Mayor Robert Glass
(sounds of Stella waking up, moving around)
Narrator: Stella Decker, Parlortown’s premier private investigator,
woke up that morning to the usual unpleasant surprise.
Stella: Dammit. Wasn’t a dream.
Narrator: She had been out of the hospital for a month now, and had spent
most of that time learning how to live in her home again without being able
to walk. Stella’d spent her entire life being the strongest – first
as a street urchin, then as a gang-banger, finally as a private detective.
She’d taken down men twice her size with her bare hands and racked up
a body count the envy of most Army rangers. Now her most hated enemy was a
staircase. Still, she’d survived because she wasn’t a quitter,
because she wouldn’t be another hopeless case in the hopeless case of
a city that was Parlortown. And if she could never kick a man in the family
jewels again, she’d just have to get creative. Not that this wasn’t
without its little –
(wheelchair slipping away, sound of losing grip and smacking onto floor)
Stella: OW! SON OF A –
Narrator: - pitfalls. (muttered swearing of Stella) But the world wouldn’t
stand still for her, so she might as well make the best of it. She got dressed – slowly
and painfully – and wheeled herself into the kitchen.
Macy: (brightly) ‘Morning, baby.
Stella: Hey hon. You’re looking pretty shiny today.
Stella: You know, bouncy. Bubbly. Happy.
Macy: Yeah, guess I am. (they kiss)
Narrator: Macy Hayes was Stella’s partner in the business and the bedroom.
A genteel façade hid the cold and ruthless heart of a former CIA agent.
She’d managed to keep her past under wraps until an old business associate
forced her hand. When she’d killed him, she’d gone to jail, sentenced
to life for tying up a loose end. She’d spent a year behind bars before
her old friends popped up again, getting her released from jail to track down
a Russian arms smuggler. What followed was a web of betrayals, double-crosses
and lies that had killed their secretary and some of their closest friends
and left a bullet lodged in Stella’s spine. The losses had been high,
but Macy had won her freedom, forcing the CIA to honor her release from prison
and to stay away from her, her partner and her city. It had gotten the duo
back together, but hadn’t been without its price.
Macy: We’ve got a case. Jane called me as I was getting the coffee
Stella: I thought I heard the phone ring. Who’s the client?
Macy: She didn’t want to say on the phone. She said it was someone
Stella: Huh. Wonder what he wants us for. (crash, shatter) Dammit! (grunts,
struggles to pick things up)
Macy: Baby, let me take care of it –
Stella: No! I can do it!
Macy: Stella, don’t!
(falling to floor sound again)
Stella: God DAMMIT!
Macy: Are you okay, baby?
Stella: (breaking down) NO, I’m not freaking okay! I’m a freaking
cripple, Macy! I can’t walk, I can’t stand, I can barely get out
of bed! We haven’t had sex in five months! I’m just a stupid,
useless cripple! (sobs)
Macy: Shh…baby, shh…Stella, listen to me. Listen to me. I love
you. You hear me? I love you. You’re the strongest, most beautiful,
most wonderful woman I know, and I want to spend the rest of my life with
you. Nothing’s gonna change that. You’ll get through this. Nothing
keeps my baby down.
Stella: (through tears) Promise?
Macy: Promise. (beat) Besides, with a rack like yours, who cares about your
legs? (beat, followed by giggling)
Narrator: Stella and Macy got into their pickup and drove down to the building
that housed their business. The Decker & Hayes Detective Agency was the
best law enforcement Parlortown could offer. In a city full of organized crime
and rampant unemployment, most people knew better than to go to the police
if they had problems. The rich bought justice as they needed it, and the poor
scraped together what they could and came to people like Stella and Macy.
The other big name among Parlortown PIs, Julian McGuiness, had retired a few
months before, so business had been steady in a town where wrongs needed righting.
Macy: Hey there, Jane.
Jane: Good morning Miss Hayes, Miss Decker!
Narrator: Jane Vance had been hired as a new secretary while Stella had been
in the hospital. Jane was efficient, polite and either too tactful or too
simple to ask questions. The boy she replaced, Tommy Potsdam, had been shot
down in the very office she was now working in. The circumstances of his death,
her new employer’s past and the source of Stella’s injury were
matters Jane seemed utterly unconcerned by. Her almost tyrannical enforcement
of a sense of normalcy had kept Decker & Hayes running smoothly for the
last few months. As Stella wheeled up to the desk, she also reflected that
Jane wasn’t bad on the eyes, either.
Stella: So what’s the story, girl?
Jane: A few offers, nothing really time-sensitive. The thing I really wanted
to tell you about wants you on the case immediately.
Macy: Who is it?
Jane: Would you believe Mayor Glass?
Stella: No way.
Jane: (almost comically indignant) Yes way!
Stella: Mayor Glass. Robert Thomas Glass. "Getting Better Every Day" Mayor
Jane: The same. He’s expecting you around noon. I’ve got most
of the office in order for now, you guys can catch some lunch and head over
Macy: Sounds good to me. You sure you’ll be okay?
Jane: It’s only some paperwork, Ms. Hayes. It’s hardly a life-or-death
situation. (excited) Oh! And I almost forgot! Where did I put that…?
Ah! Here, Ms. Decker!
Jane: No, ma’am, it’s pronounced "soo-doh-koo." It’s
a Japanese number game.
Stella: Okay, so what?
Jane: (slightly deflated) Well, it helps me focus when I’ve had a long
day, and I thought that maybe it might help you too.
Stella: (taken slightly aback) Oh. O…kay. How do you play?
Jane: The rules are all in there, but basically you just need to put all
the numbers in the right places. The easiest way is to find the one number
that’s the key to the whole puzzle. That’s what sudoku means; "The
Stella: Hmm, sounds kind of interesting. Thanks, Jane. Let’s get going,
Narrator: Number One Parlor Plaza was the city hall. Huge and opulent, it
was a monument to Parlortown’s blatant corruption and fiscal mismanagement.
Macy and Stella arrived early, taking a minute to take it in in all its hideous
Macy: That is one ugly building.
Stella: And we’re lesbians. How do other people deal with it?
Macy: (laughing) Shut up. Jeez, some days you can be so immature.
(opening of door, sounds of people in a large space, closing of door)
Guard: May I help you ladies?
Macy: Yes, please, we have an appointment with Mayor Glass. Decker and Hayes?
Guard: Hayes? Didn’t you shoot that guy last year?
Macy: I don’t see how that’s any of your business.
Guard: You think I’m going to let a convicted killer in to see the
Stella: What part of ‘appointment’ was unclear, punkass? Let
Guard: Or what, lady? You’re gonna run over my foot?
Glass: (loud, friendly) Steve! What’re ya doin’? These ladies
are here to see me, they’re cool.
Guard: Sorry, Mr. Mayor, sir.
Narrator: Robert Glass had been elected Mayor of Parlortown almost a decade
before and held onto the position by being impossible to dislike. In his late
thirties, Glass had an irresistible smile and an easy manner that made even
his opponents think well of him. Mayor Glass was so charming and friendly
that most people forgot he ruled a city knee-deep in crime, poverty and corruption.
Glass: Ms. Decker! Ms. Hayes! Thank you so much for coming! Let me show you
to my office – is this your first time in city hall? Well, we don’t
really have time for the nickel tour now, but once we’ve completed the
meeting I’ll see what we can do about showing the two of you around.
(opening door) This way. Oh, hey, Connie, can you hold my calls? Thanks, dear.
(closing door, people sounds stop, Glass sighs) Okay. So, coffee?
Macy: Yes, please.
Glass: Excellent. Cream or sugar?
Macy: Certainly. Thank you.
Glass: Not a problem. And you, Ms. Decker?
Glass: Good choice. I’ve never been much for diluting my coffee; the
flavor’s what I really love about it –
Stella: Look, no offense, Mr. Mayor, but we didn’t come here to talk
about coffee. Is there some kind of case we can help you with?
Glass: Yes, yes, my apologies. This whole matter has gotten me pretty upset.
You see, I got this box a few days ago. It doesn’t look like much, but
(Stella and Macy both gasp, shriek, whatever)
Macy: Is that a…cat?
Glass: Well, was, certainly. Now, it’s more of a dead cat with bits
cut out of it.
Stella: Jesus, someone really went to town on this little guy. Why would
somebody send this to you?
Macy: Was there any kind of note?
Glass: A cassette, actually. It took me the longest time to find a cassette
player, it’s really amazing how fast we phased them out…
Stella: Can we listen to it?
Glass: I was hoping you’d ask that question.
(sound of a tape player being hauled out, set down, turned on. Recorded voice)
Voice: (cold, self-satisfied) A little gift for you from the Widow, Mr. Mayor.
The first of many. (sounds of saws, a cat screaming, flesh being sliced) Call
the cops and it’ll be your daughter next time.
(tape player being turned off)
Stella: I didn’t know you had a daughter, Mr. Mayor.
Glass: Neither did I. My wife and I don’t normally like to discuss
her…condition, but children aren’t really an option. It’s
why we adopted our son, Rajdeep.
Macy: Mr. Mayor, if we’re going to help you, keeping secrets will only
make things harder.
Glass: I’m fully aware of that. Trust me, nothing would please me more
than to have some kind of dark and shocking secret that would stop people
from leaving butchered cats in my mailbox. But this whole thing is an absolute
mystery to me. That’s why I need your help.
Macy: Well, despite your position of authority, our normal fees –
Glass: -will be doubled. Anything that will get this psychotic behind bars
before any more atrocities are committed.
Stella: I say we take it.
Macy: Sounds good to me.
Glass: Excellent! Now, have you seen the statue of Josiah Parlor on the west
lawn? His stance is simply inspiring.
Narrator: After a brief tour of the Plaza, Stella and Macy bid their goodbyes
to the Mayor and left to pound the pavement. On the way out, they ran into
an old rival.
Bopko: (clearly not happy to see them) Why, Ms. Decker, Ms. Hayes, good to
Macy: Officer Bopko. What a surprise.
Stella: Yeah, guess God really is deaf to our prayers.
Bopko: Yeah, yeah, whatever. What brings the killer and the cripple to city
Macy: We’re doing our job, Bopko. You wouldn’t understand.
Bopko: Look, just watch yourself, dyke. I don’t know how you got out
of Babylon after shooting that guy, but I won’t be sorry to put you
Stella: You want to keep talking to my partner that way, Bopko? Because that’s
the way policemen get their asses kicked.
Bopko: Who’s gonna kick it, Decker? You?
Stella: Screw off, jackass.
Bopko: (laughing) Whatever, sister. I’d say watch your step, but…(laughs)
Narrator: Ignoring the cop’s mockery, the pair took to their truck.
Stella never liked it when Macy drove her truck, but she was in no position
to do it herself.
(driving noises, traffic)
Macy: So what’re you doing in that book?
Stella: This? Oh, it’s that Sudoku thing Jane got me.
Macy: They do it in Japan instead of crossword puzzles, I’ve heard.
Stella: Yeah? Cool.
Macy: How’s it going?
Stella: Badly. I’m not very good.
Macy: Well, I’m sure it’ll come with practice. So what do you
think of the cat thing?
Stella: Probably just some crazy. Let’s check down at Ellsinore, see
who’s gotten released lately.
Macy: I’m not so sure. What about the whole thing with the daughter?
Stella: What about it?
Macy: It seems like a weird thing to just make up. I mean, they had to import
a son from India, for Christ’s sake. There’s no reason they’d
have a daughter.
Stella: (things are clicking into place) Unless it isn’t their daughter.
Stella: I’ve got a hunch. Take a left at the next light.
Stella: Yup. Then a right on Gallagher.
Narrator: The well-polished buildings of Parlor Plaza gave way to the run-down,
dilapidated tenements of South Tip. Stella’s old stomping ground had
seen a lot of action in the past few months, but a little ballistic therapy
had cleared out the infamous Spider gang. On a street corner, however, was
an unfamiliar sign.
Stella: Hey, Macy, stop the truck. (braking, window
rolling down? yelling) Hey, girl! What’s that on your leg?
Whore: What’s what?
Stella: The white garter. What’s that all about?
Whore: You don’t know much, do you, girl? That’s the sign. I’m
one of the Widow’s girls. Boys play too rough, they gotta answer to
Stella: The Widow?
Macy: A little gift from the Widow…
Whore: Yeah, she’s the queen a’ South Tip. Nobody crosses her.
Stella: Where’ll we find her?
Whore: That’s the kind of news that costs money
Stella: Tempting, but I prefer taller women. Thanks anyway, sugar.
(Window rolling up)
Macy: Well, that’s twice today we’ve heard about the Widow.
Stella: The Queen of South Tip. I know who used to have that title. This
Narrator: Up Gallagher Street they drove to Mama Wang’s, the most notorious
brothel in Parlortown. Mama Wang herself had ruled South Tip with an iron
fist until she’d been gunned down only hours before a bullet had cut
Stella in half. She had left the house to Stella, who’d been close to
her when they were both younger. But between a Russian arms smuggler and a
crippling injury, Stella’d been in no position to take it over at the
time. Now, it seemed, she’d have to deal with the new management.
(knocking on a door. It is opened)
Bouncer: Yeah, what?
Stella: We’re here to see Tasha.
Bouncer: Yes, ma’am. Can I, uh, help you, ma’am?
Stella: Sure, thanks.
Macy: Hey! Watch the hands!
Bouncer: Back off, bitch. Stella don’t like what I’m doing, she’ll
Stella: You’re Sally Slash’s boy, aren’t you?
Stella: (coldly observant) You’ve got her nose. And she called everyone ‘bitch’ too.
One night some john smacked her so hard she lost three teeth on her right
side. I chased him down six blocks and hit him until he couldn’t smack
Bouncer: (affirming, almost proud) She told me about that, ma’am. Said
you were real nice to her.
Stella: I don’t like jackasses. And a good way to get on my jackass
list is to disrespect my girl. Got that, kid?
Bouncer: (humbled) Yes ma’am.
Narrator: The bouncer lifted up Stella and carried her up the stairs, Macy
bringing the folded-up wheelchair behind them. They passed upholstered couches
and open doors to rooms where dozens of dozing girls rested up for the night
ahead. At the top of the stairs and the end of the hall was the office from
which Mama Wang had ruled her empire of sin. The wheelchair was unfolded and
Stella deposited there, and Macy knocked on the door. (knocking)
Tasha: Come in.
Narrator: Through the opened door was an office that was largely unchanged – dozens
of books scattered around, large plush chairs and the mahogany desk that had
been a royal pain to get up the stairs. At the desk was a blond woman, her
scarred body covered up entirely by a modest and simple dress and gloves.
She looked up, and Stella recognized the woman she’d fought, killed
and bled for – the first woman to steal her heart away.
Tasha: (happy) Why, Stella! (noticeably colder) Ms. Hayes.
Narrator: Tasha didn’t have a last name. She’d grown up alongside
Stella on the streets of Parlortown’s crummiest neighborhood – South
Tip. Together they’d shared gang tattoos, stolen cigarettes and the
first tender kisses of love. Then she’d disappeared, never sending word
about where she’d gone or what had happened. She’d shown up six
months ago at Stella’s door, bleeding from a gunshot wound with a dreadful
story to tell; she’d been kept by a rival gang as a sex slave for almost
twenty years. She’d filled the vacuum left when Mama Wang died, taking
over control of her home turf. Rumor was that she never let anyone touch her
now, and her relationship with Macy was cold on its best days.
Tasha: Thank God you could come.
Stella: What are you talking about, hon?
Tasha: You’re here because I called for you, right?
Macy: We hadn’t heard anything, Tasha.
Tasha: That’s just weird. Still, I’m glad you’re here.
Stella: What’s wrong, Tash?
Tasha: I need your help with the Widow.
Narrator: Parlortown’s best detectives seek out a bloodthirsty stalker.
On the way they see old faces, but nothing feels the same. What is the meaning
behind the mysterious package the Mayor received? How is Tasha involved? Tune
in as our favorite duo tries to answer these questions in the next episode
of Decker & Hayes: Out of Joint.