The decks of the luxury cruise ship Metropolis Queen had hosted many luminaries in the past, but few had attracted so much attention as the temperamental and gorgeous heiress Kris Munroe. The platinum blonde had stunning looks, sexy clothes, flashy jewels, and a spoiled brat attitude that could result in a temper tantrum exploding at any given moment. Passengers gawked at her curves and mocked her childish fits when her food was late or the service unsuitable. She and her seldom-seen grandmother had taken over the ship by sheer attitude.
Now days out to sea, Kris stomped her high heels and pouted. “This wind is ruining my hair! Can’t you do something?” she snapped at a porter.
“Well, Miss Munroe, a breeze isn’t under my control,” sputtered the hapless victim.
“Loser! Why, why, why must I always suffer from stupid, unfeeling oafs? It’s because I’m so sensitive! I know it!” she whined and stormed off deck.
“But Miss Munroe! We have a good show in the lounge! A magician!” pleaded the porter.
“Oh, right! Like I want to see some lame-o pull a rabbit out of his hat! That is so yesterday!” she snapped. He frowned and prayed the trip would end sooner than normal.
In her cabin, Kris Munroe turned to her heavily cloaked granny and said, “I’m worn out from throwing these tantrums,” she said in a sweet voice totally unlike her normal shrill tone. “I know we figured if I played the spoiled brat babe in a bikini, everyone would pay attention to me and leave you free to carry out our plan, but even I hate myself by now!”
“You may start being Kris all the time, if you’re not careful,” said the gruff-voiced granny. “As for me, I like being inconspicuous for a change. I know we’re onto something big. Slick Eddie Mathews, Big Joey Green, and Tony ‘the Squid’ Squidioni are all here — under fake names, of course. I recognize the mugs by their mug shots. The Metropolis Police would be as giddy as kids in a toy shop if we weren’t in international waters.”
“Yes, let’s hope our plan works, or we’ll both be walking the plank, Granny,” she teased.
In the lounge, the people in the audience laughed or sat bored as a dapper man with dark hair and a small mustache poised on stage in an elegant tuxedo. He pulled off his top hat and whispered to the curvy blonde in fishnets who assisted him while smiling at the crowd. “Next, I’ll pull a rabbit out of the hat — they love that one!” She rolled her heavily mascara-covered eyes and wished to be out of her very high heels.
At the end of the act, as he frantically lunged for the escaping rabbit, the magician said, “The rabbit is here without his watch, or he’d tell you all that, as much fun as Roxy and I have had, it is time for us to end this evening of magic and marvels!”
When he exited the stage, a drunk staggered up and said, “Good show, Magi. You’re the best I’ve seen since that Santana chick.”
“I believe you mean Zatanna, and Magi the Magnificent thanks you, kind sir,” said the smooth magician.
His blonde assistant took off a heel and rubbed an aching foot. “Roxy? Why did you decide to name me Roxy?”
“It sounds sexy. Plus, you look like a Roxy with all that makeup and the blonde wig,” he said sheepishly.
“Well, Magi, next time you can be the dumb blonde. You won’t need anything but some hair dye to pull it off,” she teased.
That night in her cabin, Roxy scanned some notes. “The ship’s normal captain, Mark Compass, vanished before this voyage. The line assigned his new second-in-command. Svea Marie Compass came to us with the story of her husband’s disappearance. We figured that as staff entertainers we could circulate among crew and go all over the ship with more ease than if we had posed as guests.”
She rubbed her chin in thought. “We know the new captain, Eric Windsor, is eccentric, and according to the digging I did before donning this cheap wig and makeup, he owes several creditors for gambling debts.”
Magi rushed in after a hasty knock. “Bad news,” he said. “I spotted Slick Eddie Mathews on board. He’s tied into the mob. Superman and I put him away years ago, but he’s out and never broke his ties to the Metropolis gang he ruled. If he’s here, he could well be behind the abduction or murder of Captain Compass. He controlled gambling gangs before.”
Roxy nodded. “I flirted my way into getting a scoop from a crewman. There is a gorgeous rich girl aboard who is causing a real sensation between skimpy bikinis and temper tantrums. Her name — get this — is Kris Munroe!”
Magi laughed. “That was one of Charlie’s Angels. Uh… not that I watched it that much.”
Roxy teased him. “You can name every Angel, can’t you?”
Magi sheepishly grinned. “Only the first five or so.”
“Since Eddie knows you as Magi from before, let little Roxy play up to him,” said the blonde as she reluctantly dabbed on more makeup.
“Be careful,” said Magi. “He has really fast hands. He picked my pocket once.”
Roxy slipped on a flashy minidress behind her changing screen and said, “Don’t worry. My hands are pretty fast, too.”
Kris Munroe was sunning on the deck when she glimpsed a shadowy figure brush across her line of vision. She stiffened and gasped as a weight dropped down from above. She rolled aside as the heavy board slammed into her now-empty deck lounge.
“Miss Munroe — we are so sorry!” said a worried-looking porter. “It was an accident!”
Kris tossed her platinum locks back and said, “So was your birth, you toad.” She ran across the deck and climbed the ladder to the top landing. Metal chips, she mused. They sawed this plank loose from the metal couplings. Someone wants this rich girl out of the way. I’d bet it was all of the ship’s waiters, but maybe it ties in to our case.
She wore a purple bikini and attracted many stares. “Hey, darlin’, you look like a girl in a hurry,” drawled a dapper man in black.
“What Thin Man movie did you escape from?” she snapped as the elegantly dressed Magi approached.
“Huh? A chick with a smart mouth. I like that,” he said.
“Look, sorry. Now, let’s have us a nice private talk, hmm?” she said in a honey-dripping tone.
Magi grinned and led her onward.
“Now that we’re alone, who are you?” she demanded with a bright light of a keen mind shining in her blue eyes.
“I am the world-famous Magi!” he began, his chest swelled in pride.
“Cut the act. I’m a woman and a trained observer. I know makeup and wigs. You’re wearing both!” she said, and with lightning fast reflexes she pulled off his mustache.
Meanwhile, Roxy sat on the lap of Slick Eddie as he laughed and talked to some rough goons.
“Hey, boss, is the big summit tonight still on?” asked a drunken bald man.
“Shaddup!” he snapped back.
“Ah, Eddie, don’t mind the dish — she don’t know a summit from a–” began the bald man.
Roxy giggled vacantly and allowed Eddie to send her off with a slap on the back. “Go make yourself pretty, doll. Eddie’s got business,” he said with a sneer.
She swayed off and ran as fast as her spike heels could carry her toward his cabin. Summit of gang leaders out on international waters, she thought. That could explain the abduction of Compass. The new captain Windsor needs money, and the mob bosses paid him to let them use the Metropolis Queen for some big meeting outside of their territories, safe from the law and Superman.
Reaching Slick Eddie’s cabin, which she knew would be empty, she picked the lock with speed and skill. Once inside, she gasped at the sight of a big woman in a gown and veil with long, hairy arms. The figure whirled and lost his hat, and Roxy’s eyes went wide.
“You’re an ape!” she gasped.
“You’re Jimmy Olsen!” gasped Kris as she held the fake mustache.
Jimmy looked right and left desperately, then grabbed the mustache and quickly placed it back on his lip. Thankfully no one else was in sight.
“OK, Mr. Action, why are you posing as a cheesy magician?” asked Kris Munroe.
Jimmy Olsen looked pleased that she knew his chosen nickname. “I’m on a story. Anyways, why are you calling yourself after a Cheryl Ladd character? There is no Kris Munroe on the social register, and those jewels you’ve been showing everyone — I mean the diamonds — are fake costume pieces. I did a story on such paste-ups once, and I can tell!”
“I’m a private eye named Angel O’Day,” she said as they walked to her cabin.