The Nutty Detective IV - Craven's Moriarty Complex - A Craven Danger Mystery
“Hey, Betty. What’s this letter doin’ on my desk?”
“Is it movin’?”
“Than it ain’t doin’ nothin’.”
If I wanted to listen ta wisecracks, thought Craven Danger, I’d listen to Jack Benny on the radio.
“Ain’t ya gotta comeback for me, Mr. Danger?”
“Afraid not, Betty. I learned a long time ago that there’s no comin’ back from a conversation with you. I’ve bitten my tongue more times than I can tell ya. I’m tryin’ ta make this one as painless as possible. Now, if you’ll excuse, I’ll go read my letter now.”
“Ya mind if I come in an’ watch? Yer so cute when ya move yer lips an’ squint yer eyes ‘cause ya can’t give in ta the notion ya need readin’ glasses. Ya want I should bring the magnifyin’ glass?”
“No thanks, Betty. I got my own. Just stay where you are. Ya make me nervous when ya stare. The letter might be bringin’ me some really good news. Like a relative dyin’ an’ leavin’ me money.”
“Okay, Mr. Danger. Just read it to me over the intercom. Ya perspire when yer nervous. I wouldn’t want ya sweatin’ up all that hair dye. Could be messy.”
“I’m back here bitin’ my tongue again, Betty. Now, sit tight an’ listen.
“Dear Mr. Danger,
There’s trouble afoot in the neighborhood. Professor Moriarty in town rounding up the local riff raff. Mr. Holmes is still in the asylum. So we turn to you, Mr. Danger. You must nab this notorious fiend! Put him behind bars and toss away the key! You’re our only, and cheapest, hope. Our funds are low, and getting lower. Word has it you’ll work for food and spare change. You’ll find Professor Moriarty working the day shift at Ralph’s bowling alley. He’s head pinsetter. Goes by the name of Myles. He’s already got the bowlin’ alley pinsetter boys doing some of his dirty work. You need to act fast.
PS. If you show up at the bowing alley, you’ll find a pan of lasagna outside your office door when you return. Dessert to follow if your mission is a success.”
“Huh,” said Betty. “So what’s this about you eatin’ away our measly profits?”
“A man’s gotta eat, Betty! I always mean ta save ya the leftovers, but by the time I finish eatin’ there never seems ta be any left.”
“We can’t pay the bills with a pan of Lasagna, Mr. Danger. Make a note ta self. Cash only!”
“Never mind that for now. What are we doin’ for lunch?”
“Lunch? What about Professor Moriarty? Shouldn’t you be gettin’ yourself down ta that bowlin’ alley?”
“Ah, c’mon, Betty. That letter’s the work a them Baker Street Irregulars. They’re just tryin’ ta get back at us for puttin’ Joey the dry cleaner in the asylum.”
“I didn’t mean ta hit him so hard that he’d actually start believin’ he was Sherlock Holmes.”
“I know, Betty. They only want me down at that bowlin’ alley to make a fool a myself. I’m sure they got a ton a mean tricks waitin’ for me after I walk through the door. Alley wax on the soles a my bowlin’ shoes. Itchin’ powder in the holes of my bowin’ ball. Etcetra. Etcetra. No thanks. The note goes in the garbage! And we go out ta lunch.”
“I don’t think it’s the work of those Baker Street boys, Mr. Danger. I say we go to the bowlin’ alley.”
“An’ I say I’m probably not gonna win this conversation, am I! But if I say it loud enough, maybe it’ll make me feel better about givin’ in to you like I always do! So, let’s compromise an’ go eat at the bowlin’ alley! Which was MY plan B to begin with! So get yer coat on already! I’m gettin’ hungry!”
I do love a man who goes after what he wants, thought Betty. Even if it’s only food.
Myles Smithers, the head pinsetter at Ralph’s Bowling Emporium, has rounded up his young pinsetters for a team meeting.
“Listen up, my sweet little pin monkeys,” said Myles. “We may have a visitor this afternoon. He’s a private eye that goes by the name of Craven Danger. A dopey chump who’s about as ill-fitted to his business as that cheap suit he’s always wearin’.
“I want you boys to keep your eyes open. He may be in the company of a dame named Betty Felcher. She’s a sweet looking ginger cake with a right-cross that can knock a man flat. We’re gonna have us a little fun today. What I want you to do is. . .”
If Professor Moriarty can no longer have fun with his old nemesis Sherlock Holmes, thought Myles, a Craven Danger will have to do. The Napoleon of crime and the clown prince of gumshoes! Ha! Ha! Ha!
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