It was an unusually warm Detroit afternoon as Britt Reid, owner and publisher of the city's leading newspaper The Daily Sentinel, sat in his large office on the 5th floor, talking to Gunnigan, his assistant editor.
"Yes Gunnigan, get that article ready for the afternoon edition."
"Right boss," Gunnigan replied rushing out of his employer's office.
Britt Reid sat back in his luxurious office chair as his phone rang. As he hastily picked up the receiver, Frank Scanlon, district attorney and personal friend to Britt, met him on the other end.
"Hi Britt! I was calling to make sure you'd be at the courthouse tomorrow for The Fonzello Trial."
"You know it Frank, I wouldn't miss it for the world," Reid exclaimed.
"I'll bet, especially after working to bring him down as the Green Hornet," Scanlon said aware of Britt Reid's other identity. "You know with the evidence you've provided me with, I have put together one hell of a case. I want to thank you Britt."
"Don't thank me Frank, we're on the same team. The Hornet is only part of the reason that Casper Fonzello is being brought to justice."
"Well, thank you anyway, see you tomorrow," the district attorney uttered.
"That's fine Frank, bye," Reid said with a cheer, hanging up the receiver.
Leaning back in his chair with a long sigh, Britt recalled in his mind what this was all about. Most recently Casper Fonzello had come to power in Detroit's underworld, and had made million dollar deals through a faux real-estate firm, trafficking drugs and running a protection racket. Britt, as the Green Hornet had gathered enough evidence for Scanlon to possibly bring him down. The Hornet had dealt with other gangsters and racketeers before, but Fonzello with his group of cronies, had been by far the toughest to capture that he had ever encountered.
He hadn't had his alter ego for very long. Just one year earlier, he had taken up the mantle of the Green Hornet, a mysterious vigilant crime fighter, due to years of disgust with growing crime rates in Detroit, as well as seeing his father die in jail after being framed for a capital crime. His faithful philipino valet and all-round manservant Kato had sworn to serve Britt Reid for the rest of his life, because of Reid saving his life as a young boy somewhere in Asia. He aided Reid in his war on crime, as a sidekick, having assembled an impressive arsenal in a supped-up old black car dubbed the Black Beauty, as well as a special pistol that shot sleeping gas, instead of usual rounds. Reid used his newspaper that he had inherited from his father, to play up the Hornet's reputation as a gangster. This helped him to better infiltrate rackets by posing as a racketeer himself. As a result the Green Hornet was a known fugitive with only Kato, Scanlon and the Sentinel's secretary Miss Lenore Case, knowing his identity and aiding his fight.
Suddenly Miss Case buzzed Reid over the office intercom.
"Go ahead Miss Case,"
"Mr. Reid, Axford is back with some news."
"Send him in Miss Case," Reid acknowledged straightening in his chair.
In walked Mike Axford, crime correspondent for the Sentinel, with a worried look on his face. He was a seemingly jolly, slightly overweight and very loose-lipped man in his forties that looked as if years of stress had taken their toll on him. He looked at his smug boss and said "Hi Reid, you'll never guess what I heard down at the police station."
"What's that Mike?"
"Well, I heard that the cops got a tip that someone is going to stage a jailbreak for Fonzello after the trial, if he's found guilty."
"My God Mike, did you hear when this is supposed to happen?"
"Well no, not exactly. The cops don't know much about it, they just got the tip."
"Well, if I had known this earlier, I would have put this information into the afternoon edition. Thanks a lot Mike, I'll put in a call to Scanlon and the police. They can deal with it tomorrow."
"Okay Reid, well I'm off to home," Axford said heading for the door.
"Fine, bye Mike," Reid exclaimed. He stood up as Axford left and put in a call to his apartment. Moments later Kato answered.
"Reid residence," the philipino man replied.
"It's me Kato. Axford just came in with some news that sometime after Fonzello's trial, if he's found guilty, which you know he will be, his boys are gonna bust him from prison."
"Wow, are you sure Mr. Britt? You suppose the Green Hornet might try to stop this break?"
"Yes Kato, but all we can do now is wait. Come pick me up from work and we'll talk more about it tonight."
"I'll be right there, Mr. Britt."
"Bye Kato," Britt hung up the phone and looked at the clock on the wall. It read five-thirty. As he walked out of his office, he noticed the beautiful brunette Lenore Case still hard at work at her desk.
"I'd like to finish these editorials for the early edition, then I will leave Mr. Reid," the secretary spoke as she saw him look at her.
"Stay as long as you'd like Miss Case, just lock up the building whenever you're done. And watch out for those night janitors, they're a little strange," Reid joked. "I better head out, Kato is probably waiting on me."
"Oh tell him I said hello," Miss Case waved.
"Will do," and with that Reid left the lobby and headed for the elevator.
On his way down to the ground floor, Reid thought about all the work he had put into bringing down the city's most dangerous man, both as a newspaperman and The Green Hornet. And his trial was tomorrow; Reid hoped justice would be served.
The next morning, around eight o'clock, Britt Reid walked into the courthouse with Kato in tow. Frank Scanlon headed toward them.
"Good morning Britt," the attorney half shouted from across the lobby.
"Morning Frank, you know Kato."
"Ah yes hello,"
"Hi Sir," Kato replied.
"I'd like to wish you luck in advance Frank,"
"Oh thank you Britt. We have a strong case, but still this man has never been convicted. He's been implicated several times but when it gets to trial, he always gets off. He's a very powerful man in Detroit's underworld; they call him 'the Ghost' because he has seen so many trials, yet never served time."
"Just as you say, you have a strong case," Britt agreed.
As the three men entered the courtroom, a large crowd occupied the hall behind them. Reid recognized what appeared to be some of Fonzello's cronies preparing to enter the courtroom. The crowd began to move into the courtroom with the usual hustle and bustle. As soon as everyone was seated and quiet, the trial began. As Scanlon gave his opening arguments the jury appeared already convinced. Britt Reid sat in surprise on the front row of the room, next to Kato, as he realized that his friend, the district attorney, was seeking the death penalty for one Casper "the Ghost" Fonzello. Scanlon was rarely so harsh but under the circumstances, Britt didn't mind. After all, this was the man who used his real-estate agency as a front for the most dangerous racket in Detroit. He was the mastermind behind the recent increase in Detroit's juvenile drug addiction as well as the man who personally raped two showgirls at the club he owned in downtown called The Big Score. Those girls were never seen again. He was surely at fault and had ruined a lot of people's lives. He deserved whatever would come to him.
As time went by, Scanlon was more and more sure that Fonzello was going to death row. As the trial continued, Fonzello sat next to his lawyer with a giant grin on his face. As he watched Scanlon address the jury, he kept giving the confident district attorney some interesting looks, as was noted by the judge. Finally the jury was sent to the back of the courthouse to deliberate on his sentence.
Moments had passed as the courtroom had entered uproar. Everyone was dieing to know what was to become of the gangster Casper Fonzello. As the jury entered, it got quiet enough to hear a pin drop. The judge quickly addressed the head juror.
"Has the jury reached a verdict for Mr. Fonzello?"
"We have your honor, we find the defendant guilty on all charges but request that he not receive the death penalty. We, the jury ask that his sentence be life imprisonment without possibility of parole."
Immediately chaos filled the courtroom as the spectators started screaming. No one in the audience could believe that his sentence had been commuted to life imprisonment. This man was a murderer and Detroit's legal system, believed strongly in the concept of an eye for an eye. Amazingly, Fonzello's cronies sitting near the back on the opposite side of Britt Reid were calm. When Britt noticed this, he knew that something was up. The court had plaid right into the hands of this crime boss.
As the gavel came down, the judge ordered the bailiff to remove Fonzello from courtroom. The stunned cop quickly carried Detroit's biggest gangster out of the courtroom, he grimly smiled at Frank Scanlon and then was gone.
As Reid saw Fonzello exit the courtroom, he had a sinking feeling, as if this would not be the last time he would see Fonzello. He thought about the tip he had received from Axford about the crime boss' jailbreak.
Reid and Kato got up to leave the courtroom, as Frank Scanlon approached them.
"Well Reid, we tried. Now everyone is going to have to go through a lot of red tape to keep him in prison. He could easily appeal."
"Well, I wanted to talk to you about the supposed breakout that Axford told me about yesterday," Reid said, lowering his voice so no one else in the vicinity would hear.
"Oh yes, well in case the Green Hornet may be involved, I'm not going to alert the authorities just yet. The media would have a field day."
"I appreciate that Frank, if all goes well the police will know about it soon enough."
"Right, well Britt, I'm gonna have to get out of here. It was nice seeing you again Mr. Kato."
"Oh yes sir Mr. Scanlon," Kato acknowledged.
Britt and Kato quickly exited the courthouse and headed for Kato's car.
"You could tell that jury was certainly influenced in favor of Fonzello," Britt said to Kato.
"Yes Mr. Britt" Kato started as they entered the car. "I have never seen a jury so scared."
"Well Kato," Britt began as Kato started the car, "The Green Hornet is going to have to work extra hard now, thanks to that jury."
"I agree," Kato declared as the car headed for home.
The next day, Britt Reid stood in his office at The Daily Sentinel. Everyone in the entire building, as well as the city, had been overcome with disappointment at the outcome of the trial. Life imprisonment was one thing, but most people knew a powerful crime boss like Fonzello wouldn't serve life. He most likely would either get a retrial or find some way to get parole. Had he gotten the death penalty, things would have been very different.
Britt, Frank Scanlon, and a host of police had all been waiting for Fonzello's supposed jailbreak. This would have made a great story as well as given the Green Hornet an opportunity to figure things out. Abruptly Miss Case buzzed in on the intercom.
"What is it Miss Case," Reid answered just as quickly as she had buzzed in.
"Just wondering if you've heard anything about the Fonzello matter. Anything yet?"
"No Miss Case, as soon as Frank Scanlon hears anything, he's supposed to let me know. If we get word that something has indeed happened, I want Gunnigan to put out the afternoon edition and get everyone out of here. We're going to call it a day if so."
"Oh all right," Lenore Case answered.
Suddenly the phone rang. Britt desperately hoped this was the call he had been waiting for all morning long.
"Britt Reid, Daily Sentinel," he answered in a rush.
"It's going down tonight at eight o'clock. You surely be printing this stuff in your paper, eh?"
"Who is this?"
"You surely be alerting the coppers, won't ya'?"
"Damn it who is this?" Reid said, losing his patience.
Suddenly the line was dead. Reid couldn't believe it, an informant had just alerted him. But why inform a newspaper publisher and not the cops? Maybe the informant was one of Fonzello's men wanting something about the jailbreak to be published. Maybe it was some kind of setup? Reid couldn't be sure. He did know the last thing he wanted to do was alert his employees; especially Mike Axford who would surely tell all of Detroit what just happened if he could. He figured if he informed the police, they would get in the way of the Green Hornet. He decided the first thing to do was to see if Scanlon or the police had in fact heard anything similar. He called Scanlon, but he hadn't heard anything. Reid told him what had happened and pleaded with him to keep quiet for now. Scanlon knew this meant the Green Hornet was on the case, so he reluctantly agreed to keep quiet about the phone call, for now at least.
Later in Britt Reid's apartment, Kato and Reid were quickly going over their plans for the night. That hot tip that Reid got at work had bothered him. He was still very puzzled about the whole thing. Whatever was to happen, one thing was certain, it was time to go to work. The two of them raced into Reid's bedroom and opened his closet door. With the flick of a switch, the wall in the back of the closet collapsed, revealing a secret passage. The two men ran inside and went down a long dimly lit hall that lead to the building behind Britt Reid's apartment. This building was on the back of a street and appeared abandoned, but actually this building housed the Black Beauty as well as the Hornet's costume and arsenal. The only entrance to the place was through the tunnel that Reid and Kato had installed from the back of his closet.
Reid changed into a suit and green trench coat, and then mounted a mask with a hornet emblazoned on the front, that covered the lower half of his face like a surgeon. Quickly placing a pair of black gloves on his hands, he topped the ensemble with a green fedora. Kato adorned his chauffeur's suit and gentleman's cap, and then placed his black mask over his eyes. The Green Hornet grabbed his gas gun and the pair entered the fabulous stark-black, modified limousine the Black Beauty. The Green Hornet took to the wheel as Kato rode shotgun and as the marvelous machine came to a roar, it shot out of a secret access route that only opened at the sound of a hornet-like buzz made by the Black Beauty.
As the Black Beauty exited from the wall of a vacant alleyway behind the supposedly abandoned building, the Green Hornet checked his watch. The time was seven-thirty. It was just beginning to get dark so he knew there was still time to carry out his plan. The ominous vehicle sped down the street en route to the Gateway Penitentiary, Detroit's largest maximum-security prison. As the Black Beauty entered the heart of downtown, passing the Daily Sentinel, it abruptly pulled into a crowded parking lot. They had reached their destination. All was quiet; it was evident nothing had yet occurred. Kato peered out the passenger window at the gargantuan, gothic structure. This was definitely an eerie place up close.
As the two men waited, a searchlight suddenly kicked on from a heavily armed watchtower, located directly across from the parking lot they were stationed at. The light crept throughout the prison yard and over to one of the cell houses, they knew something was up. The only way to stop this supposed breakout would be to get inside the prison. The Green Hornet couldn't risk himself getting caught and as such planned to let the breakout happen and then he and Kato would act.
Suddenly a loud siren sounded from the watchtower, indicating a definite prison break. Gunshots could be heard sounding from just inside the prison gates. Suddenly the Hornet noticed something strange, three men approaching the fence that lined the parking lot, with a fourth man, that could only be recognized as Fonzello, dressed in prison attire following not far behind firing a handgun at approaching officers, striking one in the chest and the other in the leg.
"Take that coppers," Fonzello uttered.
The three goons worked as quickly as they could with wire cutters, cutting an opening in the fence. Soon all four men were through the fence to freedom, as a bulky helicopter came from behind the prison. As quickly as it landed, the three men boarded the aircraft, but Fonzello recognized The Black Beauty. The Green Hornet and Kato could do nothing but watch, as the escaping prisoner grabbed a Tommy gun from the chopper and blasted away at the Beauty just before boarding. Projectiles bounced off the car's bulletproof frame just before the helicopter ascended.
Without warning, police sirens seemed to come out of nowhere. The Black Beauty shot off like a rocket to evade the cops as well as chase the eluding chopper. As the menacing car sped through the streets, three patrol cars followed behind, some in pursuit of the alarming black car, others worried about the prison break.
"What do we do?" a seemingly worried Kato asked from the passenger seat of the Black Beauty.
Realizing they had no other choice The Hornet responded. "It looks like plans have changed Kato. We have to evade the cops Kato, we can't risk being caught."
"But Fonzello will get away," the philipino man worried.
"There will be other times," the Green Hornet stated with confidence.
"But," Kato exclaimed, wanting so bad to argue but not finding the words.
"There will be other times, don't worry," the Hornet assured his sidekick quickly deploying the Black Beauty's rear smoke screen. Suddenly a cloud of dark smoke materialized in front of the pursuing police cars.
With that, the Black Beauty swiftly pulled into a familiar alleyway, and as the hornet-like buzz sounded, a wall quickly collapsed granting the Black Beauty access. As soon as they had reached safety, the wall assumed the ordinary position. Moments later, cop cars drove past the alley, soon realizing the Green Hornet was nowhere to be found.
Days had passed as Britt Reid sat in the kitchen of his apartment sipping some tea and talking to Kato.
"Well Kato, it's been nearly a week since Fonzello's jailbreak. Who knows where they are by now. I imagine they will stay hidden for quite sometime, but his organization isn't what it once was. He'll have to make a move sooner or later, and when he does we'll be ready, so in the meantime the Green Hornet can investigate some places that might be tied in with Fonzello, " he informed his faithful manservant.
"That sounds smart Mr. Britt. But have you heard anything from the police, that is anything the Daily Sentinel could use to our advantage?"
"Well, two days ago someone reported something to Axford about a possible kidnapping of three dancers from Fonzello's club The Big Score, but no one understands why Fonzello would kidnap his own employees. So far, nothing has panned out but Axford is investigating. What we need is a good lead. Take me to the Sentinel Kato, I told Miss Case I'd be in today."
"Yes Sir, Mr. Britt," Kato dutifully responded as the two walked out the door.
That night, a sinister figure moved along the side of the building that was The Big Score, Fonzello's downtown nightspot. The figure came upon a back entrance and hurried inside. As the figure went inside what appeared to be a dimly lit taproom, he sauntered toward the man behind the bar.
"Where's the manager, the figure said."
"You, the Green Hornet, what do you want?" the bartender pleaded.
"Where's the manager, I wanna speak with him."
"He's right here," the man said casually, quickly drawing a small pistol.
"Wrong answer," the Green Hornet shouted, slamming the man's hand into the table, forcing him to drop the gun. "Now where is he," the Hornet demanded, shoving the barkeep into the wall.
"Okay, I'll get him," the man said pushing a button on an intercom that was built into the wall.
"Yeah?" a voice replied over a speaker.
"Uh listen Rocko, I need to see you for a minute."
Suddenly a large rather fat man walked through the door and slammed it shut. It was Rocko, manager of the place.
"What is it? I'm a very busy man who's entertaining a few guests out front."
Without warning, the Green Hornet popped out from behind the bar.
"Oh my God, the Green Hornet," escaped Rocko's lips.
"That's right fella, I'm here to serve a warning."
"You don't scare me Hornet, what do you want?" Rocko persisted.
"I want your boss. You tell him the Green Hornet is after him. And I'll do whatever I have to, to get to him," the Hornet declared.
"My boss? I don't know what you mean Hornet, now get out of here. I don't deal with crooks."
"Yeah, well I do fella. I'm not leaving until I get some answers," the Hornet threatened just before drawing his gas gun."
"You get out before I call the cops, you're the known criminal, not me," Rocko reminded, smiling at the nervous barkeep behind the counter.
"Tell me what happened to the three dancers that were kidnapped from here," the Green Hornet continued to demand, aiming his gun at the bartender.
"That's none of your business Hornet. Do you know what Mr. Fonzello would do to me if I told him that the Hornet was trying to muscle in on his racket."
"I'm making it my business, and I don't want any part of his racket. I want him gone. He's ruining my operations."
"Listen Mr. Hornet," the bartender spoke up, "you came to us. Just because Mr. Fonzello owns this place, that doesn't mean he clues us in on anything. We're just hired help."
"Have it your way boys", the Green Hornet said.
Realizing he wasn't getting anywhere with mere conversation, he gave the bartender a shot from the gas gun. The Bartender immediately fell to the floor, unconscious. Without any hesitation, Rocko lunged at the Hornet, but was quickly taken out with a slug to the chin. He quickly gave him a dose of gas as well and bent down to both men, planting his calling card, a green hornet emblem known as the hornet seal on each of their foreheads.
"Just give your boss the message for me. Tell him to be careful," the Green Hornet explained then left, slamming the door behind him.
He went to a nearby alley, where Kato lied in wait with the Black Beauty.
"How'd it go?"
"Not like I'd hoped Kato, I didn't get any information, but my suspicions have been confirmed," the Hornet replied entering the driver's seat.
A monstrous roar raged from the engine. As the Black Beauty came to life, it quickly shot out of the back alley and picked up speed.
"Where to Mr. Britt?" Kato asked.
"Home Kato, we're apparently going to have to rethink our plan, since we're not getting any information from anyone. Tomorrow, I'll publish an article linking the Green Hornet to Fonzello. Maybe this will bring our man out of hiding."
"Very good, Mr. Britt," Kato acknowledged.
The next day Britt Reid was at the Daily Sentinel early, putting together what he hoped would be the publication that would lead the Green Hornet to Casper Fonzello. He had just finished writing the article and was set to put it in the hands of Gunnigan, his assistant editor when he arrived. He wanted this article to be front-page news in the day's early, afternoon and evening editions. This article was to claim that the Green Hornet and Fonzello were in cahoots, and that the Hornet helped him escape from prison as well as kidnap two girls from his own club The Big Score.
Minutes had passed as the office came to life with its employees. Lenore Case and Gunnigan appeared in the newsroom.
"Morning Mr. Reid."
"Morning Gunnigan, just the man I wanted to see. Come into my office."
"Sure boss, what's up?"
"I've written an article, look it over and give it a run in every edition of the day as front-page news."
"Sure thing boss, " the editor replied hurrying out of the office and into the editorial room.
Reid quickly buzzed Miss Case over the intercom. "Miss Case, when Axford comes in, send him into my office.
"Yes sir, Mr. Reid," his secretary faithfully answered.
Reid sat in his executive chair reading an earlier Sentinel publication from months past on Fonzello. He was by now obsessed with the capture of Fonzello, especially since those girls had been kidnapped. The kidnapping was another matter altogether. After all, the police hadn't officially labeled it kidnapping yet. Fonzello was a suspect, the only suspect in Britt's mind. Britt thought that Fonzello had purposely kidnapped them, but couldn't figure out the motive. He still couldn't understand why someone like Fonzello would commit an abduction so soon after hi breakout. In any case, Reid didn't have all the facts yet. He had an interview in a few minutes with a girl who worked with the three victims at Fonzello's club.
Unexpectedly Axford stormed in. "Hi, Reid. How are you?"
"Well, I'm fine, Mike. I had something I wanted to tell you. I wanted to let you know that I've written an article about the Green Hornet. There is evidence to suggest that he is in with the Fonzello racket."
"Sufferin' Snakes Boss, I been telling you that all along. Glory be Reid, if I could only get my hands on that Hornet, I'd show him a thing or two, that's what I would do Reid," Axford said, getting very excited, as he often did when the Green Hornet was mentioned.
Suddenly Miss Case buzzed in. "Mr. Reid, Tiffany Margolis from The Big Score is here to see you."
"Oh that's fine Miss Case send her in," Reid said motioning for Axford to leave.
"I'll be back later Britt," Axford said passing a young, beautiful, buxom blonde.
She strolled in and sat across from Reid's desk. "Hello Mr. Reid, it's wonderful of you to see me on such a short notice," she pronounced in a light whisper.
"That's fine Miss Margolis, I just have a few questions for you. First, how well do you know these women, the ones that mysteriously disappeared?"
"Oh the girls well, we're not best friends or anything, none of us are, but we know each other pretty well," the pretty lady declared.
"Okay," Britt continued, "just a couple more questions. Do you know any of them to be involved in any kind of illegal activity?"
The question shocked the young woman, Britt could tell but never the less she answered casually, "No, not that I know of. Now, I know that we all work for The Big Score which is owned by some supposed racketeer, but the truth is not many of the employees in that place have any dealing with any racket."
"Okay, finally Miss Margolis, is there anything you can tell me about the girls that might be any kind of clue to their disappearance? Are they involved in anything dangerous, like bad relationships or anything?"
"Well, no sir. We're all just dancers for money. It's strictly entertainment."
"That's fine Miss Margolis, again I appreciate your cooperation in this matter," Britt concluded the interview.
"Thank you Mr. Reid, goodbye," the buxom beauty replied standing and then leaving the office.
The next day, at an undisclosed location on the east side of Detroit, Casper Fonzello sat in an executive recliner, puffing away on a pipe and reading the article that Britt Reid had published the day before, over a dimly lit lamp. His right hand man, Romano Versini nervously entered the room and stood beside him.
"Boss, have you seen this morning's Sentinel? Britt Reid had an interview with one of the girls from the club." the stocky man informed.
"No Romano, I could care less, I'm still obsessing over yesterday's article linking us to the Green Hornet. The paper makes us out to be partners. This isn't gonna look good to our underworld affiliates. Everybody but me is afraid of that fiend. We might lose some of our most important business deals."
"C'mon boss, you being indicted in front of a grand jury has already cost us our legitimate business deals like Fonzello Real Estate, as well as –."
"That's right Romano," the crime boss cut in, "now the only deals we have is strictly ill legit, thanks to that blasted Hornet. Anyway, he's not as smart as you make him out to be. If he was, he would've found us at the first sign of that kidnapping we did. We don't have anything to worry about. If the Hornet butts in, he'll get his just as everyone else who stood in my way has," Fonzello confidently stated, situating himself in his chair.
"Boss," Romano continued, "you don't give him enough credit. I don't like it Casper, I mean we already found my brother Rocky and that barkeep," Romano stated nervously. "The Hornet seal was on their foreheads, that proves he did it. And what kind of a racketeer can outrun the cops every time, and never gets caught; I don't think the Hornet is human."
"Like I said Romano, if the Hornet butts in, its curtains, get me? You worry too much."
"I got it Boss," Romano stated nervously.
"I tell you what Romano, send out a signal for the Hornet, a little somethin', I wanna arrange a meeting."
"Here? Boss, you must be jokin'."
"No not here, he can meet us at the warehouse. And no Romano, I'm not joking. Send the armored van out and do a sweep of a bank, any bank. Get Locino and Casteline to head it up," he said referring to his two best goons. "I want you to publicize it personally for the Hornet. Find a way to alert the police. The Hornet will figure it out. Make sure you're followed."
"But Boss, the cops-."
"Don't worry about the coppers. We'll take care of em', get me," Fonzello said with a grim smile.
"Yeah Boss, I got it."
The next afternoon at the Daily Sentinel, Axford stormed in with some news.
"Hi Casey, is Reid in?" Axford wondered, putting his arm around Miss Case.
"Yes Axford, he's in his office," Miss Case replied.
Axford wasted no time and barged into Reid's office. "Hi Reid, you'll never guess what I found out down at the station," he said excitedly.
"What now Mike?" Reid exclaimed from his chair, trying to appease his reporter.
"Well, I got a scoop that the Green Hornet and the Fonzello racket are gonna pick off a bank tonight."
"Really, that's interesting! What bank?" Reid's ears perked up at talk of the Hornet.
"Well now, the cops aren't sure, but they've got a dispatch out at every bank in Detroit I tell you. They're gonna catch that Hornet tonight Boss."
"Let's hope so Mike," Reid played along.
"Alright Reid, I'm off to tackle this story."
"Yes Axford, you do that," Reid exclaimed as Axford left his office.
Moments later Reid was on the phone with Kato alerting him of the news.
"That's right Kato, tonight. Come pick me up from work now and we'll discuss a way to find out exactly what bank Fonzello plans to bump off. Right, okay bye."
As he slammed the phone down in a rush, he grabbed his coat and raced out of the office.
Hours later, an armored van sat parked behind the deserted First National Bank just outside downtown. The two doors on the back of the vehicle swiftly opened, as three masked men leapt out into the cover of night. The three men, each wielding a crowbar, crept up to a glass door that served as the back entrance to the poorly guarded joint. One of the men gripped a small glasscutter from inside his coat and sliced an entrance into what was an otherwise locked door. Once a hole, big enough to fit a grubby hand into, was placed in the door, one goon reached in and unlocked the entrance. As the three men entered, one of them switched on a flashlight and noticed a flight of stairs. The men quickly rushed up the stairway and entered the lobby. Two of the men diligently worked, busting up cash registers from behind the counter, then placing their contents in moneybags. As the third man made use of a blowtorch, boring a hole in a large bank vault from across the room, he was unexpectedly met with a strike to the head. Losing the blowtorch, he fell backward and suddenly the radiance from the flashlight was no more. The three men stood in total darkness, as one of them spoke.
"Romano, what the hell are you doin'? Turn the light back on."
"Frankie, we're not alone," claimed the man who had just been knocked in the face, as he turned on the blowtorch for illumination.
"The Green Hornet," the third man ended his silence.
As the three men noticed beyond the blowtorch that their aggressor was the Green Hornet, they began moving toward him for an attack.
By now the first man who was obviously Romano Versini, Casper Fonzello's right hand thug, waved the blowtorch, trying to strike the Hornet. The Green Hornet quickly lunged out of the way, then made fast work of the blowtorch. As it slid across the floor, the two men behind Romano grasped their crowbars and headed straight for the Hornet. One of them threw his tool toward the Hornet. The masked vigilante tried to swing out of harms way, but the heavy instrument contacted his chest. The Hornet immediately fell to the ground heaving.
Frankie Casteline, one of Fonzello's best all around thugs, immediately rushed over to where the Green Hornet lay. Without warning, he delivered a kick to the Hornet's gut. The Hornet groaned in pain, as Frankie quickly picked him up, holding him with a vice grip by the neck.
"Now to see who this Green Hornet character really is," Frankie uttered, ready to pull off his mask.
Out of the blue, a gunshot came through a nearby window as sirens began to howl from just outside. The Hornet kneed Casteline in the groin, at the sudden distraction. Casteline momentarily dropped to the floor, just before getting back up in full retreat.
"Damn it boys, it's the cops. Let's get outta here," Romano shouted as the three men began to rush out the way they had come in, with moneybags in tow.
As three cops busted through the large window, entering the scene they immediately recognized the Green Hornet.
"Oh my God it's the Hornet, I knew he was in with the Fonzello gang. After him men," the apparent leader ordered.
With no time to spare, the Green Hornet exited the same way Fonzello's goons had a moment ago. As he darted out the access that the thugs had used for entry, gunfire following him, Kato sped up alongside in the Black Beauty. The Hornet darted into the passenger seat and the car sped out from behind the bank. Kato sounded the loud, hornet-like buzz, alerting everyone around of the Green Hornet's presence.
Without fail, cop cars chased behind the black limousine, sirens blazing in pursuit. But the Black Beauty was also on the trail of the armored van holding Fonzello's thugs and the money they had escaped with. As the chase progressed, the Hornet knew he could not afford to let the crooks go this time, no matter how many cop cars were on his tail. Abruptly, two explosive charges shot out from lengthy tubes installed in the Black Beauty's bumper. The charges bounced into the road and just before the approaching cops reached them, they detonated, doing severe damage to the officer's cars.
"Follow that van Kato," the Green Hornet ordered from the passenger side of the Black Beauty. "Tonight, we pay Fonzello a visit," he muttered, now more confident since they were no longer being followed.
"Why do you think Fonzello would rob a bank," Kato asked his alert master.
"Maybe his organization is falling apart and he needs a little something to finance an operation. It could also be a trap for us Kato, we need to be careful."
The Beauty continued to follow the armored van closely, until coming to a large brick complex with high fencing surrounding the perimeter. As the van approached the apparent entrance to the place, the Black Beauty stalled behind the cover of a large oak tree on the opposite side of the street. As the gate released, the armored van entered through.
Kato pressed a button on the dashboard and the engine went silent. The Black Beauty was now rigged for silent running, to better the stealth of the Hornet and his aid. The car shifted slowly as Kato parked it to the side of the nearby fence just ahead of the entrance. As the Green Hornet slinked from the car, Kato stood wait by the Black Beauty.
"Wait for me here Kato. I won't be long," the Hornet ordered as he climbed the fence with great precision like an alley cat in the night.
The three goons from the armored van, carrying all the money they had recovered from the bank, took an elevator to the second floor of the warehouse they had just entered. As the elevator doors opened, these men entered a boardroom, finding their boss Fonzello, relaxing in a black executive chair dressed in classic gangster garb, a dark red suit and fedora, with cigar in mouth.
"Well boys, did you get the dough?" Fonzello inquired.
"Yeah we got it," Romano Versini spoke up first.
"More importantly, did the Hornet find you?" Fonzello asked, the question burning in his mind.
"Yeah boss, he was on our trail last we saw," Frankie Casteline declared.
"Good, and what about you Locino, what have you got for me?"
"Well boss, I nailed him. I nailed the Hornet, but the cops showed up just as Frankie was about to unmask him," The third man, Salvatore Locino, spoke up walking from behind his accomplices.
"Listen to me boys, the cops better not have followed you. They didn't I trust," Casper cried out in a aggravated tone.
"No boss, the Hornet took care of em'. He shot some kind of explosive at them," Frankie Casteline uttered.
"Well, the Hornet doing our work for us. That gives me an idea."
Suddenly the elevator sounded with a ding and as the doors opened the Green Hornet jolted out onto the floor.
"Well now, quite a party we have going on here," the Hornet exclaimed.
"You. I'm glad you could make it Hornet. I must admit I did in fact lead you here with the intention of an ambush. I was gonna end you Hornet, then I was gonna expose you to the cops as a bargaining chip. But now, I think you might be useful," Fonzello declared raising from his chair.
"I'm not gonna get involved in any games with you Casper old boy. I've been on your trail for a long time. You are ruining my operations. The sooner I get you out of the way the better."
"Hornet, nobody wants a gang war on the streets of Detroit. Listen, I could make it worth your while. You and I are not that different. What do you say I continue to run my operations, the way I been doin', and you keep the cops off my back."
"Yeah, well what's in it for me?" the Green Hornet questioned playing along.
"Don't worry Hornet, I got you covered," Fonzello promised.
"Even if I wanted to help you Fonzello, my services don't come cheap."
"How about a twenty five percent cut?"
"Hmmm, you drive a hard bargain Casper," the Hornet continued to play along.
"Look Hornet, you're the one that the cops want more than anything. I'm just a gangster, the biggest gangster in the city mind you, but still, just a gangster. You sir, are a legend in this town. With your gang and my gang together, we could clean up pretty good in this racket. We would be invincible Hornet, think of it."
"Well Casper, everyone already assumes we're in on this together anyway, thanks to Britt Reid's paper. Okay Casper Fonzello, you have a deal, but I suspect you only kidnapped those dames from your club to get to me. So how about letting them go and I'm all yours. If you expect me and my gang to do more than keep the cops out of your hair, we'll have to renegotiate."
"Hey what do you care Hornet-, I."
The Green Hornet quickly interrupted, "if you'd rather I decline."
"No, I understand Hornet, they'll be safe and sound by tomorrow." Fonzello quickly replied with a handshake.
Later that night, Frank Scanlon, district attorney and one of only three people knowing the identity of the Green Hornet, was in his office doing some last minute case work when two figures slipped through the office's massive window. It was the Green Hornet and his faithful sidekick Kato.
"Well, I've done it," the Hornet said, interrupting Scanlon's work.
"Oh Hornet, Britt. You've got to stop sneaking up on me. Anyway, done what?"
"I've set up an operation with Fonzello. I'm going to supposedly keep the cops off of his back. He's agreed to let those girls he kidnapped go free-."
"Wait a minute Britt," Scanlon interjected, "that might be a bluff."
"No Frank, trust me in the racketeering world, partners don't usually go back on their word. He only abducted those girls to get to me. He's got no motive. Anyway, Frank, I'm letting you know that the Green Hornet has gotten inside his racket. Maybe soon, I will be able to lead you and the police to his hideout."
"Great, Britt. Then I guess we're one step closer."
"Right, well Kato and I have to get rolling. See ya' Frank," the masked man acknowledged just before sailing through the window.
"Bye Britt, bye Kato."
"Bye, Mr. Scanlon" Kato called out just before slipping through the panel after the Green Hornet.