Narrator: Parlortown. In this black hole of dirt and decadence, Stella Decker
and Macy Hayes were a small beacon of light – living their lives in
pursuit of justice, money, money, and justice. Well, their professional lives,
anyway. And today was no exception. They finally had another case. Tess Nichols,
a fiery redhead with a skirt that exposed her long, toned thighs, had come
to them with quivering lips, heaving breast, and half a story about her dead
husband. Jumping at the opportunity to crack another case, and pay another
bill, the girls had agreed to look into Jack Nichols’ death. When we
left them, Macy was on her way to chat with Officer Sheridan at the precinct.
Sheridan was a portly man in his thirties. He wore a button-down shirt and
suspenders, and when Macy walked in the door he was ashing a cigar.
Sheridan: Miss Hayes, always lovely to see you. It’s been a while,
I was getting worried.
Macy: Oh you know, our business is a fickle one. But it looks like we’re
making our comeback. How about you, how’s business been?
Sheridan: This is Parlortown, sweet cheeks. Business is never slow. So what’s
knitting your pretty brow?
Macy: I’m investigating Jack Nichols’ death.
Sheridan: Hoo, yeah. That was a weird one alright. Who’s hired you,
the old bird?
Macy: Now now, old man, you know I can’t give that information out.
What about it was so bizarre?
Sheridan: Well you know, we found him out in the dumpster in the back of
the Blue Diner. What’s funny is that the dumpster was all turned on
its side, and the contents were spilled all over the ground like if someone
had been routing around in there. Funny thing for someone to do if they’re
just dumping a body, don’t you think?
Macy: Don’t I indeed. Find anything worthwhile in there?
Sheridan: Only thing worth noting was big chunks of broken blue porcelain
all over the concrete.
Macy: What did the owner have to say about it?
Sheridan: Nothing yet. It was closed when we got there. It’s one of
those little dives on the edge of town, you know? They’re never open.
Macy: Convenient place to dump a body, anyhow. Anything else you got for
Sheridan: Not a thing. Got a boy supposed to be out there today, I’ll
let you know if I hear anything.
Macy: Thanks, Chief.
Narrator: Macy left the precinct and caught a cab to the outskirts of town,
where she found Stella waiting outside the door of the Blue Diner. The building
was made of faded blue faux brick, and the neon sign on its roof flickered
steadily. It looked pretty clean and inconspicuous, for Parlortown. Some sort
of elevator music wafted from inside.
(Macy and Stella smooch)
Macy: So, how was Benny?
Stella: Sleazy as ever. And just as useless. Jack hasn’t laid any bets
under his immaculate watch.
Macy: Oh pooh, I was so looking forward to working with him.
Stella: What about you, anything juicy?
Macy: Apparently our killer was looking for more than a place to dump a body.
They dumped the dumpster, as it were, and apparently there was blue porcelain
broken all over the alley. You been in here yet?
Stella: (sarcastically) Not yet. Looks charming, eh?
Macy: We’ll have to remember it for our anniversary. Let’s go
find the owner.
Narrator: The girls went inside the squeaky glass doors and up to the counter.
They found a very small balding man with thick specs rummaging around with
some papers. He was very thin and timid, and not very eager to talk. The place
wasn’t very well lit, but that didn’t seem to bother the three
customers. The small man looked up at the two women over his specs as they
approached the counter.
Stella: Actually, we’re not here to eat.
Stickler: (indifferent) Oh.
Macy: My name’s Macy Hayes, this is my associate, Stella Decker. We’re
investigating the homicide that happened here last night.
Stickler: The what?
Stella: You know, the dead guy dumped in your dumpster overnight?
Stickler: First I’ve heard of any dead guy.
Macy: Haven’t the police been in?
Stickler: Not since I been here. I opened around eleven.
Stella: (sarcastically) Glad our cops are doing their jobs, as always.
Macy: (to Stickler) You don’t seem surprised.
Stickler: This is Parlortown, ma’am.
Stella: Well were you in yesterday? Maybe you’d have seen the guy.
Narrator: Stella described Jack from the details that Tess had given them,
and briefly explained what the police had found outside the diner overnight.
Stickler: Sure, a guy like that was in here yesterday. Sat alone in the corner
there all night. Ordered the Blue Plate Special.
Stella: Blue Plate Special? What’s so special?
Narrator: Stickler bent down behind the counter and pulled out a blue porcelain
plate. He held it out nonchalantly.
Stickler: This is the Blue Diner, ma’am. Everything’s the Blue
Macy: Is that what the police saw in the alley out back?
Narrator: Stickler gave her a blank stare.
Macy: The police found shards of blue porcelain in the alley when they found
Stickler: Well, I suppose, but I left them in the dumpster.
Stella: You put them there?
Stickler: Sure. When I opened yesterday I found a whole bunch of our plates
smashed back here behind the counter and back in the kitchen. Cleaned ‘em
up and threw ‘em out.
Stella: (sarcastically) Glad we’re asking the right questions.
Macy: Any idea who could have done it?
Stickler: Not a one. Not too careful about locking our doors around here.
No one has much need for what we got.
Stella: Mind if we take a look in the kitchen?
Stickler: Knock yourselves out. Door around to your right in the back.
Narrator: Stella and Macy went around to the back and through the door marked "Kitchen." They
scanned the room quickly, noting pieces of broken plate still on the floor,
and everything in disarray. It was the kind of clutter that looked like it
had been there since the diner opened. They walked back out to the counter.
Macy: Well, thanks for your time. This is our number if you think of anything
you want to tell us. We may be back to ask you some more questions. Good day,
Stickler: Stickler. Jimmy Stickler. Diner owner extraordinaire.
Macy: Good day, Mr. Stickler.
Narrator: The girls caught a cab back into Parlortown proper. They were silent
all the way, mulling over these details privately. They hopped out in front
of a little café, marked "Café."
Stella: Well, babe, how about something to eat?
Macy: I’d almost lost my appetite. But I guess a sandwich would do
Narrator: What was our criminal looking for in the dumpster behind the Blue
Diner? Was it the same mastermind who’d broken Jimmy Stickler’s
plates? Was Stickler connected to this somehow? Would Sheridan’s police
officer ever get over to the Blue Diner? Where were the police in all of this?
Tune in next week for the next installment of "Decker and Hayes" entitled "Crossroads."