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 Three
Episode 1 - To Cast Thee Up Again

By Daniel Schwartz

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.

Macy: Shiny?

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 ready.

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 really important.

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. (door opens)

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 Glass?

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 there.

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!

Stella: Sudookuh?

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 lone number."

Stella: Hmm, sounds kind of interesting. Thanks, Jane. Let’s get going, babe.

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 glory.

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 Mayor?

Stella: What part of ‘appointment’ was unclear, punkass? Let us through.

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?

Stella: Black.

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 inside, well…

(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)

Macy: Jesus.

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 see yas.

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 hall?

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 back there.

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.

Macy: Huh?

Stella: I’ve got a hunch. Take a left at the next light.

Macy: Here?

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 her.

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.

Whore: Whatever.

(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 way.

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 tell me.

Stella: You’re Sally Slash’s boy, aren’t you?

Bouncer: What?

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 anybody anymore.

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.

(door opening)

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.

Go to Episode 2