On the Good Ship Sharone - A Craven Danger Mystery
Betty Fletcher sat at her desk thumbing through a True Story magazine when the buzzer went off.
“Betty?” said Craven Danger.
”Yes, Mr. Danger?”
“How long have I been cooped up in this office?”
“Two years, eleven months and twenty three days,” said his secretary.
“Which reminds me," said Craven. “I’m gonna need a new calender. And get me a good one this time! 1944 was a stinker!”
“You just gotta get out of that office, boss,” said Betty. “Else-wise ya brains gonna shrivel up like its nobody’s business and rattle’ ‘round that cranium of yours like a raisin in a mason jar. Ya need to take it out for some exercise.”
Craven Danger had not been out of the office since Pearl Harbor was blown to smithereens on December 7, 1941. That’s when the owner of the building made the budding detective an air- raid warden.
“Guard this building with your life, Danger!” Mr. Emil told him. “You never know when one of them crummy krauts will come worming his way up the Hudson river, crawling in on his yellow belly through the sewers of New York, and poking his Nazi sniffer right out of one of our shitters!”
And Craven Danger took his position seriously. To the point that his fellow tenants told him that if he ever tried to leave his office they would hunt him down and flush him in his own toilet.
“I’m sure they’ve all gotten over your anal retentiveness." said Betty. “And have long forgotten what a horses patootie you can be."
“Thanks for always being there for me, Betty,” said Craven. “I can always count on you to lay your cards on the table and have ‘em all come up spades.”
“Your welcome,” said Betty. “But the real reason I’m buzzin’ ya is, you got a letter in the mail! But I had to go to the post office to get it. ‘Cause, as you know, the postman ain’t ringin’ twice around here any more.”
“You tell that postman,” said Craven, “that it was a long time ago and I honestly thought he looked like Adolph Hitler! I was only doing my job! I’m sure the bullet wound has long healed, and he’ll be able to grow hair out of that side of his head again in no time. He should thank his lucky stars that there are Americans like me walking around out there watching over his head!”
“But ain’t that where you shot him?” said Betty.
“Your layin’ those cards out again, Betty!” said Craven “Not a good time!”
“Well, do ya mind if I come in wit’ the letter?”’
“Oh, I suppose not,” said Craven. “And bring me my scotch!”
Betty scooped up the letter, then grabbed a bottle from her desk drawer and poured out a handsome portion of the amber liquid into a tall glass for Craven Danger.
“Here ya go, Mr. Danger,” said Betty.
“Ah, thanks, Betty,” said Craven. “Put it right down on the desk. And you remembered. No ice. Just like I like it!”
Craven Danger downed the beverage in one gulp and almost tossed his morning toast from the experience.
“Apple juice!” said Craven. “You put apple juice in my scotch?”
“You don’t have any scotch,” said Betty. “Remember?”
“Oh, yeah,” said Craven.
After becoming air-raid warden of his building, Craven Danger discovered that booze and bullets don’t mix well.
“There isn’t one tenant in this building who isn’t nursing a flesh wound or missing a digit or two!” said Mr. Emil. ”Danger, you‘re fired! And give me back that helmet!”
“So, you ain’t air- raid warden anymore, Mr. Danger,” said Betty “Don’t take it so hard. And please open the damn letter. Maybe it’s a case or somethin’.”
“Yes,” said Craven. “A case. I can’t remember the last time I was out on a case.”
“That’s because you ain’t never had one, Mr. Danger.”
“Oh, yeah,” said Craven. “That’s right.”
“You want I should read the letter, Mr. Danger?” said Betty.
“Sure,” said Craven. “I’m all ears.”
You don’t know me, see, but I know you, see? And if you ain’t at pier 17 by seven o’clock tonight, see, your name is gonna be Craven Morphine, see! There’s a boat down there whats flyin’ a pirates flag, see! You get on that boat, see, and don’t ya bring nobody wit’ ya, see! So I’ll see ya at the slip on the starboard side of the ship we call Sharone, ‘cause we’re sailing to sea at seven, see!
Yours, I’m sure, see!
Woulndn’t you like to know, see?
“Whaddya know," said Craven Danger. “I got me a case, see!”