On the Good Ship Sharone III - A Craven Danger Mystery
Craven Danger was on his way to pier 17 to meet a perfect stranger for reasons that escaped him.
“I don’t even know his name,” said Craven.
“And you call yourself a detective?” said the driver.
“Private detective,” said Craven. “I’m self-taught. And this is only my first case. So cut me some slack.”
“First case?” said the driver. “From what you’re tellin’ me, this is only your first letter. Ya can only have a case if somethin’ happened to someone or some thing. Like a murder, for instance. Or assault and robbery. I learned that much from Sherlock Holmes. Now, there was a man who had cases! He was always having a case of this and a case of that. All you have is a case of the willies.”
“Upset stomach!” said Craven. ”My nerves are just fine!”
“I know the willies when I see it,” said the driver. “And it ain’t nothing to be ashamed of, Mr. Danger. I’ll betcha even a sharp tool like Sherlock Holmes had the willies at one time or another. I think there was even a story about it if I remember my Holmes. The Case of Weeping Willies I think it was called.”
“You’re making that up!” said Craven.
“It ain’t in my nature to go making up stories for the benefit of the passengers,” said the driver. “But back to cases. You probably won’t have one till you get to the docks and some big shlub of a dufus, with a wooden mallet, whacks you one across the old bread basket, steals your flimsy wallet and tosses your sorry carcass in the river. Then you‘ll have yourself a case. Only it won‘t be yours. It‘ll be Detective So and So to the rescue. Trying to solve The Case of the Private Schlemiel Who Didn‘t Know No Better!”
“Whaddaya mean, flimsy wallet?” said Craven.
“Well, you’re a private dick,” said the driver, “who ain’t never had a case. With a personal assistant who probably ain’t never had a paycheck. Please correct any errors I may have made along the way.”
“Let me think,” said Craven.
“Just like I thought.” said the driver. “What you need is a Watson. Someone to watch your back while you’re out getting your sorry tuckus into fixes. Like tonight for instance.”
“Oh!” said Craven. “Now you’re a fortune teller!”
“You don’t have to be a fortune teller to know that when there’s a pile of crap in front of you, you either get out of the way, or you step in it. And without a Watson, someone’s gonna be steppin’ it!”
“Well,” said Craven. “I could use someone to talk to while I’m tracking down leads and racing across rooftops in pursuit of the criminally insane.”
“There you go,” said the driver. “Now you’re talkin’ sense. So, what about that honey you was with when I picked ya up? She wasn‘t lettin‘ you go to easy, I see. I betcha she‘d watch your back. Maybe even wash it for ya, huh”
”Hey!” said Craven. ”That‘s Betty you‘re talking about! You watch your manners!”
”I didn‘t mean nothin‘, Mr. Danger,” said the driver. ”Only that I think she‘d be there for ya. I can tell these things.”
“That’s just crazy talk,” said Craven.
“Well,” said the driver, “I said my say and I’ll say no more. Only that this here is pier 17, there’s your pirate ship, and you owe me two dollars and seventy five cents.”
“Here’s three bucks,” said Craven. “And keep the change.”
“Gee,” said the driver. “Just when I think my ship ain’t never coming in, along comes you and I’m floatin’ away on the Queen Mary!”
“You’re welcome,” said Craven. “I think.”
"Don't mention it," said the driver. "And don't let me see you in the morning papers. Under a sheet."
"Goodnight," said Craven."
"And goodnight to youse," said the driver. "And good luck. 'Cause, brother, you're gonna need it."