Dr. Anthony Cross
Narrator: Parlortown. A city where more often then not, love and death aren't
just two sides of the same coin- they usually share a side. For Stella Decker,
half of what used to be the city's best PI firm, Decker and Hayes, death seemed
to be getting in love's way at every turn. When she and Macy Hayes had been
hired by Tess Nichols to investigate her husband Jack's death outside the
Blue Diner, she'd figured it was a quick buck. She'd not expected that Macy
would shoot Tess while she was attempting to slip her tongue in Stella's mouth
and a knife in Stella's ribs. She hadn't guessed Macy would leave her cold
during the biggest snowstorm of the year and go on to shoot Jack Nichols dead-
again. On top of all that, there was the whole issue of the Blue Diner itself-
why did someone keep smashing all of it's blue plates? Who had killed its
owner, Stickler? Was it Tony Cross, who shot him the day before? Stella was
doing her best to answer these questions without her former partner but with
the help of Tommy Potsdam, her secretary, and Julian McGuinness, a rival PI
who'd been hired by the late diner owner. Of course, Stella had no idea the
two of them had been kidnapped by Rhiannon Rose, Tommy's sometime girlfriend
and Cross's sometime assassin. Macy Hayes, on the other hand, knew quite a
bit more about what was going on. She'd seen Jack Nichols before he'd died
the second time, heard him mention 'the code'. The news had said that he'd
been shot six times. What it hadn't mentioned was that five of those shots
were in nonfatal areas, places that would just hurt him badly. She knew Cross's
methods well enough to recognize them. He'd taken her gun, at least one of
them, while she was unconscious in that bell tower. In Cross's business, where
there was a code, there was something to de-code. Now, she stood in the alleyway
behind the blue diner, jimmying the lock with a credit card.
Macy: Come on… open…
Narr: Finally, the lock clacked and Macy was able to swing the door open.
She slowly made her way into the kitchen of the diner, her feet crunching
on little bits of broken porcelain as she went. Every single plate, bowl,
coffee cup, and saucer in the kitchen had been smashed on the floor. Macy
went out the swinging door into the diner proper. Here, too, the floor and
countertop were covered with the shattered blues.
Macy: Ok, I can do this. Jack was here. He found nothing. Cross was here.
He found nothing. Plates. I can do this.
Narr: She turned her gaze away from the shelves and such, the places one
would normally find plates. She scanned the walls and ceiling. She looked
right past it twice before realizing. In the window. A decorated sign saying
just what Stickler had told her. "The Blue Diner- where every dish is
a blue plate special!" And mounted right there in the sign was one perfect
blue porcelain plate. Macy walked to the window and pulled the plate out of
the display. On the back was a tiny sticker. "Made in China". She
held the plate up and brought it down hard on the counter, exploding it into
shards that joined their siblings all over the place, but with one difference.
Among all the broken bits came something else- something in a plastic shell.
Macy picked it up and examined it. It was a data key for a computer.
Narr: Macy hurried out of the diner, one loose end to wrap up before she
could rest. Meanwhile, Stella was doing some investigation on her own in her
office. Cross had been honest with her at least about one thing- Ashleigh
J. Stickler used to be advisor for a number of the top businesses in town
before 'retiring' to run the Blue Diner, a diner which made him insane amount
of money on a regular basis, according to the IRS. Things were just coming
together in her mind when she heard someone entering the outer office. She
was about to call out Tommy's name when she heard voices. She stood by the
door and listened
McGuinness: I'm telling you, she's still in the hospital. She won't be coming
back in here any time soon.
Rhiannon: Nice try. She checked out a few hours ago.
Tommy: Rhiannon, I don't understand-
Rhiannon: Look, Tommy, it's not personal, it's business. I've got my job
to do, you've got yours, and right now, mine is to get this dyke. Check the
Narr: The door to Stella's office opened, and Tommy put his head in.
Tommy: No one's here. What are we going to do, wait here for her?
Rhiannon: That's the plan. She'll come back eventually.
McGuinness: She'll know we're here, she's no idiot. She'll see the car.
Rhiannon: Your car. So she'll assume her good buddy Julie is here.
Narr: Stella slipped her cell phone out of her pocket, and dialed the number
for Tommy's desk phone. It began ringing in the lobby.
Tommy: Do you want me to-
Rhiannon: There's a machine, right? Let that get it.
Macy: (On the answering Machine) You're reached the offices of Decker and
Hayes, Parlortown PIs. Please leave your name, number, and message and we'll
get back to you as soon as possible. (beep)
Stella: Tommy- I was hoping you'd be in. Listen, I've got nothing on this
case, total dead end. I'm going to head back to the office; I'll be there
in just a few minutes, so if you hear this, just wait up and I'll be by. All
right, thanks for everything.
Rhiannon: See that? What did I tell you? Now, both of you sit down and shut
up, I've got some business to take care of.
Narr: Rhiannon took out her flip phone and dialed.
McGuinness: You'll never get away with this.
Rhiannon: Shut it- No, not you, sir. … Yes, she'll be here any minute,
Paladin, I can take care of her. … Who, Hayes? No, from what the boys
here say, she's out of the picture here, gone. … How did she get her
hands on it? … Yeah, I know the history between you two, you told me
enough during training. Anyway, what should I- … What? Cross, no! … But,
I really like this one. … I understand that, sir. … I do know
that, sir. … Yes, sir. … And I appreciate that, sir. … Fine. … I
said fine, didn't I? … I'll call in when she's been taken care of. … No,
I won't miss this time. … OK, sir. … Goodbye.
Narr: She put her phone away and pointed her gun at McGuinness and Tommy
Rhiannon: OK, boys, fun's over. I'm sorry about this Tommy, but like I said,
business is business. You're not the first boyfriend I've lost, and you probably
won't be the last.
Tommy: What are you saying?
McGuinness: Wise up, Kid. You're girlfriend's about to shoot us both in the
Tommy: But Miss Decker-
Rhiannon: -Will still come whether you're here to see it or not. Too bad
you weren't the type to take advantage while you could have. Now you'll never
get the chance.
Stella: Maybe not with you.
Narr: Stella fired her gun directly into Rhiannon's back, just left of the
spine, a heart shot, her specialty. The gun's kick made Stella's shoulder
ache. Rhiannon fell to the floor, the gun tumbling out of her hands and rolling
towards Julian's feet, where he quickly scooped it up, holding it delicately
to avoid smudging her prints.
McGuiness: Nice save, Stell. I thought we were going to bite it.
Stella: Enough about your love life, give me your keys. I think saving you
is probably worth that favor.
McGuiness: Sure, here you go- where are you going? The cops aren't going
to like it.
Stella: You and Tommy can take care of them for me. Tell them everything,
just like it happened, only leave out the phone call she made. I saved you,
took your car, but you don't know where I'm going, and she never made that
Tommy: Where are you going, Miss Decker?
Stella: Unless I'm way off, she said Tony Cross has a meeting with Macy.
I'm going to get to the bottom of this- Macy wouldn't kill anyone without
a damned good reason, I know it. I've got to find her, clear her name, and
figure out who the hell this Cross guy is on top of it.
McGuiness: Be careful, Stell. This guy sounds like a dangerous cat. I need
you to live long enough to repay all these favors I owe you.
Stella: Count on it.
Narr: Stella jumped into McGuinness's car, and even with three feet of snow
having fallen and Parlortown having subpar plowing capabilities, she drove
well over the speed limit, occasionally skidding into a mailbox or street
sign that did little to hold back the vehicle. She parked half on the sidewalk
in front of Wexler and Cross's offices. She strode through reception without
breaking her stride, gun in hand.
Receptionist: Dr. Cross is-
Stella: Shut up.
Reception: I'm calling the police!
Narr: Stella kicked open the door to Cross's office to find the man sitting
at his desk looking like the dog that ate the cat that ate the canary. Once
he realized who had barged into his domain, his expression became a little
Cross: Miss Decker? What brings you-
Stella: Stow it, Cross. You're little girlie is dead, and I'm not. Surprise!
Now you're going to tell me what the hell is going on.
Cross: I have no idea what you're talking about, Madam.
Stella: Let me get the ball rolling then. You used to have connections with
Stickler, back when he was a financial advisor. Conveniently enough, at the
same time that Wexler and Cross went from a twinkle in your eye to a multi-million
dollar firm, Stickler retires and starts up a diner which, according to its
financial records, feeds about 2500 people a day. Ring any bells?
Cross: Don't stop now, you're on a roll.
Stella: Around the time your partner's son in-law was killed… for the
first time, anyway, he started ordering plates for the Blue Diner and someone
starts breaking them on a weekly basis.
Cross: What's this go to do with me?
Stella: I told you earlier- you shot Stickler. He told me so himself, before
your girlie killed him. The way I figure, you must have caught wind of whatever
was going on at the Blue right under the nose of that money you were slipping
Stickler. So what was it? Drugs? Gems?
Cross: (laughs) You little idiot. You complete moron. You have no idea what
you've fallen into. You have no idea the scope, the size or shape of it! You're
looking at the tip of an iceberg asking who dropped an ice-cube into the ocean!
Stella: So how about you fill me in?
Cross: Why should I? Do I look like I teach preschool? You think I'm afraid
of you, just because you've got a gun? I've stared down more barrels than
you've licked- What… what are you doing? No, don't, I-
Narr: Cross's head exploded onto the back of his chair in a rain of blood
and brains. Stella looked down curiously at the gun in her hand, which clearly
had not been fired. Slowly, she turned around to see Macy standing behind
her, smoke whisping from her piece as she brought it down from her side, and
then threw it onto the ground.
Macy: Hi, honey.
Stella: What the hell is going on here, Macy? Why did you kill him? Who the
hell is Cross to you, anyway? What's this all about? Have you been playing
Macy: No, darling, no, I would never- I love you. Cross… was history
to me. Ancient history, long over… until this case.
Stella: Spill it, Mace.
Narr: Macy walked slowly to the couch along the wall of Cross's office and
sat down, resting her weary limbs. She was tired of the lies, tired of it
all; Stella could hear it in her voice.
Macy: Before I met you… Before we met I wasn't always on the up-and-up.
I know, I know- you ran with a gang, but I'm talking about… I spent
some time in the agency. The CIA. It wasn't really me, so after a while, I
went private, I was recruited by Cross. We did missions, espionage, killings,
corporate sabotage, stealing government secrets, all for the highest bidder.
It was good money, but eventually, my conscience tracked me down and made
me quit. It was just before Cross went big time with Wexler, really started
running with the big boys. If he hadn't been so fond of me, he never would
have let me out alive.
Stella: Then you knew Stickler, too?
Macy: No, I never met him, but I'm sure he was one of Cross's informants.
He had quite a few back then.
Stella: All right, so what about this case? What were we even doing?
Macy: Jack Nichols started it all. From what I can gather, he was tired of
being a 3rd rate embezzler, and the hat factory he was working was going to
be closing down and moving to China, so he used what connections he could
through Wexler to start his own deal. Through those channels he made a deal
to have something smuggled into America by being hidden inside of a porcelain
plate that would then be ordered by the Blue Diner. He didn't want to cut
Stickler in on anything, so he broke in and smashed the plates so they would
need the new ones. Once they came, he kept on smashing, trying to find his
goods. What he didn't realize was that Cross would catch wind of something
and get curious. He was the one who met with Jack at the blue and talked earlier
on the night he 'died'. Jack must have figured it was safer to fake his own
death than to risk facing Cross's wrath.
Stella: But what about Tess? Why did she hire us?
Macy: She was lying to us- she knew all about her husband's plan, all except
the fake death. He thought she was the one who gave him up to Cross. She hired
us to see who killed him and to find her the goods.
Stella: All right, Macy, enough beating around the bush. What was it?
Narr: Macy took the data key out of her handbag and tossed it to Stella.
She caught the device and looked at it.
Stella: What's on it?
Macy: Dollars to donuts it's full schematics, access codes, and other information
on the Chinese Government's nuclear arsenal. But we'll never know, now.
Stella: What? Why?
Macy: There were three people in this country who knew the code to decrypt
the information on that key. Two of them were names Nichols, and the other
is dead across the room. That's why I had to kill him. I couldn't allow this
information to fall into anyone's hands. I wouldn't even trust our government
with it, not after what I saw in the agency. Now, we don't have to worry.
You can keep it, destroy it, whatever you want. You'll be safe, everyone will
be safe. It's like I'm a hero or something.
Stella: Then we can tell them what happened. Everything will be fine- you'll
be a hero, just like you said.
Macy: No, Stell. I can't tell them how I knew what I knew without telling
them about my past with Cross, and trust me- that's not something I want to
admit to. If they knew everything... treason is still a capital offense. No,
we can call it murder. At least I'll get away with my life, baby.
Stella: I'm not going to let you do this.
Sheridan: You don't have a choice.
Narr: Officer Sheridan stood in the door to Cross's office, his gun drawn.
Stella immediately put her own gun back into its holster and put her hands
Sheridan: If what I gather here is true, then there's no way around a murder
rap. Macy called me herself. Why'd you do it, kid?
Macy: Someone had to, old man. I'd rather it was me than someone I love.
Narr: Macy stared into Stella's eyes as Sheridan handcuffed her, first one
hand, then the other. He began walking Macy out of the room.
Sheridan: I'm going to need you to come down town and make a statement too,
Miss Decker. About this, and the little showdown at your offices. Can I trust
you to bring yourself there?
Stella: Of course… just… wait.
Narr: Sheridan stopped where he was, Macy at his side.
Stella: Macy… I love you. I- I would never… I've never…
Macy: I know. I love you, too.
Stella: I'm going to be… waiting. For you.
Macy: I know you will.
Sheridan: Come on, Miss Hayes.
Narr: Macy leaned into Stella one last time, and kissed her softly before
Sheridan escorted Macy out of the office, and out of Stella's sight. She stood
there for another minute, before slowly returning to McGuiness's car and driving
on into the station. She made her statements as best she could, trying to
protect Macy, to do her best to make her actions sound as noble as possible
without revealing her secrets. It didn't go very well. Macy Hayes was held
without bail. Stella returned to her office that night.
McGuiness: There you are. I've been waiting all day. What happened?
Stella: I don't want to talk about it.
Tommy: Is Miss Hayes all right?
Stella: I can't- I don't want to talk about here. Tommy, take the day- take
the rest of the week off. Julian- your keys.
McGuiness: You know, I missed a date tonight because of you.
Narr: Stella said nothing, she just sat down in her chair. After a few more
minutes, Julian and Tommy left quietly, not wanting to break the silence Stella
was creating around herself. The longer she sat alone, specifically not looking
at the empty part of the office Macy had occupied just a few days before,
the stronger that silence grew, until even the thought that sound existed
would have been answered with a deafening roar of nothingness. But all that
strength was an illusion; when the phone rang, the silence was obliterated
just as thoroughly as if it had been only momentary. Stella turned her bleary
eyes to the phone, and watched it ring. Another ring came, a third, and finally
she gave in, and picked it up. She held it to her ear a moment, still uncertain.
Finally, she spoke.
Stella: Decker and Hayes.