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 4 - Riddles & Liasons

By Nicholas Roach

Dr. Anthony "Paladin" Cross
Macy "Lolita" Hayes
Stella Decker
Tommy Potsdam
Julian McGuiness
Tess Wexler Nichols
Jack Nichols

Narrator: Parlortown, city of shattered ambitions and decaying dreams. It can be seen in the eyes of every hopeless drug addict, every beggar, every prostitute, every 9-to-5 working stiff, every sad soul who struggles through the day just to get by and see the next. Has it always been like this? No one remembers, no one knows, and no one even cares. But in the midst of the lifeless, cracked streets and the rotting buildings left from an era long gone, there walk two individuals with a desire to find something more, to see past the dull gray of this dying municipality and look for the truth, even if the truth didn’t want to be found. Stella Decker and Macy Hayes began a private investigation agency to find the truth wherever it hid and lord knows the voluptuous Tess Nichols needed to find it. Macy, following up on a hunch she had when she saw Tess’ initials, returned to the restaurant where her husband’s body was found to discover a new clue. Playing upon this hint, she dialed a number she thought she’d never have to dial again…

Cross: (Gives a soft chuckle) Well, well, well, Lolita. The prodigal daughter returns at last, with the most awkward questions. You never DID know when to keep your nose out of other people’s business.

Macy: I want answers now, Paladin. I don’t think you want me to get you and your new partner in trouble.

Cross: (Another chuckle) Never knew how to take ‘No’ for an answer either, did you? I always liked that. I’ll give you the answers you seek. Meet me at the usual spot 7 PM tonight…alone.

Narrator: Macy could hear a click on the other end. She held the phone receiver to her ear for a few moments before hanging up. Lolita, Paladin, Whisper. Names she thought would never go through her head again were now all she was thinking about. She sighed as she picked up her handbag, containing her makeup and her gun. Back in the day, she never knew which one she had to have ready when Anthony Cross was involved. And what of the Wexler in Wexler and Cross, the firm she reached when she called? The answers were beginning to fit together for Macy Hayes, but she needed this last rendezvous to get everything straight. She unlocked the door and opened it to find her partner, Stella Decker, and their secretary, Tommy Potsdam who was holding a book with a red cover…

Tommy: Yeah, I’m glad you lent me this. It’s a great story, but I was too depressed to keep reading.

Stella: Why?

Tommy: The girl killed herself.

Stella: Keep reading, Tommy, my boy. Keep reading. Never be sure you know how a story ends until you see the last page. (Pause) Oh, there you are, Macy. About time you got done in there. First the bathroom, now the office. You take all day wherever you go.

Macy: Yeah, I’m sorry about that. Look, sugar…I have to go follow up on a lead.

Stella: You found something? I knew it! Hold on and I’ll get my coat…

Macy: No. Honey, I have to do this one alone.

Stella: Why? In all the time we’ve worked together, I never remember you even remotely suggesting such a thing.

Macy: I want to tell you…but trust me when I say this: I can’t. I should be back shortly. If my hunch is correct, then I think I’ll be able to blow this case wide open.

Stella: I don’t like the sound of it, but I’ve never stopped you when you get like this and I don’t intend on trying now.

(They kiss)

Macy: Thank you…stay safe, sugar.

Stella: Ditto.

Narrator: With that, Macy Hayes walked out of the office. She made sure to wait until her back was to Tommy and Stella before she let a solitary tear fall down her cheek. Once Macy was out of earshot, Stella flopped into the office chair.

Stella: Sometimes Tommy, I worry about that girl.

Tommy: Yes, Ms. Decker, she’s been acting quite strange today. Wonder why that is…

Stella: She goes off into her own world sometimes when she gets a big clue like this, but she never leaves me this much out of the loop. (Sighs) I just wish I had a lead of my own. I feel like I’m on the sidelines for this case.

Narrator: Just then, the phone rang. Tommy began to reach for it, but Stella stopped him.

Stella: I think I’ll take this one…Decker & Hayes?

Julian: Long time no see, Decker.

Stella: McGuiness?

Julian: That’s my name. I was wondering if you could help me with a case I’ve been working on…

Stella: Save it, McGuiness. I already have a partner and so do you. If you can’t handle all the new business that lummox Bobko is giving you, don’t come crying to me.

Julian: You’re still bitter over that? Decker, it’s not my fault he’s feeling vindictive after you punched him out. But anyway, certain obese corrupt cops aside, has a certain dame calling herself Tess Nichols come by your office?

Stella: (Perplexed) Yeah. What about it?

Julian: As I thought. Can we meet at Stan’s Diner in five?

Stella: (After a few moments of "thinking time" to consider the offer) Yeah, get us a booth.

Narrator: Meanwhile, across the city in the not-so-creatively named neighborhood of South Tip, a decrepit monument stood amongst the other forgotten buildings. An old clocktower, an emissary from Parlortown’s long-dead age of dreams. Was it the gift of a wealthy philanthropist? A handsome donation from a formerly-prosperous corporation? Or perhaps it sprung from the money of the once many taxpayers who lived here? Don’t ask anyone living here. All they know is that this tower, much like the surrounding neighborhood, had once seen better days. If it were alive right now, if its gears were turning, if its bell hadn’t rusted over years ago, it would be sounding seven. Macy Hayes stood upon the steps leading into the building, remembering the days when she would hear that tower sound. She sighed and continued in. Sure enough, Cross was at the opposite end of a large room with another figure submerged in the shadows of the nearest corner.

Cross: See, my darling Wexler? I told you Lolita would come…

Macy: Save me the dramatics, Paladin. And Tess, come out of there already. You’re not fooling anyone.

Tess: Was I that obvious?

Macy: Kinda, but your biggest mistake was letting me see the cigarette case, Tess Wexler Nichols. Now for the answers…

Cross: In good time, my dear Loli-

Macy: Now.

Man: If he isn’t willing to give you anything, I am…

Narrator: Unbeknownst to Macy, Cross, or Tess, a man wearing nothing but hospital-grade pants, a pair of boots, and a sick grin had walked into the room holding an empty vial.

Man: (Said as if reciting from memory)
Take thou this vial, being then in bed,
And this distilled liquor drink thou off;
When presently through all thy veins shall run
A cold and drowsy humour, for no pulse
Shall keep his native progress, but surcease:
No warmth, no breath, shall testify thou livest;
The roses in thy lips and cheeks shall fade
To paly ashes, thy eyes' windows fall,
Like death, when he shuts up the day of life;

Tess: (Breathlessly, and in shock. Basically, act as if you just saw your dead husband get up and start quoting Shakespeare…because that’s what he’s doing) …Jack?!

Macy: That’s Jack? That can’t be! They found his body.

Cross: In this town, even the coroner has his price.

Jack: Each part, deprived of supple government,
Shall, stiff and stark and cold, appear like death:
And in this borrow'd likeness of shrunk death
Thou shalt continue two and forty hours,
And then awake as from a pleasant sleep.

Narrator: The apparently-alive Jack Nichols dropped the vial onto the floor where it exploded into a million pieces. As if on cue, several thug-like men armed with revolvers entered the room and took up various positions, training their guns on Macy, Cross, and Tess.

Jack: Tess, you have been a very, very naughty little girl.

Narrator: The dead walking the earth, old rivals finding themselves on the same unlikely team, and the answers Macy Hayes and Stella Decker thought were within arm’s reach are still another mile away. Why is Jack Nichols still alive? What do Tess and Cross have to do with all of this? What does McGuiness know? And will Macy leave the old clocktower alive? Tune in next week for the next installment of "Decker and Hayes" entitled "Hear the Whisper".

Go to Episode 5