Just Call Her Marlo: The Scottish General — Part One

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I’m interrupting the random and sundry entries from my old writing journal to present another Shakespearean noir in screenplay format (which does not translate well to Medium — oh, well)! Here’s a link to the first one.

Thrilling, yes? 🙂

Okay, so here I go (again).

FADE IN:

INT. — OFFICE — DAY

MARLO WILEY, early 40s, no-nonsense, sits at a desk in an office that resembles the set of The Maltese Falcon, if they had computers in the 1940s.

Marlo plays solitaire with a deck of cards. A video version of the game is on her computer, ignored.

A KNOCK at the door.

Marlo sweeps the cards into a small pile and drops it into a side drawer. Changes the monitor to show: “Wiley Investigative Services” with sleuth logo.

GENERAL BANQUO, early 50s, distinguished-looking, enters. Appears uncertain.

BANQUO
I’m looking for the private investigator.

Marlo rises, extends her hand.

MARLO
I’m Marlo Wiley, the detective who owns this joint. You can call me Marlo.

Banquo grasps Marlo’s hand, looks slightly worried.

MARLO
Have a seat.

Marlo sits behind the desk. Banquo slowly descends into a teetering guest chair.

BANQUO
To be honest, I’m not sure this case is right for a …. young lady.

MARLO
Mr. … What did you say your name was?

BANQUO
General Banquo.

Marlo’s eyebrows waggle a bit.

MARLO
Let me put your mind at rest. I have been doing this for years and am quite capable.

Banquo seems to relax slightly, but gives his chair the occasional doubtful glance.

MARLO
How can I help you, Mr. Banquo?

BANQUO
General Banquo. Or just General.

MARLO
I see. How can I help you, General?

BANQUO
I’m afraid someone’s trying to kill me.

Marlo scribbles on a legal pad.

MARLO
Go on, sir. Uh, General.

BANQUO
Another service member. And a friend. General Macbeth.

Marlo nods, scribbles.

MARLO
Macbeth. How very … Scottish.

BANQUO
He’s often referred to as The Scottish General.

Marlo looks up from her legal pad.

MARLO
Ohh-kay. What makes you think he wants to kill you?

BANQUO
Okay, let me explain. We serve under Duncan King of Nova Scotia. He’s our commander. Was our commander, I should say. He’s been murdered. I have the strangest feeling General Macbeth may have done it.

Marlo stares at Banquo.

MARLO
What leads you to believe that?

BANQUO
Well, this is going to sound a little strange.

Marlo shrugs.

MARLO
So what’s new?

BANQUO
There were these three old women we ran into that said the oddest things. They seemed to think that Macbeth was going to take over King’s job.

MARLO
That isn’t a lot to hang one’s hat on, eh?

BANQUO
I would’ve dismissed it, except King went to Macbeth’s house for a little get-together. He ended up spending the night, but never woke up.

Marlo nods her understanding.

MARLO
I assume the police were called?

BANQUO
Yes, of course.

MARLO
Have they done an autopsy?

BANQUO
I suppose, but King was stabbed, so unless he killed his bodyguards — who by the way, were found dead with bloody knives on them — then took his own life, I’d say the case for murder is pretty strong.

Marlo’s eyes widen briefly.

MARLO
What would you like me to do?

BANQUO
I keep thinking about those old women. Something about them suggested I might be the next victim. Especially since both of us qualify for promotion to King’s position.

Marlo shakes her head.

MARLO
While I can appreciate your concern, perhaps the police should handle this. Besides, I’m an investigator, not a bodyguard.

BANQUO
Will this be sufficient as a retainer?

Banquo pulls out a wad of cash. Marlo takes it and gazes at the bills.

MARLO
I do believe it will. And, please, call me Marlo.

*****

To be continued next time! 🙂

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Originally published at http://randomandsundrythings.wordpress.com on October 11, 2019.

New York Times bestselling author of seven novels, including the Sam McRae Mystery series. Screenwriter, podcaster, and blogger. My website: www.debbimack.com.

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