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
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?
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
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
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
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!
Macy: Don't forget taxi money.
Stella: Thanks hon.
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".