Lowell is sitting at a table with Fay.
Lowell: Fay, I have to admit, I’m a little nervous about having my fortune read.
Fay: Oh, Lowell, relax. It’s just good-natured fun. There’s nothing to worry about.
Fay closes her eyes.
Fay: Oh, tortured souls of eternal darkness, open my eyes that I might see.
Fay opens her eyes and picks a card. She exclaims.
Fay: It’s the card of good fortune.
Lowell: Oh, God, I knew it. What does it mean?
Fay: It means that a stranger is going to bring you unexpected good fortune.
Roy walks by.
Roy: What is this, a meeting of the mindless? What’s going on, here?
Fay: I’m rehearsing for the V.F.W. Carnival. I, Madame Zorco, am working the fortune-telling booth.
Fay: I hold the key to the future. What question do you seek the answer to?
Roy: Do I look like an idiot?
Lowell: Well, Madame Zorco, shall we see?
Passengers arrive at the airport. Helen sees one of the passengers and exclaims.
Helen: Oh, my God! I don’t believe it.
Roy: What? What?
Helen: Look, that man over there. That’s Edward Tinsdale. He’s the conductor of the Minneapolis Philharmonic. He is a genius. I can’t let him see me like this.
Helen looks at herself.
Helen: I look like a waitress. Here he comes.
Helen slashes her apron. Edward Tinsdale just walks by her.
Roy: Nicely done.
Joe: Hey, guys, guess who was on my flight.
Roy: Yeah , yeah, yeah, we know. Edward Tinsdale, the conductor of the Minneapolis Philharmonic.
Joe: No, Poppo, the clown.
Joe: Big Show on channel 8. Remember, Brian?
Joe: We used to watch it all the time.
Lowell: Where is he? Are his pants lit up?
Helen runs to Lowell and Joe.
Helen: God, what I wouldn’t do to play in an orchestra like his.
Lowell: Poppo’s ragtime band.
Helen: No, the Minneapolis Philharmonic.
Fay: Well, maybe he needs a cellist.
Lowell: No, he mostly uses cowbells and kazoos.
Brian: Well, why don’t you go and introduce yourself to the guy?
Helen: No, I can’t meet him like this. I smell like egg salad.
Brian: This is your chance. Seize the moment.
Helen: Huh! How do I talk to a legend? I mean, what do I say?
Joe: Well, I don’t know. How about, uh, who’s your favorite composer?
Helen: Oh, right, Joe. Uh, excuse me, Mr. Einstein, what’s your favorite number? I can’t ask him something that simplistic. I know, I’ll ask him if he thinks Schoenberg’s dodecaphonic scale is the musical fraud of the 20th century or just a viable expression of non-cadential polytonality.
Fay: That shouldn’t be too hard to work into the conversation.
Helen: Wish me luck.
Helen stands up.
Joe: Good luck.
Brian: Go get him.
Helen approaches Edward Tinsdale.
Helen: Excuse me, uh, Mr. Tinsdale?
Mr. Tindsdale: Yes?
Helen: Who’s your favorite composer?
Mr. Tinsdale: I am.
Helen: That’s—that’s a good one.
Mr. Tinsdale: I wasn’t joking.
Helen: No, you…of course you weren’t. Why don’t I just go away now.
Mr. Tinsdale: Fine.
Helen walks back to where Joe, Brian and Fay are.
Helen: I blew it, I blew it, I blew it. Thanks, Joe.
Helen walks away.
Fay: Poor Helen. Who knows when she’ll get another opportunity like that.
Brian: Hey, hey, hey, hey. It might be sooner than you think.
Lowell arrives with the luggage. Brian runs and looks for a bag.
Brian takes one of the bags.
Brian: Lowell, I want you to lose this.
Joe: W-what, Brian, what are you doing?
Brian: This is Tinsale’s bag. I want Lowell to lose it.
Lowell: Did I miss some kind of policy memo?
Brian: Shh, Joe. Joe, Joe. We’re not actually gonna lose the bag. In an hour, Helen will bring Tinsdale his bag, he’ll be so overjoyed to get it, he’ll have to give her an audition.
Lowell: Joe, you’re the boss. What do you say?
Joe: Lose it.
Lowell: All right, I’ll lose it, but it goes against every fiber of my being.
Lowell leaves with the luggage.
Brian: I just might have to hug you.
Brian: I just might have to hug you.
Joe: No, no, Brian, I mean it.
Joe moves away from Brian.
Joe: I mean it. Shh, here he comes.
Edward Tinsdale approaches the luggage cart.
Mr. Tinsdale: Uh, excuse me, one of you. I have, uh, 2 bags. There’s one here, one’s missing. Is there more luggage outside?
Lowell: No, I’m afraid your bag is lost.
Edward Tinsdale turns to his wife.
Mr. Tinsdale: The string parts with all the bowings for next week’s concert are in that bag. I can’t possibly duplicate them.
Joe approaches Edward Tinsdale.
Joe: E-excuse me, Mr. Tinsdale. My name is Joe Hackett. I run Sandpiper Air. I just gott the phone with Logan. They found your bag. It’ll be here in an hour. I’ll have it delivered to you as soon as it arrives.
Mr. Tinsdale: You have no idea how important—
Mrs. Tinsdale: Relax, Edward, it’s our honeymoon. I’m sure we can find something to do to pass the time.
Mr. Tinsdale: Yes, I—I suppose you’re right.
Edward Tinsdale turns to Joe.
Mr. Tinsdale: An hour?
Joe: You have my word.
Mr. Tinsdale: We’re staying at 480 Madket Road.
Joe: I’ll be there.
Mrs. Tinsdale: Don’t hurry.
Brian and Joe approach Helen at the lunch counter.
Helen: What was that all about?
Brian: You, you. You’re gonna bring Tinsdale his bag, and when you ask for an audition, don’t take no for an answer.
Brian takes a scoop off Helen’s egg salad.
Helen: No, Brian. I can’t do that.
Brian: Helen, Helen, do you know what they say about the squeaky wheel? If you don’t watch yourself, this egg salad is gonna be your future. Has this been sitting out?
Helen: All right, I’ll do it. If nothing else, to apologize, and to show him that the people on this island aren’t just a bunch of unsophisticated, simple-minded boobs.
Roy: Hey, some guy’s in the parking lot juggling clamshells.
Joe: Were his pants lit up?
Roy: Yeah, I think they were.
Joe, Brian and Lowell: Poppo!
Lowell follows a passenger.
Lowell: Excuse me, sir. You dropped this wallet out on the tarmac.
Man: Oh. Oh, thank you. Oh, uh, just a moment. Here you go.
Lowell: Wow, $20. Thanks.
Roy: Hey, Fay, did you see that? Your prediction came true. You said a stranger was gonna bring Lowell good fortune.
Fay: I did?
Fay: Hey, I am good.
Roy: Hey, uh, Fay. How’d you like to try reading my fortune?
Fay: If you’d like.
Fay closes her eyes.
Fay: Oh, tortured souls—
Roy: Just cut to the chase, Madam Wacko.
Fay lays down some cards. She exclaims.
Roy: What? What?
Fay takes the cards.
Fay: Oh, no, no.
Roy: W-what was that? What was that?
Fay: Nothing. A mistake. I forgot to shuffle.
Fay shuffles the cards then lays them down again. Fay exclaims.
Roy: What? What? What? What?
Fay: Roy, I’m not feeling very well. Why don’t we do this tomorrow?
Roy: You saw something, Fay. Now, what was it?
Fay: No. No, no, no, nothing. Absolutely nothing. It wasn’t the death card…
Roy: It was, too.
Roy: It was the death card.
Fay: No, no. No, it was the, um, uh, cheese card.
Roy: The cheese card?
Fay: The cheese card. It means, um, it means you’re going to buy more airplanes and become an even bigger cheese around here.
Roy: Fay, I—I don’t like this supernatural stuff. Are you, uh, you telling me the truth?
Fay: Of course, I am. You have nothing to worry about.
Roy slaps the counter.
Roy: Good. Good.
Fay bends down to get her bag and hat.
Roy: Oh, Fay, you still need a ride home from work?
Fay: No. Uh…
Fay: I feel like walking.
Roy: You’re gonna walk 6 miles in heels?
Fay looks at her feet.
Fay: You know what they say, “No pain, no gain”.
Fay walks away. Joe approaches Helen.
Joe: So, Helen, about ready for your adventure?
Helen: As ready as I’ll ever be.
Joe: Uh, hey, Lowell, where’s the Tinsdale’s bag?
Lowell: I don’t know how to tell you guys this, but the bag’s gone. It’s really lost.
Helen: Are you kidding?!
Lowell: Yes, I am!
Lowell goes over to the Aeromass counter.
Lowell: Uh, luggage humor. You gotta love it.
Lowell pulls out a bag.
Joe: Lowell, this isn’t the right bag.
Lowell: It isn’t? Uh-oh. Got you again! Oh, I’m two for two.
Lowell pulls out the right bag.
Joe hands the luggage to Helen.
Helen: Here goes nothin’.
Joe: Good luck.
Lowell: Bye, Helen.
Helen: Wait a minute. Where’s my cello? It was sitting here just a second ago.
Lowell pulls out the cello.
Helen: Oh, somebody stop me. I’m a pistol today.
Helen knocks on Tinsdale’s door. Edward Tinsdale puts on his robe and gets the door.
Mrs. Tinsadale: Hurry back, honey.
Mr.Tinsdale: Oh, I will, sweetheart. Yes?
Helen: It’s Helen Chappel from the airport. I have your suitcase.
Mr. Tinsdale opens the door.
Mr. Tinsdale: Ah, thank you.
Mr. Tinsdale grabs his luggage and closes the door. Helen blocks the door.
Helen: You probably noticed that I have a cello with me.
Mr. Tinsdale: Is that what that is? Young lady, I’m on my honeymoon. Don’t tell me you’re here to audition for me.
Helen: Oh, please, Mr. Tinsdale, I’ve studied this instrument since it was taller than I was. It is my dream to play in an orchestra like yours. It’s all I’ve ever cared about. I know this is an incredible imposition, but if you don’t mind, I—I have to find out if I’m good enough.
Mr. Tinsdale: Let’s just assume that you are.
Helen: Oh, no, please, please. I have to play for you.
Mr. Tinsdale: You’re not going to leave until I listen to you, are you?
Helen: I can live eight days without water.
Mr. Tinsdale: Come in. Play.
Helen: Thank you.
Edward Tinsdale let’s Helen in and closes the door.
Helen: Thank you very much.
Mr. Tinsdale: Hmm.
Helen pulls out a chair and sits on Tinsdale’s hat.
Mr. Tinsdale: Don’t…
Helen pulls out the hat.
Helen: Oh, sorry.
Mr. Tinsdale: No problem.
Helen plays the cello. Moments later, Helen is still playing the cello, but Edward Tinsdale has fallen asleep. Helen finishes. Edward Tinsdale wakes up.
Mr. Tinsdale: Whenever you’re ready.
Helen: That was it.
Mr. Tinsdale: Ah, ah, ah.
Edward Tinsdale clears his throat.
Mr. Tinsdale: Frankly, miss, uh, Chappel?
Mr. Tinsdale: Your technique is poor.
Helen looks like she’s going to cry.
Mr. Tinsdale: Your playing lacks passion, but your understanding of the music is utterly superficial. I don’t think you’re ever gonna play in an orchestra of any consequence.
Edward Tinsdale stands up and approaches Helen.
Mr. Tinsdale: My advice to you would be to abandon the cello.
Edward Tinsdale opens the door.
Mr. Tinsdale: Get on with your life.
Mrs. Tinsdale: Honey, I’m waiting.
Mr. Tinsdale: And I will get on with mine.
Helen makes her way out.
Helen: But I’ve practiced for over twenty years. I mean, this is my dream. If I’m not a cellist, I’m—I’m a waitress.
Mr. Tinsdale: Then be the best darn waitress you can be.
Edward Tinsdale closes the door.
The next day, Joe and Brian talk to Helen in their office.
Joe: Maybe you just caught him at a bad time.
Helen: I’ll say. The man was on his honeymoon. What was I thinking? There’s really nothing I could have done to have pleased him.
Brian: You could have joined them.
Helen: It was he most humiliating experience of my life. I’ll never forget the look on his face. It was a combination of pity and loathing.
Brian: Poathing. I’ve seen that look before.
Brian looks at Joe.
Brian: There it is.
Helen gets up and makes her way out.
Helen: Leave me alone, Joe. I’m gonna eat some cookie dough.
Joe: Burns me up. Where does that jerk conductor get off smashing someone’s hopes?
Brian: Uh, well, I don’t know, Joey. I mean, haven’t you ever wondered about Helen? If she’s really that good, what is she still doin’ here, huh?
Joe: How can you say that?
Brian: Well, I’m just trying to be realistic is all.
Joe: Y-you’re the who was talkin’ about the squeaky wheel getting’ the grease.
Brian: And apparently a squeaky wheel is exactly what she sounds like.
Joe: You’re as bad as Tinsdale.
Brian: Oh, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey! Now, I like Helen as much as you do, but sometimes in life you gotta know when to cut your losses.
Joe: Oh, and you know when?
Brian: I’m here, aren’t I?
Fay and Lowell sit at a table. Helen steps out of the kitchen with a bowl.
Fay: I feel so bad for Helen. It’s a sad thing when a dream dies. Without a dream, life is an empty, endless slog through a wasteland of pain and despair.
Lowell: And then you find out Poppo doesn’t really make that funny noise when you sock him in the stomach.
Fay: Ah, have you ever had a dream, Lowell?
Fay: What was it?
Lowell: This is it.
Fay: No, I meant…
Fay: And a wonderful dream it is.
Fay approaches Roy.
Fay: Oh, Roy, thank God you’re here. I’m so happy to see you.
Fay: No reason.
Fay walks away. Roy follows her.
Roy: Fay, Fay.
Joe: Oh, hey, Lowell. Uh, how’s—how’s Poppo?
Lowell: Well, the doctor gave him a sedative, but I think he’ll be ok. Stuffed the pill up his nose and made it come out his ear.
Joe approaches Helen.
Joe: Uh, Helen, listen, I was, uh, thinking about what happened with Tinsdale. Now, do you remember that old expression about falling off a horse? What do you do?
Helen: You shoot the miserable beast through the eyes.
Joe: No, you get right back on. Now, I—I think you should go back out there and flay for him again.
Helen wraps the rag around Joe’s neck and pulls him.
Helen: What, are you out of your freakin’ mind? There’s no way I’m going through that agony again.
Joe: Well, that doesn’t sound like you. The Helen Chappel I know is not a quitter.
Helen dips her finger in a cookie dough.
Joe: The Helen Chappel I know can take it on the chin and still come back. The Helen Chappel I know does not take no for an answer.
Helen: Great. Send her.
Helen takes her bowl and walks away.
Joe knocks on Edward Tinsdale’s door. Mr. Tinsdale pants and makes his way to the door.
Mrs. Tinsdale: Hurry back, honey. Give it a rest, will you?
Mr. Tinsdale opens the door.
Mr. Tinsdale: Yes?
Joe: Hello. I don’t know if you remember me, but—
Mr. Tinsdale: I got the bag. Thank you.
Mr. Tinsdale closes the door.
Joe: Wait, wait, wait. This isn’t about the bag. I’ve got something I wanna say to you. I don’t care who you are. It doesn’t give you the right to smash someone’s hopes. When they lay it all out there for you to judge, the least you can do is be kind.
Mr. Tinsdale: This would be about the girl with the cello?
Mrs. Tinsdale: Honey, I’m waiting.
Joe: Look, I know this is a bad time.
Mr. Tinsdale: No, it’s perfect. Come in.
Edward Tinsdale let’s Joe in.
Mr. Tinsdale: I, uh, I was being kind. I told her the truth. The momentary sting is easier to bear than wasting your life chasing a dream that can never be.
Joe: Who are you to tell her she’s no good?
Mr. Tinsdale: Selecting musicians is a large part of what I do. I’ve auditioned, gee, thousands over the years. I’ve played the piano since I was five, the violin since I was seven. After graduating from Julliard, I was picked by George Szell out of a thousand candidates to assist him at the Cleveland orchestra. Since then, I have conducted the Amsterdam Konzertgebouw, the London Philharmonic, the National Symphony Orchestra. In 1985, I conducted the Berlin Philharmonic and a series of recordings of the complete symphonies of Shostakovich, for which I have received numerous awards. I hold honorary doctor of music degrees from Harvard, Cambridge, the Sorbonne. I sit on the board of the National Endowment for the Arts, and just last month, the Italian Academy awarded me the Silver Baton.
Joe: But not the gold.
Mr. Tinsdale: There is no gold.
Mr. Tinsdale: Touche.
Joe: Look, I may not be an expert in music, but—but I know a thing or two about flying. Let me tell you a story. Years ago, there was a guy who dreamed about becoming a pilot. On his first lesson, his instructor told him he didn’t have what it took. But he didn’t quit, because flying was his dream, and not only did that man eventually get to fly, but he became the first American in space. And that man was John Glenn.
Mr. Tinsdale: You mean Wally Schirra.
Joe: I’m pretty sure it was John Glenn.
Mr. Tinsdale: John Glenn was first man in orbit. Wally Schirra was first man in space.
Joe: No, wait. The order was dog, monkey, Glenn.
Mr. Tinsdale: Dog, monkey, Schirra.
Joe: Dog, monkey, Glenn.
Mr. Tinsdale: Dog, monkey, Schirra.
Mrs. Tinsdale: It was Alan Shepard!
Mr. Tinsdale: Right. Thank you, dear.
Joe: That’s right. Yeah.
Mr. Tinsdale: Thank you.
Joe: So, uh, anyway, all I’m sayin’ is, please, don’t ruin my friend’s life. She was probably just nervous. Give her another chance.
Mr. Tinsdale: Well, perhaps I was a little hasty the other evening. You tell your friend that I’d be happy to listen to her play again sometime.
Mr. Tinsdale: Yeah, really.
Joe: Brian, bring her in.
Brian opens the door. He and Helen enter with her cello.
Mr. Tinsdale: We could even do it now, if you’d like.
Helen: I apologize for this, Mr. Tinsdale. They made me do it. I don’t question your judgment. If anyone would know, it’s you. I’m so sorry.
Mr. Tinsdale: Miss, Chappel.
Mr. Tinsdale: It’s entirely possible that I owe you the apology.
Brian is looking inside the bedroom.
Brian: Oh, hey, uh, you must be Mrs. Tinsdale, huh?
Brian: Bravo, maestro.
Mr. Tinsdale: Won’t you play for me again, please?
Helen’s jaw drops.
Mr. Tinsdale: Yes.
Helen: Uh, are you sure? Because I think I could play much better than I did yesterday. I was very flustered, yes. Well, I wasn’t very flustered, but I was pretty flustered. That’s why I’m sure…well, I’m really sure that I think I can play much better because I’m not as flus—
Mrs. Tinsdale: Play the damn thing!
Helen: Why don’t I do that?
Joe and Lowell gather around Fay as Brian tells her about last night.
Brian: And then she finished playing. And he just stared at her. Kind of like the way you stare at a bug after it’s splattered on your windshield. And then he told her she played better the first time.
Fay: Poor Helen.
Brian shakes his head.
Joe: I’m worried about her. She must be totally devastated.
Helen arrives, all smiles.
Helen: Good morning. Isn’t it a beautiful day?
Lowell: God, it kills me to see her like this.
Joe and Brian walk over to the lunch counter.
Joe: Helen, are you ok?
Helen: Oh, I’m wonderful.
Brian: You’re not bothered by what happened?
Helen: Yes, I was. As a matter of fact, I cried myself to sleep last night. But then, when I woke up this morning, I did what I’ve done every day for the past twenty years of my life. I dragged myself out of bed to practice, but after last night, I realized there was no reason to. So, I watched the sun rise. I went on a walk, and then I took a hot bubble bath, and I still had time to read the newspaper over breakfast. I figured it out. Practicing two hours a day, I have put over 10,000 hours of my life into that cello. Do you realize how many hours that is?
Lowell: Unless this is a trick question, I’d say 10,000.
Helen: So now, I don’t have to waste any more time practicing, hoping, wondering if I’m good enough. I’m not, and I know it.
Joe: You really are ok with this.
Helen: I’ve made my peace. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna gp make some egg salad. Some damn good, egg salad. Oh, and if anybody wants this—
Helen carries her cello.
Helen: It’ll be out by the trash pile.
Roy arrives looking like hell, and walks up to Fay.
Fay: Roy, you look terrible.
Roy: It’s all your fault, Fay. I haven’t slept. I haven’t eaten. You got me spooked, gypsy woman. You gotta tell me what’s gonna happen to me.
Fay: Are you sure you can handle it?
Roy: I have to know.
Fay lays down the cards.
Fay: Oh, there it is again! The queen of hearts! The death card!
Roy: I knew it. I—wait a minute.
Roy picks up the queen of hearts.
Roy: The queen of hearts is not the death card, Fay. The ace of spades is the death card. Even I know that.
Fay looks at her book.
Fay: Are you sure?
Fay: I’ll be darned.
Roy sighs. Edward Tinsdale and wife arrive at the airport.
Helen: Here’s the man that set me free. I’m gonna go thank him.
Helen approaches Mr. Tinsdale.
Helen: Excuse me, Mr. Tinsdale. There’s something that I need to tell you.
Mr. Tinsdale: Actually, Miss Chappel, upon reflection, there’s something I would like to say to you.
Edward Tinsdale pulls Helen aside.
Helen: Well, I just—
Mr. Tinsdale: I may have left you the other evening with the impression that your musical ability is non-existent. That is not quite true. I believe that you posses a glimmer of talent.
Helen is shocked.
Helen: A glimmer?
Mr. Tinsdale: Yes. The tiniest of glimmers, but it is there.
Helen: No, you cannot be saying this, because, see, I just got my life back—
Mr. Tinsdale: Of course, it means that you’re gonna have to practice 4, maybe 5 hours a day religiously, but I believe that there’s a chance that over the next few years—
Helen: No, you told me I stink.
Mr. Tinsdale: Oh, but you don’t.
Helen: Oh, yes, I do, completely and totally. P.U.! You said no self-respecting orchestra would have me.
Mr. Tinsdale: I exaggerated. I apologize.
Helen: No, you can’t be saying this. You said that I didn’t have a chance.
Mr. Tinsdale: But—but you do.
Helen: Well, take it back! Take it back!
Helen pushes Edward Tinsdale and grabs him by his suit.
Helen: You take that back!
Mr. Tinsdale: Miss Chappel, please!
Helen: You will not leave this island alive unless you take that back!
Joe carries Helen away from Edward Tinsdale.
Joe: Helen, get a hold of yourself.
Helen: Come back here! You can’t give me hope! What kind of monster are you?
Joe sits Helen on the counter. Edward Tinsdale and his wife walk out the airport,
Joe: Calm down.
Helen buries her face.
Helen: He said I had a chance. Joe, you heard him, didn’t you?
Joe: He didn’t mean it. He didn’t mean it.
Helen leans on Joe and he comforts her.
Brian: Well, Helen, if it makes you feel any better, I’ve always doubted your talent and I still do. I’m just trying to comfort her.
Joe: You gonna be alright?
Helen: What am I gonna do? I’m cursed with a glimmer of talent. I’m gonna be chained to that instrument for the rest of my life.
Helen jumps off the counter.
Helen: Goodbye, walks on the beach. Goodbye, fingernails. Goodbye, life.
Helen enters the kitchen.
Joe: Think she’s gonna be all right?
Brian: She’ll be fine.
Joe: I don’t know. I’ve never seen her like this before.
Brian: You don’t think she’s gonna do anything desperate, do you?
Helen starts playing the cello.
Joe: I’m afraid so.
This is not the actual script. This is my own transcription of the episode. The “A Little Nightmare Music” episode was written by Bryan Winter. Wings is owned by CBS Studios Inc., Paramount Pictures and Grub Street Productions.
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