Benny the Lout - A Craven Danger Mystery
Betty watched as Benny the Lout slouched over Craven Danger’s desk and hurled abuse at the private investigator.
“Look here, powder puff!” said Benny. “If I’d a known ya was one merit badge shy a gettin’ a brain, I’d a hired a troop a girl scouts to go hunt down my wife!”
“Hey! Watch it!” said Betty. “Ya spittin’ tetestarone all over my bosses new suit!”
“It sure wouldn’t hurt him any!”
“Betty, you’re not helpin’,” said Craven.
“Pipe down, Mr. Danger. I got this.”
“Listen here, ginger cakes,” said Benny. “I’m payin’ good money to a man who can’t find his way out of his own top coat! Either he finds my no-good cheatin’ wife or he hands over those Benjamin’s I gave him!”
“Your no-good cheatin’ wife is married to a man who woudn’t know a good egg if it spit in his eye,” said Betty.
“This is what. Ya just don’t know women. I never met your wife, but I can see her clear as glass. No woman would marry a slug like you unless she loved him. She figured a good woman’s influence could make him change. But the only thing that seemed to make him happy was parking his rump on a whisky-stained barstool and annoying the heck oughta some hard-working barmaids. Suddenly, he stops comin’ home with the rent money ‘cause he seemed ta have misplaced it at the craps table. Now, drunk and broke, Mr. Charm heads home and gives his wife the sad-sack routine. An’ ta make it an extra special occasion he tries to slobber his way to a cuddle under the sheets. Only the Mrs. has had enough an’ ain’t havin’ no more. So she feeds him some more drink and waits till he falls asleep, leavin’ him sittin’ there with his lips all puckered up like some flea-bitten Romeo.”
“Hey!” said Benny.
“Hey’s what they say when the truths got ‘em by the neck,” said Betty. ”An’ the truth is your wife has had herself a good education bein’ married to you. Now she knows what not to do and who not to do it with. So, here’s ya two Bejamin’s, Mr. Lout. Go on. Take it. We don’t need ya soiled money!”
“You’re lucky I don’t throw this desk and its occupant out the window!” said Benny.
“Go ahead,” said Betty. “I dare ya!”
”Wait a minute!” said Craven. “Don’t I get a say in this?”
“No!” said Betty. “I’m too full a vinegar at the moment. And if a certain lout’s tail ain’t cleared the door in the next few seconds this letter opener is gonna be openin’ more than just a few over-due utility bills!”
Benny the Lout wasn’t much of a man. But he had enough man in him to know when to back down to an irate woman with a weapon.
“I don’t know what I’d do without you, Betty,” said Craven. ”I thought we’d never get rid of him.”
“Ah, shuddup!” said Betty. And out the door she went.
“I love you, too,” whispered Craven. ”Boy, she sure does give me the shivers.”
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