Tupperman's Truth

by GentleReader

INT—Flight 1986, BOS to LAX

A flight attendant sets down dinner trays in front of David and Maddie. Maddie pokes the entrée with her fork; David picks up his roll and then drops it, THUNK!, back onto the tray.

Maddie (doubtfully): Did she say this was chicken?

David: Yep, Continental Cuisine at its finest. (He lifts an indeterminate brown lump.) Don't say I never take you anywhere.

Maddie sighs, sliding her tray away from her. A pregnant pause. At last, David rolls his eyes, pulls up his sleeves, and wades in.

David: What's nagging at that honey blonde noggin o' yours?

Maddie: I knew we shouldn't have taken this case.

David (to camera): Here we go.

Maddie: No, I mean it, David. I feel awful! Don't you feel awful?

David: I feel— (His quippy reply is cut short by the sadness evident on Maddie's face.)

Maddie (continuing): We took two perfectly innocent women—women who were just living their lives, minding their own business—turned one of them into a jailbird and the other into a corpse.

David: First of all, Good Golly Miss Molly didn't look too innocent when she put a bullet through that bedpan. As for Stevie… (there's really nothing comforting to say here, and he knows it; his voice softens) …Anyway, it wasn't our fault. We just did what we were paid to do.

Maddie: And that's another thing—

David/Maddie: We're not keeping that money!

David (to camera): Can we get some new lines, please?

Maddie: I'm serious—that $30,000 is tainted. It's—it's blood money!

David (sighs heavily): Well, red or green, it doesn't make any difference. The Connecticut PD seized all of Tupperman's assets.

As the flight attendant clears their untouched trays, Maddie surreptitiously wipes a tear away. David takes her hand.

David: C'mon, Maddie, you couldn't have known. You thought you were doing something good.

Maddie: I did! I thought I was helping Mr. Tupperman find a companion, a partner—somebody he could rely on—

David: For 15 years to life? Take heart, maybe they'll be in adjoining prisons.

Maddie shoots him a withering glance and pulls her hand away.

David: OK, bad joke. But I gotta say, as much as it pains me to admit it… (he rubs the back of his neck) …you were right.

Maddie (eyebrows raised): About the case?

David: No…well, maybe, yeah…but you were right about what matters, too. Turns out looks and legs didn't count for much. It was the brains, the personality, the—

Maddie: Willingness to be a criminal accessory?

David: That, too.

Maddie: You're not going to tell me you'd choose emotional substance over physical beauty…

David's glance sweeps over her, from her slightly tousled hair, down to her arms folded across her chest. Reaching up, he turns off the overhead light, leans back, and closes his eyes.

David: Nah…I'm holdin' out for the whole package.

Maddie settles back in her seat with a small smile. Her hand hovers above his on the armrest for a moment; then she shakes her head, pulls a blanket up over her shoulder, and goes to sleep.