A Touch of Lavender - Part 17- A Conclusion - A Craven Danger Mystery
“Geez, Sidney,” said Betty, “when’s the last time you washed those shorts?”
Sidney looked down at his dirty skivvies and blushed. He couldn’t remember the last time a lady had seen him in his underwear.
“Standin’ here in my underpants wasn’t part of the plan,” said Sidney. “Besides, they ain’t due for a washin’ till tomorrow. I take care of all my washin’ on Sunday. Myself included.”
“Would it kill ya ta have an extra pair on hand?” said Betty. “For emergencies?”
“Who am I tryin’ to impress?” said Sidney.
“You ain’t impressin’ the dog,” said Craven. “That’s for sure.”
“What dog?” said Sidney.
“The dog what come in with the wind just now. He got one look at you in your shorts and high-tailed it under the kitchen table.”
Max had followed the lavender wind into the kitchen and took his usual spot under the table.
The lavender wind circled Sidney Green a few times and backed off in a hurry. It then circled Craven Danger’s head and decided there wasn’t much goin’ on.
When the wind caught sight of Betty it paused for a moment, as if to sigh, then enveloped her in a lavender embrace.
“Hmm,” said Betty. “That’s was somethin’.”
“What was somethin’?” said Craven.
“That lavender breeze,” said Betty. “It was talkin’ ta me.”
“What was it sayin’?” said Craven.
“Yea,” said Sidney. “Let me in on it. I had a talk with the rain once. It told me I was all wet and ta get an umbrella next time. What did your weather say ta you?”
“Ah, quit ya kiddin’, said Betty. “I’m serious. It was Herbert Sampson, and he told me he was sorry for all the wrong he done. And that he was goin’ ta visit his lavender lover in her sleep and beg forgiveness. He says he doesn’t know what the heavens have in store for him, but he’ll take whatever he’s got comin’ his way.”
“I better write this down,” said Craven. “So when they call me as a witness to your insanity trial I’ll know what I’m talkin’ about. And I’ll do my best to get the charges dropped from insane to somewhat daffy. Maybe than they’ll let you out on weekends and we can go fly a kite in the park.”
“You won’t think it’s so funny,” said Betty. “if I tell ya ta go upstairs and look in the bathtub.”
“What’s in the bath tub?” said Craven.
“Herbert Sampson,” said Betty.
“The one that was just talkin’ to ya?” said Craven. “What’s he? A ventriloquist?”
“I’ll bet that hurt your tongue,” said Betty.
“What?” said Craven.
“Never mind,” said Betty. “But we better call the cops and scram outta here before they think we had somethin’ ta do with it.”
”Not before I check out that bath tub,” said Craven. ”And he better be dead. ‘Cause I don‘t want no live guy shootin‘ me in his brithday suit. It wouldn’t read right in the papers.”
When Craven Danger poked his head in the bathroom doorway and saw that blue head posed in a death scream, he was back down the stairs and into the kitchen before the swinging door he came out of finished swinging.”
”I told ya he‘d be back in a flash,” said Betty. ”What‘s the matta, Mr. Danger. You look a little pale. See something that didn‘t agree with ya?”
”Don‘t crack wise now, Betty,” said Craven. ”I ain‘t feelin‘ to good.”
”Get used to it, Mr. Danger,” said Betty. ”This is what ya asked for. If ya wanted nice and dull, ya shoulda been a bank teller.”
“What about the dog?” said Sidney. “Ya know what happens ta dogs when they ain’t got no owner don’t ya?”
“No,” said Craven. “But I’m sure you're gonna tell us.”
“They make fish food out of ‘em,” said Sidney. “I read it in the paper.”
“This paper of yours,” said Craven. “Ain’t it the same paper that said Shirley Temple was a Nazi spy who was bein’ groomed by Adolph Hitler to be his virgin bride and that she would sit at his side after he won the war?”
“A thing don’t make it into the papers,” said Sidney, “unless there’s a smidgen of truth to it. But back to the dog. Ya think I could keep him?”
“I don’t see why not,” said Betty. “He’d be good company in the cab.”
“Ah, gee, that’s swell,” said Sidney. “I always wanted a dog. I’m gonna name him FDR, after the president.”
“Good,” said Craven. “Ya wouldn’t want people ta confuse him with FDR the bus driver.”
“Laugh all you want,” said Sidney. “All I know is, I got me a dog. Come here FDR. Come here, boy!”
When FDR crawled out form under the table and saw Sidney pull a piece of beef jerky out of his pocket, it was love at first sight.
“Wait a doggone minute,” said Craven. “If this guy just up and dies in the bathtub, does that make this another case I ain’t solved because he was dead before I could get my hands on him?”
“We did get a confession out of him,” said Betty. “That’s something.”
“Oh, that’s something all right,” said Craven. “A killer’s ghost say he’s sorry to my secretary and I’m supposed ta pat myself on the back?”
“Ya know, yer awful cute when yer flustered,” said Betty. ”How‘s about I keep you flustered a little longer.”
With that, Betty planted a firm one on Craven Danger‘s lips and watched as his eyes lids fluttered and his knees buckled.
“All right,” said Betty. “The shows over. Everyone back in the cab. You too, FDR. And, Sidney, give me a hand with Mr. Danger. He won’t be walkin’ right for a while.”
As the cab pulled away from the curb, the phone on Betty Fletcher’s desk would ring. And it would not stop ringing until Betty picked up the line and said, “Good mornin’. Craven Danger. Private Investigator. Betty Fletcher speakin’. How may I help ya?”