A college fight song is playing on a cassette player as a young blonde woman dressed as a cheerleader stand on a coffee table. "Gimme an H, gimme an A, Gimme an R, Gimme an O, Gimme an L, Gimme a D, Ya-ayyy, HAROLD!" she yells, jumping around vivaciously, shaking her pom-poms. A middle aged man with graying hair and mustache, dressed in a football uniform, comes to the top of the stairs, smiling and posing. "YAY!" the cheerleader says again. "Yeah, thataboy! All right!" He lumbers down the stairs, carrying a football in his arms. He dodges various pieces of furniture as she continues. "All right! The pride of Benjamin High! He eludes a tackler. He sees an opening, he slithers to the line, and then he penetrates the hole!" He climbs onto the table before her and over it. "There he goes! He scores! YAY!" She jumps down to join him. "You won! Harold, are you ready to put it between the uprights?" she asks the psyched up man.
"Yeah!" The doorbell rings. "Are those the reporters?" Harold asks.
"Mary Jo from Channel 6. She's come to evaluate your performance."
"I'm ready," he tells her.
"I know. I can feel it. I'll go start the shower, swivel hips," she says, leaving the room. "YAY! YAY! Harold! All right!"
Harold goes to the door and opens it. A bearded man is standing there. Without saying a word, he lifts his arm, revealing a gun with a silencer attached. Two shots, and Harold is on the floor. The gunman puts the weapon away and leaves, closing the door behind him.
The woman bounces back, asking, "Did Mary Jo get anything out of you?" she asks, then stops on the landing as she sees Harold's body on the floor, two bullet wounds in the chest.
Downstairs, the gunman leaves the building, holding the door for an elderly couple. He walks down the street to a payphone and puts some money into it, then dials a number.
Elsewhere, a man paces nervously. He runs to the phone when it rings and answers it. "Hello?"
"It's done," the killer says, and hangs up the phone.
The nervous man hangs up as well and then gets a paper from his pocket. He dials the phone. "Hello, police? . . . It's awful. Just awful . . . A man's been shot . . . Where?" he looks at the paper, on which an address is written. "Oh. It's at two-two four five North Comstock. Number three-oh-four . . . Yeah . . . Who am I? I'm a concerned citizen. Please hurry!" he hangs up the phone and closes his eyes, obviously disturbed.
A young man is kneeling beside Harold's body as the woman tries to drag the body across the floor. "He's dead!" the young man declares, in shock.
She pauses. "Nothing gets past you, does it Bernard? Now, are you just gonna sit there, or are you gonna help me move him?"
Bernard doesn't move an inch, except to put his hands to his cheeks. "Move him WHERE?" he wants to know.
"Out of my living room, at least," she tells him, struggling to pull Harold's body by his feet.
"Well, then what are we gonna do with him?" Bernard wonders.
The woman hears sirens and drops Harold's feet to run to the window. "Oh, no!" she cries, and opens the window. Bernard joins her and they watch police and an ambulance arrive.
In shock, Bernard stumbles across the room. "I don't even believe what is happening. We're doomed. I'll never graduate now," he frets. "Life's over," he declares, sitting down.
"My neighbors went camping for a couple of days," the woman tells him, rushing toward the door. "We can put the body in their condo." She grabs some keys. "Come on, grab a leg."
"We're dead," Bernard says again, not moving. "That's it. We're dead."
She grabs his arm and pulls him with her. "We will be if we don't move him. Now, come on! Grab a leg!" She grabs Harold's arms and pulls as Bernard kneels at his feet.
"I'm not real good with death," he tells her, looking pale.
She frowns and pulls.
The elevator arrives, and cops get out. "What'd he say? Three-oh-four?"
They're followed by ambulance attendants as they move down the corridor. "Police!" one of them says, banging on the door. "Open up!" He and the other officers draw their guns as the super lets them into the apartment. The only thing out of place is a football laying on the white carpet. "You wanna check the upstairs?"
"Yeah, I'll get it."
"No sign here. Are you sure it was three-oh-four?"
"That's what he said." They all ignore the football.
"Anything up there?"
"Nah, it's clean. Not a thing."
"Looks like a false alarm," they say as the cops start to leave.
"What do you make of all this?"
"I don't know. Maybe it's down the hall."
At Remington Steele Investigations, Laura, pen in her mouth, file folder in hand, is typing something into a computer in her office. Steele opens the connecting door and peers inside before entering the room and closing the door loudly.
"You know, you amaze me, Laura. How someone can find so much paperwork to do when there's scarcely a case on the desk fairly boggles the mind." Laura returns the file to a cabinet as he talks.
She pulls out another. "The job isn't done until the paperwork is finished, Mr. Steele," she tells him.
Steele inspects the lack of dust on her file cabinets. "I, um, I understand there's a quaint little island just off shore where they've never heard of paperwork, hmm?" He glances into an open file cabinet. "Catalina, I believe it's called." He leans on the cabinet. "AND it so happens that there's an acquaintance of mine who has generously offered us the services of his whirly bird for the evening." Laura pauses, and looks at him. "I thought we might- take it out for a spin, as it were."
"Catalina?" she asks.
"Hmm," he says, smiling as he senses success.
She takes a deep breath. "Hmm." She picks up the folder she was looking at, opens a desk drawer, and drops it inside. "I guess that about wraps things up," she tells him.
Steele closes the file cabinet he's leaning on.
Mildred is working at her computer when Bernard comes in. "Hi, Aunt Mildred."
Mildred turns around, all smiles. "Oh. Bernard!" She gets up and goes to give him a hug. "Hi, kiddo! What're you doing down here? What a surprise!"
"I had some business in LA," he's telling her as a laughing Steele and Laura exit her office, apparently on their way out.
Mildred sees her bosses. "Oh, Mr. Steele. Miss Holt. This is my nephew, Bernard, from Seattle."
Laura shakes his hand. "We've heard nothing but great things about you, Bernard," she tells him.
Steele shakes his hand as well as Mildred hugs Bernard's arm. "Oh, he's get straight A's at UC Santa Barbara," she tells them proudly.
"Oh, yeah," Steele notes. "Quite the entrepreneur, I believe."
"Well, I-" Bernard begins uncertainly.
But Mildred's having none of that. "Oh, are you kidding? He could buy and sell Wall Street if he wasn't such an honest kid."
Bernard looks uncomfortable. The phone rings, and Mildred goes to answer it.
"Always had a soft spot in my heart for profit makers," Steele tells Bernard.
"Remington Steele Investigations," Mildred answers.
"Your aunt just brought us another one of your sure fire deals," Laura tells an increasingly nervous Bernard.
"Oh, well, even sure fire deals have been known to end up dead on their feet," he finishes lamely, nodding.
"It's for you, Bernard," Mildred tells him. "Someone named- Clarissa?"
Bernard glances at Steele and Laura. "Uh, Excuse me." He takes the phone as the trio looks on approvingly, thinking he's talking to a girlfriend. "Hello?"
"He's somethin' else, isn't he?" Mildred asks.
Laura puts an arm around her shoulders. "Yes, he is indeed, Mildred," Steele agrees.
"I love that kid," Mildred tells them.
Clarissa is the cheerleader, now wearing a different outfit. "We've got trouble. My neighbors' camping trip just got rained on. They're coming home now."
Bernard is stunned and having problems thinking. He laughs nervously.
Clarissa looks at the phone. "What are we gonna do with the body?"
Bernard keeps laughing, smiling at Mildred, Laura, and Steele.
"He always was a happy kid," Mildred tells them as they all laugh as well.
Steele glances at his wristwatch.
Bernard turns away. "I don't know. What do you think?"
"You're the college kid," Clarissa tells him. "You think of something." She hangs up.
A sharp faced, middle aged woman with red hair is talking to the killer. "What do we have to do? Spell it out for you?" she asks, upset. "We hired you to take Delanian out by noon tomorrow. What good does it do us if nobody knows he's dead?"
The man who made the call to the police adds nervously, "Technically speaking, Mr. Silver, she is correct."
Silver, the gunman, isn't happy. "This is not the way it works. I'm a professional. You hired me to kill Delanian. I killed Delanian. That means you owe me fifteen thousand dollars." He speaks softly, never once raising his voice.
"Don't try and bully us, buster," the woman says. "You won't get one red cent out of us until we read about Delanian's death- in headlines. And if it's not done by tomorrow- you're fired."
Silver looks at her then at the man.
Laura is sitting on Steele's sofa, waiting as Steele comes from his bedroom putting on a coat. "Ah, Catalina! Here we come!"
She stands. "What's the rush, Mr. Steele?" she asks.
"Let's face it, Laura, anytime we've tempted fate before, it's been anything BUT co-operative." He pulls her toward the door. "Shall we get out of here?" he asks. "The sooner the better, shall we?" He opens the door and finds Mildred there with Bernard.
"Have I got a surprise for you!" Mildred declares. Steele glances at Laura. "Show em, Bernard!" He holds something up. "He got us tickets to Sinatra's last performance tonight at the Greek Theater!" she tells them. Steele and Laura are dismayed by the news, but Mildred totally misses it. "Isn't that fantastic?"
"I wanted to do something special for you both because you've been so good to Aunt Mildred."
"Oh, Bernard," Steele says, pronouncing it 'Burn-erd', "That's awfully nice of you, but Miss Holt and I-"
"We'd like nothing more," Laura finishes to Steele's dismay. He glares at her, she shrugs in apology. "Thank you, Bernard."
"Oh, it's my pleasure. Believe me."
"We'd better hurry," Mildred tells them. "Oh, Mr. Steele, do you mind if Bernard stays here until we get back?" she asks.
"I could only get three tickets," he explains. "Besides, I've got a big mid-term coming up that I really should study for."
Mildred puts a hand on his cheek. "So diligent."
Still disappointed, Steele says, "Oh, make yourself at home, Bernard, yes."
Bernard hands him the tickets. "Thanks. Have a good time."
"We will, Bernard, we will," Steele assures him gloomily.
"Glad you could use the tickets," Bernard tells him, closing the door behind them. He rests on the wood. "Oh."
Later, a woman leading a dog gets off of the elevator in Steele's building as Bernard and Clarissa half drag Harold's body- with sunglasses on- through the hallway. "Let's just get him upstairs before anyone sees us," she's saying.
The woman stops, appalled at Harold's condition. Her poodle starts growling and gnawing at Harold's shoes. She frowns and pulls the dog away.
"Good old Uncle Harold," Bernard says. "One drink too many and he's out like a light."
They drag him toward the elevator. "Oh, but he loves these costume parties," Clarissa says.
The woman looks back around the corner and Bernard smiles at her. She continues on as the elevator doors close.
They put Harold's body in the bathtub. "You mean to tell me we only have this place for another three or four hours?" Clarissa asks Bernard, who's looking pale again. "We can't keep lugging this guy all over town, you know."
"Hey, I said I had a plan, didn't I?" Bernard tells her, going out to the living room. "What's Jill's number?" he asks, picking up the phone.
"Bernard, this really isn't the time to party," Clarissa insists.
"What's her number?"
"555-6349," Clarissa answers.
Bernard dials. "Hi, Jill? . . . Bernard . . . No, don't worry, you're not being audited." Clarissa sits on the arm of the sofa. Outside, we can see rain running down the patio window. "Listen, you know that steamer trunk that you've got? . . . Yeah, that's the one. . . Can you bring it over to 5994 Rossmore, Apartment A, right away? . . . Don't ask why."
Clarissa listens carefully. "Bernard, what are you doing?" she asks.
He disconnects and reconnects. "Hollywood, please . . . Yeah, uh, Speedy Express? . . ." Clarissa starts to pace. "Thank you." He hangs up and dials again. "Hello, Speedy Express? . . . Yeah. How soon can you get a steamer trunk to Santa Barbara? . . . Weight?" he looks at Clarissa. "Uh, about- a hundred and eighty pounds?" Clarissa nods. "It's 5994 Rossmore, Fifth floor, apartment A . . . Well, can you be here in an hour?" he asks. "Oh, terrific. Thanks . . . Don't be late." He hangs up. "We're sending your brother a belated Christmas present," he tells Clarissa, who's smiling.
"Bernard, I like your style." She puts her arm on his shoulder as the doorbell rings.
"Somebody's early," Bernard tells her, and goes to the door. Clarissa follows, hanging back as he opens the door to a dripping Mildred and Laura.
"Oh, Bernard," Mildred says, entering.
"Aunt Mildred. Miss Holt. What happened?" Bernard asks.
"The concert was rained out," Laura tells him. Steele brings up the rear, looking VERY displeased.
"Rain?" Bernard repeats.
"It's an outdoor theater, Bernard," Clarissa points out, drawing the trio's attention to her.
"Poor Frank never got to finish 'It's a Foggy Day'"," Steele says, removing his wet coat and taking the others.
"Who's she?" Mildred asks Bernard.
"Who's she?" he repeats. Clarissa smiles. "Oh. Aunt Mildred, Miss Holt, Mr. Steele- this is Clarissa. She - uh- came over to help me with my Latin."
"Glad to meet you." Her beeper goes off. "Excuse me. I've got to check in," she explains, and moves past Steele to go to the phone.
Steele smiles knowingly at Bernard, who insists, "She's a- tutor."
Clarissa dials a number. "Hi," she says into the phone. "Sure I remember you . . . The trampoline." Steele, Laura, and Mildred all stare. "Right."
Steele looks at Bernard. "AND a gymnast, too," he explains.
No one is convinced. "Um hmm," Steele mutters. "Well, I'll hang up the coats," he decides.
Bernard runs to intercept him. "Oh, no. No, no, no, please. Allow me!" He tries to block the door to the bedroom, but Steele's in no mood for games. Clarissa finishes her call and hangs up.
"Come on, Bernard, there's no sense in both of us getting damp. Out of the way, son, there you go," he says. Bernard meets Clarissa's worried gaze, then they both watch as Steele vanishes into the other room.
"Regardless of the outcome, Bernard," Laura assures him," the tickets were a lovely gesture."
He doesn't hear them. "Bernard," Clarissa says softly, trying to get his attention.
"Bernard," Mildred says more loudly. He turns to look at them. "Hmm? What? Uh, Latin." He turns back toward the bedroom and smiles nervously as Steele returns.
Steele's smiling as well, but he's not amused. "Bernard, can I have a word with you?" Bernard follows him into the bedroom.
"Please, Mr. Steele, I swear there's a good explanation," Bernard tells Steele in a quiet voice. "Just whatever you do, don't let Aunt Mildred find out?"
Steele frowns, and looks at Harold's body. "Good point," Steele agrees. "I'll get rid of her."
Bernard starts toward the door. "Bless you, Mr. Steele."
Steele garbs his arm. "Just as soon as she's gone, Bernard, you and your Latin tutor have a LOT of explaining to do. Understand?" he smiles dangerously. Bernard smiles in understanding. "Go."
Steele grabs Mildred and Laura's coats, practically pushing Bernard back out into the living room. "Is anything wrong, Boss?" Mildred asks as Clarissa smiles nervously at him.
"Oh, no, no, no. I just wanted to thank Bernard personally for his little surprise." He laughs darkly as a confused Laura, who's wearing a red top and leather skirt, with dark hose and boots, looks on, confused.
"It's the thought that counts," Mildred tells Bernard.
The doorbell rings, and Steele goes to answer it. Two women are there, pushing a steamer trunk. "Oh, hello," he says, stepping back.
"Hi, gorgeous," the blonde tells him. "Hi Bernard, Hi, Clarissa." Laura goes over to them as Bernard waves.
"Who are they?" Mildred asks.
"My study group," he tells her. Clarissa smiles at his lie.
Laura looks doubtful, and Steele just shakes his head.
A beeper goes off, and all three women check their pagers. "Mine," the blonde announces. "Can I use your phone, please?" she asks Steele.
"Please, go right ahead. Yeah, sure."
Mildred looks at Bernard. "Popular group."
The woman picks up the phone and dials a number as Laura asks Steele, "What's with the trunk?"
"Trunk?" he questions. "Oh, I hired it."
"I'll explain later, Laura," he says as the doorbell rings again. "Excuse me, darling" he says to the third woman. "Sorry." He opens the door.
A smiling Speedy Delivery man is there. "Speedy Express. On time or your money back." He sees the trunk. "We're here to pick up this steamer trunk," he tells them. Bernard closes his eyes as everything falls apart. He almost pushes Laura out of the way to get it.
"There you go," Steele says.
The third girl's beeper goes off. She looks questioningly at Steele. "Yeah, of course, go right ahead, use the phone." He takes the clip board from the delivery man and signs it.
She takes it from the blonde and dials a number.
"All right, all right," Laura says, stopping everyone in their tracks. "What is going on around here?"
"Sounds fun," the third girl says into the phone. "But I'm gonna have to charge you extra-"
Clarissa clears her throat as Laura glares.
Steele hurriedly signs the papers as Mildred becomes concerned.
Clarissa clears her throat, louder this time, and indicates that her friend should hang up. "Uh, can I call you right back?" she asks, and hangs up."
Laura looks at Steele, silently demanding an explanation. He grins at Bernard. "Well, Bernard, it's time to fess up, old boy."
"It is?" Bernard asks nervously.
"Oh, come on let's not be bashful, old boy. We're all familiar with the unique rituals of the fraternity initiation. Hmm?"
Laura's disbelieving. "Fraternity initiation?"
"Aw, honey," Mildred says to a relieved Bernard, "We didn't ruin it for you, did we?"
"Oh, no, Mildred, actually, he still has a good chance of getting this trunk to- uh-"
"Santa Barbara," the delivery man supplies.
"Right. Santa Barbara. Okay, chaps take it away, there you go. And you can still get all those things that you got in the scavenger hunt," Steele continues, "the Hollywood Boulevard Street sign-"
"The Bob Euker baseball card," Bernard adds.
"The uh, hubcap from the police car," Clarissa adds, getting into the swing of the game.
Steele wraps Laura's coat around her. "There you go, Laura. Just put that coat around your shoulders," he says, but she takes it and holds it, thoughtful as he goes to Mildred. "And you too, Mildred. There you go. Put this little cape around your shoulders. All right." Bernard picks up her purse. "Don't forget your handbag. Okay, there you go. Good night, Miss Holt. And you, too, darling," he says to Clarissa's friends. "Okay, there's the door."
Clarissa and Bernard watch, smiling as Steele handles everything. Laura's still standing there. "Laura, listen, it's very wet outside," he worries. "Put your coat on."
"Night," Laura murmurs, following the others to the door.
"Good luck, sweetheart," Mildred calls to Bernard.
"I'll take care of him, Mildred. Not to worry about a thing," Steele assures her, then tells a suspicious Laura, "Good night, Laura. See you later." He finally gets the door closed and then turns to his remaining guests, the smile gone.
"I don't believe it! We did it!" Bernard exclaims, overjoyed.
"Mr. Steele," Clarissa tells him, "I like your style."
"Let's forget the formalities. Who's the gentleman NOT taking a bath in my bathtub?" he asks, loosening his tie.
"Harold Delanian," Bernard tells him.
Steele is surprised. "THE Harold Delanian? Of Delanian Engineering?"
"That's the one," Bernard confirms.
"See- we- kind of- found out that Delanian was about to let his company be taken over by Milgrum Industries."
"How did you find out?" Steele asks.
"Harold told me," Clarissa explains. "So we decided to buy some Delanian Engineering stock."
"Yeah. I invested ALL of Clarissa and her partners' savings," Bernard tells Steele. "Aunt Mildred invested a large chunk of-" Steele glares, not happy, "your money. And because the deal was so sweet, I invested funds that I sort of- borrowed from the student treasury for myself."
"I see," Steele says. He looks at Clarissa. "At the risk of sounding blunt, you're a lady of the evening, are you not?"
"We prefer to be called love brokers," Clarissa tells him with a smile.
"How quaint." He looks at Bernard as he says, "Then, if you and your partners are love brokers, then doesn't that make you their-?"
"No, no, no, no," Bernard insists. "You see, Clarissa's brother goes to the university. I started doing Clarissa's taxes. She liked my work so much that she recommended me to her- associates, and then I began investing their excess capital."
"How interesting. You're quite an enterprising young man, are you not, Bernard?"
"Well, I like to keep busy," Bernard says.
"You're also a murder suspect."
"No. Hey. He didn't plug the guy," Clarissa tells him. "Harold and I were doing the cheerleader and football star. We do it every Thursday afternoon at the same time. And- and next thing I know, he's lying on my floor, dead as a doornail."
"Obviously the killer knew about the routine," Steele notes.
"If Milgrum Industries finds out that Delanian's dead before they announce the takeover tomorrow at noon," Bernard tells him, "the stocks'll plummet and we'll all lose our shirts."
"But if can just hide the body until after the announcement, we'll be home free," Clarissa explains. "Will you help us, Mr. Steele?"
Steele glares at her, then at Bernard, who adds his pleading to Clarissa's. "Please, Mr. Steele? Just twenty four little hours? It's not gonna make any difference to Mr. Delanian."
Steele grunts in frustration. "Just so you know, I'm not doing this for you or your clients. I'm only doing this to protect your sweet, innocent aunt, who doesn't want to see her cherished nephew go to prison."
"What are we going to do with the body?" Bernard asks.
"The body," Steele repeats, thinking. "Where does one usually deposit dearly departeds?" he asks. He thinks for a moment, then smiles. "The morgue."
Clarissa and Bernard smile as well.
Mildred opens the limo door. "Good night, Miss Holt."
"Night, Mildred," Laura replies, distractedly. Mildred gets out and struggles through the rain. Laura is still fretting over the scene in Steele's apartment. "Latin tutor AND gymnast?" she says. Leaning forward, she says, "Back to Mr. Steele's Fred. And *I'll* pay for the speeding tickets."
The limo pulls into the rain slicked streets once more.
Silver breaks into Clarissa's apartment. He sees the football laying on the floor and smiles before continuing with his search. He finds Steele's number, 555-4377, and his address on a note pad. Picking up the phone, he dials the number.
Clarissa is coming from the kitchen with a cup of tea when the phone rings. She hesitates, then answers it just as Silver is about to give up. "Hello?" she says cautiously.
"Yes. Who's this?"
"Hi. My name's Bill. I'm in from San Francisco. My cousin suggested that I call you. He said you were a real nice girl."
"Well, I'm sorry, Bill, but I'm kinda busy right now," Clarissa says. "Wait a minute. How did you get this number?"
Silver hangs up.
Clarissa hangs up and runs out of the door. She sees the elevator coming up, and decides to take the stairs.
Laura gets off of the elevator and finds the door to Steele's apartment open. "Hello?" she calls. "Mr. Steele?" She closes the door and puts her purse on the sofa. "Anybody home?" She takes off her coat and checks the bedroom, cautiously looking inside. Then she finds the cup of tea that Clarissa left. It's still hot. Frowning, Laura sits down to wait.
Dressed in whites, Steele and Bernard wheel Harold's body (now in a body bag) into the L. A. County Morgue. "This is never gonna work," Bernard says.
"The Corpse Came C.O.D." Steele replies, pushing him onward as he chomps on some gum.
"You mean we're gonna try to get money for him?" Bernard asks, confused.
"George Brent, Joan Blondell, Columbia, 1947. A young woman receives a box of dress goods and corpse, C.O.D." He looks at a doubtful Bernard. "I'll explain later, don't worry." He pulls the gurney over to an attendant.
"Hi. Whaddaya got?"
Steele juts out his chin and speaks in a brash, pseudo American/Hispanic accent. "Hi. We got another guest here for your hotel, okay?"
The attendant is eating an apple, reading a paperback romance, his feet on the desk. When Steele starts to turn away, he says, "Hey. Where do you think you're goin'?"
Steele stops and looks at him. "Well, he's all yours, buddy, just take him away, okay?"
"No, no, he's not all mine. Not til the paperwork shows up, he's not mine."
Steele scratches his head as he looks at Bernard. Bernard looks ill again. "We're doomed," he whispers.
"Ya know, your pal doesn't look so good," the attendant notes.
"Yeah, whaddaya expect? He's dead," Steele says, laughing.
"Very funny. I meant your partner, smart guy."
"I'm not real good with death," Bernard tells him.
Steele lowers his head as the attendant says, "Picked a hell of an occupation, kid."
"Hey, fella," Steele says, trying again, "We're very busy. I mean, it's a busy night tonight. He's got a lot of stiffs out there. They're stackin' up like cord wood, okay? We'll see ya later, alright?" he starts to move away again.
"Hey, wait. Come here. What're you guys tryin' to pull here?" he asks.
Steele looks at Bernard, then grins. "Okay. Okay, you caught us. Bart and me, we knocked this poor sap off, you know, so Bart says to me, What're we gonna do with the body?, and I says, Whaddaya mean what're we gonna do with the body? Whaddaya think you do with a body, ya take the body to the morgue, that's what you do. I mean, no way anyone can catch us there. Right? Right?" he asks Bernard, who nods nervously. "Right?"
"Right," Bernard agrees.
They smile at the attendant, who laughs at last and pushes a clipboard toward Steele. "Alright. Sign here, funny guy. I'm gonna list him as a John Doe until the paperwork shows up. And it had BETTER show up, or you're going to be cord wood. Understand?"
Steele signs a name, and grins at the man, waves and taps Bernard on the cheek. "Com'on."
Bernard waves and follows Steele down the hall.
Laura's half asleep on the sofa when the doorbell rings. She gets up and winces as she moves toward the door. "Forget your key, Mr. Steele?" she asks, opening the door.
But it's not Steele. It's Silver. "Hello, Clarissa," he says, smiling. "I thought I'd take the chance that you were free tonight, anyway." He looks inside the apartment. "I'm very impressed. You obviously choose your friends very carefully."
"Should I consider you a friend?" Laura asks.
"We can have a good time, or we have a bad time. From what I understand, you like to have a real good time."
Laura smiles at him. "Where did you hear that?"
"I told you. My cousin. He recommended you very highly. As a matter of fact, I dropped a package off by your front door for him this afternoon."
"What package?" Laura asks in a soft voice.
"You know what package," Silver insists, laughing. "You have it here somewhere."
"How do you know that I do?"
"Who else? I want you to give me the package, Clarissa."
"Why should I?"
He reaches into his coat and pulls out a gun. Laura steps back, Silver follows her. "You know what this?"
"I have a passing familiarity with it, yes," she agrees, backing up as he comes closer. He closes the door behind him.
He screws a silencer onto the end of the barrel. "This is so we don't disturb the neighbors," he tells her.
Laura's eyes are on the gun. "Awfully considerate of you."
"Where's the package, Clarissa?"
"Hey, wait a minute. I was only kidding. I don't have any package," she tells him.
Silver's finger finds the trigger and he pulls back the hammer. "Wrong answer."
"Wha-You don't seriously think that I would have the package here, do you?"
"Where, then?" he asks.
"I'll show you."
"You're a real smart girl, Clarissa," Silver tells her, smiling.
"Not from where I'm standing," Laura replies with a frown.
In Silver's car, he asks, "Which way?"
She looks around. "Turn left."
He does. "Ever been to the Caribbean?" he asks.
Laura notices a police cruiser waiting at a stop light. "Uh-uh," she says.
"Oh, you really should try to go if you ever get the chance," Silver tells her, holding the gun on her. "So peaceful and beautiful." He stops the car beside the cruiser and smiles.
Laura slowly starts to turn toward the policeman, only to have the gun pressed into her side. "And don't even think about it," Silver warns. "That's one of the nice things about this job. You get to travel a lot." The light changes, the police car turns right. Silver goes straight. "The hard part is that you can't let your emotions interfere with your work. It's a lot like a doctor." Laura looks at him as he tells her this. "I mean, if a doctor let it get to him every time he lost a patient, he'd be a basket case. Just can't let it get to ya."
Laura sees a truck ahead of them, with I-beams stacked in the back, hanging over the street. Silver is so caught up in his explanation that he doesn't see it.
"The key to it is to look at it as a job. No more, no less. But there's some risks-"
Laura slams her foot down on top of Silver's, forcing the gas down, and sending the car into one of the I-beams directly in front of Silver. The beam crashes through the front glass and the car horn begins to blare.
Laura jumps from the car and takes off.
Steele parks the Auburn in the underground parking area, and goes into the lobby. He's heading for the elevator when a rain soaked Clarissa comes out of hiding. "Mr. Steele?"
He stops, surprised at her appearance. "Clarissa. What're you doing down here?" he asks.
Up in his apartment, Steele, now wearing a blue sweater over his shirt, carries two cups of tea out of the kitchen as Clarissa talks from the bedroom. "I it's silly, but I didn't know what else to do or where to go."
"Yes, well, no need to feel ashamed," he says, standing behind the sofa as she comes out of the bedroom wearing only his pajama top, "Given the same situation-" he stops, looking her over. "I would have done the same thing," he finishes. He hands her the tea. "Would you like a cuppa tea?"
"Thanks," she says.
Steele leans against the table behind him, sipping his as she stands close by. He seems a touch nervous. "Yes, well, it's been a very long evening, hasn't it? For both of us." She nods. "I think we could both do with a good night's sleep," he tells her. "Uh, I'll get a-" he stands up as she looks at him. "I'll get a blanket for the couch. You can- You can use my bed." He goes into the bedroom, to the closet, and Clarissa follows. He takes a pillow and blanket from the closet as she sits on the bed, watching him. "Good night," he tells her.
"I don't get it," Clarissa says, confused. Steele stops and looks at her. "I have trouble keeping most men out of the bedroom."
"Well, uh, tempting though it may be," Steele admits, "at the moment, Clarissa, I rather like to think I have my sights set on other shores."
"Gotcha," she nods.
"And I'm not gonna ask that age old question, what's a nice girl like you doing in a profession like this?"
Clarissa smiles. "That's a relief."
"Umm. Good night." He turns toward the doorway again.
Clarissa watches him go with regret. "Good night."
Steele is removing his sweater when the doorbell begins to ring. And ring. "Oh, boy," he sighs, going to answer it. "Oh, hello, Laura."
She enters the apartment, already furious. "I'm sure there's a perfectly GOOD explanation for why I was taken - at gun-point - from this room by a man who does that sort of thing for a living-" Steele listens, dropping his sweater on the back of the sofa. "Who mistook me for Bernard's Latin tutor, Clarissa, who isn't really a Latin tutor, unless THIS particular Latin tutor moonlights as a-"
"Hi," Clarissa says, coming out of the bedroom, still wearing the pajama top. Steele looks nervously at Laura, who looks Clarissa up and down in shock.
"Uh-" He tries to explain. "Now, Laura, before you go blowing this whole thing out of proportion-"
"Blow this out of proportion?" Laura questions. "I came here to find out what was going on behind my back - and I BARELY escaped with my life - Now I find this gymnast here waltzing out of YOUR bedroom, with your pajamas on- how could ANYBODY possibly BLOW THIS OUT OF PROPORTION!?" she asks, shrieking.
"Laura, you're entitled to an explanation, and an explanation you shall get. Believe me," Steele promises. He looks as Clarissa again, trying to decide how best to proceed. He takes a deep breath. "Uh, okay. It all started with Bernard . . ."
In Mildred's kitchen, Bernard is sitting at the table, hands folded before his face, thinking. Mildred turns on the light. "Bernard. What's the matter, honey? Huh? Can't you sleep?"
"I guess I've just got a lot on my mind," Bernard answers in a flat voice.
"Oh, I know what that's like," she tells him, going to the refrigerator.
"Umm humm. You're in so deep, you feel like you're drowning, and there's not even so much as a straw to hold onto?" she suggests, taking things out of the icebox.
Bernard looks at her. "Are you trying to tell me something?"
"Whatever you're goin' through, honey, it could be worse. Look at me. You never really did know your Uncle Walter, did you? Lucky you. Wish I could say the same. But- you make your bed, and you lie in it. Nine years of lying," she tells him, making a sandwich. "And your mother and I were- never the closest of sisters," she admits. "But there's always a silver lining."
"Hmm. You know what mine was?"
"Uh-uh," he says, looking at her.
Bernard smiles. "Me?"
"I couldn't have kids, and bam, your mother had you. I guess I was a teensy, weensy, little bit jealous."
"Don't be," Bernard tells her. "I'm no prize."
"Watching you grow up," she says, carrying her sandwich over to the table, "Seeing you turn from a cute little kid," she pinches his cheek, "into a fine, upstanding young man, well, Bernard, I'm as proud of you, as if you were my own," She tells him, nearly in tears. She holds the sandwich up to him. "Wanna bite? Hmm?" Bernard takes a reluctant bite. "Don't stay up too late," she says, and leaves him.
Steele paces his apartment as Laura and Clarissa sit, listening. "I was already an unwitting accessory after the fact," he tells Laura. "I saw no point, no point whatsoever, in getting you incriminated as well. It's as simple as that." He sits down.
Clarissa, now wearing a robe, says, "But it's not all Bernard's fault."
Steele puts his feet up, frustrated. "That very well may be," Laura tells her. "But there's a professional killer lurking out there somewhere, and he's more than willing to kill again to get his- package back."
"But why would he go to such extremes to get Harold if he knows that he shot him already?" Clarissa asks.
"Well, obviously, he wasn't satisfied with simply killing Delanian," Steele tells her. "He also wanted it known that Delanian was dead."
Laura looks thoughtful. "Based on that, I think it's fair to assume that their motive was to stop the takeover. Delanian's death was a means to that end."
"No doubt the killer will keep trying to find the body until the announcement," Steele realizes.
"Are you saying he'll still be after me?" Clarissa asks.
Steele grunts in affirmation.
"Well, we can't very well just- sit around, waiting for the axe to fall," Laura decides. "There's gotta be some way to flush the killer out," she says, studying her fingernails. She looks at Steele speculatively.
He sits up, worried. "Laura, what's wrong? I don't like the way you're lookin' at me."
She smiles as she gets an idea.
The next morning in the office, Laura holds a photograph of Delanian as she studies Steele, who's wearing a gray wig and mustache. "This is by far the most ill-gotten, ill-conceived, illogical idea you've ever come up with," he declares unhappily.
"Would you stop yapping so I can fix this mustache?" she tells him. She starts trying to comb the wayward wig into shape.
"How do you possibly expect anyone to mistake me for Delanian? Never mind the fact that he's dead-"
"Well, the killer can't find the body, right? If we create the illusion that Delanian is still alive-"
"Oh, yes. A professional assassin will be pointing a loaded thirty-eight at ME," Steele points out. "Wonderful."
"Every plan has a flaw, Mr. Steele," Laura tells him. She moves around the desk.
Steele picks up the mirror and inspects his reflection. "Oooh," he moans, dismayed.
Laura places several items before him. "Now, these are some of the tings that Delanian left at Clarissa's-" she notices something wrong. "Ah, ah- they may come in handy," she says, coming back around to comb the wig as Steele turns on a small tape recorder.
"Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen of the press," Harold's voice says into the room. "For the last twenty five years, Delanian Engineering . . ." Steele turns it off as Laura continues to fuss over the wig as he holds the mirror.
"What will you be doing while I'm playing sitting duck for a torpedo?" he asks her.
"Baiting the waters. Whoever wanted to stop the takeover is most likely from either Delanian's company, or Milgrum Industries. While you're checking in, I'll spread the good news that Mr. Delanian is alive and well." Steele compares his reflection to the photo again.
A crowd of people is gathered around a desk at Delanian Engineering. "Please," the harried secretary insists, "Everyone. I don't know where Mr. Delanian is."
Laura joins the group to inform them, "Mr. Delanian will not be available today."
"Who are you?" the secretary asks.
"My name is Laura Holt." She holds up her identification as we see the two people who hired Silver in the background, listening. "I'm a private investigator. Mr. Delanian hired me to protect him until he makes an important announcement at noon today. If you need to contact him for any reason, he can be reached at the Hotel Belvedere." With that announcement, Laura turns and leaves.
The man tells the woman, "Delanian's alive." She tries to calm him. "How can that be? We-" She grabs his arm and pulls him into a room. "Myrtle, Myrtle, did you hear -?"
"Shh," she tells him, and then again when he continues. "There's only one explanation for it. He bought off Silver," Myrtle decides.
"That means Delanian knows about us. Myrtle, what are we going to do?" Morty asks.
"You want something done right, ya gotta do it yourself."
"Are you crazy? We don't even have a gun."
"So? We find a shady pawn shop. Use a fake ID and buy a gun that makes holes. BIG holes. And we take care of Delanian ourselves."
Morty looks frightened.
Clarissa carries a briefcase to the desk at the Hotel Belvedere. "I called earlier about a suite? The name's Delanian," she tells the clerk.
"As in Harold Delanian?" he asks, then looks across the lobby, where Steele, in profile, is talking earnestly to Bernard. "I think Mr. Delanian will find this suite more to his liking," he tells Clarissa, handing her a key.
Clarissa's friend with the steamer trunk, Jill, is pouring champagne into a glass when her doorbell rings. When she opens it, Silver is there. He's got a black eye, but is still smiling. "Hello. Jill?"
"That's me." She steps back for him to enter. He does and closes the door. "What did you do to your eye?" she asks, going to the champagne.
"A little misunderstanding," he explains.
"Well, let's start with some bubbly, and then we'll see what else we can do to relieve your swelling." She smiles and they touch glasses. After a drink, she asks, "How do you know Clarissa?"
"Oh, a mutual friend recommended her. Actually, I was sort of hoping that the three of us could have a party."
Jill grins. "That sounds wicked," she says.
In Delanian's suite, a nervous Steele picks up a cup of coffee from a cart. "I also made sure Mr. Delanian was paged, just like you told me, Mr. Steele," Clarissa confirms.
Steele looks less than pleased. "Excellent work, Clarissa," he tells her. "Excellent work. If Miss Holt's plan works, I should be dead by lunchtime." Bernard is sitting in a chair, staring into space. Clarissa's beeper goes off. "Good Lord, not another emergency," Steele comments.
Clarissa checks the beeper. "I'll take care of it," she says, picking up the phone.
"Cheer up, Bernard," Steele says. "You're not the one wearing the mustache, mate. Hmm?"
"Hi, Jill," Clarissa says into the phone. "What's up? . . . I can't . . . I'll probably be here at the Belvedere til after noon . . . I'm sure. Sorry." She hangs up.
At Jill's, Silver says, "The Belvedere, you say?" He puts down his glass. "I've got an idea. Why don't you go get the bubble bath started, and I'll go retrieve some more champagne."
"A little bubbly with the bubbly?" Jill suggests, and then goes to the other room.
Silver slips out of the apartment. Jill comes back out when she heard the outer door close.
Myrtle and Morty push past a group of people heading toward the elevator to the penthouse suites. "Sorry," Myrtle tells them as they protest. "Sorry! This elevator's full!" She closes the doors.
As they start up, Morty says, "Myrtle, I'm sorry, I can't go through with this." He takes the gun from his waistband. "There's no way. I just can't do it."
"You spineless fool!"
"Have you forgotten how that rat Delanian plans to sell the company WE built?"
"But if I-"
"And bargain away our hard earned pensions in the process?"
"Twenty five YEARS! And he expects us to start at ground level again! At our age! If we let that takeover happen, we are DUST! The man deserves what's coming to him! If you don't have the guts to do it, I will." She takes the gun from him
He takes it back. "No. No, I'll do it," he tells her, putting the gun back into the waistband of his pants.
The elevator opens, and they cautiously exit, looking around. He puts his hand on the gun as she looks at him, and he nods. They skulk around a corner, and go to the suite's door. Myrtle points and nods. He pulls the gun, she makes him put it away in case they're seen.
The elevator opens again, disgorging a gaggle of reporters. A woman holding a microphone pushes Myrtle and Morty aside to knock on the door. "Mr. Delanian! KBEX News!" she calls out. Steele, Clarissa, and Bernard hear her and go still. "We're here for that exclusive you promised us on the rumored takeover!" Myrtle looks at Morty.
Steele swallows. "It appears Miss Holt has gone a trifle overboard in her zeal to bait the waters," he says.
"I called the press," Bernard tells them.
"What?" Steele asks.
"You did? Bernard, why?" Clarissa asks.
Bernard stands up as the reporter calls Delanian's name again and knocks. "Because all of this is my fault," Bernard explains. "I feel bad that both you and Mr. Steele are in danger. I'm just gonna confess and get everything out in the open. I'll find a way to pay everybody back, I promise."
Steele stops him as he heads for the door. "Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait," he says, looking at the door as the reporter calls again.
"Mr. Delanian, we know you're in there. You called us, remember?"
As Steele thinks, Clarissa tells Bernard, "It's not your fault Harold was murdered, Bernard, you know that."
"We can't turn back now," Steele says. "I mean, if the press find out, they'll nail our hides. Besides, convincing them isn't gonna necessarily convince the killer!" he says in a soft voice.
"He's right, Bernard. In for a penny, in for a pound."
Steele taps Bernard's shoulder, still trying to think of something.
Laura approaches the front desk. "What suite is Harold Delanian in?" she asks.
She repeats it with a smile and walks toward the elevators. Silver grabs her as she's about to get onto the lift. "You left without saying goodbye, Clarissa," he says. Laura almost winces at the bruises on his face.
"Mr Delanian!" the reporter calls again.
Steele pulls out the recorder as he gets an idea. "Clarissa, stall. Bernard, call security and have them removed. Now," he whispers. Bernard goes to the phone as Steele puts an earphone in his ear and plays the recorder.
Clarissa stands at the door. "Come on, Mr. Delanian. If we go back empty handed, it won't look good for your company," the reporter calls out.
Clarissa says, "Just a minute, he'll be right with you."
Myrtle and Morty are shocked at hearing Clarissa's voice. Steele cues the recorder, then holds it to the door. "Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen of the press." He fast forwards the tape.
"Good afternoon?" the reporter repeats. "Mr. Delanian, are you coming out?"
Steele cues the tape again. "No."
"Mr. Delanian, what do you have to say about the takeover rumors?"
Steele frantically cues again. "No comment."
"That was an awfully long wait for a 'no comment', Mr. Delanian," the reporter says, sounding a little angry. "Could you at least tell us how you feel about Milgrum Industries?"
Steele fast forwards yet again. "I hate them all." Steele looks at the recorder in surprise.
The reporter and others, including Myrtle and her friend, are stunned. "Can we quote you on that, Mr. Delanian?" When there's no immediate response, she says, "Mr. Delanian?"
Clarissa tries to help Steele. "That's all for now, thank you." Steele, Clarissa and Bernard visibly sag in relief.
Two uniformed security men join the group. "Come on, folks, let's clear it out." There are protests, and in the rush, Myrtle and Morty are evicted as well.
As one elevator closes, the other opens, and Silver gets off, with Laura at gun-point. "I don't know how Delanian could still be alive," he tells Laura as they go to the door. "One thing's for sure. He won't be for long. Tell him you're here, Clarissa."
Laura looks at him, then presses the door buzzer in two short and one long buzz. Steele looks at Clarissa. "I think that's Miss Holt," Bernard whispers. "But it's supposed to be two long and one short."
"Maybe she forgot," Clarissa suggests.
"Or perhaps she's trying to tell us something," Steele whispers back.
"Doesn't seem to be anybody home," Laura tells Silver.
"Try again," he says, menacingly.
Two short, one long. "Alright, everyone," Steele whispers. "Plan B."
"Plan B?" Bernard asks.
"Stall," he says, smiling nervously. "Come on," he says. They move off.
Silver takes out a lock pick to open the door. Once it's open, he pushes Laura into the room. They go into a smaller room, not seeing Steele and Clarissa in a side room as they go to a closed door. "Mr. Delanian?" Laura calls at Silver's urging.
"No comment," the taped voice says. Silver slide open the door in front of them and takes aim at Bernard, who is standing across the bedroom, tape recorder in hand.
Steele pushes a bus cart into Silver from behind, dumping him onto the bed. Laura grabs his gun. "Move, and you join Delanian."
Steele pulls Silver to his feet. Silver smiles. "I knew I got him."
"Forensics will have no trouble matching the bullets from Delanian's body to this gun," Laura tells him.
Steele straightens his tie. "Now, all we have to do is take you to the authorities and find out who hired you."
Laura hands the gun to a stunned Bernard. "Hold this Bernard. Let's go," she tells Steele and Silver.
Bernard and Clarissa look at the gun and then at each other.
Steele opens the suite door, Silver in front of him. Morty raises the gun and fires, hitting Silver twice in the chest. Laura and Steele drop to the floor. Myrtle covers her mouth as she realizes what's happened. Morty takes off down the stairwell. Steele and Laura follow him. He takes a shot at them, then Steele leaps over the railing and the two men fall down a flight of stairs. Morty struggles to breathe, then falls unconscious.
Laura joins them as Steele stands, rubbing his shoulder. "Well, Mr. Steele, I think it's safe for you to finally take off that mustache," she tells him.
"Pity actually," he says. "I was beginning to think it quite suited me. Don't you agree?" he asks, puckering up.
At the Agency, Mildred is pacing the floor when the four of them enter. "Where have you all been?" she asks. "I've been worried sick!"
"Aunt Mildred," Bernard says, "I have a confession to make." The others gasp in alarm at his words. "I'm afraid out investment didn't quite come out the way we'd planned," he tells her.
"Does that mean we'll lose everything?" Mildred asks, worried.
"Technically speaking, Mildred," Steele clarifies, "Bernard has made us a great deal of money."
"However, due to the warm, kind, generous person that he is, he- " Laura looks at Steele and Clarissa for support, "-donated all our profits to- the University. In your name."
"The Mildred Krebs Endowment for the Advanced Study of Latin," Steele tells her with a smile.
Mildred is delighted. "Oh, you sweetheart," she says, grabbing Bernard and hugging him. Bernard rolls his eyes in relief.
"Your nephew's certainly something special," Clarissa tells her.
"Didn't I tell ya, huh?" Mildred asks, rocking him and laughing.
"Miss Holt, could I have a word with you- just a second?" Steele pulls Laura aside. "Now, where were we? Ah, yes. I understand - I believe there's a quaint little island just off shore where they've never heard of paperwork or Latin. Catalina, I believe it's called."
Laura smiles. "Oh, Mr. Steele. I like your style."
"Oh, thank you," he says, pressing the fake mustache onto her upper lip. "There you go." He grins playfully.