A Case of the Booze II - A Craven Danger Mystery
“I can’t believe it!" said Craven Danger. “The one time I come so close to a case that I could almost feel the bullets whizzin’ past my ears and the flames lickin’ at my feet as I make my heroic dash through a burnin’ warehouse - tied to a chair, mind you - and jump out the window - still in the chair, I’ll have you know - you come along and take it all away! I mean, who’s the private dick around here, anyway? Me or you?"
“Keep your shorts on, Mr. Danger,” said Betty. “You’ll blow a casket.”
“Gasket,” said Craven.
“That too,” said Betty. “But it’s not like you think.”
“Never mind what I think! All I know is I just spent the last three hours walkin’ the streets in search of my secretary and a merry widow, thinkin’ they’d been kidnaped or something. And the last place I figured to find them would be in a crummy dive saloon like this one, with your playin’ junior detective and takin’ a case right out from under me! And under my very toes!”
”Nose,” said Betty.
”Under that too,” said Craven
“Hey!” said the bartender. “I recent that crummy dive saloon crack. I’ll have you know that we just had the exterminators in here not two days ago, and we now got rat traps and poison pellets comin’ out of our ears! You won’t see that in no crummy dive saloon!”
”Ah, go tap a keg, why don’t cha!” said Craven.
”Ah, go tap a kidney, while your at it!” said the bartender.
“Ya see,” said Betty, “it’s like this. When I seen that poor merry widow in need of a drink, the last place I thought she should have one was wit’ a hootch hound like you. If I caved in and brought you that bottle, one minute you’d be discussin’ a case with a wailin’ widow and the next minute, whammo!You two are doin‘ a Hoochie Coochie dance, and moppin’ each other all over the office floor!”
“Hey!" said Craven. “Talk about havin' no faith!”
"Oh, I have faith in ya, Mr. Danger," said Betty. "I just don't trust ya."
"Gee, thanks," said Craven. "Now I feel better."
“Speakin a dancin',” said Betty, “I remember the first time I saw ya. Three years ago. I was a cocktail waitress at Benji’s tavern and I was waitin’ on your table. That dish you was wit’, Creamy Delicious, you kept callin’ her--”
“She was in show business,” interrupted Craven.
“She was an usherette at the Radio City Music Hall!” said Betty.
“It’s still show business!” said Craven.
“Anyways," said Betty, “she wanted to dance a fox trot. So ya both get on the dance floor, but neither of ya seemed to be doin’ the same dance. Ya kept smackin’ each other in the puss and gettin’ your legs all tangled up. 'Who taught you how to dance?’ says Creamy Delicious, 'King Kong?‘“
“Oh, you’re daft!” said Craven. “She never said no such thing!”
“But you were the cutest thing on that dance floor, Mr. Danger,” said Betty.
“Yeah?” said Craven.
“Oh, yeah,” said Betty.
“You wouldn’t be tryin’ to snow a guy, would ya?”
“Cross my heart, Mr. Danger,” said Betty. “I was only tryin’ ta help us get a case.”
”So what is our case?” said Craven. “I’m dyin’ to know!“
”That‘s just it, Mr. Danger,” said Betty. ”There ain‘t no case.”
”No case?” said Craven. ”Ya mean she changed her mind?”
“No," said Betty. “It seems our merry widow got confused and walked in the wrong door this morning. She was looking for Grave Endeavors, the headstone engravers across the hall.”
“You mean I go through all of this and I still ain’t got a case?”
“That’s the way the bookie crumbles,” said Betty.
“Cookie,” said Craven.
“Them, too,“ said Betty.
“So, where is this merry widow now?” said Craven
“She’s standin’ over there," said Betty. “The one with her head in the fish bowl.”
”And just why would she be doin' that?“ said Craven.
”Gettin‘ a better look, I guess. I told her not to have that fancy drink wit’ the umbrella in it. Those babies ’ll sneak up on ya and, Boom! Next thing you know you’re doin’ the Charleston wit’ a drunken postman and spittin’ up gold fish.”
"Yeah, Mr. Danger?"
“All this talk about dancin got me thinkin'. How about you and me throw some nickels in the juke box and show ‘em how its done?”
“I thought you’d never ask,” said Betty.
And off they went. Swallowed up in a sea of drunken sailors and a future full of merry black widows.