It is night and a man is seen running down the sidewalk in a city street in a rundown part of town. A car honks and is forced to stop when he runs across the street and into an alleyway. The man, carrying a bundle, hides behind a large container. Two men run down the street and look into the alleyway before hurrying further down the street. The man continues running down the lane.
Inside a boxing gym, Carmen's 'Marche du toréador' is blaring forth from a tape-deck placed on the side of the boxing ring. A man in his fifties, wearing a flat cap, is intently watching two boxers spar. A man skipping in the gym stops and walks to the ring to angrily turn off the music. As the music stops one of the boxer's loses concentration and is hit with a right hook. He indicates for the other boxer to stop and then calls out, "Hey! I-like-that-music." The skipper returns to the tape-deck and turns the music back on. The two boxers return to sparring.
The man carrying the bundle struggles up stairs at the gym, leaving a trail of blood in his wake. He reaches the locker room and searches amongst the locker names before opening the door with the sign "The Hammer" and placing the bundle at the bottom of the locker. He stands and looks at his hand covering his bloodied abdomen before collapsing.
At the boxing ring, the older man sounds the bell. The round is over and one of the boxers jumps down from the ring and turns off the music as the older man, now supported by a walking stick comments, "Thank God," as he leans to remove the boxer's mouth guard.
"Feeling *strong* Barney, *strong*," says the boxer enthusiastically.
"Strong don't mean nothing with the fence kid. You've never met a fighter like Flynn. He's crafty and experienced. One mistake and it's 'goodnight Irene'. You gotta be ready!"
"I am ready. This is *my* fight, it's *my* time. Face it Barney, you just can't admit it things are *looking* good."
"Kid, things ain't been looking good since Kennedy was President." They walk into the locker room and notice the man lying on the floor. "Holy-".
"It's Max," says the "Kid".
They walk over to him and Barney sits on the bench and feels for a pulse. "It was Max," says Barney. There is a noise from inside the locker. The "kid" opens the locker door and his eyes widen, "Gee."
"Dear God," says Barney.
Remington is wearing a tuxedo and leaning on Mildred's desk as she sits in her chair, amused at Steele's annoyance.
"I don't believe it," he says.
"I'm afraid it's a fact of life, sir. A woman and her make-up cannot be rushed."
"The woman's never been late for a client in her life, but ASK HER OUT TO DINNER, and she changes time zones."
"Got a hot date tonight, huh, boss?" Mildred is pleased at the opportunity of some gossip.
Steele immediately dismisses the notion, "Nothing of the kind. Purely a professional evening, Mildred. Good for employee morale. You know, keep the troops motivated and everything like that." Mildred looks at him expectantly. "Your time's coming up soon, Mildred."
Mildred silent mouths, "When?" as she picks up the ringing telephone. "Remington Steele Investigations ... Oh I'm sorry you must have the wrong number ... No sir, there's no Kilkenny Kid here." Steele quickly stands as she continues, "Sir-
"Mildred, give it to me, give it to me," She hands him the receiver, "Thank you. Thank you." He talks into the telephone, "Yes. Steele here ... Barney? ... What are you doing here?" Mildred looks on confused as he continues, "I see ... Where? ... Mobillia's Gym ... Okay, right. I'll be there."
He hangs up the telephone as Laura opens her office door and walks towards him and in a sing-song voice announces, "Here I am. A vision in rose."
"Ah Laura. Yes."
She stands smiling before him, "Yes," and touches his lapel.
"Ah yes. Yes, wonderful, wonderful. *I* think just a *touch* more mascara should do it. Now take your time and I shall see you at the restaurant okay?" He moves towards the door, blowing her a quick kiss and gives an air-kiss. "Cheers, see you then. Bye."
Laura is at a loss and looks to Mildred who shrugs her shoulders as Laura gives an embarrassed laugh.
Steele enters the gym and the locker room. Max is now seated on the bench as Barney pulls a training coat tight and the "kid" tucks a towel around his head.
Steele is not impressed, "Still working your fighteres too hard, hey Kiernan? Your man there looks half-dead."
"A long time 'Kid'." Barney holds out his hand but Steele slaps it away. The boxer rushes around Barney but Barney stops him, "Whoa, take it easy."
The boxer glares at Remington, "I thought you said he was a friend?"
"He is, he is but he has a funny way of showing it. You're still not getting all your weight behind your punches 'Kid'."
Steele continues to look unimpressed as the boxer queries, "He's a fighter?"
"The 'Kilkenny Kid - Pride of the Pampas'. That last bit was my touch."
"Ancient history Barney," comments Steele, "But then what's twelve years of nothing between friends hey? Now I'm a busy man and your call said there was a problem of life and death so let's have it, hey." He sits on the table with his legs on the bench. The movement causes Max to fall down onto the floor. Steele slowly looks at Barney who slowly meets his gaze as Laura enters the locker room.
Laura pauses at the doorway and then enters as Steele picks up Max from the floor, "It's simple Barney, you pick up the 'phone and call the police."
"It ain't that simple 'Kid'."
Before Barney can continue Laura claps her hands together, "Why, Mr Steele, what an *unexpected* pleasure."
"Ah, Laura." He is surprised and unsure to see her there.
"Oh, you remembered." Laura walks right past Steele, marches up to Barney and extends her hand to shake Barney's hand. "Hello, I'm Laura Holt, Mr Steele's associate, just here to help out in any way I can."
"Barney Kiernan," repeats Laura and holds out her hand to the boxer, "Hello and you're ..?"
"Herschel Sinclair but most people just call me Hammer."
"Hello, how are you?"
Steele stops the social pleasantries and starts to force Laura towards the door, "This really this isn't a place for a young lady Laura."
"I've been in locker rooms before, and I'm *quite* happy here, thank you." She is clearly restrained in her annoyance at being left at the office. She sits down on the bench next to the wrapped Max, who is again sitting on the bench, head back and being propped by the table. Laura looks at him, "He looks a little out of it."
"Well, Laura-" Steele starts to explain.
"No, no, don't let me interrupt," she smiles and sweetly asks, "What seems to be the trouble here?" At that moment Max falls head first into her lap causing her to startle. Slowly she feels for a pulse in the neck, hesitates and says, "I don't want to alarm you gentlemen but this man is dead."
"She's good 'Kid'," says Barney to Steele who gives a confirming nod and silently mouths, "Very," knowing he's in trouble.
"Who is he?"
"A friend of mine named Max Thursday," explains Hammer, lifting Max from Laura's lap and propping him against the table again.
"Oh, I see," says Laura politely.
"We went through the subterfuge to put him that get-up so no-one would know that it was Max and that he was dead," explains Barney as Hammer leaves the locker room.
"Somebody drilled Max in the ribs but before he expired he came here and put a package in the Hammer's locker. We, that is the Hammer, didn't think it was in the best interests of the package to call the police."
Hammer walks back into the locker room carrying a baby.
"I don't quite follow," says Laura but turns when she hears baby noises. "Oh! For goodness sakes." She stands by Hammer and looks down at the baby. Laura turns to Steele who turns to Barney who watches Max fall from the bench to the floor again.
A car approaches an electric gate with two guards. The gate opens and one of the guards leans into the car. He says, "Okay," and indicates for the driver to proceed.
A woman is reading tarot cards. She places the "the hanged man" card below "the fool" card. "Hanged man." The woman is concerned as she looks at a worried, elderly man and explains, "Your life is in suspension. Someone, holds you by string."
"Torrence," utters the man.
The woman looks at another card, ""The empress". A symbol of motherhood. Something, in a woman's powers exerting a great influence. You *must* answer to the empress."
The man sits back in a couch as one of the men chasing Max in the street enters the room. The older man instructs the woman, "Leave the cards. Thank you very much." She places the deck on the table by the upturned cards.
The young man who entered the room reports, "Found his car. Abandoned, near the warehouse district. Blood all over the seat. Johnny must have hit him after all. But the rain washed away his trail."
"I want everyone on the street. I don't care whose hands get caught in car doors. I want that baby. Do you understand?" The man nods and leaves the room. The elderly man reaches out and picks up "the hanged man" and "the empress" cards from the table. Outside the guards open the electronic gates to allow the car to leave the premises. As it drives away it is followed by another car driven by a person wearing a hat and gloves.
Back at the gym, Hammer is defiant, "No police!" He is still cradling the baby. "This child is in trouble, Max died bringing him to me and I'm not going to turn him over to *no* police!"
Laura gives him a reassuring nod and mouths, "Okay."
"C'mon 'Kid', help us find out who this little papoose is and what this is all about," Barney pleads to Remington who looks uncomfortable near the baby.
Laura stands next to Hammer and places a hand to comfort the baby. "You know, the police would only hand him over to the hospital," she stops and sings to the baby, "Hello!", before resuming her sentence, "And there'd be publicity, and if someone did want to harm the little baby-"
"You're right Miss Holt," interjects Hammer, "We've got a *great* RESPONSIBILITY here. It's in my charts!"
Laura looks up from the baby, "Your what?"
"Oh God help us," says Barney.
"My astrological charts," explains Hammer.
"Oh," nods Laura politely.
Hammer goes to his locker with Laura not far behind. He realises he can't open the door while holding the baby so he turns and sees Laura smiling with outstretched arms. "You'll give him right back?" asks Hammer.
"Yes," nods Laura, taking the baby and smiling at Remington, whose turn it is to nod politely.
Hammer takes a sheet of paper from his locker. "My sister does them for me each month."
"Oh yeah," comments Steele with no excitement.
"You see Virgo rising, the house of Saturn," Hammer holds the chart up to Steele as Laura smiling and cradling baby stands the other side of Steele. He is not happy about either.
"It says here that personal success is linked to *great* responsibility."
"Uh-huh," prompts Laura, waiting for the connection.
"It all fits. My personal success is my fight in two days. It's linked to GREAT responsibility. THAT's the baby. It's *gotta* be!" Throughout his explanation Steele is avoiding contact with the baby nestled in Laura's arms. He looks out the window as Hammer continues, "So I'm not letting this kid out of my sight until we find out who its mama and papa is." Laura smile fades as she senses a soiled nappy as Hammer states, "'Cos I don't mess with the stars."
"A million fighters in this world and I'm stuck with Galileo," comments Barney.
In a street the car carrying the two men who chased Max pull to the curb. The man instructed to find the baby has a quick chat with another man and then returns to his car.
Steele watches from the window and asks, "Barney, you didn't by any chance invite anyone else to your little soiree did you?"
"Not me 'Kid'." Barney limps to the window.
"Have a look," says Steele as he moves for Barney to see four men approach the gym from across the street. Barney looks worried. The men are seen running up the stairs and rushing into the locker room but it is empty. The man with a mission starts opening the lockers. When he opens "The Hammer" door, Max's body falls to the floor. Outside the Auburn speeds away with Hammer and Barney clutching onto the sides. The man wearing hat and gloves watches from an alleyway.
It is morning and at Laura's loft, which is looking messy. Laura is in her dressing gown and squatting on her coffee table and over the baby, which is crying. She is talking in a as she tries to change the nappy of the wriggling baby. "I know you're wet. We're ALL wet. If you'd just let me change you, maybe we'd ALL feel better." She playfully pokes the baby in the stomach, "Ha-ho!"
A grumpy Steele leans out from the bathroom doorway, "You're suppose to change him Laura, not gift-wrap him."
"You could make yourself useful and get the formula. Maybe that would work."
He walks from the bathroom to the kitchen with a shaving nick on his face, a shirt with only the bottom buttons buttoned and a pink towel around his neck and snipes, "Well it hasn't the last three times BUT whatever mother wants hey."
"I don't need sarcasm now. Not after last night."
"Night? Was there a night? All I can seem to recall was to walk around in endless circles to the ceaseless accompaniment of infantile screaming." As he talks he picks up the baby bottle and goes to test the milk's warmth on his wrist but the lid is not on and the milk spills over him.
"Be careful about the bottle, I didn't tighten the top," cautions Laura not seeing her warning is too late.
Remington gives a saccharine smile, "Thank you," and start to clean.
"You know, you really can't blame him," says Laura still squatting on her coffee table. "How you'd like to wake up in a gym locker and spend the night with total," she switches to a voice reserved for speaking to babies, "strangers."
In the kitchen looks around with a grin, "Actually, I've done it. It wasn't bad."
"We don't even know his name."
"Try Caruso." He finishes cleaning and walks to the coffee table. "If this is what parenthood is all about, I can see why it's an imperiled institution." He reaches out his hands to steady Laura as she picks up the baby, which until now hasn't ceased crying. As she holds "Caruso", he is blissfully silent. "Ah, well done Laura, well done" says Remington. "Now if you can just keep him quiet for half-an-hour maybe fifteen minutes or so." He walks back to the bathroom as Laura effortlessly changes from her squatting stance on the coffee table to one of standing.
Suddenly the doorbell buzzes, the alarm clocks sounds and the baby starts screaming again despite Remington's efforts to cover his ears.
"Everybody up," cries Hammer as he flings the cover on Laura's bed to stand and reveal Barney, who is unhappy at being awakened. "Gotta hit the road," says Hammer as he starts sparring the air.
The door bell buzzes again.
A grumpy Barney asks Hammer, "Why don't you hitch yourself to a dog? You can muzzle a dog."
"'Cos the charts don't say dog they say baby! Now C'mon." Hammer stops his sparring and moves to the lounge.
Steele opens the door and Mildred walks right in, "I'm sorry I'm late I-" she stops and turns around at Steele's lack of business attire before turning to the scene before her, "Mr Steele."
"Ah, Auntie Mildred, do come in."
Mildred is open-mouthed as she watches Laura pass 'Caruso' to Hammer while is sitting on Laura's bed. Hammer takes the baby and says, "Come to Daddy," at which the baby quietens.
"Something wrong Mildred?"
Mildred shakes her head in answer to Steele's question as Hammer asks, "What's everybody staring at? C'mon we've got work to do." He hands the baby back to Laura.
Laura is driving the Rabbit with Steele in the front seat while Barney and Mildred, holding the baby, are in the back. Hammer is running along the road with Steele holding up the tape deck from the gym still playing Carmen's 'Marche du toréador'.
"Miss Holt, do you really think it's such a good idea to bring the baby along?" asks Mildred.
"Do you want to tell Hammer that he can't have his way?" Laura responds.
"Particularly since he's the only one with a knack for keeping the little bugger quiet," adds Steele.
"Tell us about the dead man Barney. He's the only lead we have. Could he have been into kidnapping or blackmarket babies?
"Max? Not a chance," replies Barney. "He's a mousy little guy. A two-bit bookie, scared of his own shadow."
Did he have friends? Relatives? Anything we could go on?" probes Laura.
"Well, the Hammer is the closest thing to a friend that he had. He only let Max hang around the gym because he felt sorry for him."
"What about those men in the gym last night? Any idea who they were?" asks Steele.
"Haven't a clue."
Laura summarises, "A man is shot. Still he manages to live long enough to put a baby in a locker. Someone must want that baby badly enough to kill for him. Why?"
Barney looks at his stopwatch and calls out to Hammer who is back to air-sparring, "Just two more miles kid."
"He's got a lot of energy," observes Mildred. "Who's he fighting tomorrow?"
"'Blazing' Billy Flynn?" Mildred asks.
"He's ranked number two heavyweight isn't he?" asks a surprised Steele.
"Yeah, but he's out of shape," explains Barney. "He walked through his last two fights. He barely won them on points. Besides, I like the underdog." Barney reaches out and pats Steele's shoulder, "That's why I trained you, 'Kid'."
Laura's interest is suddenly aroused, "You taught Mr Steele how to fight?"
"That's right, Miss. I created the 'Kilkenny Kid'."
"It was a lifetime ago, Laura," says Remington turning and looking pointedly at Barney to be quiet.
"In Ireland?"asks a very interested Laura.
"In South America," replies Barney oblivious to Steele's glare.
"South America." Laura repeats pleased with this sudden source to Steele's mysterious past.
"It's a long story," says Barney ready to reminisce.
Steele cuts him off, "No, it's a short story. And it's just come to an end." He turns up the volume of the incessant music so the conversation ends and makes a silent fist to Barney when Laura isn't looking before turning and smiling at her.
In a rundown hotel room, Steele opens and closes the freezer compartment of a refrigerator. Laura looks at under a sofa cushion as Steele comments, "Judging by his apartment Max was about as colourful as a rainy day in Baltimore."
They continue searching the room and Laura walks into the bed alcove as the door opens. It's the man on instruction to find the baby and two men. The man stares at Remington, "The name downstairs says, "Max Thursday". Max I know, you I don't."
"Oh, shame he didn't introduce us sooner. Best bookie in town hey?"
"You here alone pal?"
"That's right. And since you're familiar with the door I suggest you ah-".
Steele stops as the man holds up Laura's handbag, "And then this must be yours."
Steele shrugs and tries to look effeminate in a Jack Benny stance, "You know."
Laura appears behind the man wearing only her lingerie. "No, it's mine. And you can tell my husband he can send *all* the detectives he likes." She looks across to Steele, "Herman and I don't care any more."
The man laughs, "You don't say. Well, that's all very *brave* talk. So, in a city full of hotel rooms you two come to this dump to have a good time, is that what you're telling me?"
"She's telling you to take a -" starts Steele.
The man holds out a hand in warning, "I'm not asking you sport." He reaches out to lower one of Laura's left shoulder strap, "I'm asking her-"
He's cut-off as Steele lunges but the two lackeys grab him and turn him around for the man to hit Remington in the jaw. Laura grabs the man from behind and he swings and pushes her back into a stand-off. "You don't seem to understand. I'm the bad guy. I work for a very powerful man. Now if I don't find something for him he's going to be *very* upset." The turns to Steele, "Do you know anything about it pal?"
Steele, with blood flowing from his lip holds up a hand.
"I can't hear you," says the man menacingly.
Laura runs and stands in front of Remington, "HE SAID NO!"
"I hope not. Mr Barber doesn't like for me to ask people a second time."
In the house where the tarot reading was conducted, the elderly man is pruning an indoor plant when a moustached man announces, "Mr Torrence, Mr Barber." Barber leaves the indoor plant and picks up the telephone, "Barber."
"Hello Joseph, how are ya?"
"Fine Anthony, fine."
"Heyyy, I understand you're having some personal problems. Anything I can do to help?"
"I can take care of things."
"Ahhh. That's good. I wouldn't want anything to interfere with business."
"*I* heard ya. I'm a little concerned Joseph. Ever since your son's accident, you know, some people said you've gone a little batty. Taking to fortune-tellers or something."
"Those fools will say anything".
"That maybe but a lot of people have invested a lot of money in your casino operation have not seen dime one. You know I've taken a lot of heat. You tell me WAIT until tomorrow NIGHT. I say FINE! But that's it! This is BUSINESS Joseph! Some people say I shouldn't have let the problem go this long."
"Some people have short memories. I've always come through and it's no different this time. You'll GET your MONEY." Barber hangs up the telephone and sits on the desk. He reaches into his breast pocket and pulls out the two tarot cards - 'the hanged man' and 'the Empress'.
The man from the hotel room enters the room holding a purse.
Barber puts down the tarot cards, "You'd better have something good for me."
"No-one at the gym seems to have seen anything. We're still asking around though. Went over to Thursday's place though. Ran into a couple there a little too clever for themselves. Look at this." The man holds out the open purse. It is Laura's and contains a 'Remington Steele Investigations' business card and her driver's licence.
Remington is leaning on his desk moaning and inspecting the damage to his lip using Laura's compact mirror. Laura walks from the bathroom and takes the mirror. "Well, we'll have to cancel all photo calls for today."
Steele doesn't appreciate her attempted levity, "Oh, that's it, laugh it up, yes. I'm almost killed by Attila the Thug," Laura places the cotton bud on his cut, "Ouch. The baby we're protecting is wanted by Joseph Barber, the biggest gangster in L A and all you can do is make jokes about my profile. Ooh."
"What do you expect me to do, sulk? The baby needs us. Feeling sorry for yourself isn't helping a thing," Laura snaps, tense from their predicament.
"And just what do you mean by that?"
"You and Barney and South America and whatever that's all about. Why don't you concentrate on your present and forget your damned past!" She starts to walk towards the bathroom then stops and apologises, "I'm sorry, that was out of line. The truth is, I'm just scared."
She turns to continue to the bathroom but Steele grabs her arm and pulls her back to stand in front of him. "Okay, okay. Then it's unanimous." Laura leans to kiss him gently but he winces at her touch on his injured lip, "Ooh."
"I'm sorry. I'll get some ice." This time she makes it to the bathroom.
Steele calls out so she can hear him, "Actually, I don't want to cool off just-" he starts to follow her but stops when he sees the thugs from the Max's hotel room, "-now."
"Mr. Barber wants to see you."
"Ah, the kind of pungent dialogue found only in the better comic books," says Steele as two of the men take one of his arms each and lead him out the office. "All right, gentlemen, easy on the cloth."
Laura oblivious to the visit by Barber's men re-enters Steele's office, "What about comic boo-". She looks around at the empty office. "Hello?"
The telephone rings and Laura answers it, "Remington Steele Investigations ... Yes, Mildred. Is everything alright?"
Mildred is in Laura's loft holding the gurgling baby. In the background Hammer is practising on a punching bag with Barney coaching. Mildred replies, "It's fine, except Hammer keeps dropping his right. And the baby has a little colic. But I'm going to call my sister Eunice in Seattle and I'll get mother's remedy. Oh, can you pick up some extra formula on your way over."
"Yeah, yeah. I think I have enough cash. I'll see you soon." Laura hangs up the telephone and opens her bag. She realises her purse is missing and remembers the man at the hotel holding her bag. Laura puts two and two together. "Oh no, oh no." She quickly dials her loft but there is an engaged tone. "Oh, sister Eunice. They'll talk forever." She grabs her handbag and rushes from the office.
In the street outside Laura's loft. The person in the hat and gloves drives past as Laura parks her car. The person parks opposite Laura and takes a gun from the glovebox.
Inside Laura's loft Mildred is nursing the baby as Barney continues Hammer's training, "Jab, jab. C'mon throw that right. Keep it up there, keep the right up. Bob and weave it. C'mon throw it! C'mon use that left. That's it. Alright take it again. Throw that right."
The loft door opens and Laura walks slowly in. "Oh good. Did you bring the formula?" asks Mildred but stops when she sees the person from the car holding the gun on Laura.
Hammer stops his training and rushed the person as Laura cries out, "Hammer NO!" He pushes her aside and rushes the person, forcing him to the floor but stops when the figure holds up the gun. The hat has fallen off to reveal a frightened-looking woman. With the commotion the baby has started crying again.
The woman stands. "Give me my baby."
"Your baby?" asks Laura.
"That's right." She points the gun at Laura and says to Hammer, "Tell her to give him to me."
Mildred looks worried but shakes her head and tries to calm the baby, "Oh, ssshh."
Laura indicates to Mildred, "Come here Mildred."
"Oh, sweet baby," says Mildred as she takes the baby to Laura.
"Give him to me."
"Oh, sshh, okay."
Laura takes the baby, "Alright. You say he's your baby," she faces the woman. "I say he's mine." Mildred and Hammer stay silent, not sure of Laura's plan. "Now what are you going to do about it? Shoot me? You might hit the baby. Or I might drop him. And then you'd have to shoot all of us because they won't give you MY baby either!"
"HE'S NOT YOUR BABY! HE'S MINE!"
"YOU'RE never going to prove it with a GUN!"
The woman starts crying and drops the gun. "I just want my baby."
Laura looks down at the baby, "Okay," and hands him to the woman. "Here's your baby." The woman holds the baby closes and he stops crying.
"What made you do a thing like THAT?" asks Hammer, not believing the risk Laura took.
"Old story about a fellow named Solomon," explains Laura.
Barber is pruning in on the patio when Steele is lead into the room by the head looking for the 'package'. "You can go Moody." Instructs Barber and then adds, "I know you have some errands to run. Know anything about gardening Mr Steele?"
"Teaches a man patience." Barber seems world-weary. In the background a telephone rings. "The importance of grooming things. I've been building something in this town for a long time. Foundation for my family but my dear wife, may her soul rest in peace, gave me only one child. A boy."
" 'Phone call," announces the moustached man.
"I said no calls."
"But it's Billy Flynn. He said-" the man is cut off as Remington reacts to the mention of Flynn's name.
"I said no calls."
"My son was, ah, killed three months ago Mr Steele. Somebody put a bomb in his car."
"Yes, ah, the papers said it was intended for you."
"I've taken care of the one responsible." He gives a sly smile. "I don't think it will ever be in the papers. I'm an old man now. And I have only one living heir. A three-month old baby. And someone has taken him away from me. Someone has *stolen* my grandson."
"Yes. And I think you know where to find him. So let me tell you this." The man becomes more animated. "If you don't bring that child to me I'll personally cut your heart out. And no-one will ever know. Not the police. Not the papers. Not of anything that's what's left."
In Laura's loft, the woman in nursing the child as she explains, "I was pregnant by the time I realised my father-in-law wasn't a kindly old man in the trucking business. But my husband assured me that it was going to be alright. He was going to *break* with the family. Two weeks later he was dead."
"I'm sorry Gina," consoles Laura.
"After that I decided that I didn't want little Joey growing up with those people." Gina becomes agitated. "I tried to leave. My father-in-law said I could go but without the baby. He said it was his now. *His* family. *His* blood."
"So he kept you both prisoner and you had to find a way out. Is that where Max came in?"
"Max. He ran errands for my husband. He liked me and he loved little Joey. I know everyone thought that Max was just a crummy hustler but he said he'd do anything for us and he *meant* it. The night we tried to get away. I don't know, they must have been waiting because it all went wrong. Before I could stop him, Max took little Joey and ran. I tried to follow but by the time I got to the gym, Moody and the rest were there. And I didn't know where little Joey was. That's when I saw you all leaving."
"Well. I can certainly understand why you bought a gun here."
"Hey we've got company," calls out Barney who is standing by the loft window and sees Barber's car pull up outside.
Gina, still cradling Joey, walks to the window. "They're not going to get my son!"
In the street Moody and the moustached man exit the car. Gina enters the street, still carrying the baby. She turns and runs when she sees the men. Moody gives chase and the other man follows in the car. Laura runs out into the street calling out, "Gina don't!" But it's too late. Moody forces Gina into the car. Laura sees the car drive away and gives an urgent whistle. Hammer, Barney and Mildred, carrying Joey, rush to the Rabbit. Laura drives in the opposite direction to Barber's henchmen.
Inside Barber's car, Gina is sitting with her back to Moody. He realises that she is holding a bundle of blankets - no baby. He hits her with the blankets.
At Steele's apartment, Joey is crying again but not seen. Laura is standing at the threshold to the balcony while Remington paces in the lounge and rants, "I *just* don't understand how you could let her go!"
"She pushed the baby at me. She GRABBED THE BLANKETS and ran!" explains Laura, obviously not for the first time. "I *couldn't* STOP HER." It's also obvious Laura is as upset as Steele.
"Shhh!" Mildred comes out from the bedroom and admonishes, "I'll never get the baby to sleep with you two carrying on like that."
"I'm sorry Mildred, I'm sorry. I'm sorry," says Laura. Mildred goes back into the bedroom. "Where did you *disappear* to this time?" asks Laura.
"Paying an involuntarily call to Joseph Barber. It made some graphic predictions about my anatomy if I fail to return his grandson." Steele is upset. The telephone rings and he answers it. "Yes. Steele here."
It is Barber. "No more games like this afternoon Mr Steele. The baby could get hurt and nobody wants that do they? I've got Gina and I'll wager her life means more to you than it does to me. Let me tell you something. I propose a trade."
"Just wait a minute."
"I want an answer tomorrow at twelve o'clock." Barber hangs up the telephone.
Steele hangs the telephone also. "That was Mr Barber. He wants to trade Gina for the baby. If we don't agree, he's going to kill her." Steele walks onto the balcony and is followed by Laura. " I mean even if we could get Gina back somehow without giving up the baby there's *nowhere* on earth that Barber won't find him."
Laura starts to plan aloud. "We have to find a way to stop Barber."
"The police have been trying to put him on ice for twenty years. You've seen how successful they've been."
"And what about the 'Kilkenny Kid, Pride of the Pampas'? Did he ever find himself up against a stronger opponent?"
"Constantly," replies Steele, not happy at the direction of the conversation.
"And?" presses Laura.
"He ran like hell."
"All right. If we can't take them on strength, then we look for their weaknesses. Unprotected areas, look for a chance to score, then back off. But Barber-"
"Just another fighter. He has weaknesses too. Gina said something about him being over his head in debt to a man named Torrence. Could that be something?"
"Yes, I've heard the name. Operates out of the east coast. Very heavy in Barber's circle of friends."
"Apparently Torrence is tired of carrying Barber's debt. Gina said the word was that Barber had found a way to clear all his markers in one night."
Steele is remembering the moustached man interrupting his conversation with Barber announcing Flynn was on the telephone, "What a minute. He said Billy Flynn was on the 'phone. Now Flynn fights the Hammer tomorrow night." He slaps his hands. "That's it."
"The way to clear the markers. The soft spot. Grab your coat."
Laura doesn't understand the connection and mutters, "Grab my coat," as she follows him.
There is no-one else at the gym as Hammer is practices his punches with the bag as Barney watches. "Okay enough already kid, let's not over do it."
The Hammer is pumped, "Five more minutes, Barney. Five more minutes." Barney nods and leaves Hammer to practice.
Barney enters the locker room to find Laura sitting on the table and Steele standing in the corner. "What are you doing here?"
Laura is annoyed. "You neglected to tell us that 'Blazing Billy Flynn' is controlled by NONE OTHER than Joseph Barber."
"A lot of fighters fight for Barber. So what?"
Steele answers. "So I've been wondering how Hammer, a fighter with only sixty *bouts* under his belt could come up against the number two heavyweight."
"Well the Hammer's earned it. I mean those bouts of his ..."
Laura stops him. "TANKTOWN MATCHES BARNEY! WE CHECKED. *I* could take half those guys."
Steele pokes Barney and heads him to the wall. "C'MON Barney. You're the one that taught me how filthy this game can be. Circulate rumours about a good man gone bad. Over-praise the newcomer as the NEXT GREAT HOPE AND BINGO - the odds tip to youth. Bet heavy on a designated round. Unleash the lions against the lambs and it's slaughter. Easy money."
Barney looks to Laura, "I don't know what he's talking about."
Steele grabs Barney by the lapels and pushes him up against the wall, "Oh Barney. Barney! This isn't some street corner in Rio. Now tell me. What round is Flynn going to take the Hammer?" Steele's eyes fix on Barney's.
Steele slams him against the wall and asks again, "What round Barney?"
Barney relents. "The sixth. Alright."
Laura quietly asks, "When were you planning to tell Hammer about this?"
"Yeah, when Barney?" Hammer asks. He is standing by the locker room door.
"Hey kid," says Barney as he walks to Hammer,
"Get out Barney."
"Now listen kid. You were BEGGING me for a good fight. Well you got a good fight. This whole thing is BLOWN out of proportion," he glares accusingly in Steele and Laura's direction. "Now listen kid."
"I-said-get-out," says Hammer holding a fist to Barney.
Barney turns again to Steele and Laura, neither of whom supports him so he leaves. After he's gone the Hammer slams his fist into a locker. Laura winces.
It is morning at Laura's apartment. Hammer is listening to Carmen's 'Marche du toréador' as he plays with the silent baby. Laura is asleep on her couch. The alarm goes off, she wakens and slaps the alarm off. She rises to rest on her elbows and looks to the Hammer and Joey.
The Carmen music begins to play as we see various scenes.
Steele in a streets handing a bundle of money to a teenager. They have a quick chat and Steele playfully spars with the boy.
The Hammer doing sit-ups with Laura steadying his legs as Mildred nurses Joey.
Steele having a conversation with a bookie (with a really shocking dress sense). The bookie then goes to the public telephone to make a call.
Mildred still nursing Joey while Hammer jabs at cushioned paddles on Laura's hands. He hits her hard on one hand and she falls back before throwing a left hook at him, which he ducks.
Steele chatting to a man standing by a limousine. The man then writes in a notebook.
Hammer running up to and then along side the Rabbit. Mildred is the back nursing Joey. Laura is driving and looking at her watch. "Nice job Herschel," she calls out.
Hammer continues to run and manages to speak between breaths, "You're a sly one Miss Holt you are. If you hadn't pushed me I don't think I'd have the *fire* to get into the ring. You really think we've got a shot at pulling this off?"
"You read the stars. We can't miss," Laura snaps her fingers.
Steele, with a slight 'Johnny Todd' accent, is speaking into a public telephone, Mr Torrence? Anthony Torrence?"
Torrence is on the other end. "Yeah. Who's this? How did you get this number?"
"Let's just say I know people in the right places. Mr Torrence there is something that you should know about Joseph Barber."
"I don't know anyone by that name," denies Torrence.
Steele speaks quickly, "You're never gonna see your money. The fix is off. Mr Barber is no longer in control of the situation. If I were you, I'd get yourself down to the ringside tonight unless of course you're willing to see him get out of the country." He hangs up the telephone.
"I- Who is this!" demand Torrence of the telephone signal.
In Steele's apartment, Mildred is asleep on the couch. Joey is awake and lying peacefully beside her. Remington enters and Mildred looks up. Steele whispers, "It's alright Mildred, go back to sleep. Okay." She does that and Steele loses his earlier disdain for the child as he imitates Laura's cheerful, "Hello" to the baby. "So you're the next little Caesar hey? You don't much look the part do you?" The telephone rings. "Sit." He points to the wiggling baby. "I'll get it."
"Twelve o'clock Mr Steele," announces Barber.
"Alright Barber. It's your game now. You've got a deal. Gina for the baby. What say we make the switch tonight?"
"At the fight?"
"I want a place with, ah, plenty of people around me. Say the second round of the main event."
At Barber's house Moody is listening on an extension and shakes his head. Barber waves him down. "That'll be fine Mr Steele." He hangs up the telephone. "So. We watch the fight and then ..."
"We kill him," finishes Moody. Barber smiles his approval.
Steele goes back to Joey. "Here you go. Hello." Mildred stirs and he tells her, "Ill take him. Hello darling. There we go. Come on now mate. It's not that bad is it? Eh? It's not that bad. Yes. Yes, yes." He walks Joey into the bedroom and sits in a chair with his back to the door. "Oh yes, I know. It's tough isn't it? Eh? Yes. I've been there many times myself. Many times. Always on the run. Bounced around from place to place. Oh yes. But you soon learn fast enough but you make it don't you darling? Ssshh. I know. I know you know. And you know what the trick to the whole thing is Joey? It's not how many times life knocks you down ... it's how many times you get back up. Isn't it, Joey? Did you know that?"
Laura walks in the front door. "I think the Hammer is ready to go for it." She stops when she sees Mildred asleep on the couch. She looks for Joey and then walks to the bedroom door.
Steele is softly singing to Joey. "Yes. And Hennessy Tennessee tootled the flute and the music was ever so grand. It's a credit to old Ireland is McNamara's band. Da da dah. Ba ba bum. Da da dah. My name is McNamara, I'm the leader of the band. Although we're few in numbers, we're the finest in the land. Ba ba bum. Ba ba bum. Ba ba ba bom." Laura looks on smiling and in wonder at Steele's gentle way with the child.
It is fight night. Laura is bandaging Hammers hands while Mildred nurses Joey.
"Shouldn't Mr Steele be here by now?" asks Hammer.
"He'll be right along," assures Laura. "He just said he'd forgotten something that we might need. Right here?" She points to Hammers hand and continues when he replies with, "Yeah." Laura sends a worried look to Mildred.
Sitting at his desk in the office Steele is loading bullets into the agency gun. When he finishes he looks in his desk drawer and then his pockets. All he finds is a baby's pacifier, which he places on the desk. He stares at the gun and pacifier before placing the former in the top drawer and the latter back in his pocket. He walks into the reception area to find Moody and two men waiting.
"Evening sport," says Moody.
You're a bit premature, sport," replies Steele. "Our deal was for after the second round." He starts to leave.
"That's right," says Moody signaling his men who stop Remington and search him. "Just want to make sure you weren't planning any surprises. Now, I think we can all take a leisurely drive over to the arena."
Steele sighs, "Why not."
The referee pulls down the microphone and announces, "Ladies and gentlemen. This is the main event of the evening. Ten rounds of boxing and presenting the big boys of boxing heavyweights." He rings the bell. Laura is jumping around Hammer in the corner. Hammer's opponent looks on with three trainers. "Introducing Herschel 'The Hammer' Sinclair."
The crowd cheers as Barber walks to the front row and calls out, "Billy Boy" to Hammer's opponent.
The referee continues, "And his opponents 'Blazing' Billy Flynn." The crowd cheers again and Barber sits down beside Gina who is next to the moustached man. "Giving instructions, Don Flemington."
Mildred is down in the changing room pacing with Joey.
Don steps up to the microphone, "Remember, the man scoring a knockdown will go up to the nearest neutral corner and remain until I signal him to resume fighting. Shake hands and let's have a good fight." The two boxers hit gloves and return to their respective corners.
"First no Barney, now no Mr Steele," a nervous Herschel comments to Laura who is chewing on cotton swabs. Laura pauses, "Hundreds of times." She stands on the stool, starts massaging his shoulders and gives him Steele's earlier comments. "You can do it Herschel. You just look for weaknesses, unprotected areas, wait for a chance to score," she throws a left hook," "Pow. Then back off." She slaps his shoulder and snarls for encouragement as she leaves the ring.
The bell rings and the fight commences. Hammer goes to meet Billy and Laura screams her support, "C'MON, C'MON. GO GET HIM HERSCHEL. GET HIM!" Hammer rolls in front of Laura. He's been hit. "HIT HIM. GO, GO, GO!" Hammer takes some punches and then starts to throw some.
The ringside commentator calls the match. "Amazing first round action. Sinclair was staggered by that hook from Flynn and is backing up to the corner and Flynn is *all* over him." Mildred is listening to the call and Gina is very subdued and turns when Barber looks at her. "And there's the bell. That's the end of the first round. And it was *all* Flynn's. *Amazing*."
Hammer is stretched out in the corner as Laura removes his mouthpiece. Hammer is panicking. "Mr Steele is right. I'm not in this guy's league!"
"Of course you are," encourages Laura. "You just have to go back in there and hit him. You look for weaknesses, unprotected areas and wait for chances to score-"
"And then back off." Hammer finishes her new mantra. "Thanks Miss Holt. I just got to stay on my feet for six rounds and then Barber loses the bet right? It's a piece of cake. Piece of cake." He doesn't sound convinced. Laura puts his mouthpiece in and the bell rings for the second round. Billy continues to hit Hammer.
The announcer starts up again, "Oh, that body blow really hurt Sinclair. Well that jab landed and there appears to be a cut over the left eye of Sinclair."
Barney walks up to Laura. "He'll never make it past the sixth without my help."
Laura tries to imagine Barney's not there before answering, "You didn't want him to before. Why care now?"
"Because I need this fight as much as the Hammer."
"Listen I came across a wild young brawler in a street fight in Brazil. He was tall and thin. He didn't look like a fighter but he had a dog in him that just wouldn't lie down. So I trained him. And we went from village challenging all comers. The local bullies used to take one look and throw in their life savings. But they didn't know the 'Kid' could box. Every one of them fell face down into the dust. Well, we managed to stay one step ahead of our reputation. Well as soon as we made some money, I promised the 'Kid' I'd take him to the States and hit the big time. I was supposed to meet him at a corner, in Rio. Well, I never showed. I drunk away our life savings the night before. So, you see, one of us wasn't ready for the big time."
Laura appears unmoved. "It's a little late for explanations."
"Yeah, well you can't help the Hammer and I'm getting sick of bus stations." The round ends and Laura steps into the ring to attend to Hammer as Barney coaches. "Circle to your left. Use your jab and keep up your right for crying out loud." Herschel looks at him. "Alright, so I had a flat tyre I'm here ain't I?"
Steele walks up with Mildred and Joey. "Good evening."
"Where have you been?" asks Laura.
"On a joyride." He pats Herschel, "How you holding up Hammer?"
"Good, good. " Steele notices Barney who is wary but nods. "What's your man doing here?"
"Better than a street corner in Brazil," comments Laura with compassion.
The bell rings and Hammer stands. Steele slaps him, "C'mon mate."
"Okay, okay. Get 'im!" encourages Laura. She steps down between Remington and Mildred and looks at Joey.
"Well. Want to say goodbye?" Steele takes Joey from Mildred.
Laura gives Joey a quick kiss on the forehead, "Bye."
Steele walks and places Joey in Barber's arms. "Now it's time for you to keep your part of the bargain.
Gina looks at him. "I can't leave my baby Mr Steele."
"Gina, come on."
Barber is smug. "You heard her decision Steele. You wouldn't separate a mother from her child?" Remington gives Gina her son and walks back to Laura.
Laura asks the rhetorical question, "She won't leave without the baby will she?"
"It can *still* work. It all depends on whether Torrence shows up."
"And whether Hammer's right still holds up. C'MON HAMMER!"
The fight continues with Hammer being beaten as a pleased Barber looks on, Barney winces, Steele and Laura shout encouragement and Gina hugs her baby.
The bell rings and the announcer summarises, "And that's the end of a brutal fifth round in a savage fight."
Flynn sits in his corner as one of his trainer's says, "This is it Billy. He's got to go *down*. Go to him hard."
Billy replies, "I was supposed to waltz the guy for five rounds and then tap him to sleep. Instead he's been fighting like a maniac."
In Hammer's corner Barney asks, "How you feeling kid?"
"Good. Good, good. I feel good," pants Hammer.
"I never see such glutton for punishment," Flynn tells his trainers. "Don't worry. I've being holding back. This round he goes down."
Barney instructs Hammer. "It's the sixth round. You gotta get through this or Barber gets away with everything."
"Uh-huh," nods Hammer.
Torrence enters the ring with two men and nods towards Barber who is concerned. Barber looks to his men and asks, "What's he doing her?"
"Looks like Torrence over there," says Steele to Laura and then to Hammer, "Give us your neck." Steele places a cloth on Hammer's nape.
Laura looks to see Torrence. "Now it's all up to the Hammer." She grabs Herschel's chin and implores, "C'mon! C'mon. You can do it."
The bell rings for the sixth round and a voice cries out, "Right onto him, right onto him."
Flynn starts to punch Hammer and the announcer asks, "What is holding Sinclair up?" Flynn gives Hammer a right hook causing him to fall to the floor. Laura screams in frustration and Steele yells, "GET UP! GET UP!"
"Take ya time kid and rest!" yells Barney and hesitates as he looks at Steele.
Steele looks at him and agrees, "Always right. Always right." Suddenly Laura runs away. "Laura!"
The referee starts the count. "One. Two. Three. Four." A bloodied Hammer starts to get up. With blurry vision he sees Barber next to Gina and Joey. The referee continues, "Go to your neutral corner Flynn. Five. Six. Seven." Hammer takes another look at the trio. "Eight." Hammer stands. "You okay. You okay. Alright." The referee looks at Hammer and then signals for Flynn to leave his corner. Hammer stands to face him.
Flynn punches Hammer into the corner before dropping him again. "It's all over now," comments the announcer. Steele despairs. Laura arrives back carrying the tape deck and hits play for Hammer's inspirational music - Carmen's 'Marche du toréador'. Steele is delighted and kisses Laura on the cheek.
Laura calls out, "C'mon!!" and is join by Steele, "C'mon Hammer let's go".
Hammer's eyes widen and he stands with the look of a possessed man. He indicates for Flynn to resume fighting. They do and Hammer is in control of the fight. Steele wraps his arms around Laura and they continue to yell support with Barney and Mildred.
"Floor the bum," calls out Mildred.
The bell rings. The sixth round is over. Hammer returns to his corner and is grabbed by Steele who hugs and kisses him. Steele looks around at the crowd and tells everyone, "That's my boy!"
Flynn is in his corner shaking his head. Moody is dejected and staring at Barber. "Let's go, "instructs Barber.
Torrence is not a happy man. He tells his men, "Kill him." They stand and block Barber's exit. Torrence puts an arm on Barber. "I think you and me should have a little talk Joseph."
Barber looks to his men who disappear when Steele and Laura run to Gina. Laura puts her arm around Gina and Joey and says, "Come over here." Steele stays behind and looks at Barber who is resigned to his fate. Steele sees Moody run from the arena and gives chase.
In the ring Mildred is tending to Hammer's split eye as Barney directs him. "Okay kid, you got maybe one punch to make it. When he goes to your body he drops his left. Alright. Let him have his punch and then set him up, step inside, throw your upper cut. You got that?"
In the back rooms Steele comes face-to-face with Moody. They start to wrestle before Steele is flung against the wall. He stands an holds out Moody's gun, which he has lifted, and throws it down the hall. "Okay sunshine," he challenges. "Let's see how you fare when the odds are even." He licks his fingertips and takes a fighting pose.
Moody removes his jacket. "It'll be a pleasure chum!"
Steele and Moody start to fight as Hammer and Flynn bout. Both fights mirror each other, ending with Steele and Hammer ducking the punch thrown by Moody/ Flynn respectively. They then both right hook their opponent unconscious.
In the ring, Flynn is surrounded by his trainers as Hammer is lifted high, his arms stretched up. Laura is beside him jumping and screaming in excitement.
At Steele's apartment, Laura and Remington walk onto the balcony with champagne-filled glasses.
"To the 'Kilkenny Kid. Pride of the Pampas," toasts Laura. They clink glasses. Steele pauses when Laura says, "Funny. I kind of like that name for you."
"Yes. Well don't get too attached to it."
"Still down on attachments are we?" Laura is smiling. "Funny. I thought our little Caruso may have changed your attitude about that. Who knows? Remington Steele might prove a good father some day."
Steele is not amused. "You're dreaming Laura."
"Mhm huh. Absolutely."
Laura starts to sing, "And Hennessy Tennessee tootled the flute and the music is something grand. A credit to old Ireland is McNamara's band. Ba ba bom. Ba ba bom. Ba ba bom."
Steele cannot believe he has been found out. Laura is laughing as he points an accusing finger at her.