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Proprietary Recipe

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FADE IN:

INT. A dining room.

WOLFE and ARCHIE are sitting down at a dinner table. WOLFE looks grumpy.

 

ARCHIE (VOICEOVER)

It's a well known fact that Nero Wolfe hates to leave his house. But there are a very few things that will cause him to make an exception, and one of those is the chance at a delicacy Fritz has never managed to reproduce: Chiros Atreidai. The only person who knows the secret recipe is the man who created it.

 

We see HANNIBAL, smiling, approaching the table with three plates.

 

ARCHIE (V.O.)

Wolfe's old friend Dr. Hannibal Lecter.

 

HANNIBAL sets the plates on the table. All three are beautifully arranged. WOLFE's contains twice as much food as the others'.

ARCHIE (V.O.)

Wolfe has been trying to wheedle the secret out of Lecter for years, but Dr. Lecter's lips were sealed.

 

ARCHIE picks up a business card which has been left on the table.

 

ARCHIE

What's this?

 

HANNIBAL takes it quickly and puts it in his pocket.

 

HANNIBAL

Excuse me. I picked up my dry cleaning today and forgot to file this in my Rolodex.

 

HANNIBAL sits down. All three begin to eat.

 

WOLFE

Dr. Lecter, I have gone to every butcher in New York-

 

ARCHIE

And by “gone to”, you mean “sent me to while you were sitting at your desk reading or in the orchid room”.

 

WOLFE

-and none of them has been able to quite duplicate the quality of the meat you use.

 

HANNIBAL

I guard the secret of my supplier with my life, Mr. Wolfe.

 

WOLFE

(chews thoughtfully)

Does this contain rosemary?

 

HANNIBAL

No, but my next dinner will. How goes your current investigation?

 

WOLFE

We are being impeded by that witling Lieutenant Rowcliffe. He has barred us from the crime scene, ostensibly because he believes that we forged a note which was apparently written by the murderer. This idiotic pretext was natural and indeed inevitable, since Mr. Rowcliff is the champion ass of the police force – the assumption that Mr. Goodwin and I are both cretins.

 

HANNIBAL

He sounds terribly rude. That kind of aggravation always whets my appetite.

 

ARCHIE

If and when I am offered a choice of going to heaven or hell it will be simple; I'll merely ask, "Where's Rowcliff?"

 

HANNIBAL

Perhaps I should have him for dinner one evening.

 

WOLFE

(snorts)

I doubt you would enjoy that.

 

HANNIBAL

I'll serve anyone. I have ways of making the best out of people.

I've found that people are like onions. As you cut through their layers, they'll reveal their beauty.

 

WOLFE

You'd have to use an especially sharp blade with Rowcliffe, and even then I think you'd find that the meat was tough.

 

HANNIBAL

...a stew, then.

 

ARCHIE

I don't know how much good looking at the crime scene would do anyway. The body wasn't found for weeks. By the time the victim was discovered he was in a state of advanced decay.

 

HANNIBAL

What a waste.

 

WOLFE

But the killer did leave a trail of bread crumbs, so to speak.

 

HANNIBAL

Hansel and Gretel. That story always makes me hungry.

 

ARCHIE

Yeah, I've always liked the idea of a house made completely out of candy.

 

HANNIBAL

...Of course.

 

WOLFE

Caraway seeds! You use caraway seeds! Do you grind them up, or strain them from the basting sauce?

 

HANNIBAL

If I told you, how would I ever bring you to my table, Mr. Wolfe? Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a special surprise for dessert.

 

HANNIBAL leaves the room. WOLFE sulks.

 

ARCHIE

Cheer up. Maybe someday Dr. Lecter will be suspected of a murder and you can prove his innocence in return for the secret recipe.

 

HANNIBAL overhears this and smiles.