The Rocketeer,

Minute 083: What Pilot Doesn’t?

August 16, 2017


At Hughes Aircraft, Peevy is explaining his reworked design of the X-3 to Howard Hughes.

“Just basic aviation,” says Peevy.

The office doors swing open. Wooly is berating a handcuffed Cliff Secord.

“We’ve got so much on you,” says Wooly, “we’re going to make your life miserable, buddy!”

“Good to see you, son,” says Peevy.

“Yeah, you too, pal,” replies Cliff.

Agent Fitch walks over to Hughes’s desk with an envelope. “This is all he had on him,” says Fitch, emptying the contents on the desk. A penknife, some coins, a keychain, a pack of Beeman’s gum, a wallet, and the note about the 4AM meeting land on the desk. “There’s no sign of the rocket,” says Fitch. “Musta ditched it somewhere, he he ain’t talking.”

Hughes glances at the paper note about the meeting. He looks at Cliff. Cliff looks back at him.

“Wooly,” says Hughes, “Take off the handcuffs.” Wooly, shocked, looks at Fitch and then gets out a key to unlock Cliff’s cuffs.

“You know who I am?” asks Hughes.

“What pilot doesn’t, Mister Hughes?” replies Cliff.

“I designed the Cirrus X-3,” says Howard Hughes. “The rocket pack? It was stolen from my factory.”

Cliff glances at Peevy, and then looks at Hughes. “I didn’t take it,” says Cliff.

“Clifford,” says Peevy, “I told him everything that happened, and he believed it. Give the man his rocket.”

“I can’t do that,” says Cliff. “Not yet.”

“Clifford!” says Peevy. “We agreed to give it back to its rightful owner — that’s him!”

“Secord,” says Hughes, “I don’t think you know the game you’re playing.” Hughes looks up to a projection booth in his office. “Go ahead,” he says, “roll it!” A projector starts up as the office lights dim.

In This Minute

Bill Campbell as Cliff Secord
Ed Lauter as FBI Agent Fitch
James Handy as FBI Agent Woolanski
Terry O’Quinn as Howard Hughes
Alan Arkin as Peevy



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