Narr: Stella Decker and Macy Hayes found themselves in Stella’s truck
heading for their home.
Stella: (excited) Donna Grimaldi is not the woman in the picture.
Narr: Parlortown’s diamond-in-the-rough detectives had been feeling
like they were the rough lately, between Stella’s life-altering handicap
and Macy’s more recent life-threatening attack. Their relationship was
practically on the fritz and they’d been finding a lot of puzzle pieces
that didn’t fit together. They had hit the proverbial jackpot when they
found the Mayor’s second daughter, who was none other than Donna Maynard.
Wife of Sammy "The Shark" Grimaldi, Parlortown’s most famous
mob boss, Donna Maynard had made her own name in Parlortown through her good
looks and charm. The two slightly astonished detectives had been about to
ask Donna Maynard about Mayor Glass when Stella had interrupted them and rushed
them out to the truck.
Macy: What are you talking about? The Widow said-
Stella: I know, I know, but I think things are falling into place. Look,
just get us home.
Macy: Is that where I’m going?
Stella: Just drive, Mace.
Narr: At home, the girls had papers and folders spread out on the kitchen
table and cups of tea steaming at their sides.
Macy: Okay, show me what you’re talking about now, please.
Narr: Stella pulled out the identical photos that the Mayor and the Widow
had given them. She gave one to Macy and studied the other one herself.
Macy: Oh god, you’re right! She looks nothing like her!
Stella: Look at the nose, mouth, even the hair.
Macy: You’re right, her hair is much thicker than Donna’s. Her
mouth is smaller and her nose is longer…
Macy: Besides, if it had been a picture of Grimaldi, we would have recognized
her. So who’s lying?
Stella: Well, we’ve got a lot of untangling to do. Donna is definitely
the Mayor’s daughter, we’ve got documentation to back that up.
We got so caught up in realizing that Donna was Tasha’s sister, we forgot
about the picture. It’s got to be a fake, probably designed to throw
someone off the track.
Macy: But who? And by whom?
Stella: Who knows? The Mayor, The Widow, us, possibly all three.
Macy: Jeez. You know what’s been bugging me?
Stella: A lot of things, I imagine.
Macy: No one is interested in Decadence. We haven’t looked for her,
and no one has asked us to.
Stella: Maybe someone already knows where she is.
Macy: Well it might be useful for us to know. Where do you think we should
Stella: Let’s start with Maison X.
Macy: Maison X?
Stella: I talked to Officer Kellser, the cop we’ve been paying off
to keep Mama’s open. He indicated there was trouble with Maison X that’s
Macy: But Maison X has been closed for a while. How do you propose we dig
up this trouble?
Stella: I think it’s time to call Julian.
Macy: Not a chance! He’ll said he wouldn’t help you with your
Stella: I’m not in the crime business anymore. At least not on the
criminal end of it.
Narr: A phone call and a truck ride later, the girls found themselves in
the spacious office their old friend Julian McGuiness had been delegated at
the offices of the District Attorney. McGuiness had been a friendly rival
of the girls, but when he lost some good friends on the same case that had
landed a bullet in Stella’s spine, he had sworn off detecting to return
the DA’s office. He had also told them that he didn’t want to
be mixed up in illegal business because of his new job, but the conspiracy
theories were piling on and the girls were getting desperate.
McG: My girls! I can’t tell you how good it is to see you. Especially
you, Stel. Are you okay in that thing?
Stella: I have a brain, Jules, I can maneuver a chair.
McG: That’s not what I meant.
Stella: (sobering up a little) I know. It’s hard. It’s been really
hard. You’re sweet for being concerned.
McG: Stella Decker is used to overcoming obstacles. I know you’ll make
it. I’m a little wary to ask, but what brings you ladies to my office
Stella: Don’t worry, Jules, I’m out of Mama’s business.
McG: Yeah, but not voluntarily, eh?
Stella: We’re here to solve a crime.
McG: I don’t mean to tease, Stella, I am sorry to hear abut Mama’s.
Stella: I know.
Macy: We’re on a case that you can’t breathe a word about, Jules.
McG: That big, eh?
Stella: We wouldn’t bother you if it wasn’t. We know how you
feel about getting involved in our business, and we’re not asking you
for anything anyone will find out. But we really need your help.
McG: (sighs) What do you want? Mind you, I’m not committing to helping
you. But I guess I can hear what’s on your mind.
Macy: It’s about the Widow.
McG: Hoo boy. I’ve been looking into her since you came to see me Stell.
Stella: But you said-
McG: I know. But you piqued my interest. Besides, the more I checked, the
more I realized the molehill was a mountain in disguise. This widow is in
deep. I don’t know how much I can help, but I’ll give you what
Stella: What we really need to know about is Maison X.
Narr: Julian McGuiness sat back in his chair and looked contemplative for
a minute. He was clearly hesitant to talk about Maison X, and even glanced
to his fogged door window to see if anyone was outside the door. Finally he
spoke in a quiet voice.
McG: (not whispering, but not loud and jolly either) Maison X was a huge
Stella: About what?
McG: Well it closed pretty abruptly. No one likes to talk about it, but ask
any cop on the beat and they’ll tell you it was a routine raid.
Stella: (scoffs) Routine.
McG: It goes beyond that, though. Miss Vera was killed.
Macy: (freaking out but trying to be quiet) Killed!?
Stella: Oh god.
McG: It goes high up. I think the Mayor was involved in the cover-up.
Macy: Ah-ha! I had an uneasy feeling about him.
Stella: Do you know who killed Miss Vera?
McG: I’ll give you two guesses.
Stella: Tell me it was The Widow.
McG: Looks like I don’t have to.
Stella: Son of a…I’ll kill her.
McG: I’d rather not have another of my girls in jail, okay, Stel?
Stella: And that bastard covered it up.
McG: (a little sarcastic) Well, he shut them down. All in the interest of
stopping crime, you know.
Stella: Jesus. Okay Jules, I hate to do this, but we need a favor.
McG: I’ve already said more than I should have.
Stella: We need another Paige.
Stella: The tape, Macy. Maybe we can find out who it is.
McG: (suddenly kind of sad) Oh. Jeez. (pause) Okay. Here’s what we’re
going to do. I’m going to write a name and an address down on a piece
of paper, which I am going to give to you. You are going to take it, find
the address, and destroy all evidence that this piece of paper came from me.
And this is going to count for like five favors. I actually could get in a
lot of trouble for this.
Macy: We know, Jules.
Stella: How can we thank you?
McG: You can never speak of this again.
Narr: Julian McGuiness scribbled on a piece of paper, folded it, and slid
it across the desk. The girls nodded and the three of them said a quick and
sentimental goodbye. Macy was wheeling Stella toward the door when Julian
McG: Hold on, Mace.
Narr: Macy turned around to see Julian knitting his brow at his desk.
McG: Can I cover you somehow? I’ve got a man who can keep a secret,
he could drive or follow you.
Stella: We wouldn’t risk it, Jules. We’ll be fine on our own.
Macy: But we appreciate the offer. When all this blows over let’s get
coffee or something, okay? You know, talk not about Parlortown falling to
McG: It’s a date.
Narr: The girls got into Stella’s truck and maneuvered around Parlortown
for about 20 minutes until they came to the address on the piece of paper.
A young woman answered the door, the girls dropped the necessary names, and
were welcomed inside. The girl’s name was Alice. She had long wavy brown
hair – the longest Macy had ever seen. She had a small but modern looking
apartment, and very neat. She offered the girls something to drink, which
they politely refused, and led them to her living room, which was an immaculately
kept collection of impressive machines.
Macy: What a collection.
Alice: (friendly, confident) Let’s call it
a hobby. Why don’t
you give me your tape?
Narr: Stella handed Alice the tape of the Voice. Alice put it into a tape
player, pressed a few buttons, and sat at her computer.
Alice: This software will digitize the contents of your tape. Once I’ve
ripped it to my computer…which is about…now, I can isolate different
(click of a mouse, cutting into the tape)
Voice: …The first of many…(click of mouse to stop tape)
Alice: We’ll work with that bit, if that’s alright with you.
Macy: You’re the boss.
Alice: Okay, so first I’ll clean up the background noise a little bit…(clicking
on a compy)…and this is the part where we hack into the government’s
databases…uh, if you don’t mind…?
Macy: Oh, of course.
Narr: Macy turned Stella’s chair to face the other way, and they both
idly gazed at the pictures and knickknacks in Alice’s apartment while
she went through her database hacking process. Macy spoke to the wall.
Macy: So how does this work, if I’m allowed to ask?
Alice: Most government officials have to keep a voice sample in their private
profile. I get into that database and cross-reference this clip with all the
voice samples. Sometimes I’ll get a hit…like this one! Whoa, what
a doozy! Take a look.
Narr: Macy wheeled Stella around and the two of them stared at Alice’s
monitor in disbelief.
Macy: Oh my god…
Stella: Hey, add another liar to our list.
Narr: Staring them in the face was a friendly face framed by close-cut dark
hair in a nicely tailored black suit. Next to his face in big block letters
was the name Stanley L. Hooper, followed by his occupation and location: Security
Officer, Office of the Mayor, Parlortown, New Jersey.
Narr: I don’t believe it.
Alice: Talk about corruption, eh?
Stella: Hey, if it didn’t exist we would have a job. Thank you so much,
Macy: Can we give you something for your work? And…discretion?
Alice: No need, ladies. I’m happy to do a favor for Julian. And don’t
worry about me, my work flies out of my memory the minute you walk out that
door. That is, of course, you ever need something else. I’m sure you’ll
have the special touch that jogs my memory about your case.
Stella: Well you’re a handy one to know. Thank you so much. You have
no idea what you’ve done for Parlortown.
Alice: And I’d prefer to keep it that way.
Narr: The girls left Alice’s apartment with their original tape, a
digitized copy, and a copy of the cleaned up version. Macy helped Stella into
the truck and started it up. She pulled away and turned onto Brook Street.
Macy: So where to?
Stella: I don’t know. We also have to decide where the Widow fits in.
We don’t know if Stan gave her the picture, or if she gave it to him.
Macy: So Stan, Mayor Glass, or The Widow could be masterminding this operation.
Stella: I think we should go see the Mayor.
Macy: Are you crazy? We could be walking into a deathtrap! And a perfect
cover-up about our deaths!
Stella: Where else are we going to go? He’s the man with at least half
Macy: Alright. I think you’re nuts, but I guess answers would be good.
Narr: Is the Mayor masterminding this whole operation? Is anyone telling
the truth? Will the girls be able to solve the case and get out alive? Tune
in next week for the exciting conclusion: All Wrapped Up.