A Sucker Seduced - Part II - A Craven Danger Mystery
When Sidney Green got the call from dispatch to report to 210 East 88th. street, he sped off, hoping it was for Betty Fletcher. And when he pulled up to the curb, there she was.
Betty climbed into the back of Sidney’s cab, with a thermos of hot, black coffee and two cups. She drank hers straight. Four lumps of sugar for Sidney.
Then, with cup in hand, she settled back and closed her eyes.
“Mornin’, Sidney,” said Betty. ”How‘s my favorite hack with a knack for talkin’ back?”
“Hello, sunshine,” said Sidney. "And might I say you add a bit of wonderfullness to what is looking to be a grey and rainy day.
“Ah,” said Betty. “Ain’t you the sweetest.”
Betty never asked to be taken anywhere. She just liked the company. Sidney was both parish priest and therapist. His backseat a safe haven for Betty and her neurosis.
“So, what’s on your mind, Miss Betty? That boss of yours tripping over his own tongue again?”
”Nah,” said Betty. “The dope went and got himself his first case. And it’s all my fault.”
“Hmm,” said Sidney, taking a sip of coffee. “Did I miss something in the conversation. I know I may be a little punchy since coming home form the war, but isn’t that what he’s supposed to be doin’ in the first place?”
“Yeah, Sidney, I know,” said Betty. “But one minute he coulda been workin’ for a big bucks Wall street mug, and then I went and caused him to be workin’ for the floozy the Wall street mug wanted him to collar.”
“Ah, so she’s a looker,” said Sidney. “Now I’m up to speed your trouble, little sister. I’ll start with a general definition of the word floozy. It means: woman who is about to take advantage of the man I have it bad for, only he don’t know it yet 'cause he couldn’t smell the roses if they was growin’ out of his own ears.”
“That’s Mr. Danger, for ya,” said Betty.
“And don’t you think you oughta stop bein’ so formal?” said Sidney. “You need to start workin’ your way up the sweetheart ladder.”
“The sweetheart ladder?” said Betty. “What the heck is that?”
“Well,” said Sidney. “The first rung is ‘mister’. Like you been callin’ him, anyways. So, you’ve already taken the first step. The second rung is ‘Craven’. As in, ‘Sure Craven, I’d love to go to Coney Island!' When you get to the third rung you start ta really loosen up a bit and you throw in a 'Crav’ or two. On the fourth rung you don’t even hear yourself sayin’ his name no more. Now it’s, ‘Darlin’ thanks ever so much for the flowers!’ Or 'Sweetcakes, can I have two scoops on that ice cream cone?’
"By the time you get to the top of that ladder, you got a ring, four kids and a sweet little house in Brooklyn.”
“Ya think?” said Betty. ”This courtin‘ stuff is all a mystery to me, Sidney. I ain‘t never tried to have a fella before.”
“There is no mystery” said Sidney. “Not for a woman who pretty much got a sign over her head sayin’, ‘Take me, Im yours!'”
“You’re a funny man, Mr. cab driver, “said Betty. “I’m feelin’ better all ready. Thanks.”
“Don’t mention it,” said Sidney. “And one day you gotta promise to let me take you for a ride somewhere.”
“It just wouldn’t be the same, Sidney," said Betty. “I look forward to our mornin’ coffee. Now, if you don’t mind. I’m off.”
“Where you headin’?” said Sidney. “If you don’t mind my askin’.”
“Goin’ to the hardware store,” said Betty. “To get me a ladder.”
“Ha,” said Sidney. “Just call if you need to talk again. I’m all ears when it comes listenin’.”
When Sidney pulled away from the curb, Betty Fletcher went looking for Craven Danger. Who was last seen in the company of one Suzy Tanner.
"Make yourself comfortable on the sofa, Mr. Danger," said Suzy. "I got something I want to show you."