Genius Jones Meets The Star Spangled Kid
by Gerald Wilson
"When did this get here, Commissioner?," the Star Spangled Kid asked.
"About an hour ago and it's addressed to you and Stripesy." "Stripesy got injured on a Seven Soldiers case, sir. He's out of action for awhile."
"I know. That's why I invited a friend of mine to help you. Genius Jones--meet the Star Spangled Kid."
"It's a pleasure. Now let's see what's in this thing."
"I need 10 cents first," Genius Jones said.
"What did you say?"
"It's the fee I charge for every case."
"I'll pay it, Genius," the Commissioner said. "Open the box, kid."
The Kid pulled the ribbon on the top and the box fell open. "It's a giant puzzle and there's a wire recorder inside the box." "Turn it on, Kid," Genius said. "There must be a message on it."
The Kid did so and the wire hissed a few seconds before the voice speaking. "Greetings, gentlemen. I am The Puzzler and I hope you enjoyed your present. The puzzle pieces are clues to crimes I plan to commit in your fair city. Catch me if you can."
"We will, Puzzler. The puzzles are numbered so it means he's planning to commit the crimes in this order."
The two heroes got the first puzzle together in less than a minute.
"The first picture's one of Big Ben. And The Puzzler spoke with an English accent."
"There's only one Big Ben in this city, Kid. That's Ben Walters, the nightclub owner," Genius said.
"Keep the puzzle here, Commissioner. With luck, we'll have The Puzzler back soon."
Walters operated his vast empire out of the Kit Kat Club. He was in his office when the crimefighters arrived.
"Thanks for the warning, Kid, but why should I be scared of an English crook?"
"Because I'm here now."
"Hello, Star Spangled Kid. Who's the other juvenile delinquent?"
"The name's Genius Jones, Puzzler."
"I'm surprised the two of you figured out the clue so quickly. But it'll do you no good. Boys, relieve Mr. Walters of his valuables."
"You won't get them without a fight," Walters said.
"That goes double for us," Genius Jones chipped in.
"Well. we've a battle then and may the best man win."
The Puzzler charged at the Kid, who blocked his attack. Genius Jones and Walters held their own against The Puzzler's men.
"Boss, let's get out of here," one of his henchmen said. "These kids are tough."
"I believe you're right." The Puzzler threw a smoke bomb at Walters' desk, which blinded the trio.
"They're getting away, Kid."
"Just temporarily, Walters. We foiled their robbery and we'll find out their plans when we return to police headquarters."
"Good luck to both of you then."
"That's a Paris street scene, Commissioner."
The Kid had visited the city once in his secret identity of Sylvester Pemberton.
"So the crime is related to France in some way. Hold on just a minute. Read this, Kid."
Commissioner Parks handed him a copy of the morning paper.
"Free French Actress to Appear at Bond Rally and there's a picture of Simone Cantrall. So she's The Puzzler's target."
"But why, Kid?"
"Check out the picture, Genius."
"That diamond necklace she's wearing must be worth a fortune. It has to be what The Puzzler's after."
"Then you two have to stop him, Kid. It will hurt the war effort if he gets the necklace."
"He won't get it, Commissioner. The paper says the rally is this afternoon at City Hall. Let's get going, Genius."
"There she is, Kid." Genius pointed to the woman behind a bank of radio mikes. Newsreel cameras worked near the edge of a crowd in front of City Hall.
"I am grateful to be here, ladies and gentlemen of the press." The actress' English had just a trace of an accent. "And I see two of your American-how do you call them-mystery men over there. The Star Spangled Kid and Genius Jones, please come forward."
"It'll put us in a better position to protect her, Genius, let's go."
"Hold it right there, Kid."
"Puzzler, we figured you'd strike here. Your clues aren't exactly subtle."
"They weren't meant to be."
"Who is this man?"
"A crook called The Puzzler, Miss Cantrall. He's after that necklace."
"You shall not get it. I am giving it to the war effort. Catch, M'sieu Kid." "Nice throw, Mademoiselle." "You may have it but you won't keep it. Get them, boys. There are only two of them."
A flash of light suddenly exploded and a female voice laughed. "We are three now, M'sieu Puzzler. I am called Fleur de Lis."
"You're that actress. And the diamonds give you that power."
"Correct, and it will help me, The Kid and Genius Jones defeat you."
"But The Kid has the diamonds, not you."
"I can control them from a distance, the way I hear your Green Lantern controls his power ring. And it helps me do this."
The woman's form began to glow brightly and then vanish.
"Now you see me, now you don't. They're all yours, my friends."
"Thank you, Miss. Come on, Genius. You get his henchmen. I'll get The Puzzler."
Genius' fists connected with two of The Puzzler's men. knocking them out. He tossed a sleeping gas ball to knock out the third.
"Good work, Genius. Now it's your turn, Puzzler."
"May I, M'sieu?," Fluer de Lis asked.
"With pleasure, Mademoiselle."
The invisible heroine sent the Puzzler toward The Kid with one punch. His right cross finished off the villain.
"We make a good team. I only need the middle diamond to keep my powers, Kid. The rest are for the war effort."
"Here you go, Fluer de Lis. What now?"
"I return to Paris to aid my friends in the Underground. Bon chance, mes amis."
"The same to you, Simone."
Gerry Wilson, a former stand-up comic and born again Christian, is the Golden Age humor expert for Fanzing. (Nobody else wanted the job.) He and his wife, Amy, have a pet cat--Jeremy--and a pet rat, Daphne.
All characters are DC Comics
This piece is © 2002 by Gerald Wilson
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