Original air date: November 28, 2021
Peter does a noir-style investigation of Meg’s disappearance.
* * *
PETER: I thought I’d seen it all. But that’s the thing about Quahog. You never know what’s hiding under the hard shell of a clam. The Great Depression hit the town hard. FDR announced we had nothing to fear but fear itself.
ROOSEVELT: (over radio) The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. And, also, bees. Or when a man has a beard and then shaves it. ‘Cause I don’t recognize him immediately. If I watched him shave it, it would be different. If I saw the process. And there’s this guy Hitler we should probably keep an eye on. But mostly bees.
PETER: It was also the height of Prohibition.
Water or seltzer, anyone?
PETER: Which of course meant drinking was very cool, and everyone did it all the time. And of course, there was racism. A lot of it. It was horrible. Except for the laundromat, which served everyone.
Thanks for doing my undergarments.
PETER: They were really nice. So, who am I? The name’s Mac. Mac Bookpro. And I’m a private dick.
A very private dick.
And don’t listen.
(“Love Theme from Chinatown” playing)
PETER: My office was in the CocaineCola building. All the businessmen there had ideas for other businesses.
Well, Mac, what did you find out?
Now hold on, it’s 8:00 a.m. and we’re two men in a room. Let me fix you a drink. So, I tailed your wife. Sorry, pal, she’s having an affair.
Ah, too bad. I guess she’s the maple, but I’m the sap.
There you go. You’re gonna be okay. But it’s 8:00 a.m., and you’re a man about to get in a car. Let me fix you another drink.
Thanks, Mac. I owe you one.
Yes, Ms. Patbottom?
(laughs) Oh, Mr. Bookpro.
PETER: My secretary, Fanny Patbottom. She’s my gal Thursday. She has choir practice Fridays. She’s, uh, not available to me then.
Now, a couple of items of business. First, we’re going to have to postpone today’s tangling of the Venetian blinds.
I think we’re gonna have to start sending the schedule the night before.
Also, there’s a woman here to see you.
LOIS: May I come in, Mr. Bookpro?
PETER: I’ll never forget the day she walked through my door.
Ah, damn it. And this was the smallest brim they had.
The name’s Hedy. Hedy Toothgraze.
PETER: She was the type of girl who really left a mark on you.
Please, have a seat. Do you mind if I don’t smoke?
I’m afraid I do.
Totally understand. So, we’re two people in a room at 8:04 a.m. Let me fix you a drink.
So, Mr. Bookpro, I’m here because my daughter is missing. She’s a nun. Frankly, we weren’t that close. I gave her to the Church after my husband died in the war. So, will you take the case?
PETER: I wasn’t sure I could trust her, but I needed the dough. My rent was two bucks a month and I still owed 50 cents on my car. Since the missing gal was a nun, I decided to start at the Church.
Greetings, my son. Cardinal St. Louis, likely bad guy.
Mac Bookpro. Sorry to bother you about a case, Padre. Do you want to talk here, or should I come inside your rectory?
Okay, Groucho, calm down.
I’m here looking for a nun. Recognize her?
Of course, that’s Sister Megan. She runs the church orphanage.
And how about this photo?
I don’t know. Any dunking photo where you don’t see the ground is very suspicious.
I see. So, when was the last time you saw the sister?
In the church garden, wearing giant nun boots and trying to step on squirrels.
Yeah, that checks out. If you think of anything, here’s my card.
“To my beloved niece.” Aw, and he wrote his own note instead of just signing his name. I like that guy now. He cares.
Well, if it isn’t my old pal Red Wiener?
Red was the best newspaper guy out there. Except when the newspaper was rolled up, then he was kind of scared.
So, what’s got you sniffing around here today, Fido?
Same as you, pal. Sister Megan. I heard you talking to the cardinal. Well, get this: she called me a few days ago and said she had a big story. We were supposed to meet at a speakeasy, but she disappeared before we could get together.
A nun at a speakeasy? That doesn’t figure. Maybe we should check it out.
You got it. Say, can we go to the next scene with one of those cinematic sideways wipes they used to do in the ’30s?
I don’t know, I did a sideways wipe this morning. I don’t recommend it. Not a good way to make friends on the trolley.
CLEVELAND: What’s the word?
Bird is the word. Welcome to The Sunken Clam. What can I get you fellas?
Two thisperiod fashioneds, please. We’re looking for a girl who was supposed to show here. You ever seen her?
CLEVELAND: Hmm. Doesn’t ring a bell.
Well, no one has any idea what happened to her. Not even her boss, the cardinal.
The cardinal? Let me tell you, that priest is a shady cat. I heard that when the state voted on Prohibition, he rigged the vote to get alcohol banned.
I tell you, something’s going on at that church, and I’m not gonna rest until I get to the bottom of it.
Yeah, I’m with you, pal.
Two more Black girls recently went missing. Maybe you can look into that, too?
Oh, boy, you know, I am just so busy…
Yeah, I am absolutely swamped.
…with this Sister Megan thing.
Just buried in paperwork.
PETER: With the case heating up, I decided to visit my friend down at the station. I hadn’t been back since they kicked me off the force. For years they’d been letting horses poop on the street. But I do it one time and I’m out. But I still had one friend there. My old buddy Ace. Ace Hardware.
So, Mac, what brings you here?
Looking for a girl.
A girl, huh?
Yeah. You know, a skirt, a bird, a twist, a roundheel.
I spent most of my time at the library looking up synonyms.
She’s a nun. Sister Megan. I think the cardinal had something to do with her disappearance.
Oh, the cardinal? I’d be careful if I were you. He’s a heavy hitter in this town. A big cheese, a head honcho, a real butter and egg man.
I also spent most of my time at the library looking up synonyms.
If I were you, I’d wheel away from this one. Wheel far, far away.
PETER: The cops and the cardinal were both dead ends. I was starting to wonder whether the sister was even missing. And then, a couple of friends pulled up. They cornered me in Kirstie Alley, the widest alley in Quahog.
Hey, Mac. Fancy meeting you here.
Well, if it isn’t Bogey and Bacaw.
I hear you’ve been snooping around the disappearance of a nun.
Well, I didn’t mean to ruffle anyone’s feathers. Oof again.
You used to be smarter than this, Mac. Before you got kicked off the force, you knew how to play ball. But now, here we are.
PETER: Luckily, they let me go with a warning. My shadow wasn’t so lucky. My cop friend told me to stay away from the case, and I was starting to think he was right. But then I got the call I’d been dreading.
Hello? American Dad‘s been picked up for three more seasons? God, when do I get a weekend?
Then I got another call. They found Sister Megan.
Well, one thing’s for sure. We’ve got a killer shark on our hands.
Close the beaches.
(gasps) I can’t believe my daughter’s dead. Doctor, are there any leads from the body? Anything that can tell us who did this?
Well, not yet, but I’ve sent some DNA samples to the lab.
When will we get the results?
About 65 years.
I did find one thing, though. There was a roll of camera film hidden in her waistband.
Thanks, Doc. Maybe it’s a clue.
No problem, Mac. But there is one more thing. … Uh… Uhp. Nope, no. I lost it.
Oh, dear. What am I gonna do? My daughter’s dead, and I’m single. Who wants a woman without a child?
I think you got that backwards. Listen, it’s been a long couple of days. What do you say I take you out tonight? We’ll go to the Supper Club.
Mr. Bookpro, what kind of a private dick are you?
The kind that was a public one until he got arrested in the park.
Say, I noticed you’ve only had three Scotches and five cigarettes. Something wrong?
I don’t know. I still can’t believe you drove us here in a fudge Packard.
Stop calling it that. It’s just a dark brown car.
So, you got a light?
I got a lot of lights, but nowhere to plug them in.
Maybe I could help with that.
You help me? I’m gonna bust out crying.
Hope you got a hanky.
I’ll bring the hanky, you bring the panky.
You’re awfully quick with the wit, Mr. Bookpro.
I hear you’re quick with the feet.
You could say that. I was the lead dancer in The Nutcracker.
Huh. Must be a ballet about my ex wife.
Divorce was new, and I was the first guy to make that joke.
Good morning, Mr. Bookpro. So, I’m turning 21 tomorrow, and my parents are throwing me a Miserable Spinster party. Care to attend?
No, thanks, Ms. Patbottom. Me and my vaudeville group have a show, but if you maybe want to stop by…
No, no, no, no, no, no, no.
Say “cream cheese.”
PETER: We hadn’t realized that just “cheese” would work.
Hey, Mac, I developed that film you found on the girl.
What? It’s the cardinal with mobsters.
How do you know they’re mobsters?
What other Italians can afford Italian suits?
I wonder why a cardinal would meet with the mob.
Well, maybe they were in cahoots, Sister Megan discovered it, and that’s why the cardinal had her killed?
Good thinking, Ms. Patbottom. Let me give you a raise.
Oh, Mr. Bookpro, I don’t know what to say.
Hey, Mac, there’s a couple more photos. Including the cardinal with some broad.
What the rumpus? That’s Hedy. I wonder what her connection is to the cardinal?
Why don’t you just call and ask?
No way. We just went out, which means I got to wait three days, at least.
The cardinal was definitely up to something fishy, and I needed to find out what. Luckily, I knew just the guy to see.
Not so fast, Carol.
Carol is a very acceptable man’s name for this time period.
That’s a very defensive response for something I didn’t bring up. Everyone knows you’re dumb muscle for the mob. Tell me what you know about the cardinal.
Sorry, pal. I ain’t talking.
I’ll give you a peacoat to wear at the docks.
It’s a peacoat, isn’t it?
Will the buttons have anchors?
You want anchor buttons, start spilling. What’s the connection between the mob and the cardinal?
The mob works with the cardinal ’cause he’s the biggest bootlegger in town. He sneaks in booze from Italy aboard Church ships. And because the contents are supposed to be religious, no one checks.
What? But the cardinal’s against alcohol. He even rigged the vote to get it banned.
Wake up. He didn’t rig the vote because he’s against drinking. He did it so he could have the market all to himself. It was a ruse, a sham, a snow job. Pure hokum all the way. Nothing but pork pie.
I also spent most of my time looking up synonyms.
PETER: I’d have to figure out Hedy’s involvement later. But first, it was time to pay another visit to the cardinal.
Hello, Padre. Funny I’d find you here in the church bathroom.
CARTER: This is the confessional.
Well, then, I have something to confess.
Ugh, mother of mercy. How much mutton do you eat?
Hey, you’re supposed to be forgiving. This is a safe space. And anyway, Father, you’re the one who’s gonna do the confessing today. For the murder of Sister Megan.
The truth hurts, doesn’t it, Cardinal?
(gasps) What the rumpus?
Ace, thank God. Somebody just stabbed the cardinal and ran out the back door. And they stole all the cardinal’s Andes candies and put them in my pocket.
Nice try, Mac. We got an anonymous tip that a heavyset man entered the church with a knife. And funny thing, we got that tip right after getting the ballistics report on Sister Megan’s murder. She was killed with your gun.
What? You don’t think…
Sorry. I have to take you downtown.
(gasps) Dinner and a show?
No, Mac. Cuff him.
Come on, Ace. You can’t send me to the hoosegow, the big house, the graybar saloon, the stir.
And take his thesaurus.
What? I need that. It’s important. Just, you know, very, very, very, very important.
Hey, Mac, you made bail.
Really? Who in this town has three dollars?
Listen here, Mac. I know you were framed. And I want you to figure out who did it so I can write the story.
Yeah, it’ll be frontpage news.
Well, not not frontpage. A giant gorilla in Manhattan just escaped its restraints and kidnapped a lady.
Oh, my stars. But either way, you’ll get your story. I’ve got a pretty good idea who set me up. (whistles) Taxi.
PETER: His whole face had been blown off in the war. Probably left it somewhere in the French countryside.
Hey, guys? Did you go home? Did we win, at least?
PETER: Going somewhere, angel?
Mac? Wh… I… I thought you were in jail.
Yeah, for the murder you committed.
Admit it, you never had a daughter. You were bootlegging with the cardinal. You killed the woman who found you out and then you killed the cardinal so you could have all the dough to yourself. And you decided to frame me for it while also making me feel very bad about my erectile dysfunction.
Well, you did call yourself “The Big Mac.” But look, I didn’t kill anyone. Everything I told you was on the level. Sister Megan is my daughter, and I hired you because someone slipped your card under my door.
Well, princess, if you’re so innocent, why you skipping town?
Because after everything that happened, I’m scared for my life. And I wanted to go somewhere safe, like 1930s Poland or Belgium. Or the Sudetenland.
You really think you can pull the wool over my eyes, huh? Then explain this.
It’s about the pointlessness of individual lives within the relentless march of time.
Oh. And now, explain this. A photo of you and your business partner, the cardinal.
He’s not my business partner. The father is my father.
I’m sorry I never told you. We had to keep it a secret due to his position. But that’s why when I needed to give up my own child, I gave her to the Church.
Save it for the cops, doll. You can’t balletdance your way out of this one. Wait, you had Charleston Chews? When we hung out, you said you had, like, no snacks. Huh. I guess this is the sister with her orphans. What the rumpus? Why does this one orphan have a footballshaped head?
STEWIE: Well, well, Detective. I guess you made my party after all.
My name’s not Patbottom. It’s Marion Lynn Flowers. Which is a very typical man’s name for this time period.
You see, Detective, I’m not the man, or woman, you think I am. My parents were very poor. I was born in a halfway house. My room was on the unfinished side. Ultimately, I wound up in the church orphanage. The nuns were quite cruel, especially Sister Megan. One morning, I was hungry, so I asked for more.
STEWIE: It was, like, a huge deal. And the cardinal turned a blind eye to my mistreatment. All he cared about was his bootlegging operation. So, I called that canine journalist pretending to be Sister Megan, then I killed her with Mac’s gun. I slipped Mac’s card under Hedy’s door and I planted a roll of film on the sister to lead Mac not only to the cardinal but also to his new lover.
Fine, you didn’t like Sister Megan and the cardinal. Why me, though? Why do all that stuff just to frame me?
Because, Detective, your sin was the greatest of all. The only way I could stomach…
Do it with pictures.
Oh, sorry. The only way I could stomach life in the orphanage was by holding on to a dream: a dream of being a dancer. For years I trained, and one day, I finally got my big audition at the Quahog Ballet.
I was the best dancer in town, and I knew it. But then, tragedy struck. I slipped and fell, because someone had pooped in the street.
(sniffs) What the literal deuce?
I’d broken my leg. After all that training, I would never be in The Nutcracker.
(gasps) And I got the part.
Yes, the part meant for me. Everything went according to plan except for one detail. I only came here to kill her. How did you know she’d be here?
Funny thing about that. I got a friend at the harbor who owed me one.
Oh, Mac, you saved us.
Yeah. Your daughter is still dead, but you get to continue to outlive her, which is every mom’s dream.
Oh, just shut up and kiss me.
You got it, sweetheart.
PETER: It was the start of a beautiful romance. Soon, we’d be engaged, and we invited all our friends to the wedding in Hawaii.
“Please join Mac and Hedy in Hawaii on December 7th, 1941, a date that will live in intimacy. And on Friday, please join us for…” It’s a whole weekend?
Sorry for not believing you, Mac. But thanks to you, the real murderer is behind bars. And the Greater Boston area has seen its last bad priest.
So, what’s gonna happen to Marion?
Well, he’s a lunatic murderer who crossdresses in the ’30s. My guess is he can look forward to a life of loony bin craft projects and staring out at the sea.
You think that place can hold me? You’re dead, copper. You’re all dead.
But all that’s after the castration and full frontal lobotomy.
PETER: One week later, they took his balls and brains. I’m Mac Bookpro, and I can skip a rock six times. That wasn’t a good rock.