A Close Shave - Part 3 - A Craven Danger Mystery
In a neat little cape cod house in the Bronx there dwell many Dangers.
Mollie Danger put the kettle on to boil and sat at the breakfast table to face the morning weather.
The morning weather sat opposite Mollie, hidden behind the New York Daily News.
“And how’s my morning weather?” said Mollie Danger.
The morning weather was unpredictable. On some days bright and sunny. On others, dark and stormy.
“I’m just fine and dandy, Ma,” said Derek Danger. “Just catching up on Dick Tracy. He and Two Face are at each others throats again. That Tracy sure does get himself mixed up with the craziest villains. I wonder if Craven ever mixes it up with characters like that.”
“Oh, I’m sure Craven is doing his best to rid the world of some of its ills. He was always one to be bringing home a stray dog or giving his only nickel to a passing hobo.”
“Yeah,” said Derek. “He was always a bit of a sucker if you ask me.”
“Well,” said Mollie Danger. “As your father always said, ‘One man’s sucker is another man’s saving grace.’”
“Come on, Ma,” said Craven. “Craven was always a sap. Always with his head in those Sherlock Holmes books. Remember that one winter when he kept talking with that phony English accent? ‘Would you kindly pass the Corn Flakes, my good man. Else wise I shall be late for class.’ Phuleeze, Ma! Just where did he really come from? Please tell me he was adopted, because I hate to think we got the same blood running in our veins.”
The slap that followed could be heard by his Aunt Flo, who was busy arranging flowers on the dinning room table.
When Aunt Flo entered the kitchen to find out what was going on, Derek’s cheek was a crimson red and his tears fell warm and salty on his bowl of oatmeal.
“What happened?” said Aunt Flo.
“Nothing,” said Mollie Danger. “I just wanted to make sure he wasn’t a ghost. Because I thought that at ten AM on a beautiful October Sunday, a thirty five year old man would be sitting at his own kitchen table, reading the funny papers to his own kids and asking his lovely wife if she’d like to take the kids for a ride in the country. ‘Maybe do some apple picking. Wouldn’t that be swell, hon?' Instead of sitting at the kitchen table with his mother, complaining about a brother who at least had enough gumption to get out of the house and try to put a life together.
“But no ghost is he,” continued Mollie. “Lifeless yes. But all too real.”
“I told you it’s rough trying to find work out there, Ma,” said Derek. “All the good jobs are being taken by the servicemen coming home from the war. A guy like me don’t stand a chance.”
“And before the war,” said Mollie Danger. “You blamed the depression. Even after your father offered you a job in his moving business.”
“Ah, Ma,” said Derek. “You know I got a bad back and my knees are all messed up from playing baseball. I was in no shape to be schlepping furniture up six story walk-ups. I was supposed to be a professional ball player.”
“You need to get over that,” said Mollie Danger. “Craven was all broken up about not being a soldier, but he sucked it in and carried on. I only wish you’d follow his example. And now I’m tired of this conversation. Craven’s coming over for dinner tonight. And if you can’t be nice, I don’t want you here. I’ve had enough. Now take your funny papers and get out of my kitchen. Go spend the day at the movie house. Just don’t be home for dinner.”
“But Ma,” said Derek.
But Ma was having none of it. She got up and took the kettle off the boil and left the kitchen.
“If I were you,” said Aunt Flo. “I’d have a job before you even think about stepping back into this house, Derek. It’s taken several years, but you have finally managed to push that woman over the edge. And I don’t think she’s ever coming back till your out of here.”
Aunt Flo left the kitchen to tend to her floral arrangement for tonight’s dinner party for Craven Danger and Betty Fletcher. She was excited at finally having a new face at the table.
If that slug even thinks about spoiling this dinner party, thought Aunt Flo, I’ll run him up a flag pole and let the birds have at him.