Too Many Sub-plots – A Short Story

I like to watch TV. However, lately my favorite shows seem to have added so many sub-plots that it’s hard to keep them straight. There’s a sub-plot for each relationship.  Here’s an example of a detective show with too many sub-plots.

Dick sat at his non-descript desk in the bull pen typing out his report on his latest bust. His partner, Tracy, sat in the desk next to his doing the same.

A tall blond walked over to Dick’s desk and sat on the edge of his desk. It was Joanna from Vice. She was a very successful undercover detective in vice because she looked and acted like a hooker. “Are you coming over tonight, handsome?” Joanna asked slyly.

“Yeah,” Dick answered. “As soon as I finish my report, I’ll be right over – thirty-minutes, tops.”

Joanna stood up. “Okay but don’t be too late or I’ll start without you. Oh, and bring your handcuffs.”

“Where are yours?” Dick asked.

Joanna smiled. “We’ll need two pair tonight, Sugar.” She exited the room with a little more sway than her usual strut. Dick and Tracy watched her until she turned into the hall with a pad of sticky notes stuck to her butt.

Dick glanced over to Tracy in time to see him advert his eyes back to his monitor. Dick returned to writing his report. Finally, he broke the sound of clicking key boards, “This isn’t fair.”

“What’s not fair?” Tracy asked, looking up.

“The whole justice system. Today we busted a meth lab and took in… what, half a mill in drugs and easily $100,000 in cash, and what do we get out of it? A pat on the back. It isn’t fair.”

“Yeah, you’re right. You know, in some companies, we’d get to keep ten percent.” They both returned to their key boards. After a few minutes, Tracy said, “Did you know there’s 3.5 million dollars in the evidence room? A couple of smart guys like us could figure a way to get it out.”

Dick sat back in his chair and looked at Tracy. “You’re right. We could figure out how to remove it without anyone noticing.”

“After work, let’s go get a drink and talk about it,” Tracy suggested.

“I can’t. I’ve got a date tonight. Maybe tomorrow.”

Tracy laughed. “Going over to Joanna the Slut’s place?”

Dick stared at his partner. “Don’t call her that.”

“Everyone calls her that.”

“I don’t care. Don’t call her a ‘slut’ in my presence.”

Tracy threw his hands up in surrender. “Okay, partner.”

Detective Columbo, another detective in Dick’s department, walked over and leaned on Dick’s desk. He looked Dick straight in the eyes. “This isn’t over, dick-head. We need to settle it. Let’s you and I go to the gym tonight and get in the ring – no holds barred.”

Dick smiled. “Can’t tonight, maybe tomorrow night.”

Columbo straighten up. “Oh yeah, you’re going out with Joanna the Slut tonight.”

Dick jump to his feet. He would’ve hit Columbo in the face if Tracy hadn’t jumped in between them. Tracy placed his hands on Columbo’s chest and gave him a slight shove. “Not now, guys and not here; tomorrow night at the gym. Now beat it, Columbo.”

Columbo pointed a finger at Dick. “I’m going to kill you.” He turned and stormed out.

Dick’s boss, Lois Lane, stood in the doorway to his office. “Dick.” Both Tracy and Dick looked up and made eye contact. “Not you, dick-head, the other Dick,” Lois said. She signaled for Dick to come into her office. When Dick came into his office, Lois said, “Close the door and sit down.” She shuffled through some pages and finally looked up at Dick. “Where’s the report on today’s bust?”

“I’m working on it, Chief. I’ll e-mail it to you in twenty minutes.”

Lois nodded. “Do you need over-time?”

“No, No. I got it. Besides, I have a date tonight.”

Lois chuckled. “Going out with Joanna the Slut again?”

Dick didn’t answer; he just glared.

Lois shook her head. “Look, I understand. You work hard, you play hard. It’s been a long day and you need your pipes cleaned. Go for it. Go ahead and just file the report. Print out a hard copy for me.”

Dick cocked his head. “Is that why you called me in here? What’s on your mind?”

Lois shook her head. “You always were the perceptive one. Internal Affairs is reopening the case from last year about the teenager you shot.”

“Who’s heading up the investigation?” Dick asked.

“Sherlock Holmes.”

Dick shook his head. “He’s been after me very since I accidently ran over that kid my rookie year. That shooting is a closed case. It was a clean shot.”

“You fired nineteen rounds into the perp. You stopped to reload a second clip.”

Dick stood up and shouted, “He was jaywalking!” He took a deep breath and composed himself, flopping down in the chair. “He could have been hit by a truck. I probably saved his life when I shot him.”

Lois shook her head. “It would have been better if you had killed him. He sued the department and the city settled out of court for five million dollars. I think Sherlock wants to recoup some of the money from your pension. That’s brings up a good point; You shot him nineteen times and he still crawled away.”

“I could have killed him if I wanted to.”

Tracy stuck his head in the door. “Dick, you better come out and see this. Your daughter is here asking for you.”

“Damn it!” Lois shouted. “I closed that door for a reason.”

Tracy stepped inside the office. “Sorry, Chief. It’s an emergency.” Dick stood up and marched out of Clark’s office followed by Tracy.

Dick’s daughter, Mystique, stood by Dick’s desk; young, pretty, wearing a too short and tight mini-skirt and sporting a black eye.

Dick stopped in his tracks. “WTF? Who hit you?” Mystique wasn’t crying, but Dick could tell by the way she clinched her jaw she was pissed.

Mystique chuckled.  “My so-called boyfriend did this.”

Dick clinched his fists. “I’ll kill him. Where is he?”

Mystique held up her hands to stop her father. “You have to chill, dad. I’m a big girl now. I can take care of myself. I’ll handle this. I just came by to borrow a gun.”

Tracy reached down to his ankle and pulled out a small pistol. “Here. Use mine. It’s unregistered and the serial number’s filed off.” He stepped forward and handed it to Mystique.

“Thanks,” she said, “I’ll return it tomorrow.” She kissed Tracy on the mouth. Her left hand stayed on his buttocks a little too long. She turned and kissed her father on the cheek. “Don’t worry about me. I’ll see you tonight.”

Dick shook his head. “Sorry, hon. I’ve a date. I might not be home tonight.”

Mystique laughed. “Oh, Joanna the Slut again? Oh well, I shouldn’t talk. Have fun. See you at the fight.”

Dick was puzzled. “What fight?”

Mystique stopped in the doorway. “I heard you and Columbo are scheduled to fight tomorrow after work. It’s about time you two kissed and made up.”

Dick could feel his face redden. “Is nothing a secret around here?” He watched his daughter walk out; her mini-skirt revealing a little too much cheek. He turned around and saw Tracy watching her. When he glared at him, Tracy looked down and slithered over to his desk. In ten minutes, Dick was finished and headed for the door.

“Give my love to Joanna,” Tracy shouted.

It was now dark. As Dick walked toward his car, he heard a voice out of the darkness. “Dick, wait up.” It was one of his confidential informants, Moriarty. Moriarty closed the distance between them. “Hey, we need to talk.”

“WTF, Moriarty? I said never to talk to me here or in public.”

“I know, dude, don’t get flamed. I wouldn’t if it wasn’t important.” Dick paused to listen. “Word on the street is you and Tracy going to drain the evidence room.”

Dick was stunned. “Where did you hear that?”

“I’ve my sources. That’s why I’m a good CI. Is it true?”

“It’s in the planning stage.”

Moriarty placed a hand on Dick’s shoulder. “Well, if you need help, I’m here for you, dude. I also heard you and Columba are going to rubble tomorrow night.”

Dick raised his voice. “Damn it! Are there no secrets anymore? So… what are the odds?”

“Three to one in Columbo’s favor.”

“WTF? I’ll murder that guy.” Dick took out his wallet and fished out a twenty. “Put $20 on me to win.”

“Come on, dude. Only a twenty? Your daughter put up $30 on Columbo.”

“I guess there is no loyalty. I always thought blood was thicker.”

Moriarty laughed. “Well, I guess we’ll see tomorrow. By the way, Chief Lane bet $50 on Columbo.”

Dick looked up at Lois’ window and saw the light was out. He pulled out another $10 and gave it to Moriarty. “Now get out of my sight before I arrest you for gambling.”

Moriarty disappeared into the shadows. From the shadows he yelled, “Give my love to Joanna the Slut.”


This snippet has so many sub-plots I have forgotten the original plot. Too any cooks spoil the broth. The same goes for plots.

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