Phelps: You drive, I need to go over the case notes.
Biggs: Fine. Where are we headed?
Clerk: What do you need?
Phelps: Phelps and Biggs, LAPD. We have one of your laundry tags. Can you tell us who it might belong to?
Clerk: Are you kidding? I've got work to do, Mac. Here's the customer book. Knock yourself out.
Biggs: Number was J2620, Cole.
Phelps: Who is Hangstrom?
Biggs: Could be someone else from the factory. Does he have an address?
Phelps: No. Dead end. Thank you for all your help, sir.
Operator, give me R&I.
Operator: Putting you through now.
Phelps: Detective Phelps. Badge 1247. Messages please.
R&I: You need to call Ray Pinker urgently.
Phelps: Can you put me through?
R&I: It's ringing now.
Phelps: We're on our way in.
Pinker: Nix that. I got a message from Lindbergh Field. An airplane tech there identified your part.
Phelps: What is it?
Pinker: He said it was a prop spinner from either Corsair or a B50.
Phelps: A what?
Pinker: Fits over the center of the propeller and protects the pitch gearing.
Phelps: So it's a military part?
Pinker: Could be. But get this, the Spruce Goose runs eight Wasp R 4360's. I think you better get over there and check it out.
Phelps: We're on it. I need an address for an Oscar Hangstrom.
R&I: Checking. No residential listing for anyone by that name, Detective. Sorry.
Phelps: Thanks for your help. You can drive.
Biggs: So where do you want to go?
Soldier: This is a military project, gentlemen. Can you state your business?
Phelps: Detectives Phelps and Biggs, LAPD. We're investigating the explosion. We have reason to believe there may be a link to Hughes Aircraft.
Soldier: I'm sorry, I can't help you there, Detective. Without authorization from Military HQ, you won't be allowed onto this facility.
Mapes: What seems to be the problem, gentlemen? Hey, Biggs! You're not still with the LAPD?
Biggs: Afraid so, Mapes. Can you help us out here?
Mapes: Sure. What seems to be the problem?
Biggs: We're working the big explosion at the electroplating plant. We found a part there that belongs to one of your planes.
Mapes: I work head of security for Mr. Hughes now. I'll take full responsibility. I'm sure we can clear this up. Follow me. It's the big hanger, you can't miss it.
Phelps: Who is Mapes and what's his connection to Howard Hughes?
Biggs: Vernon Mapes used to work Ad Vice. Word is he runs fuck-pads for Hughes' starlets.
Phelps: A pimp, Earle and Mapes would seem...
Biggs: Mapes was a role model for creeps like Earle.
Mapes: Follow me. Good day, miss.
Phelps: Can that thing really fly?
Mapes: Mr. Hughes believes so. Amazing, isn't she?
Biggs: So this is the Spruce Goose.
Mapes: Jesus Christ, Biggs. You want to get me fired? Mr. Hughes hates that fucking name. It's the H-4 Hercules to you.
Phelps: Do you mind answering a few questions, Mr. Mapes?
Mapes: Call me Vernon, kid. Fire away.
Phelps: Do you know anything about the explosion that happened at Nicholson Electroplating this morning?
Mapes: No more than anyone else. Heard the boom while I was shaving. Almost shit my pants. Thought it was Pearl all over again.
Phelps: But you had no personal contact with any of the employees and you have no idea what caused the explosion?
Mapes: I'm in security. I handle Mr. Hughes' personal interests, if you get my meaning. I'm not directly involved in manufacturing.
Phelps: Do you know Tomoko Okamoto?
Mapes: Never heard of the broad. Why?
Phelps: You don't happen to wear an LAPD tie pin, do you, Mapes?
Mapes: Sometimes. I have a couple of them from my days on the force.
Phelps: Do you know the chief chemist at Nicholson Electroplating? A Harold McLellan?
Mapes: I've heard of the guy. He was pitching some fancy process to the company.
Phelps: We know that you were sending parts to Nicholson for testing. Question is whether you were going through Nicholson, or cutting your own deal with McLellan.
Mapes: Interesting theory, kid. How you going to prove any of that?
Phelps: We found a prop spinner in the wreckage. We believe it belongs to this aircraft.
Mapes: We sent them some aluminum parts to test. Howard and the boffins were interested in this guy McLellan's theories. If McLellan was cutting out Nicholson that's not our problem.
Phelps: Thanks for your help, Mr. Mapes. Do you mind if we have a look around while we are here?
Mapes: Sure. Knock yourself out.
You want to take a look inside her? Can't hurt.