Episode Name: Shirt Mix-Up at the Laundry

Episode Date: 2 April 1949

Announcer: Pat Novak For Hire

<Opening music, fog horn, and bell>

Pat NovakSure… I’m Pat Novak… for hire.

 <Opening music resumes>

 That’s what the sign out in front of my office says. Pat Novak for hire. It’s easy to rent yourself out and you make a few bucks, but sooner or later you get burned and it doesn’t make any difference whether you’re a man or a mouse because down on the waterfront in San Francisco, they build the traps both ways. Oh, everything looks easy, but sometimes they fool you, like putting shatterproof glass in a fire alarm box and you gotta watch out every minute. Because down here, if you reach out to help a pan handler, the guy will take your arm and hand you back the dime. I rent boats and deal any place, I’ll give you a good trade-in on a secondhand soul. Works out all right. Sometimes you’re on top of the heap, if you like the kind of heaps they got down here. But you gotta get your laughs in a hurry because you find out right away you’re not gonna make any more headway than a hummingbird in a wind tunnel. I found that out Wednesday afternoon, must have been about three o’clock. The sun was out down at the far end of the bay. Put a head on the clouds down there and put the rest of the sky in a good mood. Over across the bay it was a warm, easy yellow that made you think of a pound cake full of eggs. It was too nice of a day to work inside so I closed shop and started down to a pool hall on Market Street. I never got there because on the way I stopped by the laundry to pick up a couple of shirts. It started right there, when the clerk walked over to me. He was full of fizz and the sort of guy who gets a bottle of hand lotion for his birthday.

 <Clerk humming>

 Clerk: Well, well, Mr. Novak is it?

 

Pat Novak: I don’t know, is it?

 

Clerk: Eh, yes. My, we have a nice day, haven’t we?

 

Pat Novak: Yeah, I want some laundry.

 

Clerk: Not any better than yesterday, though, not a bit better than yesterday.

 

Pat Novak: What do you do, give ‘em all a rating? How about the laundry, huh?

 

Clerk: Eh, yes, let’s have the ticket.

 

Pat Novak: All right.

 

Clerk: Mm hm, 428. That should be right down here.

 

Pat Novak: It’s just a couple of shirts.

 

Clerk: Yes, yes, here it is. That will be a dollar eighty-four please.

 

Pat Novak: That sounds like a fair price, but I’ll take my own.

 

Clerk: Oh, oh?

 

Pat Novak: This isn’t mine, it’s too big.

 

Clerk: Are you sure?

 

Pat Novak: Look, I had a couple of white shirts, now you better look again.

 

Clerk: Well, the tickets match. You see? 428. You must be wrong, Mr. Novak.

 

Pat Novak: Now, look fella, shirts don’t swell, they shrink. The package is too big.

 

Clerk: Too big? Well, we better open it, yes. We’ll see. I’ll have to wrap them again.

 

<Unwrapping sound>

 

Pat Novak: Yeah

 

Clerk: Eh, eh?

 

Pat Novak: It’s not my shade of pink.

 

Clerk: Oh… I guess it’s not yours.

 

Pat Novak: Thanks.

 

Clerk: Here’s some men’s clothing too. How about these shirts?

 

Pat Novak: If I were a jockey, I’d take ‘em, I want my own.

 

Clerk: Yes, Yes, of course you do. Oh goodness, I don’t know what to do with myself.

 

Pat Novak: Yeah, you’ve got a problem. How ‘bout these shirts though?

 

Clerk: Oh, we’ve mixed up the tickets and someone has your package.

 

Pat Novak: Who?

 

Clerk: I don’t know. Maybe we can check on the collar markings, let me see.

 

Pat Novak: Yeah..

 

Clerk: Yes, now, let me check in the book.

 

<Clerk humming and pages turning>

 

Here we are. Eh.. this laundry belongs to Earl Hayes.

 

Pat Novak: Yeah, where’s he live?

 

Clerk: Are you going up there?

 

Pat Novak: I want my shirts back.

 

Clerk: Um, yes. He lives at, uh, 321 Dorsett Place.

 

Pat Novak: Yeah, give me that pen.

 

Clerk: Oh, I’m sorry Mr. Novak. And please apologize to Mr. Hayes. I’m so angry at myself I don’t know what to do.

 

Pat Novak: Yeah, be careful you don’t stomp a hole in the floor. See ya later.

 

<Musical interlude>

 

Pat Novak: When I left, he was wringing his hands and shifting from one foot to another like a small kid in a department store. On the way up to Dorsett Place, I looked at the bundle. There were a couple of women’s blouses and four loud colored shirts. Two of ‘em looked like a Navajo blanket somebody’d sewed buttons on. I tried to wrap up the bundle and about 10 minutes later I got to 321 Dorsett Place. It was up on Telegraph Hill and it was an old place somebody had remodeled. It was supposed to be modernistic, but it reminded you of a chromium plated tool shed. Apartment 2A was on the second landing. I went up there and knocked. Earl Hayes didn’t answer the door, but you couldn’t quarrel with what you got. She was in her 30s and pushing 40 hard enough to bruise it, but she looked good standing there in the doorway. Long and lean enough to make a greyhound turn in its card. She was wearing green lounging pajamas and you’ve seen bananas in looser skins. You could see the bay behind her, through the window, and she stood there brushing back enough red hair to sell to a mattress factory. As she pushed the door back, she started to smile. Her lips were a pale red color and moist enough to put a desert on its feet and you could tell she thought she used them to talk when you got tired of everything else. Standing there in front of her, you got the same feeling you would if somebody pressed the treble and bass key of an organ at the same time.

 

Rhoda Warren: Hello. What are you selling?

 

Pat Novak: Shirts. Is your husband home?

 

Rhoda Warren: Should I have one?

 

Pat Novak: I don’t know. It depends on the climate.

 

Rhoda Warren: Come on in anyway.

 

Pat Novak: All right.

 

<Door closes>

 

Rhoda Warren: Who are you?

 

Pat Novak: My name’s Novak, I’m looking for a guy named Earl Hayes.

 

Rhoda Warren: You better sit down.

 

Pat Novak: It won’t take me that long. He’s got my shirts.

 

Rhoda Warren: Mr. Novak, you don’t look like the kind who’d lose his shirt.

 

Pat Novak: I don’t want jokes, lady, there was a mix-up down at the laundry. I got Hayes’ stuff and he walked off with mine.

 

Rhoda Warren: That his stuff in the bundle?

 

Pat Novak: Yes it is, here.

 

Rhoda Warren: All right, put it on the table here, we’ll see.

 

<Unwrapping sound>

 

I don’t think you’re smart, Mr. Novak.

 

Pat Novak: Huh?

 

Rhoda Warren: Where’s the other shirt?

 

Pat Novak: You got ‘em all right there.

 

Rhoda Warren: There’s one missing.

 

Pat Novak: All right, see the laundry, all I want’s a trade.

 

Rhoda Warren: There must have been another shirt in this bundle.

 

Pat Novak: Maybe it was too dirty, the boy couldn’t clean it that fast. Now, look friend, if you want to argue, go ride a street  car. I came up for two white shirts, now where are they?

 

Rhoda Warren: I suppose Earl Hayes has them.

 

Pat Novak: Where’s he?

 

Rhoda Warren: I’ll send you to him, but I’m afraid you won’t like him.

 

Pat Novak: Then I’ll be lonely, just tell me where he is.

 

Rhoda Warren: Two floors up. That’ll give you time to work over that story.

 

Pat Novak: Yeah.

 

Rhoda Warren: Because he’ll know you’re lying. He’ll want to know about that shirt.

 

Pat Novak: What makes it that important?

 

Rhoda Warren: The fact that it’s missing. You’ll find him upstairs. I hope it works into a friendship.

 

Pat Novak: Yeah.

 

Rhoda Warren: But I don’t think it will. He’ll know you’re lying and you’ll get tossed around like a green salad.

 

Pat Novak: Is he tougher than you?

 

Rhoda Warren: No, he’s just not as versatile. Good luck darling.

 

<Musical interlude>

 

Pat Novak: When she said good luck, you knew she was just being polite and didn’t mean it any more than the hangman when he tells you to watch your step. When I left, she was over by the window leaning back against the table as shy as a runaway box car. And you got the idea she’d be fun to know if you had a lot of money and an oxygen tent. Well, I rolled up the bundle and I started for the fourth floor. I knocked on the door and when it opened, I knew I had high bid for trouble. I could see into the room, and there were three or four gonofs sitting inside. They had a dull anxious look as if they were trying to find another worm to pull
apart and they were the sort of guys who might have been born, but you wouldn’t
want to bet on it. The one in the door was a big guy with bushy eyebrows that
met near his nose and the way they ran across his face you got the idea he got
tired of the old ones and grafted on a vine instead. His face wasn’t much
better. It looked more like a relief map than a face. It was pock marked and
the color of moldy bread and you knew if a woman kissed him, she’d get blood
poisoning.

 

Max
Stoffer
: Hello,
Novak.

 

Pat
Novak
: You
Earl Hayes?

 

Max Stoffer: Enough to suit you, come
in.

 

Pat
Novak
: All
right. You’re good at guessing names.

 

Max
Stoffer
: So a
little bird told me.

 

Pat
Novak
: Yeah,
I saw her. She’s got nice feathers.

 

Max
Stoffer
:
Where’s the shirt?

 

Pat
Novak
: Here’s
the bundle. Take your pick.

 

<Sound of man fussing with the paper bundle
wrapping
>

 

Max
Stoffer
: I
don’t like any of these, Novak.

 

Pat
Novak
: That’s
all I got.

 

Max
Stoffer
: Where’s
the shirt, Novak?

 

Pat
Novak
: Just
wear a collar, mister, you don’t need a shirt.

 

<Sound of Pat Novak being punched>

 

Yeah, I
won’t need a memory for you, fella.

 

Max
Stoffer
: Suit
yourself. Tell me about those shirts.

 

<Door opens>

 

Hello,
Earl, come on in.

 

<Door closes and footsteps>

 

We got
your boy.

 

<Footsteps>

 

Earl
Hayes
: Who is
he?

 

Max
Stoffer
: You
made a deal, you know his name.

 

Earl
Hayes
: I
never saw him before, Max.

 

Max
Stoffer
: He
looks different now. He came up with some of your shirts.

 

Earl
Hayes
: That’s
true, I went by the laundry. Said a guy named Novak picked up the shirts.

 

Max
Stoffer
: Except
one of ‘em’s missing.

 

Earl
Hayes
: It
couldn’t be missing. They’re all in one bundle.

 

Max
Stoffer
: Ask
him then, but do it nice, he’s touchy.

 

Pat
Novak
: He
doesn’t have to ask. Now look, mister, if you’re Earl Hayes, I want my shirts.

 

Earl
Hayes
: Give
us the other one and we’ll make a trade.

 

Pat
Novak
: You
got the best deal you’re gonna make, Hayes, now I want those shirts.

 

Max
Stoffer
: Get
yourself a loom then. Alright, Joe, get his arm.

 

<Background yelling>

 

Earl
Hayes
: Wait a
minute, Max.

 

Max
Stoffer
: Sit
down, Hayes, or we’ll take your ticket away.

 

<Footsteps>

 

That’s
it. Now get his other arm.

 

<Grunting>

 

One of
you keep an eye on Hayes. Alright Novak, it’s you or Hayes, make up your mind.

 

Pat
Novak
: I got
it made up about you.

 

<Sound of Pat Novak being struck>

 

Max
Stoffer
: You’re
gonna tire first, Novak. Where’s that shirt?

 

Pat
Novak
: I
dunno. Try Hayes, he looks healthy.

 

<Sound of Pat Novak being struck>

 

Max
Stoffer
: Hold
him up.

 

Joe: He’s slippin’.

 

Max
Stoffer
: You
need handles? Hold him up. You’re runnin’ out of chances, Novak. Where’s that
shirt?

 

Pat
Novak
: I
don’t know.

 

<Sound of Pat Novak being struck>

 

Max
Stoffer
: Hold
him up.

 

Joe: Why?

 

Max
Stoffer
: If you
can’t find a reason, don’t.

 

<Sound of Pat Novak falling to the floor>

 

All
right, Hayes, how’s your temper?

 

<Musical interlude>

 

Pat
Novak
: I slid
down to the floor so fast I almost went under the varnish and I spent the next
couple of hours checking on the termites. It was getting dark when I woke up
and right away the room was full of company. The host was Earl Hayes and he was
lying on the floor as dead as a cracked bell. He was over by the desk, lying on
his back and grabbing at the rug like a Hoover vacuum. The hair was wet against
his head and the perspiration on his forehead started to break up and run down
like tears, so you got the idea he cried out of his hairline instead of his
eyes. He didn’t seem in pain or put out. He was smiling a little as if he
realized he had a better deal. Over by the door, Hellman was talking to a
couple of coppers. He sent them downstairs and walked over to me.

 

<Footsteps>

 

Hellman: You woke the neighbors,
Novak.

 

Pat
Novak
: I
don’t snore that loud, Hellman.

 

Hellman: You made the noise with
Hayes.

 

Pat Novak: Yeah. How’d I get my face
this way?

 

Hellman: You look better to me
Novak. How long you been here?

 

Pat
Novak
: Couple
hours.

 

Hellman: That fits in. The coroner’s
already been here. He says Hayes was beat to death an hour ago with that poker
out of the fireplace.

 

Pat
Novak
: You
better check on the prints.

 

Hellman: I already sent it down. You
slept too long.

 

<Footsteps>

 

Coroner
Worker
: Hello
inspector. We came by for the stiff.

 

Pat
Novak
: He’s
right there. Tell the morgue to keep him out ‘til I get down.

 

Coroner
Worker
: Come
on, Joe. That’s it. Grab ‘im.

 

<Footsteps and grunting>

 

Sure is
a little guy.

 

Hellman: He’ll bury easy. Tell ‘em
I’ll check in at 8.

 

Coroner
Worker
: So
well, inspector.

 

<Footsteps>

 

Hellman: All right, Novak, tell me
all about it.

 

Pat
Novak
: I came
up here for a shirt.

 

Hellman: That’s not hard to get.
What about Hayes? How’d the beat go?

 

Pat
Novak
: It
went both ways with a guy named Max, you better talk to him.

 

Hellman: I like you better.

 

Pat
Novak
: Oh,
you’re not bright, Hellman. I’ve been out of the game for two hours.

 

Hellman: Look, big shot, don’t push
me around. You got a story, maybe it’s good, maybe it’s not. You could have
taken Hayes and run into trouble yourself.

 

Pat
Novak
: That’s
the hard way, Hellman, I don’t like your whip, get another boy.

 

Hellman: You’ll do Novak and you’ll
do it all downtown.

 

<Phone rings>

 

Yeah,
Hellman talking. What do you mean you can’t send them up yet? Who’s in charge
down there? Give me the guy in charge. Huh? Well, two guys just came up here.
You must have sent ‘em. They were here, you must have sent ‘em. Yeah. Well, you
can send them for me.

 

<Hellman hangs up phone>

 

Pat
Novak
: Don’t
tell me, Hellman.

 

Hellman: Aw, it couldn’t happen.

 

Pat
Novak
: No, it
couldn’t happen to anybody but you, Hellman. It’s gonna look real good too when
they find out you let two strangers walk in and steal a body.

 

Hellman: I don’t understand it.

 

Pat
Novak
: It’s
simple Hellman. You better go in and rob that bed right now.

 

Hellman: Huh?

 

Pat
Novak
: Cuz
when they’re done kicking you around down at headquarters you’re going to need
a sling and with a figure like yours, it’ll take a good size bed sheet.

 

<Musical interlude>

 

Pat
Novak
: When
Hellman hung up the phone, he turned the color of early summer squash. He stood
over by the window running his hand through his hair. He left the window and
stood in the center of the room for a minute. His coat was open and his stomach
was piled up on his belt in nice even layers. It reminded you of a rolled up
garden hose. And the way his pants fit him when he walked, you got the idea
somebody sewed an anvil in the lining. After a while, he came over and started
to talk to me. He kept pulling his ear and in the dim light, there, it looked
like the cross-section of an eggplant.

 

Hellman: I’m still gonna hold you,
Novak.

 

Novak: You’d look better with a
hot potato, Hellman.

 

Hellman: I’m gonna hold you for 12
hours. In the meantime, that body will show up.

 

Novak: He didn’t look that active
to me. Wake up, Hellman, you’ve been backed into a corner. You better get a
body first.

 

Hellman: Look, Novak, I know the guy
was dead. I’m not gonna sit on my hands.

 

Novak: The most fun you’ll ever
have.

 

Hellman: I’m gonna to check those
prints and I’m gonna find out why you were up here.

 

Novak: I came to see Hayes. The
laundry pulled a switch and I came up for shirts. Check with the guy at the
laundry.

 

Hellman: Yeah.

 

Novak: And on the way downstairs,
stop at 2A.

 

Hellman: Why?

 

Novak: There’s a souped up redhead
down there, you can ask her a question.

 

Hellman: You can do that with any
woman.

 

Novak: You can ask her who Max is.
I went there to find Earl Hayes. She answered and sent me here.

 

Hellman: There’s only one thing
wrong with that story.

 

Novak: Huh?

 

Hellman: There’s no redhead in 2A. I
checked all the apartments. 2A’s been empty for three months. The people are
out of town.

 

Novak: Eh.

 

Hellman: I think you dreamed her.

 

Novak: I don’t dream that good in
the afternoon. Look Hellman, I’m walking out of this place, and all you can do
is hear the echo.

 

Hellman: I wanna see you go, Novak.
Maybe you’ll do something wrong and I’ll track ya down.

 

Novak: You couldn’t track down a
live bear in a telephone booth.

 

Hellman: I’ll make a try on you,
mister, and when I’m through, there’ll be enough to put you right in that gas
chamber.

 

Novak: They can save money and do
the same thing.

 

Hellman: Huh?

 

Novak: They can lock me up in the
same closet with you.

 

<Musical interlude>

 

Pat
Novak
: When I
left, Hellman was wandering around like smoke in a drafty room. I picked up
Earl Hayes’ shirts and ducked by the laundry, but the clerk was gone and the
place was closed tighter than a lid on a city scandal. Well, I tried to think
back, but nothing made sense. In the first place, what made that shirt so
important? And why did the laundry clerk have the wrong address for Earl Hayes?
And the main hooker was that body disappearing. Why? If Max killed him, they
were in the clear, why take a gamble like that just for laughs? I knew I had to
get some answers pretty soon because Hellman wasn’t an easy guy.  He was a tough, hard cop with a heart big
enough to hide behind a piece of bird seed. I had a couple of places to go, so
I looked up Jocko Madigan. He’s a good guy and he used to be a smart one,
except he didn’t like the San Francisco fog and worked out one of his own. I
finally found him in the Hunt Room at the Bellevue Hotel. The crowd was at one
end and he was down at the other. I found out why.

 

Jocko
Madigan
:
(singing drunkenly) One for my baby and one more for the road.

 

Pat
Novak
: Now
wait a minute, Jocko.

 

Jocko
Madigan
: Ah,
Patsy! I’m singing a little sentimental ballad.

 

Pat
Novak
: All
right Jocko, now you’ve had enough.

 

Jocko
Madigan
: Patsy,
I’m as sober as the next man. I’ve been drinking since 8 o’clock this afternoon
and I’m as sober as the next man.

 

Pat
Novak
: Oh,
stop it, will ya?

 

Jocko
Madigan
: Patsy,
you know I hate whiskey. But do you realize that 85% of the human body is
liquid?

 

Pat
Novak
: Yeah.

 

Jocko
Madigan
: Now is
there any sane reason why all that should be water? Of course not, it isn’t
fair. That’s why we have communists.

 

Pat
Novak
: Jocko,
I’m in trouble.

 

Jocko
Madigan
: Of
course you are. Knowing you, Patsy, is like walking hand in hand with a moral
pygmy.

 

Pat
Novak
: All
right.

 

Jocko
Madigan
: It’s
true, Patsy. You have no moral sense. All you have is a small bundle of
regrets. Something which you drag out periodically as proof of your decency.

 

Pat
Novak
: Will
you listen?

 

Jocko
Madigan
: But
you’re not even decent enough to regret the things you’ve done. From some of
your conversations, about the only things you regret are the things you haven’t
done. The only reason you haven’t caused more trouble is that you’re not fleet
footed enough.

 

Pat
Novak
: All
right, all right.

 

Jocko
Madigan
: You’re
hopeless, Patsy. You’re like some overripe planet, disemboweled and thrown from
the skies. You don’t know where you’re going and you can’t remember where
you’ve been. Your only joy is motion and your only sensations are heat and
cold. (heavy sigh)

 

Pat
Novak
: You
all through, Jocko?

 

Jocko
Madigan
: Yes… what
kind of problem?

 

Pat
Novak
:
Hellman wants me for a dead guy.

 

Jocko
Madigan
: Where
is he?

 

Pat
Novak
: He was
up on Telegraph Hill, but he’s gone now.

 

Jocko
Madigan
: He
didn’t die long, did he?

 

Pat
Novak
:
Somebody took the body away.

 

Jocko
Madigan
: That’s
a funny thing to collect.

 

Pat
Novak
: Aw,
none of the story lays right. The guy’s name was Earl Hayes. There was a
laundry mix-up and I went up there to trade.

 

Jocko
Madigan
: Yes?

 

Pat
Novak
: Now,
look, I want you to hop down and find out everything you can about Earl Hayes.
Find out who his friends are. Find out where he’s from. And see if there’s a
guy named Max anywhere, will ya?

 

Jocko
Madigan
: Where
are you going?

 

Pat
Novak
: I
gotta find a girl.

 

Jocko
Madigan
: I felt
that way myself earlier tonight.

 

Pat
Novak
: Will
ya hurry, Jocko? We don’t have time to run your love life.

 

Jocko
Madigan
: Yes…
well, time is a minor drawback anyway. Good night lover.

 

<Musical interlude>

 

Pat
Novak
: It was
nearly eleven when I walked out of the bar and the way things were going I
couldn’t beat a vagrancy rap with a pocket full of annuities. I had to find
that girl, someplace, but it wasn’t gonna be easy. You might as well try to
French fry a kettle of bones. I went back up to that apartment to see if she
left a pointer anywhere. Hellman had a copper out in front but he was sitting
in somebody’s new Nash reading a comic book. I went all through the apartment
and on the way out I spotted the matches in the waste basket. The folder’d been
used up and on the outside it said Bonton Club, Duval Street, Key West,
Florida. Well, that was the first break I got. Most people use their matches
fast, so if she was using Key West matches, it must have meant something. I got
down to a phone booth and started calling up the hotels. Finally, a hotel up on
Taylor said they had a Miss Rhoda Warren on the register from Key West,
Florida. For five bucks a bellhop will tell you anything, so he said she was a
redhead. I still didn’t know and when I went up there she wasn’t in. Well, I
had to get back to my place for Jocko’s call and when I walked in I got sorry
about that five bucks.

 

Rhoda
Warren
: Hello
Mr. Novak. You keep bad hours.

 

Pat
Novak
: So do
you and your name’s Rhoda Warren.

 

Rhoda
Warren
: You
like the name?

 

Pat
Novak
: Yeah.

 

Rhoda
Warren
: Go
ahead and use it, it’s a phony.

 

Pat
Novak
: How
about Max?

 

Rhoda
Warren
: I
don’t even know him.

 

Pat
Novak
: When
you called him today it was a wrong number.

 

Rhoda
Warren
: Oh
please, Mr. Novak, you’re not big enough for menace.

 

Pat
Novak
: No?

 

Rhoda
Warren
: No,
you’re like everybody else in the waterfront. You got some muscles, a few stage
whispers, and 30 cents in your pocket. So don’t try to make a sale.

 

Pat
Novak
: Except
you’d like to buy that shirt.

 

Rhoda
Warren
: Hm, if
you want to sell it.

 

Pat
Novak
: What
makes it worth a thousand bucks?

 

Rhoda
Warren
: Your
imagination. Five hundred’ll buy it.

 

Pat
Novak
: You’re
bad on guesses. Five hundred and Max’ll do it.

 

Rhoda
Warren
: Look,
I don’t have to deal with you, darling. You’re a pauper on paper and in your
pocket. So I can just sit tight while you sell or go broke.

 

Pat
Novak
:
Where’s Max?

 

Rhoda
Warren
: I’d sell
him out if I were in a hole, I’m not.  You
are.

 

Pat
Novak
: All
right.

 

Rhoda
Warren
:
(yelling) Let go of my arm.

 

Pat
Novak
: I need
some help, lady.

 

Rhoda
Warren
:
(yelling) I don’t know whether you’re making love or trouble, either way, let
go of my arm.

 

Pat
Novak
: Have
you figured it out yet?

 

Rhoda
Warren
:
(yelling) You’re… You’re hurting my arm.

 

Pat
Novak
:
Where’s Max? Come on, I’ll twist you until the skin comes loose. Where is he?

 

Rhoda
Warren
:
(crying) Please don’t.

 

<Phone starts ringing>

 

Pat
Novak
: All
right.

 

Rhoda
Warren
: Won’t
make you friends, anyway.

 

Pat
Novak
:
(answers phone) Yeah, Novak talking. Yeah, I’ve been out all evening. Where
abouts? Yeah, well he can’t use it anymore. Where are you, in the Compton?
Yeah, thanks.

 

Rhoda
Warren
: The
laundry clerk?

 

Pat
Novak
: Yeah,
he found that shirt.

 

Rhoda
Warren
: Tell
him not to lose his own. And wish him good luck.

 

Pat
Novak
: Will
he need it?

 

Rhoda
Warren
: Hm,
maybe not, but he ought to take it while it’s cheap.

 

<Musical interlude>

 

Pat
Novak
: I knew
it wouldn’t do any good to press her for Max now. If she was gonna tip her
mitts, she’d do it on her own. I left my place and grabbed a cab for the piers.
I got out near Market and walked over to the laundry. The back window opened up
like a hunk of sky after a bad rain. I found the shirt lying out on a table. It
looked like the rest of Earl Hayes’ shirts except for one thing. The collar was
full of writing. A few letters and a lot of numbers. I took ‘em down, left the
shirt, and headed for my place. I got one of those shirts from that bundle and
copied in some of the same numbers then I picked up a cab for Rhoda Warren’s
hotel. For another fin, the bellhop went blind and I got into her room about
12:30. Her room was empty but her bags were packed on the bed. I took a 60/40
chance and planted the shirt in the bottom of one of the bags. I told the
bellhop to tip me off when she came in and I started back to my place to wait
for Jocko’s call. I did about as well a bottle of Scotch in a Louisville bar. A
squad car picked me up at the corner and said Hellman had a call out for me.

 

<Car sounds>

 

About 20
minutes later, we pulled up to Pier 19. Hellman was waiting there moving around
like a pea in a boiling stew.

 

Hellman: Hello Novak. Walk me down
the pier.

 

Pat
Novak
: Find a
crutch, what’s on your mind, Hellman?

 

Hellman: Walk me down the pier!

 

Pat
Novak
: All
right! But I won’t take your arm.

 

<Footsteps and fog horns>

 

Hellman: We found a body.

 

Pat
Novak
: How,
radar?

 

Hellman: Almost, the coast guard
boat spotted him floating in the bay. They radioed in. We’re hauling him up
now.

 

Pat
Novak
: Oh,
we’re all busy. I found a shirt, too.

 

Hellman: We may not need it. Those
fingerprints worked out just right.

 

Pat
Novak
: Well,
if they’re mine, it’s too pat, Hellman. You’re too smart a cop to buy that kind
of flamp.

 

Hellman: I’m a smart enough cop to
hold you, now that we got Earl Hayes. Here we are.

 

Pat
Novak
: Eh..

 

Hellman: (shouting) You got him down
there?

 

Diver: Yeah, we’re passin’ him up.
Grab ahold there.

 

Pat
Novak
: Here,
I’ll get him.

 

Diver: All right, pull.

 

Hellman: (grunting) Here he comes.
There.

 

<Sound of body hitting the floor>

 

Pat
Novak
: Well,
that water sure changed him, Hellman.

 

Hellman: There’s a mistake. They
have his identification, they said it was Earl Hayes.

 

Pat
Novak
:
Another plant, Hellman. He’s the laundry clerk.

 

Hellman: What was he doin’ out in
the bay?

 

Pat Novak: Maybe that’s the way they
do the laundry now. I’m goin’ home, Hellman. You better stand on his chest.

 

Hellman: Huh?

 

Pat
Novak
: That
way they can’t steal him without taking you too.

 

<Musical interlude>

 

Pat
Novak
: Well,
that 60/40 was beginning to pay off. Somebody was gathering up the loose ends
and it was gonna to be easier now because things were getting tight, but you
can say that for a lot of wedding rings. So I bummed a ride and I got to my
place about a half hour later. I had some trouble there because the cop on duty
wanted to take me down to Pier 19 again. He looked wistful, so I told him about
a place down the street where he might catch a peeping Tom and I finally got
rid of him long enough to get up to the room. As I walked in the door, the
phone was ringing.

 

<Phone ringing>

 

Pat
Novak
: (picks
up phone) Yeah?

 

Jocko
Madigan
: Hello,
Patsy, this is Jocko.

 

Pat
Novak
: What’d
you find out?

 

Jocko
Madigan
: Earl
Hayes was popular. Anybody could have killed him.

 

Pat
Novak
: For
instance?

 

Jocko
Madigan
:
There’s a lot on him in the Chronicle morgue. He’s wanted for smuggling.

 

Pat
Novak
: Yeah?
What else?

 

Jocko
Madigan
: He had
a girlfriend. Her picture’s here.

 

Pat
Novak
: What’s
she look like?

 

Jocko
Madigan
: Oh, I
haven’t had enough experience.

 

Pat
Novak
: The
same one I guess. What else?

 

Jocko
Madigan
: And
Earl Hayes once served a prison term with a man named Max Stoffer.

 

Pat
Novak
: That’s
our boy, what do you got on him?

 

Jocko
Madigan
: He
lives here now and he runs a business out on Van Ness Avenue.

 

Pat
Novak
: What
kind of business?

 

Jocko
Madigan
: Oh,
it’s going to sound funny. He runs a funeral parlor.

 

Pat
Novak
: Well,
what does that prove?

 

Jocko
Madigan
: It
doesn’t prove a thing. Just because you’re a perfume salesman, you don’t have
to smell pretty.

 

<Musical interlude>

 

Pat
Novak
: When
Jocko hung up, everything began to slip into place. I could see now why
everybody wanted that shirt. And the reason why Earl Hayes disappeared was ten
feet tall. I called Hellman, he said he knew all about Max Stoffer and he had a
squad car on the way out. I met him at the corner of Geary and Taylor and we rode
out to Van Ness. Max Stoffer’s funeral parlor was over near Pine. When we
pulled up, the lights were out except for a lamp in the front room. Hellman
walked in the front door without knocking and we turned in where the light was.
It was a big night for stiffs, and there were three or four caskets along the
wall. In the center, over near the fireplace, there was a casket on wheels. The
plate on the outside said a man named Peter Dawson had the lease. Hellman was
about to start upstairs when a door in the back opened.

 

Max
Stoffer
: Hello,
Novak. What are you doin’ here? Is the man with you dead?

 

Pat
Novak
: Not
too dead to talk to you, Stoffer. He’s Inspector Hellman from homicide. The bag
looks heavy.

 

Rhoda
Warren
: Is he
talking to you or me, Max?

 

Pat Novak: Where’s she going?

 

Max
Stoffer
: I’m
puttin’ her on a train, Novak, do you care?

 

Pat
Novak
: It’s
up to Hellman, he wants you for killing Earl Hayes.

 

Max
Stoffer
: I
thought he disappeared.

 

Hellman: I’ll add on the laundry
clerk, too.

 

Max
Stoffer
: After
I visit the train.

 

Pat
Novak
: You
put her on that train, she’ll get off at the next station, Stoffer.

 

Max
Stoffer
: Huh?

 

Pat
Novak
: She
gave you a bad story and that shirt you’ve got’s a phony.

 

Max
Stoffer
: Wait a
minute.

 

Pat
Novak
: Save
yourself some time, mister. Check her bag.

 

Rhoda
Warren
: Oh, he’s
crazy, Max.

 

Pat
Novak
: Make
the odds, fella.

 

Max
Stoffer
: Let me
see that bag.

 

Rhoda
Warren
: Take a
look, he’s trying to stampede ya, Max.

 

Max
Stoffer
: Give
it here.

 

<footsteps>

 

Pat Novak: No, underneath there, the
other side.

 

Max
Stoffer
:
There’s no shirt in here, what are you…

 

Rhoda
Warren
:
(frantic) I don’t know how it got there, Max, he must have put it there, honest,
I don’t know how it got there. Something crazy has happened.

 

Max
Stoffer
: You
don’t sound sure.

 

Rhoda
Warren
: Please
Max, please Max, stay away, I gave you the right shirt.

 

<Max Stoffer hits Rhoda Warren and she
squeals
>

 

Rhoda
Warren
: Max,
Max leave me alone.

 

<Max Stoffer hits Rhoda Warren again and she
cries out
>

 

Max
Stoffer
: Take
her copper, take her for the laundry guy. I’ll read about you, lady.

 

Rhoda
Warren
: Max,
you’re crazy, you’re crazy to tell him.

 

Max
Stoffer
: I’ll
tell them all about it. I’ll tell you every word, copper.

 

Rhoda
Warren
: All
right, don’t forget yourself, big shot. Don’t forget to tell ‘em what you did
with Earl Hayes.

 

Max
Stoffer
:
There’s no body.

 

Rhoda
Warren
: Oh,
you silly fool, you silly fool, don’t you know why they’re here?

 

Max
Stoffer
: Shut
up.

 

Rhoda
Warren
: Open
them all. You better tell ‘em now. He’s in there, Hellman. He’s in there with
Peter Dawson.

 

Max
Stoffer
: You
had a chance, maybe.

 

<Max Stoffer hits Rhoda Warren>

 

Rhoda
Warren
: Leave
me alone, Max. Leave me alone or I’ll break you up.

 

<Max Stoffer hits Rhoda Warren and she cries
out
>

 

You
can’t win ‘em all, Max.

 

Max
Stoffer
: Put
away that gun.

 

<Struggle between Max Stoffer and Rhoda
Warren
>

 

Rhoda
Warren
: Leave…
leave.

 

Max
Stoffer
: Get
away from her.

 

<Three gunshots and a body falls to the floor>

 

Hellman: You don’t need the gun
anymore.

 

Rhoda
Warren
: No…

 

<Gun hits the floor>

 

Pick it
up, copper.

 

<Footsteps and a chair is pulled out>

 

Pat
Novak
: You
had a big night, lady.

 

Rhoda
Warren
: Yeah.
What happened, Novak? You put that shirt in there and you lied to him.

 

Pat
Novak
: Yeah.

 

Rhoda
Warren
: You
lied to him and he thought I did. He thought I lied to him.

 

Pat
Novak
: What’s
the difference? As long as you killed him, you still get a prize.

 

<Musical interlude, fog horn>

 

The next
morning was easy for Hellman. He shook the girl for the story on those shirts.
The markings on the collar were bill of lading numbers on stuff going to the
islands. Everybody was being watched so they had to handle it that way. Earl
Hayes used to leave the shirts in that laundry and each time somebody along the
line marked one of the shirts. Hayes took the shirts to Max and he got the
information to the right people in the islands. Out there, they had a line on
what to hijack. Most of the stuff was gold and it was a good game for
everybody, until that laundry clerk made a goofy mistake. He got the bundles
mixed and he left one shirt out. When Hayes picked up the wrong bundle the girl
and Max thought a double cross was under way. After Max worked me over and
killed Hayes, he went down to the laundry shop and he couldn’t find the shirt.
He could only think of one thing, Hayes had the shirt on. So, he got him out of
that apartment. Once he had him out, he figured the easy thing to do was to
make him disappear for good. So, he put him in a casket with another guy on his
way to the boneyard. In the meantime, the clerk found the shirt and called me.
The girl overheard the conversation and figured the laundry clerk had the shirt
with him. She got in a beef and killed him. She went down to that laundry after
me and picked up the shirt. Well, from there on, the cards fell the wrong way.
Well, Hellman asked only one question. That laundry clerk was an innocent guy,
wasn’t it too bad he got knocked off? Oh, I don’t know, when you think about
how many buttons you lose in a year it doesn’t seem so bad.

 

<Exit music starts>

 

Announcer: Pat Novak For Hire was
previously released by ABC, the American Broadcasting Company for listeners in
the United States and rebroadcast for our men and women overseas. This is the
United States Armed Forces Radio Service, the voice of information and
education.

 

 

<END>