From the Mouths of Crones…

23 Feb

From the Diary of Doctor Watson

Bas and Nige“What the devil d’you mean?” I demanded, pulling the wizened crone round to face me.

“Just what I said, dearie.” Her breath was no less fetid than before, but I had taken the precaution of inhaling though my mouth. She squeezed my hand. “The Thirty-nine steps to Heaven.”

I felt my irritation growing, and rather disturbingly, my ardour. “No, I mean, what do you mean about the thirty-nine steps?”

She rolled her blood-shot eyes. “Step one – we go upstairs. Step two, we enter my boudoir. Step three…”

“Yes, yes, I think I get the picture.” I cast her hand away from me and moved backwards. “I thought you meant something else, that’s all.” I folded my arms. “Anyway, I’m going upstairs. Alone.”

“Fine. If yer don’t want ter know about the thirty-nine steps, then…”

“For God’s sake shut the fuck up about the thirty-nine bloody steps!”

“Language, Watson.” My companion’s familiar drawl brought me up sharply and I felt myself flush.

“Ah, Holmes, there you are. I was just…”

Holmes put his mouth to my ear. His voice was low and I could feel his hot breath on my neck. “I warned you to be vigilant, Watson.”

He turned to the little woman and grasped her shoulder, squeezing it in a not unaffectionate fashion. “Now, my dear, you were saying. About the thirty-nine steps…?”

For the first time, the woman appeared to lose her confidence. Her eyes flicked between myself and Holmes. Her lips quivered and she clasped her bony fingers together. “Look, I don’t know, I just did what he said, that’s all.”

Holmes smiled kindly. “What who said?”


I felt a sudden jolt in my stomach. I glanced at Holmes but his gaze was on the old woman.

“Maury who?”

She shrugged. “Maury Artie. Why, d’you know him?”

Holmes turned to me. “Watson, I think a certain phrase is called for.”

I stared at him. “You mean…?”

“Yes,” he nodded solemnly. “Oh, shit…”

To be continued.


Posted by on February 23, 2016 in Detective Fiction


Tags: ,

2 responses to “From the Mouths of Crones…

  1. davidprosser

    February 23, 2016 at 10:45 PM

    Dr Watson does seem a little tetchy.Maybe she could have refined her offer to him and gone for the Three Steps To Heaven. It would haves been quite handy really as I know the first two steps intimately but I’m always asleep before finding out what the third one is.


    • colingarrow

      February 24, 2016 at 7:10 AM

      Yes, tired and irritable is a regular thing with Watty, I’m afraid.



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