A Touch of Lavender - Part 14 - A Craven Danger Mystery
“I’m feelin’ a draft under this sheet,” said Sidney.
“Well, who told you to take off your pants?” said Craven.
“I wanted to be convincin’. Everyone knows ghosts don’t wear no clothes.”
“Who says so?” said Craven.
”I say so. I know I ain‘t never seen no ghost wearin‘ pants,” said Sidney. “That‘s for sure.”
“Have ya ever seen a naked ghost?”
“Well, no. But it don’t make no logic that they get ta keep their clothes, either. My Uncle Melvin was buried in his favorite suit once. But six months later they had ta dig him up ‘cause Aunt Maudie thought Uncle Melvin left a winnin’ Irish Sweepstakes ticket in the jacket pocket. Cost her a months wages. And no ticket. Only a bar coaster from Joe’s tavern and a pair of nylons that my aunt is still wavin’ in the face of every floozy in the buildin’. But Uncle melvin was still wearin’ the suit. So I’m tellin’ ya ya don’t get ta take it with ya.”
“What makes ya think he was goin’ anywheres just yet,” said Craven. “Maybe the man upstairs wasn’t ready for your Uncle Melvin. I’m sure they got a long line waitin’ ta get in. Millions I’ll bet. Could be so many that maybe even Abe Lincoln’s still waitin’ on line.”
“Will you two shut it,” said Betty. “I’m tryin’ ta get this lock open.”
“And just where did ya learn this jimmyin’ the lock business?” said Craven.
“My sister Judy,” said Betty. “When we was kids, she used to be responsible for bringin’ home the milk. And just across the hall from our flat lived Mrs. Teaberry. She was the lady with the nine cats. That ol’ lady had milk comin’ out of her ears. But she wasn’t givin’ it up ta no one but the cats. So Judy got herself a hair pin and, when Mrs. Teaberry went for her walk in the park, Judy figured out how ta get us some free milk.
“We’re in,” said Betty. “Now you two hush. This back door leads into the kitchen. When we get inside, you two dump the ashes on the table in three separate piles. When we hear ol’ Herb comin’ I’m gonna light these candles and set off this stink bomb and that’s when we start actin’ like ghosts. But don’t nobody say ‘Boo’. That’s a sure giveaway that we ain’t really ghosts.”
”What should a ghost be sayin‘?” said Craven.
”Just talk like you was a guy that was killed for no good reason,” said Betty. “And you just wanna know what gives before you go off to a better place.”
”I live in Brooklyn,” said Sidney. ”There ain‘t no better place.”
”I‘m talkin‘ about heaven,” said Betty. ”Where you get to spend the rest of forever.”
”Doin‘ what?” said Sidney.
”Sittin‘ on a cloud and thinkin‘ about things I guess.”
”I don‘t like thinking about things,” said Sidney. ”That‘s why they came up with so many things ta keep ya from thinkin‘ about things. Like beer and the funny papers.”
“And stink bombs,” said Craven. “And just where you comin’ up with this stuff, Betty? It’s like I don’t know ya no more. Where’d my Betty go?”
“Your Betty got wise ta the fact that she’s gettin’ no where sittin’ at a desk waitin’ for the phone ta ring. But your Betty’s still here, Mr. Danger. I only went and put a little extra moxy in her corn flakes. Now follow me.”
Craven and Sidney did as they were told. They knew it was useless otherwise.