When last we saw our hero at the end of Overseer, he and long-time elusive love interest Chelsee Bando had finally gone out on their first official date. And just when we thought Tex might finally get to second base, we were blindsided by a shocking and ruthless cliffhanger.
For years now, we’ve wanted to continue the story and answer some of the questions that have haunted Tex’s loyal fans, such as: Why was Tex’s speeder stolen, and by whom? Was Tex really experiencing déjà vu and, if so, was he really experiencing déjà vu? Who was the mysterious man from “Down Under” and why did he shoot Tex and Chelsee? And the biggest question of all: what was the fate of our hero and his leading lady? Were they really dead? Or would Tex wake up and realize it had all been a dream, like that one guy did on Dallas? Or was it something even more sinister?
Well, dear listeners, as our gift to you – we have created six Radio Theater episodes in which we will address the aforementioned melodramatic questions, as well as give you a taste of what lies ahead.
Thank you for your patience and loyalty.
Click on one of the buttons below to jump to that episode’s transcript.
Episode ONE: The Naked and the Bed
[WWI sounds: Bi-planes, bombs, etc. – a FRENCH WOMAN speaks with an accent:]
FW: You must not move, Captain Donnelly. Your plane…it was—how do you say?–shot down.
TM: My name’s Murphy.
FW: You are badly wounded, Monsieur. Lie still while I bathe you.
[Splashing sounds, washing, etc.]
FW: Does that please you, mon capitan?
TM: Oh, yeah. That feels real good.
[SOUND EFFECTS FADE OUT – the French girl’s voice changes to a Gravelly-voiced Man:]
FW/GM: Now I know why they call you doughboys. [changing] You don’t work out much, do ya?
TM: [VO] It was the worst kind of dream. The kind where you think you’re gonna get lucky with a buxom French girl and suddenly you’re woken up by a sponge-wielding pervert reeking of pastrami. [beat] He must have sensed my discomfort.
GM: OK. Bath’s over. Go back to sleep.
[SLOSHING SOUND, FOOTSTEPS RETREATING, DOOR SHUTTING]
TM: [VO] It felt like I’d been dreaming for years. Half the time it was a collage of images: Needles… clocks…an old-fashioned rotary dial telephone…a dead body on a boat…a girl screaming…eggs covered with diamonds and gems. I hear dozens of voices. One is soft and low. It’s telling me where to go. And there are other voices I can’t understand. The rest of the time, I’m in an old house…it’s drafty… there’s a musty smell. I hear cockroaches scurrying across the floor. It feels just like my place, except this bed’s a lot more comfortable. It’s so comfy I can’t move.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t dreaming anymore and I still couldn’t move my arms or legs. I couldn’t see anything either. And judging by the cool breezes in my nether regions, it felt as if a blindfold and handcuffs were all I had on. [HANDCUFFS SCRAPING, BED CREAKING] I tried to get free, but it was no use. Someone had me exactly where they wanted me. I didn’t know why or who, but my recent sponge bath had left me feeling dirty and violated. Someone was gonna pay. [AM & GM VOICES IN b.g.] But just then, I heard voices and decided to pretend I’d followed orders and gone back to sleep.
[Gravelly-voiced Man speaks to an Australian Man as they enter the room:]
GM: The sedatives ain’t working too well anymore.
AM: Double the dosage. We’re not done with him yet.
GM: I already doubled the dosage.
AM: Then triple it. Is the taxi en route?
GM: Should be here any minute. [beat] If I triple the dosage, he’ll have a hard time gettin’ channeled… unless you can channel ‘em when they’re dead.
[THE VOICES ARE CLOSE NOW]
AM: He’s probably built up an immunity to toxic substances. Just look at him.
GM: How much longer we gotta hold him? I hear they finished up with the girl.
AM: That’s what I intend to find out…if the taxi ever gets here. [beat] You’re certain he was regaining consciousness? It appears he’s adequately sedated.
GM: He’s comin’ and goin’. He’s been dreamin’ about the regressions.
AM: Give him another injection. We don’t want him awake.
GM: I’ll send the nurse up.
[FOOTSTEPS RETREAT, THE DOOR CLOSES.]
TM: [VO] Whatever they were talking about, I didn’t like the sound of it. And the handcuffs and blindfold – not to mention the nudity – were starting to worry me. I tried to think back, figure out how I’d gotten here, whereverhere was. My last memory was walking out of the Golden Pagoda with Chelsee, the real girl of my dreams. Maybe I was still hallucinating, but I seemed to remember being suddenly distracted just as we started kissing:
[STREET SOUNDS, Voices in FLASHBACK ECHO]
TM: I can’t believe it!
CB: What?! It’s my breath, isn’t it? I knew I shouldn’t have had the garlic sauce!
TM: No! It’s my speeder! Someone stole my damn speeder!
[BACK TO PRESENT]
TM: [VO] Everything after that was all hazy…:
AM: [ECHO] Things could get worser. Things could get worser. [REPEAT AND FADE OUT…]
TM: [VO] I’d been in plenty of predicaments before – and this one seemed like a real doozy – but, for some reason, all I could think about was a bowl of Louie’s spicy lamb chili and a mug of his special Armageddon blend. I heard my tummy growl, then it was drowned out by the sound of approaching footsteps.
[LIGHT FOOTSTEPS, THE DOOR OPENS, FOOTSTEPS APPROACH, a Woman speaks:]
W: Mr. Murphy. Can you hear me? [long beat] Please, Mr. Murphy. Are you awake?
W: Thank goodness.
TM: Who are you?
W: I’m a friend…unlike the others.
TM: Where am I?
W: In a dangerous place. I’m going to help you escape.
TM: Am I naked?
TM: I thought so. You know, it’s just so darn cold in here–
W: I’m going to undo your manacles. But you must promise me you won’t move until it’s safe. If they find out I helped you escape they’ll kill me.
[SOUND OF UNLOCKING HANDCUFFS.]
TM: Literally? Or figuratively?
W: There’s no time to explain. You must pretend I administered the sedative. After they check on you, there’ll be time to escape. Just remember – the White Russians are your friends.
TM: I’ll take your word for it, but I usually drink bourbon.
W: Don’t forget, Mr. Murphy. Please.
[HURRIEDLY RETREATING FOOTSTEPS.]
TM: [VO] I hadn’t been this confused since 10th grade algebra. I’d never been a good student and I was even worse at following other people’s instructions, but I could play dead with the best of ‘em, which is exactly what I did at that moment.
[HEAVY FOOTSTEPS. The Gravelly-voiced Man speaks:]
GM: Aw…did we go night-night?
TM: [VO] Mr. Sponge Bath reached down and tickled the bottom of my foot, apparently to check my state of consciousness. It took every ounce of will power not to squeal like a schoolgirl. I hadn’t shown that much self-control since the last time I saw Chelsee in a black mini and fishnets.
GM: Sweet dreams, Mr. Murphy.
TM: [VO] I pulled off my blindfold and looked around. There was no doubt about it; I was definitely naked. I’d lied about the room being cold, but I didn’t feel like walking around in my birthday suit. Luckily, the ensemble I’d been wearing at the Golden Pagoda was on a chair in the corner of the room. I sat up and slid my legs off the bed. [SMALL SPLASH] Great. Bedpan.[beat] Shaking my foot dry, I hurried to the chair and got dressed. [CLOTHES RUSTLING, ZIPPER] A bare bulb glowed inside the room, but outside the window it was dark. I’d just set the Fedora on my head when I heard someone coming.
[VENETIAN BLINDS CRINKLING, TEX GROANING, BUMPING SOUND]
TM: [VO] With cat-like reflexes, I climbed out the window and onto a ledge outside…and not a moment too soon.
GM: [b.g., YELLING OUT] Hey! He’s gone!
[TENTATIVE FOOTSTEPS GET CLOSER…]
TM: [VO] I steadied myself, ready to go Pele on Mr. Sponge Bath and drop-kick him into next week. [VENETIAN BLINDS CRINKLE] I heard him start to lean out the window…
AM: [b.g.] What is it?
[SOUND OF A HEAD SLAMMING INTO THE WINDOW SASH.]
GM: Ow! Damn it!
AM: Where is he?!
GM: You tell me! I’m not the freakin’ psychic!
AM: He must be out there…on the ledge!
GM: Where the hell d’ya think I was lookin’?!
[FOOTSTEPS RUNNING, VENETIAN BLINDS CRINKLE…]
AM: He’s not out here! [VOICE TURNING AWAY] He must be somewhere in the building! Summon the others! Find him!
Episode TWO: The Month of the Living Dead
NARR: Welcome to Tex Murphy Radio Theater! When we last left our hero, Tex had woken up in a place he’d never been, blindfolded and handcuffed, but had managed to escape with the help of a mysterious young woman. Moments later, the kidnappers returned to the room, finding it empty. When they check the ledge outside the window and still can’t find Tex, an alarm is raised – Tex must be found…dead or alive! And now, Episode 2: The Month of the Living Dead!
TM: [VO] Hanging from ledges was a skill they’d never taught us at the University of Investigation of Utah, but it was something I’d found handy on more than one occasion. But by the time I heard the window close above me it felt like my arms had been dunked in diesel fuel and lit on fire. Pulling myself back up would defy all laws of physics as I understand them, so I looked down. I was at least 40 feet off the ground. There was a ledge below me – maybe six feet down – it looked a country mile away. But desperate situations call for desperate measures. I closed my eyes and let go. [LOUD, PAINFUL JOLT]
I was fairly certain both legs were broken, but that wasn’t the worst of it. I looked over the edge –30 feet directly below me was a cast-iron fence with long, sharp, pointy things on it. The branch of an ancient oak tree was almost in reach, but the standing long jump had never been my forte. I figured I needed to get a little lower before jumping… [WINDOW SASH OPENING] …so I crawled back in through the window.
I entered a dark room. Fortunately, my trusty Zippo was in the pocket of my trench coat. [SOUND OF ZIPPO OPENING, LIGHTING] I moved the light around, looking for anything I could use as a weapon. Lacking the strength to wield a sofa or empty bookcase, I found nothing of use. I decided to check under the sofa. No weapons, but there was a fortune cookie.
TM: Hmmm…You will soon find true love if you know where to look. [CRUNCH, CHEWING SOUND] Mmmm. Yummy.
TM: [VO] With nothing else to find in the room, I went to the door. [DEADBOLT SLIDING OPEN, DOOR CREAKING OPEN] I looked out into the hallway.
GM: Hey! He’s down here!
[DOOR SLAMMING SHUT, DEADBOLT SLIDING SHUT]
TM: [VO] It turned out to be a bad move. I deadbolted the door and reviewed my options; there weren’t many. [WINDOW SASH OPENING, BANGING ON DOOR] I stepped back onto the ledge. I thought about dropping down to the next ledge, but I was fairly sure neither my arms nor my legs could take it. That left one possibility: Try for the oak tree.
Harnessing my inner chi, I gathered myself and exploded off the ledge. [beat] All that chi stuff is a bunch of crap; I came up at least three feet short of the nearest branch.
[SOUND OF HEAVY LANDING IN BRUSH, AND AN ENGINE GETTING CLOSER]
TM: [VO] [TALKING WITH THE BREATH KNOCKED OUT OF HIM] Luckily, I landed on a bush… [NORMAL VOICE] As I checked for broken bones, a bright light descended from the night sky. For a split second, I thought it might be the white light they’d taught me about in Sunday School. Then I heard a voice:
[TAXI DRIVER SPEAKS OVER THE HUMMING ENGINE:]
TD: You call for a cab? Or should I call an ambulance?
TM: Nothing to worry about. I do this for a living.
[INSIDE THE TAXI, ENGINE RUNNING, SPEEDERS FLYING PAST]
TD: So what are ya? A stuntman?
TM: Close. I’m a PI.
TD: I hope you’re good at that, ‘cause you’re not much of a stuntman.
TM: [VO] Ordinarily, I would’ve retaliated with a crushing comeback – you can’t get much lower than being insulted by a hack – but I didn’t have the heart, since I was gonna have to stiff him on the fare; I’d spent the last of my cash at the Golden Pagoda and my abductors hadn’t provided any monetary compensation. But I was glad to find that they’d left not only my Zippo, but also my pack of unfiltered Llamas. I pulled one out and lit it up.
TD: Uh, do you mind? Your cigarette’s bothering me.
TM: Yeah? Well, it’s killing me.
[TAXI ENGINE SLOWS, THE SPEEDER SETS DOWN]
TM: [VO] I smoked the Llama all the way down. And seeing as how the cabbie never made a move for the eject button, I decided to use my line of credit to pay him.
TD: Here ya are. Brew & Stew.
TM: I’ll just be a second.
[HYDRAULICS HISS AS THE DOOR OPENS, DOOR OPENS – BREW & STEW MUSIC]
TM: [VO] As usual, Louie was a ball of fire, bouncing around like a pinball, keeping his usual diner-ful of customers well-fed and well-drunk. Somehow, amid the controlled chaos, he noticed me and bustled over. His welcome wasn’t as warm as I’d come to expect:
[SOUNDS OF PEOPLE TALKING, SILVERWARE CLINKING, MUSIC]
L: (WHISPERED) Where you been, Moiph?
TM: Beats the hell out of me. I hate to do this, but would you mind loaning me some cash? I’ve got a cabbie outside who claims I owe him money.
L: How much you need?
TM: I don’t think he meant pesos.
L: Forty bucks. That includin’ tip?
TM: You tip cabbies?
[EVERYTHING HAS GROWN QUIET EXCEPT THE JUKEBOX MUSIC]
L: Here’s 50. You know, you shouldn’t be showin’ yer face in public. Go give this to the taxi guy and meet me ‘round back.
TM: C’mon, Louie. You know I’m good for it.
L: I know, Moiph. It ain’t that. We’ll talk. Now go on.
TM: [VO] As I left the diner, I noticed almost everyone looking in my direction and whispering. Even the cabbie acted a little weird when I came back with the money, though it may have been because I gave him five rolls of quarters. After he flew off, I went around to the back stairs and entered Louie’s apartment above the diner. He showed up a few minutes later.
L: Don’t get me wrong, Moiph – I’m real glad to see ya. I been worried.
TM: You mind telling me what’s going on? Why were people staring at me? I know I need a shave, but–
L: –You don’t know?
TM: Do I act like I know?
L: Where you been?
TM: What’s with all the questions?
L: You’re right about needin’ a shave. A shower prob’ly wouldn’t hurt either.
TM: Maybe I should get back to the Ritz. I had the cabbie drop me here ‘cause I’m having an “out of money” experience and I knew you’d help out your old buddy.
L: You’d best stay right here. I gotta get back downstairs, but I’ll send ya up some grub. After I close up, we’ll have a talk, OK?
TM: [VO] I never turned down a free meal, especially from Louie. He’d sold out of the spicy lamb chili, but the special – whatever it was – was fit for a king. I spent the next few hours surfing 824 channels and the best thing I could find was a Barnaby Jones marathon. I was well into my third episode when Louie finally broke free.
L: So you liked the special?
TM: It was super-yummy. What do you call it?
TM: That isn’t what my dad called it.
L: So you wanna tell me whatcha been up to?
TM: Well, Chelsee and I went to dinner at the Golden Pagoda. Then, next thing I know, I woke up in some sort of hospital. A girl helped me get out of the handcuffs, then I jumped into a bush from a third story window and got picked up by the taxi, which drove me here.
L: Nothin’ else?
TM: Well, in my book, that’s a full day.
L: What about before today?
TM: What are you talking about? I saw you yesterday…right before I went out to dinner with Chelsee.
L: I don’t know how to tell you this, Moiph, but you been gone over a month. And the cops are lookin’ for ya.
Episode THREE: The Monkey’s Tale
NARR: Welcome to Tex Murphy Radio Theater! When we last left our hero, Tex had been chased, shot at, forced to jump from a third-story ledge, and rescued by a shanghaid taxi. Now safely holed up in Louie’s apartment above the Brew & Stew, Tex learns that an entire month has passed since his last memory of the date with Chelsee. And adding insult to amnesia, Tex is wanted by the cops! And now, Episode 3: The Monkey’s Tale!
TM: [VO] I’d never been in trouble with the police. OK, I’d been trouble with the police, but I’d never had a warrant out for my arrest. Actually, I had had a couple warrants out for my arrest, but only for parking tickets and other misdemeanors, never a felony. Well, there was that one time, but the charges were dropped. But all in all I was fairly certain I’d cleared everything up – so when Louie said the cops were looking for me it came as a total shock. But Louie, being the kind soul he is, made sure I had a support group when he finally broke the news. After the diner closed for the day, he invited Clint and Rook over for some tea and sympathy, or in this case, bourbon and animosity.
R: I assume the police are on their way.
L: C’mon, Rook. We gotta let Moiph tell his side of the story ‘fore we do anythin’.
R: I know all I need to, thank you very much. Why do you suppose he’s been laying low for the past month? Explain that, Murphy!
TM: I don’t have to explain anything to you, you little half-pint–
C: Feel the anger. I knew it was just a matter of time before he snapped.
TM: I guess you’d know all about that, wouldn’t you Clint? By the way, looks like you’ve got a little mocha frappee on your chin.
C: Thanks. [SLURP] And, for the hundredth time, it’s frappe, you moron.
L: Now, we ain’t gonna get nowhere if all of ya start bickerin’. Let’s just have a drink and figure out what we’re gonna do. How ‘bout this, Moiph? Why don’t ya tell us what ya do remember?
TM: Like I said, I was at the Golden Pagoda with Chelsee.
R: And you probably made her pay for dinner. The final insult.
L: Keep quiet, Rook. Go on, Moiph.
TM: Well, we’d finished eating and Chelsee was telling me about my Chinese Zodiac sign.
C: And that would be the Jackass?
[FLASHBACK TO GOLDEN PAGODA, SOUNDS OF DINERS, CHINESE MUSIC, ETC.]
CB: OK. It says you’re clever, skillful, unusually inventive and able to solve difficult problems easily.
TM: –See? I told you I was amazing–
CB: —however, you must guard against impatience or being overly agreeable.
TM: That is so true.
CB: Hmm…it also says that monkeys think they’re funnier than they actually are.
TM: I don’t think so. Monkeys are hilarious…and incredibly handsome.
CB: Your turn. Read me mine.
TM: What’s your year?
CB: (WHISPERED REPROACHFULLY) Thirteen. As if you didn’t know.
TM: Let’s see…2013…2013…well, what d’ya know? You’re some kind ofsnake woman.
CB: Just read it, Monkey Boy.
TM: (DRAMATICALLY) You have great wisdom, though you speak little. [smirks]Yeah, right.
CB: No comments. Just keep reading.
TM: You can be vain and selfish, yet you have great sympathy and compassion. Blah, blah, blah. Ooh, this is good. It says you have a calm surface, but underneath, you are intense and passionate and yearn to be a slave to my love.
CB: It doesn’t say that.
TM: Sure it does. In so many words…
[BACK TO PRESENT]
R: I think I’m going to retch.
C: Could we skip to something the rest of us might find interesting?
TM: I just thought you miserably lonely bachelors might want a taste of what it’s like to be me.
C: I’ve already lived in a dumpster. Let’s go on with it.
TM: Fine. So, this fortune teller comes by the table, asks if we want a reading and, of course, Chelsee does. So I shuffle these tarot cards and the woman lays ‘em out and the first card is The Lovers.
C: Oh gawd.
R: Call the police, Louie. And tell them to bring a straight jacket.
TM: I’m dead serious. And then she flips over, like, an Ace of Pentagrams, a Knight of something, a something of Swords, and a couple other ones.
C: Isn’t that a straight?
TM: That’s what I asked her, but then Chelsee punched me and I had to sit there while the lady explained everything.
[FLASHBACK TO GOLDEN PAGODA]
FTW: This card, the Lovers, represents your present position and symbolizes the beginning of romance–I don’t suppose I need to tell you two anything about that, do I? The Ace of Pentacles, which crosses the Lovers, is your immediate influence and represents obstacles lying just ahead.
CB: What kind of obstacles?
FTW: A common interpretation of this card is treasure.
TM: Well, shiver me timbers.
FTW: The next card is your crown—your goal or destiny. The Knight of Wands is a vague card, indicating a journey into the unknown. The card to the right represents events from the distant past that influence the present. The High Priestess is an auspicious card, symbolizing secrets, mystery…a future as yet unrevealed. The card in this position identifies the strongest influence from your past. What’s unusual here is that the Page of Swords almost always represents an actual person.
FTW: I feel strongly that this person is attempting to perceive the unknown by prying into your friend’s deepest secrets.
TM: The last card is upside-down. Does that mean anything?
FTW: Yes, unfortunately. This is your future influence. The Nine of Pentaclesreversed indicates danger, loss of a valued possession or perhaps a valued friendship.
TM: Are there any happy cards?
FTW: Let’s hope so. There are four more cards to be shown. [CARD FLIPPING] This first one reveals your present attitude. Like the other cards, the Six of Cups shows that you’re moving toward the past—memories… faded images…things that have vanished. [beat] Maybe we shouldn’t go on.
TM: No way. You already peeked at the next one. I want to see how low we can go.
FTW: All right. But I must warn you—this card represents the things currently in the environment or atmosphere around you.
[BACK TO PRESENT]
L: So? What was the last card?
TM: It was the Devil.
[CHORD OF SUSPENSE.]
R: How appropriate. Was the Devil wearing a ridiculous fedora?
L: Hush, Rook. So then you and Chelsee left the restaurant?
TM: Right. We walked out and I saw that my speeder had been stolen.
R: Sure it was. By a Repo man.
TM: Hey, it wasn’t much, but it was paid off.
L: Then what, Moiph?
TM: It’s all kind of a blur – I’ve been racking my brain, trying to piece it together.
L: Try to remember. Did you call the police? Did you go somewhere?
TM: I have this image of some weird-looking guy in a speeder. [beat] It’s starting to come back to me…this guy started to park in the space where my speeder was. He had an accent…Australian, I think. He and Chelsee started talking – I was still in shock. [beat] OK. I’m pretty sure he asked if we wanted a ride to the police station – the cop shop, he called it.
C: Those Auzzies. They’re just whacky.
L: So you and Chelsee got in his speeder?
TM: Yeah. But I had a really bad feeling…some sort of déjà vu. And I remember a woman’s voice saying something about Faberge.
R: So, on top of everything else, you were drunk.
TM: OK, I’d had a few sakis, but I swear it’s the truth.
L: And that’s all ya can recall?
TM: I guess. [beat] Wait, no.
TM: He pulled a gun on us. Now I remember! He shot Chelsee! I turned to look when I heard the sound, and then I was looking down the barrel of a gun. [beat] That’s all.
L: I believe ya, Moiph. What about you guys?
C: I think he’s finally gone completely mad.
TM: I know it sounds crazy, but if you don’t believe me, just ask Chelsee!
R: Well that’d be a trick, now wouldn’t it?
TM: Will one of you please tell me what the hell is going on?
L: They found your speeder, Moiph. It’d got burned down to almost nothin’. And someone was inside it. [beat] I don’t know how to tell ya this, Moiph, but Chelsee’s dead.
Episode FOUR – Foreshadowings and a Funeral
NARR: Welcome to Tex Murphy Radio Theater! When we last left our hero, Tex had described the sinister tarot reading he and Chelsee had gotten at the Golden Pagoda. This, in turn, triggered the traumatic memory of getting shot later that night. But Rook and Clint aren’t buying it. Accused, confused, and on the lam, Tex’s only ally is Louie, who finally tells Tex the horrible truth: Chelsee is dead and Tex is the prime suspect! And now, Episode 4: Foreshadowings and a Funeral!
TM: [VO] I’d never believed in intuition. Don’t ask me why – it was just a feeling. Despite what Louie had told me, I knew Chelsee wasn’t dead, but it seemed like I was the only one, which explained why the cops were looking for me. For the first time in my life, there was a bounty on my head, andthat explained why, after I got done telling my story, Louie had to wrestle the phone away from Rook. But in the end Rook and Clint agreed to keep quiet about me and Louie and I agreed not to beat them both to a pulp.
[CLANKING FOOTSTEPS ON METAL]
TM: [VO] I heel-toed it up to the Ritz hotel and climbed the fire escape to my apartment—slash—office. I’d been a month behind on my rent the night I went to the Golden Pagoda, which meant I was now two months behind. And my landlord Nilo didn’t need a reward to turn me in to the cops; actually, he probably would’ve paid good money. [DOOR SHUTTING, FOOTSTEPS] My apartment looked like it had been ransacked – just the way I’d left it. I’d made a mental list of things to do, and the first two were a shave and a self-imposed bath. Once I’d cleaned up – literally and figuratively – I decided to lie on the bed…relax for a few minutes…
[VOICES ARE ECHOEY, DISTORTED]
FEMALE VOICE 1: I’m with the O.S.S. We’re investigating the claims of Miss Anna Anderson…
MALE VOICE 1: [IN GERMAN] Have you heard of the Enigma Machine?
FEMALE VOICE 2: It’s somewhere in the North Atlantic, frozen in the ice…
MALE VOICE 2: [IN GREEK] Where is the egg?
MALE VOICE 3: Look, Donnelly, we know you killed your partner…
TM: [VO] I woke up two hours later…in a cold sweat. The nightmares were back. I made a pot of my special rejuvenating java and went on-line to find out more details on why I’d made the city’s Ten Most Wanted List. Apparently, my speeder had been found outside the city, still burning. Charred bone fragments of a woman’s body were inside and Chelsee’s purse was discovered nearby. I’m no lawyer, but even I would’ve been able to convict myself. There had to be some evidence that I could use to clear my name. I decided to take a chance on the only person I was on speaking terms with in the police department.
MM: Well, if it isn’t the Pandora Detective. How’s tricks?
TM: Can’t complain, Mac. At least I’m not fat and ugly.
MM: Stop, you’re killin’ me. Oh, wait. I’m gettin’ me confused with your girlfriend.
TM: Funny you should mention that. That’s the reason I was calling.
MM: What a guy. You coulda confessed to anyone, but you chose little ol’ me.
TM: I would if I could, Mac. But I didn’t, so I won’t.
MM: What was that second part?
TM: [VO] Using the smallest words possible, I told Mac why a confession was out of the question. After the disappointment wore off, he agreed that I probably wasn’t the most logical suspect.
MM: The fact is, I know you didn’t whack Chelsee. Hell, everybody knows you didn’t.
TM: Well, not exactly everybody.
MM: You got set up. But somebody’s dead and somebody’s gotta get blamed. And, as usual, you’re standin’ there like Bambi in the headlights.
TM: Your point being…?
MM: The only person who’s gonna get you off the hook is you.
TM: [VO] Mac had always been a master of the obvious. But now I knew I couldn’t let the cops take me alive. If I ended up in the pokey, I’d never make bail, and that meant I’d never be able to clear my name, and the conviction would be a mere formality. I thanked Mac for the tip and hung up.
TM: Hello? [beat] Hello?
TM: [VO] I’d never understood why, but I’d always gotten more than my fair share of obscene phone calls and wrong numbers. I mean, what were the odds of someone randomly dialing 069-6969? But I had a hunch this call was different…someone was checking to see if I was home. I decided to get the hell out. But where was I gonna go? My speeder was charcoal and I had just enough cab fare to make it to the Brew & Stew. [beat] Now there’s an idea…
L: Sure, Moiph. I gotta car.
TM: You mean a speeder.
L: Nope. A ’74 Camaro. Souped up, mag wheels, the works. You know how to drive a stick, dontcha?
[SOUND OF GEARS GRINDING]
TM: [VO] It’d been a while since I’d driven a car, but it was just like riding a bike.
[HORNS HONKING, AN ANGRY FEMALE VOICE:]
FV: Learn how to drive, dumbass!
TM: [VO] It wasn’t just my gut that was telling me Chelsee was alive – I remembered that my sponge-bather had said something curious:
GM: [FLASHBACK] How much longer we gonna hold him? I hear they finished up with the girl.
TM: [VO] And then there was the fortune cookie I’d found – I was certain it was from the Golden Pagoda. I’d opened mine –it’d said Beware of Fortune Tellers – but Chelsee had put hers in her purse – I was sure of it. And I knew she found me mysterious and just a little dangerous, but she also knew I was one hell of detective. And maybe it was wishful thinking, but it seemed possible she’d left it for me to find.
[SOUND OF HORNS HONKING, CARS SMASHING]
TM: [VO] As I made my way through the streets of Old San Francisco, I racked my brain, trying to figure out who would want to frame me for Chelsee’s murder, and why. When you’re a top-notch PI, making enemies comes with the territory. I’d only made a few, but of those, J. Saint Gideon, Lowell Percival, the Chameleon, and Jackson Cross were all dead, and Big Jim Slade, as far as I knew, was still somewhere making license plates and using soap-on-a-rope. There were only two people I could think of that hated me and weren’t dead or in jail: Frank Schimming and my ex-wife, Sylvia. But Sylvia wouldn’t do anything unless there was money to be extorted, and Schimming would’ve killed me, not Chelsee.
[CAR STALLING TO A STOP]
TM: [VO] I finally found my way back to where I’d been held captive for over a month. It was an old Victorian mansion, overgrown and dilapidated. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized I was weaponless and faced with the same obstacles I’d had while escaping. Luckily – or maybe not – the house looked abandoned.
[DOOR CREAKING OPEN]
TM: [VO] Whoever had been there had cleared out in a hurry. There was a room stacked to the ceiling with medical supplies and closets full of clothes. The kitchen had remnants of half-eaten meals. There was even fresh pipe smoke in the air. I found the room where they’d kept me – the handcuffs were still hooked to the bed frame.
I started in room on the fourth floor. By the time I reached the ground floor, all I’d found of interest was a mostly-full bottle of Jack Daniels and a pamphlet for an upcoming Faberge exhibit. Then I found the only locked door in the entire house.
[DOOR BEING KICKED IN VIOLENTLY]
TM: [VO] It took some finessing, but I was able to pick the lock. Inside the room, I found surveillance equipment, cameras, and a video-disc player. Unfortunately, there weren’t any video-discs to be found, but experience had always taught me to look in the most likely place.
[ELECTRONIC SOUND OF DISC TRAY SLIDING OUT]
TM: [VO] Sure enough, there was a disc inside the player. I popped it back in and hit the play button.
[SOUND OF OUTDOORS: BIRDS CHIRPING, BREEZE BLOWING…VOICES SPEAK SOFTLY IN THE B.G. IN RUSSIAN]
TM: [VO] It was a video of a funeral, filmed from a distance…apparently by a couple of foreigners. Russian, maybe. As the camera moved around, I saw some familiar faces – Louie, Rook, Clint, Zack from the Electronics Shop, Crazy Gary, the vigilante vegetarian…even Nilo. And there were some faces I hadn’t seen in years – Ardo Newpop, and Mrs. Lucido from the Slice O’ Heaven. There were also a few other people I didn’t recognize, but it suddenly dawned on me that the funeral I watching was Chelsee’s.
[VIDEO STOPS, TRAY OPENS]
TM: [VO] The video-disc player was a cheap piece of crap from the Electronics Shop, so I decided to take a closer look on my high-tech equipment back at the office. I was just slipping the disc into the pocket of my overcoat when I had a noise behind me.
[HYSTERICAL MALE VOICE:]
HM: Who are you?!
TM: Who are you?
HM: I am a representative of the Caycian faction. Now give me the disc!
HM: Because I say so!
TM: All right. Close your eyes and hold out your hand.
[SOUND OF CHAIR SCRAPING, PUNCHING… AN EXTENDED FIGHT WITH PUNCHES, GROANS, AND SMASHING OBJECTS.]
TM: [VO] Whoever this guy was, he fought like a girl. After I’d sucker-punched him and scratched his eye, I grabbed hold of his hair and smashed his head on the edge of a table, knocking him out cold.
TM: You picked the wrong PI to screw with today, pal!
TM: [VO] With the disc and pamphlet safely tucked away, I pulled out the bottle of J.D. and took a well-deserved swig as I swaggered out the front door. The Camaro was right where I’d left it, except I didn’t remember parking it next to a bunch of police speeders.
P: [OVER A MEGAPHONE] You’re under arrest, Murphy! The building is completely surrounded! Drop the bourbon and back away!
Episode FIVE – Jail, Bail and Happy Trails
NARR: Welcome to Tex Murphy Radio Theater! When we last left our hero, Tex had been shocked to learn he was wanted for Chelsee’s alleged murder. With the dual realizations that (1) someone had set him up and (2) the cops didn’t mind, Tex boldly—if stupidly—returns to the site of his month-long nap, finding the house mysteriously vacant. After finding a video recording of Chelsee’s funeral, Tex makes quick work of a surprise guest, then steps outside into the waiting arms of the New San Francisco Police. And now, Episode 5: Jail, Bail & Happy Trails!
TM: [VO] The cops handcuffed me, but at least they let me keep my clothes on. After a short flight to the cop shop, I was scanned, printed, and photographed, then they took me upstairs. One of ‘em asked if I wanted some coffee, but I wasn’t gonna fall for that old joke. I was escorted to an interrogation room – the chair was as uncomfortable as I remembered, but it looked like the bare bulb was a fresh 60-watter. I settled in for a battle of wills. [long beat] 12 hours later, I was to ready to confess that I’d kidnapped the Lindbergh baby. I told the cops I wouldn’t say another word without my attorney present, but they weren’t falling for that old joke, so I resorted to feigning a spastic seizure. It did the trick. A few minutes later, I was safely in the drunk tank, curled up in a fetal position.
[CLICK, CLANK, BEEP! BEEP! DOOR SWINGS OPEN, MAC MALDEN SPEAKS:]
MM: C’mon, Murphy. We both know you ain’t got Tourette’s.
TM: My chain’s all yanked out tonight, Mac. Go get someone else to pull your finger.
MM: Shut up. We gotta talk.
TM: [VO] Mac sounded serious. Either his hemorrhoids were acting up again, or things were somehow worse than I thought.
MM: We’ll have to make this quick. I know we don’t exactly send each other birthday cards, but we’ve helped each out a few times and that’s worth somethin’.
TM: Tell you what, Mac. Get me outta here and I’ll buy you a cake. When isyour birthday?
MM: September 7th, but that’s not what I’m–
TM: –Virgo. I should’ve guessed.
MM: Can the voodoo, Murphy. Clements thinks she’s bein’ generous makin’ the charge Second Degree, but that’s just ‘cause she knows you can’t make bail.
TM: Well, that depends. You think it’ll be more than a couple hundred bucks?
MM: Try three more zeros. Maybe you could hock some stuff.
TM: I was already counting that. Maybe you could pick me up a couple lottery tickets.
MM: I got another idea. [beat] Punch me.
TM: Look, I appreciate you trying to cheer me up, and any other time I’d be all over it, but, seeing as how we’re gonna exchange birthday cards–
MM: Look, you gidgit, if you knock me out, I can say you blindsided me and used my keys and passcards to escape. It’ll be embarrassing as hell, but it’s worked before.
TM: I don’t think I can do it, Mac. I’m a lover, not a fighter.
MM: That isn’t what Chelsee said.
TM: Excuse me?
MM: Yeah, me and Chelsee used to hook up while you were out of town. She gives great full body massages. She uses lots of oil…’course it takes more oil than it used to… but, hell, we’d talk about you for hours…and laugh and laugh. And then we’d dress up like– [PUNCH!] Ow! C’mon, Murphy! Is that all you got? [PUNCH! PUNCH! PUNCH!]
TM: [VO] We ended up going with Plan B – Mac gave me his keys andpretended I’d knocked him out. Things were finally looking up. Not only was I out of the pokey, I’d gotten to punch out a fat-nosed bastard cop. On the down side, I owed him birthday cakes for life and, even if I managed to break out of the big house, I’d be on the lam forever, or at least until I found my one-armed man.
I crept down the corridor, playing passcard roulette with Malden’s keychain. As I reached an intersection, I paused at the corner.
[DISTANT ECHOING VOICES OF COP 1 & COP 2]
C1: How’d he make bail?
C2: He didn’t. It was some friend of his.
C1: He’s got friends?
C2: Yeah…stupid friends. He’s gonna run like a pair of cheap nylons.
C1: I hate cheap nylons.
TM: [VO] If they were talking about me, it seemed to good to be true. Getting bailed out beat the hell out of a jailbreak, so I made like Elmer Fudd hunting wabbit and tip-toed back to the cell.
After some paperwork and a stern warning to stay within the city limits, I found myself in the passenger seat of Louie’s Camaro. I’d pretty much decided the whole setup was connected to Chelsee and not me – I’d just been in the wrong place at the wrong time…as usual. I asked Louie if he’d mind making a quick stop at Chelsee’s apartment at the Seven Gables.
He waited out in the car as I climbed to the third floor, stopping only once to catch my breath. I reached her door and was about to go to work on the lock when I heard something inside the apartment.
TM: [VO] The door was unlocked and I flung it open, catching a swarthy and guilty-looking fellow by surprise.
SF: [EXPRESSION OF SURPRISE! (IN GREEK)]
TM: [VO] My suspicions were confirmed when the intruder bolted for an open window. I was right behind him.
[SOUND OF A CHASE – TWO SETS OF FEET RATTLING DOWN A FIRE ESCAPE, JUMPING TO THE GROUND, HITTING GARBAGE CANS, TUMBLING ROUGHLY, CAT SCREECHING]
TM: [VO] The man was obviously a professional. He managed to give me the slip, but I was able to catch a glimpse of the Nevada license plate on his speeder as it lifted off. [beat] I returned to the apartment and started my search with the large pile of mail on the floor near the mail slot in the door. Only one item caught my eye: the new Victoria’s Secret catalog. I decided to follow up on a hunch; sure enough, the bottom drawer of a dresser in Chelsee’s bedroom was packed full of lacy underpants and other sexy lingerie. More than ever, I wanted to find her alive and well.
I continued to search her bedroom until I found her diary. [beat] Hey, I’m a PI, and PIs leave no stone unturned. The diary was sealed with one of those chintzy locks, but it was a snap to pick, once I found a pair of pliers.
CB: [ECHOING VO] Dear Diary, tomorrow will be one year since I met Tex. Looking back, it’s hard to believe I’d be interested in the smelly bum passed out in my newsstand. I’ve made reservations at the Golden Pagoda to celebrate the anniversary, but I’ll probably have to drag him there – he’s hands-down the most irresponsible man I’ve ever met. I know he likes being a PI, but I don’t think he’s cut out for it. It seems like he gets beat up a lot and never makes any money. I think he’d do much better as a security guard, or maybe a doorman. I just wish I knew what he thinks about me. He still wears his wedding ring. Maybe I’ll ask him about it tonight.
TM: [VO] As usual, Chelsee was speaking in riddles. Did she like me or not? It was too confusing to think about and I had bigger fish to fry. I continued my search, finding plenty of interesting things, but nothing related to Chelsee’s disappearance. Not until I checked her vid-phone, that is.
[CLICKING SOUND, A COMPUTERIZED VOICE:]
CV: Message one. Left 33 days ago.
TM: [RECORDING] Hey, Chels. It’s me. I’m out of bed now, but I cut myself shaving and the tourniquet won’t stay on. I’ll be there as soon as I can.
CV: Message two. Left 32 days ago.
[A MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN SPEAKS:]
MW: [RECORDING] Hello, Chelsee. This is Professor Perry. I’d like to get together outside of class and discuss the paper you wrote about Anastasia Romanov. It’s absolutely extraordinary. You have my number. I’ll talk to you soon.
CV: Message three. Left 28 days ago.
[MUMBLED FOREIGN LANGUAGE [GREEK], HANG UP]
CV: Message four. Left 9 days ago.
[A YOUNG MAN SPEAKS:]
YM: [RECORDING] Hey, Big Sister. Look, I’m in a bit of a bind and I really need to get a hold of you. There’s no way for you to contact me at the moment, but I’d appreciate it if you can be home tomorrow at this time and I’ll call back. OK? Love ya.
CV: Message five. Left 8 days ago.
YM: [RECORDING] OK, Sis. Now I’m getting worried. I wanted to see if you got the books I sent. I need the cash pretty bad. That little guy at the pawnshop should’ve given you top dollar for ‘em. I hope you get this message soon. I have to leave town, but I’ll get back to you when I can.
TM: [VO] I found the books referred to in the message, but I couldn’t for the life of me remember a single thing about Chelsee’s brother, not even his name. But I did know a little guy at a pawnshop.
TM: I don’t know how I’ll ever repay you for this, Louie.
L: It wasn’t just me, Moiph. Don’t tell Rook I told ya, but he pitched in a bunch. So did Clint and some of the other folks in the neighborhood.
TM: No, I mean I have no idea how I’m gonna come up with cash.
L: You don’t have to, Moiph. We’ll get it all back. I got faith in ya.
TM: [VO] I didn’t have the heart to tell Louie I was about to roll the dice on what must have been most of his life savings. He knew I was a rotten gambler – I couldn’t break even on an ATM – but it was a calculated risk I had to take: if I didn’t find out what had really happened to Chelsee, no one would, and unless the truth came out, Louie would get his money back, but I’d end up going to jail for a zillion years.
I was planning on going somewhere, but it wasn’t jail. The guy in Chelsee’s apartment had come from Nevada, and a stamp on the inside of her brother’s books had read: DeLuxe Importing/Exporting – Chance Bando, Proprietor – Las Vegas. Ironically enough, my search for the proverbial one-armed man was about to lead me to the land of one-armed bandits.
Episode SIX – Games of Chance
NARR: Welcome to Tex Murphy Radio Theater! When we last left our hero, Tex had been forced to escape back into his jail cell after overhearing that Louie had mortgaged his life savings to bail him out. Tex’s first stop is to Chelsee’s apartment, where he discovers several leads and a quick-footed intruder. Sensing that time is running out, Tex decides to gamble Louie’s brontosaurus-sized nest egg and skip town in search of Chelsee’s brother, Chance. And now, our sixth and final episode (at least for now): Games of Chance!
[TRAIN SOUNDS, A EUROPEAN MAN SPEAKS IN DREAMY, DISTORTED ECHO:]
EM: A stroke of luck, eh Mr. Donnelly? What are the odds of us both being on this very train. But I wouldn’t imagine a man of your disposition believes in coincidence.
TM: Sure I do. I also believe Martians landed in New Jersey last Halloween.
EM: And do you also believe in the – what is it called – Easter Rabbit?
TM: Easter Bunny. That one I’m not so sure about.
EM: Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret… [beat] I am the Easter Bunny.
TM: (deadpan) No kidding. I thought you’d look different.
EM: It’s true. You see, I know where you can find the most amazing Easter Egg…
[LOUD EXPLOSION, TRAIN’S BREAKS SCREECHING, A MAN, THEN A GIRL SPEAK:]
M: The bridge! Someone’s blown up the bridge!
G: They know we’re here.
[RUNNING FOOTSTEPS THRU SNOW, SNAPPING TREE BRANCHES, PANICKED PANTING…]
TM: (angry, urgent) C’mon, Princess!
G: All they want is the key! Let’s go back! If I give it to them, they’ll let us go!
TM: (hard-boiled) It’s too late to go back. Now shut up and run.
[LONG TRAIN WHISTLE; IT FADES AWAY TO A MODERN TRAIN SOUND]
TM: [VO] The dreams were becoming clearer, more intense, but they still didn’t make any sense. It was like I was in someone else’s nightmares. When I woke up this time, it took a second for me to remember I really was on a train, the Disoriented Express.
Two hours earlier, I’d made a new friend in the pawnshop business and his name didn’t rhyme with “crook.” My so-called friend would’ve accused me of stealing Chelsee’s books, and while that was technically true, I didn’t need to hear it from him. Besides, Chance Bando had been right about the old books – they were worth a bundle and Rook would’ve lied through his wooden teeth and given me pennies on the dollar; The bitter little midget was so tight, dogs howled whenever he passed gas. As it was, my new pawnshop pal had given me more cash for the books than I’d earned in the past two years. Granted, that wasn’t saying much, but it was enough to get the ball rolling, or high-ball, as it were.
BARTENDER: What can I get ya?
TM: Bushmills and Water, with a shot of Bailey’s. Make it a triple and hold the water.
B: One Irish Makeover…comin’ up.
TM: [VO] I don’t know why I’d taken the train. Maybe it was the romantic in me, but it was also cheaper than flying and faster than walking. A few rounds later, we were within view of the Strip. I grabbed a cab and introduced myself to Ahmad Dohadjermefistocamahla. As we rose above the desert sands and sailed for Deluxe Importing/Exporting. I asked if he was one of the Pacific Grove Dohadjermefistocamahlas, but he informed me that the spelling was different, and then refused to talk for the remainder of the flight.
Ten minutes later, he dropped me off at a strip mall. Chance’s establishment was sandwiched between the Peepshow Palace and an Indian restaurant. [INDIAN AND BURLESQUE MUSIC] A Navajo taco sounded pretty darn good, but I was driven by a sense of urgency; I was hoping Chance’s place had a restroom.
[DOOR SHAKING] The front door was good and locked. I thought about kicking it in and doubted anyone would care, but all things considered, I thought it best not to attract any unnecessary attention. Besides, my bladder felt like a cracked piñata and one good jolt might cause me to spill the goodies. [TROTTING FOOTSTEPS] I jogged as gently as possible around back of the strip mall. I was about to irrigate the desert flora when I saw something that made me immediately forget my Ps and Qs: a sliver of light through the slightly open back door of Deluxe Importing/Exporting.
[ZIPPER SOUND, STEALTHY FOOTSTEPS]
TM: [VO] I slipped inside and crept toward the source of the light. I peered around the corner, into a small office lit by a green-shaded banker’s lamp. I liked what I saw. [SEXY SAX MUSIC] The dame was turned away from me, thumbing through the contents of a file cabinet drawer. Raven hair tumbled onto the shoulders of her cream-colored blouse. A close-fitting black skirt with an impossibly narrow waist stopped just above her knees. And the dark seam in her sheer black nylons ran straight down into the heels of her glossy black pumps. I needed a cigarette.
[ZIPPO CLICK, LIGHT; JULIETTE SPEAKS (IN AN ENGLISH ACCENT:]
J: Make one move and I’ll scream.
TM: You took the words right out of my mouth.
J: What are you doing here?
TM: Just havin’ a cool, refreshing Llama light. What are you doing here?
J: I work here.
TM: You should try unlocking the front door. It’s good for business.
J: We’re not open. Mr. Bando isn’t here and I’m just his personal assistant.
TM: Business must be incredible. Allow me to introduce myself. The name’s Tex Murphy and I’m friends with Chance’s sister. She’s disappeared and I think he might know something about it. Oh, and I’m a P.I. I’ve got a license and everything.
J: Let me see.
TM: So…where’s your boss?
J: (worried) I wish I knew. He’s been gone over a week and I haven’t a word. He’s never done this before and I’m afraid something may have happened to him.
TM: Got any proof of that? Or is that what you were looking for in the file cabinet?
J: No. [beat] He said he’d write me a check, but he didn’t. I need to pay the rent on my flat.
TM: Your flat. Tell you what, doll. I’ve got so much cash I’m walking with a limp. Maybe we can work something out.
TM: Let me go ahead and clarify that.
[OLD-FASHIONED TELEPHONE RING…SECOND RING…THIRD RING]
TM: I think the phone’s ringing.
J: I don’t answer the telephone.
TM: No wonder he doesn’t pay you.
J: It’s not that. Chance insists on handling all the customers directly. I’m not to answer any calls.
[START OF RING, TEX SNATCHES THE PHONE UP, A GREEK VOICE SPEAKS]
GV: Mr. Bando?
TM: Who wants to know?
GV: You’re late for your appointment with Mr. Kazastanus.
TM: How late?
GV: Nine days. If you want to see your sister in one piece, you have exactly one hour to be at the middle roulette table in the Palladium. Play nothing but the Black 11, 100-dollar bets. We’ll find you. [CLICK]
J: Who was it?
TM: He didn’t say, but I’d guess he was some kind of hired thug. Tell me, what would I have to do to pass myself off as Chance Bando?
TM: [VO] According to my new acquaintance, Juliette, all I had to do was lose my hairline, shrink about a foot, and beat myself silly with an ugly stick. It was a moot point – my hunch had been dead-on…Chelsee was still alive. But Chance wasn’t around to save her so it was up to me to pinch-hit. Juliette was nice enough to let me ogle her legs out of the corner of my eye as she gave me a lift to the Coliseum. Don’t get me wrong…Chelsee was still the girls of my dreams, but c’mon. Even Chelsee would’ve stared at ‘em.
[CASINO SOUNDS, ROULETTE WHEEL SPINNING, CROUPIER SPEAKS:]
C: That’s it. No more bets.
[ROULETTE BALL FALLS]
TM: [VO] I was down 1200 clams when I finally saw the little ball fall into the 11 slot. Not surprisingly, at that exact moment I found myself moving backwards involuntarily. As someone stepped in neatly to take my spot at the table, I turned to see two quasi-humans the size of vending machines on either side of me, squeezing my arms like they were tubes of toothpaste.
[DOOR SLAMMING SHUT]
TM: [VO] The room I was taken to resembled a Grecian palace, only nicer. In the middle of the opulent cavern was a single poker table with five incredibly fat, poorly-dressed slobs. The overall effect was like a tiny cigarette burn in the center of the Mona Lisa. One of the players looked up just long enough to remove his soggy cigar and wipe a thread of spittle from his lip.
P: That ain’t Bando. Get rid of him.
TM: Where the hell is Chelsee?!
P: What do you care?
TM: She’s my…I guess she’s my girlfriend…pretty much…
[THE FAT MAN STARTS SLOWLY, WORKS HIMSELF INTO ROARING LAUGHTER]
TM: [VO] After ol’ Poker Face calmed down, we laid our figurative cards on the table. He admitted that he had the “goods,” as Chelsee was apparently known in these parts. He went on to say that he’d been a long-time customer of Chance’s, who it seems had been making a good living procuring slightly illegal black market merchandise, in particular items from one of the more evil factions in World War II. Several months earlier, Chance had been the go-between on a deal for a certain “artifact”, Kazastanus had fronted a down payment for it, then Chance had am-scrayed. Most of what Kazastanus said was Greek to me, but it all boiled down to this:
P: I’m a sportin’ kinda guy, Murphy. I don’t wanna do nothin’ to your girl and I’ll hand her over safe and sound, I don’t care if it’s to you or her brother. But you either gotta find the artifact or come up with my 600 grand.
TM: [VO] With that, the wet cigar went back in his mouth and I went bye-bye. As I was loaded unceremoniously into a taxi, they handed me the 3500 I’d won at the roulette table. Kazastanus really was a good sport, but I didn’t like odds he’d given me – coming up with 600 grand was just ridiculous…and he hadn’t bothered to mention what the artifact was. On the bright side, I still had a pulse and I was up 23 bills for my night’s work. I leaned back and closed my eyes as the taxi started to lift off.
[BANGING ON THE TAXI WINDOW]
TM: Hold up a second!
[ELECTRIC WINDOW ROLLING DOWN, LOUDER SOUNDS OF CASINO, VOICES; A MAN WHISPERS FRANTICALLY:]
MWF: The thing you’re looking for – everyone’s looking for it! It’s in the possession of the Armaggedonists! But I’m telling you now, they’d give it up to get their hands on YOU!
TM: Why would they want me?
MWF: It’s not you they want…it’s who you were!