A Touch of Lavender - Part 6 - A Craven Danger Mystery
Betty Fletcher sat at her desk and flicked the switch on her intercom.
“You say she’s marryin’ the butler,” said Betty. “Does that mean he’s still the butler? Or is the butler gonna get to have a butler? Because, if I was ta marry the butler, I’d make sure he stayed the butler. Then I’d have breakfast in bed every mornin’ and I’d have him lay out my clothes on the bed - that is, after he cleaned up all of my breakfast crumbs - and I’d have him run me a hot bath with plenty of bubbles. And he’d have ta do it, too, not because he’s my husband, but because he’s still my butler. The husbandin’ part would come late at night. After he’s laid out my jammies and rubbed my aching tootsies, of course. It would be the perfect world.”
“Ya seemed to have put a lot of thought into this,” said Craven. “Ya got marryin’ on your mind?”
“Maybe,” said Betty. “Or maybe I just want a man who can give a good foot rub and not get too stupid on me. But they always do. Why does that always happen? First it’s ‘honey pie’ this and ‘honey lamb’ that. And the next thing ya know it’s ‘whaddaya mean ya ain’t done the laundry yet?’
“One day I’d just like to have a man sweet talk me for the rest of my life, and not be worryin’ whether or not his shorts is dirty.”
“Keep dreamin’, sister,” said Craven.
“Ah, ya don’t mean that, Mr. Danger,” said Betty. “I know tough nails when I see ‘em and you ain’t got ‘em.”
“Whaddaya mean, I ain’t got ‘em?” said Craven. “Did ya see the way I talked ta that paper boy this mornin’ I was plenty tough.”
“Oh, you was plenty tough all right,” said Betty. “And now you ain’t got no paper. And tomorrow the paper boy’s ol’ man is gonna be waitin’ for the man who tried ta wrestle a paper from the paper boy.”
“I wasn’t stealin’ it,” said Craven. “I just run out of nickels. I told him I’d pay him tomorrow.”
“I know ya woulda paid him back, Mr. Danger,” said Betty. “But some times ya just ain’t usin’ ya head.”
“Don’t worry," said Craven. “Tomorrow I’ll give him extra nickels.”
“And ya betta make it a bucket of suds for the ol’ man,” said Betty. “Otherwise, you’ll be scratchin’ ya head with ya feet.”
“Very funny, Betty,” said Craven. “You’re a regular Groucho Marx. Only I wish you was more like Chaplin, and not be talkin’ so much.”
“Keep dreamin’,” said Betty. “And ain’t you supposed ta be workin’ on a case today?”
“Yeah, I gotta catch the 3:12 to Beacon, New York and track down a retired cop who may or may not be a killer. Then I gotta report back to a dame who may or may not be nuts. Who’s got a daughter that’s got lavender comin’ out of her paws.”
“That’s pores,” said Betty.
“Whatever,” said Craven. “She’s practically sweatin’ the stuff. Takin’ right after the old lady. Oh, and she thinks I’m a weasel. That’s my case in a nutshell.”
“Then you betta get hoppin’, Mr. Danger,” said Betty. “It’s 2:30. You sure you don’t want some company?”
“I’ll be fine, Miss Buttinski,” said Craven. “You just stay here and mind the stove.”
“That’s store,” said Betty. “Ya know some might call that a Freudian slip, Mr Danger. Like a man who’s got marryin’ on his mind.”
“A Freudian what?” said Craven.
“Oh, never mind,” said Betty. “Go get your train.”
When Craven was out the door, Betty got Sidney Green on the phone and made plans of her own.
Stay here and mind the stove? thought Betty. He’s got another thing comin’ if he thinks I’m gonna ball ‘n’ chain it at no stove.
Then she went down the stairs to wait for Sidney.