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, Series Two
Episode 1 - Dreaming of Babylon

By Lyn Nelson

Stella Decker
Macy Hayes
Tommy Potsdam
Derrick Washburn
Alexis "Lexi" Grayson
Matthew Lansberg
Prison Guard

Narrator: Babylon. The garbage disposal in the broken down tenement that was Parlortown. This drab gray building was heavily lined in barbed wire and housed the most depraved of the depraved: rapists, child molesters, drug lords, murderers, and now, detectives. Macy Hayes was half of Parlortown’s only true savior, the Decker & Hayes Detective Agency. At the end of her last case, Macy had shot a man out of revenge, and, incidentally, in the interest of justice. Rather than delve into the sordid past that had brought her to that point, Macy accepted the charges facing her and made the doomed journey to Babylon. She’d spent the last 550 days behind its bars knitting furiously. If there was one thing to be said about Macy, she brought color to Parlortown – even to its prison. She made potholders, oven mitts, coasters, all things Stella would never use. She had sent each one home with a letter telling Stella that she would use them when she returned, and Stella had lovingly placed each one in the cupboard in the kitchen. She’d gotten used to tying her own tie each morning and ignoring the voice in her head that reminded her of Macy’s sentence: 25-to-life. Cold-blooded murder. Vengeance and rage at their peak in Parlortown, even the crime-fighters are falling prey. But Macy made her way concentrating on her knit, perl, knit, perl, and Stella tightened her knots and straightened her ties, and neither of them broke the optimistic tone of Macy’s letters. Business had not been extraordinarily good for Stella, but what else was new? She’d picked up a few cases in the last year-and-a-half, and she had the help of some close friends. Tommy Potsdam, her skinny effeminate secretary, had been beefing up with tae bo classes and avoiding women since being poisoned and double-crossed by his last girlfriend. Julian McGuinness, a fellow detective, was offering moral support and the occasional extra right hook in between dates with people far too beautiful for him. Sitting at her desk in her office, Stella was absentmindedly playing with one of Macy’s coasters when her intercom buzzed suddenly and nearly knocked her off her chair.

Tommy: Miss Decker, a man here to see you.

Narrator: Stella put the coaster in a drawer and pressed the button on her intercom.

Stella: Tell him I don’t swing that way, kid.

Narrator: The door between Stella’s office and the lobby opened gently, and a slim, blond man in his mid-thirties slid around it. He was dressed in a well-fitting black suit and carried a briefcase with him. He spoke in a smooth, friendly tone from the door.

Derrick: This is hardly a marriage proposal. May I?

Narrator: Stella raised a brow and motioned him to the chair in front of her desk. The man closed the door quietly, walked over to the desk, and offered his hand to Stella. Her intercom buzzed again.

Tommy: He’s a tad persistent, Miss Decker.

Stella: Thanks, Tommy.

Derrick: Derrick Washburn.

Narrator: Stella remained seated but shook his hand firmly.

Stella: Stella Decker.

Narrator: The man took a seat in the chair, his legs together, his briefcase on his lap. He nervously fingered the latches on the case, and shifted his eyes from Stella to her desk and back again.

Stella: (friendly, a little sarcastic) So, why are you avoiding the fuzz, Mr. Washburn?

Derrick: I’m….I’m sorry?

Stella: It’s a joke, sir. Usually when a client comes to me there’s a reason they can’t go to the police. Or, perhaps, the police aren’t very effective, though you didn’t hear that from me. Far be it from me to joke in such serious times, though. What seems to be the problem?

Derrick: (laughing nervously) Oh, of course. Well, I suppose I’ll get right to it then?

Narrator: Derrick spun some dials on his briefcase, opened both latches, and balanced his briefcase open on his lap. He shuffled nervously through his papers, and talked in a businesslike manner into his briefcase.

Derrick: My son has been kidnapped. He is six years old. He has been missing for two weeks.

Narrator: Derrick produced a 4x6 color photo of a small blond boy from his briefcase and handed it across the desk. Stella accepted the photo and looked it over. The boy was in denim overalls and a blue-and-white striped shirt, and he had a big grin on his face.

Stella: I take it you really didn’t go to the police.

Narrator: Derrick then produced from his briefcase an 8 ½ x 11 piece of printer paper. On the paper were cut and pasted words from various magazines:

Stella: "Daniel is safe but not for long. He likes to sing a very sad song. He really misses good old Pops, but he’ll cry if you call the cops. One million dollars, one month’s time. The punishment must fit the crime." ... I see.

Derrick: I couldn’t call the police. Danny’s life is at risk.

Stella: But you chose to contact me. Aren’t you afraid that they’ll know that?

Derrick: I had to do something. Besides, I trust you ladies. I’ve heard very good things, and I trust a former Agent to treat this properly. Will you and Miss Hayes take the case? You’re my only hope, you realize this.

Narrator: Stella looked the young man up and down. He had closed his expensive briefcase, smoothed his expensive suit, crossed his legs, and revealed his expensive, well polished shoes.

Stella: Where did you say you were from, Mr. Washburn?

Derrick: Parlortown, of course. I’m from here.

Stella: You must live on the edge of town, then?

Derrick: Yes, of course.

Narrator: Stella paused for a few moments, her eyes mesmerized by the reflective power of his leather bound toes. She looked him in the eye.

Stella: I will require an upfront fee, as well as provisions. You understand this?

Derrick: (happy, relieved) Yes, of course.

Stella: Good. See Mr. Potsdam at the desk out there about finances.

Narrator: Derrick got up, grinning like a kid, and shook Stella’s hand heartily.

Derrick: I can’t thank you enough, Miss Decker, and please pass that on to Miss Hayes…… (prying) is she…..out to lunch?

Stella: We’ll be in touch, Mr. Washburn.

Narrator: Stella pushed the button on her intercom.

Stella: Hey kid, hetero coming your way. Draw him up some papers, will ya?

Tommy: Right-o, Miss Decker.

Narrator: Meanwhile, Macy was starting a set of placemats when a guard appeared outside her cell.

Guard: Got a visitor, young lady.

Narrator: The guard let Macy out and escorted her to a small room with several tables in it. A few of them were occupied by prisoners and family. At a corner table sat a stocky man in a crisp suit. At his side stood a slim, dark-haired woman in an equally crisp though more fashionable suit. They both sported nametags on their left lapels, and the woman smiled brightly when Macy approached the table.

Macy: (completely shocked) Oh my….god. Lexi? Excuse me – Alexis. God, I never thought I’d see you again.

Lexi: (warmly) Listen, I can’t hug you or anything...

Narrator: She motioned to the guards standing watch at the door.

Lexi: ...But have a seat.

Macy: Well gee, you’re all dolled up and I haven’t even had time to do my hair.

Lexi: You haven’t changed a bit, Macy.

Macy: God, how long has it been?

Lansberg: (annoyed) Twelve years.

Lexi: Uh, Macy, this is Matthew Lansberg. He is the head of our organization now.

Narrator: Macy looked over the unfamiliar man with the chunky gold ring on his left hand. A school ring of some sort? She couldn’t see. But it was ugly, and she didn’t like it. She didn’t remember the name or the face at all

Macy: (a bit untrusting) Twelve years, huh. That’s a long time. Your girls must be pretty big by now.

Lexi: High school. They think they’re adults, but they still sleep with the blankets you knitted them.

Lansberg: Well this is sweet, girls, but Ms. Grayson, you and I have business, and I’m sure Miss Hayes will want to get back to…darning her socks or what have you.

Macy: I’m sorry, what did you say your name was?

Lexi: Matthew Lansberg. It’s okay, Macy, we’re here to help.

Lansberg: We’d like to talk to you about your days in Russia, Miss Hayes. Specifically about information you sent to us from Russia – and-

Narrator: One of the pudgy man’s eyebrows raised itself, and his lips drew themselves into a knowing smirk.

Lansberg: ...about information you didn’t send to us from Russia.

Macy: (curtly) What is this?

Lansberg: Please, Miss Hayes. We’re offering you a chance at freedom here.

Macy: Just how exactly do you plan to do that? I assume you’ve been keeping up with the news? (voice lowered) I’m a cold-blooded killer, Mr. Lansberg, and no amount of gold on your fingers can change that fact. Sir.

Narrator: The guard appeared at the table, straightening Macy’s shoulders.

Guard: Keep it so we can hear it, sweet cheeks.

Narrator: The guard returned to the door and Matthew Lansberg continued unfazed.

Lansberg: Now is not the time for games, Miss Hayes. I don’t think you have to search your memory very hard to figure out just what it is we are discussing here. The very important information we received from you while you were in Russia has now, twelve years later, proven to be insufficient. As a result, lives are at stake – important lives. This is big, Miss Hayes. My offer is as follows: you give me enough information to satisfy me, and you get to leave this prison.

Macy: That seems a little too easy.

Lansberg: (a little sarcastic) They told me you were sharp.

Macy: (impatient) Funny, they told me nothing about you.

Lansberg: You prove to me that I can trust you, that you’re in this, and I’ll get you out of here. You will be released into our custody until the matter is settled. During this time you will help me deal with the information you originally withheld, and you will try not to kill anyone in the process. (kind of joking) That is, you will try not to kill anyone unnecessarily, and if you do have to kill someone, you will try not to get caught. You help me and keep yourself clean, and you’re a free woman.

Narrator: Macy maintained a cold, distant stare that slid back and forth between the fat stranger and her former partner.

Macy: Let me talk to my attorney.

Narrator: And she was out the door. She was escorted back to the cell that she shared with three other women. She stood on the inside of the sliding door for a minute after the guard had locked it. She drank in the site – three other women in matching gray suits lounging uncomfortably in their standard issue bunk beds. In the bed above hers was a woman who’d shot her husband and his girlfriend when she found them in bed together. In the top bunk on the other side of the cell was a large-scale coke dealer, and below her a woman who’d shot her girlfriend, also over an affair. They were all reading fashion magazines or Home and Garden, and they were the best friends Macy could have found in her predicament. She sighed and settled into knitting in her bunk. It was stiflingly hot, and this wasn’t exactly your five-star penitentiary, so everyone tried to move as little as possible. After dinner the guard returned.

Guard: Yo, Miss Congeniality, you’ve got another friend.

Macy: Jesus, what now?

Narrator: She was escorted to the same table.

Macy: Stell!

Stella: (trying to keep her chin up) Hey, Mace. How they treating you in here, huh?

Macy: Oh, they’ve been leaving me alone since you threatened that other inmate, and I’ve got my friends and stuff, they’re good gals. (getting tearful) And I’m starting on some placemats for us. It’s been kind of a weird day.

Stella: You and me both, babe. Listen, anyone around here know about your days in the Agency?

Macy: What? How did you….um, no, not around here. In the city there’s a few, but I haven’t seen them in, oh gosh, north of ten years. What’s the deal?

Stella: We got a client today, mentioned how he trusted you to handle his case because of your Agency training.

Macy: Trusted me to handle it? I don’t understand.

Stella: Neither did I, but I’m sort of putting it together. He knows about your past, but he doesn’t know about…where you are. So I figure he’s not from around here.

Macy: Well where did he say he was from?

Stella: That’s the thing. This blondie comes waltzing in in a suit – I mean, a real expensive deal – saying he’s from the town. Specifically, from the edge of town. I sort of roped him into that part, but he was lying through his teeth. Gave me some song and dance about his kid being kidnapped. He had a photo and a ransom note and everything. Seemed honest and upset enough, but for obvious reasons I found it fishy. Only took it cause he mentioned you.

Macy: Did you bring the photo?

Narrator: Stella grinned and handed over the picture.

Stella: Told ‘em it was your kid.

Narrator: Macy looked over the photo. She didn’t recognize the kid. She handed the photo back.

Macy: And the note?

Stella: Well, I couldn’t bring it, obviously, so you’ll have to use your skills of memorization. It’s sort of a poem, and it’s pretty straight forward, but the end is kind of cryptic. I’m going to have a chat with our client, but I wanted to see if it made sense to you first. Just look at me and smile like I’m telling you about home.

Narrator: Stella looked indeed like she was telling some sort of cute anecdote from home as she recited for Macy the poem from the ransom note. Macy listened patiently and thought for a minute.

Macy: Listen, Stell, something’s happening. I don’t really know who to trust right now, but let’s stay on this one. (thoughtful pause.) Huh. Two cases in one day, and I’m a criminal. Business is better than we thought, huh babe?

Stella: (incredulous) I’m sorry, what? You? You’re….taking a case?

Macy: Listen, I know Julian was hesitant about representing me, being out of practice and being friends with me and all. But I need a real attorney now, not a court-appointed schmuck who’s going to get me locked away forever. This is deep, Stell, and we can trust Jules. Will you impress that upon him? This is…important.

Stella: Well jeez, Macy, of course. But what is this all about?

Macy: This is about Alexis Grayson and the Mother Country.

Narrator: Has Macy ever had a pristine past? Where did Matthew Lansberg come from, and what’s his connection to our heroines? Will Tommy ever love again? Tune in next week for at least some of these answers in the next installment of Decker & Hayes, entitled "Shadows of Gotham City."

Go to Episode 2