The Nutty Detective - Part II - A Craven Danger Mystery
Betty Felcher flipped the switch on her intercom.
Craven Danger took a bite of his toasted corn muffin and sat back in his chair.
“Mr. Danger,” said Betty. “Are you alive in there?“
“Craven took a sip from his coffee container and put his feet up on the desk.
“Because if you ain’t dead in there and I find out you’re ignoring me on account of you stuffin’ your puss with day old bakery goods again I’ll let everyone in the building know how you pad your suit with rolled up newspapers to make your slouchy shoulders look bigger than they are even though you’re not foolin’ anyone anyhow.”
Craven flipped the switch on the intercom.
“For cryin’ out loud, Betty,” said Craven. “Can’t a fella enjoy his first meal of the day without bein’ blackmailed by his only employee. An’ can’t you throw a few pauses in those speeches of yours? Sometimes you talk too darn fast. A man can only process so much.”
“Well process this, Mr. Danger. If you wanna continue eating day old bakery goods. . . pause. . . And acceptin’ free coffee. . . pause. . . on the pretense that you’re an officer of the law. . . more pause. . . and not payin’ me my due. . . . . . double pause so’s it sinks in good. . . . . . I’m gonna go out an’ find me a boss who works for a livin’! Exclamation point. Period.”
“Oh, all right, Betty. What is it this time?”
“There’s some folks out here who would like a word with ye.”
“Yeah. With ye, Mr. Danger. A half-dozen grown men dressed like something out of an old English movie.”
“Do those folks have names”
“They call themselves the Baker Street Irregulars.”
“Ah, geez. Does the ring leader look anything like the dentist from the Third floor?”
“He does, Mr. Danger. Only cuter in his little cap and scarf.”
“Oh, brother,” said Craven.” Send them in, Betty. Only he better not be tryin’ to sell me something. I’m already up to my neck in insurance policies and a coffin I’m never gonna be able to fully appreciate.”
And in they came. Like a swarm of over-grown urchins looking for a purpose.
“‘Ello, gov’nor!” said the head Irregular.” Wiggins ‘ere at your service.”
“Oh, I see,” said Craven. “So, that’s the way we’re gonna play it, eh, Wiggins? What’s the matter? Run outta teeth to torture?“
“Friday’s me day off, gov. That’s when us Baker Street Irregulars gather ‘round a few pints and discuss business. And we come upon the opinion that ye might be in need of our ‘umble services.”
“Wait a minute,” said Craven. “You in the derby and bloody apron. Ain’t you Joe, the East End butcher from London? Sidney’s buddy during the war?”
“Blimey!” said the butcher. “There ain’t no flies on ‘im.”
“Ah, c’mon, Joe! Ya gotta be pullin’ my leg! That accent’s as phony as the one comin’ outta the dentist!”
“When in Rome, mate. When in Rome. Pip, pip! Cheerio, and all that rut!”
“You‘re hurtin’ my ears, Joe. Don’t tell me ya livin’ here now.”
“Got me workin’ visa, mate. An' I’m as ‘appy as a lark when larkin' with me mates 'ere!”
“So you‘re the new butcher from the shop in the neighborhood? The one with the huge turkey hangin’ in the window?”
”Ya mean the one what’s as big as me?”
“Ah, c’mon now, Joe!” said Craven. “That’s not even from Sherlock Holmes! Ya stole that from A Christmas Carol!”
“Aye, I didn’t think ye did much readin’, mate.”
“No, but I do go to the movies. And if there’s anyone here named Tiny Tim he’s gettin’ tossed out the window! Crutch an’ all!”
”No Tiny Tim’s here,” said Wiggins. “Just Irregular blokes lookin’ for a quick schillin’ or two.”
“I think I’m gonna need a few aspirin before this is all over.”
“What ho, gov!” said the shortish man in the blue cape.” I got some tablets in me ‘andsome cab. Would ye be wantin’ me ta go and fetch ‘em for ye?”
“Sidney?” said Craven.” My own cab driver? Ah, say it ain’t so! An’ what the heck are ya doin’ with that whip?”
”'Tis for me ‘andsome cab, sir. Only mine’s ’orseless. So‘s I only use it to ’urry up folk what gets in my way, and to throw a few harsh lashin’s at fare beaters and low tippers.”
“Crikey, Sidney!” said Craven.” Yer makin’ that up!”
“Crikey, indeed, sir,” said Sidney.
“Ah, geez, now ya got me doin’ it! Somebody shoot me!”
“If he's like to die,” said Joe, “he better do it and decrease the surplus population.”
“Again, Joe!” said Craven. “Not Holmes! Betty! Get in here! Now! I need you!”
Picture courtesy of Wiki Commons: https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?search=a+study+in+scarlet&title=Special%3ASearch&profile=advanced&fulltext=1&advancedSearch-current=%7B%7D&ns0=1&ns6=1&ns12=1&ns14=1&ns100=1&ns106=1#/media/File:SH_STUDY-10.png