Title: The Dance of the Harlequin
Author: Wabbitseason
Livejournal: wabbitseason
Recipient: Livia
Featured character: The Harlequin I (Molly Maynne-Scott); Dr. Mid-Nite I (Dr. Charles McNider)
Summary: Bidding for Green Lantern's love and attention, the Harlequin holds up an event he's attending. But she hadn't counted on a second mystery man in attendance.

Prologue

Creeping into the abandoned warehouse, the Harlequin listened for signs of activity. If her contact had been right, old Sal's gang would be holed up here. Sal was arrested two weeks ago by the Green Lantern, foiling a robbery attempt. His gang had left him high and dry. From what she had heard, though, they were pretty useless without Sal. No one had stepped forward to take his place, which worked all the better for her ends. For her plan to work, the Harlequin needed a nice malleable group, not one beholden to any one particular criminal or organization.

The Harlequin stopped, certain she heard voices from the back of the warehouse. Moving closer, she could see and smell the smoke coming from the back room. She listened for a few minutes to their conversation. She laughed a little, realizing they were just sitting around playing cards. She couldn't have picked a better opportunity.

How did she get to this point? The Harlequin wondered. Going from a nice large Irish family to a costumed villainess was quite a leap, even by most standards. But no boys would look twice at red-haired Molly Maynne, because she was too much of a tomboy, athletic enough to keep up with her brothers. So she stayed alone, until she met Green Lantern. In him, she saw an equal, someone who might appreciate her. His life was devoted to fighting crime. So become a criminal, she did, and not a bad one, if she said so herself. People still talked about her around Gotham. If she wanted to impress Green Lantern as being as smart and capable as he was, this was the only way.

Through the smoke, the Harlequin saw the men at the table. She identified five men, all bigger and stronger than her physically. But she still held the upper hand. She would use the element of surprise to her advantage. Her glasses were her secret weapon. She still hadn't completely mastered the illusions, but she was getting very good at being someone or somewhere she wasn't.

"You want in on this hand?" George asked from the dealer's position.

"Yeah, sure, George," Tony fidgeted, "I should have enough."

"I'm tired of playing cards," Louie said. "Why don't we rob some place?"

"We tried that," Marco reminded him. "Remember what happened?"

The Harlequin laughed. She had heard what happened. The only reason they had managed to avoid getting arrested in their last two heists was because they knew someone with a good getaway car. That person squealed to the Harlequin about their location.

"I told you," George said, "Sal wants us to wait until he gets out of the slammer. He doesn't think the coppers have enough to keep him locked up."

Louie asked, "And how long do we gotta wait?"

George snapped, "As long as it takes."

So there was dissension in the ranks. Good. The Harlequin could use that, too. She watched George shuffle the deck of cards. He seemed to be the one problem in this little band. If she could minimize him, she would be on the clear. The Harlequin took a deep breath. This seemed to be as good a chance as any. Just when George was about to deal out the cards around the table, she stepped into the smoke filled room, striking a defiant pose.

"Why don't you deal me in?" The Harlequin asked, sounding a helluva lot more confident than she felt. "I bet I can beat all five of you without blinking." In her trademark blue and yellow costume with white ruffs trimming the neck and skirt, she looked like she had walked out of a carnival. Wide pointed spectacles framed her face, with a hat on her curly red hair. Her mandolin was slung over her shoulders, like she was a street busker, not a costumed criminal. But she knew how to use it as a weapon when necessary.

"What's the idea, sister? We don't take kindly to intruders." George asked.

Tony said, "Especially from circus acts, right, Georgie?"

"Boys, boys, is that any way to treat your new leader?" The Harlequin shook her head, unsurprised at their reaction.

George rose to his feet. "Hey, I run this gang now!"

"Only because Silver Tongued Sal is locked up," The Harlequin stepped forward, her glasses shooting sparks. She was expecting him to make a move. She would have to time this exactly right, so she'd talk a little and keep him off balance. "You've already managed to bungle both of the heists you've tried to pull off. I'm taking over this gang and you're not going to stop me."

"We'll see about that," George pulled out his gun. He fired towards the Harlequin but the bullets went through air. "What the..."

The Harlequin said, "What's the matter? You can't hit what you can't see?" Then she appeared right next to George and disarmed him and knocked him unconscious. Watching him fall to the ground, she glanced around at the rest of the table. "Anyone else want to take a crack at me?"

"I heard of you," Louie looked nervous. "You're that Harlequin dame, aren't you? You fought the Green Lantern and nearly defeated him." Then his nervousness changed to confusion. "But word was you were killed in the Lentil store bombing."

The Harlequin smiled, "The reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated."

"So you have a heist in mind?" Marco asked.

The Harlequin said, "Of course I do. In fact, you might say I'm returning to the scene of my last caper." She put a Gotham City newspaper on the table where they could read it clearly. "I presume all of you know that the Lentil store is reopening in two days. They're hosting a gala event to celebrate the occasion, ostensibly to raise money for charity. Everyone who is anyone in Gotham has been invited."

"You want us to hold up the party," Louie said.

"Precisely," the Harlequin said. "And no funny stuff. If even one of you mugs steps out of line, you'll answer to me, do you understand?" The four men nodded. They had seen she had meant business. "Good, I'll show you what we do..." She spent a half an hour explaining her plan, giving detailed instructions to her gang members. Finally she asked. "Now do you understand my plan?"

"Sure, sure," Louie said, "we wait for your signal and then we sweep in to make with the valuables from the guests."

"We're sure to make a killing off this night," his brother Marco said.

Harlequin said, "We're going to need some extra muscle."

"I can get some extra men," Tony offered. "They owe me some favors." Then he asked. "But Harlequin, what happens if the Green Lantern shows up?"

The Harlequin flashed her gang a dazzling smile, "Oh, I'm counting on that. Don't worry, you guys focus on the loot. I'll take care of the Green Lantern."

###

Two days later

I shouldn't even have been there that night. I was in Gotham City for a medical conference. The invitation arrived at my house in New York just before I left. I was going to decline. I didn't think I was going to have time. I needed to focus on what I was going to say to all those doctors and administrators the following night. It was good to be just Dr. McNider again, rather than writing my crime articles, even if it meant dealing with red tape and bureaucracy.

But Myra convinced me otherwise. My nurse and assistant thought I spent too much time cooped up with my research. I needed to be outside, enjoying life, not thinking about what I couldn't do. I never wallowed in depression for long with Myra around. She always provided a healthy dose of perspective.

I told myself the event was for a good cause, but I still felt a little ridiculous, standing in what was supposedly the lobby of Lentil's department store. I'd heard the store had been damaged by a bomb a few months back. The damage hadn't been that severe, allowing the store to rebuild. J.Q. Lentil decided to celebrate the reopening with a lavish charity event.

For once I was grateful I couldn't see the garish decorations trimming the room. But I could hear the band playing in the background. I could smell all the expensive perfumes worn by Gotham's finest, mixing in the air. I could feel Myra quietly guiding me around the room with the slightest touch on my arm. She had smoked before we had come inside. I complained about the habit, but she still occasionally lit up when I wasn't looking.

"Now isn't this better than worrying over some dull old speech?" Myra said.

"Don't sell those appearances short," I pointed out, "That speech will garner us thousands of dollars in much needed research money."

"So will being here," Myra retorted. "You said so yourself. Some of your top potential investors are here in Gotham. Most of them are here tonight. This will give you a chance to meet them." She added. "I hope they stationed enough police around the store. Their women are literally dripping in jewels and furs."

Myra constantly amazes me. One minute she'll be helping me plan delicate medical research and the next she'll be commenting on the current fashion trends. It was just like her to think of hobnobbing with some of the very men I wanted to impress.

"Dr. McNider, this is quite a surprise, I didn't know you were in town."

I stopped when I heard my name mentioned. I recognized it immediately, surprised to hear the lightness and warmth in the tone. I was so used to hearing Alan Scott's voice edged with steel and determination, fighting criminals. I tended to forget he spent time in front of the microphone, when he wasn't working behind the scenes.

"I'm in town for a conference," I said. "What are you doing here?"

"Arranging the live feed for WXYZ," Alan said. "As program director, I was put in charge of coordinating everything. J.Q. Lentil is one of our major sponsors." He added. "But where are your manners, dear doctor? Who is this dazzling beauty on your arm?"

Steadying my annoyance, I indicated Myra still at my arm, "This protective young lady is my assistant Myra Mason." I added. "Myra, this is Alan Scott, a radio man I met at one of my charity events during the war. Don't let his charm get to you."

"How'd you do, miss? I've heard a lot about you." Alan said.

Myra laughed, "Hopefully I'll live up to expectations."

"Why don't you go get us some drinks?" I suggested.

"Are you sure?" Myra asked.

I sighed, "Don't worry, I'll manage just fine."

"I'll keep the good doctor company, Miss Mason," Alan offered.

Myra said, "All right, if you say so, Doctor, but don't go wandering off."

After a long few minutes, Alan said. "You can relax. She's gone now."

I breathed a sigh of relief. "You don't know how glad I am you're here. Myra thought I could use a break from my research, maybe drum up some support. You can't spend all your time hidden away from the world," I mimicked her dulcet tones. We'd worked enough years together I knew every cadence of her voice. "I try not to argue with her when she takes that tone."

Alan sounded sympathetic, "I have a secretary like that. I would have preferred to stay back at the station, worrying about the broadcast, but Miss Maynne convinced me it was a good idea to be here, just in case something went wrong."

"Oh, Miss Maynne, is it?" I asked amused. "Blonde or brunette?"

"Neither," I could almost hear the scowl on Alan's face, "An Irish redhead."

"Oh lord," I sighed, "she sounds like a handful to me."

Alan said, "She can be, but she's very good at her job."

"I'm a little surprised Green Lantern's not here tonight," I said. "Aren't his radio adventures sponsored by this department store?"

"Please don't tell me you're a fan," Alan groaned.

I pointed out, "The radio is an excellent form of entertainment for blind people."

"Not wild about the new fangled television I take it," Alan said.

"A passing fad," I scoffed. We'd had this argument before. As a broadcaster, Alan always liked being on the cutting edge. He had been following the experiments with television for years. "I can listen perfectly well to the radio and picture my own versions of the characters. I'm not hampered by anybody else's grainy images. The Green Lantern comes off as much younger over the air, by the way."

"Everyone's a critic," Alan said.

"Oh, Mr. Scott! I'm glad I found you."

Alan gave a little sigh. "Speaking of my erstwhile secretary... excuse me a minute." After briefly introducing us, he excused himself while he talked in a low voice with his secretary. I could still hear most of the conversation. "What is it, Miss Maynne?"

"I'm sorry to bother you, but you wanted me to tell you if there were any problems setting up for the band's performance."

I raised my eyebrows. Molly Maynne sounded capable and efficient. She wasn't afraid to come to her boss with a potential problem.

"What happened now?" Alan asked.

"I was talking with the lighting engineers. Apparently the bandleader is raising a stink because he can't see the audience. The glare is getting in his eyes."

"I didn't realize it was that bad," Alan admitted. "Have them adjust the lights down some. I'll smooth things over with the bandleader."

"Sure thing. And Lentil was looking for you."

"Not too surprising, why?" Alan asked. "Let me guess, the Green Lantern appearance."

"He was really insistent on it. Some of his investors thought it'd be good to meet the famous mystery man in person."

I hid a smile, hearing the clear admiration. Obviously his reputation was preceding him, at least in someone's eyes.

"Is this Lentil's suggestion? Or yours?"

"I'm sure that if he showed up it'd be a great success..."

"No, Miss Maynne, you're not going to see Green Lantern swooping in to save the day."

"When did you become his social director? Besides, what makes you think I was hoping he'd show?"

"You've been looking at the doors," Alan commented. "I talked to the Green Lantern before the event, remember, to see if he wanted to promote Lentil's program."

Molly nodded, "Right, I remember you telling me that. I was just hoping maybe he'd change his mind."

Alan finished, "Tell you what, if Green Lantern does show, I'll dance with you."

"I couldn't possibly," Molly countered, "Are you trying to avoid the question?"

"Do we have a bet?" Alan asked.

"We do indeed," Molly said. "But you're going to lose, you know."

"Maybe," Alan said, "but I doubt it."

I was shaking my head at Alan's complete audacity when I smelled a heavy cigar, puffing not far from me, until my senses felt like they were on overload. I adjusted my dark glasses, wishing Myra would come back with the drinks.

Molly must have noticed my reaction, because she asked with some concern, "Is something wrong?"

"No, Miss Maynne, it's just someone smoking a cigar," I said. "The smoke gets to me sometimes."

Alan said, "Yes, I can see why." He gave out a sigh like my earlier one. "Your cigar smoker is none other than our dear host, J.Q. Lentil. And he's headed this way."

"I should go take care of those things we discussed," Molly said.

"And make sure the sound people are doing their final checks, will you?" Alan asked.

"No problem," Molly said. "Good luck."

After she was gone, I said. "Like I said, she sounds like trouble."

"At least she's more fascinated with Green Lantern than with me," Alan said. "That's the last possible thing I need right now."

"Hey, there you are, Scott, I've been looking all over for you." J.Q. Lentil said. "Wasn't that your pretty little secretary? Miss Maynne looks even nicer all dolled up for the night in that green dress, don't she?"

Alan said, "She's been coordinating a lot of tonight's details for me."

I heard the irritation in his voice. He didn't like Lentil's appreciative comments.

"Ain't it some night?" Lentil continued. "I'm sure glad they finished the repairs to the building on time. You'd never guess what this place looked like only a few months ago. I can't wait for the doors to open this weekend for all our loyal customers."

J.Q. Lentil sounded like every other successful businessman I had encountered over the years, always quick with a new idea to bring more business. His department stores enjoyed a lot of their popularity because of the Green Lantern show, so it stood to reason the sponsor would want its star here. Obviously Alan didn't agree.

"I'm just glad no one was hurt in the blast," Alan said. After a long pause, he added. "This is Dr. Charles McNider. He is visiting from New York."

"A pleasure, Mr. Lentil," I replied, trying to be gracious.

"Oh great, we're opening a store up thereabouts. I hope you come by it when the store opens, doc," Lentil said. "We have a great tailor on staff if you need new suits."

"I'll keep that in mind," I said, thinking my own tailor would be heartbroken if I left him for a mere department store, even one like Lentil's.

Before I could dig myself any further, Myra reappeared with our drinks. She has seen me through any number of these parties, knowing the problems my blindness can cause. People never know how to react around me. So she's quick to come in and rescue me from those awkward moments.

"There you are, Dr. McNider," Myra put a flute of champagne into my hand, "I brought you that drink you wanted."

"Thank you, Myra." Excusing myself, I said. "It was good to talk with you again, Scott."

Myra guided me away, "I actually met that Mr. Wayne you were telling me about... he seems like an interesting sort. His son Thomas is going into college soon."

Lentil commented. "That doctor seems like a swell guy."

"He's one of the best," Alan said.

###

"Hey, who turned out the lights?"

I was as startled as anyone else when the lights went out throughout the lobby. Having listened to Alan and Molly discuss the show, I wondered if they were simply experiencing technical difficulties. I waited to see if the lights would pop back on. But they didn't.

Trying not to alarm Myra, I slipped off my dark glasses. If someone had wanted to disorient us, they hadn't succeeded. I looked around the lobby, using all of my senses to search for clues. Several men moved around the periphery of the room, trying to be quiet.

I edged towards Alan, whispering. "Is this part of the broadcast?"

"Hardly," Alan said. "I know we were having problems with the lights, but it shouldn't have blown them out."

Up on the stage, I noticed that someone was standing just behind the microphone. I almost thought it might be the band's singer, but she was wearing what appeared to be a circus costume, not an evening gown. What was she waiting for? Somehow I didn't think this was a simple blackout.

"Can you see anything?" Alan asked.

"Trouble," I said simply. "Come on." I led him to the backstage area where we could change clothes quickly. Donning my cowl and goggles, I became Dr. Mid-Nite. I saw the emerald green glow from Alan's ring. Whether he liked it or not, Green Lantern was going to have to make an appearance tonight. Someone was forcing the issue.

I described who I had seen behind the microphone.

Alan gave a low whistle. "Are you sure about that?"

"Positive," I said, "why?"

The sound of applause interrupted our discussion. Looking out at the stage, I saw the beam of a single spotlight illuminating the microphone. The audience had clearly thought it was part of the event. The circus woman stepped up to the microphone clearly into the spotlight, her fancy spectacles glittering in the glare. Her flaming red hair reminded me of Alan's description of his secretary, but the thought was out of my head by the time she spoke.

"I'm sorry, ladies and gentleman, but your regularly scheduled broadcast has been pre-empted by little ole me the Harlequin! You didn't think you could open this place back up without me, did you?"

Alan said, "I knew she was still alive."

"Do you know the lady?" I asked.

"Oh yes," Alan said, "the Harlequin caused me no end of trouble a couple of months ago. She was the one who held up this store. Her gang planted that bomb. She claimed she didn't know anything about it. I thought she was caught inside, but I was obviously wrong."

"Isn't the Harlequin a character in your show?" I said.

Alan said, "That was originally the plan. Lentil came up with her as a nemesis for my adventures. But this Harlequin showed up on scene just before the first broadcast." He added. "Be careful. Those glasses she uses can play tricks on you."

"Don't worry," I smiled. "For this one, I'll keep my eyes wide open."

The Harlequin continued, "I could give you a nice song and dance about how I missed this place, but really I'm just a simple girl. All I want are the best of things." Then she gave a dazzling wide mouth smile that would have been disarming on most women. "I like them even better when they come in twenty four carat settings. My boys will be going around making sure everyone cooperates. All your money, your jewels, that lovely fur stole you're trying to hide behind the counter, dear... I want everything!"

Then the lights came on. The Harlequin signaled for her gang members to come forward to collect the loot. She was using the darkness to let her gang get into position. It was a clever idea, but it allowed us a chance to also creep closer to the stage without being detected.

I held back a little, waiting to see how many men we were dealing with.

But Alan flew forward, his emerald ring glowing green. He didn't care about the gang, only their leader. He was determined to take her out. "I'm sorry, Harlequin, no one's going anywhere except prison where you belong."

"I wondered when you'd show up," Harlequin smiled. "This party is as much in your honor as it is in mine." Her glasses sparkled when she spoke. "Get him boys!"

One of her gang members threw a wooden chair in Alan's direction, but he saw it in time, neatly dodging the attack. He was flattened by a second one coming in the opposite direction, falling to the ground hard. I remembered what Alan had said about her spectacles. The Harlequin must have created an illusion of the first chair to disguise the second one. At some point, she had learned his weakness against wood. She was using it to her advantage.

Sensing their opportunity, Louie and Marco attacked Green Lantern, brandishing poles they had grabbed.

"Anytime you want to join the party is okay by me, Doc," Green Lantern called out, fighting against the two men. If he could just wrestle away one of the poles, he might have a chance. Otherwise he was fighting a losing battle.

Two other gang members tried to join the party, so I tossed one of his blackout bombs to distract their attention. They looked around in confusion, not being able to see in front of their faces. Under the cloud of black smoke, I was in his element, able to see normally. I easily subdued the two bigger men, disorienting them until they slammed into each other.

When the smoke cleared revealing their crumpled forms, with me standing over them, Harlequin came down off the stage, actually looking more than a little worried. Somehow I didn't think she counted on my appearance. This hadn't been part of the original game plan.

"Hey, no one said nothing about fighting two mystery men," One of the men said.

"Need any help?" I offered.

Alan countered, "Nope, I'm doing just fine." Relying on his hand-to-hand skills, Alan managed to disarm one of the gang members and used the pole to attack the other. Everyone always assumes that the ring is his only weapon, but he can hold his own in a fist fight, if necessary. "See if you can get to Harlequin."

Following his suggestion, I went up the other side of the stage towards Harlequin. But her attention was strangely mesmerized on Green Lantern. By rights, she should be fighting back, or at least aware of my presence. But she just stared at him, her eyes intent. Alan had turned his back momentarily to the gang members. Was she waiting for the right moment to strike?

"Watch out!"

I could have sworn Harlequin herself had cried out, but that made no sense. Why would she want to help him? I saw what was wrong. The two gang members Alan had just knocked out were getting their feet. Alan whirled around just in time. But they were pulling out their guns from their holster, aiming squarely at Green Lantern.

"We've tried it her way, see."

"Now we'll try it our way!"

The gang members fired in his direction, hitting him squarely in the gut. Part of me was too stunned to move, stopping halfway on the stage on the way towards Harlequin. Exultant, they were about to crow over his body, when Alan tapped them on the shoulder.

"Sorry you two, you really need to learn to aim better," Alan hit them both squarely in the jaws, knocking them completely unconscious.

"You can survive anything, can't you?" The Harlequin smiled. "It's been really fun seeing you again, Lantern, but I think it's time for this act to pull up her tent and disappear."

I moved towards the Harlequin. I was almost certain that had been on her illusions. But even if she had helped him, she was still a criminal. "Not if I can stop you," I called out.

The Harlequin laughed. "Really, doctor, do you think I'd just stand there and let you catch me? I may be new at this, but I'm not clueless."

I tried to grab her, but I fell through thin air. The Harlequin had tricked me with yet another illusion. I saw her disappearing down the lobby, waving to Green Lantern.

"Better luck next time," the Harlequin called back, her voice floating through the lobby.

###

"That stupid broad! We never should have trusted her!"

"You'll have plenty of time to reconsider your decision, son," I said, adding the gang member to the emerald cage Alan had created. "That should be the last of them, officer."

Mopping up the last of those hoodlums had been child's play after Harlequin's disappearance. Without their leader, the group had scattered. After we had disarmed them of their guns, it had been easy to run them down.

"Thanks for the help," the policeman said. "Without you mystery men on the scene, the Harlequin and her gang would have made a fortune off this night."

I never grew tired of hearing those words. "Thank you" was music to a mystery's man, especially lately. We weren't quite a novelty anymore. Some even were starting to question why we were needed anymore with the Axis beaten.

"Just glad to help, officer," I said.

Alan focused his attention on keeping the cage intact. "Where's the lady herself?"

"Don't you worry, two of my men caught her when she tried to escape," the policeman sounded a little too confident for my mind. "They should be bringing her now." Two police officers appeared from the stage area, but not surprisingly, they were both empty handed. "What happened?"

"Honestly, sir, we had her," one of the young policeman said, "but when we turned for a just a minute, she was gone!"

"Should I put out an alert for her?" The policeman asked.

I looked over at Alan, but he shook his head. "Don't bother. You won't be able to find her now." He didn't look too surprised. "Just take this lot in. I'm sure they'll find a nice cell with their old boss." He gave a good speech, but he sounded frustrated and quite resigned to the idea he'd be bumping into her again.

###

Alan was strangely quiet when we changed back to our civilian garb.

"I can see why you had so many problems with the Harlequin now," I offered, recalling the way the Harlequin had focused all her attentions on his friend. She could care less about me. All she wanted was the Green Lantern, a single minded young woman, whoever she really was. "She certainly seemed determined to show you up. But at the end, I could have sworn she tried to help you."

I was a little confused by her actions. My sight had been pretty clear on that point. Only she could have created the diversion with her glasses. She had clearly not wanted Green Lantern to be killed by those thugs. But I just didn't understand why.

Alan couldn't provide any answers, "I wish I knew what her game was, other than causing trouble."

"You're not surprised she slipped out of police custody, are you?" I asked.

"Not in the slightest, I didn't expect them to keep her," Alan said. "The Harlequin is a very shifty lady. She has escaped out of worse jams than that one. I'm sure she's long gone by now."

Was she? I wasn't so sure, but I didn't want to offer my suspicions just yet. If she was fascinated with the Green Lantern, even smart enough to learn his weaknesses, she might also have a bee-line on his identity. The Harlequin had also proved she was the mistress of illusions. She could easily be hiding in plain sight. I tried to sound as confident as possible, "I'm sure you're right."

Replacing my goggles for my dark glasses, I was back to my usual blind self. I had to rely on the other senses again to tell me what was going on, to read subtle hints where I might have been able to see the actual body language before. It was a frustrating ordeal, knowing I could see sometime, but not when I wanted to the most.

"We'd better back to the party," Alan said. "I imagine Miss Maynne is wondering where I disappeared to, as is your redoubtable assistant."

As Alan guided me back to the party, I noticed the determination was back in his voice. The Harlequin's motives were shoved temporarily out of his mind, focusing only on his work. Alan didn't allow any time for other entanglements. He reminded me of someone, a young doctor, so determined on his research he couldn't see anything else in front of him, even the possible dangers. Had I changed any since those days?

Myra probably had started her normal panic looking for me. All I had to do was sit tight and wait and she'd appear, probably worried I had wandered off somewhere. I've been very careful, not to let her suspect anything. I didn't want to involve her in this life. She'd be too easy a target. I couldn't protect her from danger.

"Thank you for your help, Officer O'Brien, I was much obliged."

Not Myra's voice, she had a much lighter voice. This young woman's voice was musical, laced with a rich Irish undercurrent. But there was something else that seemed familiar about her voice. Try as I might, though, I couldn't make the connection.

"No trouble at all." The policeman said. "Always glad to help a nice Irish girl like you, Miss Maynne."

So that was where I'd heard her before. She had toned her accent down quite a bit when she was talking to Alan earlier.

"Isn't that her now?" I asked.

"What?" Alan asked, first annoyed and then surprised. "Miss Maynne, what on earth happened to you? Your dress..."

"I'm fine, Mr. Scott," Molly said. "I went backstage to check on some last minute arrangements for the broadcast. My dress was tangled up on some of wiring. I'm afraid it caught the seam. That charming police officer helped me out. What happened? Was the Green Lantern here?"

"I'm afraid so," Alan sighed. "The Harlequin saw to that."

"The Harlequin was here too? So she survived the blast after all," Molly said. "I guess she really was more than a match for the Green Lantern."

"She certainly gave him a run for his money," Alan admitted.

That was an understatement. The Harlequin had us exactly where she wanted us. She could have easily finished us off, but she had held off. Listening to their bantering made me think of Harlequin and Green Lantern facing each other. She had hoped he would show up to fight her. She wanted him to notice her. She suggested as much when she said the party was as much in his honor as hers. To my mind, she sounded more like a lovestruck teenager than a criminal.

Had I complicated things? I might not have been at the party, if Myra hadn't convinced me. If I hadn't been there, the Harlequin would have had Green Lantern all to herself. The gang had been prepared to deal with him. They had been told his weaknesses. But they hadn't known how to deal with me, which is when she started to lose control of the situation.

"Speaking of which," Alan said, "the band is finally setting up. The broadcast should go through as planned, if a little delayed. I guess you were right. I'll have to keep our bet."

Molly said. "Only if you don't mind dancing with a girl in a ragged dress."

"Not at all," Alan said. "I'll be along shortly."

"Did I hear you correctly?" I asked, keeping my voice low. "You bet your own secretary that the Green Lantern wouldn't show up? Knowing full well you'd win..."

"Who said I intended to win?" Alan asked.

"Dr. McNider, I knew I'd find you eventually! You wouldn't believe what happened!" I waited patiently. Myra loved recounting my adventures, whether she knew it or not. "It's a pity you're no longer writing the stories of Dr. Mid-Nite anymore. He was just wonderful tonight, taking out those criminals."

"I'd love to stay, old friend," Alan said, "but I do have someone waiting..."

I grumbled under my breath, "Coward."

"Maybe," Alan admitted under his breath, "but at least I'm out of the Harlequin's clutches."