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Episode 1 - The Disgraced Detective and the Stray

Updated: Feb 11, 2022

By: SmidgeonPigeon

Narrator: October 7th, 1943. San Francisco Police Department. Chief Inspector Anna Song's office.

Anna: It’s only two months, Gino. Enough time for this whole mess to blow over. Time enough to cool your head.

[Papers rustle on a mahogany desk.]

Anna: This suspension will go on your record. I need you to hand in your badge and gun. Do you have anything you’d like to say?

Gino: know I’m right. This case isn’t something we should drop. There’s evidence that-

[Anna sighs wearily. She doesn't want to have this conversation again.]

Anna:’s not up for debate. it’s not up for debate. The case is out of your hands now. Pierce is filing away the paperwork. It’s open shut. I’m sorry. Go home and try to forget about it. We’ll see you in two months' time. Close the door on your way out.

[The soundscape melts into the murmurings of the SFPD staff along with typewriters and the crisp clack of shoes sounding off the floor. We hear Emery running and panting. He skids to a stop and the noise dies down a notch.]

Emery: [panting] Fellas! Is-is it true? Is Detective Rosetti really suspended?

Winterson: News travels fast.

Cooper: He got off easy if you ask me. Two months vacation ain’t bad. [scoff] Guess there are perks to being the chief’s favorite.

Emery: But! He didn’t do anything wrong, Cooper!

Cooper: No? Tell me, whose fault was it according to you, Emery? Hm?

Emery: I!...I don’t know. But I don’t think we’re getting the full story. And anyway, he wouldn’t do something like that. There has to be a reason he was...where he was. Don't you think so, officer Winterson?

Winterson: Everyone has a reason for everything. It doesn't mean anything to the contrary.

Emery: But-

[Gino clears his throat gently.]

Emery: Oh! Ah! Detective Rosetti! Sir! Uh. Hello.

Gino: Hey. You’re the new recruit, right? Emery, was it?

Emery: Ye-yes, sir! That’s me. Officer Emery Himura. I just transferred from Mississippi. Graduated from the academy last month, actually.

Gino: I see. Welcome. And congratulations.

Emery: Thank you!

Stiles: Gino! It's about time you showed. Pierce has been looking for you.

Gino: Yes, I heard. Thank you, Stiles.

Winterson: You joining us for drinks tonight? The fellas fancy a round of pool. We need one more to play.

Gino: [smiling] Perhaps another time, gentlemen. Where is Pierce?

Stiles: Down in records. Just left not five minutes ago.

Emery: I was just about to head there to drop these off! I can walk with you if-if you don't mind the company, Mister Rosetti.

Gino: Call me Gino. And no, not at all. Would you like a hand with that mountain of files?

Emery: No, no, I got it, [grunt] thanks, Mister Gino.

[The two walk away. The men wait til they’re out of earshot.]

Cooper: Lord have mercy. Is he a man or a Labrador puppy?

Winterson: [chuckle] Well, our youngblood did transfer here to meet his hero. What a shame about the timing.

Cooper: How do you know?

Winterson: I like to do more than air my opinions, Cooper.

Cooper: Ha. [pause] Still, he must have read the papers of the Invincible Italian's sordid scandal. I can't believe his faith in Rosetti isn't shaken after what happened.

Winterson: Is yours?

Cooper: None of your business, Winterson.

[Two pairs of footsteps echo off the linoleum as Gino and Emery walk down the hallway.]

Gino: So. How are you finding San Francisco?

Emery: It's...really different. Back home everything is smaller. Everyone knows each other. My dog, Moonie, is back home. I really miss her something fierce. This is actually my first time in the big city. San Francisco is incredible. So different. Would you believe I've never seen a trolley till now? Hills the size of mountains. A-And crime. So much crime!

Gino: [grimly] We certainly get our fair share.

Emery: Yeah, but, it'd be a lot worse if you weren't here, Detective. The way you busted the Remy Brothers Gang back in March was inspiring! The papers didn't really go into detail about how you traced the trail of money laundering to the dry cleaners but it was genius! Could you tell me more about it sometime? I'd love to hear the full story.

Gino: O-oh. Well. I-

[A door creaks open ahead of them.]

Pierce: There you are.

Gino: Pierce.

Pierce: Heard you're on leave for the next two months. Glad I caught you before then. Who's this?

Gino: Pierce, this is Emery. He's just blown in from Mississippi. Emery, this is my partner, detective inspector Judith Pierce.

Emery: Hello, inspector. Pleasure to meet you.

Pierce: I see. [dismissively] I have something I'd like to discuss with Gino. In private.

Emery: Ah, right! Yes, sorry, um, nice talking to you Detective Rosetti, sir. Um, bye! Enjoy your…

[Emery catches himself, awkwardly.]

Emery: Your...your time off.

[Emery scurries down the hall, chastising himself, thinking he’s out of earshot. They hear him anyway.]

Pierce: Well, at least you managed to leave in time to avoid that. They'll be sending us grade schoolers next.

Gino: He looks like a bright kid.

Pierce: That's one word for it. Anyway, here's the money I owe you.

[Pierce draws out a slip of paper from her coat pocket and drops her voice to a whisper after casting a furtive glance behind her shoulder.]

Pierce: I managed to cross reference the car registration you pulled up in the victim's home. Got the address to the junk dealer. Looks like he ditched the car a week before he died. Might lead to something. Who knows. Maybe you'll get lucky and that symbol you're so hung up on will show up again, eh?

[She continues, voice at normal volume again.]

Pierce: Count it if you like. Make sure it's the right amount.

Gino: Thank you, Pierce.

Pierce: If you ask me, you're better off leaving well enough alone. But knowing you, well, I'll just wait for the satisfaction of a delayed "I told you so." [sigh] At least this happened towards the end of the week. Now I have time to adjust to your absence.

Gino: Speaking of...Yom Kippur starts tomorrow, right?

Pierce: [grin] You’re the only Gentile who would know. Yes, that’s right.

Gino: Have an easy fast.

Pierce: Toda.

[A pipe is lit and puffed.]

Gino: I thought you quit pipe smoking.

Pierce: Work in progress.

[She takes a drag and exhales.]

Pierce: So. What'll you do now?

Gino: Between reviewing the evidence and getting the chief to reconsider opening the case again...probably catch up on my reading. Help my church with renovations.

Pierce: Mm. Essentially, you're going to waste two months of time off. Can't say I envy you.

Gino: That's alright. I'm sure you'll have your fair share of paperwork to file in my absence.

Pierce: Well, there's that. Thanks to you, I'd forgotten what the forms even look like. How long has it been since I've filed a case?

Gino: Two years.

Pierce: [scoff] All good things come to an end. I forgot your love of paperwork is the cornerstone of our partnership.

Gino: [laugh] You'll manage. And thanks again. For everything.

Pierce: Sure. Don't let the door hit you on the way out, Rosetti.


[Steps shuffle on concrete. The sound of stairs being climbed and the jangle of house keys precede a lock being turned. A door opens.]

Gino: Daisy May, I'm home.

[A chubby pug gurgles and pads her way over before covering Gino's hands in slobbery kisses.]

Gino: Hey there, gorgeous. Were you a good girl while daddy was away?

Daisy May: [heavy breathing]

Gino: Hungry? Let's have lunch. How does that sound?

Daisy May: [asthmatic breathing intensifies]

[Silverware clinks against a ceramic plate. A plate is deposited on the edge of a wooden table and Gino leans back on a couch. He stretches, makes the stretching sound, and sighs.]

Gino: Hahhh….it's barely four o'clock. Time seems to be going by slowly today.

[He yawns and lapses into silence.]

Daisy May: [whines]

Gino: Want to come up? Here, I've got you...

[Gino picks up his precious pug and the two settle comfortably on the couch. Daisy May sneezes.]

Gino: Bless you. Hm. Two months of this, huh? Well, I'm sure the time will fly by. I've got evidence to review. [scoff] Like finishing a puzzle where half the pieces won’t fit. And nothing to go on but that bizzare symbol the victim had burned on his chest. [sigh] Pierce doesn't think it means anything gives me a bad feeling. [yawn] But first...thirty winks. I am on vacation, after all.

[Gino drifts off and wakes to the sound of glass breaking a few hours later. There are distant sounds of what sounds like a scuffle outside.]

Gino: Ah! That doesn’t sound good.

[Gino rises quickly from the couch as he speaks. His footsteps sound quickly across the wood floor and he pries open a window. The sound of muffled voices come from somewhere down the street. They’re close.]

Gino: Drat, it's too dark! I can't see anything. But it sounds like...yes, I think it's coming from the alley.

Daisy May: [whines]

Gino: Where did I leave that empty olive oil bottle? Ah, there!

[Gino picks up a smooth green glass bottle.]

Gino: Okay. [controlled exhale] Let's hope this works.

[The detective's footsteps rush to the front door. He slams the door behind him as Daisy May barks after him.]


[The scene transitions to the alleyway. There's the scuffle of shoes and a body being slammed into a brick wall. A young man in a sorry state is pinned against it, hands wrapped around the arms of the ruffian pinning him in place.]

Thug 1: We're gettin' real tired of your games, kid. Out with it. What's the big idea, skulking about where you're not welcome?

Dalton: [painfully] What can I say? Ngh. I'm a curious boy.

Thug 2: We're wasting our time. He's just a common thief.

Dalton: That's what I'm saying.

Thug 1: Yeah, well I ain't buying it. Nobody makes it past the security gate without a key. How'd ya get in?

[The man shakes Dalton roughly.]

Thug 1: Talk, you brat!

Dalton: ...Heh. Easy, fella. Get any more handsy and you'll have to buy me dinner first.

[He’s punched.]

Dalton: [coughs]

Thug 1: Alright. You asked for it.

[There’s the swish of a switchblade opening.]

Dalton: Tha-ha-hat’s a knife! You have a knife. Oh, wow. That’s definitely...fwoh-yep, that looks pretty sharp. Okay, so-wait a second fella, wait a second, wait! There’s something I have to say. wanna hear.

Thug 1: Out with it.

Dalton: I just...I just wanted to say…[spit] Bite me, you sinfully ugly, avocado-headed subhuman scum-sucking son of a man who never loved you and eats pig fertilizer for a living.

[There’s a beat of stunned silence.]

Thug 2: [shocked] That's disgusting. You kiss your mother with that mouth?

Dalton: I kiss yours.

Thug 1: That's it! You've had it!

Dalton: Not the face! Not the face!

Gino: [bellows in Italian] Ay-ay-ay-ayyyy!! You, there! What’s the big idea?

Thug 1: Beat it, bub. This ain't your fight.

Gino: Wassamatter?? He-[hic]- I oughta call the coppers on youuuu.

Thug 2: It's just a drunk.

Gino: Eyyyyy come on b-boh….both of ya. Let's work this out. Work this out, okay?

[Gino takes shuffling uncoordinated footsteps towards the group.]

Thug 1: Go home.

Dalton: Help! Don’t just stand there looking ornamental! Help me! Help-mmph!!

[Dalton’s cry for help is cut short by a rough hand clamping over his mouth]

Thug 1: I've had just about enough of y-

[Gino's sudden quick footsteps approach the trio.]

Thug 2: Hey, what are you-

[Thug 2 cries out. He's been struck by Gino with the empty olive oil bottle and crumbles to the floor, dazed]

Thug 1: What the-

[The bottle whistles through the air and strikes Thug 1 right on the temple. It shatters on impact.]

Thug 1: AGHH!!

[Both of the aggressors lie dazed and groaning on the ground. We hear Gino rushing over to Dalton and gently pulling him to his feet, the charade of being drunk over.]

Gino: It's alright, you're safe now. I've got you, I've got you. Can you stand? There you go. Lean on me, that's it. Hurry, I don't know how long they'll stay down.

[Gino and Dalton shuffle out of the alleyway.]

Gino: My home is just around the corner. Hang on, we're nearly there.

Dalton: [groan]

[They quickly reach Gino’s apartment.]

Gino: There are twelve steps in front of you. Nice and easy….1….2….3….

[Gino opens the door and Daisy May pads over. She barks excitedly at the stranger in tow.]

Gino: Shh, it’s alright girl. Sit. Good girl. Here, there's a couch right behind you. Take it slow...good. Press this cloth to the cut on your forehead. Got it? Apply pressure. Are you injured anywhere else? No? Fine. Wait here, I'm going to call the police.

Dalton: ...ere…

Gino: What? What did you say?

Dalton:!! Let me have a look at you!

[Dalton's hands clap onto Gino's shoulders with surprising speed and energy.]

Gino: Eh?

Dalton: The way you clocked the first idiot and then smashed the bottle on the other one at close range! Oh, man, you shoulda seen yourself! It was like a ballet. No, wait, that's not right. Yeah, a violent, macho ballet. You're PERFECT! You're like a-a-a wall of meat. But ya got brains, even. The full package! Just the man I need in my enterprise.

[Gino speaks firmly but gently, clearing his throat. Dalton is moving around way too much for safety’s sake. He carefully disengages himself.]

Gino: Sir, you've been in a traumatic incident. You've sustained a head injury and may be suffering delirium. I need you to remain calm and stay still.

Dalton: [irritated] What? Don't be stupid, I'm not delirious. Where was I? Oh yeah, I need you to...hey, wait, where are you going?

Daisy May: [bark]

Dalton: Ugh. What's this ugly thing?

Daisy May: [hack cough]

Dalton: Ew.

[A rotary phone spins with precise clicking.]

Gino: Hello, operator? Please connect me to the Police Station.

Dalton: What? NonononononoNONOOoooo I don’t think so.

Gino: Hello, yes, I'd like to report a- oi! Give that back! What are you doing?

[Dalton rips the phone out of Gino’s hand and picks up the whole kit and caboodle.]

Dalton: Wrong number!

[Dalton slams the phone violently into the receiver]

Gino: Hey!

[He’s got too much momentum to stop and proceeds to violently rip out the phone and cord from the wall. There’s the sound of plaster tearing.]

Dalton: Hraghhh!!

Gino: Wh-why would you rip it out of the wall?? Stop! What are you-

[Not listening, Dalton rushes to the window and struggles to get it open.]

Dalton: Ngh, it's stuck! Stupid window, why won't you-

[The window finally gives.]

Dalton: [triumphantly and out of breath] Aha! Hiyah!!

[The phone smashes into the ground and sets off a car alarm in the process.]

Dalton: Whoops. Ehh, they're probably insured [closes window]...woah...uhhh...everything is getting spinny...

[Dalton slides to the floor heavily.]

Dalton: Ugh. I feel sick.

Gino: You've lost too much blood. We need to get you to a hospital.

Dalton: [tiredly] do it. First aid. I'll be fine.

Gino: Sorry, but this is for your own good, sir. You're not in your right mind.

[Before Dalton can protest, Gino picks him up like a sack of potatoes.]

Dalton: H-hey-ey! Put me down! Put me down this instant you overgrown Goliath!

[Daisy May growls and barks. Dalton struggles uselessly.]

Gino: Please don't struggle, it will aggravate your injuries.

Dalton: Aggravate this.

[Dalton punches Gino square in the eye.]

Gino: Ngh!

[Gino loses his grip and Dalton falls to the ground heavily but is on his feet in the next instant, making a break for the door.]

Gino: Wait, stop! Stop!

[Dalton opens the door and cries out, tumbling down the stairs.]

Gino: [horrified] Oh, no.

[Gino rushes out to inspect the damage.]

Gino: Are you alright?

[Dalton lies on the concrete in an ungrateful tangle of limbs and sass.]

Dalton: [groan] Oh, sure, fine. Falling down the stairs is a hobby of mine. You should try it sometime. Great cardio.

[Gino begins descending the stairs and Dalton frantically tries to scurry away.]

Dalton: Leave me alone! Shoo! Shoo!

Gino: [gently] It's okay. It's okay. You don't want the police involved, that's fine. No hospital either.

[A car drives past them. Gino remains still.]

Gino: Just let me patch you up. I do have a first aid kit. I can treat you in my apartment, alright? really shouldn't be moving around. It isn't safe.

Dalton: …Not here. My place.

Gino: Alright. I'm going to help you up now okay?

Dalton: Fine.

[Gino walks over slowly and crouches down.]

Gino: Here, give me your arm. Did you hit your head on the way down?

[He gingerly helps Dalton to his feet.]

Dalton: No.

Gino: [relieved] Thank God. Alright, I'll hail a cab and we'll get you cleaned up. What's your name, sir?

Dalton: Call me Dalton.

Gino: Hello, Dalton. My name is Gino. Pleasure to meet you.

[Cars drive past. One slows when Gino flags it down.]

Gino: Taxi!

[A cab slows and pulls over to the curb. It sputters and coughs as if it’s being held together by optimism and gaffer tape. A window rolls down creakily.]

Clara: [confused] Uhhh...are you boys alright?

Gino: Yes ma'am. We're okay. Could you take us to...

Dalton: Red Rooster Dim Sum. Chinatown.

Gino: Please.

Clara: Uhhh….sure, yeah, I can do that but, uh...I’ve only got one seat. Besides mine but that--I’m using that one.

Gino: What about the rumble seat out back?

Clara: [quiet distress] A passenger threw up back there. I was actually on my way home to clean it.

Dalton: This just gets better and better.

Clara: I could share the seat? It’ll be a little snug, but-

Dalton: [balks] I am not doing that.

Gino: [matter of factly] Would you rather sit on my lap?

Dalton: Ew, no.

Gino: Great, then it’s settled. We’re sharing a seat. It’s unlikely anyone else will drive by at this hour, much less stop for us.

Dalton: This is the seventh worst night of my life.

[The boys get in and the car peels off. Wind whistles through the open window. Dalton leans as much of his body as will fit through it. They are all cramped and uncomfortable.]

Clara: Not that it’s any of my business but...wouldn't you rather go to a hospital? Or somewhere they can make you stop...bleeding?

Dalton: [sullenly] No. Just drive.

Clara: But-

Gino: Head wounds tend to look a lot nastier than they are. He'll be just fine, miss. Thank you for your concern.

Clara: Mmmm…if you say so.

[They drive in silence for a bit.]

Clara: Say...haven't I seen you before?

Gino: Don't believe I've had the pleasure.

Clara: No, no, no, not here. I remember all my customers. Well, their faces, anyway. I never forget a face...names...nehhh. But I saw you-yeah, yeah, in the papers. I think I saw you in an article about-

Dalton: STOP!!

[The car swerves and screeches to a halt.]

Dalton: We're here.

[Dalton opens the door and doesn't bother closing it, walking away at a brisk pace towards the restaurant.]

Gino: [to himself] Why would he bring us here? Apologies about my...him. Are you alright?

Clara: Hoooo…boy. Uh, I think so. Yeah, mmhmm, still alive so we’re good here. Almost took out that fire hydrant back there. Uhh, I mean, [clears throat] that'll be 80 cents.

Gino: Have two dollars, for your troubles. I didn't see him leave any blood on the seat but it is dark. That should cover any deep cleaning, should you need it.

Clara: Oh. Oh, why, that's...that's very kind of you. Thank you.

Gino: Good night.

[Gino walks away.]

Clara: Huh? Oh, good night! My. My, my, my, my, my. What a lovely man. So handsome and...manly. [Embarrassed] Oh, wait. Wait, wait, wait ahhh what am I saying??

[Clara drives off into the inky night, car waking up half the neighborhood in the process.]

Gino: And here I thought it would be a quiet night in...

[Gino crosses the street and opens the door to the restaurant. A handful of patrons speak Cantonese in subdued tones.]

Gino: Now where's he disappeared to? Excuse me, sir, did you see a red-haired young man? He just walked in.

Mr. Chen: [surly] He bleed all over my wood floor. Again. Tell him next time I bill him for cleaners.

Gino: I...where is he now?

Mr. Chen: Up the stairs.

Gino: Thank you.

[Gino walks to the back of the dining room and parts a bead curtain. He begins ascending a narrow flight of stairs. The owner calls after him.]

Mr. Chen: Hei! Make sure stupid boy don’t die!

[Once he’s at the top, Gino opens a creaky door that’s already ajar. We hear the rustle of papers getting thrown haphazardly within. Dalton sits in the middle of an explosion of papers, searching for something.]

Dalton: Where is it...where is it...ah! There!

Gino: You shouldn’t be moving around.

[Gino makes his way to a nearby sink and begins washing his hands.]

Gino: I can’t treat you like this.

Dalton: [distractedly] Yeah, yeah, I heard you the first fifty times. I just remembered, I gotta wrap something up, then I’ll be your patient, Mr. Nurse. I’m on hold right now, so can you like--

Gino: Where’s your first aid kit?

Dalton: Under the bed. Come on, come on, pick up already. Ah! Finally! Listen, your wife is definitely embezzling funds with her Canadian lover. Yeah, I know, shocking, but-aw come on, don’t cry. It’s late and I’ve had a bad day. You got a pen? Swell. The address is 2165 Lombard St. Get a flatfoot on it and wire the rest of my payment.

[Dalton hangs up and catches Gino staring at him strangely.]

Dalton: What? Why are you looking at me like that?

Gino: I...nevermind. Do you need a brandy before I start stitching you up?

[Dalton flashes him a wobbly smile and raises a nearly empty glass. The ice clinks against the crystal.]

Dalton: Waaaaay ahead of you.

[Gino pours iodine onto a gauze pad]

Gino: Alright. Hold still, I’m going to clean the gash on your forehead and then thread it.

Dalton: Sounds like you’ve done this before.

Gino: Several times.

Dalton: Hmm. You work as security? Or down by the docks? Nightclub bouncer?

Gino: You make a lot of assumptions.

Dalton: [proudly] It’s my job. I’m-

Gino: A private investigator.

Dalton: ...You’re perceptive. What exactly do you do?

Gino: I'm a….civil servant. Now keep still. I’m nearly finished.

Dalton: [scoff] Yeah, right. You don't look like a desk jockey.

Gino: Noticing details others miss makes me good at the job. And there’s quiet satisfaction found in completed paperwork.

Dalton: [dryly] Sounds riveting.

Gino: How does your chest feel? Does it hurt to breathe? On a scale of one to ten.

Dalton: Six. I’m bruised as a banana after getting slammed into a brick wall and kicked a couple'a times.

Gino: Do you have cellophane? We should get your chest wrapped in case of fractures.

Dalton: Under the sink.

Gino: You’ll need to remove your shirt.

Dalton: Oh. Okay.

[Gino retrieves the cellophane and pulls at it. He gets to work.]

Dalton: Do you always risk your neck for stran-gers!

[He draws in a sharp inhale through gritted teeth. Gino stops, observing him.]

Dalton: Keep going. I'm fine.

Gino: Well. What sort of man would I be to leave someone in need?

Dalton: How noble.

Gino: The same could be said about you.

Dalton: Hardly. I get paid to stick my nose where it doesn’t belong. Half the time people think I’m a secretary or detective’s little errand boy. I blame Bogart.

Gino: Well, you are quite young.

Dalton: Yeah, yeah. Too young, too pretty, too abrasive. Everyone’s a critic.

Gino: [amused] Too pretty?

Dalton: [smirk] Their words, not mine.

Gino: Done. Those men from earlier...are they part of an ongoing investigation? Have you reported them to the police?

Dalton: No way. That would ruin my cover and compromise a client. And it's not like those idiots would be any help anyway. [pause] Speaking of help, I have a proposition.

Gino: No, thank you.

Dalton: [indignant] I haven’t even asked you yet!

Gino: You did, earlier. And no, I’m not interested in being hired muscle.

Dalton: What are they paying you? I’ll double it.

Gino: Sorry, not interested. And if I were you, I’d-

Dalton: [bitterly and with unexpected quiet fury] Don’t. Don’t you dare try and tell me what to do. You don’t know the first thing about me you pretentious moron.

[There’s a tense pause. It hangs heavy in the air between them. The clock on the wall opposite ticks away. Somewhere, below, we hear the chime of an ancient grandfather clock. It’s midnight. Gino rises to his feet slowly. Dalton watches him warily.]

Gino: ...Leave the cellophane on for at least four days, or until you can bend over without sharp pain. If you suffer nausea and lightheadedness well into tomorrow, you should see a doctor. Excuse me.

[Dalton says nothing and Gino leaves, descending the stairs and stepping out into the cold night air.]

Gino: [tired exhale] What a night.


[It’s the following morning. Birds chirp gaily outside. A phone rings. Gino gropes around blindly for the receiver.]

Gino: [sleepily] Mmmn...Hello? Who's...Octavia? What's that? You're where? Oh...was that today? No, no, I'm awake. I'm...I'll be there in fifteen minutes. Yes, really. What? Love you, too. See you soon. Ciao.

[Gino hangs up]

Gino: [sigh]

[The soundscape changes to the hum of a moderately busy cafe. A door swings open and a little bell chimes, announcing a new arrival.]

Waiter: Hello! Welcome to The Pink Pancake Cafe!

Octavia: Gino! Over here.

[Gino makes his way to a booth towards the back and lowers himself into the seat.]

Gino: Sorry I’m late.

Octavia: Quite alright. I’m used to it. [smile] You look good. Tired, but good. The black eye is a surprise, though. What’s the story?

Gino: [fondly] Ever the investigative journalist.

Octavia: Hmm-mm! I think it’s in my blood at this point. Cut me and you get ink.

Waiter: So that’s one order of classic pink pancakes and espresso, and one order of eggs and toast with orange juice. Enjoy!

Octavia: You always order the same thing so I took the liberty of shaving off twenty minutes off our wait.

[The waiter walks away.]

Gino: Thanks, I’m starving. Shall I pray us in?

Octavia: Please.

Gino: Thank You for the meal. Please bless the food and the hands that prepared it. And thank You for making it delicious. Amen.

Octavia: Amen.

[They begin tucking into their breakfasts.]

Octavia: So. The shiner?

Gino: Promise me you won’t write about it, first.

Octavia: [smirk] Brother dear, I know your life is endlessly exciting but I guarantee it’s nothing I haven’t heard before.

Gino: You’ll eat your words with those eggs on toast, madame.

Octavia: [laugh] I’m listening.

Gino: Last night, the strangest thing happened. First...

[His voice fades away and the audio comes back again after a brief lull, indicating Gino has recounted the story.]

Octavia: Well. You’re right, I definitely didn’t see that coming at all. What a premise! Are you going to see him again? With the eye he didn’t punch, I mean.

Gino: [smirk] Very funny. I’d like to drop by later and make sure he’s recovering. And try to convince him to file a report.

Octavia: Why not just tell your pals at the station? He’ll never know.

Gino: He had my word I wouldn’t.

Octavia: Ah, brother o’ mine. You are an extraordinary specimen of the human race. [Pause] By the way...are you feeling okay?

Gino: [between bites] Oh, fine. Honestly, this is barely a wound.

Octavia: Not that. I mean with what happened last week. The...incident. My boss had us run the article...and that's how I found out. Tell me, would you have said anything if it wasn’t published in the post?

Gino: Octavia...

Octavia: Gino...what really happened? It didn't sound like you. It scared me. Are you really okay? [gently] Talk to me.

Gino: I-

Waiter: Ah! Would you like me to top you off?

Gino: Oh, yes please.

[Coffee sfx and Gino taking a drink to stall for time. Then-]

Dalton: There you are!

[Gino mildly chokes before sputtering out:]

Gino: Dalton?

Dalton: I dropped by your place and you weren’t there. Your thousand year old landlady said I’d probably find you here.

Gino: I...why are you here?

Dalton: My proposition from last night. I came for your answer.

Gino: You...the answer’s still no.

Dalton: What? Why not? I gave you enough time to reconsider!

Gino: I never said I would. And right now, I’m in the middle of something. So could you just-

Dalton: [loudly and with a wavering voice] How could you turn me down after the amazing night we spent together?

[The entire cafe goes quiet. It’s an awkward hush.]

Gino: [quickly] Octavia, excuse me for a second.

[Gino gets up and grabs Dalton by the hand, maneuvering them to the exit.]

Dalton: Ow, not so rough! I’m still sore from last night.

[The bell chimes and the door shuts behind them. Octavia is the first to break the spell]

Octavia: Waiter? Another orange juice, please.

[Outside there’s the sound of traffic and pedestrians. The boys’ footsteps finally slow to a stop and Gino lets go of Dalton’s arm. He spins around to face him.]

Gino: What is your problem?

Dalton: Ah, so you do get mad. I was beginning to doubt you could.

Gino: People know me in that cafe! What in heaven’s name possessed you to spout off all that nonsense??

Dalton: It’s not nonsense. It was an incredible night and I am still sore.

Gino: You’re so…

[Gino inhales sharply and pinches the bridge of his nose. He exhales slowly, forcing himself to calm down and recenter.]

Gino: Since you're already here, how are you feeling?

Dalton: Aww, you do care, ya big buff softie.

Gino: Well?

Dalton: [grin] Like I was violently beaten in an alleyway but otherwise? Hunky dory. You sure know your way around the first aid kit.

Gino: I still would prefer you see a doctor. Well, at least you aren't any worse. If it's a money issue I can pay. For your visit, I mean.

Dalton: My, what a gentleman. Like I said: don't need it, don't want it.

Gino: As you like. Well. I'm glad you're on the mend. Excuse me.

[Dalton moves to intercept him on the sidewalk, forcing Gino to stop.]

Dalton: Woah woah, what's the rush? There's business we need to discuss.

Gino: As I've told you repeatedly: Not. Interested.

Dalton: Buuuuut have you considered? I mean, can you bear the guilt?

Gino: Excuse me?

Dalton: I'm going up against desperate men who will stop at nothing. You saw what happened last time. I'll likely be murdered without you and then they'll say, "Poor, poor, tenderhearted Gino. He'll have to live with the guilt," forever knowing he let me die for nothing.

Gino: [incredulous] Are you threatening me with your own life choices?

Dalton: Yep. Is it working?

[There's a beat of silence]

Gino: [coldly] You know what? It was a no before. It’s a never, now.

Dalton: [high-pitched, genuinely surprised and whiny] What? Whyyy??

Gino: Do not call on me again.

Dalton: Oh come on, I was appealing to your good Samaritan sensibilities. Don’t be like that. Come onnnn, Gino. I'm lost without you. I need you in my life! You sore

about the black eye? Or are you mad I called you a pretentious moron and insulted your ugly dog? I'll take it back if you help me. ...Gino?

[The cafe bell rings again as Gino leaves Dalton behind and re-enters the cafe. He rejoins Octavia.]

Gino: ...It’s not funny.

Octavia: [barely holding back laughter] No, no, of course not.

Gino: Oh, great.

Octavia: What?

Gino: I forgot to convince him to report the incident.

Octavia: Oh, boo.

Gino: About your question's not something I can talk about. Not yet. But I'm not done investigating and I need your help. Will you help me?

Octavia: As if you have to ask.

[Gino takes out the slip of paper Pierce gave him]

Gino: Pierce gave me this. When you can, drop by this address. They'd recognize me in a second so I can't set foot in there. The instructions of what to look for are written on the back.

Octavia: Sure. I'll stop by tomorrow after work.

Gino: Thanks, sis. What would I do without you?

Octavia: [picks up glass] I ask myself the same thing every day.


[The pages of a book rustle before the heavy leather cover shuts with a satisfying subdued snap.]

Gino: That's enough of Mister Crusoe for one night.

[Daisy May yawns and snuffles.]

Gino: Lights out. Bedtime for you too, little miss.

[A lamp cord is pulled and ushers in the quiet noises of the night through an open window. Suddenly, a dull thud sounds from the living room. Daisy May growls lowly.]

Gino: [quietly] Shhh…

[Gino turns over and softly opens the closet to pick up a bat. He gets up slowly and pads to the door. We hear his quiet breathing as he opens it slowly. He barely takes five steps before suddenly tripping and crashing to the floor. He hears a groan.]

Gino: [bellows] Who’s there? Who are you? Talk!

Dalton:'’re as heavy as you look.

Gino: [incredulously] Dalton?!

[Gino scrambles to his feet and turns on the light. Dalton is a colorful tapestry of new bruises, scrapes, and a badly ripped bespoke shirt. He smiles cavalierly from the ground.]

Dalton: The one and only.

Gino: Those are fresh wounds...what happened to you?

Dalton: I tried to take on the bad guys without ya. [cough] Again. Hey, got anything to eat? I'm starving.

Gino:'ll get yourself killed at this rate.

Dalton: Tell me something I don't know. But I can't stop. Not now. But you can help me.

[Gino holds his silence. Dalton sighs wearily.]

Dalton: Please, Gino. I need your help. I know you probably hate me but you're the only one I can trust. Please. I...I can't do this without you.

[Gino exhales. He’s resigned and already regretting it.]

Gino: Alright.

Dalton: If you don't shield me from evil men it'll be my virgin blood on your hands.

Gino: I already said yes.

Dalton: I know. Just a little reminder. [cough] Y’got any aspirin in this joint?


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