Narrator: Dawn washed Parlortown red, waking Stella Decker from a restful
Narrator: Stella had slept well, the way she always did after a fight. The
evening before she'd gunned down a masked attacker who'd turned out to be
Janet Shtier, an escaped mental patient out for revenge. Stella had accidentally
killed the woman's husband in a gang fight during the bad old days, when she'd
been on the wrong side of the law. Unfortunately, Janet's death seemed to
rule her out as the Widow, the brutal crime boss willing to butcher her way
to supremacy in a city where brutality was a way of life. That left Stella
and her slowly-waking partner, Macy Hayes, at a dead end.
Macy: (yawn, stretch) Morning, baby.
Stella: Hey, sugar. How'd you sleep?
Macy: My arm still hurts. Janet hit me hard.
Stella: Fat lot of good it did her.
Macy: No kidding. Where does that leave us?
Stella: Without much to do until Glass comes around. (beat) I say we take
advantage of that.
Macy: What do you - oh. Ohhhh.
Stella: I figure we've got some lost time to make up.
Macy: (incredulous) But...your legs...
Stella: I'm not asking you to touch my legs, baby.
Macy: (aghast) Stella, a woman died last night.
Stella: (while kissing Macy below the neck) I'm more concerned about the
live woman next to me.
Macy: (isn't sure; it's a weird time, but she really
wants it) Are you sure
you can even -
Stella: That's a chance (low moaning from Macy) I'm willing to take.
Macy: (breathless) Get over here, you.
Stella: My pleasure. (further moaning from all parties involved)
Narrator: The morning passed with pleasant desperation in each other's arms.
Later that afternoon the two private detectives arrived in their office bright-eyed
Jane: Good afternoon Miss Decker, Miss Hayes. An eventful night, from what
I've heard on the radio.
Macy: You could say that. Any calls?
Jane: Well, the Mercantile called, they want to do an interview, but I told
them you don't talk to the press.
Stella: Good girl. Nice to know you listen once in a while..
Jane: (apologetic) Miss Decker, I -
Stella: I shot a woman six times in the chest last night for screwing around
with me. That put me in a good mood, so I'm just gonna fire you. Don't come
Jane: Miss Decker!
Macy: Stella, you shouldn't -
Stella: The last one we hired ended up dead, let's not go two for two. Now
clean up the office, Jane. Mayor Glass will be here at three, and if you want
a good reference he'd better like what he sees.
(opening and closing of doors)
Stella: So what have we got?
Macy: Not a whole lot. I guess the Janet Shtier thing was a non-starter.
Stella: And without her we have no idea who the Widow is.
Macy: Some enemy of the Mayor's, a crime boss he screwed over too hard?
Stella: Doesn't seem likely. A psycho killer? Glass doesn't bury his bodies
Macy: You got that feeling too, huh?
Stella: No question.
Macy: Back in the Company I knew guys like him. They smiled a lot and had
great records because if they screwed up they didn't leave anyone alive to
Stella: He may just be a good guy.
Macy: In Parlortown?
Jane: (over the intercomm) Mayor Glass to see you, ma'ams.
Macy: Send him in, Jane.
(door opens and closes)
Glass: Ah, detectives! Good to see that you're both all right.
Stella: Yes, it is. Now, if we could speak privately?
Glass: Of course. Stan, could you wait outside?
Stan: (not as the Voice, but the same guy) Yes sir. (door opens and closes)
Glass: All right. Now, what do we know?
Stella: It's a short list, Mr. Mayor. Janet's death means she probably isn't
Glass: What do you mean?
Macy: Her attack is inconsistent with the Widow's methods. She's been cold,
distant, mysterious. Swinging at me with a machete...that's just clumsy.
Glass: You're taking it better than I would, certainly.
Macy: I've had worse.
Stella: Speaking of the Widow, have you gotten any mail today, Mr. Mayor?
Glass: Well, I may have already won ten million dollars, but that's hardly
relevant to the case.
Macy: Mr. Mayor, please. This isn't a good time for jokes. We're no closer
to solving this case than we were when -
Stella: What's she asked for?
Macy and Glass: What?
Stella: She's killed a cat and chopped up a hooker, but has she made any
Macy: Mr. Mayor, is there something you haven't been telling us?
Glass: Nothing at all. There are people who want things from me - political
opponents, lobbyists I've been unwilling to take bribes from, but those aren't
people who'd slaughter living creatures to make a point. I assumed it was
some kind of criminal or maniac. That's why I hired you guys; from what I've
heard, those are your specialties.
Stella: Well, if the shoe fits...
Macy: It's actually an excellent point, Mr. Mayor. Do you know anybody capable
of this who'd have some reason to target you?
Glass: Well, I've spoken out frequently against organized crime in the city.
Maybe I trod on some mafioso's toes?
Macy: No offense, Mr. Mayor, but the crime bosses pay the police force better
than you ever could. Some of your speeches are very moving, but...
Glass: (ruefully) I understand. Sometimes I have delusions that I'm making
a difference in this town. When I moved here to work for the Public Works
Department, I found a city without order or peace, and I wanted to make it
Stella: You weren't married then, were you, sir?
Glass: Why no, I met my wife a year after I came to Parlortown.
Stella: Must have been a rough year. Lonely.
Glass: You could say that, yes. Being fresh out of graduate school in a strange
city and all, and civic engineer isn't the sexiest career.
Stella: Still, work wasn't your whole life. There must have come a time when
you went out on the town, looking for someone to be with...even for a little
Glass: (becoming uncomfortable) Umm... I'm not sure I like the direction
of this inquiry, Miss Decker...
Stella: Tough. Did you do any dating?
Glass: A little...
Stella: How about whores?
Glass: Miss Decker, where are you going with this?
Stella: The Widow's threatened your daughter, didn't he, Mr. Mayor?
Glass: Yes, but my wife and I don't have a daughter!
Stella: I don't remember her mentioning your wife, sir. (beat) How about
whores, Mr. Mayor?
Glass: I...I always took precautions...
Stella: And I always pack heat, sir, but I'm still sitting in this chair.
Can you remember the names of any of the girls?
Glass: I...no, no I don't. Oh my God, that poor woman...
Macy: It's a little late for sympathy, Mr. Mayor.
Glass: (determined, verging on tearful) Anything you need. Forget prices
or legal issues. Whatever it takes, please, find her.
Macy: We'll try our best, sir. Listen, you get back to running this city
and do what we can.
Glass: Yes, yes, of course. Please keep me informed.
(door opens and closes)
Macy: Stella, that was amazing...
Stella: Not really. We just narrowed it down to every prostitute's daughter
in the last few decades.
Macy: But once we find the daughter we may be able to find the Widow.
Stella: Then we'd better start looking. Head down and start up the truck,
I'll follow you.
Macy: Where are we going?
Stella: To the one guy with all the secrets.
(Distant ringing bells)
Narrator: God didn't visit Parlortown much. Most people figured that if he
gave a damn about them they wouldn't have ended up there. But there's only
so much hopelessness the human spirit can take, and Parlortown's poor found
themselves coming back to St. Veronica's on Poplar Street, South Tip's most
humble and peaceful house of God. No street gang broke its meager stained-glass
windows or stole its paltry collection-box offerings. Folks said Jesus watched
over the church, but the building's protector was a much younger man.
Bly: (Older, soft-spoken, but not a bitch. And can he
not be Irish, please? I'm just fucking tired of Irish priests.) My goodness, is that Stella Decker?
Stella: Yes it is, Father Bly. Sorry it's been so long.
Bly: You came back. Frankly, after all that trouble with the Spiders I feared
Stella: Well, I guess I don't go down that easy.
Bly: The Lord keeps his own, Stella. Who's your friend?
Stella: Father, this is Macy Hayes. We're -
Macy: Partners. In business. Detecting. Crimes.
Bly: Relax, Macy. I christened Stella, known her all her life. (chuckles) I could tell, even then. Christen enough babies, you can tell the gay ones
Macy: Thank you, Father. I just thought -
Bly: That in a city full of prostitutes, junkies and murderers I'd get on
your case for loving someone? The Pope should try Parlortown sometime, it'd
do him some good. Now what can I do for you two?
Stella: We need your help, Father. Can we talk in private?
Bly: Of course. Come, we'll talk in my office.
Narrator: The detectives followed the priest into his messy private office.
Father Kevin Bly had only left the South Tip to attend seminary, and he loved
the neighborhood and its people. Comfortable with experience in his collar
and robes, he moved with a grace that belied his eighty years.
Bly: Now what can I do for you two?
Macy: We're looking for answers about the Widow.
Bly: (sighs) A terrible business, that. But I'm not sure where I fit in helping
Stella: You've taken confession for every whore in the Tip. Can you remember
back about twenty-five years?
Bly: Well, yes, but the Widow's a pretty recent development.
Macy: Do you remember a prostitute becoming pregnant by the Mayor?
Bly: Glass? Visit a woman of the night? Huh. Didn't know he had it in him.
Stella: You're a terrible liar, Father.
Bly: Oh dear. Always a little too sharp, weren't you, Stella?
Stella: I just know you too well.
Macy: The girl's life is in danger, Father Bly. Please tell us.
Bly: Well, I suppose it would come out eventually. You see -
(door slams open)
Tasha: (manic-hysterical) Mama?
Bly: What's wrong, my daughter?
Tasha: Nothing's wrong. I got this for you, Mama.
Narrator: Tasha walked over to Stella wide-eyed and handed her a small tissue-wrapped
bundle. Stella opened it gingerly and made a face.
Stella: Whose is this?
Tasha: Bopko's. He didn't need it anymore.
Bly: Lord of Heaven, Tasha...what did you do?
Stella: You didn't have to do this.
Tasha: But he hurt you! Nobody hurts my Mama!
Macy: How'd you get away from the police?
Tasha: I had to. The girls were going to kill me - they were so angry, the
house getting raided and all. But it's okay, because we're together again,
right? Now that I did this for you we can be together, right Mama?
Stella: Tasha...You know I care for you, but...
Tasha: (crushed) You...you're not...you won't...
Bly: My child, you need help.
Tasha: (now just hysterical; losing her shit) You're god damned right I need
help! They locked me in a room for twenty years, Stella! They didn't feed
me for days, didn't give me clothes, made me go to the bathroom in a bucket
by the bed! Now I come back and every god damn day I see you with that snotty
old bitch! There hasn't been a day, not an hour, not a damn MINUTE that's
gone by when I don't wish I was dead. Now I finally do the right thing and
you don't even want me anymore! Now I've got nothing left at all! (starts
sobbing) It wasn't supposed to happen this way. When they were on me, when
they were in me, I always knew we'd be together again... I knew it. It wasn't
supposed to... (angry again) YOU did this! You took her away from me! You'll
get yours, bitch! You'll get yours! (running away, sobbing; beat)
Bly: (shaken) You asked about the Mayor's daughter.
Stella: (snapping out of it) What-? Oh, yeah. Can you help us?
Bly: Well, you'd better run fast. You might still be able to catch her.
Narrator: The duo's closest ally becomes a vengeful enemy, even as the Widow
targets her for death. Can the detectives save Tasha from the Widow - and
herself? The story continues in the next episode of Decker and Hayes: Less