh and looked around for a girl to be with me in this room just in case you might come out of nowhere and see us," Scott said with obvious sarcasm.
"I knew it!" Maxine shouted for joy. "I knew you were just lying again! So you're absolutely unattached!"
"Actually," Maple interjected, "Scottie and I are married. Just who exactly are you?"
Maxine's jaw dropped as she took real notice of Maple for the first time. Scott seemed a little taken aback as well and shot Maple a questioning glance, but soon quickly recovered as Maple winked at him.
"Mapes," Scott supplied, "this is Maxine from London. We had a few business dealings over there."
"Business dealings!" shrieked Maxine. "Scottie and I were seeing each other, until you left all of a sudden. What happened, anyway, to make you want to leave me? It couldn't be her." She gestured at Maple.
The next scene opens on Hilary and Jeff at the microphones staring at each other.
"You're what?" asked Jeff in unbelief.
"Married, pumpkin," Hilary repeated in a soft voice. "I married someone else only a few months before you came back. Back when I thought you had abandoned me forever and when I had dreams about abandoning you on some god-forsaken island as near to hell as possible."
"Well, can't you get a divorce?" he asked. "I mean, a marriage made in hate is soon quickly forgotten, right?"
"Haste, Jeffery dear. You do mean haste?"
"It'll hastefully turn to hate if you don't hasten to unhitch your husband," he replied.
"Oh, Jeffery," she sighed, "it's impossible. He's gone off to England."
"Yes, that is a recurring problem with husbands of yours, isn't it? Well… who is he, Hilary dear?" Jeff said forcefully. "Well?"
"Oh, Jeffrey. I married… I married someone…who means nothing to me," Hilary replied.
"What?! Don't try to tell me that, whoever he is, he was trying to sell out Victor, and you were just trying to protect him?" Jeff exclaimed.
"Oh, no. Victor's got all the protection he needs," she said sarcastically. "No, the man is a mentalist named Alan Ballinger or Brickston or whatever it was."
"He's a mentalist and he doesn't even know his own name?" Jeff asked.
Hilary ignored his comment and continued. "He came to the station a few months ago for some publicity… I guess he got a little more than he bargained for."
"I couldn't have said it better," Jeff said.
"Oh, don't blame me, Jeff. I was angry and lonely. And I thought that you had deserted me for good. When those emotions combine, there's really no telling what I might do."
"So why did he leave you?"
"Well, he left because…I wanted to get a divorce," Hilary admitted.
Jeff raised his eyebrows and looked at her questioningly.
She continued, "Well, things didn't work out. He just didn't appreciate me for who I am. Our romance was a momentary fling. And every time I looked at him, all I could think of was… you."
Their eyes met for a moment as Hilary looked up at Jeff. Neither of them moved.
"And he won't give you an annulment?" asked Jeff.
"Of course not!" Hilary laughed. "Ha! Who would give an annulmentto Hilary Booth? What could be a better way to advance a career than to be married to a glamorous celebrity?"
"I can't imagine," Jeff said sarcastically.
"I suppose that the only man I can stand by long enough to yell at is you."
"Oh, Hilary!" Jeff said as he put his arms around her waist.
"Jeffery!" she replied, not resisting his embrace. Again, they looked longingly into each other's eyes.
"Hilary, I love you!" Jeff proclaimed. "I always have and I guess I always will."
"Oh, Jeff," Hilary responded, "not even marriage can keep us apart!"
But after a moment, Hilary suddenly looked around wildly and whispered. "Oh, no!"
"What?" Jeff said with concern.
We're still on the air!" Hilary exclaimed.
The scene switches to the writer's room where Mr. Foley exhales as he looks up at Eugenia while kneeling on the floor by her side.
"Oh, Mr. Foley!" Eugenia said. "Yes! I accept your proposal! I don't think I could ever say anything quite as eloquent or romantic as you just said!"
They embraced and kissed.
The camera shows Mackie coming down the hall to the writer's room.
"Where did everyone go?" Mackie asked himself as he swung the door of the writer's room open.
Taken by surprise at seeing Mr. Foley and Eugenia locked in an embrace, he exclaimed, "What are you doing?" At getting no immediate response, he continued, "Mr. Foley, what do you have to say for yourself? Hilary and Jeff are in there broadcasting with no backup!"
"Oh, Mackie!" cried Eugenia. "Mr. Foley has asked me to marry him!"
"Oh… well, congratulations to you both," he said sincerely.
"Thank you!" said Eugenia excitedly. "I suppose we're needed on the airwaves. Come on Mr. Foley, I'll let you tell all Pittsburgh about our big news."
Mr. Foley and Eugenia smiled at each other and walked hand in hand down the hall towards the studio.
The scene switches to Betty and Victor in Victor's office.
"Oh, dear," Betty said to no one in particular. "I think I made a mess of things."
"I think there are certain affiliations occurring here that I haven't previously perceived," Victor said. "Are you and Scott…"
"Are we what?" Betty asked, shortly.
"A couple?" ventured Victor.
"Well, more than you and I have been lately," Betty replied.
"I thought…um…alright," he spoke slowly, "I see how it is."
"Now don't you start that too," Betty complained. "Look, I really have to give things a lot of thought before I do anything else. I'm not ready for a relationship with anyone right now. I mean, when you were in London and when you were in Berlin and when you were dead… I really thought we loved each other, but now I'm not so sure."
"Oh, Betty," Victor replied, "I'm so sorry."
"Victor, is there something that you want to tell me?" Betty asked, surprised at his response.
"I can't," Victor said, his eyes betraying the sorrow he felt as the words barely escaped his mouth. Something seemed to pain him very much for a brief moment.
"Don't you trust me?" Betty asked.
"Of course I do. The position I'm in right now forces me to be less forthcoming than I ordinarily would be." He paused for a moment, obviously considering his position. "Hopefully, I will be able to explain soon." He paused again. "Well," he said in a much clearer voice, "we have to come up with programming for the W.E.N.N. The army wants to hear about our ideas for new shows in a couple of days."
"Maybe we can ask the cast if they have any suggestions," Betty thought out loud.
"Good idea," Victor responded. "Would you honor me with anything you come up with at say, dinner tomorrow? At the Buttery?"
"Alright," Betty replied, "I suppose so." She sounded frustrated.
Just then the telephone rang and Victor picked it up.
"Yes, Gertie?" he asked. "Washington," he said as he set his jaw and sighed.
"Hello sir," he continued. "Tomorrow morning?" he asked. "Yes, sir," he said very flatly.
"So tomorrow is off?" Betty asked as if she had seen it coming.
"No," Victor responded with a little edge in his tone. "I'm only needed in the morning. I'll be back here by 3 or 4."
"Well, I guess I'll see you tomorrow then." Betty stood up and turned around slowly in hopes that Victor would change his mind and tell her what was going on.
Just then Jeff came in. "Ah, Betty! Victor! I'm glad you're here…I need to go to London, right now! Is there some way you can let me go for a few weeks?"
"No, Jeff, not again!" Betty wailed. "How on earth are we going to do all our shows if both you and Scott leave? I thought you were 4F!"
"I'm not joining the army. I'm just going to London to take care of something. There's someone I have to mutilate…I mean manipulate out of marriage."
"I thought Pavla has been taken care of already?" Betty asked.
"No, no! Not my marriage; Hilary's marriage," he said with grand effect. "It'll only take a couple of weeks, but I need an excuse to be there. Victor, is there anything you can work out with the BBC to give me a position for a while?"
"What about director of American programming?" Victor offered. "There's actually a position open right now."
"Oh, that would be perfect!" Jeff said.
"Yes, just perfect," Betty replied sarcastically.
The scene switches to the Green Room
"Well then, Scottie," Maxine said, "where is your marriage certificate? I'm not going anywhere until I can see some proof with my own eyes. I know you too well to just trust your word."
Scott looked desperately at Maple. She had gone a little further than he thought she would. But Maple didn't hesitate for a second.
"Oh, I didn't mean we were actually married! No, we're getting married…tomorrow. Right Scottie?"
Scott took a deep breath. "Yeah, that's right, Mapes!" He grabbed her and with an expression of mock earnestness, gave her a big, noisy kiss on the lips and turned to look at Maxine.
"I still don't believe you," Maxine said, shaking her head.
Scott announced to Maxine, "Well, Maxie, I have to take off now. Would you excuse us?"
They went out into the hallway.
"Thanks for covering for me in there, Mapes. Don't know what I woulda done without you," Scott said.
"Hey, I'll get married to you any day, big guy," Maple said with a grin.
"I have to go return my uniform to my buddy. He ships out for training tonight," Scott said.
"Maybe you should get a justice of the peace while you're out. Unless you want to call it off?" Maple said.
"Oh, no. I could never break an engagement with you, Mapes." Scott turned and walked down the hall.
As Maple watched him go, Betty came out of Victor's office with Jeff. They walked down the hall and stopped next to Maple.
Jeff said, "I need to go speak to Hilary. Excuse me." He went into the studio.
"Hey Betty, there's something I've got to tell you…" Maple began, but Maxine came out into the hall and interrupted her.
"So where are you and Scott getting married, Mabel?" Maxine asked with her hands on her hips. She still didn't believe either of them.
"What?" asked Betty, a little taken aback.
THE SCENE ENDS AND IT OPENS THE NEXT DAY, SOMETIME IN THE AFTERNOON…
Victor walked into reception in traveling attire.
"Oh, hi Victor!" Gertie welcomed him back. "How was Washington?"
"Fine, Gertie. Would you mind getting me a private line to Washington?" Victor asked her hastily.
"Sure. Do you have a number?" Gertie asked.
"Waterford 4536," he answered, abruptly.
"Sure thing," Gertie answered wonderingly as Victor went down the hall and into his office.
Victor picked up the phone. "Is Mr. Bishop in? It is imperative that I ask him…I suppose we just missed each other… I wasn't aware… I will be waiting for him." He hung up and went out into the hall. He seemed to change his mind and went back in his office, leaving the door open.
The next scene opens on the studio where Mackie, Hilary and Mr. Eldridge are standing at the microphones
Hilary read, "Oh, Brent, I am so glad that you are yourself once again. There are so many things that I want to say to you."
"Yes, Elizabeth, and I to you," Mackie responded, playing Brent's role. "I know that I've been distant, my dear, but now I shall finally be able to tell you the truth. I brought with me today, my mentor, Dr. Cardinal, who has been the reason for my swift recovery."
Mr. Eldridge stared hard at his script.
"Dr. Cardinal, was there something you wanted to let Elizabeth know?" Mackie said, prodding Mr. Eldridge along.
"Uh, I, yes," Mr. Eldridge fumbled. "Betty said I should read Mackie's part because Jeff is gone and somebody had to cover for him," he said with conviction.
"Oh, Brent, my darling," Hilary responded in Elizabeth's voice after an awkward pause.
The scene switches to Gertie listening on her radio in reception
The door suddenly opened and a stranger approached her.
"Can I help you?" Gertie asked, very flatly.
"I must see Captain Comstock immediately. If you would only direct me to his office…"
"Oh! Yes, sir," Gertie said. "It's the second door on the right, but I really should call him to let him know you're here…"
Overhearing the conversation, Victor got up and went down the hall to meet the man at reception. He said, "Mr. Bishop, sir, please follow me."
"Ah, Comstock, there you are," Bishop exclaimed with a broad smile.
"Sir, I tried to reach you in Washington today. There's something that's worrying me."
They walked into Victor's office and Victor closed the door behind them.
Gertie had been gazing after them, but turned around immediately after the office door shut and called Betty in the writer's room.
"Betty? There's a man here from Washington, talking to Victor in his office right now."
The camera switches back to Victor and Mr. Bishop.
Victor offered his own chair to Mr. Bishop with a gesture.
"Oh, no, that's quite alright, Comstock. I only came to talk to you, not to take your job."
They seated themselves and Mr. Bishop spoke first.
"Was there something you wanted to let me know?"
"I was wondering why I was called away to Washington, while I am supposed to be creating and directing a new set of shows for the wartime network? How long must I continue being a commuting captain?"
The camera switches to the hallway.
Betty ran down the hall and into the green room. She edged her way behind the couch and the radio in the corner and stood next to the wall of Victor's office, listening.
Mr. Bishop sighed: "Stop complaining, Comstock. Hanging around Washington is better than being hung for high treason, isn't it?"
Victor adjusted his tie. "Yes, ah, sir, it is much more satisfactory. I'm just wondering how many more assignments I will have at the admiralty, since I've been put in charge of the W.E.N.N.? I was told I will be of service here at this station and that I wouldn't be needed in these misinformation… spying missions for the Germans any more. Do you think they're buying any of the baloney I've been feeding them?"
"Oh, I think they bought it alright; hook, line and depth charge. Our convoys have had great success these last few months. But I didn't come here to renegotiate the terms of your service. For crying out loud, Comstock, first your reports stop coming in, then we find you spying for the Germans; now you're requesting a laid-back job in London! You're flirting with your own death if you try something like this again. And if you do, I'll personally arrange you a date with a firing squad."
"I don't understand," Victor replied. "I never requested any assignment in London. I was called by a Major… Someone, and offered the job. I'm sorry I can't remember his name - I'm not particularly adept at patronymic recall."
"You don't lie very well, Comstock. No wonder the Germans caught you. Just don't do it again, alright? You're needed wherever we put you, and that's what you agreed to in London, may I remind you."
"Yes sir," Victor responded.
"For now, just stay where you are. If we need you, we'll call you. But with the success we've had in the Atlantic recently, I doubt that you'll be needed in Washington very often. That's why we assigned you to this station. You can probably expect to be called away once every month or so, to keep up your image with the Germans. You do have people that cover for you while you're away?"
"Of course," Victor replied shortly. He looked as if he was trying to refrain from saying something else.
"Well then, that should not be an issue." Mr. Bishop paused. "Oh, I almost forgot: we're almost on to whoever has been shadowing you for the Nazis. We think that he's tied to this station. But until we catch him, make sure you keep your distance from your friends. We don't want you to compromise yourself. I don't have to remind you what could happen to someone they saw as important to you. You're not seeing anyone I hope?"
"No," Victor replied very shortly.
"Well, then, I think that takes care of everything." He stood up to leave.
The scene changes momentarily to Betty in the Green Room, listening near the window to Victor's office.
Maple came in and startled Betty.
"Betty? What are you doing?" Maple asked, a little surprised at seeing Betty leaning against the wall behind the couch.
"Nothing!" Betty exclaimed. "I was just… trying to see if this spot would come off." She started rubbing the window with her finger.
"What spot?" asked Maple.
"Oh, it's gone already. Well, that's nice." She gave a forlorn glance at the window as she stepped away from it. She smiled at Maple. "Well, I guess I have some writing to catch up on…"
"Betty, about Scott and me…" Maple began.
But Betty brushed it aside. "It's alright, Maple. I'm happy for you both. I was just a little surprised yesterday, that's all. Really."
The scene switches back to Victor's office.
"Uh, sir, I do have one request while you're still here," Victor continued.
"Yes?" Mr. Bishop replied.
"You say that my Nazi shadow is affiliated with the station?" Victor asked.
"Could I recommend that you station someone here, to be a lookout for any suspicious activity?" Victor suggested. "There's a certain Army lieutenant who was an actor here who has experience with counter-espionage."
Bishop raised his eyebrows. "What's his name?"
"Scott Sherwood," Victor replied. "He single-handedly caught two affiliates of ours, using encrypted communiqués; quite ingeniously, I might add. I would appreciate it, since his services on the acting side of things are adventitious to us as well. He could shadow me whenever I travel to Washington."
"That sounds fine," Mr. Bishop commented. "I'll ask my colleagues with the COI if they could use him. I suppose it'll be like pulling teeth to get him out of his unit now that the war's on… Well, I'll be seeing you."
"Yes sir, and thank you."
"Don't mention it." And with that, Mr. Bishop left the station.
As he was leaving, Scott came in the door, dressed in civilian clothes this time, and in a hurry.
"Hey, Gertie, do you know where Maple is?" Scott asked anxiously.
Gertie didn't say a word, but looked down at her radio which was playing This Girl's Kinfolk. Maple's voice was heard. She was talking about "Grandma's perfect apple pie". That was all Scott needed.
"Thank you Miss Reece!" he said as he turned and walked into the studio.
He grabbed Maple by the arm and pulled her out of the studio.
"Hey, Scottie!" Maple said angrily. "What are you doing? I'm in the middle of a show!"
"Maple, there's no time!" Scott replied. "The only justice of the peace that will marry us will only do it in his office downtown, and we need two witnesses. We have to do it today because I'm shipping out tonight for basic training. And if we don't do it, you guys can look forward to however long basic training is with Maxine prowling around. And believe me, you don't want that. So the justice's office closes in, oh, would you look at the time! An hour and a half."
"Oh, my gosh! Who do we get as witnesses?" Maple answered.
"Well, Maxine will want to witness it, but I doubt that she'll be a party to the marriage."
"You got that right," Maple chimed in.
"I wonder what Betty would say," Scott mused.
"Probably not very much," Maple countered.
"I suppose I'll just have to ask everyone else individually. I'll go see what Mr. Foley says," Scott said. "Maybe you could check with Mr. Eldridge?"
"Sure," Maple responded.
"Oh, and Mapes," Scott added, "try to tell as few people as you can. I don't think we should make too big a production out of this since we'll be canceling it so soon."
"Go on!" she said waving him off. "I got it!"
She walked down the hall to reception where Gertie and Mr. Eldridge were talking.
"Hey, Mr. Eldridge?" she asked. "Would you help Scottie and me get married today? We need you as a witness."
"Oh, I'm sorry, dear. I didn't hear him ask you," he replied soothingly, putting down his newspaper.
"So, you'll do it then?" Maple verified.
"No," he responded. "How can I be a witness if I didn't see it done?"
Maple rolled her eyes. "Whatever, Mr. Eldridge, just don't tell anybody else about it," she commanded.
"About what?" Mr. Eldridge fretted, as Maple turned to Gertie.
"Gertie?" Maple began, "have I ever told you how I admire the way you notice other people's business?"
"Sure, Maple," Gertie replied grudgingly. "I'll do it."
The scene switches to Scott talking with Mr. Foley in the studio
"Well, you gotta say something, Mr. Foley," Scott whispered.
Mr. Foley shook his head, pointing at his microphone. Scott folded his arms and looked around at the others. Mackie wasn't saying anything at the moment. Scott motioned for him to follow him out into the hall.
"What's this about?" Mackie asked, once they were in the hall.
"Mackie, I need you to come witness my marriage," Scott said.
"Oh, with whom?" Mackie asked insinuatingly.
"Maple," Scott said.
"So, you're giving up on Betty, just like that?" Mackie exclaimed.
"No, Mackie! This is only for a little while," Scott answered. "I have to make an old girlfriend of mine think that I'm married because she won't leave me alone, and she won't believe me until she sees it happen. So, Maple is being a pal and playing the part for real."
"I wish I could find a pal like that," Mackie said.
"No sooner said than done…" Scott smirked. "Very exciting."
Mackie looked worried.
"Mackie, I'd like you to meet Maxine," Scott said motioning down the hall towards reception.
Mackie turned around very slowly, afraid of what he might see. But when he saw Maxine, he was pleasantly surprised.
"A flower as fair as you has never bloomed before," he said, with the voice of the vagabond, as he took her hand and kissed it.
"Maxie, this is Mr. Mackie Bloom, man of a thousand voices," Scott said.
"Well!" Maxine said, taken aback at his genteel manner.
"Mackie will be your escort to the wedding today," Scott said, very pleased at the way this was working out.
"Well, thank you Mr. Bloom," Maxine said.
"The honor is mine," Mackie said.
"Well, folks," Scott interrupted their gaze at one-another. "We've got to get moving."
Mackie offered his arm to Maxine and they walked out of the station, ahead of Scott, Maple and Gertie.
The building was a 20-story office building and the justice of the peace was situated on the 5th floor. The ceremony was short and simple. Scott had a ring handy. He had bartered for it with an antique clock that his aunt had given him a few months ago.
Maxine cried a little, after it was all over. She wanted to leave immediately. Mackie showed her onto a bus downstairs and then waited for the others.
Scott had left his things at WENN and hadn't had the time to say goodbye to the rest of the cast, so they returned before going to the train station.
Once Scott could get free from everyone else, he came over to Betty, who had hung back from the rest, and told her goodbye and that he was off to war.
Betty gave him a big hug. "Take care of yourself, Scott," she said.
"Piece of cake," he told her as he winked. "Well, I guess I'll be seeing you, Betty."
Betty looked worried as he left.
Scott and Maple left for the train station alone. Once they were out the door, Scott asked Maple the question they were both wondering about.
"Hey, Mapes," he said, "if you want to get this annulled or something…I'll understand. But I think we need to keep this going for a while, since Maxine might hang around to keep tabs on you and me. Is that alright with you?"
"Sure thing, Scottie," Maple answered. "I can stay married to you as long as you want…"
"Thanks Mapes," Scott answered. "You'll be in my thoughts every moment I'm away."
"Oh, Scottie!" Maple sighed. "Just like old times."
"Except for real this time," Scott added.
"Yeah!" Maple sighed again.
She saw him off to the train station and he got on it, bound for basic training.
"Goodbye Mapes!" he called out to her as he stepped on board.
As Maple was waving to him, a tear trickled down her face when the train pulled out. She whispered after him, "Take care of yourself." She lingered for just a moment and then went back to the station.
The scene switches back to the station
Precisely at eight o'clock, Betty came down the hall and poked her head in Victor's office.
"Are you ready?" she asked shyly.
"Yes, Betty. Uh, yep, I'm all set." Victor replied, patting down his coat pockets. "Shall we go?" he asked.
"Mm-hm," Betty responded.
They walked side by side out the door and down to the Buttery, where they selected a table near the front window and sat down.
"Well, today's trip to Washington was the last one for quite a while, I'm told. They say I'll be needed only sporadically."
"That's nice," Betty commented.
"So, Betty, did the cast have any ideas that we could use?" Victor asked.
"Well, actually," Betty began, "Jeff had a really good idea, I thought. He thinks that a show set in a steel factory would be the kind of thing we're after; a story to boost moral about the ordinary worker serving the war effort…we could call it 'Steel Town' or maybe…"
The conversation continued for quite a while. Many shows were discussed and a few passed the careful test of Betty and Victor's scrutiny.
"Mr. Eldridge suggested that we do a historical drama about the Spanish-American war. He even offered to play Teddy Roosevelt for us," Betty said. They both smiled at the idea.
Finally, after dinner had long been over and they had run out of ideas, Victor said, "Well, I think that is more than enough to start with. I suppose we should be getting back to the station to close things down for the night."
Victor put the bill on the station's tab. They walked out the door onto the street, but once outside, Betty stopped suddenly.
"Betty? What is it?" Victor asked her.
"Victor…" Betty said wearily, "I have something to tell you…it's very…private."
"Should we…go to the park?" Victor asked.
"That would be fine," Betty said.
They walked across the street together, but neither of them said a word. Victor's mind was racing, trying to figure out what this meant and how he should act.
They found a deserted bench and sat down. The mighty Allegheny rolled past them towards the Ohio. It was not a romantic setting with the overcast sky mixed with the haze from Pittsburgh's factories. There was no one about.
Victor was uneasy. "What is it, Betty?" he asked again, searching her eyes.
Betty took a deep breath. "I overheard you and your visitor talking in your office today." She looked down at the ground, embarrassed.
Victor didn't say anything for a moment. Finally he asked, "How much did you hear?"
"Everything," was her simple reply, looking up at him again.
"Oh, Betty." They looked into each other's eyes. "You don't know…how many times I wanted to tell you these last few months." He paused a moment. "Thank God you know."
"Victor," Betty said, her voice trembling with emotion, "I don't know what to say…"
Victor put his arm around her and held her tight. She leaned her head on his chest and they sat there for a moment, just being together.
After a while, a question occurred to Betty. "How long have you been spying in Washington?" she asked, as she straightened up and turned towards him on the bench.
"Since the day I got back from Berlin," Victor answered, putting his arm on the bench behind her. "Everyone assumed that my sole mission from the brainwashing was to do away with Rollie, but in actuality, I was sent here so that I would be sent to Washington and therefore be able to spy for Germany right under our war department's noses. It was a clever plan: I was the great American hero; the very last person anyone would suspect of espionage. Thank God they caught me before I gave them anything too important. I don't think I could live with myself if I knew that I had helped Hitler."
"What happened when they caught you?" asked Betty, with concern.
"Well, they had settled on hanging me for high treason, but Mr. Bishop, the man you heard, made them a better offer," he replied.
"Which was?" Betty said with more concern.
"A reliable way to give the Germans unreliable information," Victor finished.
"But what if they catch on?" Betty countered.
"I suppose they figured it would save the hangman the trouble," he offered. Betty frowned. "Which is why," Victor continued, "if the Germans found out how much I cared about you… they would certainly use you to their advantage to get me to cooperate if there was ever an issue with the information I give them." He paused for a moment.
"Betty, we can't see each other. I can't take that risk."
Betty's misery was plainly displayed in her expression. Suddenly, she shivered from the cold night air.
"I should get you inside," Victor observed. He took off his overcoat and wrapped it around her as they stood up. They crossed the street and returned to the station.
PART TWO: Intrigue
Army life didn't work out for Scott the way he had envisioned it would. Here it was, only the end of the first week of basic training and he hadn't even fired a shot from his rifle, although he had to keep it meticulously clean. Most of this training felt backwards to him. All they had done so far was drill and run and get yelled at more times than he could count. Many of the rules seemed unnecessary and no one was open to any suggestions for improvement. That was probably what he hated the most.
His pondering was cut short as his sergeant burst into the barracks. Scott snapped to attention, along with the rest of the room. He wanted to avoid notice. They had just finished a long, grueling day of drill and he had gotten yelled at enough for one day. Or so he hoped. Much to his disappointment, the sergeant stopped at his bunk and looked him in the eye.
"Sherwood!" the man said sternly. "Get your uniform on now! The CO wants to talk to you and he is NOT to be kept waiting."
Scott knew, by now, not to ask, but to do. He quickly got dressed and followed the sergeant out of the barracks, dreading what lay in store for him. Who knows what they might have found out about me, he thought. He and the sergeant stood waiting outside the CO's office. After they heard the CO say goodbye to someone on the phone, an orderly opened the door and asked them to come in.
"That's alright, gentlemen, you may stand at ease. In fact, why don't you have a seat?" the colonel said.
"Thank you, sir," Scott said, enjoying being in the presence of someone who out-ranked his sergeant.
"Sherwood, I've just had a call from the brass in Washington. It appears that you've been requested by the office of the Coordinator of Information. They seem to want your services as an agent. Of course, your discharge papers are prepared if you care to accept the invitation. All you would have to do is sign."
Scott thought for a moment about his army experience and then smiled. "Sir, I would be glad to accept the offer…"
The next day Scott found himself on a train, back in civilian clothes, and headed for New York. Once he arrived, he was escorted to the Manhattan headquarters of the COI and inducted into the service. He easily passed the tests they gave him and after a few days, Mr. Bishop paid him a visit.
"Sherwood," Mr. Bishop said, "I've got an assignment for you. You know Captain Victor Comstock. The man has a delicate mission for us in Washington and we're sure he's being shadowed by Nazi affiliates connected somehow with the radio station in Pittsburgh. Your assignment is to follow Captain Comstock and ascertain who the shadow is. When you find out, report back to me. My name is Paul Bishop and I am Special Agent in Charge of Naval Affairs. You can reach me at this number." He handed Scott a business card with a number on it. "Do you have any questions?"
At the mention of Victor's name, all Scott really thought of was Betty. He didn't answer.
"Good," Mr. Bishop continued. "You can pick up your train ticket to Pittsburgh from the secretary. Your first trip with the captain will be tomorrow. After that, you'll return to work for the radio station as an actor until the situation is under control. If you find success, we might be able to find you a position here."
"Yes, sir," Scott answered.
Mr. Bishop left, and as soon as he was gone, Scott thought, Victor must have recommended me. I guess he's always being the gentleman. He shook his head in amazement, not understanding why Victor would give him this nearly perfect opportunity to stay in Betty's life. He couldn't have been happier.
The next day at the train station in Pittsburgh.
Scott scanned the crowded train station, looking for anything that might give him a clue. This was the first trip, so he knew it would be difficult to find anything or anyone associated with the tall, commanding figure he was protecting. This was Victor's first mission to Washington since Mr. Bishop had visited a couple of weeks ago.
Scott decided to get in the front car of the train and walk through to see if he recognized anyone. He didn't have to go far. Quietly reading a newspaper in the car behind Victor's was Doug Thompson. Although quite shocked, Scott kept his head and continued walking to the next car. He left off scouting the rest of the train because he had a feeling this was not just a coincidence.
Much to Scott's disappointment, Doug left the train one stop before Victor's. He thought it would have been a perfect excuse to narrow the playing field where Betty was concerned.
Victor got off at the next stop and Scott followed, a little behind him. Outside the train station, again to Scott's amazement, was Doug with his newspaper. He put it down and followed Victor as Victor passed him.
Slick move, thought Scott, he must have had a little help. What better way to follow someone than to not follow him at a transfer point!
After Victor arrived at the Admiralty building, Doug boarded a bus. Scott hailed a taxi and followed the bus out of the congressional district. After a few blocks, Doug got off and walked into an old warehouse nearby. Scott had the driver park up the street a bit and he walked back to the warehouse. Once inside, Scott saw Doug operating a small portable radio. If he isn't Victor's shadow, then I don't love Betty Roberts, Scott thought. He immediately left and phoned Mr. Bishop.
"You're sure about this?" Mr. Bishop asked.
"Without a doubt," Scott answered. "What makes sense is that he's affiliated with the station, but has never met Victor, to my knowledge."
After being picked up by the Pittsburgh police, Doug seemed almost eager to confess. He named six other men who were involved as well.
"They're the ones who get physical if something ever goes wrong," Doug told his interrogators. "I'm only the information source."
"Why are you cooperating with us?" asked one of the officers, "Do you want a plane ticket to the Fatherland, or something?"
"No!" answered Doug, "I want protection for my parents. I never wanted to do this! I had no other choice! I'm a German-American; my parents still live in Germany and have been kidnapped by the Nazis. They're going to send them to a labor camp unless I do what they tell me. I've only been helping them for a couple months - this was my only assignment."
"If you help us bring in all the others, maybe we can help you," said the officer in charge.
"I don't know exactly where they are at any given time, but if I have an excuse for meeting them, I could arrange it. Maybe if I told them Victor needed an evaluation of his brainwashing…they'd agree to meet," Doug offered.
"Let's go with it," Mr. Bishop told his subordinates, who were watching with him through the two-way mirror. "I think this is the best opportunity we'll ever get."
Doug arranged a meeting with the Nazis at one of the loading docks on the Allegheny the next night. Victor and Doug were driven there together in a cab, apart from the rest of the force, in order to take every precaution to achieve surprise. There was a score of undercover Pittsburgh policemen and federal agents surrounding the wharf. Scott volunteered to help as well, since Victor had to go. He wanted to make sure that Victor made it out alright.
Everyone approached the meeting place cautiously. Victor walked out front as if he was being forced.
All six of the Nazis came out. All of a sudden, something went wrong. A policemen fired his weapon too early and hit one of the Nazis in the leg. The rest of them scattered for cover as bullets started flying. Doug pulled Victor back and they both dove behind some crates and stayed low. There was quite a firefight as the policemen took down a couple of the Nazis.
Unbeknownst to anyone, one of the Nazis crept up behind Victor and Doug, who were isolated from the rest of the force. Victor felt his arm being wrenched behind him and a gun put to his head.
The Nazi said, "Thompson! Follow my lead. I'll get us out of this." He made Victor stand up in front of him, and then shouted as loud as he could, "I HAVE COMSTOCK!" Immediately, all eyes were on him. He continued, "I want everyone to lower their weapons or I will kill him!"
Not for the moment the focus of the Nazi's attention, Doug was able to pick up a board that was lying at his feet. He swung it with all his might and whacked the Nazi on the side of the head. Shaken momentarily, the Nazi let go of Victor, who dove away from him as soon as he could. But the Nazi didn't fall over like Doug imagined. Instead, he turned and shot Doug in the side before he was brought down with a shower of police bullets. That had taken care of the last of the six.
Victor ran and knelt by Doug's side, took out his handkerchief, and applied it with pressure to stop up the wound.
Doug watched what Victor did. "So you were in the boy scouts as well," he said with great effort. "I'm sorry, Victor… for everything… I stopped giving the Nazis any detrimental information about you after I realized that… that Betty is in love with you."
Victor looked up from his work. "You should lie still until the ambulance can get here," he said gently.
They had to wait for a moment before any aid arrived. They didn't speak for a while.
As Doug finally saw the medics coming, he seemed to think out loud. "There's no way I could ever hurt her. I only found out after I followed you to the park the other day. You have to…stay (he winced in pain as men put him on a stretcher)… alive for her."
Victor held on to Doug's hand as the medics lifted him up. He didn't know what to say.
As the medics took Doug away, Victor sat down on a crate, waiting for a chance to speak to Mr. Bishop. Victor saw him suddenly get out of a nearby car and go over to see Doug. They talked for a while and then shook hands. Victor imagined that Doug would probably be following him on the train to Washington in the future, making the Germans think that nothing had changed. He would probably keep on sending them reports, albeit, void of any useful information. The medics closed the ambulance doors as Mr. Bishop walked away. Victor watched the ambulance drive away.
As he watched, Scott came up and tapped him on the shoulder. "Victor," he said simply. "May I accompany you back to the station?" he asked.
"Oh," Victor responded as if he had been considering something. "Yes, that would be fine," he answered. "I… need to speak with Mr. Bishop. Would you excuse me for a moment?"
"Sure," Scott said. "I'll wait for you here."
PART THREE: Resolutions
Scott and Victor returned to the station as soon as they could get a ride. It was closing time when they finally arrived.
Everyone besides Hilary, who was broadcasting 'A Book at Bedtime', was in reception, gathering their things in order to go home for the night, when Scott and Victor walked in.
When everyone noticed Scott, there was a general outburst of exclamation and questions focused on his unexpected re-appearance.
"Scott!" Maple exclaimed. "What are you doing here? What about the army?" She was the first to give him a hug, and from the way she looked at him, it seemed as if she wouldn't let go.
"Oh, I've just been re-assigned, Mapes, that's all. In fact, the government wants me to work here! They think that with all my code-breaking and Nazi-busting I could do more for the war right here!"
"Well, it's good to have you back, Scott!" commented Mackie.
"The shows haven't been the same without you!" Mr. Eldridge observed.
"Why don't we all go into the green room where you can sit down and tell us what's been happening?" Gertie suggested.
"Well, I'd love to, Miss Reece," Scott said with a broad smile.
While everyone surrounded Scott with their attention, Victor took off his coat and put it on a chair. He quietly moved through the throng of excited people and walked down the hall to the writer's room. He knocked on the door and waited.
"Come in," Betty's voice sang out.
He slowly opened the door and stopped in the doorway, watching her. She was busily typing out scripts and she kept going, not looking up. She seemed to be in a hurry.
He continued in and shut the door behind him.
She looked up and stopped typing. "Victor," she said cheerily. "You're back."
"Betty," he began, "there's something I'd like to speak to you about. Do you have a moment?"
"Well," she replied, "if it's about how the 'Hands of Time' ended up in such a mess today, I guarantee you, I'm seriously considering not allowing Mr. Eldridge to ever read on that program again… I mean it wasn't that bad, but…"
"Actually, no," Victor interrupted her, as he walked over to her desk and sat on the edge of it. He tilted his head to the right, looking down into her eyes.
She looked up at him. "What is it?" she asked, taken aback at his odd behavior. She forgot about her script.
"I met with Mr. Bishop tonight and my situation has changed," Victor said.
Betty steeled herself for the worst. "You're not leaving?" she asked earnestly.
"No," Victor replied. "No, things are going to continue nearly the same as they were before," he said.
"Nearly?" Betty asked.
"Well, I must continue to make periodic trips to Washington to deceive the German agents there," he said, "but I've been advised that I need not be occupied with deceiving German agents… here."
They looked at each other for a moment as he waited for her to realize what he had just said.
"Do you mean…" Betty began.
Victor smiled as he stood up. He gently held out his hand to her and she took it, rising.
"Would you consider," Victor began slowly, "doing me the prestigious honor…,
But Betty wrapped her arms around him and kissed him, cutting him off in mid-sentence.
The camera switches back to the hallway
Eugenia walked down the hall in search of Betty to tell her about Scott's return. She opened the writer's room door and saw Victor and Betty kissing.
"Oh, my gosh!" she said covering her eyes and then uncovering them.
Victor and Betty sprang apart at this unexpected declaration. They recovered their composure when they saw Eugenia in the doorway.
"Gee, this is turning out to be a regular lover's corner," she observed. "You know, you really don't have to keep your romance such a secret. I think everybody knows about it…" she stated matter-of-factly.
There was a brief silence. Eugenia continued, "I just came to look for you, Betty, because we just had a most unexpected visitor…"
"Yes, Betty," Victor interrupted her. "Scott has returned to work here. You won't have to worry about Mr. Eldridge any more than usual."
The scene changes to Hilary, alone in reception
Hilary wasn't aware of Scott's return to the station. She thought that everyone was gone, because even Gertie wasn't there.
Of course they wouldn't stay to say goodnight, thought Hilary. They're all so selfish.
Suddenly, the switchboard rang.
Presently, Gertie came out of the Green room to answer it. She saw Hilary sitting in her chair, examining some of the ports.
"Don't mind that, Hilary," she said. "I'll answer it."
"Oh, very well," Hilary said nonchalantly. "I had just about found it."
She got up and Gertie sat down.
"This is W-E-N-N, we're closing for the night…" She paused for a moment.
"Jeff!" she exclaimed. "Yes, Jeff, she's right here!"
She handed the phone to Hilary.
"Jeff?" she asked anxiously. "Oh, my pumpkin…" she began after hearing his voice. She stopped suddenly, noticing that Gertie was listening. "Gertie, would you mind giving us a little privacy?" she said, covering the receiver.
"If you insist," Gertie responded.
Gertie went into the green room and got everyone's attention. She walked over to the phone and picked it up, holding it out so that, when everyone gathered around, they could hear.
"Oh, Hilary," they could hear Jeff say, "he agreed to sign the annulment papers! Darling, would you marry me again?"
"For the third time?" she asked him.
"Third time's the charm," Jeff responded.
"Oh, Jeffery!" Hilary exclaimed. "Yes," she said dramatically.
Everyone in the green room smiled as they looked at each other, happy for the final reunion of Hilary and Jeff, or so they hoped.
PART FOUR: Wedding Bells are Rung
THE SCENE OPENS IN THE WRITER'S ROOM, ABOUT ONE WEEK LATER
"Who did you say was coming to administer the wedding?" Betty asked.
Eugenia replied, "Mr. Foley's pastor, the Reverend from the Methodist church on Howe Street, offered to do it. He should be here any minute now!"
Betty was helping Eugenia with her wedding gown right before they went on the air with a very special edition of 'Bridal Bouquet'.
"You know, it's so nice of Maple to cover the organ music for me," Eugenia said. "I don't know how I would have done it, being otherwise engaged…"
"Oh, she's only too happy to do it for you, Eugenia," Betty replied. "Now, let's see how you look."
There was a knock on the door.
"Come in," Betty responded.
Mackie was at the door. "We're all ready!" he said. "Oh, Eugenia, don't you look lovely!"
"Thank you, Mackie!" Eugenia replied.
Mackie escorted her down the hall and into the studio. Betty slipped into the control room to watch with Victor. Everyone else was in the studio, including the minister.
"Mr. Eldridge," Mackie said, "would you give Eugenia away for us?"
"Who said we were getting rid of her?" Mr. Eldridge cried, outraged.
"No, no!" Mackie said, trying to get him to be quiet. "It's alright, I'll do it myself."
Maple played 'Here Comes the Bride', and everyone looked at Eugenia as Mackie escorted her to the microphone in the center of the studio, where Mr. Foley waited for her.
The minister began, "I know you really can't wait to say your vows, Mr. Foley, so I'll begin…" He opened his notes and read: "Dearly beloved, we are gathered here on this momentous occasion to celebrate the joining of this man with this woman…
The scene jumps ahead…
…and do you, Eugenia Bremer, take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do you part?"
Eugenia answered passionately, "I do."
"And Mr… Mr…. Mr. Foley, what is your first name?"
Mr. Foley shrugged his shoulders.
"You don't know?" the minister asked him.
Mr. Foley didn't say anything.
"Well, I suppose I'll just have to call you My Mr. Foley," Eugenia said with a smile.
The minister smiled and said, "I suppose it doesn't matter." He continued… "Mr. Foley, do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do you part?"
Mr. Foley nodded up and down several times and then he kissed Eugenia.
"Mr. Foley! Mr. Foley, wait! You have to say it first…" the minister laughed.
"I do?" Mr. Foley asked.