Craven Gets Stooled - A Craven Danger Mystery
“Hey, mister!“ said the boy. ”I was just gonna buy that!”
Private investigator Craven Danger pulled the comic book closer to his nose and avoided eye contact.
“Yeah? Well, I was here first,” said Craven. “Get your own copy.”
“There ain’t no more,” said the boy. ”You snagged the last one, ya big doofus! There’s part two of a two-parter in there, and if I don’t get to find out what happens to the Shadow somebody’s shins is gonna be in big trouble.”
“Hey! Shouldn’t you be outside bullyin’ someone your own age?”
“Oh, yeah? Well, shouldn’t you be outside hustlin’ a buck for the rent like all the other old people?”
“Listen, squirt. Saturday’s my day off. So, if ya don’t mind I’d like to get back to my readin’. Things ain’t lookin’ too good for the Shadow, and my nerves is itchin’ for him to pull out of it alive. Flames is lickin’ at his feet this very minute.”
“Flames?” said the boy. “At the end of part one he was falling off the Brooklyn Bridge! Where’d the flames come from?”
“If ya got here first, ya’d a found out, kid. Let that be a lesson to ya. Remember: the early bird catches the worm.”
”And you know what the worm catches?“
“No,” said Craven. “What?”
“Nothing!” said the boy. “Just like you, Mr. Private Detective. He catches nothing!”
“Hey, short pants!! I had just about enough a you! Now scram! The Shadow’s just moments away from dropping into a flaming tugboat and I don’t wanna miss it!”
“If I was any taller,” said the boy. “I’d poke you in the eye! Two fingers!”
“Ah, twenty three skidoo!” said Craven. “Go tell it to your ol’ man!“
When the boy ran from the candy store Craven sat down at the counter and ordered a root beer float.
“Two cherries,” said Craven. “And an extra straw for Betty. She’ll be here any minute. Now maybe I can read my story in peace.”
When the bells on the candy store's front door started jingling, Craven Danger spun around in his seat expecting Betty.
“Which one a you measley schlubs is Craven Danger?” said the man who Craven suspected was not coming in to share a root beer float.
“That’s him, Pop!” said the boy. “The one who snatched the comic out of my hand and pushed me out of the store. He told me to make sure I told you all about it in case you wanted to have anything to say about it.”
“Oh, he did, did he,” said the man who Craven thought would have made an excellent choice to play Bluto if they ever made a Popeye movie. But before Craven had a chance to compliment the gentleman on his manly physique, he was spun around on his stool and didn’t come to a stop until moments later, when Betty grabbed him by the collar.
“I’m not even gonna ask,” said Betty. “It’s a beautiful Saturday afternoon an’ I’m just gonna sit down an’ enjoy a root beer float. If ya wanna join me, I suggest ya comb ya hair and wipe the tears outta your eyes. An’ do take that comic book outta ya mouth. Ya startin’ to draw attention.”
Photo courtesy of Wiki Commons: https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Charles_Coll_-_The_Shadow_Annual_Pulp_Cover_Original_Art_(Street_%26_Smith,_1947).jpg