A Close Shave - Part 6 - A Craven Danger Mystery
“How many times I gotta tell ya?” said Betty. “Ya brother’s not gonna be there. I called ya mother an’ she told me so. Now get in the cab before I take my cookie back.”
Craven Danger pulled the big chocolate chip cookie out of his jacket pocket and stuffed it into his face like a secret agent in a desperate bid to swallow government secrets.
“If ya choke on that cookie,” said Betty, “you’ll never get another one outta me.”
“I was hungry,” said Craven. “And if ya never ate my mother’s cookin’, yer gonna be hungry, too. ‘Cause it don’t go down so good. We might wanna stop along the way and grab us a coupla dogs with ‘kraut and mustard.”
Betty brushed the crumbs off Craven’s lapel and guided him with a slight tug into the back of Sidney’s taxi.
“No stoppin’,” said Betty. “And driver?”
“Yes, ma’am?” said Sidney.
“Da Bronx,” said Betty. “And step on it. And if ya get us there quick enough, ya can have somebody’s dessert. ‘Cause that somebody all ready ate his.”
“Hey!” said Craven.
“Hay is fer horses and elephants,” said Betty. “And if ya ain’t careful it’s what you’ll be eatin’ fer supper.”
“Well, it’ll be better than anything we’ll be gettin’ at my mother’s house,” said Craven. “By the time she’s done servin’ ya supper, you’ll be cryin’ for the good ol’ days when ya mother shoved a spoonful a castor oil in ya puss.”
“Ya know,” said Sidney. “I read in the paper once that Hitler’s mother used ta feed him the stuff by the bottle and that’s why ya never seen him smilin’. I ain’t sayin’ castor oil is the cause of all that trouble over there, but I ain’t sayin’ it ain’t, either. I only know what I read in the paper.”
“What I’d like ta know,” said Craven, “is who’s the lunatic that prints up this paper of yours? ‘Cause it ain’t like any paper I ever read. I think I once read in the paper that there’s a mental ward in Bellvue that’s full of old newspaper editors that went over the edge and started their own newspaper called Nuts to You. That wouldn’t happen to be the name of this paper of yours would it?”
“Make fun all you want, Mr. Danger,” said Sidney. “But if ya ever hear of J. Edgar Hoover gettin’ hooked on the castor oil I’d be leavin’ town.”
J. Edgar Hoover was a boyhood hero of Craven Danger. Craven was fourteen years old when Hoover was Director of the Bureau of Investigation in 1934. And all he dreamed about that Christmas was getting a Tommy gun, just like the one he saw Hoover toting in a newsreel. It was also Craven’s dream to capture the notorious John Dillinger. With the Tommy gun at his hip and fedora tilted rakishly over one eye, agent Craven Danger would kick in the door to Dillinger’s hideout and take no prisoners.
Well, maybe just the beautiful and seductive gun moll. Who he would take under his arm and marry. That is, if she promised never to do any more bank robbing.
That Christmas Craven got a pair of extra thick underwear and a wrist watch. His brother Derek got a BB gun and enough ammo to terrorize every squirrel in the neighborhood.
It was a Christmas Craven would never forget.
Sidney Green pulled up to Craven’s boyhood home in the Bronx and watched as Betty and Craven made there way up the walkway.
“Well, FDR,” said Sidney. “It’s just you and me. How about we go for a drive and I tell ya my life story?”
FDR, who was seated on his haunches in the seat next to Sidney, licked at the cabbie’s unshaven stubble, and wouldn’t stop until Sidney gave him a piece of the jerky he had tucked in his top shirt pocket.
“Well, if I gotta bribe ya ta hear me out,” said Sidney. “Then I gotta.”