Narrator: Macy Hayes sat at her desk in the offices of Decker & Hayes
Detective Agency. Her gut still ached from where her partner and lover, Stella
Decker, had hit her on her way out. To anyone hurt by the crime that plagued
the city of Parlortown, Decker & Hayes were the best hope for justice,
but the case of the Widow, and the recent raid and fire at Mama Wang’s,
had been driving the pair into the ground. Macy knew, however, that the person
who had driven them apart was still in the office. She stood up and walked
into the front office.
Macy: (taking a deep breath) Jane, go home.
Jane: (flippantly) I told you before, I don’t work for y-
Macy: (low and sinister) You don’t work for me because I’m a
con, right? Well my name is on the lease for this office. You’re trespassing.
Jane: (In the same tone) Miss Hayes, I don’t think Miss Decker would-
Narrator: Macy’s hand flew the instant Jane mentioned Stella’s
name. The blow to Jane’s face was hard enough to sweep her from her
chair. Jane fell to the floor, blinking back tears, and glared up at Macy.
Macy: I said go home. And don’t let me see you here again.
Narrator: The secretary stood up, her hand pressed to her face, where Macy’s
red handprint was already beginning to turn purple. She grabbed her coat and
retreated from the office under Macy’s icy glare. Macy moved to Jane’s
now-vacant chair and sat down, taking a few deep breaths before picking up
the phone and calling the mayor.
Glass: (as cheerful as ever) Miss Hayes! Is there something else?
Macy: Excuse me?
Glass: Miss Decker called my office not five minutes ago for a driver. (Sounding
more concerned) Is everything alright?
Macy: (not entirely convinced) Everything’s fine. We’ve made
some headway on the case, but we need to meet in person. I’ll come there.
See you in a half an hour.
Glass: I’ll make certain I’m free to meet you.
Narrator: Soon, Macy left the office. As she got into the truck and steered
out into the mid-morning traffic, she realized just how lonely Parlortown
felt. She shook her head as though to clear it and turned her mind back toward
the case at hand. Minutes later, she was walking down a hall in one Parlor
Plaza adorned with portraits of the past mayors of Parlortown. The last portrait
before the door to the West terrace was that of Glass. The frame bore the
placard "Fighting corruption."
Macy: (Quietly) Fighting corruption… What other secrets are you keeping,
Narrator: Mayor Glass met Macy at the door to the terrace, smiling amiably
as he opened the oak door for her.
Glass: (ever friendly) So nice to see you again, Miss Hayes. I apologize
for the unusual meeting place, but I’m still not sure my office is secure.
To what do I owe the pleasure?
Macy: I need to know when you were with Decadence.
Narrator: The mayor’s eyes narrowed almost imperceptibly. Macy’s
well-trained eye caught the change, however. She knew she was on thin ice.
Glass: (colder now) I...don’t really know what-
Macy: (interrupts him) We aren’t about to go to the press about this,
Mayor. I just need to know: when was the last time you saw Decadence?
Glass: (Sighs, his tone becoming more resigned) Alright. Let me think back. (He
murmurs some numbers and dates to himself) January, February… It
must have been…March of 1976. Yes, I’m sure it was then. It was
just before the vote on the new water supply. Will that help?
Macy: I hope so. Thank you for your time, Mayor.
Glass: Happy to help, any way I can.
Narrator: The Mayor showed Macy out before turning back towards his own office.
Macy started Stella’s truck and headed downtown, following a hunch.
Her destination was Cherry Street General, the hospital where Stella Decker,
Macy’s partner in every sense of the word, was sitting at the bedside
of a blonde woman.
Tasha: (Slurred…she’s still drugged, and just waking up) Stel…Stella,
you came back? (Happier, but still slurred) You came back, I knew you would
Stella: (Sighs) We’re Blades. We watch out for each other.
Tasha: Does this mean…
Narrator: Stella looked at the broken woman. Tasha was still restrained,
still obviously drugged, and for a moment seeing her lying there so vulnerable
stirred something Stella had not felt for a long, long time…
Stella: (pause) No. It can’t. I mean, it doesn’t. (Composes
herself) I need to know about the cops. You said you were paid up?
Tasha: (still slurred) We were…I swear we were. You can ask Bennie.
He should be back. (slurring back into sleep) He’s coming back…
Narrator: Stella watched her blonde ex-lover drift back into sleep before
wheeling herself out of the room. As she exited, she nearly collided with
Benny, the bouncer at what had been Mama Wang’s.
Bennie: Miss- Stella. I didn’t think Miss Tasha would wake up before
I came back. I thought it would be good if I went back to Mama Wa…I
mean, your house. I was-
Stella: (interrupts him) Bennie, who paid the cops off?
Stella: Who paid the cops not to raid Mama Wang’s?
Bennie: (puffing himself up) I did. Every month, Miss Tasha gave me the money
to give to Officer Kellser. Every month.
Stella: (suspicious, now) This month, too? You’re sure you paid? All
Bennie: (defensively) I’d swear it, Miss Stella! I’d never steal
from Miss Tasha!
Narrator: There was a long moment while Stella took Bennie apart with her
eyes. The large man fidgeted uncomfortably under her scrutiny.
Stella: (sighs) I believe you. So where are you coming back from?
Bennie: Umm, well, I was just at Mama Wa- your house. I thought it would
be good to go. You know, see what was going on there and, well…
Stella: Well, what?
Bennie: All the girls are gone. There’s a whole lot of that yellow
police tape, and there was a sign on the door.
Narrator: Bennie pulled a folded paper from his back pocket. There was still
tape on it from where it had hung on the door of the house of ill repute.
He unfolded the paper and held it out for Stella to read. In neat hand lettering,
it read "Mama Wang’s is closed permanently." Underneath, it
was signed, "The Widow".
Stella: (Under her breath) Dammit. Bennie, what precinct is Officer Kellser
Bennie: Uhh…The station on Suyver? (mutters) No, not that one. Maybe
the one on-
Stella: (interrupts him) Nevermind. Where can I find him?
Bennie: There I can help ya, Miss Stella. He’s usually walking the
beat the block over from Mama Wang’s. That whole strip there.
Stella: Thanks, Bennie.
Narrator: Stella turned to wheel herself back to the elevator, but Bennie
called out to her as the doors opened, stopping her in her tracks.
Bennie: Miss Stella? What’s going to happen to Mama Wang’s?
Stella: I don’t know, Bennie. Just look out for yourself.
Bennie: And Miss Tasha. I’m going to look out for Miss Tasha.
Narrator: Stella looked at Bennie for a moment before nodding and turning
back towards the elevators. Once on the ground floor, she was about to pass
through the lobby to head for the driver Mayor Glass had thoughtfully provided
for her. She stopped short. Stella would recognize the heavy-set and heavily
bandaged man in the lobby anywhere.
Bopko: (seething) You let me go, you hear?! I’m a police officer!
Narrator: Two orderlies were struggling with the detective, who was obviously
making for the door, while a receptionist tried to reason with him. Stella
knew, however, that reason was not one of Bopko’s strong suits. Stella
wheeled herself around a corner, out of the struggling police officer’s
line of sight.
Receptionist: I’m sorry, sir, but you can’t be discharged until
a doctor signs off on-
Bopko: I don’t care about any goddamn doctors, you stupid bitch! Let
me the hell go! I’ve got my rights!
Receptionist: (losing her cool) Sir, don’t make us have to sedate you.
Bopko: Get the police on the phone! Now! Tell them Detective Sergeant Wallace
Clifford Bopko is being held against his will…!
Receptionist: Bradley, hold his arm. Nurse!
Bopko: What are you doing? Hey! HEY!!
Narrator: The sound of the scuffle died down, and for a moment the waiting
room was completely silent. Suddenly, a woman scoffed and said something about
the state of the police force; there was a murmur of assent from the other
waiting patients, and it was as though it had never happened. Stella wheeled
herself back into the room and past Bopko, who was now being lifted onto a
Bopko: (drugged, groggy) Hey…Hey you, bitch! (to
the orderly) No, not
you… you! You look at me when I’m…
Narrator: The detective’s angry slurring faded behind her as the detective
headed for the Mayor’s loaned town car. The driver helped the detective
into the car, and they pulled away, headed towards the area the locals called "The
Warren". Minutes later, Miss Macy Hayes pulled the truck into the Cherry
Street lot and walked into the waiting room.
Receptionist: Can I help you?
Macy: Yes. My name is Macy Hayes, and I’m investigating a case that
involves a former patient here.
Receptionist: Oh I’m sorry, but our records are sealed. If you have
a warrant, I might be able to help you, but otherwise…
Narrator: Macy never broke eye contact with the receptionist as she slid
a hundred dollar bill and Mayor Glass’s card across the desk. The receptionist’s
eyes flickered to the money, the card, and back to Macy.
Receptionist: I’ll have someone take you right down. Bradley?
Narrator: An orderly nodded and led Macy through the double doors, where
Detective Bopko was sitting on a bench, looking around the room dejectedly
as an orderly stood next to him, his hand firmly on his shoulder.
Bopko: (still drugged) Hey you! What the hell are you doing back here?
Narrator: Macy never broke her stride, ignoring the sedated detective as
Bradley led her down a flight of stairs and into the slightly damp storeroom
that held the hospital’s records.
Macy: Alright. March of 1976, nine months later, plus or minus. Where would
records of births from August through October of 1976 be?
Narrator: Bradley pointed her to a file cabinet, pulled open two of the drawers,
and wished her luck before seeing himself out. The smell of dust and mold
was thick in the air as Macy began to search the records. She poured over
the birth certificates. After a half hour, she had been through all of three
certificates, and had come up with only four girls who might have been the
Macy: Alright, Mace. Last three. Rivera, Maria; Nope, black hair, father…Diego
Rivera. Baker, Shannon…Let’s see. Red hair, freckles, father Sean.
Not likely. (Sighs) Last one. (pause) Jesus…
Narrator: Macy stared at the last birth certificate while she jotted down
the name of the girl and her listed parents. She hastily piled the documents
back into their folders and slammed the file cabinet, leaving the record room
at a run and taking the stairs to the first floor two at a time. She ran through
the waiting room without bothering to stop at the desk.
Receptionist: (fading in and out as Macy runs through) We couldn’t
hold him if he wanted to leave…We just- Miss! Miss Hayes!
Narrator: Macy burst through the doors but stopped dead when she saw Detective
Bopko down the block, leaning on the wall of a dingy delicatessen for support-
directly between her and Stella’s truck. She muttered and ducked into
the alley next to the hospital. She peered out quickly to see which way Bopko
was headed when there was suddenly a blur in her vision; a length of cord
had been thrown over head from behind. Her attacker pulled her backwards into
Voice: You were warned to drop the case, Miss Hayes.
Narrator: Macy dug at the silk cord, but she couldn’t quite get her
fingers beneath it. She instead tried to gouge out her attacker’s eyes.
Macy: (choking) You…You son of a…
Narrator: The man behind her ducked her grasping hands and tightened the
cord, his gloved hands pressing against the back of her neck as she willed
herself to stay calm, to think.
Voice: It won’t do to have you prying into things that are none of
your concern. Drop the case. You won’t be warned again.
Narrator: Macy picked up her foot to drive a heel into the man’s toes,
but before she could land the blow, she was thrown bodily against the wall
of the alley. Her vision exploded into white as her head collided with brick
and she went down hard.
Bopko: (still slightly slurred) Hey…it’s the private dyke! What
the hell happened to you, bitch? (Scuffle and a grunt)
Narrator: Macy’s vision cleared and she stood up, her head pounding.
Bopko was sprawled on the sidewalk, bleeding from his nose. He was slowly
trying to draw, having forgotten in the heat of the moment that he had neither
his gun nor his gun hand.
Macy: (hoarse) Did you see his face?
Bopko: Christ…my head. Goddamn bastard…
Macy: (hoarse)Listen, you ape, did you see his face?
Bopko: No… I wasn’t looking... I think he went that way.
Narrator: Macy took off in the direction Bopko had indicated with his stump,
turning the corner Cherry Street and Hammond. The sidewalk was empty.
Macy: (still hoarse) Damn it. (pause) Damn it.
Narrator: It had taken an hour and two passes up Column Avenue before Stella
had spotted the beat cop she hoped was Officer Kellser. She had her driver
park the car and help her to her chair, and wheeled herself into the diner.
The space was narrow between the counter and the front wall, and it took her
a few minutes to maneuver to where the officer was nursing a cup of coffee.
Stella: Mind if I join you, Officer Kellser?
Kellser: What do you need?
Stella: Excuse me?
Kellser: (chuckles) You’re asking to sit down with the only cop for
a mile and a half. You’re either trying to report something, which would
make you suicidal or stupid, or you’ve got something to ask me. And
since you’ve got my name, I’ll assume it’s the latter.
Stella: (Somewhat deflated) You’ve got me. I need to know about the
raid at Mama Wang’s. I hear-
Kellser: (interrupts her) Keep your voice down, will ya? (Quieter) The Widow’s
got people everywhere.
Stella: (quiet) I hear they were paid up with the department.
Kellser: Yeah…they were. And it wasn’t my precinct that called
the raid; wasn’t even our guys on it. I hear Bopko down at the one-six
Stella: It doesn’t add up.
Kellser: (chewing) you’re damn right. If the girls over at Wang’s
have enemies, they’re higher up than my precinct. We’ve got nothing
to do with the Widow. But you watch yourself. She’s got eyes and ears
Narrator: He leaned closer to her, lowering his voice further.
Kellser: (quiet and urgent) If you want to find the truth, you should start
at Maison X.
Stella: But…they’ve been out of business for…
Kellser: Years and years now. It’s ancient history. But it’s
not buried as deep as some people would hope. (normal speech) But that’s
all I can tell you. (louder) And if they keep ticketing you, find me again.
It’s clear enough you should be able to park in the blue spots.
Narrator: The Officer’s bluff seemed to assuage the curious stares
of the other diners. Kellser wished Stella luck and excused himself, leaving
a ten on the counter behind him. Stella wheeled herself out of the diner a
few minutes later. She heard brakes squeal, and cursed to herself. Her own
pickup truck had just stopped short, and Macy was already getting out. Stella
signaled to her driver, but the beautiful blonde woman reached her first.
Macy: (hoarse) Stella. We need to talk. Get in the truck.
Stella: Who the hell do you think- Oh my god, what happened to your throat?
Macy: It’s not important now. Please, Stella. Forget what happened
this morning and hear me out.
Narrator: There was a long moment while the women’s eyes locked. The
driver stepped forward to help Stella into the town car, but she waved him
Stella: Alright. (pause) Help me into the truck.
Narrator: Less than a minute later, they were on their way.
Stella: (sullen) What happened?
Macy: (still hoarse) I went to Cherry Street. I figured Decadence would have
had her baby there. My notes are in my bag… and look at the last name.
Stella: (pause) Oh my God. Do you know what this means?
Macy: We don’t know that she’s the one. But…I don’t
know how to explain it otherwise. And there’s more. I was attacked.
Stella: (fiercely) Who did it?
Macy: I don’t know. I didn’t see his face, but he’s the
Voice of the Widow. He told me to drop the case.
Stella: Wait. That doesn’t make any sense. Unless…
Macy: …Unless he doesn’t work for the Widow at all.
Narrator: Is all forgiven and forgotten between Macy and Stella? Whose name
did Macy find in the hospital records? Who does the Voice really work for?
Tune in to next week’s episode: Past Forgotten.