Gone Before His Time - A Craven Danger Mystery
The elevated train came to a screeching halt above me. I bounded up the stairs three steps at a time. When I reached the top step I drew my weapon and boarded the train like a fiery cannonball. When the door closed behind me I unwound and found I was now sitting on a wad of chewing gum. Try as I might to escape its clutches, the gum held tight, and I watched with beaded, though masculine, brow as the Midnight Assassin drew his weapon and took aim!
Craven Danger dropped his pen and flipped the switch on his intercom.
“Ah, geez, Betty,” said Craven. “I’m sort of busy in here.”
“Busy doin’ what? We ain’t had a case in over a month. You still working on that coloring book I give you when you was sick? I was only joking. Sort of.”
“No, Betty. I’m not coloring in no book. I’m writing in here.”
“Well, I hope it’s a letter ta the landlord. ‘Cause I gotta tell ya, Mr. Danger. It’s a litte chilly out here. And this old radiator ain’t good for nothin’ but spittin’ at.”
“You’re spittin’ at the radiator?”
“Sure, Mr. Danger. When it sizzles I know the heats startin’ ta come up. But I ain’t heard a sizzle in here for two days.”
“I’ll have a word with him, Betty. Now, can I get back to work?”
“You’re welcome, Mr. Danger. So, what’s ya writin’?”
“Ah, doggone it, Betty! If you must know. And I’m sure that you must. I’m writing my memoirs. For prosperity.”
“That’s posterity, Mr. Danger. Prosperity is what ya get if enough poor schmos go out and buy the book.”
“Whatever, Betty. I’m doing it so people will know who I am and what I done when I was here.”
“Oh, you don’t have to worry about that, Mr. Danger. I’ve all ready made sure that people will remember who you are. It’ll be right there on your headstone. I all ready told the engraver ta make them letters on your headstone nice and big. This way nobody can miss it when they pass by to pay their respects.”
“Headstone? You telling me you all ready got a headstone in mind and something to say on it? And me not even dead yet?”
“Sure. Because, when you do drop dead, I’m gonna be too busy mournin’ ya to be fussin’ with headstones or casket sizes, and which hole in which cemetery we’re gonna dump ya sorry bones. I got all that business out of the way. When you go, it’s all a done deal. I ain’t got a thing to worry about except makin' sure the caterer shows up on time.”
“Well, sure, Mr. Danger. People are gonna be hungry after all that kneelin’ and weepin’ in the church. Then there’s that long ride ta the cemetery. Everyone standin’ around your casket waitin’ for ya ta get dumped in the hole, so’s they can finally go chow down and maybe have a few beers and sing happy tavern tunes ta make ‘em feel better after all they been through that day.”
“After all they been through?"
Craven Danger switched off the intercom and reached for for his pen.
The Midnight Assassin fired his weapon at the world’s greatest private detective and all went quiet. For funeral details, please contact Betty Danger at ATwater 9-4339. The End.