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 3 - The Darker Path

By Lyn Nelson

Stella Decker
Macy Hayes
Jane Vance
Mayor Robert Glass
Security Officer

Narr: Stella Decker let out a frustrated sigh and spoke into the receiver of her office phone.

Stella: I’ve killed a lot of people, Macy, what makes this guy so different?

Narr: Stella Decker and Macy Hayes had been partners in detecting crime for what seemed like forever. In a place like Parlortown, crime was practically a phone call away. A recent case had left bullet in Stella’s spine, turning this former gang member into a lame duck. Now Stella battled with her handicap and the girls struggled to keep their relationship off the rocks while they started unraveling the details of a new case. Robert Glass, the one and only mayor of Parlortown, had received a threatening package containing a mutilated cat and a cassette tape. The Voice on the tape threatened the mayor’s daughter next, though the beloved mayor has insisted that he has no such daughter. The entire package had been sent on behalf of The Widow, a Madame whose girls were wrecking the competition. Unfortunately, the competition was under Stella’s watch ever since her beloved friend and mentor, Mama Wang, had tragically died and left the business to her. Now Macy was chasing hunches at the Ellsinore Mental Care Facility and had called Stella with some bizarre news.

Macy: Well, like I said, this one’s wife is apparently Janet Shtier.

Stella: Which doesn’t ring any more of bell right now than it did thirty seconds ago. What gives, Mace?

Macy: Let me read you a few details from her file: Husband killed in ’87 by a knife wound to the chest…Innocent bystander in a gang fight...she was committed by her sister after she attempted suicide three days later.

Stella: It just says a gang fight? Anybody could have killed the guy.

Macy: There’s a newspaper clipping from the accident. Let me find the part…here. "…in what was determined to be a bloody territory war between Parlortown’s most norotious rival gangs, the Spiders and the Blades, Mr. Shtier was struck by a flying machete which, it is hoped, was aimed for an enemy gang members. It has yet to be determined who threw the weapon, as the gangs dispersed immediately upon hearing police sirens. The only clue anyone has is the mysterious word or name "yera" which was screamed several times by hoodlums who fled the scene."

Narr: Macy let the silence linger on the line for a moment.

Stella: (clearly upset, trying to justify the situation) So…so what? That doesn’t mean…oh God, it was me.

Macy: Hiera. I wouldn’t have paid much attention to it, but I remembered Hiera. (recalling a conversation from her past) The Spanish word for "ice" is hiero. If a feminine form existed, it would be hiera, with an A. They called you that because you were so cold about killing that-

Stella: That they said ice ran through my veins. (pause.) You’re not thinking she’s The Widow, are you?

Macy: Well, I don’t want to jump the gun. I mean, she is a widow. It seems like an obvious nickname to take. But if that’s our only clue I’d say we have to do some digging.

Stella: What do you propose?

Macy: That’s just it, I don’t know where to begin. (hesitant) Stella…she escaped.

Stella: Oh great, am I in an urban legend now? Some escaped psychopath is going to come get revenge on me?

Macy: (annoyed at Stella’s mocking) Maybe. And if you keep pushing me away like this I won’t be around to knock her on her psychotic ass for you.

Stella: Guess I won’t go trolling for prostitutes like I was gonna tonight, then. You ruin all my fun, Macy.

Macy: (sighs) Let’s have this fight when I get home, huh?

Stella: Does that mean you’re not staying out in Ellsinore?

Macy: According to her file she has no family or anything. They’ve been looking for her for the past year. I’m going to see who I can bribe to make a copy of this file for me and I’ll be back in a while.

Stella: Okay, pick me up here.

Narr: Stella hung up the phone and heard a timid knock on her door. She kept her eyes on her desk, took a deep breath, and waited for the second knock. When she heard it, she slammed her hand on the desk and shouted at the door,

Stella: What part of "go home" don’t you understand!?

Narr: The door creaked open slowly and her secretary’s head poked shyly through the opening. Jane had only been working for them for a little while, and already it seemed like she was getting into some trouble. Just before Macy called, Stella had chewed Jane out for withholding messages from her. Stella’s ex-girlfriend and fellow member of the Blades, Tasha, was running Mama Wang’s house for Stella. Tasha had been putting in calls to Stella because of The Widow. But Jane had not been giving Stella these messages, and Stella supposed that this was at Macy’s request. Either way, Stella had let Jane go for the day, which made it particularly unpleasant to see her jet black curls poking into her office.

Jane: I’m sorry, Miss Decker, but someone called while you were on the phone.

Stella: And?

Jane: Well, it struck me as odd. She said her name was Courtney, and that she was a nurse at Our Lady of Mercy. She was one of your surgery nurses.

Stella: What did she want?

Jane: Well that’s what I found strange. She was calling for Macy, not you.

Stella: Oh?

Jane: She said she was sorry their conversation got cut off, but she doesn’t have Macy’s cell phone number, so she left a message for Macy to call her if she still wants to talk.

Stella: (really pissed) Go home, Jane. I don’t even want to see a post-it note from you. I’ll see you in the morning.

Jane: Just one more-

Stella: (yelling) Go home Jane!!!

Narr: A startled Jane hurried out of the office and closed the door behind her. Stella listened to the silence for a moment, then took out a pad and started scribbling notes. Within a minute, her intercom buzzed. She paused for a minute, trying not to believe that Jane would be buzzing her. She put down her pen and tapped her finger while the intercom buzzed again, and a third time. Finally she pressed the button.

Stella: I’m glad to see that you installed an intercom in your house, Jane.

Jane: (really fast, so Stella doesn’t cut her off) I’m sorry but Mayor Glass is holding for you!

Stella: What is with the phones today!? How long has he been holding?

Jane: He called right after…the nurse. I put him on hold just before I came in…just now.

Stella: Go home, Jane.

Narr: Stella picked up her phone, exasperated, and tried to put on a friendly voice.

Stella: Mayor Glass!

Glass: (jolly and nice as ever) Good evening, Miss Decker, how are you?

Stella: Oh, I’m alright Mayor Glass. To what do I owe the pleasure?

Glass: Well I hate to bother you so late – I’m not bothering you during dinner, am I?

Stella: No, I’ve eaten. What’s troubling you?

Glass: Well, I would have waited until the morning, but I thought you might want to know right away. I received another package from The Widow. Or rather, from The Voice that speaks on her behalf.

Stella: Oh jeez, what did they kill now?

Glass: Nothing. Or no one…at least not yet. I wonder if we could meet, I’d rather talk about it in person.

Stella: Well I just let my secretary go, and Macy isn’t around right now. It’s kind of hard for me to get to you.

Glass: I’ll come to you. I’ll be there in about twenty minutes?

Stella: I look forward to it.

Narr: Stella hung up the phone, grabbed her pad, and wheeled out into the lobby, which was thankfully empty. She sat at Jane’s desk scribbling names and details on her pad until she heard a hearty knock on the door and Mayor Glass entered, flanked by two security officers.

Stella: Hello, Mayor Glass. We can go into my office.

Narr: Stella gestured to the open door leading to her office, but Mayor Glass strode behind her instead, and wheeled her into her office. He was followed by one security officer, and one remained in the lobby. Mayor Glass wheeled Stella around behind her desk, and took a seat opposite her. He put a small cardboard box on the desk, and removed from it an envelope and his cassette player with a tape inside.

Stella: Thank you for coming to me. I’m still getting used to not being able to drive myself around.

Glass: Think nothing of it. I think this is best for all parties concerned.

Stella: May I?

Narr: Stella reached for the envelope and, with a nod from the Mayor, opened it and pulled out a picture. The photo was of a young woman, maybe in her mid 20s. She was in a sundress and was sitting on a porch swing. She had long blonde wavy hair that was sprawled over her shoulder. Stella studied the photo for a few minutes.

Stella: Why is it that you didn’t want to do this in your office?

Glass: As we speak my staff is sweeping the entire office for bugs. I’m fairly certain someone heard the conversation in my office. Let me play you the tape.

Narr: The Mayor pushed the play button, and a familiar voice came on.

Voice: It isn’t nice of you to tell lies to the nice young ladies, Mr. Mayor. Take a good look at your beautiful daughter. She looks comfortable on her porch, doesn’t she? So safe, out in the country…time to start telling the truth, Mr. Mayor. The Widow has great things planned for your lovely daughter.

Glass: I know this looks terrible, but you’ve got to believe me, Miss Decker, I don’t have a daughter! I’ve never seen this woman before in my life. I’m certainly afraid that The Widow might harm her, whoever she is, but she’s no relation to me!

Narr: Stella sat quietly looking at the photo for a few minutes, which made Mayor Glass nervous.

Glass: You don’t believe me.

Stella: I’m going to assume that you’re telling me the truth. I know you took our last conversation seriously, and right now I’m having trouble figuring out if anyone in my life is telling the truth, so this will be one less potential lie I have to worry about…tonight, anyway.

Glass: I’m sorry you have to take on my troubles as well.

Stella: It’s my job, Mr. Mayor. The way I see it, if you’re lying to me, it will just mean my taking longer to solve it, which means you paying me more money.

Glass: I’m glad we can work this out.

Stella: Do you feel safe enough to sleep in your own house tonight, Mr. Mayor?

Glass: Oh, sure. These guys have done right by me for years.

Security Officer: We’ll take good care of him, Miss Decker.

Stella: Alright then, if that’s all you’ve got, let’s call it a night. Leave these here, I want Macy to see them.

Glass: Thank you ever-so-much, Miss Decker. And thank Miss Hayes for me too.

Stella: Will do.

Glass: Will you be alright here by yourself?

Stella: (kidding with him) I’ve still got arms.

Glass: (warmly) I have to watch out for my constituents.

Stella: Good night, Mayor.

Narr: Stella watched the men leave and heard the outer door click closed. She leaned back in her chair and distractedly put numbers into the sudoku booklet Jane had given her. She mulled over the case, and dwelled on the call for Macy from this insidious-sounding nurse. Soon the outer door opened and closed.

Stella: (calling to the other room) Macy?

Macy: It’s me, Stel!

Narr: As angry as Stella was with Macy, her billowing blonde hair and sparkling eyes were quite the comfort.

Macy: Let me take you home, hun.

Narr: At home, Stella filled Macy in and played her the tape while Macy made the two of them some tea. The two of them sipped silently for a few minutes, until Macy broke the silence.

Macy: Should we talk about it?

Stella: It’s been a really exhausting day, Mace.

Macy: You’re a great detective, Stella. I can’t promise to like Tasha, but I can promise to love you.

Stella: She’s an ex, Macy. An ex.

Macy: That gives me the right to hate her, doesn’t it?

Stella: I guess so. But this is still my business, and I still have to carry on Mama’s legacy. And The Widow is a danger to more than the whoring business. So let me do what I need to do, okay?

Macy: Just as long as what you need to do isn’t Tasha.

Stella: What I need to do is get in bed with you.

Macy: Fair enough.

Narr: Macy tucked Stella in and slid under the covers next to her. The two slept until their phone rang mid-morning.

Macy: (groggy) Hello?

Tasha: (panicked, crying) Macy, I need you not to be a bitch to me right now.

Macy: T…Tasha?

Stella: (groggy) It’s Tasha? What does she want?

Macy: Tasha, what’s wrong?

Tasha: (hysterical) It’s Marla…she’s dead…can you just put Stella on the phone?

Macy: (to Stella) Here, someone’s dead.

Stella: We’ll be there soon, Tasha.

Tasha: Oh god, hurry!

Narr: At what used to be Mama Wang’s, Stella and Macy were once again greeted by their new bouncer friend.

Bouncer: Tasha’s waiting upstairs. Here you go, Miss Decker.

Narr: The bouncer scooped Stella up and started up the stairs with Macy behind carrying the wheelchair.

Stella: You can call me Stella, kid. It gives me the heebie jeebies when people call me "Miss."

Bouncer: Okay, Stella. The name’s Bennie.

Narr: Bennie carried Stella into one of the rooms, where all the girls were huddled in a circle around a box on the floor. Tasha, who was sitting at the head of the circle, rushed over to Stella just as Bennie set her back in her chair. She fell at Stella’s feet sobbing. Stella patted her head for a minute while Macy walked around them, parted the girls, and looked in the box. She reeled back, and faced Stella, the blood drained from her face.

Macy: (disgusted) Is there a note, or a cassette tape?

Tasha: (through sobs) Just a return name.

Narr: Stella got Tasha to sit aside, and wheeled up to the box. In it was a mannequin’s head that was used for wigs. But glued on the head was the skin from Marla’s face, placed perfectly around the contours of the mannequin. Her hair was still attached and hung around the flesh-covered ears in the auburn braids she always wore. Her eyes were glued into the eye-spots, wide open. Someone had made her up, adding lipstick, blush, and fake eyelashes. Stella pulled up one of the flaps of the box and read the return name.

Tasha: The Widow.

Narr: What terrible gift will The Widow send next? Does Mayor Glass really have a daughter? What does Janet Shtier have to do with it all? Tune into next week’s thrilling episode: All the Worse for Wear.

Go to Episode 4