A Pocketful of Steele
Original Airdate: Nov 20 1984
Transcribed from the Episode written by:
Brad Kern

A man shadow boxes his way down a dirty city street and into a run down apartment building. Entering an apartment, he spars with the refrigerator, then turns to the sink. From the darkness, a man says, "Hello, Stiles."

Across the small room, a well dressed man turns on the light as Stiles turns around. "Schwimmer," Stiles says, surprised. "I didn't expect you."

Schwimmer joins him at the sink. "Well, I was in the neighborhood. How's it going with Altobelli?"

"Well, uh, he was a little more stubborn than the others-" he pulls a paper from his vest. "But I got him to sign this receipt."

Schwimmer takes the paper. "That's nice. Very nice." He puts it into his pocket. "I think this calls for a celebration. Don't you?"


"You're a drinking man, aren't you, Kelly?" he asks, pulling a flask from his pocket with a smile.

"I've never been known to turn a free drink down."

"Got a glass?"

"Yeah." Stiles picks one up and Schwimmer pours some of the drink into it.

"To your health," he says, watching as Stiles drinks, then doubles over and collapses onto the floor.
Schwimmer kneels beside Stiles' body and uses a handkerchief to remove a bottle of pills from his own pocket. He takes off the lid and scatters the pills beside the body, then leaves the apartment.


Laura is putting some pictures onto Steele's desk as she speaks. "Mr. Schwimmer meets Mr. Stiles and places an order for some strong-arming. Mr. Stiles gets his blood money. Mr. Stiles enters and leaves Mainstreet Electronics-"

"Um," Steele grunts, sliding the pictures into his hands. "Pity we couldn't photograph what was happening in there."

"What are you doing?" Laura asks.

"Hurrying you along. These will help us prove that Schwimmer's the front man in a loan sharking operation." He puts the photos back into their sleeve, puts the sleeve in the inside pocket of his jacket. "Okay, our client awaits us at the bank. We will confront her felonious subordinate, confirm his guilt, and then stop pounding the dreary pavements of white collar crime. Come along." Laura has no choice but to go with him.


At the bank, two men watch people come and go. Both are relatively well dressed in suits as they wait, watching. The older of the men, Larry, watches a young man put a wallet into his pocket. He tucks a handkerchief into his own pocket and his partner, Leroy, stands and crosses the path of the man with the wallet, bumping him. "Excuse me, sir. I'm sorry." Leroy continues on, glancing once over his shoulder as he joins his partner and they leave.

All of this is witnessed by a boy, wearing a suit jacket sans tie, who's ostensibly reading a newspaper. The limo arrives at the curb, depositing Laura and Steele. As they come around the corner, the boy bumps Steele, but Steele is too focused on the coming meeting to pay much attention.

"Sorry, sir," the boy says with a smile. "My fault."

"No harm done. No harm," Steele assures him as he and Laura continue on into Certified National Bank.

Upstairs, Schwimmer sits listening as Steele recounts his crimes. "We know for a fact, Mr. Schwimmer, that you used your position in this bank to set up a phantom company." Laura and their client, a dark haired, nervous woman, watch. "YOUR company- which also used the same borrowed funds to bankroll a loansharking operation."

Another man enters, leaning on a silver topped ebony cane. "Miss Holt, Mr. Steele, I'd like you to meet my boss, Lowell McKenzie, Vice President in charge of loans."

McKenzie looks at Schwimmer. "Miss Conover tells me we have a serious problem here."

"I don't know what these people are talking about."

Laura says, "We're talking about embezzlement at the very least."

"That's why I hired Mr. Steele's agency," Miss Conover explains.

"I have not done anything wrong."

"Oh, come now, Mr. Schwimmer," Steele says. "You referred customers to your phantom company for a loan, knowing that Miss Conover here had already turned them down at this very bank! That's not exactly exemplary behaviour on your part, is it?"

"And you paid a man by the name of Kelly Stiles to- shall we say- pursuade the owner of Mainstreet Electronics to make his usurious payments."

"Fortunately for him," Steele comments, "his insurance covers extended hospital stays."

McKenzie asks, "Uh, I assume that you have proof of your accusations?"

"We captured the entire relationship with Schwimmer and Mr. Stiles," Steele assures him, reaching into his pocket to retrieve the photos- only to go blank and start seraching his pockets. "Unequivocally- in our minds- as well as on film-" Laura moves clsoer, worried.

"Why don't you just turn over the pictures."

"I can't find the pictures," he tells her quietly.

"What do you mean, you can't find the pictures?"

He pats his jacket pocket. "My wallet. The kid. He picked my pocket."

Miss Conover asks, "Is there a problem?"

Laura and Steele are embarrassed. She laughs. "As a matter of fact, there does seem to be a slight delay. You see, um, seems that, um, someone, uh, picked Mr. Steele's pocket."

Schwimmer relaxes as Miss Conover sags. "However," Steele assures them, "We know the culprit- and exactly where the culprit is."

"We do?" Laura asks through her smile.

"We will."


An angry Schwimmer leaves the bank, loosening his tie. He watches as Larry does a bump, and comes up empty. The old man looks at his hand as Schwimmer joins him. "Arthritis? Or just nerves?"


"I saw you try to lift that man's wallet."

"I don't know what you're talking about."

"You wanna pick up a quick two grand?" Schwimmer asks.

"Who do I have to kill?"


Steele brings the Rabbit to a stop and tells Laura, "He's not just any pickpocket. Pickpocketing's an art, and that kid's a Pickpocketer's Picasso."

"Dare I ask- what makes you such a connesieur?"

"Let's just say there was a time in my life when a particular appreciation for that particular kind of craft put food on my plate." They go inside the building.

It's a bowling alley, and they go to an elderly woman who's polishing the lanes. "So you got mugged this morning," she says to Steele. "It isn't easy picking a pick."

Steele nods, somewhat embarrassed. "EX-Pick, Thelma. We need to get the take back fast."

Laura takes Steele's arm. "Who is she?"

"Old acquaintance," he explains.

"How old?"

"I was given her name when I first came here. Like- traveler's aide?" He goes to Thelma. "Well, Thelma, what've you got?"

"You got a description?"

"Oh, about fifteen or sixteen," Laura begins, but Thelma shakes her head.

"No, no, no."

Steele gives her the right description. "Worked alone. Came at his mark head on and carried a newspaper."



"In his right or left hand?"

"The right."

"A southpaw," Thelma muses.

"You have some very interesting friends, Mr. Steele," Laura comments.

"Did he give you the bump?"

"Oh, VERY subtly. Smoothest pick as I've ever seen, Thelma."

"Jackie Crawford. You'll find him over at the Gold Hotel."

"How could you POSSIBLY know that?" Laura asked, amazed.

"Well, every canon has his own technique, dolly. It's like a fingerprint. Besides, there ain't many master canons around these days, especially one that's sixteen years old. It's Jackie."

Steele gives her a light kiss. "Thank you, Thelma. Listen, I owe you one, love."


"Take caer of yourself. Bye." He and Laura leave.


At the Gold Hotel, Larry parks his car and goes to where Leroy, now dressed in street clothes, is standing at the door. "You know anyone that lifted some pictures off a mark today?" he asks. Leroy shakes his head.

Laura and Steele drive up, get out and go inside as the two men watch them. Inside, Laura and Steele pause in the lobby at the bottom of the stairs. Jackie starts downstairs, and Steele sees him. "HOLD IT!" he yells. Jackie turns back upstairs. "That's him!" he tells Laura.

They chase him upstairs and into an apartment as Jackie cries, "Mama! Mama!"

"You'll need more than your mama!" Steele yells as a large family gathers around Jackie to protect him.

The woman speaks to him in Italian, holding Steele off. "Out of the way, madam. That boy is a THIEF!"

Laura tries to calm the situation. "Mr. Steele! A little discretion!"

"Mama, you know I'd never do anyting dishonest!"

"Who are you trying to kid, kid?" Steele asks.

"Mama, I'm scared, are they gonna kill me?"

"We haven't ruled it out," Steele warns as Laura tries to hold him back.

"Mama" Grasps her chest. Jackie gievs Steele an accusing look. "My mama's got a heart condition!"

"I- can't- breathe," she manages.

"Hold on, Mama!" Jackie says, pushing her nito Steele's arms. "I'll get some mediciine."

"Don't even think about it, mate!" Steele warns, calling out as jackie vanishes into the other room. "Don't even think about it!"

Steele lowers "mama" to the sofa. "Yes. There you go. Yes. Rest yourself," he says as Laura fans her with a paper.

Jackie climbs down the fire escape.

Steele looks at the woman laying on the sofa, still patting her chest. He reaches into his pocket. "Alright, how much is it gonna cost to make the fat lady sing?"

Laura, still fanning, is shocked. "Mr. Steele, aren't you being a bit insensitive?"

"Fifty?" he asks. "A hundred?" She begins muttering in Italian. "Two hundred buys an awful lot of pasta, Mama."

Her eyes open, and she responds, "Make it two fifty and you got a deal," without a trace of an accent.

Laura realizes she's been had.

Downstairs, she says, "All right, all right, so I bought the family drama." She gets into the car. "Maybe we should rethink. There are other ways of solving this case."

"That slippery little con artist has the photographs, and I know I can find him. Besides, we're not going to get anywhere with Schwimmer. He looks at us and all he sees is egg on our faces."

"There's another man in those photographs. Kelly Stiles. Perhaps I can get somewhere with him."

Steele puts the Rabbit in gear. "Well-"

Larry follows them in his car.


At a hotel, Jackie watches a man take delivery of some money. He stands, folds the newspaper and picks the man's picket. When he turns away, he runs into Steele. "Very clever, kid. Very sweet."

Jackie starts to leave, but Steele grabs his arm and pulls him close. "Oh, no. You're not getting away this time. The only thing standing between you and that gentleman in blue over there is a packet of photographs." He nods at a policeman standing at the doors.

"You're not bad for an old man," Jackie says.

"Flattery will get you nowhere. I want those pictures back otherwise I'm gonna turn you over. Pick your future."

"Sure. Lay it on me. Just like my pop did."

"Please, kid, I hate to cry on a clean shirt. Come on." He pushes Jackie toward the cop as Jackie protests.

"Please, sir, I don't know what you want-"

"Good afternoon, officer, I'd like to make a citizen's arrest. A few moments ago, I caught this young man, lifting THAT gentleman's wallet."

The mark looks around, feels his pocket. "Hey, he's right! My wallet's gone!" he joins them, pointing at Steele's pocket. "And there it is, hanging out of HIS pocket!" he grabs it.

"Trying to pass it off on the kid, huh?" the cop asks.

"I'm not a pickpocket," Steele tells him.

"It IS my wallet," the mark admits as jackie takes off.

"I'm a private investigator. Look, here's my ID," Steele begins, then frowns and points. "He also picked MY wallet, officer."

The cop and the mark frown at him.

A very amused Laura is being led by a jail guard across a cell block to Steele's cell across the room. The prisoners are all giving her wolf whistles. Steele is leaning against the front of the cell he shares with several other guys; a bum is propped up against

"Ah, Laura. Thank God!"

Laura asks the guard, "Has he been fingerprinted?"

"Yes, ma'am."


"You bet."

"Strip searched?"

Steele answers this one. "Every nook and cranny. You're really enjoying this, aren't you?"

"It's a rare opportunity seeing you behind bars, Mr. Steele. But all good things must come to an end. I think you can let him out now."

Steele moves the bum aside. "Alright, Smiley. This is where we part company. There you go; take a seat."

Steele exits the cell and he and Laura follow the guard across the room as she tells him, "I got a lead on Stiles-- the strong arm man?"

"Well, you pursue it, I'm gonna get those photographs if it's the last thing I do."

"Jackie knows you'll be looking for him."

"Yes, but he doesn't know where." The cell block door is opened.

"Thank you very much."


At the Gold Hotel, Mildred gets a candy bar from a vending machine, then drops her credit card wallet as she crosses to sit down. The Leroy comes in and picks it up, looks over to where Mildred is sitting near Steele, who's hiding behind a paper.

He carried the wallet over to Mildred. "Oh, Miss, I think you dropped these," he says, tipping his hat.

"Thank you," Mildred says.

He moves away after a glance at Steele, then Steele lowers the paper and gives her a look. With a long suffering sigh, Mildred gets up and drops the wallet again.


Laura goes to Stile's apartment building. She starts picking the lock when a woman comes up. "Who are you?"

Laura, surprised, hides the files and laughs. "I'm Laura Stiles, Kelly's cousin."

"I been managing' this buildin' for a long time, and I ain't ever seen no kin of Stiles here before."

"Oh, I pop by now and then. Keeps Aunt Mary happy."

The woman knocks on the door. "Stiles?" When he doesn't respond, she knocks again. "You alive in there, Stiles?" Smiling, she uses her pass key to open the door, then cries out, "Oh dear GOD!" and takes off.

Laura looks in to find Stiles laying on the floor, an open pill bottle close to his hand.


At the Gold Hotel again, Mildred is getting tired of the game. Her wallet is on the floor near the feet of an old man who looks to be sleeping on the sofa. She sits down. From across the way, Steele watches as the old man puts his foot on the wallet and scoots it closer before reaching down and grabbing it and taking off.

Steele tells Mildred, "Unless I'm mistaken, your cards are already on their way to the community fence. Let's just hope Jackie doesn't show up elsewhere."

"Look, if this is gonna be a chase, I'm only gonna slow you up, Boss," Mildred tells him as he puts the car keys into her hand. "I'll be back later, okay?"

He follows the old man to a pawn shop, and then takes up position across the street to wait.


Laura finds some notes written on Bank stationary and puts them into her purse as the landlady returns with a young cop. "Mind telling me what you're doing, lady?" he asks.

"It's okay," she tells him. "I'm a private investigator."

"She told ME she was his cousin," the woman says.

Laura takes out her ID. "I'm here on a case."

"Explain it to the boys from homicide."

"No, no, you don't have to go through all that," Laura tells him.

"Look, lady, if this turns out to be murder, and I let you go, it's my butt in a sling. So make yourself comfortable, and ready to talk."

Laura sighs.


Steele's wait is rewarded when Jackie enters the pawn shop. He crosses the street and waits for Jackie at the corner. "Well, now. Isn't this a coincidence, eh?"

"Hey," Jackie says. "How're you doing? Wish I could stay and chat, but- I gotta run!" he takes off."

"Come here!" Steele yells, following.

Jackie gets back to the hotel and enters the apartment. "Mama, everybody! Positions, fast!" He disappears into the back room as they form a wall between the front door and his room.

Jackie climbs down the fire escape again, and pauses to catch his breath.

Steele comes from behind a box. "How many of there ARE you?" Jackie asks.

"Can we stop running the marathon and get down to business? Come on." He takes Jackie's arm, and Jackie looks resigned as he lets Steele lead him away.


At the police station, Laura tells a detective, "You can't hold me! You know it, I know it, and you KNOW I know it!"

He has some food on the table before him. "You were found in the room alone with the murder victim."

"Lieutenant, do you honestly think I had anything to do with his death?"


"Then why am I standing here watching you eat a hamburger?"

"Because your client might have something to do with it."

"Absolutely not."

"I'd like to hear that from your client."

"Lieutenant, we both know that you cannot force me to divulge my client's identity!"

He gets up and goes to the door. "You know, I think that there's still a BLT on wheat out there-You know, you really should eat something. They don't serve breakfast here til six."

"I'm not hanging around here til six," Laura tells him.

"Miss Holt, you're a material witness. That means I can keep you hanging for 48 hours. You can sue me for false arrest later."

"Lieutenant, at least let me call my client."

Laura calls Miss Conover. "You don't know what kind of pressure I am under, Miss Holt. You have GOT to find a way to prove this case."

"Miss Conover, I know, but right now, I have to ask you something. Would you be averse to my giving your name to the police in relation to this case?"

"My job is hanging by a thread as it is! I don't need to add to that by having the local press get ahold of this mess-" McKenzie comes into the office as she continues in a softer tone. "And crucify this bank in every local newspaper. Good bye."

Laura hangs up as the detective returns. "No deal."


Steele shows Jackie into his apartment. "Make yourself at home. You might be here for awhile."

"Listen, if I'm gonna get the crime doesn't pay, routine, don't bother. My old man laid that one on me a long time ago."

"Oh, really? Sit down." He pushes Jackie onto the sofa. "Your old man live around here?"

"I doubt it. He dumped me in a pit called Hoboken when I was a kid. I haven't seen him since."

"And your mother?"

"She died. Just before my dad left me in New York."

Steele smiles. "That's funny. I was under the impression Hoboken was in New Jersey."

"What do I know? I was nine."

Steele grabs his shirt and pulls him over. "Come here. Drop the Little Orphan Annie routine. It wears a little thin. You don't have to lie to make me feel sorry for you. I pity the truth."

"Oh that's heavy."

"Yes, well, mediocre talents and little quips won't get you by forever. Someday you're not gonna be cute any longer and then where will you be?"

"Still taking care of number one," Jackie tells him defiantly.

"Oh, really? And end up like those burned out, middle aged con artists you run with? Great plan!"

"Yeah, and what makes you the prophet?"

"Because I know you, Jackie. I've known you for fifteen years. The setting was different, but the kid was the same. A little bit of talent, a lot of talk, and some cockeyed notion that he's got the whole thing made!" He gets up, agitated.

"You?" Jackie asks.

"Yeah. One big difference. I got lucky. Someone convinced me I wasn't the success story of the century. That I could make other choices."

Jackie rises to confront Steele. "What do you care about me, anyway? Once you get those hands on those pictures, I'll be just another bad memory."

"Listen, kid, Miss Holt and I will solve this case with or without the pictures. If that's all I wanted when I picked you up on the street, all I had to do was twist your arm til you coughed them up."

"Come on, don't con me, Pop!"

"ME? Con you? The little master? If you really think all I want are those photographs, you're free to go. Go on, take off." He makes himself comfortable, removing his coat. "There's the door. I'm not gonna follow you. Go on."

Jackie takes a step, then stops as Steele removes his shoes. "You know, I don't' get you. I don't know what you are."

"Yes, well, you don't have to. But you better start figuring out what YOU are."

Jackie looks thoughtful. "Say I do get you those pictures. How do I know you're not gonna try and bust me again."

Steele grins. "You don't. But you have to trust somebody some day."


He and Jackie return to the hotel in the Auburn, parking across the street. Steele opens his door, but Jackie tells him, "Hey, I'll get the pictures." Steele looks at him. "I trust you-you trust me."

"Okay. I'll wait," Steele agrees, and watches as Jackie crosses to the doorway

The police detective gets out of a car. "Jackie Crawford?" Laura is there as well.

"Who wants to know?" Jackie asks as the man shows a badge.

Steele runs across as they handcuff Jackie. Jackie glares at Steele. "You sold me out! You fink! You lying fink! You sold me out!" Larry watches the exchange from the doorway. They lead Jackie toward the police car.

Steele tries to stop them to talk to Jackie. "Jackie, please, it's a mistake! It's all a mistake!" Laura watches with interest. "Jackie!"

Jackie and Larry leave the police station as Steele and Laura arrive in the Auburn. "Jackie!" he calls out, braking the car hard and jumping out. "Jackie! Jackie!" Jackie looks at him and continues on his way to his friend's car. "I had him Laura. I had believing there was at least one person who wasn't trying to scam him."

"This morning that kid was nothing more than an annoying inconvenience," Laura notes.

"Well, perhaps I know him better than I care to."

The detective tells Laura, "One hell of a trade, Holt. That kid didn't have any pictures."

"Ah, convinced you of that, did he?" Steele questions.

The policeman turns to Laura. "You owe me one. And you're gonna make good. One way or another." He moves away.

Laura frowns. "Well, we're certainly making a lot of new friends today, aren't we?"

Steele watches as Larry's car drives past, then he gets in the Auburn. "Where are you going?" Laura asks, getting into the car as well.

"We still need the photographs."

"YOU can't follow Jackie."

"Why not?"

"You're the Benedict Arnold of the piece. One more whiff of you and he won't go anywhere near those photographs! Besides, you may've lost a little objectivity."

"I am not saving souls, Laura."

"Not even a cheap little pickpocket's?" she asks.

He turns to her, angry. "Com'on, he's more than that, dammit!" Laura looks at him, he takes a moment to rein in his temper. "All right. All right."

"I found these at Stiles' place," she says, handing him the stationary. "Four electronics stores, including the one in our photographs. I wouldn't be surprised if you find out that all of them fell prey to Schwimmer's operation."

He looks at her with disbelief. "You're not suggesting that I do-"

"Legwork, Mr. Steele. It'll do you go to walk off some of that emotion you're carrying around." She pats his shoulder as she opens the door for him.

Steele gets out of the car and Laura slides behind the wheel before driving off.


At the office, Steele is doodling on a paper when Mildred comes in. "I checked on four of the electronic stores."

"Has Miss Holt called in yet?"

"Uh uh," she says.

"Sorry, Mildred, carry on. Go on."

"Each of the four owners- vanished, or in one case dead."

"Oh, splendid."

"I also called the bank and I checked with Miss Conover, and she told me that-"

"That I turned down each of those four loan requests during the last nine months," Miss Conover tells them as she and Mr. McKenzie enter the office.

"Miss Conover. Mr. McKenzie," Steele says, joining Mildred.

"You mean to tell me," Miss Conover says, "that you still don't know anymore than that?"

"Well, actually-," Steele begins.

"Obviously not," McKenzie says.

"To the contrary," Mildred tells them, tugging on his jacket to get his attention. "Mr. Steele's learned a great deal, haven't you, Boss- sir?"

"Yes, of course I have, but- uh, Miss Krebs is much better at the specifics. Miss Krebs?"

"Well, one of the things Mr. Steele has uncovered is that the loan sharking was used as a means to corner a portion of the electronics market."

Steele nods. "Interesting, eh?"

"I've never heard of racketeers being so selective before," McKenzie tells them.

"It doesn't have the aroma of racketeers," Mildred tells them. "It sounds like Schwimmer's on his own."

"A one man loan sharking operation?" Miss Conover questions.

"You're sure of that?" McKenzie asks.

"Well, Mr. Steele's as sure as he can be- at this point."

"Frankly, Steele, I came here because word is leaking out that our bank funded loansharking. So I'm in desperate need of either a villain- or a scapegoat. I'll give you- well, to the end of the day, to bring me a villain- before I make you the scapegoat. Fair enough?"

"More than generous," Steele admits nervously. "Yes."


Jackie and Larry are in Jackie's room. "Come on, kid. We're practically brothers. If we wasn't, do you think I'd offer to split the five hundred with you? And what good are the pictures to you, anyway? Take what you can get out of 'em. That's the way I'd look at it."

"Well, how come I can't hand 'em over? Collect the dough?"

"The guy's kinda edgy. Only wants to deal with me."

Jackie paces. "How come he came to you, Larry? I mean, how come he expected you to come up with those pictures?''

"What do you care? For once in my life I got lucky. And we're both lookin' at a nice piece of change."

"So that's all this guy, whoever he is, could come up with, huh? Five bills?"

"You think I'm holdin' out on you?" Larry asks.

"Nah. If you can't trust your friends,-?" he goes to the closet and digs around, coming up with the pics.

"You made yourself a hell of a deal, Jackie," Larry says after glancing at the pics. He goes to the door, and Jackie leaves the room with him.

In the alley, Laura climbs onto the fire escape ladder and accesses Jackie's room. She's looking around it when Jackie returns. "I always thought rats traveled in pairs," he tells her.

"All right. So you caught me."

"What do I have to do to get rid of you people?"

"You could start by giving me the photographs."

"It always comes back to that, doesn't it?"

"Look, I know you feel you've been had, but Mr. Steele didn't set you up. *I'm* the one who got you busted."

"So? What do you want me to do about it? Bust into tears? Maybe send him a rose?"

Laura sits on the bed. "I wish it had never happened. I wish I could erase it. But I can't. So we both have to live with it."

"Oh, I'm sure you'll recover. Fast."

"Who are you to tell me what I'll feel?"

"Who are you to come in here looking like some debutante telling me that WE'VE got a problem? Can you handle a secret, lady? I don't need you. I don't need you, I don't need your friend."

"It's very safe, isn't it? Not needing anybody, nobody needing you. If you can figure out a way to go through life like that, I'll buy your book. But for now, a man I care about cares about you. Don't throw that away."

"If this is about those pictures, and it is, isn't it? I just sold them to Larry, and he's on his way to sell them to the man YOU'RE trying to bust."


"Beats me. So why don't you pack up your Bible," he says, opening the door, "and take a hike."

"Good luck, Jackie," Laura tells him, "I have a feeling you're going to need a lot of it."


Schwimmer is in Larry's apartment, looking at the photos. "Very good. Very good." He hands Larry an envelope. "They're worth every penny," he says. Larry counts the money greedily. Schwimmer pulls out his flask. "I think this calls for a celebration, don't you, Larry? You're a drinking man, aren't you?"

"Oh, I sure am," Larry says, going to get a glass.

Laura stands on the street, trying to decide what to do when she sees the Rabbit and whistles to get Steele's attention. He stops the car as she crosses the street. "He gave the pictures to Larry," she tells him, out of breath. "Larry's on his way to meet Schwimmer."

Steele points to Larry's car. "His car's still here."

"It must mean Schwimmer came to him. Come on," she says, going back across the street as Steele follows her.

Leroy is coming down the stairs. "Uh, which room's Larry in?" Steele asks.

"I don't know any Lar-ry," he says brokenly as Steele grabs his shirt.

"You've got one more shot at an answer, mate."

"Two-Oh-Four," he says.

Steele and Laura take off as he shakes his head. They burst into Larry's room, finding him on the floor. "My God, just like Stiles," Laura comments.

Steele looks around. "The window," he says, and leads her over. He looks out, seeing Schwimmer running down the alley. "Laura, come on! He's down here!"

They go down the fire escape as Schwimmer runs into a garage across the street. When they round the corner, there's no sign of the man. "Ah, we lost him," Steele says.

Laura looks, sees Schwimmer coming out of the garage. "I think we just found him," she says.

"I'd like to see Schwimmer get out of this one," he comments, gathering himself to go after their prey. Before they get very far, a car pulls out of the garage and hits Schwimmer. Steele and Laura leap out of the way as the car narrowly misses them.

Steele helps Laura up, then they go to Schwimmer. "Schwimmer!" Steele says as Laura feels for a pulse. "But he's our villain!"

"he's off the hook now," Laura tells him. "He's dead."

"Well, that's no excuse."

"Try telling him that."

They hide around the corner across the street. "I'm not exactly sure why we're hiding," Steele comments, only to be pushed back by Laura when the police get to close.

"I think it's a good instinct. They start down the alley. "At least we know Schwimmer wasn't working alone."

"Oh, definite breakthrough. Unfortunately, we don't have any other suspects."

"Whoever it is killed for the photographs."

"And the only connection we have left to those photographs is-"


They enter his room to find that it's been tossed. "Someone obviously wanted something that Jackie has very badly," Steele comments.

"It couldn't be the photographs," Laura points out. "He sold them to Larry and Larry gave them to Schwimmer, who turned them over to the killer." Steele picks up some photos of Jackie that are scattered around the floor. "They're probably ashes by now," Laura frets.

Steele looks around, still holding the pictures. "Unless. Unless, unless, unless."

"Share your thoughts, Mr. Steele. I, too, would like a reason to smile."

"What always comes with a set of photographs?"

"A set of negatives?"

"Only there aren't any negatives of these pictures of Jackie. Now, could it be that he took those negatives and put them in the photographs that he gave Larry?"

"You mean the killer has the right pictures and the wrong negatives?"

"Well, Larry was merely the middleman. I mean, if Jackie was getting the thin edge of the wedge, I mean, what better way to bargain with the real buyer?"

"And with Jackie's smiling face plastered all over those negatives, it was as good as a calling card."

"Yes, well, apparently the buyer took a run at locating them before he dealt with Jackie."

"You think he was successful?"

"Not if I know my boy."

"You know, you're positively delighted with that treacherous little urchin."

"You must admit, Laura, it's a daring, brilliant, unexpected ploy." He smiles. "Something I would have done."

"No doubt about it, the kid's got a great future, provided somebody doesn't kill him first," Laura points out.

"Yes, well, we can't let that happen. The lad has far too much potential. Come on, Miss Holt, let's go."

They meet Leroy as he comes into the hotel. "Ah, Leroy! Remember me?"

Leroy says, "Two-Oh-Four" raising his hands.

"Yes, Pavlov would be impressed. Put your arms down." He puts a companionable arm around the man. "Only this time, we're looking for Jackie."

Leroy looks at the hand on his shoulder as if he doesn't trust Steele. "Oh, he's gone."

"Where?" Laura and Steele both ask.

"Uh, to shoot the moon."

"Oh, colorfully put. But could you be a bit more specific?" Steele questions.

"Said he found the motherlode. And as soon as he taps it- he's gonna fly this here coop for good."

"Leroy," Laura said, "What we desperately need from you right now is the LOCATION of that motherlode."

Leroy looks uncertain.


At the bus station, Mildred joins Steele and Laura beside a vending machine. She shakes her head. "We've been here for two hours, Mr. Steele," Laura moans.

"Umm, hmm. He'll show up."

"Yeah?" Mildred questions. "Him and Santa Claus."

Steele taps her on the arm as he looks at the door. "Hope you don't find coal in your stocking this Christmas." He points.

Jackie comes in and goes to sit down. Steele rubs his hands together in anticipation. "Alright, everybody, here we go. Boy's Town. Spencer Tracy, Mickey Rooney, M-G-M, 1938-"

"Yeah, yeah," Laura agrees. "I know. A bevy of misfits band together to keep Mickey from being killed."

"Only he can't know they're protecting him," Steele finishes.

"Bevy of misfits?" Mildred asks.

"Merely a figure of speech, Mildred. Okay, go, go, go." He waves her off. "Remember, Laura, don't be obvious. Try to- lurk," he tells her. She scowls. "Okay? Go." She moves away as he stands there, watching the action with a smile on his face.

Laura takes up a position beside the video games, as Mildred sits beside Jackie.

Some time later, Steele glances at his watch. Jackie's still looking at the same magazine. A bus boarding is announced. Mildred gets up and goes to Steele. "I'm sorry, Boss, but my buns were falling asleep."

He nods, still watching Jackie. "Understandable, Mildred."

"He's been here for an hour and a half," she tells him.

"Hmm. I know. Painfully understandable."

A man crosses to the cigarette machines that are directly in front of Jackie. Jackie looks up, then joins the man and talks to him for a moment. Jackie goes to the telephone booth.

"He's making his move," Mildred says.

"Hold fast, Mildred. He's only a guppy we want the big fish."

Jackie puts an envelope into the phone book, then makes a call, leaving the receiver hanging when he leaves to return to his seat.

An announcement comes over the PA. "Paging Mr. Fisk. Paging Mr. Rodney Fisk."

Steele glances at Laura. The cigarette machine man goes to the phone booth, listens on the phone and hangs it up. Then he takes the envelope out of the phone book, and turns to leave.

"We've got him!" Steele says, and the three of them rush out. "Jig's up, Fisk!" he says, grabbing the envelope.

"Those negatives are as good as a confession," Laura declares as Steele opens the envelope to reveal that it contains up pieces of magazine.

"What are you talking about?" Fisk asks.

"Why did you go into that booth and pick those up?" Laura wants to know.

"I got ten bucks for it."

"From who?" Mildred asks.

"I don't know. Some kid over there."

They look- Jackie's no longer sitting where he'd been. "That kid grows more amazing by the minute," Steele declares. "He's done it again, given us the slip!"

Laura looks outside where a bus is loading. "Not quite!" she says, and they try to stop the bus.

Jackie waves at them as he passes.

"It's going to Fresno!" Laura says.

"So are we!" Steele decides as they turn around.

"Hold the fort, Mildred!"

On the bus, Jackie walks back til he finds a seat with a "reserved" sign on it. He sits down, reaches beneath the seat and pulls out an envelope filled with money, then puts the envelope with the negatives in its place. He puts the money in his pocket, then goes back up to the driver. The bus stops and Jackie gets off.

"Next time, make up your mind before you get ON the bus," the driver tells him before closing the doors. Jackie lifts his hands and goes to the alley, not seeing the black car that stops on the curb.

McKenzie gets out and follows Jackie, his cane in hand.


The Rabbit catches the bus. Laura stands up, whistling and yelling, "Pull over! Pull Over! Pull Over!"


Jackie realizes he's being followed. He hears the tap of the cane and looks behind him, but there's no one there.


Desperate, Steele stops the Rabbit in the path of the bus, forcing it to stop. They rush onto the bus. "Hey, what gives?" the driver asks.

"Where's the kid that was on here?" Laura asks him as Steele walks to the back of the bus.

"What kid? I don't memorize every face that rides my bus."

Laura joins Steele. "Did you make any stops?"

"Stops? This bus don't make any stops. It's an express to Fresno. That's what I told the little wiseacre."

Steele looks at him. "What little wiseacre?"

"The one that wanted to get off at Fifth and Broadway."

"Did you let him off?" Laura asks.

"Hey, service is our business!" the driver declares.

"Fifth and Broadway," Laura repeats, as she and Steele run toward the doors. "Fifth and Broadway!"


Jackie's getting nervous. He turns a corner, waits, and then goes on. McKenzie comes around the corner, finds the alley empty, and then goes on. Jackie jumps him, grabbing the cane and lifting it. "Why are you following me?" he demands to know.

"I'm not following you," McKenzie says, sounding frightened. "I'm lost. I'm- looking for Fourth Street." Jackie raises the cane. "Please. Don't- don't hurt me. Take my wallet, anything. Just please- don't hurt me."

Jackie points with the cane. "Fourth Street's that way."

"Thank you. I didn't mean any harm. I'm-I'm sorry. Can I please have my cane back? It's been in my family a long time." Jackie hands it to him, turns away to leave. He takes a few steps, only to stop as McKenzie says, "Jackie." He's holding a gun.


"Fifth and Broadway," Steele repeats as he parks the Rabbit. Laura stands up.

"He could have gone down any one of these streets," she says.


McKenzie walks toward Jackie. "I should have known you were scamming me when you offered to pay up front," Jackie says.

"Well, I had to be sure I could get the negatives," he says.

"But I left 'em on the bus," Jackie insists. "I KEPT my end of the deal."

"I'm sure you did, Jackie. They'll be waiting for me in Fresno. But how can I be sure that you didn't make any copies? Hmm? I can't very well have you blackmailing me for ten thousand dollars every week, now, can I?"

"If it's the money you want, I'll give it back to you-"

"Uh, uh. Don't bother. I'll get it myself." He raises the gun as the Rabbit roars into the alley. He fires a shot, hitting the windshield, then Jackie tackles him and they go down as he fires again.

Laura grabs the gun as Steele grabs McKenzie, who's still laying on top of Jackie. "McKenzie?" Steele says in surprise.

"Don't dance with him," Jackie says, "Hit him!"

Steele hits the man on the jaw, and then grabs Jackie. "What the hell do you think you're doing? You could have been KILLED!"

"I almost pulled it off," Jackie tells him with a smile.

Laura holds up the gun. "You almost didn't," she says.

Steele puts an arm around Jackie's shoulders. "See?"


The newspaper headline tells the tale: "Banker Arrested for Murder" along with a picture of Schwimmer and McKenzie, with the latter circled. Laura's reading the paper as she and Steele wait at the bus station.

"No wonder McKenzie wanted those pictures," she says.

"Hmm. They tied him right into Schwimmer and the loansharking operation."

"You never told me how you knew which direction Jackie took when he left the bus."

"That was the way back to the Gold Hotel," Steele explains. "Home, as it were."

"Mr. Steele, I do believe you're getting sentimental in your old age," she teases.

He frowns. "Nothing permanent, I assure you." Jackie joins them. "Hello."

Jackie holds out some money. "The ticket was three dollars cheaper than you thought."

Steele takes the money. "My, my, my, my. Well, Jackie. I must say, I'm delighted you accepted the judge's suggestion."

"It sounds more like a school than a juvenile camp. Besides, how bad can it be if they let you come by yourself, huh?"

"If you need anything," Laura tells him, "you know where to call."

Jackie looks uncertain. "I couldn't say this before. I don't think I've ever said it before. But- thanks. I mean that."

He and Steele shake hands, clasp hands, then Steele pulls him into an embrace. "Come here. Take care of yourself."

Laura gives him a kiss on the cheek. "Thanks," he says again, then picks up his bag and starts toward the bus.

"I think you had quite an effect on that young man," Laura tells Steele.

"And he on me," he admits, watching as Jackie stops.

Jackie turns back to them. "I- uh- lifted your watch," he confesses, holding it up.

"I know."

"You DID?" Laura questions.

"How come you didn't stop me?"

"I knew you'd come back eventually," Steele tells him calmly.

"You did?" Laura says again.

"How?" Jackie asks defiantly.

"Because I lifted your bus ticket," Steele tells him with a smile as he holds up the ticket.

The End