On the Good Ship Sharone IV - The Conclusion - A Craven Danger Mystery
Pulling up to the curb, the cab driver slid into the passenger seat and poked his head out the window.
“You OK?” said the driver.
“Oh, sure,” said Betty. “I was just thinkin’. Did you ever love a big lug?”
“Me, personally?" said the driver. “No. But I loved me a couple a dolls once upon a time.”
“You know what I mean,” said Betty.
“Sure, sweetheart, I was just teasin’,” said the driver. “You got it pretty bad, huh?”
“Only, Mr. Danger, he ain’t up on all that stuff of the heart. I once give him a rose on Valentine’s Day and you know what he says?”
“‘Who died?’ How’s that for clueless," said Betty. “And him a private detective. He couldn’t detects his own privates!”
“Ha,” said the driver. “That’s pretty funny.”
“I shouldn’t of said that,” said Betty. “I’m sorry. I’m just, ya know. . .”
“I know,” said the driver. “I see it everyday. Especially these days, with the war still goin' on and all. Dames is always hoping in my cab, weeping their hearts out ‘cause their sweeties a million miles away and they don’t know if he’s ever coming back. And right here at home is the sweetie for you, and he can’t see the forest for the bees.”
“Trees,” said Betty,”
“Them, too,” said the driver.
“But one thing I’m not gonna do,” said Betty. “is give up on the dope.”
“Did you call in for a cab?” said the driver.”
”I did," said Betty. “And I’m glad it was you that showed up Mr. Gentleman Driver.”
”What‘s with all the bags?” said the driver. ”You goin‘ someplace?”
”Just a little trip to nowhere,” said Betty ”I need to get away for a few days and sort things out.”
“Hop in, Madame,” said the gentleman cab driver. “Your chariot awakes!”
“Awaits.” said Betty.”
“That, too,” said the gentleman cab driver.
On a cool April evening in 1945, Craven Danger stepped anxiously from a taxi and flipped his trench coat collar up Bogart style. His .38 snug in its shoulder holster, his brown fedora angled rakishly, his new double breasted threads sporting razor blade creases, and his new wing tip shoes squeaking louder than a rubber duck factory.
I told Betty not to make me wear the new shoes, thought Craven.
“I want you should take off them shoes, see!” said a voice.
“Who said that?” said Craven.
“Never mind, see!” said the voice. “All’s I know is your disturbin’ my peace, see!”
“Oh, now I know,” said Craven. “I’d recognize that voice anywhere. Even though ain’t I never heard it in person before.”
”If you don’t take off them shoes," said the voice, “you‘ll be hearin‘ the sound the fishies make at the bottom of the sea, see!”
“Sorry about the shoes,” said Craven. “I’ll slip ‘em off. Here ya go.”
“Well, I don’t want ‘em!” said the voice. “You carry your own shoes, and follow me, see!”
“Where are we going?” said Craven.
“Never you mind where, see!” said the voice. “You see that man at the bottom of the gangplank? The one wit' the hook where his hand shoulda been?”
“You tell him you’re going to stateroom twelve, see! Then you walk the gangplank, see! After you’re on board, you get yourself to stateroom twelve and wait for further word, see!”
“See, see, senor!” said Craven.
“Hey!” said the voice. “You tryin’ to be funny?”
“A little,” said Craven.
“Well it ain’t workin’, see!” said the voice. “I ain’t never had whatchya’d call a sense of humor, see! So stop crackin’ wise and maybe you don’t get thrown overboard, see!”
“You’ll have to fogive me,” said Craven. “I’m a little nervous. It being my first job and all.”
“Well, I wouldn’t know anything about that, see!” said the voice. “I just do what I’m told, see! And I suggest you do the same, see!”
“Yes, sir,” said Craven. “Will do. Stateroom twelve and wait for the big boss.”
“I never said nothin’ about no big boss, see!” said the voice. “So, don’t never go sayin’ I did, see!”
“Sorry,” said Craven. “Thanks for the advice.”
“You’re welcome, I’m sure, see!” said the voice. “Bon Voyage, for now, see!”
With that, the voice was gone and Craven Danger soon found himself standing in stateroom twelve.
I don’t know whether to sit or spit, thought Craven. This is pretty exciting. I wonder what kind of big mob boss I’m gonna get? I hope he ain’t too rough. I ain’t got the stomach for rough. Not tonight, anyway. I bet he wants me to go find a squealer or something. A dirty rat who turned on him, and after him takin’ such good care of the worm! People! That’s the trouble with the world, people!
But maybe he ain’t no big mob boss at all. Maybe he’s one of them high class finance guys who’s wife is floozyin’ around behind his back! The nerve! After all the good years he give that dame! I’ll never figure out why people don’t see the goods that’s sittin’ right in front of them!
When Craven heard the pounding on the door he and his fedora jumped about two feet.
Oh, geez, thought Craven, I think I’m gonna throw up.
So, having nothing handy but his brown fedora, Craven Danger did the only logical thing.
When the door slammed open, Craven’s face was stuffed in his fedora and he felt like passing out.
“Oh, for criyin’ out loud!” said Betty. “Don’t tell me you get sea sick? Not after all the plannin’ I done!”
”Betty?” said Craven. “What are you doing here? And what’s all this plannin’ business?“
“My plans for a romantic pirate cruise to nowhere,” said Betty. “I know how much you like those pirate movies and all. And it's just like the pamphlet says, only without the vomit.”
“Then who was this letter writing mug, the one who scared me out of my shoes tonight?”
“Oh, that’s just Buster, my travel agent,” said Betty.”
”Travel agent!” said Craven. ”Travel agent to hell, maybe!”
”He‘s really very cute when you get to know him,” said Betty.
“He’s adorable,” said Craven. “Like the hives! And what’s all this about a romantic cruise? Does that mean I’m still not on my first case?”
”I was hoping I‘d be your first case, Mr. Danger," said Betty.
After reviving Craven Danger with smelling salts, the two sailed out to sea under a blanket of silvery stars and a moon aglow with wonderful wishes.
Their future looked swell, indeed. See?