A Touch of Lavender - Part 8 - A Craven Danger Mystery
Betty Fletcher sat in the back of Sidney Green’s taxi and rolled down the window.
“I love this fall weather, Sidney,” said Betty. ”It‘s so simulatin‘.”
“I love it, too, kid,” said Sidney. “When I’m on the inside lookin’ out. By a blazin’ fire. With the window closed. It’s friggin’ freezin’in here! Could ya please roll up that window.”
“Now I got two big babies in my life,” said Betty. “Craven don’t like the windows open neither. He says ya leave the windows open and the next thing ya know ya got pigeons nestin’ in the toilet.”
“Mr. Danger’s a wise man,” said Sidney.
“Wise guy, ya mean,” said Betty. “Do ya know what he said ta me the other day?”
“Fill me in, kid,” said Sidney. “I ain’t heard nothin’ worth nothin’ in days. Used ta be a time when folks’d get inta my cab and talk me up like I was their parish priest. But nowadays it’s like drivin’ a hearse. And every once in a while I gotta ta take a peek in my rear view mirror ta make sure they’re still alive. They tip like they’re dead. That’s for sure.”
“Do ya wanna hear what he said ta me or not?” said Betty.
“You have my undecided attention,” said Sidney.
“He said I was a handsome woman,” said Betty.
“And that’s a bad thing?”
“When a guy says that, Sidney, he's sayin' that you ain’t quite made it ta pretty.”
“Ah, kid, he didn’t mean no such thing,” said Sidney. “I know Mr. Danger’s a dope sometimes, but he’s not stupid. Why, you’re prettier than a movie star. And if I was you, I’d catch the first bus ta Hollywood and start poundin’ on some doors. And then I can say I knew ya when ya was a classy secretary with a boss who never knew how ta say the right thing to a beautiful woman.”
“Ah, you‘re a sweety, Sidney,” said Betty. “But Mr. Danger better learn how to talk to a lady soon. Because, sometimes I feel like I’m just a part of the office furniture. And if he was ever ta move outta that office, he’d be tellin’ the fellas who moved him, ‘she goes with the desk, so make sure they stay together and watch the walls goin’ down the stairs. I don’t wantcha breakin’ my secretary.”
“Nah, kid,” said Sidney. “Ya got it all wrong. And If you’ll pardon me for sayin’ so, Mr. Danger thinks ya got angel wings under that dress. He’s nuts about ya.”
“Oh, he’s nuts all right,” said Betty. “And If he thinks I’m lettin’ him tackle this Lavender Lover case all by his lonesome, he’s even nuttier.”
“Oh, I read about her,” said Sidney. “She’s just got out of the slammer. Went and killed off her husbands, then tried to kill her lover cop when he found out about it. Boy, some people can go their whole lives without so much as swattin’ a fly. And then other people can’t seem ta get through the day without shootin’, knifin’, chokin’, ticklin’, drownin’ or poisinin’ the one’s they’re supposed ta be spending the rest of their lives with.”
“Ticklin’?” said Betty.
“Yeah,” said Craven. “I just read a story about a a dame what tickled her husband ta death. She said he had no sense of humor and she couldn’t take it no more. So she took him ta see a Three Stooges movie. And he was havin’ none of it. He sat there like he was watchin’ one of them movies where they show the words on the screen and you gotta read along to follow the action. So she starts ticklin’ the guy, to see if she could make him laugh. And boy did he laugh. Only thing was, once he started laughin’, he couldn’t stop. And he dropped dead right there in the movie house, just as Moe is givin’ it ta Larry and Curly with the business end of a ball-peen hammer. They had ta clear out the theater. It upset a lot of people. People spend hard earned money ta see the Stooges.”
“I guess we must read different papers, Sidney,” said Betty. “‘Cause ya seem to read a lot about things I never heard of.”
“Oh, I got lots more stories, kid,” said Sidney.
“Another time, Sidney,” said Betty. “Right now we’ll worry about gettin’ ourselves ta Beacon and findin’ this retired cop. I have a bad feelin’ about this Herbert Sampson.”
“I get bad feelin’s too, Kid,” said Sidney. “But usually after a liverwurst and onion sandwich.”
“Sometimes I think we’re on different planets,” said Betty.
Betty then rolled down the window a crack and sniffed at the Autumn air.