A Touch of Lavender - Part 13 - A Craven Danger Mystery
Betty Fletcher sat in the back of Sidney’s taxi, cutting out eye holes in the bed sheets she had just purchased.
“What took ya so long?” said Craven. “I was gettin’ worried.”
“If ya was so worried,” said Betty, “ya coulda tagged along. ‘Stead a sittin’ here tradin’ insults with Sidney.”
“I’m sorry, Betty,” said Craven, “but grown men don’t shop for sheets. It ain’t masculine.”
“Neither is holdin’ on ta ya momma’s pocket book till ya thirty,” said Betty.
“Ouch,” said Craven. “That was pretty mean. Besides, it was Momma who was doin’ the holdin’. I was just an innocent bystander.”
”Oh, brother,” said Betty. ”Spare me. If I’m any judge of innocent bystanders, they usually keep their hands in their own pockets.”
”Oh, boy,” said Craven. ”Am I gettin‘ the ol‘ one two punch or what? First the jaw and now my feelin‘s.”
“Ya only hurt the ones ya gotta pull by the ear so’s ta make them know what’s what. Hey, Sidney?” said Betty. ”You got any cryin‘ towels in the glove compartment?”
“No,” said Sidney. “But I got a lollipop you could shove in his kisser. I got it from my barber. I’m goin’ on thirty two years old and he still gives me lollipops when I get my haircut. I been goin‘ ta him forever. Angelo’s like a father ta me. Only without the booze breathe and the gas.”
“Never mind the wise cracks, you two,” said Craven. “And what was all that talk about bringin’ ashes back ta life?”
”Well,” said Betty, ”When me and Sidney pulled into town, I flagged down a local delivery truck and, for a few bucks I had the girl deliver three Mason jars to Herbert Sampson’s house. Each one filled with the ashes of the Lavender Lover’s dead husband’s. The ones he murdered.”
“She put her husband’s in Mason jars?” said Craven. ”Like they was pickles?”
“Oh, they ain’t the real ashes,” said Betty. “I just cleaned out some ashes from the incinerator at my apartment house. He’ll never know the difference. I just wanna put a scare in him. I even left that dog a note with the ashes that said, ‘Hey, Herb. Remember us? We just come to say hello. It’s been a long time and we haven‘t been the same since ya left.‘ That‘ll put a shiver down his murderous spine for sure.”
“We don’t know he’s a murderer,” said Craven. “It’s her word against his.”
“Oh, he did it all right,” said Betty. “I sat in the back of this cab and watched the look on his face when he read the note. He looked like he was caught with his pants down and the whole world was watchin’.”
“I know that look,” said Sidney. “I had it for three days after my Draft Board physical. And that was the last time I took my pants off in front of anybody. My ex-wife included.”
“So whadda we do now?” said Craven.
“We wait till it’s dark,” said Betty. “Then we jimmy open his back door and make like Halloween spooks. It was Sidney’s idea.”
"I seen it in a Three Stooges movie,” said Sidney. “Worked like a charm.”
“Listen ta you two,” said Craven. “Jimmy open a lock? Dress like ghosts? And do ya really think the Three Stooges is a good example for us ta be followin’?”
“Ya know,” said Sidney, “Laughter is sometimes the best medicine for what ails ya.”
“We’ll be ailin’ all right," said Craven. “Right after he shoots us between the eyes. He may even die laughin’. Then we can all flap our angel wings while the Three Stooges go on makin’ like morons.”
“We’ll make it work, Mr. Danger.” said Betty. “Herb Sampson left those jars on his front porch. He wouldn’t bring ‘em in the house. I say we take those ashes and dump ‘em in piles on his kitchen table. Then we light some candles and act like we busted loose from the jars when he comes into the kitchen lookin’ ta see who’s makin’ all the noise. And if he gets scared enough’, we might even get a confession.”
“You’re downright innumerable,” said Craven.
“Inimitable,” said Betty.
“Whatever,” said Craven.
”Wish I had a two dollar dictionary,” said Sidney. ”So I‘d know what the heck you two are talkin‘ about.”
“Now, here,” said Betty. “Try on these sheets. We gotta go scare the pants off a guy.”