Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2144758-Stringin-a-Gumshoe
Rated: 18+ · Script/Play · Mystery · #2144758
Dick Casey's first action-packed t.v. show!
The Monthly Script Writing Contest (January)— Mystery


"Stringin' a Gumshoe"




DETECTIVE DICK CASEY (35) intelligent, hardworking, blunt, gruff. Casey puts his hand on the handle of his office door and swings it open. He steps into the dark room and tosses his fedora on a desk littered with loose papers. Casey flips on the light to reveal STELLA PAYNE (22) overweight, homely, dark curly hair, rich looking clothes, sparkling diamond necklace, standing by a tattered loveseat in the office.

                                                 CASEY (V.O.)
                             The dame was waiting for me like a dog
                             waits for table scraps; her hair the
                             color of a banana left in the sun on
                             a hot day. I winced as she lowered
                             herself onto the couch and crossed her
                             gams, flashing thick cankles. From her
                             glad-rags and the ice 'round her neck, I
                             easily deduced she had the bees.
                             Whatever her case may be, I knew it'd be
                             duck soup getting twenty large from the

Casey ignores the woman, sits in a simple, wooden office chair, and leans back. He rests his feet on top of the papers scattered over his desk.

                                       (pulls out a cigarette and lights it)
                             I know you ain't here to bump gums, doll.
                             Spill the beans.

                                       (primping hair; glances seductively at Casey)
                             I heard you know how to find things.

                                       (blows smoke ring above his head)
                             Yeah? Watcha lost?

Stella stands, pulls out a picture from her purse, and hands it to Casey. Camera focuses on the picture to reveal Stella and BELLA PAYNE (22), identical to Stella, standing side-by-side with smiles on their faces. Both women are wearing matching formal gowns. Stella is wearing a black pearl necklace while Bella sports an emerald choker. Casey nods and stuffs the picture in the top, right hand drawer in his desk as Stella finds her seat again.

                                       (pulls hanky from purse and dabs eyes)
                             My sister, Bella. She was supposed to arrive
                             yesterday for the reading of our father's will
                             but...she never showed.

                             Plane, train, or automobile?

                             Excuse me?

                             How was she gettin' to town, toots?

                             Plane. I was at the airport to pick
                             her up but --

                                       (crushes cigarette into an ash tray on the desk)
                             Yeah, yeah. She never showed. Let me drop a
                             dime and I'll see what I can do. There are a few
                             dirty rats that owe me...

Stella stands, smiles, and smoothes her skirt. She walks to the door and places a hand on the knob.

                                       (lowers feet to the floor)
                             You forgettin' something, doll face?

Stella tosses her hair. With an indignant sniff she opens her purse and tosses a wad of cash on Casey's desk. Casey picks up the money and thumbs through the stack.

                             This'll do for a start.

Casey shows Stella to the door. After she's gone, he turns and peers from one of the dusty blind slats over the window, watching as Stella hails a cab and takes off. He frowns and turns to the desk, where he picks up a rotary phone and starts dialing.






CASEY, wearing an overcoat and his fedora, walks up to BABYFACE JANE (42) tall, muscular, stubbled face, in a gloomy alley. They stand next to a large dumpster.

                                                 CASEY (V.O.)
                             I met Babyface Jane in a dirty alley
                             off Davidson Avenue. The goofy
                             goon might have been a fakeloo
                             artist but he was the gink to go to
                             for word on the street.

                                                 BABYFACE JANE
                                       (crosses arms over chest)
                             I hear you're sniffing for a wire on a bad

                             I'm lookin' for a dame.

                                                 BABYFACE JANE
                             Ain't we all?

                             I've got one in particular in mind.
                             According to her sister, this bim's
                             got herself in a bit of a jam. What
                             can you tell me about a broad
                             named Bella Payne?

                                                 BABYFACE JANE
                             Information ain't cheap, Casey. How
                             many berries you offering for me to

                             I ain't gonna chisel ya any, Babyface.

Casey pulls out his wallet and hands a thick envelope to Babyface Jane. Jane peeks inside before stuffing the envelope of money into his coat pocket.

                                                 BABYFACE JANE
                             Word is, your dame wasn't delayed by
                             no flight. Someone offed the poor
                             looker. And yer meat ain't no jasper.
                             Jaw is, yer hatchetman's a bim.

                             Does this kitten have a name?

GUNFIRE. Babyface Jane falls to the ground with a groan. Casey crouches for cover behind the dumpster, pulls out his gun, and shoots at a car parked at the end of the alley. The car screeches off and Casey slaps the ground in frustration.


Casey stands and watches from under a streetlamp as police scurry around the crime scene. Babyface Jane is loaded into an ambulance and taken away.

                                                 CASEY (V.O.)
                             The Chicago Lightening had given
                             Babyface a bad case of lead poisoning.
                             I couldn't help but feel sorry for the
                             goose. He might've been a Johnson
                             Brother that should've been tossed
                             in the clink, but he didn't deserve to
                             be knocked off.

Casey stretches out a hand and hails a taxi.






Casey sits on a barstool at the counter, nursing a cup of coffee. TONY MORETTI (37) bald, misshapen nose, short and squat, plainclothes police officer, takes a seat next to Casey and orders a shot of whisky.

                             You followin' me, flattie?

                             Heard you're looking for a number.

                             Tony, unless you're here to help me
                             tighten the screws, then I suggest
                             you go climb up your thumb.

Tony tosses back his shot and gestures for another as he pulls out a pack of cigarettes and lights one up.

                             I was just trying to pass along
                             information. But if you'd rather
                             I drift...

                             I might be tootin' the wrong ringer,
                             but as long as you ain't asking for
                             any cush, I'd be willing to take a
                             lending hand. Seems I'm behind
                             the eight-ball on this one.

                             Newshawks'll be broadcasting
                             tomorrow 'bout a stiff found at
                             the docks. Word is, she's the
                             skirt you've been looking for.

                             Yeah? Who's the rat that's chinnin'
                             about my case?

                             I got my sources. For now, let's
                             just say a little birdie told me.

                             Has this birdie been able to
                             crab any evidence as to who bopped
                             the kitten?

Casey and Tony clam up as the waitress comes over and fills Casey's coffee cup. As she walks away, Tony leans closer to Casey.

                             Jaw is, the corpse was hinky.

                             Spill it or take the air, Tony. I ain't in
                             the mood for riddles tonight.

                             Bruising 'round the looker's pipes
                             indicate she was rubbed out by
                             her marbles. They was scattered
                             all over the dock.

                                       (rubs chin)
                             Any chance of gettin' my paws on
                             one of those oyster fruits?

                             Figured you'd ask. I nicked a couple
                             from evidence, just for you.

Tony slides a small felt bag across the counter to Casey. Casey peeks inside and frowns. Tossing a twenty dollar bill on the counter, he slides off his seat and stands.

                             I owe you one, Tony.

                             And I won't let you forget it, either!

Casey tips his fedora at Tony, pulls his overcoat collar up to his ears, and exits the bar.






Casey stands in front of a jewelry store and starts pounding on the door. DANIEL "DANNY" O'BRIAN (60), short, broad shouldered, hawk-like nose, curly red hair, Scottish, glares past the "CLOSED SIGN". As he recognizes Casey, he grins and opens the door.

                                                 CASEY (V.O.)
                             I tossed and turned all night thinkin'
                             about those pearls. By dawn I
                             decided to dust out to Danny O'Brian's
                             with the hope that he'd be able to crab
                             the deal on the marbles.

                                       (Scottish accent)
                             Look what the cat drug in!
                             Have you finally come to buy a
                             handcuff for that lass of yours?

                             Not today, Danny-boy.

                                       (Scottish accent)
                             Ach, poor lass. She's been waiting
                             for you to pop the question for some
                             time now.

Casey follows Danny into the store. Danny steps behind the counter as Casey carefully pours three black pearls out of their bag.

                                       (Scottish accent)
                                       (picks up a pearl and whistles)
                             Where'd you find such a pretty bauble?

                                       (ignoring Danny's question)
                             What can you tell me about them, Danny?

                                       (Scottish accent)
                             Let's take a closer look, lad.

Danny takes a pearl and uses a fiber-optic light to inspect the hole drilled in the middle of the pearl.

                                       (Scottish accent)
                             First of all, they're the real deal.
                             See the onion-like layers inside?

Casey leans in close to view the inside of the pearl.

                                       (Scottish accent)
                             That means, laddie, that these
                             pearls were made by the hand of
                             God himself and not --
                                       (spits in disgust)
                             --cultivated by man.

                             So these marbles are worth some

                                       (Scottish accent)
                             I'd have to dig a little deeper
                             but if I'm right, you're holding
                             roughly five-hundred dollars
                             of Tahitian black pearls in
                             your hands.

                                       (gives low whistle)
                             That's quite a bit of kale, Danny-boy.

Danny passes the pearl back to Casey. He leans over the desk hopefully as Casey dumps the three pearls back into the felt bag.

                                       (Scottish accent)
                             If you're interested in selling, I
                             can give you a good deal --

Casey tucks the little bag into his coat pocket and walks back to the door.

                             Maybe next time, Danny. I believe
                             these marbles just tipped the mitt
                             on my hatchetman.

Casey hurries out the door.






Casey throws the door to his office open and rushes to his desk. He pulls open the top, right drawer and reaches inside. Stella steps out from the shadows with a pistol in one hand and a photo in the other.

                                       (points gun at Casey)
                             Looking for something, Mr. Casey?

Casey raises his hands above his head and nods at the photo in Stella's hand. Stella frowns and fumbles to tuck the picture in her purse.

                             You've been made, sister. I've
                             got some loose marbles here
                             that match the ones wrapped
                             'round your pipes in that picture.

                                       (shaking her head)
                             I ain't no bunny, Mr. Casey. I
                             realized soon after our meeting
                             that I'd scrammed out the wrong
                             picture with you. But now I can
                             destroy it and nobody will ever
                             be the wiser.

                             You rubbed out your sister to glom
                             your father's inheritance. Let me guess,
                             toots, you used the pearls to snuff her
                             out 'cause you ain't into oyster fruit.
                             Your flavor is more on the green side.
                             Emeralds, perhaps?

                                       (pouting at Casey)
                             Ain't you the wise head? Daddy always
                             favored Bella over me and she got the
                             best of everything. Bella gets the pony
                             while Stella gets the puppy. Bella gets
                             the Ferrari while Stella gets the
                             Lamborghini. Bella gets the emeralds
                             while Stella's stuck with the damn pearls.
                             I knew my dib would be nothing compared
                             to hers when he kicked off --

                                       (slowly lowering hands)
                             So the poor little rich girl bumped her off.

                                       (cocks the pistol)
                             And now that you've put the finger on
                             me, I'll have to bump you, too.

Casey drops to the ground as Stella shoots. He grabs a gun taped under the desk and fires a shot at Stella's legs. She screams and crumples to the floor, dropping her pistol. Casey jumps to his feet, runs over, and kicks the gun away. Stella kicks out a heeled foot, knocking Casey to his rear. She lunges forward and wraps the straps of her purse around his neck. Casey gags and smashes his gun into the side of her head. She falls onto her back, stunned, and he throws the purse across the room before aiming the gun at her head.

                             Don't make me put the screws on, baby.
                             I'll throw lead if I have to!

Stella groans, thumps the back of her head against the wooden floor, and closes her eyes.


Casey watches as the police swarm his office. Stella is bleeding from a bullet in her leg and a gash in her head. The police handcuff her and wrangle her, as she scowls, out the office door.

                                                 CASEY (V.O.)
                             The buttons were more than willing to
                             throw the broad under glass As the
                             coppers sped off in their boilers with
                             the dame in tow, I figured I'd take a
                             little side trip to commission Danny
                             for a black pearl bracelet for my best
                             gal. I figured the marbles were a
                             bonus for a job well done.






Casey walks past a newspaper stand on his way to Danny's Jewelry Store. The camera pans in on the front page news.

                                                 NEWSPAPER HEADLINE
                             "Candy Cane Killer strikes again!"



A shadowy figure sneaks into Casey's office and leaves a package on his desk. A single candy cane rests on top of the gift.



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