Part 118: Brian Bradley
New Music: Dead Stare
All right, Mr. Hyde... I'm done tryin' to hide all'a this.
I'm gonna tell ya everythin'. Tell ya how Evans'n me got started... Why they took m'Jenny... Why Evans disappeared seven years ago... And... I'll tell ya 'bout the other Kyle Hyde I met six months back. Yer pal Bradley. I'll tell ya everythin' he told me, everythin' I know.
All right. You talk. I'll listen.
Ya want me to get into this in front of Mila? She might not like it.
I want to hear it. If it's about Papa, I want to hear it all.
Might be hard.
I... I'm just like you.
Just like me?
When I told you about Jenny... You wanted to know everything, didn't you? What she said, how she... How she cried. You asked me over and over.
I...I understand. I understand why you kept asking me to repeat things. I was talking about Jenny. You wanted to hear it all, no matter how terrible it was. You wanted to be close to her, and that was the only way. That's how I feel, too. I want to know everything about Papa. I don't care what it is, I just want to know.
I think that settles it. Start talking.
My commentary this update will minimal.
New Music: Dead Stare
We was what ya call reunited by tragedy. There was a plane crash in Las Vegas in 1960. Two'a the women who died on that plane left behind little girls. One was Jenny's mom. M'wife. The other was married to Evans. That's yer mom, Mila.
He and I'd been at the same college, studyin' art and hopin' to be painters. And then five years later, we're new widowers in the Nevada desert. Took different paths after graduation, ya see? Evans followed in his father's footsteps and took over the family art gallery. And me? Thought I was pretty big news, and I tried t'make a livin' as a painter. But no one gave a rat's ass for m'work. Bradley had no quarters to rub together.
Then Evans said he thought I was a good artist. 'Bout near knocked me out my chair. Then he went on praisin' me and tellin' me how great I was. 'Course, I swallowed it all... He told me somethin' else, too. Said he'd given up on bein' a painter 'cause he knew I was better'n him. Then he looked me square in the eye and told me he'd see me famous or die tryin'. 'Bout a year later, Evans comes up with this crazy idea... Said he wanted to prove he had an eye for art. Told me it was my chance to prove m'self, too. Yer a great painter, he said, and history'll prove me right. It sounds silly now, but... He was so sure of himself. Got me all worked up, too. We just wanted t'show the world what for, ya know? Couple'a damn fools... Well, we spent the next three years thinkin' up all the details. And between the two'a us, we created Marcel Osterzone out of thin air.
Music: Rainy Night
Then I painted up 'bout a couple dozen pieces or so that we could say were his. My job was t'just stay outta sight and paint till my hand cramped.
He also wrote up a book 'bout how he discovered Osterzone.
The one I found in the basement?
Yup. It introduced the world to the mystery painter that died too young. In less time'n it takes t'change a lightbulb, his works took off. Collectors started buyin' up the stuff and payin' a fortune for it, too. Evans'n me were just happy as pigs in filth. Art world loved Osterzone. And loved his paintings. I just kept paintin' and paintin' as much as I could. And Evans sold every last one of 'em for more money than I ever imagined. But...
'Bout that time, Evans and me stopped seein' eye t'eye.
Evans liked our scam. He liked pullin' the wool over people. He started lookin' for other ways t'fleece people, and started gettin' good at it. But me?
I couldn't take hidin' in the shadow of a painter I created. It was too much. After a while, I just lost m'talent. I couldn't paint no more. ...That's what led to the worst day of my life.
Evans invited me to the hotel, so I threw Jenny in the car'n came on over. Evans brought Mila, and... Our girls started playin' together right away. Kids were cuter'n anythin'.
We hadn't had a relaxin' night in a while. We just shot the breeze had a couple'a drinks... Nothing outta the ordinary. Then Evans said he wanted t'show me somethin'. So he brought me down here.
We were standin' right about here... Evans told me he bought the hotel and built this room just for me. Wanted me t'hide down here and just keep paintin'. "Yer a genius," he says to me. "You'll be paintin' again 'fore ya know it! Ya wanna give Jenny the good life, don't ya? All ya gotta do is turn into Osterzone again and paint. You'll have enough scratch t'give Jenny whatever she wants. Make her happy."
No! That's not true! That wouldn't make anyone happy!
Why would Papa say that?
Man didn't have a choice, girl. He had t'say that to me. It was all he could do.
What do you mean?
Any fool could see Evans wasn't behind this hotel. Had to be someone else.
And one group'a crooks called Nile had their claws sunk into him but good. All ya had t'do was take a look at this room. Evans don't make all this for a mope like me. This was a place for crooks t'do all their dirty business. I didn't talk much at first. Just let Evans say his piece. But then I told'm no. Told'm that I wasn't gonna paint no more. So then, they...
They took her, Mr. Hyde. The damn bastards took m'baby girl.
They took Jenny.
New Music: Amber Sunset
Aw, dammit... ...Anyway, Evans sat me down and told it straight. "Become Osterzone," he says. "Just paint. Do that'n Jenny'll come back to ya." The hell else could I do? I moved down here and started paintin'. And Osterzone was back.
But I didn't care 'bout fame or money, or nothing. I just wanted m'girl back. But... She didn't come back. No, sir.
So I kept paintin' for three years, thinkin' they'd keep their word. But one day I had enough. Told 'em all to go t'hell. That's when Evans sent me that letter ya saw. I can tell ya the damn thing word for word. "This is yer last job. Finish it and yer free. I won't ask nothing further of ya. However, our secret must never be revealed. Keep slinet'n I promise that Jenny'll one day be returned to ya. Go back to the Dusk. Be patient." He sent me the deed to this hotel with his letter.
I tried to track'm down, but... Like I said earlier, I ain't no detective. Gallery was all closed up, and I didn't know where else t'look.
Papa... Where did you go?
I didn't have no idea how to start lookin' for him... So I just decided t'stay and wait 'er out. I made a promise to m'self, ya understand? I was gonna wait here for m'Jenny, and if I died waitin', so much the better. So five years back, I opened the Dusk back up again. But no one wanted t'stay here. People heard stories 'bout the night Jenny was taken and... Well, it kept 'em away. So I made up that load'a crap 'bout the wish room and told a buncha newspapers. Then I tried t'run the place. ...Guess ya can tell I ain't much of a people person.
Did you hear from Evans?
Naw. Not a peep. But a couple'a years back I got a visit from a gal who used t'work in his gallery.
I asked if I could help her, and outta the blue she said she knew I was Osterzone. Also said she knew Evans forced me t'do all the paintings. Then she threatened me. Said she'd reveal m'secret 'less I painted one for her. Thought she might know where Evans had gotten off to, so I did it. I gave her the paintin', but never heard from her again. Nothin' from Evans, neither.
Yep. Oh, and then... Six months ago? That other fella showed up. The one with yer name. Got some news 'bout Evans from him.
Music: Rainy Night
Bradley. What did he tell you?
Don't quite know what t'make of it. I liked'm well enough, so we had a drink.
Then he told me he knew all about Osterzone. This fella knew everythin', and he just kept talkin'. Said he knew we'd created him, and that he knew I'd been paintin'.
Didn't think I should say nothin', so I just sat and listened. After a bit, he quit talkin' and just swirled his ice around. I figured he was done and made t'leave, but then he said somethin' real quiet... Told me he made a deal with one'a Nile's men. ...A man named Norman.
What kind of deal?
He said they had his sister. Said they were holdin' her hostage. That was the deal that Norman...er...Evans wanted t'make. He wanted yer pal to tell'm everythin' the cops knew in exchange for his sister.
WHAT?! No, I refuse to-
Hold on, Mr. Hyde! I ain't done yet! Yer pal told me he made the deal. Said he betrayed his friends. But when he went t'find his sister... She was already dead.
Mila. Oh, no...
He's holdin' his sister's dead body, watchin' the steam rise, when he hears a voice. "Ya can't change anything. Ya sold out yer people, and ya can't take it back. Yer sister's dead, and ya don't leave any family left. Ya got nothin' left. Come'n work for me. That's the only road open for a man like you."
I have to say, what the fuck is Evans' plan here? He coerced Bradley to work for him, and then he betrayed him. And after that he still expects Bradley to just work for him? What?
I tell ya the sound of that voice... He's a wounded man, Mr. Hyde. So then yer pal finished his story and his drink, but he never raised his eyes. And I asked him what he done next. He kept lookin' at his glass, but I could tell he was seein' somethin' else. "I accepted his offer," he told me. "I knew it was the only way to avenge my sister. The only way t'make Evans pay."
When he finally looked at me, his eyes were hard as any I ever seen.
Next mornin', he checked out. Left me quite a goin'-away present, though... The paintin' that had been hangin' above the bed in 217 had been taken down. And hangin' there was Angel Openin' a Door. He left a photograph and a key on the bed. Photo was the same one ya found. Evans always carried that photo with him. And this here's the key.
What's it for?
No clue. Key's a mystery I I ain't solved. (Sic) But once I saw the paintin' and the photo, I knew one thing. I knew everythin' he told me was true. Was a tough pill to swallow, ya know? Evans workin' for Nile. Never believed things coulda got that messed up. I took Angel Openin' a Door off the wall and carried 'er down to the basement. Then I covered the damn thing with a coat'a white paint. I just wanted to forget everythin' I knew 'bout Mr. Robert Evans. That's why I locked up 217 and didn't let no one stay there anymore.
...And that's it, Mr. Hyde. Everythin' I know. Every last bit. When you showed up clamin' the same handle as that man... I got to thinkin' somethin' bad was gonna happen. That's why I was so nervous. Something bad... Ha! Go ahead'n laugh. I'm nothin' but a damn fool. This place and its secrets draws bad things like flies to honey. But I'm still here. Still doin' what I can to protect that secret. Waiting's 'bout all I can do anymore.
New Music: Endless Road
I got it, Ed. I finally got it...
I told Ed everything that Dunning said. I told him about Evans, and Jenny, and Mila... And Bradley. Ed didn't say a word the whole time. But I knew he was listening.
So that's it, huh?
Now I know! He had a reason for selling us out! He's alive, Ed! Bradley is alive. And he was here six months ago. It's funny... He left all these little clues all around the hotel... Almost like he knew I'd be coming.
Actually, Hyde... I think you hit the nail on the head. I just got off the horn with the guy who wanted the red box and the magazine. He settled the bill, but said he didn't care about getting the items back.
Ed, wait. That means... Those items were just...
Listen, Hyde. Lie down. Get some rest. You need to clear your head. I'll call you tomorrow.
I tried using the key to open the small red box.
I read the letter, my eyes poring over each word.
Six months ago, I heard that you turned in your badge and left Manhattan.
I figured it was my chance, so I arranged for you to be here. You know why I did it, don't you, partner? Because I know you. Because I knew you'd solve all the riddles hidden in this dump of a hotel. I knew you'd discover what happened here, and what happened to me. You're a damn bulldog, Hyde. I knew you wouldn't let it go. I had to believe that. Three years ago, I betrayed you. I put your finger on that trigger, and I made you pull it. You know, Hyde, I can still hear your voice. Asking me why... You have any idea how angry you sounded? Of course, you always were the crazy one. But every time I hear it in my head... I see Mila. I see the way Evans killed my baby sister. And I remember the day six months ago when I took my revenge.
And so I'm on the run now. Nile wants me dead. Cops want me dead. Some life, huh, partner? Stop looking for me, Kyle. My way is a dead-end street. Let me go. I'm a ghost now. -Bradley
(He stood by her bed and watched her sleep, thinking all the while of HIS Mila.)
(Tell me somethin, Bradley...)