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Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Adventure of the Dead Postmen

While Holmes has battled a veritable league of villainy in the past - one could consider Colonel Sebastian Moran, Irene Adler, Magnus Greel, and of course Professor Moriarty and his henchman Mini Moriarty - it seems he has a new foe here in 2005. Initially we believed that the slumped bodies of postmen in our stairwell were the work of our neighbour Miss Austen who has a voracious sexual appetite and - from what we hear through the floorboards - her own dungeon, range of electrical appliances, and a standing account with a petshop.

However it became clear that a more diabolical genius was at work, a criminal so cruel they could pull the wings off a fly, steal from a blind man, or start up a Reality TV show. As the days went on, the dead postmen started to pile up, and Holmes' impressive intelligence was stumped.

'I'm stumped, Watson,' he said this morning. See, I told you.

All the Master Detective could deduce were that these men came from a variety of locations, had a variety of peccadilloes (a South American rodent, I understand, frequently bought in the same pet shop Miss Austen patronises), had differing marriage arrangements and social lives, and that the only thing they had in common was their employment by the Los Angeles Postal Service. Had some overstressed maniac gone on a killing spree targeting only postmen? Oh the irony.

We took a horse-drawn carriage to the central postal office, where they were holding their frequent festivities - presumably you will have heard of the amount of LAPS dances available in Los Angeles? - and demanded to see Mr S. Macintosh McCrotchity, the head of the Los Angeles Post Service. It was only as this wrinkled kilted old man arrived that Holmes got a gleam in his eye and leaned forward like a eagle about to swoop onto its prey. A past-it eagle with a paunch who's let itself go a bit, but an eagle nonetheless.

'Ah, Mr S McCrotchity,' said the Master Detective. 'I hope you can help us.'

'Och aye ma wee laddie, ma friends call me Stereotype.'

'Nonetheless, I hope you can help us. Or else I will be forced to tell Angela D'Bourneville that your fishing trips to Kelly Brook are merely a front to conceal your badger-smuggling operations.'

McCrotchity's face paled alarmingly, and it was clear Holmes' sharp words had found their mark. 'Good Lord, Holmes!' I ejaculated. I stood, spattered like a plasterer's shoes, before going to get something to clean myself up with.

'It is elementary, Watson,' Holmes said. 'Mr McCrotchity is holding his left arm in the manner of someone with an injury which I judge to be consistent with one who frequently hauls badgers from their holes.'

'Och noooo...' said McCrotchity, 'It's simply RSI from too much wanking, ye ken.'

'But... The fishing trips? The smuggling?' I asked in bewilderment.

'Och aye, the noo, he's right about all that.'

We both looked to Holmes in amazement, but the Great Detective was already violating the fire regulations of eight different states by lighting up his pipe. It normally takes eight matches, an arc-welding torch, and a good run-up, but he managed adequately. In between puffs of blue pollution, Holmes interrogated McCrotchity.

'McCrotchity, I am afraid I see no evidence of intellect about you. I believe you are merely a puppet to an evil mastermind who has nothing less than my destruction in his mind. You will give me his name, or I will go hard on you.'

'Or it will go hard for you,' I corrected.

Holmes looked at me under his hooded eyes. 'You do it your way, Watson, and I'll do it mine, thank you very much.'

Either way, the poor man was terrified. 'Och aye the noo laddie, I'll give you the name ye seek, och, the engines cannae takit cap'ain-' At that moment he sat upright with a jerk, and with an exclamation of 'Great Stanley Baxter's Hogmany Special!' he slumped dead. A first class letter from England was embedded between his shoulder blades. We returned to our quarters where we pushed past the ever increasing pile of rubbish sacks outside the building and then slipped quietly over the pressure pads Miss Austen has installed to warn her of our presence so that she can come out and complain incessantly.

Holmes broke open a packet of plain chocolate hob nobs and looked at me. 'If you don't mind, Watson, I wish to cogitate alone.'

'I should think so too, Holmes! I mean, last time I got absolutely covered in-'

'Cogitate, man, cogitate.'

'Oh, sorry, I misheard you.' I went out for a enjoyable evening and returned to find that Holmes had gone, on the trail, no doubt, of this murderous fiend. He didn't reappear until the following morning when I discovered that he had apparently been to a Village People themed party.

Holmes seemed somewhat put out when I voiced my thoughts. 'It's the uniform of a postman, man!' he admonished. I pretended to agree with him, even though I knew that the bushy droopy moustache and the peaked cap were certainly not in the dress code of any postal organisation I was aware of. And frankly he's the first postman I've seen in rubber chaps, but then I never lived in King's Cross, so...

'I have solved the case,' he sighed, slumping into a chair. 'And it is a tale of unimaginable evil and debauchery.'

My blood ran cold. 'You mean you've had to deal with the Abbey National Enquiries Service?!'

'Ah Watson, I see that you have finally read my trifling monograph on Evil Criminal Organisations. Yes, for it was they. It would appear that ever since my disappearance, an Abbey National office located at 221B Baker Street has been accepting male for me.'

'You mean "mail" don't you?' I asked with narrowed eyes. Holmes scowled and wished he worked in radio rather than the written word.

'Yes, that's what I said. In nearly one hundred years they've had to devote eight warehouses and build a new town - Milton Keynes I believe it is called - to house this correspondence. Now that they have learned of my return, they have started to forward this prodigious amount of postage to me, resulting in the tragic deaths of a number of overweight postmen.'

'But how can you possibly put an end to this, Holmes?'

'Ah, my dear Watson, the solution is simplicity itself. I have already informed the US government that an Al Qaeda cell is housed within Milton Keynes. It will be bombed flat by morning.'

'What?! But Holmes! Won't there be thousands and thousand of complaints?'

Holmes broke open another packet of hob nobs. 'Yes, you'd have thought so, wouldn't you?' he mused.


Snooze said...

"Holmes scowled and wished he worked in radio rather than the written word."

Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.

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