The limo pulls into a grand Spanish style mansion's drive. Fred opens the door for Laura and Steele, who go to the front door. Steele pushes the doorbell, and they hear the first notes of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic".
"Stirring, eh?" Steele questions.
"Oh, my." Since no one has responded, Laura reaches for the doorbell again as the door is opened by a wizened, frowning butler.
"May I help you?" he asks imperiously.
"Remington Steele. I have an appointment to see Mr. Crockett."
"You're late," the old man insists.
"Really?" Steele checks his watch. "I have ten straightway."
The frown deepens. "You're also slow." He steps aside for them to enter. After a confused glance at each other, they go in. The butler looks at Laura. "And who might you be, young woman?"
"I'm Laura Holt, Mr. Steele's associate," she tells him brightly, holding out her hand, which he ignores.
"Tsk, tsk, tsk. I'm sorry, madam. But Mr. Crockett wishes to see Mr. Steele. ALONE."
Steele, seeing Laura's building anger, tries to diffuse the situation. "Miss Holt and I work very closely. Perhaps if you told Mr. Crockett that, umm-"
"Nothing personal," the butler informs them. "It's just that he does not believe women ought to be doing man's work."
Steele tries to keep Laura calm as she responds, "Doesn't believe they ought to be doing it or doesn't believe they're CAPABLE of doing it?"
Steele laughs nervously as the old man answers. "A little of each, I suspect."
Laura gives the old man one of her treacly smiles, and Remington tries again. "What say we take off and have a little brunch? Catch a movie or something?" he suggests to Laura.
"No, no, you go on it," Laura insists, still smiling dangerously. "I'll wait out here and clean the drapes- or do some laundry," she tells him, looking at the butler.
"Oh, yes," Steele says, still uncomfortable with the situation.
"This way, sir."
He leads Steele into a bedroom and says, "Mr. Steele has FINALLY arrived."
"That will be all Markham," Ross Crockett says from his bed. He's seriously overweight and middle aged. "Well," Crockett orders, "let's have a look at you."
Steele approaches the end of the bed. "Shall I stand at attention or will parade rest do?"
"You're not an American, are you?" Crockett asks, frowning.
"No, but I'm inordinately fond of mom, apple pie and baseball, if that will help."
Crockett smiles and laughs. "Well, what the hell? You can't have everything. You come highly recommended. Fine reputation." He tosses the covers back and starts trying to sit up. "Here. Help me up."
Steele comes around the bed and helps the wheezing, coughing man to his feet. "Exactly what can the Remington Steele Agency do for you, Mr. Crockett?"
"Twenty nine years ago, I adopted a daughter. Maybe you've heard of her."
"Tracy Crockett," Steele acknowledges. "Bit of a jet-setter from what I've heard."
"Flake would be a better word. You've no idea how many gigolos I've had to pay off. How many cops I've had to bribe. How many times I've had to repurchase all her earthly possessions from fad religious groups."
"Which of those concerns you now?" Steele asks.
"It only it were that simple," Crockett sighs, moving to a painting of himself on the wall. "Now that I've landed at death's door, I think it's time to confront a secret I've been carrying all these years: Tracy's got a sister out there. Adopted by somebody else. More than a sister, actually. A twin. An identical twin." He pulls the painting out to reveal a wall safe that he opens as he continues to explain. "The adoption agency decided to split em up. I didn't find out about it til much later."
"Yes," Steele says. "I've heard of similar instances."
Crockett opens the safe and pulls a brown folder from it, pulling other items out as well. Steele starts to bend and pick the fallen items up, but Crockett stops him. "Ah. THIS is all that concerns you." Steele takes the folder and unties the closure on it. "Twenty years ago, I hired another detective to locate Tracy's sister." He picks up the other things and puts them back into the safe, then closes it and returns the picture to its place. "I didn't do anything about it. Too uncomfortable with the situation. To unwilling to share Tracy with something that uniquely close to her." He gets back into bed, coughing. "Find her, Mr. Steele. Don't talk to her, don't tell Tracy. Just find her. I'll decide what to do from there on."
The door opens and an attractive blonde enters the room. She's expensively dressed, and has a worried expression. "Oh, Father, Father, Father," she sighs, and sits on the bed beside him. "I was in Rome when I got the news. You poor man." She rests his head on her shoulder. "How long did the doctor say you have?"
"he won't even hazard a guess," Crockett tells his daughter.
"What do you think, then? I booked a return flight for day after tomorrow."
"Ooh," Crockett moans.
"Too soon?" Tracy asks.
"Maybe you'd better stay around for awhile," Crockett suggests, obviously enjoying having Tracy so close.
"What about Rudolpho?"
Tracy sees Steele standing there, watching them from the end of the bed. She saunters over to him, putting a cigarette into a holder. "You, uh, wouldn't happen to be Italian, would you?" she asks, handing him her lighter.
"Fraid not," he apologizes and holds the lighter up to light her cigarette.
The door opens, and the chauffeur comes in. "Will you be needing me anymore today, Miss Crockett?"
"No, Eric," she says dismissively. "That will be all."
Steele hands her back the lighter. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm sure you'd like some time to be alone with your father."
"Wherever did you get that idea?" she asks him, taking the lighter and going to the bed. "Surely you could hang on for a few more hours, while I go shopping, now couldn't you dear? Hmm?"
"Shopping? Um hmm. I suppose I'll still be breathing when you come back."
Tracy gives him a kiss. "Oh, fine. Then I'll see you for tea. Ta-ta."
She and Steele leave the room, and as they come down the stairs, Steele says, "You can tell me it's none of my business, but you seem rather callous about your father's condition."
"To the naked eye, perhaps," Tracy admits. "The truth is, it's a game father and I play with each other. You see, he's been dying for fifteen years. But he does have a knack for having seizures or fits, or whatever they are in the nick of time to get me back home before I disgrace him any further." They stop before Laura. "I don't believe we've met?"
Steele jumps in. "Frieda Milch," he says. "Tracy Crockett. And I'm Darren McGuffin."
"Friends of Father's?" she asks.
"Exactly," Steele tells her.
"Perhaps we'll see you again," Laura adds.
Tracy smiles at Steele. "Hmm. If you were Italian, you could count on it."
"If it's any consolation, I love linguini," he says, at which Laura takes his arm and turns him toward the door.
At the office, Laura is fuming. She is pacing Steele's office as he sits at his desk, feet up, watching her. "It was one thing when you didn't exist and I was putting things over on those sexist dogs out there. But now, I simply CANNOT stomach it ANYMORE!"
"Laura, I was quite content not to take the case," Steele begins, but Laura throws up her hands.
"Oh, no, no, no! The LAST thing I need is a man protecting MY honor! I am fully capable of taking care of myself!" Steele nods slightly, smiling behind his hand. "THAT is the POINT!"
Mildred comes in, paper in hand. "Okay-"
"WHAT do you WANT, Mildred?" Laura snaps.
Mildred hesitates, then continues without missing a beat, ignoring Laura's outstretched hand to take the paper with her to the desk. "Well, between the computer and the information Ross Crockett gave you, I have located the missing twin."
Steele smiles in delight, taking the paper as a frustrated Laura joins them. "I'm sorry I snapped at you, Mildred," she apologizes.
Mildred puts an arm around Laura. "Oh, that's all right, Miss Holt. We girls get a little temperamental at times," she says with a wink.
Steele studies the paper. "Thank you ever so much, Mildred."
"I am here to serve, Chief," she tells him, with a salute. When Steele holds out his hand, she puts her in it, thinking, no doubt that he's going to shake it. But instead he takes it and gives it a loud kiss. Embarrassed, Mildred gives Laura another hug. "Why don't you soak in a hot tub, take a little bit of herb tea and read one of those romance novels?" she suggests, girl to girl. "It helps me get through those- emotional days." With that, she leaves the office.
Laura throws her hands up in silent surrender as Steele dials the telephone. She goes to the window as he speaks. "Yes. Mr. Crockett, please. Remington Steele here .What when no, I see. Thank you Yes. I understand." He hangs up and stands.
"Well?" Laura asks, concerned.
"Apparently Ross Crockett was a better actor than we gave him credit for. He just convinced his doctor that he was dead."
The limo arrives at the Crockett mansion again- but this time there is a line of expensive cars parked nearby. "I still don't feel right about this," Laura frets as she and Steele approach the house. "Ross Crockett was our client, and HE wasn't even sure he was going to tell his daughter."
"Tracy would want to know, believe me," Steele insists, pressing the doorbell.
"You're just overly sensitive about someone having a secret past," Laura accuses.
"Laura, it's one thing to conceal your past by design. Another thing to have it concealed FROM you." He pushes the doorbell again, listens. "I'm growing rather fond of this little ditty."
Inside the house, Tracy and four other people are gathered at a table as Markham hovers in the background. The man at the head of the table tells them, "We're here to read the Last Will and Testament of Ross Crockett, Sr. Loving husband," he smiles at a severe yet attractive middle aged woman who returns the smile tightly, "Forgiving Father," Tracy looks as if she's still in deep shock by the events, while a young man takes a drink of cognac with a smile. "Trusting partner." A middle aged man with a dour expression and little sense of humor nods. "Loyal employer."
Markham looks up. "Nice of you to notice me, sir."
He flips through the papers before him. "An estate the size of Mr. Crockett's naturally demands precise instructions- Most of this is legal boilerplate- but I THINK I can give you the gist of it." He looks at them and starts to laugh. "TRACY gets everything!" he announces gleefully, still laughing.
Tracy is shocked at the news.
Junior almost chokes on his drink. "I'd- like a clarification," he says.
"Why, certainly, Junior. You lose. You ALL lose!" the lawyer says.
Three sets of malice filled eyes turn toward the still stunned heiress.
Outside, Steele and Laura watch as the wife, son and partner all leave in a huff. They enter the house through the open door. "Hello?" Steele calls out, and Laura closes the door behind them
Tracy is in the front room, holding the will to her when they walk in. "Miss Crockett," Laura says, "We don't want to intrude."
"We're terribly sorry about your father," Steele tells her.
Tracy smiles regretfully. "The game is over," she admits. "Daddy was serious this time. And if I hadn't been so self centered, I might've realized it."
"Your father was very concerned about your emotional well-being," Laura tells her.
"Well, he certainly took care of that," Tracy declares. "Daddy- He couldn't control me while he was alive," she says, looking at the paper in her hands, "so now, he's found a way to do it from the grave. You know what he's done? He left me ALL his company stock. Provided I become Chairman of the Board at the next stockholders meeting. Otherwise, his entire estate will go to Charity and Uncle Norman will take over Crockett Industries."
"Uncle Norman?" Laura questions.
"No doubt the grim faced gentleman with the Rolls Royce," Steele clarifies.
"Well, I am NOT going to go through life thinking I let my father down. I'm not going to blow the one chance I have of making something of my life. DAMN HIM! So much for my trip to Rome!" she sighs regretfully.
"Miss Crockett," Steele begins, "We haven't been entirely candid with you."
"What do you mean, Mr. McGuffin?"
"Actually, I'm Remington Steele, and this is my associate, Laura Holt."
"We're Private Investigators hired by your father."
"Hired? To do what?"
"Locate your sister," Steele tells her.
Tracy is tired. "I don't HAVE a sister."
Laura takes the envelope and opens it. "According to these- you do." She hands the papers to a doubtful Tracy.
Tracy looks at them for a moment. "Oh my God. I didn't know. Twin sisters." She smiles tearfully. "You may not believe this, but-I always felt like I-wasn't entirely whole. Like some part of me was missing. Does that make any sense?" She looks at them. "Well, who is she? Where is she? Can you find her? I don't care how much it costs, you bring her to me." She looks at the papers again. "My sister. My identical twin."
A woman with Tracy's face, but dressed in a waitress uniform and with a far from cultured accent, is asking a man, "That it, stud?" When he nods, she turns to the cook and yells, "Chicken san. Wheat. Mayo. Fries!" and then she walks down the line.
"Hey, Roxie, how about a little bit more ketchup?" a customer asks.
"Oh, yeah," she says, and goes to get it, only to find her thigh held by another man. "Hey, Roxie, How about a little bit of THIS, huh? I got the ten wheeler today. The BIG rig."
She removes his hand. "If it ain't on the menu, Freddy, it ain't available." She delivers the ketchup, then goes to the end of the bar where Steele and Laura are sitting. "You need menus." Going to a couple of kids beside them, she grabs the menus. "You want to read? Go to the library." She puts the menus down before her new customers.
"Roxie Tyler?" Laura asks.
"We're here about your sister," Steele tells her.
"Well, then, ya got the wrong Roxie Tyler, cause I ain't got no sister." He holds out a picture of Tracy. "What's this?" she asks, taking it. "One of them trick photos where you take somebody's head and put it on someone else's person?"
"Roxie," Laura says, indicating the papers on the counter, "THIS is a copy of your sister's birth certificate and THIS is a copy of yours. Same date of birth, same natural parents."
Roxie's grin spreads. "This is Candid Camera, right?" She laughs and looks around. "Where is it? Where you got it hidin?" She notices their faces. "You're serious, aren't you?"
"If you'd like," Laura offers, "We can take you back with us. Tracy wants to meet you."
Roxie looks at the picture. "Tracy." She looks uncertainly at Laura and Steele. "You're SURE this ain't Candid Camera?"
They enter Tracy's dark apartment, Steele commenting, "That's odd, the door's unlocked."
Laura turns on a light. "Tracy?" she calls.
Steele looks in the bedroom. "Tracy?"
Roxie watches them as Laura finds a note on the desk. "Changed my mind. Decided to go to Rome and see Rudolpho. Love, Tracy."
"Hey," Roxie asks. "What's goin on here?"
Steele and Laura take off for the bedroom. They turn on the light to reveal an unmade bed. Steele goes to the closet as Laura searches the dresser. The closet is empty. "Ah. Looks like our bird's flown the coop, after all," Steele tells them.
Roxie is frightened. "What kind of game are you playin here?" she asks, picking up a statue and holding it like a weapon to keep Steele at bay. "Is this one of those weird things where some rich guy pays you to go out and bring back girls?"
Before Steele can respond, Laura speaks. "Tracy Crockett may be the flake her father claims, but she's never going to get to Rome without this."
"What is it?" Roxie asks.
In the living room, Roxie is inspecting Tracy's things as Laura is on the phone, saying, "Thank you. Youve been a great help.
She hangs up and says, That was the last airline to Rome, and it doesn't have a reservation for Tracy Crockett either."
"Well, we have to assume she wasn't killed, else they would have done it here and gotten it overwith," Steele points out.
"That mean my sister's been snatched?" Roxie asks.
"It's beginning to look that way, Roxie," Laura tells her as they go through the mail.
"Well, its no wonder," Roxie says.
"Oh?" Steele questions, looking at her.
"She must be loaded! I mean, look at this stuff. She must be worth a fortune. Not one of these things says 'Made in Taiwan'."
Steele tells Laura, "Someone is apparently trying to make it appear as though Tracy had no intentions of taking over her father's company."
"Well, we certainly have a laundry list of suspects," Laura says as Roxie slips a silver ashtray into her pocket unnoticed. "None of those people seemed happy after the reading of the will."
Roxie goes to the coffee table to inspect more things. "You know," Steele muses, "Crockett had some things in his wall safe that were definitely not for public consumption. Now, perhaps- perhaps that's our starting point." He notices Roxie put something else in a pocket.
"The stockholder's meeting is in 2 days," Laura laments. "That doesn't give us time to be methodical. We need something dramatic, daring- unexpected to flush out our kidnapper."
Steele is studying Roxie. "Pygmalion," he says.
Laura looks uncertain. "What?"
"Who?" Roxie asks.
"Leslie Howard, Wendy Hiller, M-G-M, umm- 1938." He moves toward Roxie and pulls the ashtray out of her pocket. "Or, for those who enjoyed the musical version- 'My Fair Lady'."
"Oh," Roxie says with a smile. "I know that one."
Laura is disbelieving. "You're not suggesting that we transform this- this-"
"Hey. Watch it, sister," Roxie warns.
Laura grabs the ashtray. "Kleptomaniac into Tracy Crockett?"
"Leslie Howard managed to do it in eighty-five minutes," Steele points out.
"This isn't a movie, and it's DEFINITELY not Victorian England!" Laura yells. "You're as bad as all the rest! What a typically chauvinist point of view! You think women are pieces of clay, waiting to be MOLDED!"
"Nonsense, Laura. You molded me, and look how well I turned out!" Roxie smiles at him.
"Out of the question," Laura says. "It's impossible, absurd and dangerous."
"It's dramatic, daring and unexpected!" Steele returns.
"A woman's LIFE may hand in the balance!"
"All the more reason to take the bull by the horns!"
Roxie interrupts with a shrill whistle. "Do I have any say in this?"
"Sure," Laura agrees.
"If you think that my pretending to be Tracy can save her life, then I say- let's GO for it!"
"Ah, that a girl, Roxie," Steele says.
"Tracy," she corrects. Laura is NOT pleased by the turn of events.
Steele picks up something from the desk. "We shall unveil our creation tomorrow afternoon at the cocktail party to welcome the stockholders of Crockett Industries. Can't you just see the reaction of the guilty party when Tracy Crockett sweeps in? He or she will rush to wherever the real Tracy is hidden, concerned that she didn't get loose." He's caught up in his scenario now. "Or perhaps- perhaps even better still, they will break down there and then, terrified that Tracy can identify her kidnappers." He takes a deep breath. "I tell you, Laura, George Bernard Shaw would have been proud of us."
"He workin the case too?" Roxie asks.
Laura grimaces as if in pain, still not convinced that they can turn her into her sister.
In Laura's loft, Remington is pacing as Laura sits on the couch flipping through a magazine.
"I mean, what is taking so long, eh?" he asks impatiently.
"Relax," Laura calmly tells him "Mildred is trying to scrub out twenty years of hair spray."
Mildred appears for the big presentation, saying, "Ta da! Ta da! Presenting Miss Tracy Crockett."
Roxie appears from Laura's dressing area looking amazingly like her twin and walks over to the stairs She's wearing one of Tracy's simple black dresses, a pair of Tracy's Italian high heeled shoes and a hairstyle which matches Tracy's.
"Amazing!" declares Laura.
"An exact replica!" Remington says. "Bravo!
Roxie starts down the stairs and turns her ankle. She wobbles over to the arm of the couch and sits down, saying, "Italian shoes. How do they stand on these things? No wonder they make towers that lean."
Remington further expounds their remaining task, saying, "Hair...make-up...clothes...That's all external. Breeding; that's what distinguishes between dross and gold--no offense intended."
"Oh! You can offend me all you want! I don't understand half the things you say anyway," Rosy says good-naturedly.
"The way a person walks, talks, holds a cigarette, drinks a cup of tea...*that* we must instill in our protege here."
Very upbeat music is played throughout the following montage. In each set, Roxie is wearing a different one of Tracy's expensive dresses.
First, we see Roxie sitting in a holding a cup of tea. Remington points to her mouth and she takes her gum, slapping it into the open palm of his hand. He closes his hand without even batting an eye.
"Pinkie out," instructs Remington.
"Leg crossed," orders Mildred.
"Toe pointed," Laura adds.
Roxie, who has followed their instructions to the letter and looks utterly ridiculous, asks, "All that to drink a lousy cup of tea?"
She takes a swallow of tea and spills it over over the front of her dress and everyone groans.
Now we see Remington's arm holding a lighted cigarette lighter and lighting the cigarette holder Roxie has in her mouth. By now Remington's shirt tail is hanging out.
"Eyebrows arched, "Remington instructs.
"Chin tilted," orders Mildred.
"Head cocked," Laura adds.
Roxie, who has followed their instructions to the letter and looks utterly ridiculous, says, "I feel like the Hunchback of Notre Dame." She takes a puff and promptly has a coughing fit.
Next, we see Roxie trying unsucessfully to walk in Tracy's shoes as Remington, Mildred and Laura watch, exhausted. Remington is sitting sideways in the arm chair, his legs swung around on top of the side of the chair.
Finally, she stops and declares, "I am beat! Will you let me sit down, please?" Not waiting for an answer, she sinks into a chair.
Steele looks at her, then makes a decision, saying, "Laura, demonstrate how a proper lady walks across the room, please."
She's embarrassed. "Oh, oh, well, I couldn't- with all these people watching--"
Steele won't hear it. He grabs her arm and takes her to a stop. "Of course you can. Up you get. Up, up, up, up, up, up, up, up. There you go...stand right there. Go" He gives her a swat on the bottom and tehn sit back down in the arm chair, saying, "Voila."
Laura straightens her collar, then does a very stiff model's walk across the room, managing to trip once in the process.
"There you go," Steele tells Roxie. "Just like Miss Holt- only better."
Laura glares at Steele as Roxie gets back up and tries again, and is even stiffer than Laura was. Laura sighs, and Steele puts a hand over his face.
The sliding door opens to reveal what appears to be Tracy Crockett, down to the cigarette in the cigarette holder. She enters the room gracefully, and Steele stands. "I think she's got it!" he declares. "By Jove, I think she's got it!" Mildred and Laura parrot his observation as they walk around her.
Roxie winces. "I got somethin' all right. Sore puppies." She sits down and puts a foot onto the coffee table, managing to knock one of Laura's Faberge eggs onto the floor in the process. "I'm so sorry," she says.
Steele lifts a hand. "Uh, uh. The rich NEVER apologize," he tells her.
"Right. So I broke your lousy egg. Blow it out your ear." She takes a puff of the cigarette and blows smoke.
As Laura, Roxie and Steele are getting out of the Auburn to go into the Crockett house, the chauffeur calls out.
Roxie looks uncertain. "Who's he?"
"Family chauffeur," Steele explains.
"I was worried about you," Eric tells her. "I thought I was supposed to pick you up."
Steele jumps in. "Oh, put your worries to rest, Eric. Miss Crockett's just fine. Shall we join the party, ladies?"
As she follows them to the door, Laura notices Eric getting into the Crockett limo. The doorbell rings, and Roxie smiles. "Oh, hey! They got a band!"
"Uh huh," Steele agrees as the door opens and Markham stands there.
"How's it goin, Pops?" she asks, tapping him on the shoulder.
Steele pulls her away with a frown of disapproval, mouthing "Pops?"
Laura tells them, "I'll be upstairs."
Steele leads Roxie into what looks to be a solarium and looks around. "Oh, jolly good," he says, rubbing his hands together. "All the suspects are here. Norman Baines. Lovingly referred to as 'Uncle Norman'." Norman doesn't look any too pleased to see Tracy. "You're trying to keep him from gaining control of your father's company. At the moment, he's the most likely person to have kidnapped you." He looks at Junior. "Junior Crockett. Your step brother." Junior offers a silent toast to them. "No doubt he's bitter at being cut out of his late father's will." His attention turns to the woman. "And Claudette. Your Step mother. Also a sore loser from the looks of things." Claudette glares at them.
"Umm hmm," Roxie sighs. "This is better'n Dynasty."
Steele turns to look at her.
Laura gets into Ross Crockett's room and goes to the safe. She puts a small metal box on the safe and turns the dial. The safe opens.
Downstairs, Roxie grabs the silver coffeepot from Markham's tray. "I'll do the honors, Pops." She turns to some guests. "A little heat there? Down a quart, huh? There you go." She returns the pot to Markham. "We'll split the tips later." Steele is nervous, watching Markham's outraged reaction.
Steele laughs. "Quite a unique sense of humor, eh, Markham?"
"Appalling display," Markham declares. "People should know their place." He stalks off.
Before Roxie can say anything, Norman Baines calls her. "TRACY!" He joins them. "I did not expect to find you here."
"Oh yeah?" Roxie asks. "How come?"
"Let me tell you something. If you think I'm gonna let you take over the company, you are sadly mistaken. And if you persist in this lunacy, I'm going to grind you to little pieces."
"You don't scare me, buster," Roxie tells him, ready for a fight.
"Easy Tracy," Steele warns softly.
Norman moves off as the doorbell rings and Roxie frowns. "Don't they know any other song?" she complains.
"Keep an eye on Claudette and Junior," Steele tells her, apparently thinking about trying to find Laura. But as he enters the foyer, he sees an attractive, young brunette standing there, holding a huge Ming vase.
"There you are, Claudette," she says in a confrontational tone. "No matter how many henchmen you send to take away the gifts he bought me, you can't take away my memories. Ross Crockett loved ME and you know it! You want your precious antiques?" She throws the vase to the floor where it shatters. "Take them, Claudette!"
"That was quite a performance, Samantha," Claudette observes coldly. "In the past, my husband's mistresses have gone rather- quietly." Samantha lifts her chin proudly. "But there is always a first- and last time, for everything. If you've quite finished- you may go."
Samantha suddenly realizes that she hasn't accomplished a thing and is the object of pity. Visibly shaken, she leaves.
Frowning at the scene he just witnessed, Steele's frown changes to alarm when he sees Norman going upstairs. He hurries to catch up with him. "Ah, Mr. Baines. If you're looking for the loo, I don't know where it is-" he stops beside Ross Crockett's bedroom door and raises his voice a notch as he finishes. "Up here on the second floor!"
Norman shakes his head. "I've always prayed Tracy's taste in men would improve," he says sourly. "So much for the power of prayer." He enters the room, slamming the door, and Steele closes his eyes, waiting for Laura to be discovered. When there's no alarm sounded, Steele is surprised.
Inside, Norman notices that the window is open, but the safe is apparently untouched. He looks outside, then closes the window before going to the safe.
Laura climbs off the roof as other guests watch. "Lovely view up there," she tells them with a smile. "Nice place to read." She takes off.
Steele comes downstairs and sees Laura outside, holding up the papers and beckoning for him to join her. He nods, then goes in search of Roxie.
She's in the middle of a group of guests, mostly men. "And I said to him, 'I'd like to see you try that again, buster!' And he did." She grins. "And I LIKED it!" Everyone laughs.
Steele grabs her arm. "Tracy, dear, I suddenly have a need to get some fresh air. Will you excuse me, gentlemen? Excuse me. Say good day. Goodbye." He pulls her outside, hearing her clink as she walks. They join Laura. "Come here, will you?" he tells Roxie, pulling things from her pockets as Laura does the same. "You have a gift for this sort of thing."
"Well, don't you take things when you're on vacation?" Roxie asks.
"This isn't the Holiday Inn," Laura points out as she drops the silver and such into a nearby planter.
"Okay, okay. I gotta go to the head. The coffee goes right through me."
"There's a cabana over there," Laura tells her.
"Hope it's nailed down," Steele comments.
Roxie is walking down the path when a gloved hand is seen picking up a rock that is used to bean Roxie, sending her unconscious into the pool.
Laura tells Steele, "Thanks for the warning. I got out just in time."
"Well, you missed the grand entrance of the mistress."
"You can fill me in later. How is our Eliza Dolittle doing?"
"Splendid. Except no one panicked at the sight of her," he admits.
A woman screams, and they take off to see Roxie floating in the pool. Steele removes his jacket and shoes to dive in and pull her to the side, where Laura and Norman help him pull her out. Steele and Laura administer basic CPR, and Roxie starts coughing. She sits up and looks around.
"Boy, this is one tough party!"
In Tracy's apartment, Roxie sits on the sofa wearing a robe as Laura looks at the papers from the safe. "There's no doubt that someone is willing to go to great pains to see that Tracy- or Roxie-misses that stockholders meeting tomorrow," Laura says.
Roxie rubs her bruised head. "Boy, you can say that again."
Steele, wearing a towel around his waist and drying his hair with another, comes from Tracy's bedroom. (DROOL ALERT!) "It has to be Norman. He's the only one who gains if Tracy doesn't make it."
"Too bad you didn't see who hit you," Laura tells Roxie.
"If you want me to say it was Norman, I'll say it was Norman."
The doorbell rings, and Steele answers it. Mildred comes in, carrying some fresh clothes, and blushes, turning away. "Ohh. Mr. Steele."
"Surely you've seen a man in a towel before, Mildred."
"Oh, but- you're not a man, you're my boss. And we have to keep the integrity of our respective roles."
"Old fashioned thinking, Mildred," Laura points out as she looks at the papers.
Mildred looks at Steele. "Well, how would you feel if I came to the door wrapped in a towel?"
"Quite right, Mildred. The employer-employee relationship MUST remain sacrosanct." He takes his clothes. "Thank you, Mildred." He starts for the bedroom, only to stop as Laura asks Mildred a question.
"Mildred do you know what this is?"
Mildred looks at it. "It looks like a stock ledger. But all the stocks have been torn out."
"Missing stock, eh?" Steele questions. "Ah, the plot thickens." He ducks behind a screen to dress and listen in.
"Thicker still," Laura adds, handing Mildred another paper. "Seems that Junior's been writing IOUs to some of our better known bookies."
"So. The young chap never met a point spread he didn't like, eh?"
"He must've gone to the old man to make good on these," Laura muses.
"Assuming Junior doesn't kick the habit now that the old man can't bail him out-"
"It's nothing that a nice, cushy job with Uncle Norman couldn't cure," Laura tells him, looking at a Rolodex card with two numbers on it. One is for Claudette, the other is for Claudette at Norman's. "Oh, look at this. Claudette and Norman appear to be an item."
"I think it's time we paid your Mrs. Crockett a visit," Steele decides.
"Haven't you gone through enough for one day, Boss?" Mildred asks.
"Dedication doesn't punch a time clock, Mildred," he informs her with the air of a martyr. "Lock the door behind us. Make sure no one gets in."
"Mildred, see if you can make heads or tails of any of these ledger sheets, okay?" Laura asks.
"Miss Holt." Steele hands Laura his jacket as he finishes with his cuffs. "Thank you."
Once they're gone, Roxie sighs deeply. "Boy. He's really somethin'. I'm even startin t'like the way he talks."
Mildred gives her a warning looking. "Claws in, honey. He's spoken for."
Roxie frowns in disappointment.
Laura and Steele return to the Crockett house and press the button for the bell. The light comes on, and Markham, dressed for bed, opens the door. "Oh. It's you. Are you expected?"
"Is Mrs. Crockett at home?" Laura asks.
"Come back in the morning," he says, and starts to close the door. Steele stops him.
"We appreciate that we're putting you out," Laura tells him, "But it's important. It's about Tracy's welfare."
"Is that so? Well, what about MY welfare, hmm? I'm not getting any younger. I can't be gallivanting around answering the blasted door in the dead of night. It's time you young people showed some respect."
"It must be very difficult for you since Mr. Crockett pass on, I'm sure," Steele commiserates.
"Forty years I've been with him, and not once did he give me a kind word. Now, he's dead. And what did he leave me? Squat! That was his prerogative. However, since I no longer have him to answer to, my prerogative is to tell you to bug off!" He's closing the door when Claudette calls out.
"Let them in, Markham. Please."
Markham throws the door open. "OH. You want them- YOU let them in!" He turns away.
Claudette is obviously trying to straighten her clothing. "You're those- friends of Tracy's. The ones who saved her from drowning today, aren't you?"
"I trust you weren't too disappointed, Mrs. Crockett," Laura says.
"Disappointed?" Claudette asks, putting on her earrings. "What are you driving at?"
"We thought you might prefer Norman Baines as Chairman of the Board," Steele explains.
"Well, as a matter of fact, I'd rather it were Tracy. Ever since Ross became ill and Norman's been acting president, our stock has dropped precipitously. Now, Norman intends to write off nearly forty million dollars in losses due to a building he ordered constructed and then abandoned."
The lawyer comes from another room, tucking in his shirt. "Everything all right, Claudette?" he asks, smiling.
"Be right there, Reggie," she assures him in a sing song voice. He notices Steele and Laura and slinks back into the room.
"Any bets you HAVEN'T covered, Mrs. Crockett?" Laura asks.
"None that I can think of."
At Tracy's Mildred is reading the papers when she suddenly cries out. "So that's it!"
Roxie is painting her toenails, and says, "If my sister never shows up, and I'm named Chairman of the Board that means I'd get t'keep all this stuff, right?"
Mildred gets up. "I gotta find Mr. Steele," Mildred tells her. "I think I know who's responsible for Tracy's disappearance!"
There's a noise outside the door and then Eric calls out, "Tracy, love, are you awake?" The sound of the key in the lock causes Mildred to duck behind the bar to hide as he enters the apartment. "Sorry we crossed wires earlier today," he tells "Tracy" as he puts his hat on the bar next to Mildred's purse and goes to sit beside Roxie. "Oh, it's so good to be alone with you at last."
Mildred gets her purse and grabs a necklace from the wall behind the bar as Roxie says, "Listen, it's getting kinda late, and I've got a big day tomorrow." Eric is kissing her neck, her cheek. "And I'm getting this headache. And my toenails ain't dry, yet, so why don't we just eighty-six this-" her words are cut off by Eric's kiss.
He ends the kiss and gets up. "How about a drink?"
Roxie grabs him. "Well, uh,-" Suddenly she pulls him to her for another kiss, a long one, long enough for Mildred to get out of the apartment unnoticed. Ending the kiss, Roxie says, "Hey, I'm kinda hungry. Why don't you run out and get me a burger, huh? And you get yourself something too."
"If I didn't know better, I'd think you were trying to get rid of me." The doorbell rings. "Who the hell is that?"
"I'll get it. She rushes to the door.
Mildred is there, wearing the heavy gold necklace. She swaggers into the room. "Howdy, Tracy, honey. I'm Belle Krebs of Houston," she announces in a loud Texas drawl. "Now, I'm sorry I missed that beer bust today, honey, but I was moving a thousand head of cattle up to market in Abilene. Now listen up here. I got me a passel of your Crockett stock and I am fixin t'give you my vote tomorrow. PROVIDED that you and I spend a little time together and get to know one another. Know what I mean?" She moves to Eric and slips some money into the neck of his tee-shirt. "Hey there. Go on down there and get us two fifths of bourbon, there, boy." Eric removes the money, obviously angry. "Cause me and Miss Crockett's got some jaw bonin to do." As she and Roxie pass Eric, Mildred grabs a handful of his hip and moans in appreciation. "Oh, that's prime, honey," She tells Roxie. "That's REAL prime. And don't you believe I don't know my meat." When Eric doesn't move, Mildred says, "What're you lookin at there, boy? Go on, git!" She slaps his rear with a "Ye-ha!"
Eric slaps the money on the bar and grabs his hat. "I'll speak to you tomorrow, Tracy," he says, and heads toward the door.
Mildred tells "Tracy", that's a spirited young buck, honey," before the door closes and Mildred collapses into Roxie's arms in relief.
When Steele and Laura return, Mildred meets them at the door. Roxie is asleep on the sofa. "Oh, good. Have I got something for you. These ledger pages that Ross Crockett had in his safe show that Norman Baines was intentionally causing the company to suffer losses so the shareholders would sell their stock, the prices would drop, and he could buy them up cheaply. He owns a LOT more stock now than anyone realizes."
"So Norman's our man after all?" Steele questions.
"At your service," Norman says from the doorway. He's holding a pistol. "It's amazing how quickly a gun gets to the heart of things. Cuts out all the-" he sees Roxie, who's sitting up now. "Just who ARE you?"
"Tracy. Uh,- Crockett."
"Whatever else she is, Tracy Crockett is a lady. I've known truck drivers more lady-like than you."
"Nice work, Professor Higgins," Laura mutters.
"If you thought she was an imposter," Steele wonders, "Then why didn't you unmask her at the party?"
"Why should I? She doesn't pose any threat. No shareholder would vote for someone like this. Frankly, Claudette, Junior and I can hardly wait to eat her alive at the shareholders meeting."
"You kidnapped Tracy, then?" Laura asks.
"Oh, she WAS kidnapped, eh? Well, I have no responsibility for that, as you well know by now. I have nearly enough shares to defeat her anyway." Steele glances at the sheets, nodding. "Now, that's exactly what I came for." Steele hands the sheets over. "I knew Ross made a record of that information. Obviously, he never could get it to Tracy. Tough, that." He starts for the door, then stops. "Frankly, I think you should consider the possibility that Tracy just might've flaked out and left town. Have a pleasant evening."
After he's gone, Roxie sighs. "Boy, I really blew it, didn't I?" Steele and Laura sit down on either side of her.
"You gave it your best shot, Roxie," Laura tells her as the telephone rings.
Mildred answers. "Crockett residence Yes? Yes, I understand Well, I'll have someone come down immediately Oh, and thank you for calling us first." She hangs up. "That was airport security. Tracy's car has been parked for 48 hours in a one hour zone. And they're gonna tow it away if we don't send someone down there to move it."
"The airport?" Steele asks.
A security guard points them in the direction of the car. It's locked, and while Laura stands watch, Steele pulls out a file and easily picks the lock.
"Very nice," Laura comments as he opens the door.
"Thank you." He sits inside, finding a copy of the will as Laura inspects something else. "Guess this didn't mean much to her after all," he says, reading it.
Laura is bending at the front wheel, looking inside the wheel well. "Mud and cement. It's still damp," she muses.
"We have been blind," Steele announces, and Laura stands up. "We have been assuming that if Tracy was kidnapped, the kidnapper figured to gain control through Norman taking over the company."
"We forgot what happened to Ross' estate if Tracy isn't elected Chairman."
"It goes to charity," Laura recalls.
"Here's the list," he says, giving her the will. "Including a charitable organization which just happens to be controlled by Crockett's mistress- Samantha Donahue."
Samantha is organizing the offices of the "Lover's Fund" when Steele and Laura enter. "Miss Donahue?" Laura asks.
"We're from Jaglum and Jaglum" Steele tells her. "The investment counseling firm. And we're checking out charitable organizations to see which might be suitable for our clients to make contributions to."
Sam is delighted. "Well, as you can see, we're just getting started here, but what would you like to know?"
"What kind of service does the 'Lover's Fund' provide?" Laura wonders.
"Quite simple. We provide money for broken hearted lovers. If you've given your time, your energy, and your love- and your partner has upped and left you- or died, we make sure you're taken care of."
"Oh. Shouldn't you be able to- provide for yourself?" Laura asks, laughing.
"Some of us can," Samantha admits. "Some of us don't want to. It is for the latter that this charity exists. We help avoid messy and expensive palimony suits- and of course, all contributions made to us are tax deductible."
Steele smiles brightly. "Oh, what an enlightened approach, eh? What sort of capitalization do you have?" he asks.
"We expect to be very well endowed. By an anonymous donor."
"That wouldn't be Ross Crockett?" Laura wants to know.
Samantha pales, frightened. "How would you know?" She looks at them. "I think you two had better leave."
"Where have you hidden Tracy?" Laura asks.
"Did Claudette send you here? Listen, I don't know anything about Tracy missing- IF that's what you're getting at- and I don't NEED any of Ross' estate," she informs them, holding up and opening a folder to them. "Because he took VERY good care of me before he died."
"The missing stock," Steele realizes. "When did her give you this?"
"The last time I same him," she says, holding the folder close to her. "He'd been out at that building that Norman's putting up- AND going bust on. Ross had these in his briefcase and he signed them over to me in appreciation for being one of the few people in this world that he can trust."
"That's IT!" Laura declares. "That building. The construction site. The mud and cement on Tracy's car!"
"Of course! The kidnapping's an inside job. And what better place to keep her than a building that's already abandoned?!" He looks at Samantha. "Thank you very much. Goodday."
In the limo, Laura calls Mildred. "Mildred, get Roxie fixed up and over to the stockholders meeting. Then stall. Do whatever you can. We'll get there soon- with Tracy, I hope." She hangs up.
Mildred pushes Roxie through the auditorium. "I can't," Roxie is saying. "They're gonna see right through me."
"No, they won't."
"I'm gonna make a fool of myself. AND my sister!"
Mildred steers her backstage. "Look, just talk about corporate responsibility and fiscal pride."
"If they ask YOU a question, as them to repeat it. If they ask you what you think about something you ask THEM what they think about it. Tell em you have the issue under study. Believe me, it's worked in Washington for years." They peer through the curtains.
At the construction site, Laura and Steele get out of the limo. "She's got to be here somewhere," Laura insists.
"Let's go." They walk around. "I just don't see anyplace she could be hidden," he says at last.
"Alive, you mean." They move on. "Think! Think! If you were a kidnapper, where would you hide her?"
"Well," Steele says, and finds an artist's rendering of the completed building. He and Laura look at it.
"It was quite a plan they had," Laura says.
"Yes. Gas pumps and all."
"Gas pumps. For gas pumps, you need gas tanks," Laura realizes. "Big, underground gas tanks!" She takes off.
Steele studies the drawing for a moment longer, then follows her. "Somewhere over there," he tells her. Using a metal rod, he tests the ground until they hear a hollow sound.
"There it is," Laura says, and they open the trap door. "Tracy?! Tracy!"
Steele starts down, but Tracy calls up, "NO! Don't bother! It doesn't have nearly the view I was led to believe it had!" Steele and Laura smile in relief.
At the meeting, Mildred and Roxie look out to see everyone is there, including Markham and Eric, who is near the door. "When are they gonna get here, Miss Krebs?"
"Soon, Roxie, soon."
Norman comes to the podium. "Good morning. Norman Baines of Crockett Industries. I'd like to make a special introduction this morning. I'd like for you to meet the daughter of your late, great Chairman, attending her first stockholders meeting. Miss Tracy Crockett."
Roxie is about to collapse, but Mildred pushes her onstage. "Go get em, kid!" she whispers.
Roxie tries to return to her, but Norman grabs her arm and holds here there. "Now, why don't you just- say a few words, then perhaps we could- make an open forum for questions," he says. "Then goes back to join Claudette and Junior.
Roxie stands there, uncertain of what to say. "Tell them about your last trip to Rome, Tracy," Junior taunts. "Did you bring your slides?" There is laughter throughout the room. Even she smiles.
Claudette jumps in. "Tracy, what do you see as the future for Crockett Industries? What can these good shareholders look forward to?"
She stands too close to the microphone. "Well-" feedback squeals through the speakers. She approaches it again. "Well, I don't know. But I AM studyin the issue."
"Would you like to leave and come back AFTER you've finished studying?" Norman asks.
Tracy's on a gurney, being rolled to an ambulance as Laura says, "Don't worry, Tracy. Everything's gonna be all right."
"Yeah, sure it is. Father's estate will go to charity. And Norman, Claudette, Junior, AND Samantha will live happily ever after. "I just wish I KNEW which one of them did this to me. But all I remember is someone with a ski mask and then chloroform and then lights out."
"Too bad your boyfriend wasn't around to protect you, eh?" Steele asks.
Tracy smiles and closes her eyes. "Mmmm. Rudolpho's in Rome," she pouts.
"I was referring to Eric."
"What are you talking about? Eric's our chauffeur." They put her into the ambulance.
Laura tells Steele, "Then showing up last night was just an act to see if he could put Roxie out of commission, too," she realizes.
"So Eric kidnapped- Tracy?"
"That's right. And if you remember," she says as they rush back to the limo, "After Roxie arrived at the party, he left immediately."
"To come here to see if Tracy had gotten loose. But he must be working for somebody."
"We'd better make our move. He may be after Roxie right now," she says, getting into the car.
Steele taps the top of the limo twice. "Warm it up, Fred," he says and gets inside as well.
"Now Tracy," Norman is saying, "I know that you hold the present management responsible for the company's recent losses. What would you do to cut the losses?"
"I'd can the present management. Startin with you," Tracy tells him. There's a lot of applause at this, just as Steele and Laura come into the room. They see Eric standing nearby and start toward him.
Claudette asks, "Don't tell me that you're in favor of wasting even more than the Forty million dollars which has already been lost---"
The meeting continues, with Roxie holding her own as Steele tackles Eric, surprising him with a fist in the stomach. He turns the chauffeur to the wall. "Don't be in such a hurry, mate. Why don't you tell us who hired you to abduct Tracy, huh?" Laura hands Steele Eric's gun, then looks at his identification.
"Eric Allen- MARKHAM?"
"Markham?" Steele repeats. "Laura- does this mean- the butler did it?"
Markham stands up, barely, and lifts a gun almost as big as he is in the direction of Tracy. He fires, misses. Tracy ducks behind the podium. He fires and misses again. "Stop moving, damn you!"
"What did I ever do to you?" she asks.
"Nothing personal. But there are values in this world that MUST be upheld! And if you choose to trample them, you do so at your own risk!"
"Values? What values? You're the one trying to kill me! Don't *I* have any value?"
"A woman does not belong at the head of a major corporation!" Markham declares.
"Yeah? Well, where does she belong? Servin cheese burgers in a truckstop?"
"SURE! That's fine!"
Steele still has Eric against the wall, but Laura takes off toward Markham. Eric tries to warn him. "Dad! Look out!"
But he's too late. Laura grabs Markham just as he fires again, this time the bullet knocks Junior's flask out of his hands. "Good shot," he tells her.
Roxie rises slowly as Laura gets the gun and Markham collapses into a chair. Mildred comes to the podium. "Ladies and Gentlemen, I believe this meeting is adjourned."
Later, a private nurse is sitting with a bedridden Tracy when there's a knock on the door. Laura and Steele come in. "Seeing visitors?" Laura asks.
Tracy smiles. "Sure."
Steele motions for Roxie to come in. She's dressed as a waitress again, and enters cautiously. Laura and Remington leave them alone.
"So you're Tracy, huh?" she sits down.
Tracy sits up in the bed and they smile at each other.
In the hallway, Laura asks, "Did you see the look on their faces?"
"Um. But for the luck of the draw, Roxie could have been the heiress and Tracy the truck stop waitress."
"A person can't let his birthright stop him. Look at you."
"Well, I've been lucky. I've encountered good opportunities."
"And you've made the most of them. However you began, you've come a long way, baby."
"I, perhaps," he muses.
"Are you insinuating that there are those close to you who haven't been as fortunate, or haven't had the same abilities?"
"Laura, there are bits and pieces of my past that are as obscure to me as they are to you. It's at moments like this that I realize- they're less painful that way." He takes her arm and pulls her toward the door. "Would you be averse to - uh- changing the subject?"
Laura looks at him. "Dinner and movie, Mr. Steele?"
"I'd like that very much, Miss Holt." They smile at each other.