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 6 - Crossing Off Names

By Daniel Schwartz

Macy "Lolita" Hayes
Stella Decker
Julian McGuiness
Rhiannon Rose
Tommy Potsdam

Narrator: Parlortown. With its bankrupt businesses, crumbling brownstones and lost souls, It was a city on suicide watch. Times were hard, and hard times breed desperate men, people willing to do anything – steal, cheat, even kill – to protect themselves. Stella Decker and Macy Hayes had taken up detective work to pay the bills, and when Tess Nichols hired them to crack her husband’s murder it seemed like a routine job. Now, with Tess dead and her husband on the run, it seemed like it might be Decker & Hayes’ last case.

Stella: (pleading) Baby, please, can we talk about this?

Macy: (angry, barely reigning it in) There’s nothing to talk about, Stella. It’s over. We’re done. Where’s that box…?

Stella: I didn’t mean to, Macy. She was coming on to me.

Macy: (bitter) Oh, yeah, you put up such a fight, I’m sure.

Stella: You’ve got to believe me! She was –

Macy: (Exploding) She was trying to kill you, you stupid bitch! You were too busy sucking face to notice the knife in her hand! If I hadn’t shot her you’d be dead now, don’t you get that? God, you’re worse than a man!

Stella: Macy, honey, please calm down…

Macy: No! I just shot somebody, Stella! I killed a client who was about to stab your stupid ass while you were making out with her! Like hell I’m going to calm down!

Stella: (near tears) I’m sorry. I’m so sorry…

Macy: I’m sorry too, Stella. I’m sorry you couldn’t control yourself when some broad in a low-cut dress came in with a sob story. I’m sorry I couldn’t stop you from being unfaithful without killing the competition. I’m sorry we couldn’t have kept our relationship professional from the start.

Narrator: Macy had finished packing her things in a box. She picked it up and headed for the door.

Macy: I’m sorry for lots of things.

Stella: (desperate) Oh God, Macy, please! I love you!

Macy: (after a beat, tearful) I love you too, baby. But if I can’t trust you, that doesn’t mean a God damned thing.

Narrator: Macy left without another word, letting the door slam shut behind her. Stella stumbled against the desk, falling to her knees with her head in her hands.

Stella: Oh God…oh God, what now?

Narrator: As if in answer, the phone began to ring. Stella wiped her eyes and, hand shaking, picked up the phone.

Stella: Decker and…Stella Decker.

McGuiness: Hey, Stel, you sound like crap. What’s wrong?

Stella: It’s nothing, McGuiness. Just a bad day.

McG: It’s about to get worse. There was a shooting at the Blue Diner –

Stella: I know. My client got capped.

McG: That makes two of us. Stickler’s in ICU at Cherry Street General.

Stella: The diner owner?

McG: Took one in the chest. I need help, and you’re the best in town. You in?

Narrator: Stella looked around the office. Macy had overturned piles of paper and thrown a canister of pens on the floor. The room looked like a tornado had hit it. The same way her life felt.

Stella: I’m in. I’ll see you there.

Narrator: Rhiannon Rose was curled up on her couch with Tommy Potsdam, secretary for Decker & Hayes. In front of them was a TV playing "Pearl Harbor." Neither of them were paying attention. Tommy just thought it was a bad movie, and Rhiannon had heard enough about World War 2 from Paladin to not care anymore. Besides, they had better things to concentrate on. The phone’s ringing was not a welcome interruption.

Rhiannon: Dammit! I don’t believe it.

Tommy: Never fails. Always when you’re busy.

Rhiannon: Tell me about it. I’ll be back, okay hon?

Tommy: Sure. I’ll be here.

Narrator: Rhiannon walked over to the phone. She glanced at the caller ID, doing a double-take as she recognized the number. She picked up the phone and moved into the kitchen, out of earshot of Tommy.

Rhiannon: (on the phone) This had better be important. Yes, I was with someone. You’ve what? Acquired the target? What about…oh. So that’s what you need me for. Yeah, sure, I can do that. No, it’s okay. It’s my job, right? No, don’t do that, I can take care of him. Yeah. You too.

Narrator: Rhiannon hung up the phone, the irritation gone from her face. She opened up the refrigerator and waited for Tommy to say

Tommy: Everything okay, Rhia?

Rhiannon: Everything’s fine, hon. I’m getting a beer, you want one?

Tommy: Sure.

Narrator: Rhiannon pulled out two beers from the fridge, swinging it shut with her hip. She opened them both up, reached down a jar of pills and dropped two into one of the bottles. After a moment’s thought, she dropped in a third.

Rhiannon: (softly) Sorry, Tommy, but business is business.

Tommy: You say something, babe?

Rhiannon: Nothing, hon. I’ll be out in a sec.

Narrator: Cherry Street General Hospital was understaffed and overtaxed. Doctors and nurses pulled 20-hour shifts for chump change, recommending treatments their patients couldn’t afford and stealing the drugs they prescribed to sell on the street for rent money. It was where the poor came to die and the rich never came at all. Stella avoided it when she could, and when she couldn’t she stepped lightly, as if the fluorescent-washed floors would swallow her up like quicksand if she put her foot down too hard. McGuiness was already there, dressed in a surprisingly dapper pin-striped suit.

Stella: You look sharp. What’s with the suit?

McGuiness: I was in the middle of a date when I got the call.

Stella: Awww, your poor Prince Charming must have been so upset.

McGuiness: Yeah, yeah, drop it. Let’s go inside.

Narrator: To Stella, all hospitals smelled like death, and Cherry Street General doubly so. Her pace was quick and nervous as she kept up with her sometime-rival. They found out that Stickler was being moved from ICU to a semi-private room; his wounds had been serious, but were stable now. An elevator and two desk nurses later,

McGuiness: Hey, Mr. Stickler. How are you holding up?

Stickler: (Wan, sick-sounding, with frequent coughing) Peachy. So far it only hurts when I breathe.

Stella: What happened?

Stickler: I came into the back and found him trying to steal my plates. When I tried to call the cops, he shot me.

McGuiness: Who did?

Stickler: Tony Cross.

Stella: Who?

Narrator: Before Stickler could answer, a woman in a nurse’s uniform came into the room. She was tall with a centerfold’s body, and was wheeling a tray of medical supplies in front of her.

Rhiannon: I’m sorry, sir, ma’am, but Mr. Stickler needs to get some rest now.

McGuiness: Suits me fine. I’ll catch you later, Mr. S.

Narrator: The nurse drew a curtain around the bed as the two detectives left the room. As Stella shut the door, she almost thought she heard muffled protests from behind the curtain. Deciding it must just be her imagination, she turned to McGuiness

Stella: Listen, Julie, who’s this Cross guy?

McGuiness: (Surprised) Wait a minute…look at that.

Narrator: He pointed at a television in a waiting room. On the screen was a news broadcaster, speaking in a canned news-anchor-voice. Behind him was a picture of a ratty-looking man and the caption "DEAD AGAIN?"

Newscaster: …the man, Jack Nichols, had purportedly died in a shooting outside the Blue Diner. He was found only a few hours ago in South Tip with another set of fatal bullet wounds. Forensics experts indicate the gun used was licensed to private detective Mercedes Hayes, who remains at large. In other news, schools are closed throughout the greater Parlortown area tomorrow in anticipation of more than four feet of snow overnight…

McGuiness: How do you kill a man twice?

Stella: Macy shot him too?

McGuiness: Why shoot a man for his plates?

Stella: What the hell is going on here?

Narrator: Husband and wife with three deaths between them. Partners and lovers torn apart. A blizzard in the night. Rivals united by crisis. It seems that Stella has little left to lose. Can she get to the bottom of it all? Our story continues next week in "Decker & Hayes: Promises to Keep".

Go to Episode 7