parlor city noir parlor city noir a nick holliday p.i. mystery written by david schmidt off the wall plays copyright march 2014 david schmidt and off the wall plays
parlor city noir cast nick holliday, a private detective dora chase, nick’s girl friday kathleen deluccci, the client, a widow. alysan asher, an eccentric art dealer mike shields, a detective with parlor city p.d.’s intelligence bureau gwendolyn leigh, a struggling artist ricco, hired muscle for falcone. jimmy falcone, a gangster setting: the office of silver shield investigations time: the 1940’s, the era of hard-boiled detectives and gangsters a 1940’s style detective’s office. a large wooden desk and swivel chair are center. an old chair for clients sits in front of the desk. a sofa is set against the right wall of the office. a metal filing cabinet and a coat tree can be found in another corner. on the desk is a name plate that reads nick holliday, pi. a window with the reversed inscription silver shield investigations nick holliday pi painted on it looks out upon the city. a door connecting the outer office to the detective’s office bears a frosted glass pane with the reversed inscription nick holliday, private detective on it. a bottle of scotch and two glasses are set on one corner of the desk. a bulletin board cluttered with wanted posters and other papers hangs on one wall of the office.
parlor city noir act one scene one the office of the silver shield investigations a single spot comes up on nick holliday as he enters from stage left and moves center. a single street lamp lights the area. a fog fills the stage. behind him in silhouette is the skyline of a city. as he reaches center he takes out a cigarette and lights it. the wailing of a saxophone can be heard nick this is the city. they call it parlor city on account of the number of cigar factories once found throughout the city. it was a name meant to bring to mind sophistication, elegance, and prosperity; not any longer. now it is a cesspool of vice and corruption controlled by the families of organized crime, but it’s my city and i do what i can to make it safe for decent folks to live in. my name is holliday, nick holliday. i’m a private detective. not by choice but by necessity. i own a small investigation service on the east side of the city called silver shield investigations. i have one employee, a classy dame named dora chase. dora serves as secretary and sometimes partner for silver shield investigations. it was in her capacity as secretary dora came to me one warm, summer morning to announce a beautiful, leggy brunette wished to see me. her name was kathleen deluccci, mrs. kathleen deluccci. mrs. deluccci was an exotic beauty with dark eyes and a body with curves in all the right places. however, it was her case that nearly shut down silver shield investigations permanently. (the lights come up full on the office. dora chase enters from the door stage right. dora is attractive, smart and quick-witted. we see the window on the door says nick holliday, private detective.) dora are you busy, nick? nick (his feet on the desk and the hat pulled over his eyes) swamped, sweetheart, why do you ask? dora there’s a woman here to see you. nick how does she look? dora rich. nick (pushing the hat up and swinging his feet off the desk) my favorite type of client. dora
parlor city noir how’s that, nick? nick one who can pay me. give me the low down, angel. dora she’s young, pretty, but her attractive features are marred by a recent tragedy, perhaps the loss of a loved one. she looks like she’s just coming back from a funeral. i gathered she was rich because i saw her get out of a rolles and she’s wearing jewelry only found in the most exclusive stores in the city. she’s married, her finger adorned with the biggest rock i have ever seen. (looking at her own hand) of course i would be happy with a small rock, nick. nick you were doing great until the end, angel. dora you can’t blame a girl for trying. nick i give you an a for effort, angel. dora shall i send her in, nick? we still need to pay the rent for this month nick might as well. (dora exits through the door. nick reaches for the bottle of scotch and pours himself another drink. dora quickly reenters followed by kathleen deluccci. mrs. deluccci is indeed an exotic beauty. she gracefully crosses to the desk and offers her hand to nick) kathleen mr. holliday, i’m kathleen deluccci. nick (taking her hand) so dora has informed me (directing her to the client’s chair.) won’t you have a seat? kathleen thank you. (she sits in the chair crossing her legs; as she does so a portion of her legs become exposed). dora
parlor city noir (indignant) can i get you anything, mrs. deluccci? coffee, tea, or perhaps a longer skirt? kathleen (glares at dora then smiles smugly) no thank you. that’s very kind of you to offer though. dora (perching on a corner of nick’s desk) i’m just doing my job. kathleen (annoyed at dora’s presence) mr. holliday, this is a private matter. nick i understand that, mrs. deluccci. however, dora is the very soul of discretion. not only is she great with numbers, she’s a marvel with short hand. kathleen really? where’s her notepad? dora (tapping her temple) right here, honey. kathleen (to nick) if you say she’s all right. nick she’s all right. dora thank you, nick. nick don’t mention it, angel. now mrs. deluccci…….. kathleen kathleen. nick excuse me? kathleen call me kathleen. mrs. deluccci makes me feel old.
parlor city noir nick all right kathleen, what can i do for you? kathleen mr. holliday….. nick nick, please, if we’re going to be informal. kathleen alright, nick. i wish to hire you. nick i didn’t think you came here to swap recipes, kathleen. kathleen i don’t think i like your attitude, nick. dora get used to it, honey, it only gets worse. nick do you want my help or not, kathleen? kathleen yes, nick, i do. nick then let’s get to the reason you came here. what’s your problem? kathleen my problem, nick, is murder. nick (leaning back in his chair) go on, (taking a drink of his scotch) who’s been murdered? kathleen my husband, we buried him today. i came straight here from the funeral. nick (sharing a look with dora) you have my condolences. kathleen thank you. (seeing the scotch on the desk) may i have a drink, nick? nick
parlor city noir sure, baby. (he pours some scotch into the second glass and hands it to kathleen) kathleen (taking the offered drink) thank you. dora this may be none of my business, mrs. deluccci, but if you suspect your husband was murdered shouldn’t you go to the police? kathleen i’ve already talked to the police, ms……. dora chase, dora chase. kathleen ms. chase. i didn’t like the attitude of the detective in charge of my husband’s case. nick who is the detective in need of an attitude adjustment? kathleen detective mike shields. nick ah yes, the prince of the intelligence bureau. kathleen you know him? dora they have a love-hate relationship. kathleen how’s that? nick he loves to hate me and i love to be hated. what did detective shields have to say? kathleen he asked me if i had a reason to kill my husband. nick did you? kathleen
parlor city noir i loved my husband, nick. nick i’m sure you did. okay, give me the dope on your husband and go slow. i want dora to be able to get every word. kathleen my husband was peter deluccci of delucci’s art emporium. dora (impressed) he owned the gallery over on the west side? kathleen he did, and now i own it. nick what is delucci’s art emporium? dora (to nick) nick, delucci’s art emporium is the most prestigious art gallery in the city. every established artist in the city has had a showing at the gallery, and every aspiring artist tries to get one. nick never heard of it. kathleen (insulted) you have never heard of delucci’s art emporium? nick ‘fraid not, the closest i come to art is the double feature at the lust palace. kathleen why doesn’t that surprise me. nick to each his own, baby. dora you need to broaden your horizons, nick. nick make a mental note, angel, tomorrow i get cultured. kathleen barbarian! may i continue? nick
parlor city noir you may (he rises and crosses to the large window behind his desk and looks out onto the street). kathleen earlier this week i decided to surprise my husband for dinner. i dismissed his secretary and started to enter his office. peter was in a heated argument with another gallery owner, a woman i have met once or twice, named alysan asher. alysan was peter’s only real competition in the city. she owns a second rate gallery over on south main. nick you think she killed your husband? kathleen i think she could have. nick why? kathleen from what i could hear alysan owed peter some money. she came to pay off her debt but peter refused to take her money. he told her he would take her gallery if she tried to walk away from their arrangement. alysan told peter she was through and that if he tried to take her gallery she would kill him. we nearly collided as she stormed out of the office. nick a confession of guilt if i ever heard one. kathleen the next day i get a phone call from detective shields. peter’s secretary had gone into his office to put a file on peter’s desk. that’s when she found him; his head slumped down on his desk in a pool of his own blood. he had been shot in the head at close range with his own gun. nick anything else? kathleen nothing comes to mind. nick what can you tell me about this alysan asher? kathleen i can tell you she’s a queer bird.
parlor city noir nick a queer bird? kathleen an odd duck, a little cuckoo. nick i get the picture. i’ll be sure to have plenty of bird seed on hand when i talk to her. kathleen then you’ll take the case? nick (rising out of his chair) i’ll do what i can. (he helps kathleen out of her chair). kathleen (cozying up to nick and playing with his tie) what’s your fee? nick (pushing her gently away) i get fifty dollars a day plus expenses. you can give my retainer to dora. kathleen (annoyed with her advances being rejected) bill me (she turns and leaves the office). nick (watching kathleen leave) now that’s a woman, dora. dora (indignant she hops off the desk and crosses to the client chair and sits) what does that make me, nick? chopped liver? nick more like chop steak, angel, grade a chopped steak. dora i’m not sure i like being compared to a piece of meat, nick. nick
parlor city noir you started it, angel. now, what is your unbiased opinion of mrs. kathleen deluccci? dora i don’t trust her. nick neither do i. aside from that, what else? dora i don’t think she loved her husband like she said. nick what makes you say that? dora she showed no emotion whatsoever while explaining to us the circumstances leading up to and the subsequent murder of her husband, and her make-up was too perfect. nick her make-up was too perfect? there’s a sure sign of guilt. dora what i meant was that it was too perfect for someone just getting back from a funeral, especially the funeral of her husband. if you ask me i think she did it. nick let’s find out what this alysan asher can tell us. get her number and give her a call. dora who shall i tell her is calling? nick tell her you represent someone who has an interest in the death of peter deluccci, a silent partner who wishes to discuss her arrangement with the late peter deluccci. dora (rising out of the chair and crossing to the office door) i’m on it. (dora exits through the office door. as dora exits the lights go down and a single spot picks up nick.) nick
parlor city noir dora put the call into alysan asher and an hour later she came into the office. alysan was indeed a strange duck with a flair for the dramatic and horrible fashion sense. but she was nervous, really nervous; you could tell that right away. (he exits stage r as the lights go to black) scene two nick’s office (the lights come up on the office. dora is seen moving about the office straightening it up when alysan asher enters from the outer office. she is dressed in a gaudy, flowing smock and matching scarf wrapped around her head. she is loud and flamboyant. she looks about nervously before spotting dora and crossing to her.) alysan excuse me, darling. dora (startled) do you make it a habit of scaring people to death? alysan the door was open. dora is there something i can do for you ms…….? alysan asher, alysan asher, and yes, darling, there is something you can do for me. i received a phone call that someone associated with the late peter deluccci wished to discuss an arrangement i had with him. they said he was a silent partner. nick
parlor city noir (entering the office) that would be me. alysan (instantly attracted to nick) well aren’t you just scrumptious. nick (giving alysan a once over) forget it, ms. asher, you’re not my type. alysan (cozying up to nick) that’s a shame because you’re just my type….. nick what is your type? alysan a man. sure you’re not interested? i would give you the time of your life. nick i bet you would. not interested. my name is holliday, nick holliday. alysan what do you want from me, mr. holliday? nick (directing her to the client chair) won’t you sit down. alysan (crossing to the client chair and sitting down) this won’t take long will it? nick (sitting on a corner of his desk) no. can i get you anything? alysan do you have anything to drink, preferably something with a bite to it? nick i have some scotch. alysan scotch would be fine. nick dora, would you pour us a couple of scotches. dora two scotches coming up (she crosses to nick’s desk takes out the glasses and the bottle of scotch pours out two drinks)
parlor city noir alysan so what’s this all about, mr. holliday? nick i wanted to have a little chat with you, alysan. may i call you alysan? alysan (caressing nick’s leg) you can call me whatever you like. nick (removing alysans hand) i want to talk to you about peter deluccci. (dora hands a drink to nick and then one to alysan) thanks, angel. dora need me to stick around, nick? nick i would certainly feel safer with you in the room. dora (sitting in the sofa) afraid you might succumb to her charms, darling? nick something like that. (to alysan) now tell me about peter deluccci. alysan (nervously taking a sip of her drink) he’s dead isn’t he? the worlds a better place without him. nick he was murdered, angel. alysan my hat’s off to the person who did it. nick there are some who think you did it. alysan what reason would i have? nick you didn’t like him much.
parlor city noir alysan so? a lot of people didn’t like him, darling. nick that may be true, but they weren’t heard threatening him, you were. alysan (starting to become agitated) darling, i have no idea what you are talking about. nick sure you do, alysan. you were into peter deluccci for a lot of money. alysan (becoming more uncomfortable) i wasn’t the only one. nick he threatened to take your gallery, alysan. you threatened to kill him if he did so. the next day peter deluccci is found dead in his office, shot in the head at close range with his own gun. dora you have to admit that makes you look pretty suspicious. alysan (jumping to her feet and moving away from nick. as she does so she pulls out a gun from the pocket of her smock. both nick and dora react by also coming to their feet) put your hands up, mr. holliday. (waving the gun in dora’s direction as well) you to, get them up. dora (putting her hands in the air) easy, honey, i’m just a secretary. nick a gun, alysan? alysan i said get your hands up, mr. holliday. i don’t know who you’re working for now but i’m through running numbers for you. nick i hate guns. (he lunges at alysan grabbing the gun and wrenching it out of her hand while at the same time wrenching her arm behind her back. dora moves up to nick who hands her the gun). alysan (whimpering) you’re hurting me.
parlor city noir nick i’ll do more than that, darling, if you don’t start giving me some straight answers. what’s it going to be, alysan? alysan okay, okay, just don’t hurt me. i have a low tolerance for pain. nick (guiding alysan back to the clients chair before he lets go of her arm) i’m listening. what did you mean when you said you were through running numbers? (he once more sits on the corner of his desk). alysan (sitting down in the chair) peter deluccci operated the largest numbers racket on the west side. dora (once again sits in the sofa) i thought he ran an art gallery. alysan he used the gallery as a front for his “policy parlor”. no one in the city would believe an art dealer could be a criminal mastermind, an extortionist none-the- less. dora that’s debatable. you see how much they charge for a painting? nick so how did you get involved with him? alysan i needed money fast. nick why? alysan i owed several back payments to the bank and they were threatening to foreclose on my gallery. so i went to peter. we were lovers once upon a time and i thought if anyone could help peter would. he agreed to give me the money if i ran numbers for him out of my gallery and if i used my gallery as collateral in the event i would be unable to pay him back the money he loaned me. i agreed. he gave me the money to get out from under the bank plus extra for any accrued expenses. however, every time i went to pay the money back he pushed up the interest on me. first it was ten percent then twenty, then thirty.
parlor city noir nick is your gallery that important to you? alysan it’s all i have, darling. everything i have is tied up in the gallery. if i were to lose my gallery, i would lose everything. i learned later peter wanted my gallery, so that he could expand his numbers racket into the south side. i started receiving threats from another crime boss that if i didn’t stop running numbers for peter deluccci in his territory he intended to shut me down permanently. he even gave me the money i needed to pay off my debt to peter. nick does this crime boss have a name alysan jimmy falcone; i took the money to peter and told him i was done running numbers for him. he told me i was done when he said i was done, and then he threatened to take my gallery. that’s when we got into a heated argument. nick you still shouldn’t have threatened him, baby. alysan who said i had? nick a reliable source. alysan it was his shrew of a wife wasn’t it? she and i collided with each other outside peter’s office after i told him i would no longer run numbers for him. she must have heard us arguing. nick what do you know about mrs. deluccci? alysan enough, i know she was the daughter of vinny deangelo. nick the crime lord? alysan
parlor city noir ex-crime lord, darling; peter deluccci use to run numbers for him. that’s how he and kathleen met. a year ago vinny was murdered. rumor was eduardo cardoni had him hit. after vinny’s death cardoni took over his operations and peter went to work for cardoni running vinny’s west side numbers racket. kathleen grew angry with peter because he went to work for cardoni. she believes peter betrayed her. she hated him. nick you seem well informed for a queer gallery owner. alysan pillow talk, darling, i told you peter and i had been lovers for a time. nick did mrs. deluccci know? alysan i don’t believe so. it was before they got hitched. nick so what happened between you and the late peter deluccci? alysan he ended the relationship. dora did that bother you? alysan not at all, darling. he had become quite a bore in bed. dora i could have done without that little tidbit of information. alysan you asked. nick you said kathleen hated her husband? do you think she hated him enough to kill him? alysan it wouldn’t surprise me. since his death she has got what she wanted, the gallery and the money. nick who besides you and kathleen might want to see peter deluccci dead?
parlor city noir alysan perhaps gwen leigh. nick who is gwen leigh? alysan she’s an artist, and not a very good one. i’ve seen her work. she wanted peter to give her a showing in his gallery. nick why his? alysan because his gallery was the most prestigious gallery in parlor city and i turned her down. from what i could learn gwen and peter had an affair, but he dumped her. discarded her like a cheap strumpet, never giving her the showing. nick it seems peter deluccci was no angel. alysan no, mr. holliday, he wasn’t. (detective mike shields enters from the outer office) dora (seeing mike enter) nick, you have company. mike i’m looking for alysan asher. alysan that’s me handsome. mike (crossing to alysan) are you alysan asher? alysan i can be whoever you want me to be, darling. what’s your name, handsome? mike (showing his badge) detective mike shields, parlor city intelligence bureau. alysan
parlor city noir you’re a cop? mike you got a problem with cops, lady? alysan (rising and crossing to mike) not at all, darling, i love a man in uniform (looking nick over) and out of one. mike (to nick) is she for real? nick i’m afraid so. it’s always a pleasure to see you, mike. mike cut the crap, holliday. you’re no happier to see me than i am to be here. what’s your interest in this fruit loop? nick she’s helping me to get cultured. mike really? well you’ll have to get it elsewhere. ms. asher is out of business as of right now. (crossing to alysan) alysan asher, you’re under arrest for the murder of peter deluccci. nick (getting out of his chair and crossing to mike) since when is murder the jurisdiction of the intelligence bureau, mike? mike everything connected to organized crime is the jurisdiction of the intelligence bureau, holliday. it is well known in the bureau peter deluccci was running a numbers racket and that ms. asher here was running numbers for him. alysan how did you find me? mike your secretary told me where you were. alysan that’s it, he’s fired.
parlor city noir nick what have you got on ms. asher, mike? i’m sure my client would like to know. mike client? someone actually hired you? who? i should arrest them for poor judgment. nick i’m pretty sure that’s not a punishable offense. mike it should be. who is your client? nick you know i can’t tell you, mike. suffice it to say it is someone who has a major interest in the death of peter deluccci. come on, detective, throw me a bone. mike all right, holliday. we received an anonymous phone tip that alysan here had been heard arguing with deluccci. the caller said alysan here threatened to kill him. dora is that all you got, mike? mike ms. asher’s fingerprints were also found on the gun used to kill peter deluccci. alysan i didn’t kill him, darling. (alysan crosses to center followed by mike) that night i received a phone call from peter’s secretary, at least i thought it was his secretary, telling me peter wanted to see me. so i went. when i got there i found him dead. but before i could get out of there someone hit me on the head from behind. when i came to i found the gun in my hand. mike tell it to the judge, sweetheart. (he puts handcuffs on alysan.) nick come on, mike, can’t you see this is a frame up? mike
parlor city noir as far as i’m concerned, holliday, i have my man (pauses, looks at alysan) more or less. (mike leads alysan out of the office. nick returns to his chair and dora crosses to the client chair.) dora what now, nick? mike just took our only lead. nick not our only one, dora. dora you mean this gwen leigh alysan spoke about? nick i do. someone over at delucci’s art emporium must know where she is, or how to get a hold of her. find out where she is and give her a call. dora what do i tell her? nick tell her i’m a buyer interested in her paintings and would like to meet with her here at the office. dora do you think that will work? nick i don’t know much about the art world, dora, but i do know artists. they are looking for any opportunity to sell their work. she’ll come. dora i’ll try to find her, nick. (as dora exits the lights go to black and a single spot picks up nick as he crosses to center nick dora was able to locate gwendolyn leigh and the next day she walked through my door. gwen leigh was a stunning beauty with soft, bedroom eyes who exuded a sensuality that made men’s knees weak and women jealous. however, when she came into the office she was very nervous, someone was following her. (the lights fade to black). scene three
parlor city noir the office of silver shield investigations (as the lights come up nick crosses to the sofa and lays down putting his hat over his eyes. from the outer office dora enters) dora nick, (seeing nick stretched out on the sofa) late night last night? nick (not looking at dora) something like that. what’s up? dora gwen leigh, the artist, is here to see you. nick (sitting up) how does she look? dora scared. nick how do you know? dora she’s pacing the office like a caged animal, and she’s constantly looking out the front window at something in the street. nick any idea what has her spooked? dora you’re the detective, nick, not me. nick (rising from the sofa and crossing to the desk where he pours himself a drink) go ahead and show her in, angel. dora (crosses to the door) you can go in, ms. leigh. gwen (entering frantic) mr. holliday, you need to help me. nick easy, baby, relax, would you like a drink?
parlor city noir gwen please. (nick fills the second glass and hands it to gwen) thank you. nick now tell me, what seems to be the problem? gwen i think i’m being followed. nick any idea by whom? gwen i’ve never seen him before. nick him? gwen a tall man in a black hat. he’s outside now watching your office. nick dora, take a look outside and see if this man is still there. dora sure, nick. (she exits into the outer office.) nick you sure you’ve never seen him before? gwen yes, mr. holliday, i’m sure. dora (reentering the office) she’s right, nick. there is a man fitting her description across the street. nick thanks, angel. keep an eye on him. dora will do. (she exits back into the outer office closing the door behind her.) gwen you’re a private detective, couldn’t you just shoot him? nick
parlor city noir i don’t carry a gun, ms. leigh. gwen a tough guy like you doesn’t carry a gun, why? nick i don’t like them (sitting in his chair). gwen (crossing behind the desk) i’m curious, mr. holliday, what interest does a private dick have in my work? nick none, i wanted to talk to you about peter delucci. gwen how did you know about peter and me? nick i’m a detective, it’s what we do. now let’s talk about peter delucci gwen (sitting on the ur corner of the desk) i’d rather talk about you. nick not much to talk about. gwen oh i think there is. why don’t you tell me why you don’t carry a gun? nick i already told you, i don’t like them. (he rises and crosses out from behind his desk) now tell me about peter deluccci. gwen what about him? he’s dead. nick he was murdered, angel. gwen it couldn’t have happen to a nicer guy. if you ask me someone did the world a favor. (rising and crossing to nick) now why don’t you tell me why you don’t carry a gun? most private dick’s i know have big guns. nick do you know many private dick’s?
parlor city noir gwen you’d be surprised. none of them are as handsome as you, though. nick private dick’s with big guns are usually compensating for something. gwen not all of them. come on, nick, what do you have to lose? you tell me why you don’t carry a gun and i’ll tell you whatever you want to know about peter deluccci. nick you want to know why i don’t carry a gun. all right i’ll tell you. (gwen sits in the client chair) before getting into the pi business i was a beat cop, one of parlor cities finest, most decorated, officers on the force. i was responding to a disturbance at the lower end of state street. as i entered an alley there someone shot at me. i returned fire, and then waited, nothing happened. when i went to investigate i discovered lying in the refuse littering the alley the body of a ten year old boy, my bullet in him and a gun in his hand. internal affairs called it a justifiable shooting, but how do you justify shooting a kid. after that i resigned from the force and put away my gun, determined never to use it again. end of story. gwen i’m sorry. nick yeah well things are tough all over. (he sits in the sofa) alright, i held up my end of the deal now it’s your turn. spill what you know about peter delucci. gwen (getting out of the chair) he was a pig, nick. i let him do what he wanted to me because he promised me a showing in his gallery. but after a time he told me it would be a cold day in hell before he gave me a showing in his gallery. he said my work was amateur at best. then he discarded me like some cheap whore. (joining nick on the sofa) yes i hated peter enough to kill him if that’s what you want to know. nick did you kill him? gwen (leaning back against the sofa) isn’t that for you to find out?
parlor city noir nick (getting up and crossing to the desk to fix himself a drink) what about his wife? gwen kathleen the hell-hag? nick is that what you call her? gwen it’s what peter called her. nick (sitting on the down right corner of the desk) what do you know about her? gwen (getting off the sofa and crossing to the desk to fix herself a drink) more than i should. peter was afraid of her. nick what was he afraid of? gwen (sitting in the client chair) her ambition; kathleen wanted control of peter’s numbers racket. apparently whatever kathleen wanted she got. peter believed she would stop at nothing to get what she wanted, even murder. nick you know about the numbers racket peter was running? gwen of course i knew about the racket he was running, i’m just surprised you know about it too. in the end i think that was the real reason he dumped me. i knew too much about his operation. nick maybe, more likely you were just the flavor of the month. did kathleen know about you? gwen god no! if kathleen knew about peter and me she would have killed me or at the very least have hired someone to do it. i think even if she learned about me now she’d try to kill me. nick why? gwen
parlor city noir because of what i know. nick what do you know? gwen kathleen was the one running the numbers racket for peter. nick i thought delucci ran it. gwen peter controlled the racket but kathleen ran it for him she even has her own enforcer to do her dirty work for her. nick who is he? gwen he’s some guy by the name of tanzini. i’ve never seen him, but from what i’ve heard he’s got a vicious streak. he likes to hurt people. nick what more can you tell me about kathleen? gwen i know running the racket wasn’t enough for her; she wanted to be the one in control not the one being controlled. now with peter dead she gets control of the money, the gallery and more importantly the numbers racket. if that’s not a motive for murder i don’t know what is. nick what about a rival? know of anyone else who might have wanted peter dead? gwen just about anyone who knew him i suppose. nick could you narrow the list down a little more? gwen maybe jimmy falcone. nick what do you know about him?
parlor city noir gwen nothing, all i know is peter had nothing but contempt for jimmy falcone, said he would kill him one day. maybe falcone got to him first. nick maybe, (crossing to the door to the outer office) thank you, ms. leigh, you’ve been very helpful. come on i’ll show you out. gwen (getting out of the client chair and crossing to nick) wait! nick something else you remember? gwen aren’t you forgetting about my shadow? nick i’ll deal with him. (opening the door to the outer office) dora, could you come in here. dora (entering) sure, nick, what’s up? nick is ms. leigh’s shadow still out there? dora he hasn’t moved since he got there. i think he’s starting to get restless. nick take ms. leigh out the back. dora sure, nick, but what are you going to do? nick i have a phone call to make, and then i‘ll go meet up with our visitor. dora be careful, nick. nick you know me, angel.
parlor city noir dora yes i do, that’s why i said it. come on, ms. leigh i’ll show you out. (as dora and gwen leave the lights slowly fade to black.) scene four the street (the street outside nick’s office, ricco is under the street light looking up and out over the audience. from right comes nick in trench coat and fedora. a fog fills the stage that is lit with blue/white light giving the scene a film noir feel to it) nick looking for someone, gunsel? she’s not coming out. ricco i don’t know what you’re talking about. nick the dame you followed here. she’s not coming out. ricco where’s the bird, shamus? nick how did you know i was a private detective? ricco says so on your window; now i’ll ask you again, where’s the skirt? nick what do you know, he can read. she’s gone; i had my secretary take her out the back. now answer my question, mug, why are you following her? ricco i represent someone who has a score to settle with her. nick this someone got a name? ricco (crossing to nick) you ask a lot of questions, gumshoe. nick occupational hazard. ricco putting your nose where it doesn’t belong could also be hazardous.
parlor city noir nick i can take care of myself. besides you don’t look all that tough to me. ricco you don’t know me yet. if my boss wants you dead, shamus, you’ll be dead, and i’ll be the one to do it. tell me where the skirt is and i’ll be sure to put in a good word with the boss. nick here’s my answer. (he hits ricco with a haymaker that drops him to the ground) take that to your boss. ricco (sitting on the ground) you’ve made a big mistake, flatfoot. nick i make a lot of them. (he grabs ricco by the lapels of his jacket and hauls him to his feet) now i think it’s time for you to scram, lug, you’ve worn out your welcome here. ricco i’m going, but i’ll be back, peeper. nick i wouldn’t advise that. next time you’ll have to be carried away. ricco we’ll see who walks away next time, shamus. nick get moving! ricco i’ll be seeing you again, count on it. nick looking forward to it. ricco i wouldn’t be if i were you (ricco exits, as he exits the lights fade to black).
parlor city noir scene five nick’s office (the lights come up on the office. dora is sitting in the sofa reading a magazine. nick enters from the outer office) dora everything okay, nick? nick couldn’t be better, angel. (he hangs his coat on the coat tree and crosses to the desk to fix himself a drink) care to join me in a drink (he crosses to the desk and pours himself a drink). dora why not, make mine a double. (she crosses to the client chair and sits) so did you learn anything useful from ms. leigh before we had to hustle her out of the office? nick quite a bit actually, (he hands dora her drink) here you go, angel. dora (taking the drink from nick) thanks nick. nick sure, angel. (he crosses to his chair and sits down) in the course of our conversation ms. leigh mentioned jimmy falcone. dora the same guy who threatened alysan? nick that would be my guess, angel. from what ms. leigh told me the two didn’t like each other very much.
parlor city noir dora do you think he might have killed peter? nick hard to say, angel. dora did she have any idea who this jimmy falcone might be? nick no, all she could tell me was that he was someone peter deluccci didn’t like very much. i’ll know more when our friend from the intelligence bureau gets here. dora what makes you think detective shields is coming? nick because i called him. dora when? nick before dealing with ms. leigh’s shadow. mike was overjoyed to here from me. dora i’ll bet he was. mike (from the outer office) holliday! dora speak of the devil, nick; your biggest fan has arrived. (she gets out of the client chair and crosses to the sofa as mike enters from the outer office). mike (as he’s entering) you better have a damn good reason for calling me here, holliday. nick (leaning back in his chair) detective shields, always a pleasure to see you. mike i assure you the feeling isn’t mutual. nick i’m not a bad guy once you get to know me.
parlor city noir dora that’s true, he’s not. mike what i know about you, holliday, is you’re wasting my time. what do you want? nick what does the intelligence bureau know about jimmy falcone? mike what’s your interest in jimmy falcone? nick i’m making out my christmas card list. mike (crossing to the client chair and sitting) listen to me, holliday; jimmy falcone is no one to screw around with. nick who is he? mike he’s a killer. he used to be a high priced hit man for eduardo cardoni. rumor has it he was the one who offed vinny deangelo for cardoni. now he runs a numbers racket out of the south side for cardoni. we have been trying to get into his organization for years, but every undercover cop who gets close to bringing down falcone finds themselves pushing up daisies. do you hear what i’m saying, shamus? tangle with falcone and you’re as good as dead. dora careful, mike, nick might think you’re worried about him. mike don’t flatter yourself, dora; i don’t give a damn about him. if he wants to take on falcone, that’s his business. just make sure your will is up to date, holliday. your next of kin are going to need it. nick i’ll take that under advisement. mike (rising) sure you will. (starting to exit) it’s your funeral, holliday. just don’t say i didn’t warn you (he exits into the outer office).
parlor city noir dora (crossing to the desk and sitting on the up right corner of the desk) maybe you should listen to him, nick. nick (rising and moving to the front of the desk) i have to talk to this guy, dora. he might be able to shed some light on this case. dora (crossing around to the front of the desk to join nick) this could be where your luck runs out, nick. nick we all have to go sometime, angel. no one lives forever. if it’s my time to go then so be it. dora that’s a selfish thing to say, nick. what about those who care about you? what about them? nick no one is going to miss me when i’m gone, dora. dora i will. i love you, you big jerk. nick what are you talking about? dora do i have to paint you a picture, nick? what is it about “i love you” don’t you understand? nick you can do better than me, angel. i’m living on borrowed time. i can’t allow myself to get close to anyone knowing that any day could be my last. it wouldn’t be fair. dora no one understands that better than me, nick. it’s a risk i’m willing to take. nick but i’m not, angel. you deserve better. dora so do you, nick. i don’t care what you say, nick, i’m not going to stop caring about you. nick
parlor city noir i wouldn’t ask you to, angel. every man needs someone to care about him, even me. now get the word out to my contacts on the street, tell them to put out the word i’m looking for a meet with jimmy falcone. dora i hope you know what you’re doing, nick. nick so do i, angel. (dora exits into the outer office. as she exits the lights slowly fade to a single spot on nick who sits on the front of his desk) dora put out the word i was looking for a meeting with jimmy falcone. little did i know how painful the encounter would be or the ramifications that would develop after the meeting. (the lights fade to black) end of act one act two scene one the office of silver shield investigations the next night (as the lights come up nick is at his desk reading a racing form. dora enters from the outer office wearing a trench coat.) dora i’m going to head out, nick. i need time to change before we go to dinner. (looking at nick, who appears to be ignoring her) we are still going out to dinner aren’t we? nick (looking up from his racing form) i’m looking forward to it, angel.
parlor city noir dora is there anything you need before i go? nick i can think of a couple of things. dora easy, tiger, play your cards right and you might get lucky tonight. nick luck is for suckers, angel. dora way to kill the mood, nick. nick (chuckling) i’ll see you at eight, angel. dora don’t stand me up, nick. nick i wouldn’t dream of it. dora you better not. (she starts to exit into the outer office) you want me to lock up before i go, nick? nick don’t bother, angel, i’ll lock up before i leave. dora i’ll see you at eight then. don’t be late. (she exits. after dora exits ricco enters.) ricco i told you we’d be seeing each other again, peeper. (nick quickly rises and moves toward ricco. ricco reaches into his jacket with a gloved hand and pulls out a revolver stopping nick in his tracks) put your hands up, shamus, or you’re going to be trading your gumshoes for a harp. nick (putting up his hands) where’s dora? ricco
parlor city noir don’t worry about your girlfriend, she’s unharmed this time. we waited until she left then came in the back door. nick we? ricco i represent someone who wants a word with you, flatfoot. nick does this person have a name? ricco i’m not here to play twenty questions with you, gumshoe. you’ll learn who he is soon enough. nick i can hardly wait. ricco you packing? nick check for yourself. ricco i think i will. any funny business and i’ll plug you. (ricco moves to nick keeping his gun leveled at nick’s chest. when ricco gets close enough nick drops his hand, closing it around the cylinder of the gun preventing ricco from pulling the trigger then he hits ricco with a haymaker dropping him to the ground.) nick (turning the gun on ricco) now spill, who sent you, mug? who are you working for? falcone (entering from the outer office and holding an automatic in his hand) he’s working for me. (nick turns his attention to falcone) put down the gun, mr. holliday or this forty-five gets a work out. (nick puts down the gun and raises his hands). ricco (getting angrily to his feet) you’re going to pay for sucker punching me, peeper. (he hits nick in the stomach dropping him to his knees. once nick is down he
parlor city noir hits him again laying nick out. he follows this up with a couple of kicks to nick’s side). falcone that’s enough, ricco, i don’t want mr. holliday dead yet. ricco (delivering one final kick) sure thing, mr. falcone. falcone i said that’s enough, ricco! help him into the sofa. (ricco pulls nick up off the floor and dumps him unceremoniously into the sofa) now go lock up. we don’t want anyone walking in on us while we talk to mr. holliday. ricco sure thing, boss (he exits into the outer office). nick (slowly coming around) you must be jimmy falcone. falcone that’s right, mr. holliday. (he crosses around to the front of the desk and sits on the down right corner of the desk) i apologize for the rather harsh treatment you received from ricco. he can get a little overzealous. nick tell him to keep his distance or next time i’ll kill him. falcone i’ll pass that on to him. ricco (reentering) all locked up, mr. falcone. falcone thank you, ricco. why don’t you wait in the outer office while i have a little chat with mr. holliday. ricco you sure it’s safe for me to leave you alone with this guy, boss? falcone quite sure, ricco. mr. holliday is in no shape to do anything thanks to you. ricco if you need me just call (he exits back into the outer office).
parlor city noir falcone now, mr. holliday, word on the street is that you were looking for me. naturally i’m curious to know why. (he sees the bottle of scotch on the desk) mind if i have a drink? nick would it matter if i did? falcone probably not. nick in that case help yourself. falcone (reaching for the scotch and a glass) that’s very kind of you. (pouring himself a drink) so tell me, why are you looking for me? nick i’ve been hired to look into the murder of peter deluccci. a little bird told me you and he were not the best of friends, that he would have killed you if he got the chance. i’m wondering if you felt the same way. falcone (annoyed) this is why you were looking for me, to question me about the death of peter deluccci? i’m insulted. i should have let ricco kill you. nick you can still call him in. falcone i could, but you intrigue me, mr. holliday nick i’m flattered. so, did you kill him? falcone (getting off the desk and moving center) no, i didn’t. if i had the police would have never found the body. peter deluccci was a small time hood, hardly worth my attention. sure, he tried to move his operation into my territory, but i quickly showed him the error of his ways. nick i’ll bet you did.
parlor city noir falcone apart from a couple of incidences i had little contact with peter deluccci. (crossing to the client chair and sitting down) but why the interest, i thought the police had the person who killed him? nick they have the wrong person. if you didn’t kill peter deluccci do you know who did? falcone no, but i have my suspicions. nick care to share? falcone well there’s his wife kathleen. nick we’ve met. falcone it was well known she hated her husband. she married him only for his money. several of my sources told ricco she has been keeping company with a rather shady fellow by the name of tanzini. they had been seen together prior to the death of peter deluccci. nick who is he? falcone a leg-breaker, rumor has it he works for a mysterious underworld character known as the sicilian. nick who’s the sicilian? falcone i don’t know, but word on the street is the sicilian wants to reestablish vinny deangelo's organization. maybe he had deluccci killed. nick why? falcone
parlor city noir the way to establish an organization, mr. holliday, is to take down the small operators first. gain control of their assets and their territories then go after the bigger organizations. there’s less resistance that way. nick and you don’t know who the sicilian is? falcone not yet. nick what about a lead on this tanzini guy? falcone i’ve got ricco working on that. unfortunately he’s found nothing yet. nick i’m not surprised, that mook couldn’t find his way out of a paper bag. falcone when i find tanzini i find the sicilian. nick what do you want with the sicilian? falcone i want him dead, mr. holliday. he’s been shaking down my operation, taking out my people and stealing my money. when i find him i’m going to bury him. (getting off the sofa) now is there anything else you want to know? nick why did you have your goon try to put the snatch on gwen leigh? falcone i didn’t order him to snatch anybody. i don’t even know a gwen leigh. nick if you didn’t, who did? somebody sent him to snatch her. falcone i’ll look into it. (crossing to the door to the outer office) good-bye, mr. holliday, i’ve enjoyed our little chat, don’t get up, i know my way out. (opening the door and calling for ricco) ricco! (ricco enters from the outer office) thank mr. holliday for his hospitality. ricco
parlor city noir it’ll be my pleasure, boss. falcone (as he starts to exit) oh, and ricco, when you’re done with mr. holliday you and i need to have a little talk (he exits, as he exits there is a concerned look on ricco’s face. after falcone leaves he turns his attention to nick). ricco (putting on a pair of brass knuckles) guess which one of us is walking out of here this time, peeper. (he starts to beat on nick as the lights fade to black.) scene two the office of silver shield investigations the next day (as the lights come up nick is unconscious on the floor. from off stage we hear dora angrily calling out nick’s name. she storms angrily into the office) dora (angry) nick! so help me there had better be a good reason for you standing me up last night or i’m quitting! (seeing nick on the floor) nick! (rushing to him) oh my god, nick... oh my god! nick (slowly coming around) did you get the license of the truck that hit me? dora thank god you’re alright, nick. nick i wouldn’t go that far, angel. help me to the sofa will you. dora (helping nick to stand) sure, nick. (she helps him over to the sofa where he falls into it) what happened? nick i had some visitors last night just after you left. dora
parlor city noir who? nick jimmy falcone. dora did he do this to you? nick no, his goon did, the same mug that was following gwen leigh the other day. dora what did falcone have against gwen leigh? nick nothing, he claims he never sent him to snatch her. he said he didn’t even know her. dora then who did? nick that’s the one hundred dollar question, angel. get me a glass of scotch would you, dora. dora sure, nick. (she crosses to the desk and pours nick a drink) did you learn anything from falcone that might help us find peter delucci’s killer? nick apparently mrs. deluccci has been hob-knobbing with a certain denizen of society named tanzini. ms. leigh told me the same thing, only she said tanzini worked for kathleen dora (returning to the sofa with nick’s drink) do you think she had him kill her husband? nick hard to say, angel. the more we learn about this case the more confusing it becomes. (he takes the drink from dora) thanks, angel. dora (sitting on the arm of the sofa) you’re welcome. what else did falcone tell you? nick (taking a sip of his drink) there’s another player in the game.
parlor city noir dora as if things weren’t complicated enough. who’s the new player? nick some character calling themselves the sicilian. dora falcone have any idea who this sicilian is? nick not a clue, but apparently the sicilian has aspirations of reestablishing vinny deangelo’s organization. dora an ambitious undertaking if you ask me. according to what alysan told us he’ll have to take on the whole cardoni family. nick that’s eduardo cardoni’s problem. ours is finding out who murdered peter deluccci before alysan is given the chair for a crime she didn’t commit, and unfortunately right now we have more questions than answers. mike (entering from the outer office) hello, holliday. nick detective shields, what brings you to my humble establishment so early in the morning? mike i’m here, holliday, on official police business. nick what business would that be, detective? mike murder. nick anyone i know? mike jimmy falcone. nick
parlor city noir (surprised) when? mike last night. nick where? mike out in front of your office. he had been shot down in the street. know anything about that? nick i’m afraid not. mike then how do you explain the fact that your fingerprints were found on the gun used to kill him? nick i can’t. dora where did you find the gun? mike next to the body where he dropped it. dora and you don’t find that a little too convenient? mike maybe, or maybe he was just careless. nick (slowly getting to his feet) listen, mike, all i can tell you is that jimmy falcone paid me a visit last night, brought one of his goons along to work me over. mike what did he want? nick he wanted to know why i was looking for him. mike why were you?
parlor city noir nick i wanted to know what he knew about the murder of peter deluccci. it seemed the recently deceased and deluccci were not the best of friends. mike we already have the person who murdered peter deluccci. dora you have the wrong person, mike. mike (to dora) so you say. (to nick) did you learn anything to suggest we have the wrong person? nick no. mike i didn’t think so. what happened after your meeting with falcone? nick he left, ordered his goon to tool me up. i don’t recall anything after that until dora found me on the floor this morning. mike so tell me again how your fingerprints got on the murder weapon? nick i told you. i don’t know how they got there. mike then i’m afraid you’re under arrest, holliday. dora what are the charges? mike suspicion of murder. dora come on, mike, you heard what nick said. he couldn’t have possibly murdered jimmy falcone. besides, you know as well as i do nick doesn’t use a gun anymore. mike
parlor city noir the evidence says differently, dora. we have the murder weapon with his fingerprints on it. dora it’s all circumstantial, mike. you don’t have enough evidence to convict nick. you don’t even have a motive. mike that’s for a judge to decide. personally i hope lover boy here fries. nick what about his goon? mike what about him? nick did you find his body too? if i was going to kill anybody it would have been him. mike the only other thing we found is the gun with your fingerprints on it. now put your hands behind your back. (mike puts handcuffs on nick). nick dora, call my lawyer. he’ll have me out in no time. mike i wouldn’t count on it. come on, holliday, we’re taking a ride downtown. (he leads nick out of the office. as they exit the lights slowly fade to black.) end of act two act three scene one nick’s office.
parlor city noir as the lights come up dora and nick enter from the outer office. nick crosses to the desk to fix himself a drink and dora crosses to the client chair and sits. dora i’m surprised they let you go. nick me to, angel, but i’m glad they did. my cell mate was starting to get a little too friendly if you get what i mean. dora you don’t have to paint me a picture, nick. i’m just glad you’re out. nick you and me both, angel. someone set me up, played me for a patsy. dora how do you figure? nick mike showed me the gun used to kill falcone. it was the same gun i took from falcone’s bully boy the night they came to see me. dora so it’s safe to say falcone’s thug was working for someone else. first he tries to snatch gwen leigh then he kills falcone. who do you think he was working for? nick my money is on the sicilian. dora i can understand killing falcone, but what reason would the sicilian have to harm gwen leigh? nick maybe she knows or saw something that makes her a threat to the sicilian. dora do you think it was all planned? nick what?
parlor city noir dora killing jimmy falcone and framing you for it? nick the murder of falcone was definitely planned. my frame-up i’m guessing was a crime of opportunity, this sicilian whoever he is, is an artist. first he kills peter deluccci then frames alysan for the murder knowing about the argument she had with deluccci. then he gets one of his own people into falcone’s organization to kill falcone and frame me for that murder, all the while staying in the shadows. we need to discover the identity of the sicilian before it’s too late for alysan. (detective shields enters from the outer office) mike hello, holliday. nick detective shields, i’d say i was happy to see you, but i’d be lying. what brings you here? mike i’ve got good news for you, holliday. nick i could use some. (pouring himself a drink) can i pour you a drink? mike i’m on duty. nick (putting down the bottle) what is this good news you seem reluctant to give me. mike (crossing to the client chair and sitting) we’re dropping the charges against you. nick that explains a lot. dora i told you he didn’t do it. what changed? mike an eyewitness came forward, falcone’s driver, he said it was some torpedo named tanzini who killed falcone. he heard them arguing and then when tanzini killed falcone the driver took off. nick
parlor city noir did you say tanzini? mike does the name ring a bell with you? nick maybe, does he have a first name? mike of course he does, it’s ricco. nick i’ll be damned. mike on that we agree. dora nick, do you need me to stick around and referee or can i trust you boys to be civil? nick we’ll behave, angel. dora see to it you do, i wouldn’t want to have to call the police. (she exits into the outer office and closes the door.) mike she wouldn’t. nick i wouldn’t put it past her, detective. mike but i am the police. nick let’s get back to ricco tanzini. mike who is he? nick in my conversation with falcone he mentioned one of his informants told his goon kathleen deluccci had been seen with a hard case named tanzini prior to
parlor city noir the death of peter deluccci. he had this same goon trying to learn the identity of this tanzini guy not realizing his goon was tanzini. mike what was falcone’s interest in this tanzini guy? nick he believed he could lead him to a character calling themselves the sicilian. mike the who? have you been holding out on me, holliday? nick (getting out of his chair and moving around to the front of the desk)i’ll give you what i know, mike, but it isn’t much. the sicilian, from what i have been able to learn so far is a shadowy underworld figure seeking to be a new crime boss in parlor city. the sicilian orchestrated the murders of peter deluccci and jimmy falcone and then framed alysan and me for those murders. mike why go through all that trouble? nick to create confusion and divert suspicion from his real purpose. mike which is? nick to rebuild vinny deangelo’s organization. mike go on, how does the death of peter deluccci and jimmy falcone help the sicilian build their organization? nick peter and jimmy were small operators. falcone told me anyone trying to establish an organization would first go after the small operators absorbing their assets and their territories before going after the larger organizations. mike its standard procedure when trying to establish a criminal organization (getting up to leave) i got to hand it to you, holliday, you’ve done some good detective work for a sleazy pi. we’ll take it from here.
parlor city noir nick what is it with you? mike what? nick what is this personal grudge you have against us hard working dicks? mike not that it is any of your business, but i lost a partner because of a scum like you, a pi on the take. nick (sitting on the sofa) all this animosity for private dicks because your partner was killed? mike (moving center) we weren’t just partners, holliday. he was my brother, my kid brother. we were working a case for the bunko squad, a stolen car ring. a private dick we were using as an informant gave us a tip regarding an abandoned warehouse down on water street. my brother and i went to check it out. we searched the warehouse but came up empty. as we were making our way back to the car several gunmen came out of nowhere and started shooting. i took three slugs, but survived. my brother wasn’t as lucky. later i learned the private dick we were using was paid a large sum of money to rat us out. nick so because of one bad apple you put the rest of us in the same bushel? it doesn’t seem quite right, mike. mike the pi was your partner eddy fletcher. nick (getting up from the sofa) eddy’s dead, mike, he has been for several years. i’ll be the first to admit eddy was no good, rotten to his very core, but it was a long time ago. don’t you think it’s time to let go of the past? mike this coming from a man who still won’t use a gun because of a kid he shot in an alley a few years back. a shooting ruled justified. when you’ve dealt with your own demons, holliday, then you can come talk to me about mine. (he exits. as mike exits dora enters). dora
parlor city noir nick. nick (being short with dora) what is it, dora? dora mrs. deluccci called. she wanted an update on the investigation. nick call her back; tell her i want to see her; the sooner the better. dora sure, nick. (crossing to nick) nick, is everything all right? nick everything is fine; it’s just that the past couple of days are starting to take their toll on me. dora is there anything i can do? nick as a matter-of-fact there is. dora what? nick (crossing to dora and taking her into his arms.) lock the doors. dora it’s about time. (they kiss as the lights fade to black).
parlor city noir scene two the office the next day (as the lights come up nick is sitting on the corner of his desk and dora is sitting in the client chair) dora are you sure about this, nick? nick about what? dora this plan of yours to get the sicilian to confess to the murders of peter delucci and jimmy falcone. nick it’s a long shot, angel. (picking the racing form off his desk) but you know how i like to play a long shot. dora if memory serves, you’ve never won a long shot. nick doesn’t mean i’m going to stop playing them, but this time i’ve stacked the deck in my favor. did you call mike? dora he’ll be here, but he says to tell you this better work or he’s arresting you for unlawful detention of a law enforcement officer. nick on what grounds? dora preventing a police officer from catching real bad guys. nick it wouldn’t hold up in court. dora that’s what i told him. he thinks it will. nick he’s an optimist. let’s go over the plan once more.
parlor city noir dora mike and i are to wait for the sicilian to approach the office then we’re to slip into the back stairwell, wait for the sicilian to enter your office then come back in and station ourselves outside your door. once the sicilian confesses to the murders mike is to come into your office and make the arrest. sounds simple enough, nick, but it has been our experience that nothing ever goes as planned. nick which is why i’m relying on you and mike to pull my fat out of the fire if things start to go wrong; now make yourself scarce, angel, before the sicilian arrives. dora (starting to exit) just be careful, nick, if we’ve learned anything it’s that the sicilian is devious and dangerous. nick i’ll be on my guard, angel. (as dora exits nick crosses around behind the desk and sits down putting his feet on the desk and reading the racing form. from the outer office comes kathleen. she is dressed in a long, black, low in the back evening gown with a slit up one side exposing her shapely legs) kathleen hello, nick. (nick looks up as she enters) don’t let me interrupt. (she crosses to the client chair and sits down letting her dress fall away from her legs). nick hello, mrs. deluccci (he rises and crosses to the front of the desk where he sits on the down left corner). kathleen i thought we agreed not to be so formal, nick. nick force of habit kathleen i was a little surprised when ms. chase called and told me you wanted to see me. (looking around) by the way, where is she? i didn’t see her in the other office. nick i gave her the night off. kathleen
parlor city noir then we’re alone? nick so it would seem. kathleen i’m glad you wanted to see me. i can use the company. nick i imagine you could; being a widow makes for some long, lonely nights. kathleen i find ways to amuse myself. nick i bet you do. kathleen may i fix myself a drink? nick help yourself. kathleen (rising from the chair she crosses in front of nick and moves behind the desk) would you like one? nick (watching her as she walks by him) sure, baby. kathleen (pouring the drinks) why did you ask me here tonight, nick? nick to give you a formal report on how the investigation was going. kathleen (crossing around to the front of the desk and handing nick his drink) you could have done that over the phone. nick i could have, but there are one or two questions i needed to ask you face to face kathleen (sitting on the desk next to nick and crossing her legs once again exposing them to nick) i see.
parlor city noir nick (studying her legs) so do i, angel, you have a nice set of gams, mrs. deluccci. kathleen (caressing her legs) i can do wonders with them. peter said they were my best attributes, well one of them anyways. nick he’s right, they are. kathleen how do you know? you haven’t seen the rest of me yet. nick are you propositioning me, kathleen? kathleen (putting her hand on nick’s thigh) you wouldn’t be disappointed, interested? nick you make it hard for me not to be, baby, (he gets off the desk and moves down left away from kathleen) but i’m going to have to take a rain check. i make it my policy never to get involved with a client. kathleen (with obvious disappointment) your loss. (she crosses to the sofa and sits) nick i’ll get over it. i asked you here because i wanted to fill you in on what i have learned so far about your husband’s murder. he wasn’t a very popular guy. kathleen in his line of work, nick, he didn’t make many friends. nick what exactly do you know about his line of work, kathleen? kathleen he owned an art gallery, nick. he bought and sold art. what else is there to know? nick i think you know that wasn’t his real business, kathleen.
parlor city noir kathleen i’m not sure i know what you’re talking about, nick. nick alright, play dumb, but you know as well as i do that your husband ran the largest numbers racket on the west side. kathleen (leaning back against the sofa) i don’t believe you. who could have told you such a thing? nick one of his runners. kathleen who? nick alysan asher. alysan was in hock up to her ears. she went to your husband to get the money she needed to save her gallery. kathleen why peter? nick apparently he and alysan were an item sometime back before the two of you got together. he agreed to give her the money if she ran numbers for him out of her gallery and if she put the gallery up as collateral in the event she would be unable to pay him back. she agreed. but when she went to pay peter back the money she owed him he kept pushing the interest up on her. the last time she paid him in full and told him she was done running numbers for him. i suspect that’s what you heard them arguing about the night you overheard them. if alysan lost her gallery she would have lost everything and she wasn’t going to let peter take her gallery. kathleen so alysan asher did kill my husband. nick that’s what the killer wanted us to believe, angel, but alysan was set up. she claimed she found your husband’s body after receiving an anonymous phone call from someone she thought was peter’s secretary. before she could get away someone hit her from behind and put the gun in her hand. i’m inclined to believe
parlor city noir her story because the same person tried to frame me for the murder of jimmy falcone. kathleen jimmy falcone? nick a former hit man turned racketeer. he operated a numbers racket on the south side where peter was trying to expand his operation. maybe your husband went too far and falcone had him taken out, maybe he was killed by a shadowy underworld character calling himself the sicilian, or maybe it was you. kathleen me? nick it seems you had as much to gain from your husband’s death as anyone. maybe more, you’ve become a very rich woman. kathleen i don’t like where this is going, nick. nick neither do i, baby. alysan and falcone had some harsh words to say about you, so did his mistress. kathleen i wouldn’t hold to anything gwen leigh had to say, nick, she’s a tramp. nick she told me your husband was afraid of you, of your ambitions. peter believed you wanted control of his numbers racket, that you would do anything to get it, even murder. kathleen that’s just not true, nick, i loved my husband. nick stop it! everyone i interviewed told me the same thing, you hated your husband. kathleen we didn’t always see eye to eye, nick. we fought, but so does every other couple in america, that doesn’t mean they hate each other. nick
parlor city noir did you hate your husband, mrs. deluccci? hate him so much you hired someone to kill him? kathleen (rising angrily off the sofa) you’re out of line, nick! nick so sue me. kathleen (pouting prettily) you really are a beast, nick. nick i’ve been called worse. answer the question, angel; did you hate your husband enough to kill him? kathleen where did you get such a notion? nick falcone told me one of his informant’s saw you with an unsavory character named ricco tanzini prior to the death of your husband, and ms. leigh told me he worked for you as an enforcer. what can you tell me about that? kathleen nothing, whatever they thought they knew they were mistaken. (crossing to nick and putting her arms around his neck) you do believe me don’t you, nick. (she leans in and kisses him). nick i want to, baby, but someone has been playing me for a patsy and now i’m going to take them down. kathleen you know who killed, peter? nick i do, and so do you? kathleen i do? nick (disentangling himself from kathleen and stepping away from her) it was you, baby. kathleen
parlor city noir (no longer the seductress) very good, nick. what gave me away? nick your frame up of alysan, doll. kathleen how? nick only someone close to peter deluccci could have gotten close enough to kill him. you told me when you hired me you wanted to surprise your husband for dinner. you said you sent his secretary away then you heard the argument between peter and alysan. it was at that point you decided to kill your husband. i’m sure he was quite surprised when you shot him with his own gun. then you got the idea to frame alysan. you made the phone call to her giving her the impression you were peter’s secretary calling her. only someone who knew about the argument between them could have known alysan had threatened to kill your husband, and the only person who heard the argument was you. you only had to get her down to peter’s office to complete the frame up. so you called her, told her peter wanted to meet with her, then you laid in wait for her to walk into your trap. kathleen pure speculation, you have no proof. nick then there’s the murder of falcone. kathleen i didn’t kill him. nick no, you got ricco to do it for you. how did you get him to kill his boss? kathleen never underestimate the charms of a woman, nick. nick you slept with him? kathleen not one of my proudest moments i’ll admit, but you do what you have to for family.
parlor city noir nick why did you do it? was falcone close to learning the truth about you? kathleen and what might that be? nick that you’re the sicilian. kathleen there were other reasons he had to die, but yes he knew, or rather he suspected i was the sicilian, but how did you know? nick something falcone told me. kathleen what was it? nick he told me the sicilian was in the process of reestablishing vinny deangelo’s organization. it stood to reason the sicilian had to be family. from there i put two and two together. alysan told me you were the daughter of vinny deangelo and that you met peter while he was running numbers for your father, that when your father was gunned down you lost everything and peter got it all. he went to work for cardoni operating your father’s numbers racket on the west side. it wasn’t a coincidence then that peter was the first to die at the hands of the sicilian. but where did gwen leigh fit in? she had no connections to your fathers’ organizations. why did you have ricco try to put the snatch on her? kathleen what makes you think i even know gwen leigh? nick when i talked with ms. leigh i asked her if you knew about her. she told me no. if you had, she told me, you would have tried to kill her or at the very least have someone do it for you. earlier in our conversation i referred to her only as peter’s mistress, you gave me her name. why did you do it? kathleen she knew too much about peter’s operation and my involvement in it. she needed to be silenced before she ruined everything. it was only a matter of time before she put two and two together and came to the realization that i was the one who killed peter.
parlor city noir nick she did. kathleen all the more reason i shall have to get rid of her as well. i underestimated you, nick. you’ve proven far more clever than i gave you credit for. nick sorry to disappoint you, baby. kathleen (taking a gun out of a thigh holster) an oversight i shall soon rectify. (she aims the gun at nick who puts up his hands). nick so i’m the next to be added to your body count. kathleen it’s nothing personal, nick. (directing nick to the client chair with a wave of her gun) sit down, nick. (nick sits in the client chair) does ms. chase know about me as well? nick leave her out of this, mrs. deluccci; dora doesn’t know anything about you. kathleen i wish i could believe you, nick. i fear, however, i shall have to deal with her after i have disposed of you. (sitting on the down left corner of the desk) you’re right of course. i did kill peter. i hated him. he betrayed my family, my father who trusted him, when he went to work for cardoni running the numbers racket that once belonged to my father. nick this was never about the money or the gallery was it? it was always about the numbers racket. kathleen that’s right, nick, the numbers racket belonged to my father and i wanted it back. i wanted everything back that belonged to my father and was stolen by eduardo cardoni. nick is that the other reason you had ricco kill falcone, because he was operating one of your fathers numbers racket?
parlor city noir kathleen that and he was the one who killed my father. nick what’s the end game, kathleen? kathleen revenge, nick. nick revenge on whom? kathleen you know the answer to that, nick. nick eduardo cardoni. kathleen that’s right, nick. he had my father murdered. everything controlled by eduardo cardoni once belonged to my father vinny deangelo. i swore a sicilian blood oath on my father’s death bed that eduardo cardoni would pay for my father’s murder with his own blood; blood for blood. nick quite a goal you set for yourself, mrs. deluccci. peter had you pegged all along. you are ambitious. what happened to ricco? kathleen sadly he was shot trying to resist arrest. nick you killed him too. kathleen not directly. he was no more use to me. poor boy thought i was in love with him. i merely made an anonymous tip to the intelligence bureau of the parlor city police department and they did the rest. nick not to particular who you hire are you? kathleen i hired you.
parlor city noir nick why did you? kathleen i suspect you already know the answer to that nick, to divert suspicion from me. you have quite a reputation for helping damsels- in –distress, that’s why i hired you. i had hoped, however, that after the frame up i was done with you. the problem with you, nick, is you’re like a bad penny, you’re always turning up. nick it’s a gift. kathleen (getting off the desk and positioning herself in front of nick bringing her lips close to his) a pity, nick, you and i could have been great together (she kisses him forcefully on the mouth) really great. (she steps back away from nick and levels her gun at his chest) good-bye, mr. holliday. mike (bursting into the office from the outer office) drop the gun, mrs. deluccci! (kathleen startled whips her head around taking aim at mike who shoots her. after a moment kathleen collapses to the floor dead) nick what the hell took you so long, detective?! mike quit complaining, holliday, you’re still alive, which is more than i can say for mrs. deluccci. nick she had it coming, mike. dora (rushing in from the outer office) nick, are you all right, i heard the gunshot. nick i’m okay, angel, i wasn’t the one who ate the bullet thanks to better late than never shields here. mike i’ll send for the meat wagon. (he starts to exit) by the way, holliday, nice work on this one. i may have been wrong about you.
parlor city noir nick does this mean we can be pen pals, detective? mike don’t push your luck, shamus. (he exits) dora i think he’s starting to warm up to you, nick. (she looks down at kathleen’s body) it’s a shame about mrs. deluccci though. nick i wouldn’t shed any tears for her, angel. she made her bed. blood for blood, that’s what she said. she had the blood of two men on her hands. that she should die the same way they did seems only fitting, blood for blood. (putting his arm around dora) come on, angel, let’s get out of here, mike will take care of things here. besides, i think i still owe you dinner. dora that you do, shamus. (the two exit with their arms around each other as the lights slowly fade to black.) curtain production notes costuming: to give the play a film noir feel to it the costuming should be black, white, and shades of gray. only alysan should be in a bright, gaudy costume, the more flamboyant the better. all the men should be in clothes indicative of the 1940’s. hats, suits, trench coats should be the norm. ricco should be dressed in all black with a white tie. nick should be in a vest, shirt, tie and dress pants along with his trusty fedora and trench coat. falcone should wear a white or black zoot suit and dark overcoat along with a white fedora. dora wears sensible clothes indicative of the working women of the 1940’s. kathleen in act one wears a fur coat, black dress and veiled halo hat. in act three she is dressed elegantly and provocatively. gwen wears tight, forming fitting clothes designed to entice. hairstyles should also depict styles popular in the 1940’s with the men’s hair slicked back. props list: nick: cigarettes, racing form, scotch glasses, scotch bottle. dora: romance magazine kathleen: gun, thigh holster
parlor city noir alysan: a gun mike: a gun, handcuffs. ricco: gloves, revolver, brass knuckles falcone: a .45 automatic sound: saxophone music for nick’s opening monologue’ other notes: when the play was first performed a split set was used. one half of the stage was nick’s office and the other half of the stage was the street outside nick’s office with the window in nick’s office facing the street reading silver shield investigations, nick holliday pi and a street lamp.