Dwayne Dishes on Craven Danger's Dander
When Betty Feltcher walked through the door of the Coffee Pot on the Corner, nine squeaky stools turned counter-clockwise.
“Good morning, Miss Feltcher.”
“Please call me Betty, Dwayne.”
“Will do, Miss Betty.”
“Why’s everyone staring at me?”
“They’re all staring because of what Mr. Danger said the last time he was here for breakfast, and you don’t wanna know, so don’t ask. I know, but I ain’t sayin’, necessarily, on account of I don’t want to get on your bad side. I want the side that tells me I look like Alan Ladd, only taller, even though the neighborhood toughies call me crater-face on account of I had the chicken pox that one time, and you don’t shush me like everyone else when I’m telling a story that’s been running wild inside my head and needs to come out for some air.”
“Take a deep breath, Dwayne. You could never get on my bad side. That side’s got a permanent resident named you-know-who. You’re my favorite part of the day. You perk me up better than morning coffee, and don’t you forget it. Now, what did Mr. Danger say that would make a coffee shop take such a deep breath that I’m feeling light-headed from the lack of oxygen?”
“Listen up, everyone!” said Steve, the Coffee Pot’s proprietor “Give the lady some air! How many times do I have to tell you? No gasping allowed! Relax those shoulders and let it all out!”
“To begin with,” said Dwayne. “Mr. Danger was being put on the spot by Florie and Maizie. Those gossip twins that occupy the last two stools by the toilet.”
“I got an active bladder,” said Maizie.
“So Maizie starts cooking up trouble by saying, ‘Hey, Mr. Danger, how’s Betty? And how come you two never come in together?’ Then Florie tosses her tomatoes in the salad by saying, ‘You afraid we’ll notice how unjust the love gods can be to a good woman?’
“Well, that comment sent Mr. Danger’s dander right up Lincoln’s nose.”
“Up Lincoln’s nose?” said Betty.
“Yeah. I was gonna say up Mount Rushmore, but I wanted to be more specific, and I know if my dander ever went up Mount Rushmore it was bound to run into someone’s nose, and I didn’t much care for the schnozes on Washington, Jefferson or Roosevelt. Too snooty. Lincoln could have been a guy from the neighborhood. Someone who’d have no trouble swappin’ stories with a crater-face like myself.”
“Take a breath, Dwayne, and tell me what Mr. Danger’s dander came up with after picking Lincoln’s nose.”
“Mr. Danger said, ‘Betty’s the last thing anyone should have to see first thing in the morning! She aint’t right in the head till at least noon.’ Than Maizie says, ‘Ooh, I’m tellin’Betty what you said.’ Than Mr. Danger pulls out both guns with, ‘I don’t care what you tell her, Miss busy body. Betty’s got a blind eye when it comes to hearing anything anyone’s got to say about anything. She’s too busy honking her own horn. The woman never stops beeping! The last time we had breakfast together it took a week for my ears to stop ringing and my eggs to digest. It was very upsetting.’ But that ain’t the worst of what Mr. Danger said, Miss Betty.”
“Oh? Do tell, Dwayne.”
“Mr. Danger then empties both barrels with, ‘Don’t tell Betty, but I think it’s about time I got an assistant that did what I told her to do. I’m sick of rowing a leaky boat with only one oar in the water!’”
“Well, I’m glad you didn’t tell me, Dwayne. I’d have been awfully upset.”
“I did my best not to, Miss Betty.”
“And you almost made it.”
“Aw, quit kidding, Miss Betty.”
“How about some coffee?” said Steve.
“Pour away,” said Betty. “And how about a towering stack of waffles to go with it? This wayward oar is staying out of water for the rest of the day. I’ll go grab a table near the gossip twins. I need to catch up on some neighborhood news, and dwell on Mr. Danger and his dander. And if he comes in tomorrow with a brighter disposition — and a possible limp — let it be known that’s his dander’s been enlightened by the best.”