“Quickly, Mary,” yelled Johnny, looking up. “Smelling salts.”
“Smelling salts?” I said. “Why on earth would I possess smelling salts?”
He waved a hand at Holmes. “For emergencies, of course – we have to jolt him out of this oblivion.”
I glanced at Lestrade, but his startled expression told me he’d be of no use. “Right, then,” I muttered. “Have to resort to my womanly wiles.” With that, I hoisted up my skirts, pushed Johnny out of the way and placed my feet on either side of Sherlock’s head. With a quick movement, I squatted down and plopped my womanly parts onto the detective’s face.
“Mary,” gasped Johnny, “what the hell–?”
“Count to ten, dear,” I said, praying that my unusual response to the crisis would prompt some sign of life from Holmes. For a long, long moment nothing happened, then a sudden lurch beneath me followed by a sucking sensation (which was actually rather pleasant), told me I hadn’t made the wrong decision and I found myself hurled aside with some force.
“Jesus Fucking Christ, woman!” gasped Holmes, sitting up, his mouth gulping air like an irate haddock. “You trying to suffocate me?”
I had landed with my skirts around my waist, displaying my personal assets to the world, but Lestrade, taking the gentlemanly initiative for once, stepped forward and helped me to my feet. After making myself respectable, I looked at Holmes.
“Not dead, then?”
He blinked, sniffed and frowned. Then, presumably recalling what had occurred only a few moments before, shook his head. “No, it seems not, but please, Mary, never do that again.”
Johnny took his friend’s arm and pulled him upright, seating him back on the chair he’d so recently vacated. “Think we’d better give you a dose of something to make you sick,” he said, examining his companion’s eyes, mouth and ears.
Holmes batted him away. “No, no, leave me be, all I need is a glass of water to get this awful…” he glanced at me and coughed. “To get that interesting and unusual piquancy out of my system.”
“No need to be polite, Holmes,” I said. “The plumbing in this house is atrocious – I haven’t had a bath in ages. If this had been a week later, my lady parts might well have finished you off.”
“Thank heaven for small mercies,” he said, a smile playing around his mouth. “Now,” he continued, surveying our four captives who had watched the whole scene with a mixture of amusement and abject horror. “Let’s split this lot up.”
We spent the next few minutes transporting three of the villains to other rooms nearby, leaving only General MacArthur in the dining room.
“Won’t do you any good, you know?” said the old man, when the four of us had returned. “Won’t get anything out of me. Old soldier, you know. Sworn to secrecy.”
“I might remind you,” said Holmes, “that only a short while ago you did tell us one of those secrets.”
“I did?” He grunted. “Bugger.”
“We’re not much wiser for it, though,” said Johnny.
“Perhaps not,” I said, “but at least we know what Professor Klopp’s plan is.”
Holmes leaned forward, hands on his knees, peering into MacArthur’s grizzled face. “Indeed, Watsons. Both quite correct. In fact…” Reaching into his inside pocket he pulled out his revolver. “So much so that we no longer need these pitiful acolytes.”
Stepping back, he held up the gun, aiming at a spot between General MacArthur’s eyes.
“Now, just a bally minute,” blustered the old man. “Shooting me won’t do you a jot of good, you know?”
“It’ll make me feel better,” quipped Holmes.
Seeing Sherlock’s idea, I joined in. “Yes, you’re right, Holmes, blow his bloody head off. One less for breakfast, if nothing else.”
MacArthur’s eyes widened and his mouth opened so far, I though his jaw might fall off. “But…but…but…” he spluttered.
“But me no buts, General. Your time has come.” And with that, Holmes pulled the trigger.