Craven on Patrol - Part III - the Finale
“Listen, Craven,” said Sergeant Dowd. “This blue ’46 Plymouth with the bullet holes is being driven by a gorilla named Morty. He’s the one put all those ice-pick holes in our trunk-buddy Schultz.”
“Speaking of which. Do you mind if we drop him off at the coroners? I know it’s winter time, but stiff as he is he still stinks worse than my mother’s cabbage.”
“No time, Craven. But not to worry. I’ll stop by the nearest ice truck and load up the trunk with a couple of blocks. It’ll be kinda poetic considering what done him in. But for now we have to bring in the weasel who came dawn the fire escape and ate your breakfast. He’s our only witness.”
“How he came down the fire escape, saw Dwayne carrying two breakfast orders, and knew exactly which one was mine.”
“Life is like that sometimes, and if you bring it up again you’re going in the trunk for the remainder of the ride downtown.”
“You could have shared.”
“Dowd doesn’t share. It’s my only fault. I had the shortest arms at a rowdy table of ten when I was growing up. I was also the skinniest. As you can see I ain’t skinniest anymore. Other then that I’m a pretty decent Joe. Unless, of course, we’re eyeballing the same antique Windsor chair at a flea market and the guy selling it has no idea it’s a 1725 Windsor and he’s selling it for pennies. Then your knee might feel a little backwards after meeting up with my shoe.”
“Remind me never to go shopping with you at Macy’s during the Christmas rush.”
“Oh, I could tell you stories, but for now we gotta catch up with Morty and his weaselly side-kick. That alligator suitcase he was carrying will go swell with Mabel’s alligator handbag and shoes. She’ll be quite the attraction at the airport at the start of our vacation next week.”
“We are chasing a murderer and his accomplice are we not?”
“Of course, Craven, but it helps to have more of an incentive. Murdered bodies are a given in my day to day life, but you throw in something like a Kensington mahogany Westminster grandmother clock along the way it helps to keep you motivated.”
“Yeah. I didn’t know there was such a thing either. The things you learn in this business. Stick with me, kid, and you and Betty will soon be rummaging through every tag sale in town. It’s quite addictive. Now hang on to your hat. We gotta get over to the west side. With all them bullet holes in the Plymouth Morty’s gonna be looking to ditch it, and I know just the place he’ll be doing the ditching. There’s an automotive shop on Twelfth Avenue. It’s where the crooked-class go for all their auto repair needs and trade-ins.”
After icing up the corpse in the trunk and getting Craven a pretzel and some roasted chestnuts from a corner vendor, Sergeant Dowd pulled his patrol car to the curb at twelfth and forty-ninth.
“You forgot the mustard.”
“For the pretzel. It’s like eating potatoes without the butter. What’s the point?”
Before Dowd had a chance to respond, he saw Morty and the weasel pulling out of the auto shop in a 1934 Chrysler Desoto.
“I wouldn’t be caught dead in a ’34 Desoto,” said Sergeant Dowd. “It had one very bad design flaw.”
As the Desoto sped its way up forty-ninth street it came to a sudden and noisy halt at the next corner.
“And there’s your design flaw right there, Craven. My dad had one back in ’34 and the engine fell out while we were crossing the George Washington bridge. We got our picture in the Daily News and everything.”
“There getting away on foot!” said Craven.
“We’ll never get around that Desoto. You’ll have to get out and chase them down. I’ll call in for backup. They're heading towards the river.”
“I gotta chase them down?”
“I got fallen arches and respiratory issues from my former cigarette addiction. Which is what led the way to my antique, and other collectibles, addiction. I needed a distraction. Oh, and here’s some bullets. Don’t forget to put them in your gun. It helps”
Craven loaded his pistol, then made his way up forty-ninth street on two wobbly knees and an empty stomach.
How’d I let this happen? This is some birthday present. I would have settled for a cake and new silk tie like Betty gets me every year. What’s so different about this year? I’m still the same old me. Is that it? She’s just tired of the same old me? If Betty wants me do stuff like this she gotta start me off with baby steps. I would have been perfectly happy slapping cuffs on kids at the candy store, Then work my way up.
“Sergeant Dowd never mentioned anything about chasing murderers,” said Betty. “He said he could use a hand loading some pieces of furniture into his car. He never mentioned it was his patrol car. I thought you'd have fun riding in a patrol for a couple of days. I only took your bullets because it’s what I always do before you leave the office.”
“Betty? Is that you? Or am I dreaming you again, as usual?”
“Ah, that’s sweet, but it’s the real me, Mr. Danger. Your loud private thoughts were being broadcast all over the neighborhood. You have to learn to brood a little quieter.”
“What are you doing here? It’s dangerous. I’m tailing a couple of thugs for Dowd.”
“I heard Dowd calling it in on the police radio at the office. I had Sidney drive me over. Let the police do their work, Mr. Danger. You come home with me and I’ll give you the birthday present of a lifetime.”
When Sergeant Dowd finally made it to the riverfront he spotted Morty and the weasel being cuffed and put in a paddy wagon.
Then he saw the rookie cop stumble and drop the alligator suitcase in a puddle.
“You harm a scale on that suitcase,” said a wheezing Sergeant Dowd, “and I’ll hand you over to the Central park zookeeper and have you spend the night with Mildred the orangutang who — so I’ve been told — is looking for a life partner. She also has a nice big fat tire for your swinging pleasure.”
Footnote: Not only were Morty and the weasel murderous thugs, they were quite the antique aficionados who killed their partner Schultz for his treasured suitcase. And after having a soft-spot moment Sergeant Dowd had the alligator suitcase cremated along with Schultz. Their ashes were dumped in the swamp from whence they came. The End. Believe it or not.
Phot courtesy of Wiki Commons:https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?search=File%3AAlligator+Leathe...