Craven Gets Flashed XXIII
At his shop above the Village Tavern Freddie Moynihan pounded the wood floor with the heel of his shoe.
“Quiet down there! I’m trying to listen to Bing Crosby on the radio! Ah, why do I bother? Pennies From Hell is what he should be singing. Dwayne? You okay in there? I’ll be right in with the brush.”
“I need more bubbles, Freddie, and a shower cap. I don’t wanna get my hair wet.”
After he coaxed Dwayne Dobbins down from the carousal pony with a bacon omelette Freddie thought the boy looked a little rough behind the ears and so he offered him a bath.
“A little lower,” said Dwayne. “Ahhh, that’s nice. I must say it’s awful nice of you to run me a bath. My ma don’t ever run my bath anymore. She says it’s because she don’t want me smelling too clean in case some young floozie comes along and tries to steal me away from my duties at the Coffee Pot on the Corner. If that happened we wouldn’t be able to pay the rent and we’d be walking the street with the two of us smelling none too sweet. So far her plan is working. The girls that come into the Coffee Pot mostly hold their noses and poke me with a fork if I happen to get to close. That’s why Steve’s been keeping me in the kitchen washing dishes when I ain’t out delivering food orders to the denizens of Gotham. You see how I used that word Gotham? It’s a good detective novel word I stole from a Batman comic book. Which reminds me that I gotta get that comic back to a certain gumshoe mentor of mine. Hey! Gumshoe! That’s another good word for the book. I gotta start writing this stuff down, Mr. Moynihan. Maybe when I’m done with my bath I can borrow a pencil and some paper and get started while we’re waiting for Sergeant Dowd.”
“You're killing me with your demands, kid,” said Freddie. “But if you prefer, I’ll let you use my typewriter.”
“Boy, you sure are an awful nice kidnapper, Mr. Moynihan. And I’m gonna write all about it, too. You don’t know it but a private detective named Craven Danger has been teaching me every which way of the gumshoe trade. So when I write my crime novels they’ll ring true. And to think I can start it all right here. Before tonight these novels have only been racin’ around in my head. I feel like a slow ticking time-bomb that’s ready to explode! My fingers have been itching for a typewriter for the longest time. This is fate I tell ya. Fate!”
“I tell you what, kid. I’ll lay a shelf across the tub and you can type here in the bathroom. I do some of my best thinking in here.”
“If I didn’t know any better — and some tell me I don’t — I’d swear I died and and was sent to the nicest heaven a concrete jungle has to offer. Thank you from the bottom of my ever-so-clean heart. And if it’s not too much trouble can ya toss in a fedora with bathwater? It’ll give me inspiration.”
“My pleasure, Dwayne.”
After he set-up Dwayne’s writing table on the tub, Freddie sat back in his easy chair, poured himself three fingers of vodka, and turned up the volume on the radio.
That kid could talk the laces off a pair of shoes.
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