Statement of Robert Clackett
(Former employee of the Diogenes Club)
I make this statement at the request of Sherlock Holmes and his associate Doctor John Watson in connection with an incident at the Diogenes Club on Monday last.
Having met Messrs Holmes and Watson and two other individuals as they entered the Club, I continued with my usual duties for about another half hour. At that point, I became aware of two gentlemen approaching me. As they were not familiar, I stepped forwards to prevent entry until I’d had the opportunity to examine their credentials. However, before I could do so, one of the gentlemen hit me over the head with what I suspect to be a wooden mallet.
The next thing I recall is waking up on the ground with a large cut to the back of my head and a headache like I’ve never before experienced.
Getting to my feet, I heard a knocking sound coming from inside the Club and realised someone must be banging on the doors. That’s when I noticed several planks of wood had been nailed across the double doors and a heavy chain looped around the handles.
When the knocking stopped, I heard a voice.
‘Clackett? Are you there?’
I recognised the voice immediately as Mr Sherlock Holmes, the aforementioned famous detective.
‘Yes, sir,’ said I. ‘How can I help you this evening?’ (I realise now this was a particularly stupid response, but I did have a very sore head at the time.)
‘Clackett,’ continued Mr Holmes. ‘I am placing a large explosive device at the door. I suggest you withdraw to the pavement and prevent anyone else from approaching.’
I called out my agreement and hurried down the steps to the road. A few moments later, I found myself sailing through the air as if a terrific wind had erupted from nowhere.
When the dust cleared, I perceived that the doors to the Club had gone, replaced by a hole several times larger than the space formerly occupied by the said doors.
A man I now know as Inspector Lestrade, hurried out into the street and helped me up.
‘Can you stand, Clackett?’ he said.
‘I can, sir.’
‘Then I want yer to come wiv me ter Scotland Yard.’
‘But inspector, I can’t leave my post—non-members might gain entry to the Club.’
The inspector placed a hand on my shoulder. ‘This may come as a shock to you, but in a few minutes the Diogenes Club will be blown ter fuck. Now. Are you wiv me?’
I nodded and we pushed through the gathering crowds along Pall Mall and found a cab. Racing across The Mall, the Hackney veered left into Horse Guards Parade, under the arch, and out onto Whitehall where we careened left again followed by a sharp right into Whitehall Place.
Lestrade shouted at me to pay the cabbie while he ran up the steps.
A minute later, I found him shouting at two constables in the lobby. The pair looked a little suspicious until the detective flashed his warrant card.
‘I ain’t gonner tell yous again, lads—we ‘ave ter evacuate the building right now, cos there’s a fuckin bomb an it’s gonner blow this place sky bloody high.’
‘But there ain’t no-one ‘ere, Inspector,’ said one, waving his arms as if to demonstrate the lack of police officers.
‘What d’yer mean, there ain’t no-one ‘ere?’
‘It’s a bank ‘oliday, sir. There’s only a skeleton crew here tonight. An anyway, we got an offer of soup and stovies from that wee Scots lassie that runs the soup kitchen round the corner. Since Commissioner Gordon sent round that notice sayin we weren’t ter consume food on the premises, the lads that were on duty ‘ave gone round there.’
The inspector let out a long sigh and I saw the tension of the situation drop from his face like suet pudding hitting the floor.
‘Right,’ said he. ‘You two go outside and make sure no-one gets back in here.’
‘Oughtn’t we ter try an find this ‘ere bomb, Inspector?’
‘No time. Outside, now.’
No sooner had we crossed the threshold than that (by now familiar) terrific wind erupted again and all four of us flew up into the air. We landed in a heap of arms and legs back in the Hackney cab we’d just got out of.
After we’d picked ourselves up and examined our various injuries, the inspector sent the two coppers off to check on their colleagues and warned them to arrest whoever had made the soup. Just as they ran off, he called them back.
‘Just so yer know, yer colleagues might be dead. If they are, well…just do what yer can.’
The pair hurried away. Then the inspector told me to go home and come back in a few days to make a statement.
‘Where will I come back to, sir?’ I said, gazing at the ruins of the police headquarters.
He rubbed his chin. ‘Good point. Leave me your address and I’ll come to you.’
As I walked away, feeling somewhat overwhelmed by it all, I saw the inspector gazing up at the great mounds of rubble that a few seconds earlier had been Scotland Yard.
I’d only got as far as Trafalgar Square when an almighty explosion shook the very street I walked upon.
That’d be the Diogenes Club, then, I thought to myself.