Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sherlock Holmes and the Great Redundancy

It is a dark and stormy night on Baker Street when we find our two beloved companions sitting quietly by the fire.  Holmes, in his smoking jacket and pipe, and Watson reading the newspaper.

Watson: Holmes, have you seen my glasses?  I have misplaced them and can hardly see my hands in front of my face.

Holmes: Quiet down, my good man.  Can you not see that I am preparing to inject myself with cocaine and morphine while simultaneously playing a violin concerto?

Watson (Getting up):  I apologize.  You know me, ever the bumbler—Whoa! (Tripping over the chair and falling to the ground.)

And then, a knock at the door.

Mrs. Hudson: Hello, gentlemen.  There are several people downstairs requesting an audience, sir.  Shall I show them in?

Holmes: (Taking a deep, revivifying breath) Yes!  Yes! Of course.  At once, my dear woman.  Even the invigoration of narcotics injected into my bloodstream cannot compare to the thrill of a new case.

Watson: (Looking down) Good God, my shoes are on the wrong feet. 

Holmes: Mrs. Hudson, would you be so kind as to present our potential clients one at a time?

Mrs. Hudson: Of course, sir. 

Enter a confused looking police detective wearing a trench coat.

Holmes: Inspector Lestrade.  Back again?

Lestrade: Although it grieves me to say it, I must beg your assistance with yet another investigation.  I have misplaced my lucky rabbit’s foot.  I will be completely lost without it.

Holmes: (looking Lestrade up and down) Well, you are in luck then.  The rabbit’s foot is in an alleyway three blocks north of this very location.

Watson: (Falling to the ground and clutching his heart) My God, man!  How in the world could you know that?  It is like a miracle every time you speak!  It is like small little elves pop out of your mouth bearing rare and amazing gifts made of chocolate that explode into rubies when you bite them!

Holmes: (Looking at Watson for a moment) …and thus, I will explain how I came to my conclusion.  Your pantcuffs are wet, indicating that you have been walking for some time.  As everyone knows, one block of walking through rain this heavy equates to one inch of wet pantcuffs.  You have three inches of wet pants, and so, it is three blocks that you have been walking.  Further, you have the distinct odor of a roasted chicken leg about your person and grease upon your fingers, leading me to determine that you stopped and purchased such an item at Callahan’s as they are the only place in the near vicinity that serve them.

Lestrade: (Eyes wide) All true.  Do go on.

Holmes: You are right-handed, and furthermore, you were given that rabbit’s foot by your mother on your eighteenth birthday as a good luck token for joining the police department. 

Lestrade: How did you know that?

Watson: Amazing!

Holmes: Your mother’s name is Mary and she wears blue undergarments.

Lestrade: What?

Holmes: There is the distinct impression of a wallet in your trenchcoat’s right pocket which is where you reached in to obtain money to pay for the chicken leg and accidentally unseated the item you are looking for so desperately.

Lestrade: So it is in the alleyway now, is it?

Holmes: No.  

(Reaching into his pocket and producing the rabbit’s foot.)  I assumed you were coming here to look for it so I retrieved it ahead of time.  Here it is.

Watson: (Looking down) Blimey.  I just realized I’m also not wearing any pants.

Enter a young, rich Princess wearing a jeweled tiara, wrapped in furs.

Princess: I have received a letter…from a DEAD man.

Watson: (Hands to his mouth) A dead man, oh my.

Holmes: (Folding his leg over his knee and lighting his pipe) I am intrigued.  Go on.

Princess: Ten years ago, my fiancé, the Duke of Wensleydale---

Enter a filthy, hunched over woman dressed in rags with flies circling around her head. 

Ragwoman:  Outta my way, dearie, got important detective business wif’ Sherlock `imself.

Princess: Of all the outrage!

Ragwoman: Stuff it, ye little priss.  (She turns to Sherlock and smiles, her mouth full of rotted teeth and blackened gums) Hello, sir.  I saw your sign outside that said yer was the World’s First Consulting Detective.  We’ve got a murderous beast on the loose in the East End, but a few minutes away from here.  Killed at least five girls, he did.

Holmes: Is that true, Watson?

Watson: (Shrugging) I have no idea, sir. 

Holmes: In the East End you say?

Ragwoman: Whitechapel, in fact.  You can almost see it from here if you look out your window an’ squint.  How in the world could you not have heard?  It’s been on the front page of every newspaper for months now.  This bastard is a right maniac, he is.  Gutting up the girls an’—

The Princess, Mrs. Hudson, Watson and Sherlock Holmes all scream and cover up their ears. 

Ragwoman: (Leaning close and whispering) They say he’s done some stuff to their sexual parts as well.

Holmes: ….”Sexual” you say? (He turns and looks at Watson in confusion.  Watson only shrugs stupidly.)

Ragwoman: All the victims were prostitutes so it’s no wonder the killer went after them like that.

Holmes: (Spelling out the word) Pros-ti-tute?

Ragwoman: Yes!  Christ, you all act like you ain’t never heard of such things.

Holmes (Getting to his feet) Well, in any event, this all sounds extremely serious.  Watson!  Gather my things.  We will accompany this woman at once.

Watson: (Jumping up and clicking his heels) Of course, sir.

Holmes follows the ragwoman to the apartment’s front door and opens in it for her. 

Holmes: Lead the way, my good woman.

Ragwoman: Thank you, sir.  Thank you so much.  I knew the only reason you hadn’t shown up down there was because no one had told you directly.

As the old woman goes through the door, Holmes slams it shut behind her and quickly locks the bolt.

Holmes: (wiping his hands together in satisfaction) So my dear Princess, where were we?

Watson: (Clutching his stomach) You had me for a moment, dear fellow.

All three laugh as the curtain falls. 

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