BY: Peg Daniels
SUMMARY: A companion piece to "Stained Steele" and "Steele Beginning."
DISCLAIMER: This "Remington Steele" story is not-for-profit and is purely for entertainment purposes. The author and this site do not own the characters and are in no way affiliated with "Remington Steele," the actors, their agents, the producers, MTM Productions, the NBC Television Network or any station or network carrying the show in syndication, or anyone in the industry.
Paddy stared at the watch, swinging from the chain he held in his hand, and then looked down at the blank piece of paper on his desk. After all this time, more than twenty years since her death, he knew who her son was: the former pupil of Paddy's friend, Daniel Chalmers.
Paddy had left London close to five years ago and had returned to Kerry Clare, where he had been brought up. He had been sickened, at that time, to discover the identity of her boy's father: Kevin Landers, the "K.L." of the watch. Paddy had been a barkeep in Whitechapel then. He was ashamed of himself as he thought of how, before his discovery, he had shielded the man from the police. Landers had had the nasty habit of getting bolloxed and then gleefully beating up prostitutes. He had paid Paddy very well for his protection. Paddy had greedily obliged, inuring himself to the plight of the prostitutes.
But that had all changed. . . . Paddy recalled the events leading up to his current task, beginning with that night at the bar.
It had been after hours, and Paddy had looked over at Landers, still sitting there, as drunk as a l. . . very drunk.
Landers asked Paddy if he had ever told him about his "first," an Irish whore who was no more than a child. About how good beating her had felt. About how it had led him to seek out that same thrill time and again. Paddy tried to hustle him out the door, but the bloody sot became furious, grabbed hold of him, and forced him to hear every sordid detail. His only regret, Landers said, was the damned bitch had stolen his watch. "It played a lovely tune," he slurred. "When Irish Eyes are Smilin'. It was inscribed, too. 'To S.J. from K.L.' " He was too drunk to consider that this might be an incautious admittance.
Paddy's heart nearly stopped. He was finally able to wrench himself away, tearing his shirt. He went to the jacks, vomited, and then continued to retch for a good half-hour more. The next day, he made an anonymous call to the police, identifying Landers as the perpetrator of the Whitehead beatings, threatening to go to the papers if something wasn't done about it. He later learned Kevin Landers was none other than the Earl of Claridge. He left soon after for Ireland.
Once there, he took to drinking too much and drifted aimlessly from job to job. He spent most of his time down at the tracks, becoming involved in some shady dealings there. Occasionally these dealings took him back to London and to the racetracks there. On one of those trips, he met Daniel Chalmers and became involved in one of *his* schemes. Daniel was out of his league, of course, when it came to cons and scheming, but Paddy proved useful enough. He and Daniel became friends and hooked up from time to time when they were both in London.
This last time, Daniel invited him back to his flat for drinks. Paddy, once again, drank too much. In the course of trying to find his way back from the bathroom, he ended up in one of the bedrooms. It looked essentially unlived in - devoid of the usual personal touches one might expect. Except for a remarkable framed sketch. He recognized the quay in Dublin, drawn from the perspective of a departing ship. The artist somehow managed to convey both a sense of loss and hope.
Daniel came in. "Wondered where you wandered off to. . . ."
"This is amazin'." Paddy gestured toward the picture.
"Harry, my former protege, drew it. I have a few more of his drawings. Would you like to see them?"
"I've got them well hidden. Perilous, you know, for a man in my profession to keep around items of too personal a nature." He left the room and returned a few minutes later with the drawings.
Paddy was looking through the half-dozen or so drawings when he stopped short. It was she. He sobered immediately.
"Yes, I like that one too. Harry said it was just a woman he had seen in Brixton one day. He discarded it, as he did with all his drawings. But it was one of the ones I salvaged. I was struck with the similarities he had drawn to himself."
"Do you have a picture of Harry, then?" Somehow, Paddy just knew.
"Not really a picture. Too dangerous. But I *do* have a scrapbook of newspaper clippings from all over the Continent, devoted to stories of rare artifacts. There's one on the Hapsburg Dagger that has Harry's picture. It doesn't look out of place there." Daniel retrieved the scrapbook and showed him the picture.
It was her boy, the one he had tried to "rescue" outside his bar in Brixton that day, long-ago. "Remington Steele," he read from the caption under the picture.
"That's what he's calling himself these days."
"How did you meet him? What was his background?" Paddy hoped his questions wouldn't seem too prying.
But Daniel, slightly tipsy, didn't seem to notice. "Oh, he was a half-wild street urchin when I met him, in Brixton. He's never told me much of his background. Said his mother died when he was born. Knows nothing of his father - harbors a great deal of anger toward him, I can tell you that. Said he was passed from family to family as a young boy in Ireland. Ran away. Jumped a ship. Ended up in London when he was nine or ten, he thinks."
Paddy had excused himself as quickly as he could thereafter.
Now he sat, trying to compose a note. "Your mother wanted you to have this," he wrote. He crumpled up the paper and took out another sheet. He wanted to entice Steele to see him. Steele thought his mother dead, so although that note might arouse some curiosity in him as to how Paddy knew his mother and what he could tell him about her, Steele would probably just ring him up. And what Paddy had to tell him, he didn't want to say in a telephone conversation. His mother *had* died, though not in the manner Steele thought. Paddy couldn't lie about that. That would be too cruel. But if he put "Your *father* wanted you to have this," Paddy could make sure they met face-to-face, if Steele wanted to pursue it. Then Paddy would tell him Lord Claridge was Steele's father. And if Lord Claridge wouldn't recognize Steele and give him an inheritance, then Paddy would further tell Steele about the hushed-up Whitechapel beatings, about Lord Claridge having beaten Steele's own mother. *That* would anger him enough to blackmail Lord Claridge into giving him his rightful inheritance. One way or the other, his mother would be avenged.
Paddy scribbled the note and then sent it and the watch by the next post.