The Nutty Detective - Part I - A Craven Danger Mystery
Private investigator Craven Danger sniffed the air in his office, made a face, then stepped out into the hallway.
“What’s that smell?”
“I‘m mopping the floor, Mr. Danger,” said the man behind the mop.
“My mother used to mop floors,” said Craven, “but she never done it with the sewer water!”
“Smell is in the nose of the beholder, Mr. Danger. One man’s rose garden is another man’s pigeon coop. Me? I’m partial to pigeons.”
“Hey, wait a minute. You look familiar. Didn’t you used to be the dentist on the third floor?”
I still am, Mr. Danger. Victor Morgan DDS. I’m also the new custodian. I figure I can do this in between appointments and pick up a little extra dough to keep me in pigeons.”
“Yeah,“ said Dr. Morgan. “I raise pigeons on the roof. It’s a hobby of mine.”
“A hobby? Stamp collectin’s a hobby, Doctor Dolittle. Raisin’ pigeons is a crime against nature. ‘Cause them dirty birds of yours is nothin’ but poop drippin’ pests! An’ I got a closet full of pooped-on fedoras to prove it!”
“My dear Mr. Danger, in a city like New York you have to protect your investments. I suggest a shower cap. It’ll help keep your fedora in tip-top shape.”
“Shower cap? Over my fedora! That defeats the whole purpose of wearin’ the fedora! It’s all about the look. It’s like this. If I wanna look jovial I push it back a little and put on a big silly grin. If I want people to know I mean business I pull it down over my eyes and put on my best sneer.”
“Doesn’t that make it hard to see where you’re goin’, Mr. Danger? You being a detective and all? You should be more practical. Appearances be damned! I’ll bet if Sherlock Holmes were alive today he’d darn well be wearing a shower cap over his deerstalker.”
“Sherlock Holmes prancin’ about London in a shower cap? I don’t see it. Anyway, Sherlock Holmes was just a character in a book, Dr. Delusional. He wouldn’t be alive if he lived to be a hundred!”
“Bite your tongue, Mr. Danger. I happen to be president of the local chapter of the Baker Street Irregulars and we take our Holmes quite seriously indeed! He’s real enough to us!”
“Whatever you say, Dr. Watson. Maybe next you’ll be suggestin’ I slip a bathrobe over my double-breasted pin-stripes to complete the ensemble! I could be the Nutty Detective of Third Avenue. I can put Betty in some pajamas and house slippers and we can strut up and down the Avenue singin’ ‘I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts!’”
“I see, Mr. Danger. Since your vanity seems to triumph over your common sense, might I interest you in a custom-made walking stick? It’s a little side business of mine. Perfect for looking the proper gentleman, as well as for apprehending criminals. One whomp on the head and they’ll know they’ve been nabbed. You could be the Dapper Detective.
”Dapper Detective?” said Craven. “I sure do like the sound of that.”
“You just come up to my office for a teeth cleaning and I’ll hook you up.”
“Yes, sir. I can see from here your choppers are a mess.”
“Well, all right. But you better be in your dentist garb. I won’t feel right with the custodian cleaning my molars.”
“Not to worry, Mr. Danger. I will be the proper dentist. And the only thing I’ll be pulling is your leg. And it won’t cost you a fortune, either. You do have insurance?”
“Looks like today’s your lucky day, Mr. Danger. I can offer you a policy that will save you thousands of dollars during your lifetime and after your death. I even have a coffin brochure I can show you. Guaranteed to keep you preserved for centuries to come. Just follow me.”
Betty sure picked the wrong time to go on vacation, thought Craven. I have a feeling I’m gonna be losing my shorts today, and maybe even a couple a molars. And where the heck am I gonna put a coffin? I barely have room for my desk. I really shouldn’t be left alone. Not ever.
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