Passengers are proceeding to disembark from a Mexicali passenger plane parked near the terminal. Two men, one carrying a briefcase, walk to a black car, get in, and are driven away, preceded by two Mexican policemen on motorcycles, and followed by a station wagon filled with more uniformed men. Kelly Robinson and Alexander Scott, standing in the bright sunlight outside the terminal, observe this.
ROBINSON: What is that phrase that the Army uses when everything is shipshape?
SCOTT: Is everything shipshape.
ROBINSON: Why certainly. Are you kidding? We just saw high army officials leading away a man who has defected from his own country to ours in great style, and the mission is accomplished. Now what do you call that?
ROBINSON: Certainly. Of course, on the other hand, this guy's a European national, Man, and he arrives in Mexico via Veracruz, right? And he's cleared by the Mexican authorities and all of a sudden he defects. Now why in the world doesn't the army ship the guy right on to New York instead of dropping him here in Guadalahara? How come?
SCOTT: 'Cause maybe his ex-countrymen figure he's coming into New York and they've got a hit set up there. No, I actually think that coming into Mexico is a very good idea. Good thinking.
ROBINSON: Hold it, hold it.
More people are coming down the steps from the Mexicali plane. Three men leave the aircraft and cross the tarmac to another black sedan.
ROBINSON: There, the guy in the lead.
ROBINSON: It's Mike Woods.
SCOTT: You know him.
ROBINSON: Yeah. He once carried me down the front of a building with flames licking at our nose.
The three men climb into the black sedan and are driven away.
SCOTT: I'm beginning to think that the fella with the battalion and the limousine is a decoy, and the gentleman here, with the other two men, is the real defector.
They watch a baggage handler stop his cart, get out, look around, and pick something up off the tarmac.
SCOTT: You will also notice that the baggage man has not really picked up any baggage.
ROBINSON: True, true.
SCOTT: But he has picked up something that one of the two gentlemen has dropped, supposedly accidentally.
ROBINSON: Yep. Well, then. Does it lead us to any conclusions, sir?
SCOTT: Uh, yes.
ROBINSON: Yes. Say it.
SCOTT: I think we have some work.
They enter the airport terminal and spot the baggage handler in a phone booth. The man is just then hanging up a phone, and proceeds to shed his tan coveralls. Robinson and Scott approach the booth. They are unaware that two men are watching them from across the concourse.
SCOTT: Now why would a guy be changing clothes in a phone booth?
ROBINSON: I don't know unless he's...
SCOTT: I hope he doesn't have a red S on his chest.
ROBINSON, knocking on the door of the booth: Hello there, Mr. Reeves -- is it you? Can we have an autograph?
The man opens the door, eyes them warily.
SCOTT: What are you doing in there?
The man tries to get past them but Scott twists his arm behind his back.
ROBINSON: Listen, what are you doing changing your clothes in there?
SCOTT: Yes, speak up.
MAN: No tiendo.
ROBINSON: No tiendo.
SCOTT, adding pressure to the man's arm: Alright, I'll just take it up a little notch.
ROBINSON: I wish you would. No tiendo this. What was it you picked up on the landing strip out there, the little thing? Huh? (To Scott) One more time -- there you go.
Scott twists the man's arm harder, then plucks a piece of paper out of his shirt pocket and hands it to Robinson.
SCOTT: Read, read, read.
ROBINSON: Certainly I will. (He unfolds the piece of paper) San Miguel Allende.
SCOTT: Aha. That's a little town north of here. Take him up a couple of notches...
MAN: Please, senor. No more notches.
SCOTT: No more notches.
MAN: I swear to you, I was paid merely to pick up the note, then to call to a public telephone in the central market and read it to whoever answered.
SCOTT: Uh huh. Yeah.
ROBINSON: Who paid you?
MAN: A-a man who approach me and pay me and tell me what to do. Please, no more notches or I will simply scream and-and then I will not be able to tell you....
SCOTT: I see. (To Robinson)You think maybe he's lying?
ROBINSON: I don't know. But he's liable to scream -- he's right about that. (To the man) Listen, get out of here and behave yourself.
SCOTT, letting the man go: Go on, get out of here.
ROBINSON, reading the note again: Yeah, he's probably lying. But he's not lying about this. Says San Miguel Allende. That's flat. Now listen, if you were part of somebody's plot to assassinate a countryman who'd defected, and somebody called you on the phone and said San Miguel Allende, what would you think?
SCOTT:: Well, I would think that that's the proper place to make the hit.
ROBINSON: And not only that, but the army all of a sudden seems to be the brains behind this whole thing.
The Guadalajara Hilton...
Kelly and Scott are present, with General West, the latter in uniform.
GEN. WEST: It worked. It worked. (chuckles) I want to thank you for all your cooperation. Of course, you fellows didn't know that we were working the hidden ball trick, but the fewer people who knew, the better. Now you understand what actually took place, of course.
GEN. WEST: Well, the real Jan Hasel was whisked away. He was transferred to a small jet at a landing strip outside the city. And we're taking him from there to a secret place. I'm sorry, I can't give you any more information on it than that, but a small town, and there we'll debrief him. Debrief him without any fanfare. And that will keep their agents running around.
ROBINSON: Yes, it probably will. General, sir, may I ask a question?
GEN. WEST: Yes.
ROBINSON: Well, you see, actually, Jan Hasel was supposed to be debriefed by our departure. We, uh, we were at the airport to see that nothing went wrong. But it did. You, uh, as you say, whisked him away.
GEN. WEST: He belongs to the Army. That's just temporary, of course. You fellas will get a shot at him. You can count on that.
ROBINSON: Well, General, he was due to go to Washington.
GEN. WEST: Let me fill you in.
ROBINSON: Yes, sir. Please, if you will.
GEN. WEST: Jan Hasel comes to us with information. Information having to do with materiels and disbursements to the military. Why should we turn him over to your department before the Army's had access to it? Especially in view of the fact that we went to all the trouble getting him here. Well, that's why...that's why I'm taking him away from you for a few days.
ROBINSON: To a secret place, huh?
GEN. WEST: Yes.
ROBINSON: Called San Miguel Allende.
Stunned, the general stares at Robinson.
Inside a two-engine SEASA passenger plane...
Mike Woods sits next to Jan Hasel, who is looking out the window at the ground far below. Chanetsov is browsing through a magazine in the row behind them. The rest of the seats are empty.
HASEL: This is quite an adventure. First your men pass me over The Wall. Then they fly me across the ocean. I'm used to a quiet life. Suddenly to be in the middle of danger...
WOODS: Well, it's all over now, Mr. Hasel. Why don't you relax. Try to get some sleep. (He reaches across Hasel to close the curtain)
HASEL: How do I do that? Counterspies are everywhere. They must be following us.
WOODS: Well, they're not as efficient as they think they are.
HASEL: Can you imagine? Me, an international incident. (He chuckles) It sure is exciting. Oh, forgive me. I must seem foolish to you. Danger is your occupation.
WOODS: No, my job is keeping out of danger.
HASEL, turning to address Chanetsov: Where are you from, Mr. Chanetsov?
HASEL: Where are you from?
CHANETSOV: Oh. I'm...I'm an American.
HASEL: But your name is so....
CHANETSOV: Russian. I know. I was born in Gurgan.
HASEL: Oh, Gurgan. I went there once. As a guest of your country on an official tour. The largest dairy in the world, right?
CHANETSOV: That's right.
The plane comes down on a small landing strip in the middle of nowhere. A portly man wearing a fedora and rumpled suit stands by an old car, watching. The plane taxis closer, and the man approaches it as it stops and a door is opened, a ladder lowered. Woods climbs down first, followed by Hasel. The latter is halfway down when a shot rings out. Someone is shooting from the brush alongside the tarmac. Hasel and Woods hurriedly climb back into the plane, which starts to roll. The portly man draws a pistol and returns fire at the unseen assailant. As the plane begins to move he runs back to his car, fires again. He's hit, and falls. The planes takes off.
Woods is sitting on some steps surrounded by a verdant garden with profusely blooming bushes and flowers, writing in a small book, a cigarette dangling from his lips. When he hears Chanetsov coming down towards him, he quickly hides the book under his blazer.
CHANETSOV: Well, what's the password for the day?
WOODS, getting up: Sleep. Think I'll take a nap. When are you gonna start debriefing him?
CHANETSOV: Right away.
WOODS: Don't let him out of your sight.
They ascend twisting stone steps to a small house.
CHANETSOV: No, no, I'll be very very alert. But I'm sure this island is inhabited by the ghosts of old Tarascans who are just waiting for darkness before they descend upon us and steal our souls.
In the house, in his bedroom, Woods opens the book, glances through it, then puts his cigarette in an ashtray on the table by the bed, and conceals the book beneath the mattress.
Elsewhere in the house, Chanetsov throws open the doors to Hasel's room, to find Hasel sprawled on his bed.
CHANETSOV: Hasel! Hasel, it's the afternoon and there's work to be done. Now come on. Up, up, out of and get...get out here. A thousand questions to be answered.
Hasel gets up, puts on his coat, and joins Chanetsov on a balcony with a view of Lake Patzcuaro.
HASEL, delighted: We are in Janitzio.
CHANETSOV, without enthusiasm as he prepares a tape recorder: That's where we are.
HASEL: What a lovely name. Very exciting, isn't it? To be in such a lovely place. Can we go for a walk?
CHANETSOV: A walk? Sure.
On the road to Patzcuaro...
Kelly and Scotty are driving along a paved road near the edge of the lake in a bronze Mustang when the car sputters, stalls and rolls to a stop. They get out and Kelly props open the hood.
SCOTT: If I told you once I told you twice not to be driving this car when the motor's overheated.
ROBINSON: It is not overheated. I have told you seven times, it is vapor-lock only. (He pours some water from a waterpouch onto the air filter casing) Vapor-lock. V-A-P-U-R, vapor-lock. Now. Hit it again.
Scott gets in behind the wheel, while Kelly stows away the water pouch and walks around to the passenger side.
ROBINSON: We got it now.
Scott tries to start the car, without success.
ROBINSON, returning to the front of the car: Give me that water and that rag out of the back.
SCOTT, retrieving a rag and container of water from the floorboard in back: Yeah, we'll be there. Sure. Three, four hours. Zoom.
ROBINSON: Behave yourself.
SCOTT: While we take the engine apart.
ROBINSON: Behave yourself.
Chanetsov and Hasel are walking down one of the steep, rock-paved streets.
CHANETSOV: You lived near that big factory, over by the river.
HASEL, enjoying the sights: Mm-hm. Uh, no. I was...quite a few miles away from it. I told you that.
CHANETSOV: That's right. Tell me about the factory.
HASEL: Well, it's new. A few years ago it was mostly fields. Farmlands. Farmers on horses. Like cowboys.
CHANETSOV: You still have people there? I mean, are your relatives still living there?
HASEL: Well, an uncle, and two....No. No relatives.
CHANETSOV: Oh no?
HASEL: Everyone's gone. Everyone's dead.
CHANETSOV: Well, it's probably just as well. I mean, under the circumstances, if they weren't dead by now I guess they soon would be.
CHANETSOV: That means you agree.
Guadalajara, the Russian Consulate...
A young man sitting behind an ornate desk is talking on the telephone.
MAN: Chodibov, I've just received a phone call.They are on Janitzio Island. Get there by the most expedient means possible. Don't miss this time. Am I clear?
Guadalajara, the central plaza...
A lean bearded man at a phone booth hangs up the phone, motions to a second man near the fountain. They run across the plaza towards a car. Two more men see them and begin to run as well.
On the road to Patzcuaro...
Kelly is still under the hood.
ROBINSON: Okay let me have the clothespin.
SCOTT: A what?
ROBINSON: Clothespin. Out of the glove compartment in there. So I can fasten this rag around the tubular construction of this wonderful carburetor.
SCOTT, reaching in the car to retrieve the clothespin: Where'd you get a clothespin from?
ROBINSON: Don't embarrass me.
SCOTT: No, but I mean where'd you get the clothespin?
ROBINSON: A lady hitchhiker, if you must know. Now don't embarrass me.
SCOTT: A lady hitchhiker?
ROBINSON: Si, si, si.
SCOTT: With the clothespins...
ROBINSON: Yep. (He has used the clothespin to secure a wet rag around a hose) Now then. Arribe!
He jumps in behind the wheel, crosses his fingers, and turns the key. The Mustang starts up. Kelly applauds. Scott shuts the hood and jumps in on the passenger side.
ROBINSON: You see how the rag dissipates the heat...
SCOTT: Now about that lady with the clothespins and everything...
ROBINSON, as they proceed down the road: She was a lady hitchhiker that was in trouble on the road. I'll tell you, she had a knapsack on her the size and consistency of which and the contents thereof...
Chanetsov and Hasel are sitting at a table on the balcony overlooking the lake. The former speaks into the tape recorder mike.
CHANETSOV: Uh, Number 73, Procurement Ministry, 17A to the Ministry of Economic Planning, 17 September 1967, copy.
He hands the mike and an open file to Hasel.
HASEL, reading the top page of the file: A report on the manufacture of winter overcoats, Military Area Three, for the army...
CHANETSOV: Um, Hasel. I can read that off the paper myself. Now is there anything you can add to that?
HASEL: Well, it represents a large increase in the number of winter overcoats as compared to the previous months.
HASEL: You mean it?
CHANETSOV: It's marvelous.
HASEL: You call this a fascinating piece of information?
CHANETSOV, standing: I'll tell you why. Now just listen to this. Hasel, last year the World Meteorogical Society gave us the rainfall figures for the area included in your Military Area Three. Now, from these figures we were able to calculate how much wheat would be grown during the year. Now, a small article in a local newspaper praised the rapid completion of a huge bakery in the area. So from this we knew that the wheat was not being shipped to the west, as we had thought, but was staying right there in the area. And this bakery, incidentally, was capable of producing enough bread to feed two mechanized divisions. You following me so far?
HASEL: Yes, but...
CHANETSOV: Now you just...just a minute. You just told me....What did you just say?
HASEL: Well, that there has been a big increase in the production of winter overcoats.
CHANETSOV: Right. An increase in the production of winter overcoats for the army at the same time the bakery was being built. So, we have food and clothing coming together, and I'd be willing to bet that two mechanized divisions have been moved to where they are much closer to the West German border. Now don't you find that fascinating?
Kelly and Scotty arrive at the edge of Lake Patzcuaro. Each carrying a single bag, they board a small, covered boat. The boatsman starts up the outboard and they head for Janitzio island.
SCOTT: Lake Patzcuaro. I tell you, Man. I'll give you a little information about this place just in case sometime during a little social lull, you know, you can bring up something really important.
ROBINSON: Well, wonderful. I wish you would.
SCOTT: A real stunner.
SCOTT: Are you ready?
ROBINSON: Yeah, I'm ready. Go ahead.
SCOTT: The people around here were never conquered by Cortez, you see.
SCOTT: And that's it.
ROBINSON: That's it.
ROBINSON: Oh, gee. I can keep that, can I? I don't have to give you credit or anything.
SCOTT: Oh, no.
ROBINSON: Alright, beautiful. My lady hitchhiker definitely had a knapsack full of wonderful goodies, but that's nothing compared to the trivia crammed in your brain.
SCOTT: True, true. Listen, I got something else for you, too.
ROBINSON: Oh good.
SCOTT: The general was right.
ROBINSON: About what?
SCOTT: You know what I'm talking about. People change, Man. Of course, if you're loyal to them then you can't see it.
ROBINSON: Alright, hold it. Wait a minute. Mike Woods is not a traitor and that's that.
SCOTT: I didn't say he was, Man. All I said was...
ROBINSON: All you said was maybe he was.
SCOTT: Well, maybe he is. I mean, I don't think that you should be the one going around to find out if he is, I mean, because you're a friend of his. You're not really going to see it. I think I'm the one who should go ahead and do this.
ROBINSON: Fine. Nevertheless, you stay off his back because Mike is straight and that's all.
Arriving on the island, Robinson and Scott negotiate the steep, narrow streets of the ancient community. They stop an elderly man.
SCOTT: Hey, old man. Tres gringos?
The old man points, mumbling something, and the two agents press on. Arriving at a house overlooking the lake, Robinson knocks on the heavy wooden door. The door swings open and Mike Woods emerges suddenly, a pistol in hand.
ROBINSON, removing his sunglasses: Whoa. Wait, wait.
WOODS, giving his old friend a hug: Kelly! How are ya!
ROBINSON: This is my partner, Alexander Scott. This is Mike.
SCOTT: How are you? Always come to the door with a gun in your hand?
WOODS, laughing: Only when an old friend comes calling. Come on in!
They pass through the door onto the balcony with a spectacular view of Lake Patzcuaro.
WOODS: You look marvelous, Kelly.
ROBINSON: Yeah, alright. Where's Hasel?
WOODS: Oh, he's inside taking a nap, I guess.
CHANETSOV, coming out onto the balcony: No he's not.
CHANETSOV: He's out taking another walk.
WOODS, angrily: I told you to watch him.
CHANETSOV: I didn't feel like taking another walk.
WOODS: Can't you get it through your head he's supposed to be guarded every minute?
CHANETSOV: Look, you're too nervous for this business...
Woods heads for the door. Robinson and Scott follow him.
CHANETSOV: Good luck!
The three agents leave the safehouse, then split up, Robinson and Scott going one way, Woods another. Then Robinson and Scott split up as well. They meet up some time later.
ROBINSON: Well, he may have left the island.
SCOTT: I hope not, for everybody's sake.
They see Mike Woods, on a terrace further up the steep island slope. Woods points towards the statue of Morelos that stands above him, at Janitzio's highest point. Robinson and Scott get moving, rejoining Woods in time to find Hasel standing at the base of the statue.
HASEL:Woods! (He gestures at the statue) What beauty!
WOODS: I've told you time and time again not to come up here alone. What's the matter with you?
HASEL: I'm sorry! I-I don't mean to cause trouble...
WOODS, performing the introductions in a perfunctory manner: Hasel. Alexander Scott, Jan Hasel. Kelly Robinson, Jan Hasel.
HASEL: I'm sorry I made you worry about me, but you needn't have. I know you think of me as a bookkeeper, but I killed a man once.
ROBINSON: Is that right.
HASEL: Yes. I killed a Nazi.
SCOTT: You were in the Underground.
HASEL, with a sigh and a self-deprecating laugh: What's the use. I didn't kill him. I found him in an alley. I joined the Communist Party to fight the Nazis. I was going to be a partisan. But they put me in charge of stores. My one chance, and I became a storekeeper!
He begins the descent down the slope, followed by the trio of agents.
As they reach safehouse, and Scott escorts Hasel inside, Robinson pulls Woods aside.
ROBINSON: Hey, Mike?
ROBINSON: Listen. Uh, the man shouldn't have gotten away.
WOODS: Yeah, it was my fault. I should never have depended on Chanetsov.
ROBINSON: Well, what about this guy Chanetsov? Can you...can you trust him?
WOODS: For his job, of course. He's a desk man. But I should never have left him alone to guard him.
ROBINSON: Well. Understand you had a little excitement at the airport yesterday.
WOODS: A real shoot-'em-up. I've been wondering how they found us.
ROBINSON: Yeah. Yes, we were wondering the same thing ourselves.
WOODS: Well, it's over and done. Come on, relax, will ya? We got a couple of good days coming up. Nothing to do, one phone on the island, no neighbors, just a lot of good times...
He leads the way into the safehouse.