"Steele Metal-ling" Part One
Date: Wednesday, June 20, 2007
From: "blithebarb" <blithebarb@yahoo.com>

Welcome to summer reading! My second story for you. Enjoy! (Here
you go, Debbi-one with a case to solve.)

"Steele Metal-ling" 100% farce.

This one's dedicated to Vicki Cotter, who sent me a copy of "The
Golden Moment," and to Krebbie as a (belated) get well cheer. It's
also my way of thanking all of the people who take time to make great
videos! Appreciation goes to Neeney, Xenos and my darling daughter
Lynne for beta reading. You all rock!

Usual disclaimer. Permission to archive.

Part One

Pure gold: Just the sort of case that Remington Steele
Investigations should invest its time in. Laura Holt had taken the
call early this morning from the East Coast: A gorgeous gold digger
by the name of Rusty Tracy was blackmailing a well-refined magnate
with a bad haircut and a pickaxe to grind-the explosive chairman of
the AFL-CIO, Donald "Hi-Yo" Silver. What a trump for Laura's agency
to track the runaway Rusty down for her new client-the notorious,
flamboyant Silver!

Pure gold, because it was a golden opportunity to work for Silver.
Laura drummed her fingernails on the desk, as she put the phone
down. She picked up her lead pencil again and made a few more
notations on a legal pad as a plan formulated in her head. She was
ready to play the Lone Ranger on this one, but she was hesitant about
going to town alone on it, triggering unknown consequences. Could
Mr. Steele be helpful on this one, without getting sidetracked or
falling for the girl on the run? Who was this "masked" man?

Pure gold, because it was a cut and dried case, easy as taking candy
from a baby, or gold bars from Fort Knox. No, bad analogy. She
fully intended to bring Rusty to justice. Laura had heard the
rumors. Supposedly the red-haired beauty had some dirt on the
Donald, but he was convincingly spouting his innocence on the phone
just now. Mr. Silver thought he was hiring Remington Steele himself,
but Laura's eyes shone like dark bronze gemstones, "This case is
mine!" As she said that, she thought suddenly, Mine? Danger!

Blasting his way through her red door, Steele had an inkling his
agency would be hired by Mr. Silver. It was pure instinct. He could
feel it in his veins. The report of Miss Tracy's blackmail scheme
had been plastered all over the papers yesterday, and Steele was
geared up to get cracking on it.

Panning for a chance, grabbing the brass ring-even though he was
still an apprentice-he speculated enthusiastically, "Laura, I'll
wager you a `Silver Bullet' I can crack this case wide open!"

Laura sat up straight. "What case? You're betting me a can of
beer? What are you talking about? Coors?!" She was crushed and
crumpled back into her chair.

"No, I'm talking about "Hi-Yo" Silver!"

"Away!" She stood up and flailed her arms in his direction. Now she
was dynamite. "Out! Get out of my office!" He knew if he even
touched her now, she might explode. He had to handle her very
gingerly. And it was only 9:30 in the morning. He hovered just
outside her doorway and peeked in again.

"No, no, Laura. A `Silver Bullet'-remember? It's a huge cash prize
awarded by Mr. Donald Silver every year for new discoveries in
engineering, mining, even in labor practices. The winners usually
have the road to success paved for them; it's a Golden Ticket to
career enhancement. Sort of like a Nobel Prize for labor, you might

"Oh, *that* `Silver Bullet'!" She was somewhat defused, but not
ready to fizzle. She could flare up at any moment.

He had dodged a bullet on that one. Whew! He wiped his brow with a
handkerchief, and ventured back into her office. "Of course, I was
speaking figuratively anyway. I can't afford to give you a `Silver
Bullet'. Would you settle for a silver dollar?"

She wasn't buying it.

"Mr. Steele, you aren't trying to meddle, are you?"

"To medal? Like the Olympics? Gold, silver, bronze?"

As she considered his aggregate experience so far, he asked, "Am I

No, his mettle was just fine. He gets a high grade from me. An A+.
Her expression softened.

"We are on the case, aren't we?" he asked. He had to retrace his
steps, so he turned on the charm.

With a smoldering look holding her deep brown eyes, Steele glided
back in and sat on the edge of her desk, trying to placate
her. "Laura, you've got me trapped like a canary in a cage. I'll
sing any tune you want, sweetheart. Just let me dig into this one,

His silver tongue always smoothed her feathers, and she had a sudden
urge to take up metallurgy.

Steele was staking his claim. "Apparently, this Rusty gal was a
singer in a nightclub in Santa Monica called the Golden Nugget, which
was frequented by Mr. Silver when he was in town." He was pacing
slowly back and forth now. He stopped and held her gaze. "Laura,
I've already been to the nightclub and there's no trace of her."

"When did you go there?" she asked, puzzled.

"Last night. After I read the newspapers, I had Fred swing me by
after work yesterday."

"Why didn't you tell me you were going?"

"Laura, I asked you to dinner, but you said you were too busy to
go." Now she remembered, chagrined.

"So no trace of the missing Miss Tracy?"

"No. Miss Tracy appears to have gone up in smoke." He
coughed. "Let's share some hot liquid gold, Miss Holt: coffee or
tea? And talk about this case with level heads, all right?"

They were in hot water. Or rather, hot water was readily available,
so each could choose to add grounds or leaves to their mugs. They
went out to the lobby to serve themselves, though Mildred percolated
out of her chair to assist. Miss Krebs wanted to cool things down in
the office just as much as Mr. Steele did.

She offered, "Coffee, tea, or . . ."

"Ore?" Laura was speculating.

"Sugar?" said Steele.

"*Don't* call me sugar!" Laura, salt of the earth, felt degraded.
Her mood was indeed mercurial today. She was steaming about
something, all right.

"No, I mean, would you hand me that sugar dispenser, Tracy?"

"Spencer Tracy?! My name is *Laura Holt* for your information,
Mr. . . erg, Mr. Metal!! Or are you bringing movie trivia to the
surface again?" She was a live wire, and seeing how he was in hot
water again, he was extremely concerned about electrocution at this
particular moment. Nothing he had said so far was connecting with

He exchanged a look with Mildred. She encouraged him.

"Settle down . . . Miss Holt! Yes, I misspoke. I made a mistake. I
was thinking of the Tracy case while I asked for the dispenser. I'm
sorry, Laura. I value you. More than you realize."

Laura was still hot under the collar. But she was thinking about
ore, minerals, silver, tailings. She knew a lot about tailing people.

"But, Laura, now that you mention it, this Silver case does remind me
a little of `San Francisco'-Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable, Lana Turner,
MGM, 1936. Lana plays a singer, and Gable is Blackie Norton, who
runs a gambling hall. Sooo, maybe Rusty Tracy is just trying to get
her due, and Hi-Yo is the bad guy. Yo ho!" He was smiling
excitedly, fingers tapping together, but Laura thought he was
shoveling it on pretty thick.

"Well, frankly, my dear Mr. Steele, I don't give a damn copper for
that little singing gem you're trying to excuse, or is it to
protect? She's not going to strike it rich off of Silver if I can
help it. Say, you don't already have her locked up in a safe
somewhere, do you? How do I know I can trust you?" Laura's voice
sounded almost tinny as she drilled him. Her tone was indeed acidic
today as she sipped her coffee, no cream, no sweetener. It was a
bitter moment.

Remington shifted the subject, but inside he was quaking
slightly. "Uh. . . .did you know that another major star was in that
film? Jack Holt, leading man of silent and early talkie films. He
made almost 200 films: Westerns, classics! Any relation to you,
Miss Holt?"

"You don't know Jack!"

"Point won, Laura." He held up his finger, giving her the
score. "But I do indeed know you, and we need to get cracking on
this case now or we'll hear those famous words, `You're fired,'
coming from Mr. Silver."

At last, reason overtook Laura. She poured herself some more
coffee. "You're right, Mr. Steele. Let's delve into it together.
What area do we want to explore first?"

"In order to unearth more clues, I think we need to go under cover
and under ground," he proposed.

They spent the next hour deciding where to go to get more
information, and with Mildred's help, things moved along smoothly.

"Mamma mia!" exclaimed Mildred. "I just called the local union, and
found out that Mr. Silver was in town only yesterday. What's up with
that, Miss Holt?"

"Yes. Why didn't he come into our office and hire us personally, if
he was here?"

"Maybe he was having a bad hair day," offered Mildred flatly.

Laura would go to the local AFL-CIO office and see what she could
find out, while Remington swore he had contacts in the steel industry
who could help them get an inside view on the blackmailing. Of
course, the police would also be looking for Miss Tracy. Since her
life was possibly in danger, and therefore the reason for her
disappearance, it was imperative that she be located quickly.

By noon, the trio had gathered again in the office. The nearest
steel mills were in San Francisco, and it just so happened that Mr.
Silver suspected that Rusty had family in the northern part of the
Golden State. Laura asked Mildred to make a plane reservation for
her to go to San Francisco that day if possible.

"I'll fly up there this afternoon to talk to the police, as well as
to visit the steel mills. It wasn't hard to find out that Mr. Silver
is suspected of profiting more from being chairman than his salary is
supposed to be providing. Mr. Steele, you and Mildred see what else
you can dredge up about Silver's past."

"Miss Holt," interjected Steele, "NOT to discount your superior
accomplishments as an investigator, but I'd like to accompany you.
We could talk to an old acquaintance of mine, who I think could be a
wealth of information."

"Male or female?"

"Laura." He downplayed the question. "Code name on the streets is
Iron E. Ronnie for short."

"Iron E. How ironic."


To Part 2

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