Buck & Jane
A Death in the Family
Decker & Hayes
Epic Echoes
The Great Muppet Debate
Guard Duty
Like Mother, Like Daughter
Stage Blood



Decker & Hayes
Episode 1 - Parlortown Lows

By Jordan D. White

Stella Decker
Macy Hayes
Tommy Potsdam
Tess Nichols

Narr: The city of Parlortown was a dirty city. It was small enough that most of the good citizens of the state only knew it as particularly bleak and gray patch along the side of the interstate between the places they were really going, but it was just big enough to attract the attention of crime. Drugs were the sin of choice. They ran rampant in every nook of the city that wasn't in direct sunlight- and in Parlortown, the sun knew to keep its head low. Where drugs run wild, prostitution can't be too far astride, and indeed, Parlortown had its share, if you knew where to look. Once you've got those types of bases covered, you're sure to run across murder once in a while. Parlortown had its share of those as well, and far from the neat little crimes solved by witty Brits in stories in the rooms the town was named after, Parlortown took its murder straight-up messy, and it was the local police who were on the rocks. It was Parlortown, with its well-worn porno theatre, dented greasy diners, full compliment of alcoholic dives, and dusty ghost factories, that bore and raised Stella Decker and Macy Hayes. The town didn't know it, but they were its pride and joy - its bastard daughters who were the diamonds polished in the rough and tumble of the city's bitter landscape. Together, they ran "Decker & Hayes", the only investigation service in town worth a damn, not that the customers knew it. But they made ends meet, when they could find them, and they did it all together.

Stella: What the hell? Macy!

Macy: Yeah, Stell? What?

Stella: When did the rain turn into snow?

Macy: Huh. I don't know, hon. Must be getting colder.

Stella: Typical. God damned February weather. How am I supposed to fix the damn truck if this keeps up?

Macy: Well, look on the bright side: we haven't had a case in days, so we don't have anywhere to go.

Stella: Oh, thanks.

Macy: Oh, baby, relax. Rent's not due for a week. We'll find something.

Stella: I'm telling you, it's Bobko. That stupid, fat cop is trying to get us screwed. He's been out to get us since we brought in his partner.

Macy: And don't you think the fact that you punched him has something to do with it?

Stella: You heard what he said about you! I wasn't going to let him get away with that.

Macy: And I appreciate that, baby, but what is it you think he's doing? Calling our potential customers and telling them to go see McGuinness instead? Just relax. I'm sure something will pop up, you'll see. Now cheer up, ok?

(they kiss)

Stella: MMmmmm… ok.

Macy: There we go. Now, what's going to keep that smile on your face?

Stella: Some coffee wouldn't hurt.

Macy: (pressing button on an intercom) Tommy. Stella needs some coffee.

Tommy: (through the intercom) Yes, Miss Hayes.

Narr: Stella Decker wore the ties. She had on a white button-down tucked into her pants, and had her gun tucked into her shoulder holster. She kept her brown hair short and out of the way. Macy Hayes was more the blouse and skirt type, with blonde hair went straight down off her shoulders, and she kept her heater in her handbag. The office didn't have room for two desks, so Stella got the driver's seat while Macy sat off to the side. On slow days, like today, Macy would bring in some knitting. Stella played a lot of minesweeper. Their secretary, Tommy Potsdam kept the office in order. The bills, too, when there was money to pay them. He was a young thing, just nineteen, with a look about him saying he'd never harmed a living thing in all his days.

(Tommy comes into the office)

Tommy: Here's your coffee, Miss Decker.

Stella: Thanks, you're a doll. (sips) Mmmm.

Tommy: There's a lady out front. Name of Nichols.

Stella: What? Why didn't you say so?

Tommy: I did. She just got here.

Macy: Send her in, Tommy!

Tommy: Will do. Ms. Nichols? They'll see you now.

Tess: Thank you.

Stella: Hi, there, I'm Stella Decker. This is Macy Hayes.

Macy: How do you do?

Stella: How can we help you?

Tess: My name is Tess Nichols. I need to talk to you about my husband.

Narr: Tess Nichols looked like she was there trying to impress someone. She'd gotten herself all dolled up, full make-up and hair set just in place, every red strand of it. She wore all black, but not conservatively. Her top was a little too open and her skirt a little too short for that.

Macy: What seems to be the problem?

Tess: He's dead.

Stella: We don't run a burial service, so I'm assuming you've got some questions about it. What happened?

Tess: My husband, Jack, he managed the old hat factory down on Michigan. We were doing pretty well for ourselves, since it was one of the only factories still going in town. Jack got his labor cheap and… well… he managed to pick us up a bit of money on the side, taking cuts for getting people work.

Macy: Only in Parlortown, people paying to work.

Tess: Two weeks ago, Jack gathered up every penny we had. He told me he was going into business, something surefire, something that would get us completely set. But, of course, typical man, he'd tell me it was a sure thing, but he wouldn't let me in on the details. So then last Monday, Jack heads out around nine o'clock at night, won't tell me where he's going. I was used to Jack being out late, so I didn't think anything of it. Thing is, he'd never been out all night before. Around noon, the cops show up. Jack was dead. They found him in a dumpster downtown, out by the Blue Diner.

Stella: What did they say happened?

Tess: That's what they were asking. He was shot, three times, but they couldn't find anything saying what he was doing there or with who. The waitress at the Diner said he'd had a late night breakfast there all alone, and left the same way.

Macy: And you think we'd have better luck than the police would?

Tess: Well, I couldn't tell the police everything, could I? Considering the kinds of dealings Jack had been in before, I can't imagine that whatever he's done with our money is completely on the up and up. He's left me with almost nothing- he cashed in his life insurance, even. I need to know where that money went, or else I don't know what I'll do.

Stella: But if you don't have any money-

Tess: Here. It's everything I could get. One thousand dollars. It must be enough to cover your expenses on the case for a while, right? I can make up the difference when you find our money. Please, please help me. I don't know what else to do.

Macy: Don't you worry, Mrs. Nichols, we'll do everything we can.

Tess: You will? Oh, thank you!

Macy: It's not a problem. We can start on your case today, and we'll get back to you the moment we hear anything.

Tess: Thank you. I really appreciate it.

Stella: Just make sure to leave your information with the boy on the way out.

Tess: Absolutely. Thank you Miss Decker, Miss Hayes.

Macy: Don't mention it.

(Tess leaves the office)

Macy: OK, so what, exactly, is the stick up your butt?

Stella: It's a bum job. We're not going to find her money. Most likely, her Jack lost it all to some bookie on a bad bet.

Macy: Yeah, but we need that grand now. And besides, how long do you think it'll take us to track down a bad bet? We could be done with the case before tea-time.

Stella: That doesn't help her any.

Macy: And since when do you care so much about the clients, hm? You had no problem breaking Mr. Stacy's heart last week, showing him where his little girl went to. Maybe it's only a problem when the client has bigger cleavage than I do, is that it?

Stella: Don't be stupid.

Macy: If it's not that then what? The money was dirty, anyway. Her husband was taking people's hard earned dimes just for giving them the chance to earn them. Making a living off the woes of the city. They don't deserve the money.

Stella: She didn't have any part of that.

Macy: She was a party to it.

Stella: Well, she wasn't to blame.

Macy: Oh, and how do you know that?

Stella: Woman's intuition.

Macy: Ha! Give me a break. You're just a sucker for a batted eye. Trust me, I know, since I'm usually the one batting.

Stella: Yeah, well, this time you struck out.

Macy: Very funny, bonehead. Now, how do you want to go about this?

Stella: We contact Sheridan in the precinct, see what he can give us, then we head down to the blue and check out the scene. That would be standard procedure. Oh, and I put in a call to Benny, see if Nichols had been making any bets, which'll cost us a few.

Macy: Sounds like a plan. How about I'll talk to Sheridan, you get Benny. He gives me the creeps.

Stella: Alright. I'll meet you at the Blue in two hours.

Macy: Stella, wait!

Stella: Yeah?

Macy: Don't forget taxi money.

Stella: Thanks hon.

(They kiss)

Narr: Was Jack Nichols a betting man? Do the police have more of line on the events that the widow thinks? Exactly what was Nichols doing at the Blue Diner all alone? Tune in next week for the next installment of "Decker and Hayes" entitled "Blue Plate Special".

Go to Episode 2