The Singing Santa - Part 3 - A Craven Danger Mystery
Betty Fletcher climbed into the front seat of Sidney Green’s cab.
“Hi ya, Sidney,” said Betty. “Where’s FDR?”
“Sleepin’ in the back,” said Sidney. “The ol’ boy got into a fracas with a squirrel in Central Park this mornin’. Seems the squirrel dropped a few of the nuts it was hoardin’ for the winter. It also seems FDR has taken a sudden likin’ ta nuts. ‘Cause the ol’ boy pounced right on ‘em. Only the squirrel wasn’t gonna give ‘em up without a fight. So the squirrel comes scurryin’ down that tree like a landlord on rent day. But FDR wasnt’ givin’ up the nuts so easy. So, FDR takes himself a mouthful and makes a dash through the snow with the squirrel givin’ chase.”
“And what was you doin’ this whole time?” said Betty. “Ain’t ya got him on a leash?”
“Oh, FDR don’t like the leash,” said Sidney. “He let me know that from the first. He looked me in the eye that day as if ta say, ‘Put that thing away and we’ll get along just swell.’ And who am I ta argue with a full grown dog?”
“A pushover is who you are,” said Betty. “So what happened ta the squirrel’s nuts?”
”FDR spit ‘em up in the lake,” said Sidney. ”I guess he wasn‘t likin‘ ‘em as much as he thought. His old teeth were no match for them shells, that’s for sure.”
“And what happened ta the squirrel?” said Betty.
“He went fishin’ for nuts,” said Sidney. “And ended up swimmin’ with the fishes."
”The poor thing,” said Betty.
“We’re gonna be stayin’ away from he park awhile,” said Sidney. “At least until that squirrel has hidden his nuts for good. Speakin’ a nuts, is that Mr. Danger a yours still down in the dumps?”
“As a matter of fact, yeah,” said Betty. “Happens every Christmas. So I got him work as a singin’ Santa. He’s gonna work a party for some muckety-mucks at the Empire State Building tonight. The place will be crawlin’ with the dough-re-me. Maybe they’ll throw a coin or two his way. He ain’t a bad singer when his nerves ain’t jangled. Which is mostly. I told him he gotta sing Santa Claus is Comin’ Ta Town. That one kills me every time. Especially when he does his little dance. I had ta peek through the keyhole to catch that one."
”He‘s a nut and he sings and dances,” said Sidney. ”The triple crown a show biz.”
“Yeah," said Betty. “If he don’t get stage fright. So I figure you and me gotta do some party crashin’ tonight. Make sure he don’t panic and run.”
“They got caviar at this party?” said Sidney.
“I suppose,” said Betty.
“I don’t see why not,” said Betty.
“Rich ‘ol widows?”
“What are a drivin’ at?” said Betty. “As if I din‘t know.”
“Well,” said Sidney. “A fellas gotta look out for himself and his soon to be old age. You might say I’m lookin’ for the triple crown of retirement. So what I gotta put up with a fussy butler tellin’ me what sorta britches I gotta wear, or a cook that don’t know how ta rustle up a decent sheperd’s pie. I can live with that. Till she kicks the bucket, anyways. Then I fire the whole bunch and walk around the mansion in my shorts, eatin’ snow cones.”
“I love a man with a plan,” said Betty. “If Mr. Danger had a plan like yours, he wouldn’t be so darn bored.”
“Whaddaya say we dont’ think no more about nothin’ but havin’ our picnic,” said Sidney. “We’re gonna pull right up ta Saks Fifth Avenue and chow down on these swell hot dogs with all the works and wash it down with some a this fancy iced tea a yours. Then we’ll watch all the well-ta-do shoppers crackin’ the whip at their over-worked chauffer’s, who then gotta schlepp out the packages and put ‘em in the long, black limo’s. ‘Cause that’s gonna be me someday. Only I’ll be the rich guy schleppin’ his own packages.”
“Like I said,” said Betty. “I love a man with a plan. Speakin’ a plans. How about after the picnic we go ice skatin’ at Rockefeller Center, then we go crash Mr. Danger’s Christmas party.”
“How about you skate,” said Sidney, “and I sorta pretend in my shoes. I got weak ankles. Which is probably why I drive for a livin’.”
“Deal,” said Betty. “But ya gotta promise to buy me a hot chocolate after.”
With that, Betty and Sidney sat back to watch the window shoppers, while listening to the soft, gentle snores of a tired old dog.”