THE STOLEN COSTUME – PART II

by Kirk Hastings and Stephen Brooks

A "Lost Adventure" of Superman

(Based on the original teleplay by Ben Peter Freeman)

GUEST CAST:

Candy Meyers ... Frank Jenks

Author's Note:

In the original first season episode "The Stolen Costume", many questions were raised that were never answered, and the episode seemed to leave off before the real end of the story. This "Lost Adventure" entry conjectures what the real ending of that story might have been. It begins shortly after Superman had marooned criminals Ace and Connie on that remote mountaintop in the Arctic ...

Superman soared through the cold Arctic air, headed for the mountaintop cabin where he had left Ace and Connie Chiles a few days before. He had a large knapsack strapped to his back under his cape, which was full of food and toiletry supplies.

Locating the mountaintop he was looking for, Superman angled downward toward it. He landed on the snow with a thump.

He walked over to the cabin. He was somewhat surprised not to see any smoke coming from the chimney. The cabin was an old hunter's shack that had been abandoned by its original owner some time ago. After bringing Ace and Connie there, Superman had done some quick repairs to it, stocked it with food and water, and outfitted it with a propane heater.

He knocked on the cabin door. No response. He pulled the door open and stepped inside.

The cabin was deserted. Not only that, it didn't look like it had been occupied at all since he had left Ace and Connie there three days before.

He pulled the knapsack off his back and dropped it onto a table. Then he went back outside. He looked around. He could see nothing.

He walked over to the cliff edge where he had originally left Ace and Connie. Looking down into the deep canyon he used his telescopic vision to look around.

Abruptly he saw something at the bottom of the canyon. Immediately he leaped off of the cliff edge and plummeted downward. Reaching the bottom he landed solidly on his feet, and then approached a small mound of snow. Using his super breath he blew the snow away.

What remained were the frozen bodies of Ace and Connie, one piled on top of the other.

Superman walked over to the bodies and knelt down, examining them. Apparently they had been there for days, probably since soon after he had left them.

He hung his head. He had not known what to do with the pair after they had discovered his secret identity; he knew that any promises they might have made to not reveal his secret would not be kept. So he had stranded them until he could think of a better solution. He had not expected them to be foolish enough to try to climb down the mountain, especially after he had warned them not to try it. But evidently they had not heeded his warning.

There was nothing else to do now, except to get some blankets from the cabin and return the bodies to Metropolis.

# # #

Returning to Metropolis, Superman dropped the bodies off at the city morgue, and then contacted Inspector Henderson to let him know what had happened.

"Well, since you had no direct connection with their deaths, and you warned them not to try to climb down the mountain, I guess you're not legally responsible for what happened to them," Henderson told him.

"I never intended for them to die," Superman replied.

"I know you didn't," Henderson told him. "I wouldn't worry about it. They both had a rap sheet as long as my arm, including armed robbery and murder. If they hadn't killed themselves, the state would have been forced to do it eventually anyhow. Society is better off without them."

"But I promised myself when I first became Superman that I would never kill anyone, no matter whether they deserved it or not," Superman said. "I would leave it to the law to determine that. This came uncomfortably close to breaking that vow."

"It wasn't your fault that they decided to commit suicide rather than stay put. Take my advice -- go home and forget it. I'll square things with the DA."

"Thanks, Bill," Superman told him. He turned, and with a powerful leap soared out of Henderson's office window.

"I never get tired of seeing him do that," Henderson mumbled to himself.

# # #

After returning to his apartment and assuming his Clark Kent identity once again, Kent called Candy Meyers on the phone.

"Candy, can you come over right away?" he asked.

"Sure, Kent," Candy responded. "I'll be right over."

Within a half-hour there was a knock on Kent's door, and he admitted Candy. Kent got Candy a drink, and they both sat down. Then Kent tried to explain to Candy what had happened.

After a minute, Candy gave Kent a quizzical look.

"Let me get this straight, boy," Candy said. "... You found what you went after."

"That's right."

"And the guy who had it was dead."

"The guy and the woman. They fell off a cliff."

"Huh," Candy grunted. "Well, whattaya know. They fell off a cliff, did they?"

"Uh-huh."

"Kent, you must think I'm an awful sap."

Kent innocently looked at him. "Why, Candy?"

"Why, he asks me," Candy said half to himself, standing up. "Look, any minute you'll be trying to tell me I'm J. Edgar Hoover, and you're Superman!" he added sarcastically.

"Could be," Kent replied.

"That did it," Candy said. He put his drink down on the desk. "Good night, Kent," he said. He walked toward the door.

Kent smiled to himself at his friend's understandable frustration.

"So long, Candy!"

# # #

Candy went downstairs and climbed into his car. But instead of starting the engine he just sat there for a long time, trying to figure out what the devil was going on with Clark Kent.

He had known Kent for a year or so, having run into him numerous times through his crime reporting for The Daily Planet. He had found him to be a nice guy, and somebody he could socialize with once in a while. Kent had even helped him out a little on a couple of cases. But this latest caper, with the mysterious object from a secret closet in Kent's bedroom that he wouldn't identify, and someone trying to blow Kent up, had Candy's head spinning. Now, just like that, Kent announces that he found what he was looking for, and the people who had it had fallen off a cliff!

Did Kent really think that the whole episode was now over, and that Candy could just forget about this whole thing, without knowing what any of it was all about?

Private eyes are known for their curious natures. And Candy was no exception. He had to find out what was really going on here. Why did Kent have a secret compartment in his closet? And what was in it that he stubbornly refused to identify? And why would someone try to blow him up over it? And how exactly did two people die over it?

These were questions that Candy had to find the answers to. He turned the key in the car's ignition and started the engine.

The first place he was going to check would be the morgue.

# # #

It was dark by the time Candy got to the Metropolis Morgue. But the night shift attendant, Harry Smith, was an old friend of Candy's. He had no trouble getting in.

"Got any fresh stiffs, Harry?" Candy asked.

"Yeah," Harry replied. "Two came in this afternoon. Superman brought them in. Strange case."

"Superman, huh? What's strange about it?"

"The bodies were frozen."

"Frozen?" Candy replied, his eyebrows lifting.

"Yeah. Funny thing. It hasn't been anywhere near cold enough recently in Metropolis to do that."

"What's the make on them?"

"Connie and Ace Chiles. Both 36 years old. Local hoods, with a record as long as the Brooklyn Bridge."

"Did they die from exposure?"

"No – they died from blunt force impact, like they fell off a cliff or something. Apparently their bodies froze some time after they were dead."

Like they fell off a cliff Candy thought to himself. Sounds familiar.

"Can I have a look at them?"

"Sure."

Smith took Candy into the body locker, and pulled the drawers out with Connie and Ace's bodies on them. One at a time Candy pulled back the sheets from their faces.

I know these birds he thought. They're the same ones who high jacked me outside of Kent's apartment.

Candy replaced the sheets.

"Thanks, Harry," he said.

# # #

Outside in his car once again Candy pondered what he had just learned.

Those two in the meat locker are obviously the same two people who stole the whatchamacallit out of Kent's apartment he thought. And the same two who grabbed me, thinking I was Kent. But what happened to them after that? How did they fall off a cliff, and then freeze to death? And how did Superman get involved in all this?

This part of the case seemed to be leading to a dead end. Apparently Kent knew what had happened to the two hoods, and may even have had something to do with it. But Candy knew he wouldn't spill anything. And apparently Superman knew something about this case too. But how did one find Superman to ask him a question? He wasn't exactly listed in the phone book.

Well, the next thing on Candy's agenda now was to find out just what was in Kent's secret closet. Maybe that would provide some answers.

# # #

Early the next morning Candy kept a vigil outside of Clark Kent's apartment building, slouched in the front seat of his car parked a short distance down the street. Eventually Kent came out at about 8:30 AM, and left in his own car.

Candy waited a while to make sure Kent had really gone to work, and not just gone out on an errand. When he was sure Kent was not coming back, Candy got out of his car and entered the Standish Arms apartment building.

Heading up the stairs he went over to Kent's apartment on the fifth floor. He put on a pair of gloves. Then, using a special tool, he expertly picked the lock on Kent's door.

He stepped inside. He quickly headed into Kent's bedroom. Pressing the hidden button on the wall molding, he watched as the secret panel slid open.

He went over and looked inside.

There was nothing there.

Blazes! he thought. It's not there! I thought Kent had recovered it, whatever it was!

Then he noticed that there was a clothes pole in the closet, with an empty hanger hanging from it.

A piece of clothing? he thought. Two people tried to blow Kent up, and ended up dying because of a piece of clothing?

He closed the panel door and headed back out of Kent's apartment, shaking his head all the way.

What kind of article of clothing could cause all this trouble? he kept repeating over and over to himself, as he headed for his car.

# # #

Candy's next stop was the office of Inspector William J. Henderson at police headquarters.

"What can I do for you, Candy?" Henderson asked. He knew Meyers well, having worked on a number of cases with him.

"I was wonderin' if you could give me the lowdown on Ace and Connie Chiles, and how they died," Candy asked him.

Suddenly Henderson looked uncomfortable. He squirmed in his chair a bit, then got up and walked over to a file cabinet. He pulled the drawer open and started rifling files, as if he was looking for something.

"Their bodies just, uh, came in yesterday," Henderson mumbled over his shoulder. "I haven't had a chance to look over their case files yet."

Candy sat down on the edge of Henderson's desk, a bemused smile on his face. He knew when he had touched a nerve.

"Oh," he replied nonchalantly. "Harry says their bodies were frozen. Wouldn't you say that's a little unusual for this time of year?"

Henderson closed the file drawer and went back to his desk. He sat down.

"Yes, I'd say that's slightly unusual."

"Any ideas how it happened?" Candy pressed.

"Not so far." Henderson picked up his phone, as if preparing to make a call. "Now if you'll excuse me, Candy, I have some important phone calls to make."

"Sure, sure," Candy replied, sliding off Henderson's desk. He headed for the door.

"Uh, you'll be sure to let me know if you find out anything, right?" Candy said, just before exiting.

"Yeah, sure," Henderson mumbled, dialing his phone and waving Candy out.

Candy closed the door, a smile on his face. He headed down the hallway.

Yep, he was definitely on to something here. Henderson knew a lot more about this than he was letting on. He just had to find out what.

In his office Henderson put down his phone, a worried look on his face. He knew Candy was not the type to let up until he had found out what he wanted to know.

He picked his phone up again and dialed the number of the Daily Planet newspaper.

"Yes, operator, uh, I'd like to speak to Clark Kent, please," Henderson said into the mouthpiece.

# # #

Clark Kent sprinted into his office and picked up the telephone on his desk, which was ringing.

"Hello. Kent speaking," he said.

"Clark, this is Bill Henderson down at police headquarters."

"Oh, hi Bill. What's up?"

"Clark, I need to speak to Superman about something. Do you think you could contact him?"

Kent's eyebrows went up. "Why, I don't know, Bill. I can try. What's this all about?"

"Well, Candy Meyers was just here, asking a lot of questions about Ace and Connie Chiles. I think he's determined to find out the exact circumstances surrounding their deaths, for whatever reason. But that's something Superman wanted me to keep quiet. I think he ought to know about this."

Kent pondered this information. "Hmmm. Sounds like you're right, Bill. Tell you what: I'll try to get ahold of him. If I do, I'll pass your message on to him."

"Thanks, Clark. I'd appreciate that."

Kent hung up the phone.

It was now obvious that Candy was not going to let the situation concerning Ace and Connie Chiles drop until he knew exactly what had happened to them. In a way, Kent couldn't blame him. He had left Candy with an awful lot of unanswered questions. But how could he answer those questions, and keep his secret identity safe? Candy had been a good friend for some time, and he had jumped when Clark had called him about the missing item in his secret closet. Clark hated to deceive him. Yet what else could he do?

He sat down in the chair behind his desk to think.

# # #

Early that evening Clark Kent pulled up behind his apartment building and parked his Nash-Healey in the lot there. He came around the building to enter the front entrance. Just as he came to the building's corner he noticed that Candy Meyers was standing in front of the building, leaning against it and smoking a cigarette.

Kent stopped before Candy could spot him. Thinking for a moment, he took off his hat and tugged at his tie, sprinting back around the building to the rear.

Moments later Superman came down onto the sidewalk right in front of Candy.

"Hi! I've been expecting you," Candy said in a casual voice.

"Oh, you have?" Superman replied, smiling sardonically.

"Yep." Candy flicked his cigarette away. "I know that you and Bill Henderson are friends, so I figured if I paid a little visit to Henderson and started asking questions about Ace and Connie Chiles, then you would probably show up soon afterward."

Superman ignored this. "What's your interest in Ace and Connie?" he asked.

"I want to know how they died. And why they died."

"Inspector Henderson should be able to tell you that."

"But he didn't. And he acted like he didn't want to tell me."

To this Superman made no response.

"I think you know how and why too," Candy continued. "How's about you telling me?"

"I – can't," Superman replied. "To do that would endanger my secret identity."

"Oh – I see," Candy said. "And this whole situation wouldn't by any chance have anything to do with Clark Kent, who lives in this building right behind me, and that mysterious little item that he keeps hidden in his secret closet, would it?"

Now Superman was beginning to look uncomfortable. "I – wouldn't know anything about that," he replied uneasily.

"Well, I think you do," Candy told him. "C'mon, Superman! You can't kid a kidder. You seem to know an awful lot about Clark Kent's affairs. Come to think of it, you look and sound an awful lot like him too."

Candy pointed at Superman's costume.

"That outfit you're wearing wouldn't happen to be what Kent keeps in his secret closet, would it?"

Again Superman made no reply.

Candy's demeanor suddenly changed, from that of a hard-nosed detective to an understanding friend.

"Look, pal, we're both on the same side here. I like Kent. And I respect you too, and the work you do. I wouldn't do anything to mess that up. Believe me. All I want is some answers -- about how two people died, and what upset a friend of mine so much that he felt he had to call me in the middle of the night to help him find something that he lost. He must've trusted me an awful lot to do that. All I'm askin' now is that you trust me too."

Superman thought for a moment about this.

"Okay, Candy," he finally said. "Meet me up at Kent's apartment in five minutes."

With that, Superman leaped up into the air and was gone.

Candy waited a couple minutes. Then he went inside the apartment building, and took the elevator up to the fifth floor. He went over to Kent's apartment door and waited for someone to show up.

Just then the door opened.

"Come in, Candy," Kent told him from inside.

Taken a little by surprise, Candy stepped into Kent's apartment.

"Want a drink?" Kent offered.

"Sure," Candy replied. "I could use a stiff one right now -- but since I know you only have ginger ale, I'll take whatever you got," he said.

Kent poured him the drink; then they sat down.

"Okay, Candy, I know you've been wanting some answers since this whole mess started, so I'm going to be straight with you now," Kent said. He proceeded to explain how the item in his secret closet was, in fact, his Superman outfit, and how he happened to have it off on the day it disappeared. Candy already knew the part about Johnny Simms, so Kent then described the blackmail attempt by Ace and Connie, and how he had stranded them on the mountaintop in the Arctic. Then he told Candy about how they had died.

"So that's it," Candy said. "So that's how they got frozen. That one was really drivin' me up a wall!"

"That's the whole story," Kent told him.

Candy put his drink down. "Look, Kent -- I told you this downstairs, and I'll tell you again. I'm on your side. And we're both professionals. I think what you do as this Superman character is great stuff. Lord knows this town needs all the help it can get. But I'm your friend. I'd never sell you out. You can trust me that I won't ever repeat anything you've told me here."

"I appreciate that, Candy," Kent replied. "I know now that I can trust you. I should have been up front with you all along."

"Yeah," Candy agreed. "And listen -- if you ever need any help, or any legwork done, for your work either as Superman or as a Planet reporter, I'd be glad to help you out. Just call me. I'll do whatever I can."

Both men stood up, and they shook hands.

"Thanks, Candy," Kent said, smiling. "I'll remember."

Candy winked at him. "All I know is, with the two of us on the job, Metropolis's underworld had better watch their backs from now on!" he said.

But then he cocked his hat back on his head and scratched his forehead.

"... Or should I say the three of us?" he added.

Kent just laughed.

THE END