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The Unusual Suspects…

Mrs Watson at the Fence 350

From the Diary of Doctor J. Watson

Had my voice possessed an ounce of the gravitas of Sherlock Holmes, I am in no doubt the entire gathering would have suspended their movements entirely. Sadly, this did not happen, and instead every person in the room (save Flora and myself) began screaming and running around. However, in the instant before this travesty occurred, I caught a glimpse of Seth’s face and I could swear there was a gleam of vengeance in his dark eyes. Though it might have been shock, I suppose. Or dismay. In any case, I determined to advance his name to the top of my list of suspects, followed closely by Judith, Amos and Elfine (whose innocent, virgin-like charm is surely a front).

The sharp retort of my revolver brought the madness to a standstill, and every face turned towards me. I slipped my trusty weapon back into my trousers and allowed a very serious expression to take up residence on my ruddy features. “No-one must leave this room.” I narrowed my eyes for added effect.

“Aw, gorn zuk yer bollecks.” The voice came from a farm-hand in the corner. “Yorn thenk Oim gonner ang round ere time yer werk out oo mur’drer is, yer can gorn get fuck’d.” He nodded his fat head, lest there be any doubt vis a vis his intentions.

I glared at the man, then muttered, “That’s alright, you can go. But the rest of you stay right here!”

For a long moment no-one moved, then as one, the entire assemblage fled the scene via the stairs, window, dumb waiter and kitchen door. Three seconds later, only Flora, myself and the dead man were left in the room.

“That went well.” Flora patted my arm. “Never mind, you did your best.”

I grunted. “Best wasn’t good enough, though. Was it?” I sniffed and headed for the back door. “Just going to have a quick word with Ho…” I caught myself in time and coughed loudly.

Flora’s brow developed a frown. “Have a quick word with who?”

“Oh, er…H-Ho-Hossenfeffer. One of the bovine creatures.”

“Really? I don’t know that one.”

“Yes.” I nodded vigorously to hide my embarrassment. “I’ve developed a bit of a relationship with some of those lovely, er, cows.” Her frown increased, so I added, “There’s nothing sordid about it, Flora – I just talk to them.”

“Well, I’ll stay here and watch the er…” She pointed to the dead man.

“Yes. By the way, who is he?”

She cleared her throat. “You don’t want to know.”

It was my turn to frown. “Yes, I do, actually.”

She shook her head. “No, you don’t.”

“I most certainly do, Flora. Now spit it out – who is he?” I went to thump my hand on the table for emphasis, but missed and slapped my thigh instead. Unfortunately, my automatic reaction to that particular gesture, prompted me to shout ‘Hurrah!’ like a pantomime dame. I coughed again.

Flora graciously turned her gaze to at the floor. “You recall I told you the policeman who came up here was never seen again?”

I nodded, a sickening feeling growing in my loins.

She pointed to the corpse. “That was him. Undercover detective Sergeant Flange.”

My mouth dropped open. I closed it. “Flange? You mean like an outcrop or protuberance?”

“Don’t be a dick, Johnny. That’s just his name – Flange.”

“Oh. Right, well you stay here and I’ll just go and converse with my, ahm, bovine associates…” I headed for the door.

Outside it was already dark and I took a few gulps of fresh air – or rather, air tinged with cowshit and stale urine, but at least fresher than that of the room I’d vacated. Crossing the yard, I made my way down to the field where I’d seen Holmes, but it was so gloomy, I could barely make out the edge of the fence. Leaning over, I tried my best to effect a loud whisper. “Sherl! Sherlock! Where are you?”

A sudden noise behind me caused my to whirl round and pull out my gun, waving it in front of my face. “Don’t you bloody kill me too, you murdering bastard whoever you are…”

A figure slid out of the darkness towards me. “Well, that’s a nice way to greet your beloved.”

My wife stopped and smiled, and for once the sight of her gappy teeth and wonky eyes filled me only with relief, and dare I say it – love. “Thank the Lord,” I gushed. “My darling Mrs Watson – am I glad to see you!”

She handed me her bag and turned to wave at someone in the field. A gush of hot vapour and a pounding of Bakelite on rubber told me a steam-powered gyrocopter was in the throes of taking off. I frowned – only one man could have arranged such a mode of transport.

As the huge machine lifted into the night sky, my wife stepped forward and slipped a hand round my waist. “You don’t object to Mycroft dropping me off, do you, darling?”

I harrumphed. “I wasn’t aware you were acquainted with him. You’ve always given the impression you couldn’t stand to be near either of the Holmes’ boys.”

She rolled her eyes. “No, dear, it’s only Sherlock who gets on my tits – Mycroft and I frequently have tea together, in fact that’s what we were doing when your telegraph arrived. How else could I have got here so quickly?” She snuggled her nose into my shoulder and made that infernal purring noise that always gets me going.

“Well, you’re here now.” I lowered my voice. “Listen – there’s been another murder.”

Her eyes lit up. “Excellent! Lead me to it.” She paused, then “I’m doing this on the understanding you include me in your journals. And you’re to be truthful – I won’t be the butt of your smutty innuendos or those caustic comments about my womanly needs.” She raised an eyuebrow. “Clear?”

“Of course, dear.” Inwardly, I groaned. Outwardly, I smiled. “I shall write you as you are. For the most part…” As I pulled out my notebook, my wife set off up the track towards the farm.

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2016 in Detective Fiction

 

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The Cutting Table…

Circular saw350

From the Diary of Doctor J. Watson

The next few hours passed like a blur as Holmes, Lestrade and I were trussed up and bundled into the back of one of those new-fangled ‘horseless carriage’ machineries and transported to the place of our execution. Had my focus not been drawn by our perilous situation, I might have admired the strange vehicle as it trundled through the dark streets of Edinburgh, clouds of noxious gas bellowing from its rear, accompanied by intermittent phart-like gurgling noises. A similar mode of transport chugged along behind, bearing Moriarty and the rest of the film crew.

We had been tied up and shoved onto the passenger seat of the vehicle, while the arsehole formerly known as Hannay sat at the wheel, casting the odd glance over his shoulder and grinning like the proverbial cat. Holmes sat beside me and (to my consternation), spent the whole journey attempting to engineer ‘a quiet smoke’. Having managed to extract his Meerschaum pipe from his top pocket using only his teeth, he gave me one of those ‘Would you mind, Watson?’ looks, and urged me to lean over his crotch to grasp his pouch with my own sturdy incisors and pull it out of his trouser pocket. How he succeeded in opening the small bag of Hard Shag, stuffing his pipe and lighting it using only his mouth and left ear, will forever remain a mystery.

Lestrade, on the other hand, was considerably less relaxed, screaming, “Arrrgggh!” and “Eeargh!” several times throughout the journey (in a surprisingly varied selection of tonal ranges). Thankfully, he eventually settled down and adopted a ‘fed-up’ expression.

We arrived at our destination in the early hours of the morning – a remote farmhouse on the outskirts of the city. In the dim light, I could make out two or three large barns. While Moriarty supervised, the three of us were manhandled off the motor vehicle and into the nearest of these, where we were made to stand in one corner of the building while the crew set things up. Once again, had I not been preoccupied with thoughts of my impending death, I might have enjoyed watching the proceedings: several large pieces of ‘set’ were arranged to resemble what I eventually realised was a representation of a stage play I’d seen at the Almeida a few months ago, entitled ‘Herr Batman Gets Cut in Half by Count Von Joker’, a piece of German-expressionistic theatre I hadn’t understood at the time, but which now made perfect sense.

“Don’t worry, friend Watson,” purred Holmes, still puffing on his pipe. “I have a plan.”

I snorted rather scornfully. “It’d better involve a bloody miracle then, or we three are about to be well and truly fucked.”

“Now, now, Watson, no need for that sort of talk. Stiff upper lip and all that.”

I didn’t bother replying as my attention was taken by the extended workbench that Moriarty’s henchman had manoeuvred into the middle of the ‘theatre’ set. Slotted in one end of the thing was a shiny circular saw, with a small steam engine fixed beneath. More worryingly, the parallel conveyor belts that ran the length of the table would ensure any item placed there would quickly be thrust towards the jagged, yet twinkling, teeth of the saw. I began to feel sick.

“Now gentlemen,” said Moriarty, tying a bloodstained apron around his waist. “Who’d like to go first?”

At this point, Lestrade gave way to his cowardly side. “It’s Holmes you want – do him, let me and the Doc go.” A familiar smell hit my nasal passages and I realised the poor chap had weed himself.

Hitchcock finished setting up the cameras and wobbled over to where we were waiting. “I assume you don’t want to rehearse this bit?”

Moriarty grinned. “I’d be happy to do a run-through, but I think Mr Holmes might find it a bit difficult. The first cut, as they say, is the deepest.” He broke into a hearty laugh.

Holmes gave him a sardonic smile. “Shoot me from the left, won’t you, Hitch? It’s my best side.”

At a signal from the Evil Genius, four henchmen dragged Holmes to the saw bench, untied the ropes that held him and strapped his manly form onto the despicable device. My companion now lay face up with his legs either side of the circular saw. It didn’t take an evil genius to work out what would happen when the machine screamed into life and the conveyor belt shunted the great detective towards his final problem.

“Wait!” I yelled. “Haven’t you forgotten something?”

Moriarty inclined his head and gave me a condescending smile. “Really, Doctor Watson? Don’t you think it’s time to give up?”

I knew I was grasping at straw-like articles, but I soldiered on. “Of course it is, any fool can see that, but I wanted to point out that you haven’t filmed the scene before this one – the one where you capture Holmes and bring him here.”

Hitchcock glanced at Moriarty. “He’s right, you know. We haven’t.”

Moriarty glared at me. “A small matter – we’ll use stooges dressed as you three. A couple of long shots should do it, I think.” He took a step towards me. “In any case, the punters won’t remember the penultimate scene, they’ll remember the last one: the one where Sherlock Holmes gets sawn in two. Mwah, hah, hah…”

The next few minutes passed in a blur (much like the earlier one), and I had to force myself to concentrate. As the circular saw started up and the set was lit, I saw Moriarty take up his position next to the staircase at the edge of the set.

“Action!” Hitchcock clicked his fingers and the next few seconds seemed to slow into some sort of slow motion that was very, very slow. I watched transfixed as Moriarty took his cue:

“And so, Mr Holmes, this is the end. I will be rid of your meddling forever. Goodbye.” He started up the staircase and moved along the gantry. The cameras tracked his progress as he looked down on Holmes, the conveyor belt juddering my friend’s nether regions ever closer to the saw.

Holmes, however, appeared unconcerned. “Do you expect me to talk?” he called.

“No Mr Holmes, I expect you to die.” Moriarty laughed again.

Holmes stared up at him. “But what about the plans for a top secret steam-powered undersea torpedo-ship designed by the famous submarine boffin Bruce Partridger?”

Moriarty sneered. “You cannot distract me from my purpose, Holmes.”

My soon-to-be-sliced companion chuckled. “You don’t know what they are, do you?”

Moriarty stopped. “I’ll have an abundance of time to peruse them, Holmes, after I’ve seen you in halves – preferably two.”

Holmes lifted his head and peered at the screaming blade. I detected a note of concern in his voice as he looked straight up at the ceiling and yelled, “I think we can safely say this would be a good time, dear brother!”

At that moment, it seemed that the whole roof of the barn was lifted away as if by some gigantic, unseen hand. The cold air gushed in and the whirling blades from the flying machines hovering above us filled the air with a great noise. Seconds later, dozens of hunky, leather-clad men descended into the barn on ropes, and in the melee that followed, Hitchcock, Buchan, Moriarty and his men were caught and tied up, Lestrade and I were set free and (most thankfully) the deft flick of a switch ensured that the circular saw juddered to a halt a mere three millimetres from the testicles of the great detective Sherlock Holmes.

“You took your bloody time,” barked Holmes to the man in the white suit.

Mycroft smiled and helped him up, then gazed around as his men dragged their prisoners into the centre of the barn. “You know me, dear brother, I like a dramatic ending.” He rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “Good thing we gave you that locating device, eh?”

Holmes stuck a hand down his trousers and fiddled around for a moment before pulling out a small metal box. “Your patented Telegraphical Steam Conduit.” He handed the device to his brother. “Indeed, as Watson pointed out, we’d have been fucked without it.”

Mycroft slipped the device into his own pocket. “I suppose you do still have the plans for the submarine?”

Holmes nodded. “Of course. In fact I never gave them to John Buchan at all – what he thought were the submarine plans was merely a design for a new type of exploding cigar I’ve been working on. Would have been rather fun if Moriarty had tried to build it.”

“So the plans are…?”

“In the safest place I could think of – inside Mrs Hudson’s knickers.”

Out of the corner of my eye, a sudden flash of Evil Genius tore towards my companion, his face fixed in a snarl of rage. I stuck out my leg and Moriarty fell in a heap on the ground.

“Ow!”

“Tch,” muttered Mycroft. “Keep him under control, can’t you?” Two of his men hauled the Evil Genius to his feet and tied him up. Again.

As we climbed into one of the steam-powered gyrocopters, I slid in behind Holmes and half-listened to the idle bickering between the brothers. Another adventure at an end, I thought, allowing myself a satisfied sigh. Nevertheless, I couldn’t help wonder if all this might have been resolved more easily and with considerably fewer threats to human life. But then, it wouldn’t have been half so much fun!

As the machine rose into the early dawn, Lestrade rested his head on my shoulder. He stank of wee, but I didn’t mind – I was already thinking about the title for this adventure…

 

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2016 in Detective Fiction

 

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