A Touch of Lavender - Part 3 - A Craven Danger Mystery
There is a locker at Grand Central Terminal. In it are the belongings of Hortense Rosenthal. Philanthropist. Philosopher. Concert pianist and, according to the policeman who shot her, one hell of a good kisser.
Officer Herbert Sampson was a New York City policeman who fell in love with the grand lady after being stationed at one of her Carnegie Hall recitals.
“I was stationed outside her dressing room one night,” he told a police investigator. “When I opened her door for a flower delivery, our eyes met and she immediately cleared the dressing room of all hangers-on. Then our other body parts met. That was the night she anointed me with her lavender oil. ‘So they’ll always know you belong to me,' she said. She barely made it to the stage that night. I’m a pretty good kisser, myself.
“She had one bad trait, though,” continued the officer. “She liked to kill People. I found that out too late, though. That was the night she tried to kill me. So, I tried to kill her back. I didn’t try hard enough."
When Officer Sampson told his story to the newspapers, Hortense Rosenthal would be dubbed the Lavender Lover. Because of her habit of anointing all of her alleged victims with the sensuous oil.
“I should have seen it coming,” said Officer Sampson. “But like they say. Love is blind. And it smells good, too. I missed that one. Some cop I turned out to be.”
Also in the locker at Grand Central Terminal are the ashen remains of the Lavender Lover’s alleged first victim, her first husband, Herbert Rosenthal. Call her sentimental.
“The note said to come alone,” said Craven Danger.
“To Grand Central Station?” said Betty. “During rush hour? You’re gonna get yourself hurt, Mr. Danger. You can’t even catch a bus at the corner bus stop without gettin’ yourself beat over the head with an old lady’s umbrella. And on a rainy day like this, do you know haw many old lady’s with umbrellas are gonna be waitin’ for you to make a stupid move? I can almost count the lumps on your head as we speak.”
“That was one time,” said Craven. “And, by the way, that old lady was bigger than me. And I don’t put up with no line cutters. No way. No how. I was there first!”
“At least take a box a Band-Aids with ya," said Betty. “I wouldn’t want ya bleedin’ all over the station floor.”
“Very funny,” said Craven. “But I’ll be just fine. I can take any old lady in this town with my eyes closed.”
“Oh, yer eyes’ll be closed all right,” said Betty. “After she pounds ya with her umbrella.”
“That’s enough of that,” said Craven. “I’m goin’ alone. There’s plenty of phones at the station. I’ll call you if I there’s a problem.”
“At least let me pin your name and numba to your lapel,” said Betty. “And a little note sayin’ there’s some nickels in your pants pocket should you be unable to make that call yourself.”
“I thought you were on my side,” said Craven. “My man Friday. My bridge over troubled waters. Do ya think Watson ever talked to Homes this way? I don't think so, sister. At least not in the movies. Watson had faith in his Holmes. Can’t ya have a little faith in your Danger?”
“Ya know, Mr. Danger," said Betty, “yer right. You go off to the station by yourself. And have yourself a nice little case. How about I pack ya some lunch? A peanut butter and jelly sandwich maybe? A nice cuppa chocolate milk? I’ll even throw in a coupla those little Yankee Doodle cupcakes ya like so much?”
“I’m gonna be late,” said Craven. “You stay here and make fun of me without me. I gotta call Sidney and get me a ride to Grand Central Station. I ain’t never seen no lady with lavender lipstick before. I don't want to keep her waitin'."
“The suspender is killin’ me.” said Betty.
“That’s suspense,” Craven.
“No,” said Betty. “The right suspender holdin' up my pants. It’s killin’ me.”
“Right,” said Craven. “Gotta go.”
“At least take an umbrella,” said Betty. “It’s rainin’ hard out there and yer gonna need something to fight off the elderly and the blind.”
As Craven Danger walked down the flight of stairs he thought of many things. And they all involved the clever things he would say to Betty when he got back. But he couldn’t think of any.