- Steele not licensed to Steele
Date: Monday, July 03, 2000
- Wolfgang Walter <Wolfgang050972@freenet.de>
Steele not Licensed To Steele 3/4
At the reception later, Laura asks him, "No sign of him?"
"Where do you suppose our impostor is?"
"I keep asking myself that same question," 'Steele'
told her. They sat down as Hunter began to speak.
"Ladies and gentlemen, could we take our seats, please?
We've got an awful lot to accomplish, not the least of which
is the unveiling of the finest automobile ever engineered by
man." 'Steele' scanned the room, looking for trouble. "But
before we knock your socks off with the Hunter JetStar 6000,
I'd like to take a moment to thank the Remington Steele Agency
Laura smiled, leaning closer to him. "Great endorsement."
He gave her an uncertain look.
"Transporting and protecting the most precious gems in the
world requires brilliant planning, daring execution, and plain,
old, street savvy. So, without further ado, I would like to introduce
to you to the person responsible for the safety of the Royal
Laura blushed, keeping her head down, and 'Steele' felt decidedly
more and more uncomfortable. "This is so embarrassing,"
Laura muttered. "I wish he'd stop."
"Wait," he told her.
"An absolutely astounding human being," Hunter finished,
"Ladies and gentlemen -" Laura started to rise, only
to freeze as Hunter continued, "Remington Steele."
Her eyes moved to her companion in shock.
"Years from now, when you talk of this - and you will -
please, be kind. Deborah Kerr to John Kerr, *Tea and Sympathy*,
MGM, 1956," he pleaded, then went to the podium, smiling
nervously at Laura, who visibly fumed. "Thank you, thank
you. You're most generous with your applause. But it would be
unworthy of Remington Steele if he didn't single out his most
able and most valued associate. Truly, the woman behind the man,
Miss Laura Holt." He applauded. "Please, Miss Holt,
stand up and take a well deserved bow." She rose stiffly,
her eyes on him the entire time, then slowly sat back down, folding
her hands before her. "And now, you have far more interesting
things to look at than me. So, please, Mr. Hunter. Show us your
creation." He remained near the podium wondering how to
escape this disaster unharmed.
Hunter returned. "Thank you very much. Without any further
pause, I'd like to introduce to you the Hunter JetStar 6000."
The cover was lifted from the car, a band started playing music,
and Steele decided he couldn't put off going back to the table
any longer. He sat down, smiling at the room.
Still furious, Laura is almost unable to think straight ahead.
"YOU -" she fumed.
"I didn't know he was going to do that. My sincere apologies."
"What are you going to do when Mr. Steele arrives?"
Laura asked hitting his arm.
Steele smiled for a camera, straightening his tie. Knowing for
sure that Mr. Steele didn't exist left him in a position to stand
his ground. "I'd like to meet the man whose shoes I'm attempting
to fill. How am I doing so far?"
"Atrociously. You're NOTHING like Mr. Steele. He's honest,"
she stood now, "dedicated -"
Steele pulled her back to her seat so not to create a scene,
smiling at passersby.
"- better looking. You're nothing but a treacherous liar,"
she hit him again with her hand, "a cheap crook, a cut-rate
con man!" She used her purse to hit him anew. She rose again
and started toward the dance floor away from him.
Steele quickly followed her and pulled her into his arms, ignoring
her attempt to get free, smiling.
"What are you doing? Let go of me!" she protested vehemently
but sotto voce.
He smiled at the other dancers.
"Whatever possessed you to think you could get away with
this?!" she asked then she ceased her struggles as he led
her into dancing. Still furious, her breath came in short gasps.
"Impeccable man, your Mr. Steele. You know there's not a
piece of lint, a speck of dandruff, a hank of hair on any of
his suits? And he obviously wears a shirt once and then discards
it, since there's no laundry marks to be found. The same with
the shoes. The soles seem never to have touched the ground. Not
one single, solitary scuff mark," he tantalized.
Laura met his look although she realized with horror that he
had guessed the truth. "The man's fastidious. Almost to
"Of COURSE not!"
"Then he's blessed. I'm forever plucking stray hairs out
of my comb and brush. Positively demoralizing, but an inescapable
part of the human condition." He paused. "Does any
of this say anything to you, Miss Holt? It does to me..."
They stopped dancing as he said, "it fairly shouts: Remington
Steele is an elaborate ruse. He does not exist. You invented
"What are you going to do with this ABSURD supposition?"
He started dancing again. "Nothing. Believe me, Laura. I
didn't plan on assuming Remington Steele's identity. I'm after
something entirely different."
He shook his head. "Uh-Uh. The courier - the one who was
murdered? He was my younger brother. I'm here to see that Kessler
and Neff pay for his death." For a short time he wished
he wasn't lying, but the flicker of his conscience didn't last
"I don't know whether to believe you or not." She hoped
for the first but expected the worst.
"That's understandable. The moment they're apprehended,
I'll be gone, and your secret shall leave with me."
Laura saw Murphy and Bernice enter the room, waving her to them,
both with angry expressions. "Excuse me," she said.
Murphy told Laura, "That guy's a fake. I told you, Laura.
I warned you about him -"
"I know. I KNOW," she answered tiredly.
He showed her a photo. "That's the special agent from South
Africa." They watched as Steele talked to someone, laughing.
"What do we know about the courier who was murdered?"
Laura asked Bernice.
"Let's see. His name was Otto Detmueller, he was born in
"How OLD is he?"
"Sixty-three or four, I think."
Laura frowned, silently sighing as her hope faded in thin air.
"Keep an eye on him," she ordered Bernice. She tapped
Murphy on the arm. "Come on."
'Steele', still talking to someone, watched them go, and his
smile faded a bit.
In Steele's original room, Laura found the passports. "He
certainly gets around. Douglas Quintain, England."
Murphy meanwhile, had found a book on Steele's bed and was leafing
"Michael O'Leary, Ireland; Paul Fabrini, Italy; John Morrell,
France; Richard Blaine, Australia," Laura listed.
Murphy, who had only listened with half an ear, asked her, "Wait
a minute. Run through those names again."
"Blaine, Morrell, Fabrini, O'Leary, Quintain."
Murphy shook his head in disbelief and started to laugh. "I
don't believe it."
"I know. He doesn't look like a Fabrini."
"No. Each of those names is from a character Humphrey Bogart
played in the movies."
Laura put the passports down with a sour expression. "Well,
we know one thing."
"He likes Humphrey Bogart." She went to the bath and
looked inside, then she opened the closet door, only to scream
and run back toward Murphy upon finding Ben Pearson's body hanging
from a coat hook on the door.
"Well, now we know something else," he said.
"What?" Laura asked, still in shock.
"He's a murderer." He went to the phone.
"What are you doing?" Laura asked.
"Calling the police."
"Laura, the guy's dangerous! Just ask special Agent Pearson
just HOW dangerous."
"I want the agency to bring him in. It's the only way we
can come out even on this fiasco. Besides, he's made the whole
thing very personal."
Murphy hung up the phone. "He's not gonna stick around after
"He wants those gems. He won't leave until he's taken a
shot at them." She turned toward the door, but stopped as
Murphy called her.
"Laura! I hope it's only the agency that you're trying to
"It's the only thing I'm interested in, Murphy," she
He finally smiled. "Okay."
Laura returned into the empty Hall and found Mr. Hunter drinking
some of the champagne he had offered his guests. She went to
him, demanding his attention, "Mr. Hunter."
"Welcome to the party. Pull up an empty promise and sit
down," he replied sarcastically.
"There may be an attempt to steal the gems," she told
hoping to get through him, "possibly tonight."
"The way my luck is running, it'll succeed." He showed
no sign of any agitation, preoccupied with his own desperation.
"We know who the potential thief is - we're doing everything
we can to locate him."
"They ate my food, they drank my booze, but they didn't
buy my car," Hunter mused, not caring at all about the possible
Laura took place beside him. "I'm sorry," she tried
to offer some sympathy.
"I completely retooled an abandoned tire factory in Toledo,
Ohio and hired 800 people to turn out a car nobody wants. Let
me tell you, Miss Holt, dreams aren't all they're cracked up
to be," he told her sadly, not knowing that he was describing
exactly Laura's position.
Laura took his glass. "No, Mr. Hunter. Sometimes they AREN'T."
In the penthouse, 'Steele' was going over hotel blueprints, planning
the robbery. When he heard a key in the lock he quickly stuffed
the plans under the bed in the other room before he went to the
door to spat Laura's hand from the chain so he could let her
Putting on his best charming manner he asked, "Miss Holt.
What a welcome surprise. How did you know where to find me?"
"Since you seem to have acquired a taste for masquerading
as Remington Steele, it was a logical place to look," she
returned coldly. Steele moved into the bedroom to kick the edge
of the paper further underneath the bed, he then closed the door
behind him as Laura said, "Your brother the courier -"
"Devastating loss," he quipped, trying to keep the
"He was sixty-three years old," she stated.
"My elder brother," he covered not very convincingly.
Murphy, growing tired of the whole lies, spoke from the door.
"Laura, get it over with and turn him in."
'Steele' looked back to Laura. With a rush of intuition he realized
she was on the edge, ready to risk her own agency by exposing
him, and he felt sorry for her. He mused that the only way to
save both of them from disgrace was telling the truth, and he
hoped it wasn't too late. "No need for that. I'll confess.
I'll admit your intuition was correct. I AM here for the gems.
But not for myself. For a modest commission I intend to return
them to their rightful owner the South African government."
"By stealing them?" Laura questioned emotionless.
"From the people who stole them," he explained.
"That's just a technicality. You're a thief," she dismissed
his hair-splitting unmoved.
"Kessler and Neff are thieves. I'm an artist," he told
her, trying to make her see his point of view.
Murphy dropped a hand on his shoulder. "You're a MURDERER.
Ben Pearson. The REAL Ben Pearson, is hanging from a coat hook
in your room."
'Steele' was stunned at this bad news. He started to pace across
the room. "Oh, those filthy -"
"Who?" Laura asked still hoping against hope.
"Kessler and his ape Neff." He looked at Murphy. "He
was killed with a knife, wasn't he? Blade about six inches long,
and incision and upper thrust just below the third vertebrae?"
"Hell of an accurate description for an innocent man,"
Murphy pointed out, not buying 'Steele's attempt of an explanation
"I've been chasing those two animals halfway across Europe.
Believe me, I'm familiar with their work. If you want them, you'll
have to move fast. They'll go for the gems tonight," 'Steele'
Laura's curiosity rose, so she wondered aloud, "what makes
you so certain?"
Murphy turned away, shaking his head as Steele faced Laura who
inquired, "do you still intend to?"
"The thought has crossed my mind," he told her truthfully.
Putting every ounce of conviction in her voice she challenged
him, "Then I'd have to stop you."
"If you could."
"Easy. I'd call the police."
"Why haven't you already? Why aren't they here now? Because
you don't believe I killed Ben Pearson."
Murphy, not believing that Laura even considered the weak possibility
that HE might be telling her the truth and certainly not wanting
HIM to slip off the hook, jumped in, "I do."
"You don't count," 'Steele' dismissed him. "This
is between Miss Holt and myself. Do you, Laura?"
"I don't know," she replied, tired of this whole affair.
"Don't waste time agonizing. Tell me, what would Remington
Steele do in this situation?"
Murphy answered instead of her. "He'd call the police."
"Then call them," 'Steele' ordered.
Murphy picked up the phone as 'Steele' put on his jacket. "Where
are you going?" he asked not wanting him to escape.
"I've been avoiding those two gentlemen all evening. I think
it's time they found me. I hope you're not squeamish, Murphy."
"Not around you."
"Good. Then you won't mind bringing Pearson's body up here."
He turned and left a flabbergasted Murphy behind him.
After he recovered from his shock Murphy dialed the police and
glanced at Laura who showed no reaction to all the events.
In the lobby, 'Steele' went to telephone, delivering himself
on a silver platter, "I've tried his room, there's no answer.
Perhaps you can page him in the lobby. Thank you." He put
the receiver on the table and moved away to wait.
"Remington Steele, telephone call for Remington Steele.
Remington Steele -" a page announced.
"Here -" he made his presence known and went to the
"This way, sir." Kessler and Neff were already near
as she showed him the telephone. "Here you are, Mr. Steele."
Gathering all his strength he picked up the phone. "Steele
here -" He stopped when he felt the knife in his back again,
cornered by Kessler and Neff.
"We've been looking for you, Mr. Steele," Kessler said
through gritted teeth.
"There's no avoiding good friends, is there?" 'Steele'
hung up the phone trying to keep his flippant exterior.
Not at all impressed Kessler told him, "This"this time,
we brought our own transportation."
"I'd wager you'd have an easier time cracking that safe
if you had the specifications," 'Steele' offered nonchalantly.
"And where would we get them?" Kessler asked, curious.
"Remington Steele. After all, he's the one who's providing
security for the gems. Shall we?" 'Steele' asked, giving
them no time to recover.
Up they went to the penthouse.
After entering the suite, Kessler asked, "Where are they?"
'Steele' used his key to point to the closet, hoping that Murphy
had done what he had asked him to do.
The two men opened the door, and Neff jumped back at the sight
of Pearson's body he was rewarded with. "Blimey! We left
'im in 'is room!" he blurted out.
"So you did, gentlemen," 'Steele' confirmed as the
bedroom doors opened and several policemen, Murphy, and Laura
appeared with a gurney for the body. He took Neff's knife. "I
think your laboratory will find this to be the murder instrument."
Kessler looked at him hatefully as he was handcuffed. "Who
One policeman said, "Are you kidding? He's Remington Steele."
He shook 'Steele's' hand. "You're as good as they say you
'Steele' smiled crookedly. "The Remington Steele Agency
is far more than one man, officer. On their behalf, I thank you."
He glanced at Laura and was rewarded with a smile.
After everyone else was gone, Murphy closed one of the doors
of the suite, and then looked at Laura. "Will you be all
right?" he asked, still not trusting the man beside her.
He was afraid that he would exploit Laura, but he also knew that
she wouldn't welcome his 'protection'; she would insist that
she was a 'big girl'.
'Steele' turned to look at her as well, his eyes asking the same
She nodded, and Murphy left them alone.
"Well," 'Steele' started, not really knowing what to
"Well," she repeated, begging him to go on.
"I'm afraid it's time to leave your lovely city."
"Where will you go?"
"Wherever the gems travel next. San Francisco, I believe.
I give you my word. I won't try and liberate the gems until they're
safely out of your jurisdiction," he told her, astonished
that he meant what he had said.
Laura smiled. "All things considered, you made a delightful
"If the press of other commitments wasn't so severe, I might
relish the role on a permanent basis," he joked, but somehow
this idea didn't seem so bad. He kissed her hand. "After
all, I'm a man who enjoys impossible challenges." He returned
the room key and left.
On her way home Laura felt totally exhausted. After all the ups
and downs of the day this was no wonder, she mused. And it wasn't
over yet. She would have to confess to Wilson that there had
been someone who had claimed to be Remington Steele. He certainly
would be livid, after all she had promised to be careful, but
it was better he heard it from her than to read it in the papers
- there would probably be no way of mistaking the fact that Remington
Steele had 'personally' delivered two wanted murderers and thieves.
The thought crossed her mind that this whole affair probably
was one more nail for the coffin of their relationship. They
both would have to move on, and they would make it on different
roads. With some regret she realized that she would miss Wilson,
and she hoped that they could stay friends. She noticed that
in her tired state of mind she probably would mess this up terribly,
so they wouldn't talk about separation tonight she decided. She
would also have to find a new home afterwards, because it was
Wilson who had rented the apartment and now paid most of their
She bit her lower lip. Now that the agency would become profitable
it would seem that she only had endured Wilson as long as she
needed his monetary support. That was the last thing she wanted
to happen, not only because it was untrue, for she had loved
Wilson, they weren't meant to be together. Neither of then were
willing to compromise their jobs for their personal lives, and
both their jobs were simply too different to find a compromise
on that field. One of them would have to cut back. She couldn't
expect Wilson to do that, and she didn't want to sacrifice her
livelihood. It wouldn't be fair to either of them.
With a wry smile she tried to imagine the reaction of her mother;
she would probably be shocked, accusing her of letting go a big
fish. And yet her mother wasn't even aware that she was running,
pardon, employed by a Private Investigation agency. With an evil
grin Laura tried to picture it when her mother would get the
news. She'd be thunderstruck that she, Laura, hadn't felt the
need to inform her about it. Then Laura sobered. There would
be a thunderstorm following this, and that was the main reason
she hadn't said anything about it, she and her mother disagreed
in far too many things. After all, they were living in the eighties
and not in the fifties.
Back to the living problem. Perhaps it wouldn't be so bad using
the condo the agency paid for. It would also seem that someone
was living there after all.
She shook her head. There was no point in making that decision
tonight. She would need a couple of days to think things over.
The next morning Laura was waiting in the limousine to take the
gems back to the airport. She wasn't in her best mood, the 'discussion'
she had had with Wilson last night had left them both exhausted
and on the edge. After a fruitless to and fro they had decided
to postpone it to a time when they both would have slept things
over and been able to argue in a more reasonable way. This morning
they had treated each other with sterile politeness not wanting
to provoke another outburst. The knowledge that she would finally
leave Wilson, or that they would part, as friends, she hoped,
didn't ease her conscience at least. It rather had the opposite
effect knowing that the whole quarrel was pointless with their
Then she saw him, the stumbling block of her predicament, leaving
the hotel. When he looked her direction and recognized the car
he greeted her with a smile that made her sigh. She observed
how he climbed into a cab. She thought of the irony that he was
leaving now that they were to transport the gems safely to the
airport, HIS probable destination, when Murphy, who was holding
his head, rudely interrupted her.
"Laura! Somebody blindsided me!" he told her while
he climbed into the limo.
Laura's bitter frustration with recent events broke, leaving
her furious. "He LIED to me! That treacherous thief LIED
to me! Fred, follow the cab!" Seething she imagined what
would be left of HIM after she was finished with HIM!
Soon her suspicion was confirmed. They were heading for the airport
which made the pursuit much easier. She thought it strange that
HE obviously wasn't aware that He was being followed. Did HE
think that Murphy's head was this thin?
With Laura brooding over it they finally arrived, and they saw
HIM hurrying inside. She and Murphy ran after him. When they
saw him stopping Laura yelled, "Stop that man! He's a thief!"
A sudden movement of a familiar man - Hunter, distracted Murphy!
Obviously he had given an interview and was startled by Laura's
outburst. To Murphy's intense amazement Hunter started to run,
and suddenly he saw everything clearly. He immediately started
after him while Laura grabbed Steele's arm, then she stopped.
"You mean you didn't steal the gems?"
"Laura, I gave you my word. But they're fair game now!"
Saying this, 'Steele' took off after Hunter and Murphy.
"Oh, no they're not!" Laura called, entering the chase.
Murphy pursued Hunter to a storage area, where Hunter grabbed
a courtesy cart and took off. Murphy managed to jump on the cart,
but after some turns Hunter threw him off into a pile of boxes,
where Murphy remained stunned.
'Steele' commandeered a cart, and Laura jumped on the back. She
reached around him for the steering wheel. "Ho- hold it
steady!" she told him, more hindering than supporting his
efforts to follow the cart. He got her hands from the steering
wheel, but Laura, searching to for some hold, found it by grabbing
"You're choking me!" he told her.
Releasing him Laura reached around him to try and get the wheel
again. "Give me that!"
They managed to corner Hunter who crashed his cart into a dumpster
and was thrown into a pile of trash.
'Steele' looked at Laura. "I take it you wanted to drive?"
- End Part 3
- To Part 4