THEATER OF THRILLS AND HIGH ADVENTURE!

"The Return of Brandon Baines, The Dejected Detective!"

                                                               by Richard Nathan

 

Before the lights come up, a voice introduces the story:

                                                            VOICE
                                    Life got you down?  Feeling low?  Need
                                    someone to give you a word of encouragement,
                                    a pep talk, a glimmer of hope that life might
                                    not be entirely a horrible thing?  Then you
                                    should probably stay far away from Brandon
                                    Baines, the Dejected Detective! 

Lights come up on the shabby office of a shabby detective.  There should be two chairs.  BRANDON BAINES is seated in one of the chairs.  He begins narrating the story directly to the audience: 

                                                            BAINES
                                    I hadn't had a client in three weeks, when she
                                    shimmered into my office like a shot of fine
                                    scotch being poured into a crystal glass.  My
                                    eyes gulped her down.

Enter  LISA DI PATZO, sultry and sexy.  She sits in the other chair.

                                                            LISA
                                    Mr. Baines, I want you to find my husband.

                                                            BAINES
                                    When did you lose him?

                                                            LISA
                                    He's been gone a week.  Do you read the
                                    newspapers, Mr. Baines?

                                                            BAINES
                                    Sometimes I take a look at Dick Tracy.  I
                                    think he's on the take. 

                                                            LISA
                                    My husband is Sam di Patzo, of the di Patzo
                                    crime family.  My father in law was Paulo di Patzo.

                                                            BAINES
                                    I heard about Paulo.  They found his body floating
                                    in the East River and in the West River and in the
                                    North River.  You think maybe the people who
                                    got Paulo got your husband?

                                                            LISA
                                    Sam wasn't involved in the rackets!  He was clean!

                                                            BAINES
                                    Mrs. di Patzo...

                                                            LISA
                                    Call me Lisa.

                                                            BAINES
                                    Lisa, people come in all types but one.  Nobody comes
                                    in "clean."

                                                            LISA
                                    Sam is clean.

                                                            BAINES
                                    All right.  I charge twenty dollars a day plus expenses. 
                                    Tell me everything you can about Sam, where he was
                                    was last seen, what are his likes, his dislikes....

Lisa takes out several sheets of typewritten paper and a photograph and some cash.

                                                            LISA
                                    I've written every thing out and I've brought a photo. 
                                    And here's a hundred dollars in advance.  Do you think
                                    you can find him?

                                                            BAINES
                                    Dead or alive, I'll find him.  But are you absolutely
                                    sure you want him found?  He might have a good
                                    reason for wanting to disappear.

                                                            LISA
                                    I have a better reason for wanting him found.

                                                            BAINES
                                    What's that, Mrs. di Patzo?

                                                            LISA
                                    I love my husband, Mr. Baines.  I love him very
                                    much.

She exits.  Baines turns to the audience.

                                                            BAINES
                                    According to her report, Sam di Patzo was so clean,
                                    he made Santa Claus look like Al Capone.  I didn't
                                    buy it.  I spent the next day asking my usual
                                    sources, but no one had anything for me.  Then I
                                    got a visitor at the office.

Enter LESTER SANDS, the cheeriest man Brandon Baines has ever met.

                                                            SANDS
                                    Good morning!  It is a pleasure to meet you, Mr.
                                    Baines.  Gosh, I've heard so much about you.  I
                                    hear you're a great detective.  My name is Lester
                                    Sands.  I bet you'll never guess what we both have
                                    in common!

                                                            BAINES
                                    We both make me sick?

                                                            SANDS
                                    No!  At least, I hope not!  We're both private eyes! 
                                    And unless I'm very much mistaken, we're both on
                                    the same case!

                                                            BAINES
                                    Is that so?

                                                            SANDS
                                    You bet!  You're looking for Sam di Patzo, aren't
                                    you?   I'm looking for him too.  I've been asking
                                    around about Sam, and your name kept coming up. 
                                    Who's your client?

                                                            BAINES
                                    Walt Disney.  He's looking for a new sidekick for
                                    Mickey Mouse.

                                                            SANDS
                                    I get it.  You want to keep your client's name
                                    confidential.  That's okay with me.  My client is
                                    Sam's wife, Marie.

                                                            BAINES
                                    I thought his wife's name was Lisa.

                                                            SANDS
                                    Gosh no.  Not unless he's a bigamist.  Or... -
                                    say...  --  do you think someone's lying?

                                                            BAINES
                                    It wouldn't be the first time.  You say you're a
                                    detective?

                                                            SANDS
                                    Yup.  This is my first missing persons case.  Mostly
                                    I get hired by people who want me to follow their
                                    spouses to...  make sure they're not .... breaking 
                                    their vows.  So I follow them around, and then I
                                    report back that everything is fine.  People
                                    worry so much about nothing, don't you think?

                                                            BAINES
                                    Maybe we should bring our clients together.  Arrange
                                    a meeting.

                                                            SANDS
                                    No!!!  I couldn't do that!  I only told you about Mrs.
                                    di Patzo because I trust you, seeing as how you're a
                                    fellow private eye!  But Mrs. di Patzo doesn't want to
                                    meet anyone.  I thought we could just work together,
                                    without telling our clients.

                                                            BAINES
                                    So, what have you got?

                                                            SANDS
                                    I'm pretty sure Sam di Patzo has left the country.  I found
                                    a travel agent who sold him a ticket to Italy.  You haven't
                                    heard anything to suggest otherwise, have you?

                                                            BAINES
                                    Until I met you, I hadn't learned anything.

                                                            SANDS
                                    Well, I guess that wraps up the case.

                                                            BAINES
                                    No exactly, Mr. di Patzo.

Baines draws his gun, either from a shoulder holster or from a drawer in his desk.

                                                            DI PATZO  (a/k/a SANDS)
                                    What?????

                                                            BAINES
                                    Unlike you, Mr. di Patzo, I really am a detective. 
                                    Did you expect me to be fooled by a bad hair
                                    dye and a putty nose?

Baines pulls a putty nose off of di Patzo (a/k/a Sans), which di Patzo had been using as a disguise.

                                                            BAINES
                                    You were trying to throw me off the scent.  Why'd
                                    you tell me that story about a second wife?

                                                            DI PATZO  (a/k/a SANDS)
                                    I wanted to see if you were working for Lisa.

                                                            BAINES
                                    Why are you so anxious to make sure she doesn't 
                                    find you?

Enter Lisa with her gun drawn.  During the remainder of the scene, she keeps her gun aimed at Baines.

                                                            LISA
                                    Put down that gun, Mr. Baines.  I've been keeping
                                    an eye on your office.  Hello, Sam.

Baines puts his gun on the desk.

                                                            DI PATZO  (a/k/a SANDS)
                                    Hi, Lisa.  Sorry about running away.

                                                            LISA
                                    Shut up.  We still have a chance to make
                                    something of ourselves, if you'll grow a spine.

                                                            DI PATZO  (a/k/a SANDS)
                                    Lisa, I told you, I'm not cut out to be a criminal. 

                                                            LISA
                                    You sniveling yellow insect!

                                                            DI PATZO  (a/k/a SANDS)
                                    Can't we just go away somewhere and start over? 
                                    I could be a school teacher, just like I always wanted! 
                                    And you could be a housewife!  We could be so
                                    happy.

                                                            LISA
                                    You stupid, stupid worm!  Do you think I married you
                                    so you could teach?  Do you think I had your father
                                    killed so I could be a housewife?

                                                            DI PATZO  (a/k/a SANDS)
                                    You?

                                                            LISA
                                    Yes, me!  I paid a hitman to kill your father.  He was
                                    getting soft.  If I hadn't killed him, someone else would
                                    have, and we would have lost everything!  But if you do
                                    what I tell you to, we can be back on top in no time!  We
                                    can be the biggest crime lords in the country!

                                                            DI PATZO  (a/k/a SANDS)
                                    No!!!

He grabs the gun from the desk and shoots his wife.

                                                            LISA
                                                    (dying)
                                    You've got some guts after all, you louse.

She shoots her husband.  They both die.  Baines turns to your audience.

                                                            BAINES
                                    I said nobody comes in "clean" - but Sam di Patzo
                                    was as close as they come, if you don't count his lying
                                    to me and shooting his wife.  In my line of work, that
                                    makes him a Sir Galahad, for all the good it did him. 
                                    At the end of the day, both he and his wife were bleeding 
                                    their lives out onto my carpet, and the blood of one would
                                    be just as hard to clean out as the blood of the other. 
                                    There's always spilled blood at the end of the story.  Some
                                    days I think I should follow Sam di Patzo's dream - leave this life
                                    - and become a schoolteacher.  But, no.  The way things work
                                    out, I'd probably end up having to shoot some kid.

BLACKOUT!

THE END

 

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2006 by Richard Nathan.  All rights reserved

The author grants all internet uses to print these scripts for their own, personal, non-commercial use.  No other use may be made without the author's permission.  Without limiting the foregoing, the plays may not be staged without the author's express  permission.

Send e-mail to the author at Richard-Nathan@att.net.