Joe enters the airport’s waiting area followed by Brian.
Brian: Why are you so resistant to change? Can’t you keep an open mind at least?
Joe: I like my furniture the way it is. I don’t want it rearranged.
Brian: Yeah. But my way, you can have your beer can, sit on the sofa, watch TV and still have a clean, 15-foot hook shot to the wastebasket. The—the old way is like a carom shot from the credenza.
Joe: Did you ever consider walking over to the wastebasket to throw away your trash?
Brian: Hey, Joe, if you’re not gonna take this discussion seriously, forget it.
Joe: You know, ever since you came back to Nantucket you’ve been tryin’ to get me to do things differently. I don’t want to change. I have a nice, orderly existence and I like it.
Brian: Look, Joe, I’m just tryin’ to loosen you up a little bit. You need to be a little bit more spontaneous.
Joe: Hey, I like spontaneity as much as the next guy. I just need a little warning so it doesn’t come completely out of nowhere.
Helen arrives from her flight carrying her cello.
Roy: Hey, Helen, wait a second. How did you like my new in-flight snack?
Helen: I meant to ask you, Roy, what was that?
Roy: Tofu. It can be anything you want.
Helen: Okay, I want it kept away from me.
Joe: Hey, Helen, how did your audition go?
Helen: Oh, like any other symphony audition I ever had. I went, I played, they yawned. Now, I get to wait for a phone call that will never come.
Brian: Well, on the positive side, you’ve got a little piece of tofu in the corner of your mouth.
Helen: That’s why the guy on the plane kept goin’…
Helen sticks out her tongue to the side of her mouth and moves it up and down.
Helen: I though he was coming on to me. Hey, he’s still here.
Joe and Brian: Who? What?
Helen: That old guy sittin’ over there. He was here when I left yesterday.
Roy goes over to the lunch counter where the three are.
Roy: I got news for you, sister. He’s been here for the past three days.
Joe: He’s probably waitin’ for one of your flights.
Roy: It just so happens I’ve been keeping an eye on him. He just sits there morning to night reading his paper, takin’ the occasional nap, minding his own business. Ugh, I don’t trust him.
Brian: Quick, Helen. Call the SWAT team. There’s a guy loose in the airport minding his own business.
Joe: You ought to introduce yourself, Brian. Maybe he gives lessons.
Fay is suddenly behind the lunch counter beside Helen.
Fay: Are you talking about the gentleman over there.
Roy: Yeah. Yeah.
Fay: I’ve noticed him. He’s got sweet ears.
Fay: When a man gets to that age and he doesn’t have hair growing out of his ears, it’s a sign of good character.
Lowell walks in front of the old guy.
Roy: Lowell. Lowell. Get over here. Lowell, come here.
Lowell walks to the lunch counter and stands beside Helen.
Helen: Who is that guy?
Lowell: Howard Banks.
Joe: What do you now about him?
Lowell: Well, not much. He’s a retired hat salesman, flying solo around the world in that Stearman 2-seater out there. His favorite color is blue and he’s an Aries with his moon on Scorpio. Sorry, I couldn’t be more help.
Lowell walks away.
Roy: Speaking of strangers lurking around the airport, what do we really know about Lowell.
Roy, Joe and Fay leave.
Brian: Say, uh, babe, just out of curiosity, uh, is that the dress you wore to your audition?
Helen: Yeah. Why?
Brian: Uh, nothing, nothing. It’s very nice.
Brian lays down on the lunch counter and starts snoring.
Helen: Let me guess. You’re hinting that my dress is boring.
Helen pushes Brian off the lunch counter.
Brian: Not boring, no. It’s coma-inducing. It’s a member of the Barbiturate family. Should be sold by prescription only.
Helen: All right, all right, I get it. What’s your point?
Brian: Well, the conductor is a man?
Brian: You’re a woman?
Helen: That’s the rumor.
Brian: Well, don’t you think the conductor would want to see a little leg in the cello section now and then, huh? Maybe a little cleavage on the high notes? Buy a new dress! Give the maestro a reason to keep the old baton in the air.
Helen: Leave it to you to turn a symphony orchestra into a wet t-shirt contest. Talent is all that matters, Brian.
Brian: Huh, yeah, talent.
Brian makes his way behind the lunch counter to join Helen.
Brian: Nobody sings better than Madonna? Nobody reads the news better than Maria Shriver? Come on. Get with it. Sex sells.
Helen: Brian, I have too much respect for myself, for my talent, and the world of music to behave like some bimbo. So, forget it. You know nothing. End of discussion.
Lowell walks up to the lunch counter.
Lowell: Uh, by the way, Helen. While you were gone, you got a message from the Cambridge symphony. And I also took a doughnut.
Helen walks closer to Lowell all excited.
Helen: What was it? What was it?
Helen: What was the message, Lowell?
Lowell: Oh, they want you to come back for the final auditions tomorrow.
Helen claps her hands.
Helen: Huh! I got a callback!
Helen: I got a callback!
Helen hugs Brian.
Helen: I’m so excited. I better go practice.
Brian: Well, if you’re gonna wear that dress you better practice a lot.
Helen: Brian, I have a lot of faith in my talent even if you don’t.
Helen enters the kitchen and quickly returns.
Helen: So what do you think? Strapless? Slit up the sides? Sexy?
Brian: Spoken like a true musician.
Fay approaches Howard who is still reading his newspaper.
Fay: Uh, excuse me. I understand you’re flying around the world.
Howard puts down his newspaper, removes his reading glasses and stands up.
Howard: Uh, that’s right.
Fay: That’s quite an undertaking for a man your age. Not that you’re any particulary age. And—and you look 20 years younger than whatever age you are.
Howard: Thank you. I think.
Fay: Uh, I’m Fay Evelyn Cochran.
Howard: Howard Banks.
The two shake hands.
Fay: Uh, I’ve noticed you sitting here.
Howard: Yes, uh, I’ve kept an eye on you too.
Fay: Yes, I’ve noticed that.
Howard: I noticed that you noticed.
Fay: This is getting silly.
Howard: I noticed that, too.
Fay chuckles again.
Fay: Um, I’d love to hear about your trip.
Fay and Howard sit. Howard sighs.
Howard: Well, 2 years ago, I left my hat shop in New Bedford and started flying around he world.
Fay: New Bedford? You mean you’re only 40 minutes away from completing your journey?
Howard: That’s right.
Fay: Then why are you sitting around here?
Howard: Well, I’m no hurry. I’ve got nobody waiting for me at home and I’m enjoying the local scenery.
Fay: Oh, you fly-boys.
Howard: Imagine your husband enjoys the scenery, too?
Fay: Well, he would, except he’s part of it. He died several years ago.
Howard: Oh—oh, I’m—I’m sorry.
Fay: Thank you. I can’t believe you’re not anxious to just take off and finish your trip.
Howard: Believe me, I’m not.
Howard: Well, when I set back down again in New Bedford, I’m gonna die. Now, excuse me for a moment.
Howard stands and walks away.
Fay: I sure know how to pick ‘em.
Brian enters the airport.
Brian: Come on. Helen, Helen, final boarding call. Let’s go.
Helen: Oh, just a few more minutes, Brian, please.
Brian: Look, uh, I really hate to burst your bubble, but when I told the other passengers we were waiting for you the kindest response I got was, “Dump the broad”.
Helen: The shop just finished the alterations on my new dress.
Brian: I can’t—
Helen: It should be here any minute now. Please Brian. Just a little longer.
Brian: Eh, uh, well, all right. I’ll try to stall the passengers with a few show tunes.
Brian makes his way back to the plane.
Brian: Maybe somethin’ from A Chorus Line. Well, you know, the acoustics on the plane are great. I just wish the aisles were a little wider.
Brian does a can-can. Brian leaves. Roy walks down the stairs and approaches Fay.
Roy: This is getting weirder by the minute.
Fay: What’s wrong, Roy?
Roy: That old kook who’s flyin’ around the world is up there in the men’s room buck naked taking some kind of French bath in the sink. He’s the whitest man I’ve ever seen.
Brian: It’s not going well at all. I started singing “everything is beautiful at the ballet” and some woman whacked me with a floatation device.
Brian caresses his right arm. Joe arrives.
Joe: Hey, Brian, what are you doing here? You should’ve taken off seven minutes ago.
Brian: Eight. You’re slipping.
Helen: Joe, it’s my fault. I need a couple more minutes. I’m, uh, just not quite ready to go yet.
Joe: Oh, well, I understand. You’re nervous about your callback.
Helen: Right. Right.
Joe: After all, it’s the first one you’ve ever had.
Helen: Well, that’s true.
Joe: I mean, you’ve never gotten this far before.
Joe: Up to now you’ve failed every audition you’ve ever gone to. Now, you’ve reached that next plateau, the pressure is just that much more paralyzing.
Helen: Let me guess. You’ve never worked a suicide hotline.
Helen: Never mind.
Joe: Ok, let’s get this flight in the air.
Joe turns his back from Helen and approaches Brian. Helen signals to Brian.
Brian: Uh, well, we—we—we can’t, Joe.
Brian: Well, I don’t think I’m emotionally ready to take off.
Joe: Are you—are you emotionally ready to job hunt?
Helen: All right, all right, I’ll tell him.
Helen makes her way out of the lunch counter and approaches Joe.
Helen: After all, I’m not a child. I have nothing to hide. Joe, I’m waiting for my audition dress to get back from the dressmaker’s.
Joe: A dress is holding up my flight?
Brian: Uh, well, wait till you see it, Joe. You’re gonna wonder what’s holdin’ up that dress.
Joe: I thought you had an audition dress.
Helen: Well, Brian thought it would be a good idea to wear somethin’ a little hotter, a little sexier.
Joe: Oh, Brian thought.
Helen: I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking it’s a sleazy, demeaning trick and that I’ve lowered myself to Brian’s level. There I’ve said it. So, you don’t have to.
Joe: It’s none of my business. I’m not gonna say a word.
Joe walks away. Helen silently counts to three.
Joe: It just seems to me that if you win this audition, you’ll never know whether it was because of your cello playing or some sexy dress.
Brian: Ah, don’t listen to him. He’s trying to cloud the issue with morality.
Joe: Like I said, it’s none of my business. It’s your decision, Helen.
Brian: Yes, yes, but I wish you would hurry up, Helen, because the only other show I know is “Phantom of the Opera” and I don’t wanna give those people an excuse to rip half my face off.
Brian leaves to get Helen’s things.
Helen: Oh, you’re right, Joe. I don’t need that dress. I could to it on my talent alone. I don’t know what got into me. It’s just that until recently, I’ve been so overweight that I didn’t have the option of being sleazy and demeaning. I just want this job so badly.
Joe: You’re doing the right thing. Your talent will see you through. Now, Brian, get the damn plane off the ground.
Brian: Yes, captain, my captain.
Brian salutes. He and Helen make their way out.
Deliveryman: Miss Chapel, here’s your dress. I’m sorry it took so long.
Helen stops and starts biting her nails as the Deliveryman presents her the dress.
Helen: Oh, what the hell. I’ve had talent all my life. I just got this body.
Helen takes the dress. She and Brian run to the airplane.
Fay talks on the PA.
Fay: Announcing the arrival of Sandpiper Air Flight 18 from Boston, Massachusetts, the cradle of liberty. No, wait. That’s Philadelphia. Uh, the city with big shoulders. No, that’s Chicago. Uh, gateway to the west. No, no. Well, I know Boston’s something.
Joe and Lowell are sitting eating some snacks.
Joe: Helen’s flight’s comin’ in. I hope she did well in her audition.
Lowell: Joe, I can tell how Helen did the second she walks through those doors.
Joe: Oh, I wouldn’t be too sure. She can keep a pretty straight face.
Lowell: I’ve been studying Karamandu, the ancient Indian art of face-reading. There are minor movements of facial muscles that mean nothing to you, but that speaks volumes to me. For instance, I can tell by the slight wrinkling of your forehead that you are skeptical.
Joe: Well, I’m convinced.
Helen arrives whooping and exclaiming and starts dancing while she pushes her cello case. She carries her cello.
Joe: Now, here’s a challenge. What’s your reading?
Lowell: Either she did well at her audition or she’s drunk as a Billy goat.
Joe leaves Lowell and approach Helen and Brian.
Joe: So, uh, it looks like everything went ok.
Brian: Ok? She was wailin’ man.
Helen: It was incredible, Joe. I was incredible. I was solid on my Haydn D-major. I showed flashes of brilliance on my Dvorak and then I kicked some serious butt on my Brahms.
Brian: Little mama was grindin’ that axe.
Joe: Who are you? Blind Lemon Hackett?
Fay: I’ve got it. City of light. No, that’s not right. Sorry.
Helen: I don’t want to seem too overconfident, but I think I got this thing sewn up.
Joe: Now tell me. Doesn’t it feel good to know you got this far--
Joe hugs the dancing Helen.
Joe: On talent alone without resorting to any low, cheap tactics?
Helen: Yes, of course.
Brian looks down. Helen starts walking away from Joe. He follows her to the lunch counter.
Joe: You can be confident now that it wasn’t some sexy dress that caught the conductor’s attention. It was your musical ability.
Helen: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
Joe: Nobody can point their finger at you and make snickering innuendoes about how you got the job. There’s no questioning your integrity—
Helen: All right, all right, I wore the dress. Are you satisfied? Jeez, you’re a pit bull. Dig. Dig. Dig. Dig. Dig.
Fay walks over to the lunch counter.
Fay: Uh, Helen, you got a call.
Fay hands a note to Helen.
Joe: Oh, uh, Fay, by the way, Boston is known as bean town.
Fay: Bean town? Please, Joe, I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck.
Fay laughs as she walks away from Joe.
Fay: Bean town.
Helen: The conductor called me himself. He wants me to call him back.
Joe: Hey, that’s nice.
Helen: That’s nice, he says. Hahahaha! Joe, you may know a lot about airlines, but you know bubkis about music. Don’t you see? The conductor called me personally.
Helen starts dialing.
Helen: It means I must have the job. Hello, maestro, this is Helen Chapel. I got your message. Yes? $700?
Joe gives Brian a thumbs up.
Helen: Uh, oh, no, that sounds reasonable. Okay, thank you.
Helen hangs up. Joe approaches Helen.
Joe: Great! You got the job.
Helen: Uh, not quite.
Helen starts wiping dishes.
Brian: Well, what was the $700?
Helen: Body shop estimate.
Helen: Apparently, as I left the audition hall, I dented his car with my cello case.
Joe sighs and wipes his forehead.
Joe: Helen, are you all right?
Helen: Oh, of course I’m all right.
Helen throws the plate at the kitchen door.
Helen: Couldn’t be better.
Helen breaks another plate.
Helen: You know, I just love working here at the Ritz. Rubbing shoulders with the cream of society. Having conversations made up of one-syllable words.
Helen turns to Lowell who is still eating his soup.
Lowell: Good soup. Hot.
Helen screams. She goes to the kitchen and starts breaking more dishes. Joe follows her.
Joe: Listen, Helen. She wants to be alone.
Brian: Well, I did all I could for the poor kid.
Joe: Yeah. You and that stupid dress. Can’t you ever mind your own business? First, it was me. Now, it’s Helen. You’re always trying to change people.
Brian: What did I do? I made a suggestion. It didn’t work. Where’s the harm in that?
Joe: The harm is she got her hopes up for nothing.
Brian: I was only trying to help.
Brian walks away from the lunch counter. Joe follows him.
Joe: Oh yes, sure, you’re real helpful. Now, if you’re anxious to change something, why don’t you start with yourself?
Brian: Ok, Joe, have it your way. I promise never to change ever again as long as I live. All right?
Brian makes his way to the Sandpiper office. Joe is right behind him.
Joe: What are these?
Brian: Paint samples.
Joe: Why is day-glow orange circled?
Brian: Don’t say anything now. Wait till you see it on the plane, then decide.
Howard enters the airport’s waiting area and runs after Fay.
Howard: Fay! Fay! Uh, excuse me. Good news.
Fay: You decided to finish your trip.
Howard: No, I decided to stay in Nantucket. I am never gonna go back to New Bedford.
Fay: Listen, Howard, in the last 24 hours, you’ve told me everything about your life including that strange medical experiment you volunteered for.
Fay drags Howard to the Sandpiper Air counter.
Fay: The one thing you haven’t told me is why you think you’re going to die as soon as you get back home.
Howard: All right, I’ll…I’ll tell you. I’ve always dreamed this one great adventure, flying solo around the world. So, I made a vow to God that as soon as the trip was finished, he could take me and I’d die a happy man.
Fay: That’s it, Howard?
Howard: I kinda painted myself in the corner, huh?
Fay: No, you didn’t. You’re not the first person who ever made a pact with God. I did myself.
Howard: You did?
Fay: Uh, years ago when I was a stewardess, on a flight to Seattle we lost an engine. I was sure we were going down and I promised God that if he got me through it alive I’d devote my life to him and become a nun.
Howard: Really? You know, it’s so hard to tell now that you’ve stopped wearing those habits.
Fay: Oh, Howard! You’re such a momo. I never became a nun and—and nothing ever happened to me. So I figure, if God really knows everything then he also knows when you’re full of it. And Howard, trust me.
Howard walks away from Fay.
Fay: Howard. Get on that plane, go home and open your hat store. Your mission is not complete. There are a lot of hatless heads out there who need you.
Howard: I never really thought about it that way, Fay. You’re right. You’re absolutely right. You know, next week or so—
Fay: Uh, Howard, go. Now. You’re a nice man. I don’t want to have to smack you.
Howard: Yes, ma’am.
Howard makes his way to his plane.
Howard: Oh, uh, thanks for the pep talk, Fay. Without you, I wouldn’t be getting on that plane.
Later, everybody gather around Fay.
Fay: Howard’s dead and I killed him.
Joe: Stop saying that, Fay. We don’t know for sure. We just haven’t heard from him.
Fay: Neither has the tower in New Bedford. It’s a 40-minute trip and he’s been gone 2 hours.
Roy: I say we send out a search party to look for a hat floating on top of the water.
Brian: That’s it, Roy, don’t be afraid to show your tender side.
Roy: I’ll show you my tender side.
Roy turns around and shows his butt.
Lowell: You know, I’ve been thinkin’ about Howard. There is another alternative.
Fay: You mean, like he landed at another airport and he’s sitting there enjoying a hot cup of coffee right now?
Lowell: No. Like he slipped through a hole in the universe and he’s lost somewhere in time.
Brian: A hole in the universe, Lowell?
Brian tries to contain his laughter.
Lowell: Yeah, they are everywhere. Cosmic potholes, I call ‘em.
Lowell starts walking away. He stops and takes a giant step.
Fay: Howard’s gone.
Brian: So’s Lowell.
Fay: I can feel an emptiness in my heart.
Roy: Try about a foot higher, Fay.
Fay: I think we should all bow our heads and take a moment to remember Howard Banks. A moment of silence, please.
Brian, Joe and Roy bow their heads. Howard enters the airport.
Howard: Hello, everybody.
Fay: Howard! You’re alive! Where have you been?
Fay approaches Howard, while Joe and Brian watch and listen..
Howard: Oh, just circling offshore for a couple of hours. I’m sorry, Fay. I just—I couldn’t get rid of that feeling that I was gonna die.
Fay: You mean, you didn’t go home.
Howard: No, but I came up with a plan to fool God. I’m gonna fly back the way I came, retracing my route, so that when I land in New Bedford, technically, I won’t have flown completely around the world.
Brian whispers to Joe.
Brian: Lowell’s hole in the universe theory is starting to sound pretty good.
Joe and Brian stop listening to Howard and Fay.
Howard: Two years from next Saturday night, after my trip, you and I have a dinner date. Of course, you’ll have to come over to New Bedford, because if I come to you, then I’ll already have flown completely around the world in the opposite direction and so of course, I’d die.
Fay: Two years from this Saturday night? Uh, gee, Howard, I think I’m washing my hair.
Howard: Well, how about Sunday?
Fay: I’m drying it.
Howard: How about the next week?
Fay: Howard, I’ll call you.
Howard kisses Fay on the cheek.
Howard: It’s a date.
Howard walks out of the airport. Fay sighs.
Fay: That man is nuttier than a squirrel’s cheeks in October.
That night, Helen wearing her red trench coat enters Joe’s office.
Joe: Are you ok?
Helen: Oh, yeah, I’m fine.
Joe: You’re not carrying any concealed crockery, are you?
Helen shakes her head.
Joe: I’m sorry your audition didn’t work out.
Helen: Listen, forget that. That’s all water under the bridge now. Bitter, foul, putrefied water.
Helen closes the door.
Joe: You really had your hopes up, didn’t you?
Helen: It’s all I ever dream about is being a professional musician. To think I came so close, Joe.
Joe: Well, I don’t know if this helps any, but I have to admit, I had mixed emotions. I mean, I would have been happy if you’ve gotten it, but I would’ve missed you.
Helen: I had mixed emotions too. I would’ve been happy to leave the island, but I would’ve been sad that it took me so long to do it. I would’ve missed you. You know that.
Helen pulls down the shade on the door.
Joe: Can I help you with something?
Helen: Joe, I was wondering…
Helen: Well, you remember when you told me that if I won the audition I wouldn’t know whether it was my dress or my talent.
Helen: Well, the problem is—is I didn’t consider how I would feel if I lost.
Joe: I don’t know what you mean.
Helen: Well, I didn’t get hired. So, either my cello playing is lousy or I’m not sexy. So, I thought maybe you would help me figure this out. Would you just look at my dress and tell me if I’m sexy?
Helen starts unraveling her trench coat.
Joe: Wait, wait. I don’t know if you’re sexy or not. Uh, I don’t think about you in that way. Um, we’re buddies. Buddies don’t talk about personal stuff like this.
Helen: Joe, I’m not suggesting I have your baby. Just, look at me in my dress.
Joe: Oh, can’t you ask someone else?
Helen: Who do you want me to ask? Brian?
Joe: Good point. Brian thinks air is sexy.
Helen: Look, if it makes it any easier—
Helen sits on Joe’s desk.
Helen: I’ll tell you whether I think you’re sexy. Go ahead, ask me.
Helen: Joe, just ask me.
Joe: Ok. Am I sexy?
Helen: Not particularly.
Helen: It was a joke, Joe. I was just tryin’ to loosen you up. See, it worked beautifully.
Helen stands up.
Helen: Of course you’re sexy.
Joe: No, I’m not.
Helen: Yeah, yeah, you are.
Joe: Really? How?
Helen: I don’t know. Um…I like it when your little eyes kind of lift up and look…hey, wait a minute. We’re talkin’ about me.
Joe: Do you really think this is a good idea. Remember when I accidentally saw you naked when you were 10? We didn’t speak again until you were 12.
Helen: Come on, Joe, just suck it up. Do I look sexy or am I just a lousy cellist.
Helen removes her trench coat.
Helen: Thanks. I better go practice.
Helen takes her coat and leaves. Joe with his mouth open follows her with his eyes.
Joe lifts up the shades and continues to look at Helen. Brian enters from the hangar eating something from a bowl.
Brian: Well, that’s one change you don’ seem to mind.
This is not the actual script. This is my own transcription of the episode. The “Around the World in Eighty Years” episode was written by Philip LaZebnik. Wings is owned by CBS Studios Inc., Paramount Pictures and Grub Street Productions.
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