Written by PP Rega
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Monday, 12 December 2011

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Stewart: When's he going to get here?

Tracy: I don't know.

Stewart: Soon, you think?

Tracy: I don't know I said. He'll get here.

Stewart: It's been hours since you sent for him.

Tracy: He'll get here.

Stewart: He's big.

Tracy: He's big.

Stewart: It all started with the Rockefeller Christmas tree case, didn't it?

Tracy: It did.

Stewart: Before my time.

Tracy: Before your time.

Stewart: About 25 years ago, wasn't it?

Tracy: 1989.

Stewart: I was a couple of years old. He solved it, didn't he?

Tracy: He solved it.

Stewart: Who would have ever thought there'd ever be a body falling out of that Christmas tree when they opened it up and put it in place?

Tracy: Who would ever…

Stewart: Must have been something to have a dead body dropping out of the tree right in Rockefeller Center.

Tracy: It wasn't just the dropping of the corpse. It was when it happened.

Stewart: Meaning?

Tracy: That body didn't have the decency to drop out when they set it up, you know. It waited all day and then it decided to fall right when the tree-lighting ceremonies started. Missed the Mayor by a couple of yards.

Stewart: Helluva thing, wasn't it.

Tracy: Hizzoner took it all in stride though. Said something like, "I'm not even up for re-election yet!"

Stewart: He was lucky alright.

Tracy: Not so his Deputy Mayor.

Stewart: It landed on the Deputy Mayor?

Tracy: McQ…something……Killed him right off. McQuade. That's it. They found The top of his skull in his neck.

Stewart: Don't recall that at all…..

Tracy: I'm not surprised. No one knew we had a Deputy Mayor until he got it. I don't even know the name of the one we have now.

Stewart: And he solved it.

Tracy: Who?

Stewart: Archie Grant. Who we've been talking about, Boss? The one we're waiting for.

Tracy: Oh, him. Yep, he solved it.

Stewart: Made his reputation.

Tracy: Made his reputation. Mine too.

Stewart: Yours?

Tracy: Look, Jim. Please. Enough of the strolling down memory sewer.

Stewart: I'm just trying to get a handle on why we need him. He's gotta be past his prime by now.

Tracy: We need him.

Stewart: Don't see why…..

Tracy: You don't see. You don't see. That's exactly the point. You don't see. I don't see. We all don't see. There's something here and we don't see it. They're trying to tell us something, these bodies, and we're not listening.

Stewart (Hint of sarcasm): Maybe this last guy will give us the big clue.

Tracy: Maybe you'll get me another coffee. Maybe this one's colder than my wife's ass. Maybe….maybe …..maybe……

Tracy pores over the photos on the table as if trying to get an answer by osmosis. Stewart walks out of the room to get another coffee. Shortly thereafter, Grant enters. Tuxedo and a smile. Tracy looks up towards the opening of the door, sees Grant, and goes back to his business. Grant walks over slowly, studies Tracy, and slowly takes out his flask and pours a stiff one into Tracy's cup of coffee. He sits down next to Tracy, preening himself waiting for Tracy to speak.

Tracy (not looking up): Glad you could make it.

Grant: Couldn't be helped.

Tracy: Where were you this time?

Grant: A play downtown. Drama. I'd tell you the name and who was in it, but you wouldn't know and you could care less. Couldn't even finish the first act. Pity…

Tracy: I'd apologize, but I don't think you came because I sent for you. Who got to you?

Grant: The Mayor. Sitting in the row behind me. Cigarette?

Stewart walks in with more coffee.

Stewart: Excuse me. There's no smoking.

Tracy: Stewart…..

Grant: Is he kidding?

Tracy grabs a cigarette and they both light up.

Stewart (slightly piqued): Your coffee. You might as well use your cup for an ashtray then.

Grant: No… that's fine, sport. I'll take it.

Grant begins to pour a little of his flask into the new coffee.

Grant: How old?

Stewart: Me?

Grant: No, sport. The coffee. How old?

Stewart: The last shift put it up.

Grant adds a whole lot more. He tries it.

Grant: Ah…. I'm afraid we haven't been properly introduced. I'm Grant.

Tracy: Grant. Stewart. Stewart. Grant.

Stewart: I've heard a lot about you, Mr. Grant.

Grant: Of course, you have. Would you care for a nip?

Stewart: Chief?

Tracy: Go ahead. Let's all of us get bagged. Maybe that's what we need….Different perspective.

Tracy reaches into Grant's side pocket and pours some into Stewart's cup and more into his own.

Grant: Should have brought a case. So what's going on that you're all a-twitter?

Meanwhile, Stewart goes through a ritual where he sniffs the cup, sips from it, squishes the contents around his mouth. All this ceremony while the other two are watching.

Stewart: Nice…..

Grant (patronizingly): I'm so happy you approve.

Stewart: Single malt?

Grant (surprised): Why yes….

Stewart: Someplace near Loch Glenfiddich, I'd say.

Grant: Your man has depth, Trace. I approve. And you're right, sport. Actually Glenfilloughamere.

Tracy: I'd like to solve this by the end of this century, if you don't mind.

Stewart: Sorry, boss.

Grant: No, no. Go right ahead, Trace.

Tracy (hands a photograph over): Here.

Grant: I have it! It's a corpse on a slab in the morgue! Can I go now?

Stewart chuckles. But right after that Grant goes serious.

Grant: So what am I really looking at, Trace.

Tracy: Meet Hollis Neimann, Esq.

Grant (studying the photo): Good evening, Mr. Neimann, Esq.

Tracy: Mr. Neimann, Esq. was discovered at 6:25 this evening on the floor of the executive bathroom at the offices of Marsh, Marsh, Bates, and Podestá. Stabbed in the back while taking a leak.

Stewart: He was a lawyer.

Grant: Lawyer?

Tracy: Partner.

Grant (winking at Stewart): I'm not seeing a problem then. Justifiable homicide. Open and shut.

Stewart, initially shocked at the remark, chokes back his coffee laughing.

Grant: At the most manslaughter. It's a lawyer for chrissakes!.

Stewart (getting into the act): Need to be a man for it to be manslaughter. Maybe slugslaughter….

Grant (appreciative): I like that. You have a good man here, Trace.

Trace: Glad you boys are enjoying yourselves. Now, Don Rickles, why don't you show laughing boy the other photos.

Stewart (rapidly sobering up): You might want to take a look at these, Mr. Grant.

Grant (thumbing through the photographs, all business): How many?

Trace: Twenty-six.

Grant (incredulous): Twenty-six?

Tracy nods…

Stewart: Yessir, Mr. Grant.

Grant: Don't tell me. Let me guess….All lawyers?

They nod.

Grant: All found in plush gold-plated executive washrooms?

They nod again.

Grant: Stabbed in the back?

Stewart: While doing their business.

Grant: You mean that while they were taking a leak in their respective Carrara marble pissoirs somebody came in and stabbed them?

Stewart: Ain't that just something, Mr. Grant?

Grant: It makes perfect sense though if you think about it. Just standing there minding your business, attending to one of life's natural functions. Totally vulnerable. I mean there you are urinating and someone comes in from behind. It's not that you can easily turn around to see who came in, can you? Nice!

Stewart: Yep, no chance to defend themselves….

Grant: It's brilliant! It's so horribly elegant; I wonder why someone hasn't thought of this before?

Tracy: I thought you might appreciate this one.

Grant: How in bloody heaven have you kept this out of the press?

Stewart: It's been tough, but we didn't want to give this guy free publicity.

Grant: Doesn't seem he needs it, does it?

Tracy: We also didn't want one million ambulance chasers on my back whining.

Grant: Agreed. Kudos on the covert ops. Have you seen this MO before, Trace?

Trace: Are you kidding? Never. Anywhere. Where's your flask?

Grant opens his tuxedo jacket and Trace reaches in for the flask and opens it. He pours his cup of coffee into the waste bin and empties the flask's contents into his now-empty cup . Stewart, shaking his head, gets up to attend to his Chief's waste bin. Meanwhile, Grant looks amusingly at his empty flask.

Trace: Sit the hell down why don't you?

Stewart: Sorry. I thought….

Trace: Forget it. Just go to my office. Third drawer. Bourbon. A quadruple malt, I fear, Grant.

Grant: It'll do. Let me see all the photos of the crime scenes and the bodies.

Trace: Jim, while you're at my desk, bring all the pictures.

Stewart: Right.

Stewart exits.

Grant (studying the remaining Neimann photographs): I take it all these murders don't simply involve attorneys at Marsh, Marsh, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Tracy: Law firms all over town.

Grant: Concluding that the perpetrator is probably a disgruntled client?

Trace: Disgruntled client? That's it! A disgruntled client! Stop the fucking presses! A disgruntled client!

Stewart runs in with bottle and photos hearing his chief go manic. Grant laughs to himself.

Trace: ….Why the fuck didn't we think of that, eh Jimbo? You see? I told you we needed….

Stewart: But we're evaluating that, Trace.

Tracy: I'm fucking being sarcastic, Jimbo. And don't call me Trace. Only my friends call me Trace. Got that?

Stewart: Sorry….

Grant: OK, OK, so apart from being lawyers what else do they have in common?

Stewart: Apart from all of them being trial lawyers….

Tracy: Not much. Between them they all had a total of 17, 458 clients over the past ten years.

Grant: "Among."

Tracy: Eh?

Grant: One uses "between" when discussing two entities…. "among" for more than two.

Stewart: That's right, Chief. "Among."

Tracy (glaring at Stewart): ….And if these guys won for their clients, we've tallied another 6,532 losers who might like to shove a shiv between their ribs.

Stewart: Now we're looking at families and even judges.

Tracy: Police work, Grant. Shoe leather. Much of which you hold in deep disdain.

Grant smirks.

Grant: Someone has to do it.

Grant now spends a good bit of time studying the photographs. There are a lot of them. All the crime scenes and all the autopsy photographs. Tracy spends the time drinking. He stares straight ahead in his own world of contemplation. Once he gets up, strolls to the window and adjusts his crotch. Grant is deeply immersed in the files. Stewart impatiently waits for something.

Grant: Each one is holding his penis!

Stewart: We told you they were doing their business.

Grant: Doesn't it strike you funny that you have 26 murders and each of the victims in his last breath of life decides to hold onto his penis?

Stewart: But what else would they be doing when they're pissing at the latrine?

Tracy: Shut up. Go on.

Grant: Well, take a look at these photos.

Tracy: Yeah?

Grant: Compare them with the autopsy reports.

Tracy: Yeah?

Grant: These lawyers didn't die right away.

Stewart: They didn't?

Grant: The autopsies tell me that they were all stabbed with some sort of ice pick. A very long one. Went in exactly at a 127° with respect to the body. Downward angle.

Stewart: So? They got stabbed and died in a tetanic spasm holding their penises.

Tracy: Will you shut up! Keep going, Arch.

Grant: They didn't die right away in that "tetanic spasm" you're talking about. Reading these reports, it shows us that the icepick's point partially severed the aorta. Each and every time and the apex of the aortic arch. Surgical precision definitely.

Tracy: And…?

Grant: They bled out. They died, but not quickly. Enough time to register surprise. See the look on their faces? To turn around. See that look? It's more than just surprise. They recognized their murderer. Then they collapsed. Some collapsed on their backs. See the blood pattern here and here? Others collapsed on their backs. Again I refer you to the blood spatter. It's different. Anyway, by the time they were found they were all on their backs. They knew they didn't have time to crawl out to get help. What was the point? No one was there at night anyway. Each lawyer's final act was to grab his penis. It was totally purposeful.

Stewart: I don't get it, sir.

Tracy: OK. OK. But I can't help thinking that they were trying to tell us something.

Grant: They were.

Grant stacks the photographs, gets up, grabs his things and begins to leave.

Grant: Look for a 5'6" surgeon called "Dick."

Grant walks out slamming the door.

Curtain.

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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