Journey through space to the Planet Fabulous, where the Ruler of the Universe will see you shortly.

Friday, September 23, 2005

The Adventure of the More-Final-Than-Last-Time Problem

At atmosphere of gloom and foreboding had spread its evil shadow across our Los Angeles lodgings. Worse, much worse, than the after-effects of Holmes entering the LA All-You-Can-Eat Curry Competition, there was a sense of death in the air. Well, actually, not that much worse, frankly there's not much between them, but it was that sort of thing. Oppressive, dangerous, and with a whiff of cardamom.

I had seen little of Holmes this week as my practice kept me busy. I was rehearsing for a small part in Chicago, though my agent felt a understudy role in Alabama was more likely. But it seemed that in my absence, a fatal confrontation had started between Holmes and his downstairs neighbour Miss Jane Austen.

I understand that it began last Monday, when - as happens on occasion - Holmes was consulted by a number of representatives of the LAPD. Seeing so many policemen running up her stairs made Miss Austen think it was a drugs raid and she blocked the building's entire sewage system when flushing the sort of stash that normally requires two fields in Afghanistan, a good hot summer, and a combine-harvester to put together. This being the day after the curry competition meant that this did not sit well with Holmes (well, nothing did that day - he was on a rubber ring all weekend) and he was the most vocal of the Residents' Association in having Miss Austen fined. She in turn was furious that the police presence was to do with Holmes and that she'd flushed away half a tonne of Al Hazzarad's finest wacky weed for no reason.

The next morning, Holmes came back into the kitchen from having fetched the morning paper. He was covered in smoke and dog-poop.

'Good Lord, Holmes!' I ejaculated. I stood, mortified, covered in self-custard, before getting a cloth to mop myself up with. It transpired that Miss Austen had used the old paper-bag-on-fire trick, one of which the Victorian detective was unaware. His tweeds were ruined and he was distinctly furious: 'Of course, you realise Watson, that this means war'. I heard that later that day Miss Austen had sprained her ankle upon falling into a bear-trap baited with a banoffi pie. I assumed that would be an end to the matter. How sadly wrong I was.

And so it was that Holmes returned that night from an exhaustive search through the city for an evil drug dealer - or indeed anyone who had a supply of medicine for what the Master Detective described as "the Madras quickstep" - to discover that his door had been superglued shut. Although there was no evidence to link her to the crime, Holmes used his deductive powers to their full capacity and located a small DIY store who identified our neighbour Miss Austen as the purchaser of eighteen tubes of SuperFix and something called a Mrs Golightly Happy Trembler.

Holmes made a purchase of his own in the shop, and that night we watched Miss Austen present almost an hour of the Emmys on NBC before someone in the Bible Belt spotted that her microphone had been substituted with one of Mrs Golightly's finest and that the woman had effectively felated her way through Best Male, Best Male Performance, and Best Supporting Member of Cast.

We had six hours of the mad woman trying to get into our apartments after that and I wanted to call the police, but Holmes indicated this was a battle he must face on his own. He opened the door, and was at once hit with a flurry of blows. This Jane Austen is a positive dervish when her dander's up. Holmes retaliated by poking Miss Austen up the nose with his violin bow and followed through with a couple of punches that the Master Detective, a studied pugilist, had made his trademark. They would have floored a lesser person not fuelled on vengeance, adrenaline and speedballs. Miss Austen is obviously an exponent of the Three Stooges Combat Discipline as she proceeded to deliver a two-fingered eye poke, a knee in the groin, a swinging fist to the back, and a deft pirouette accompanied with the battle-cry of a "Yuk yuk yuk".

Never before have I seen people fight with such viciousness and hatred - and I speak whereof I know as I was at the First Day Sales at McGringles this year. Punch after punch, kick after kick, all relentlessly delivered. There was of course screeching, scratching and hair-pulling and at times Miss Austen fought quite hard as well. This rolling ball of combat smashed from room to room, hurtling out of the fire escape door and up onto the roof.

I remained in our chambers, rooted to the spot, as the thundering footsteps from above spoke of a climactic battle. And it was then that I heard the scream. It was a high-pitched scream, but that didn't necessarily mean it was Miss Austen, as when there's a spider in his room Holmes can give out a yell that sends bats flying into walls for a three-mile radius.

But then a blur plummeted past the window; the shape of someone undoubtedly falling to their death. There was a thud; the sound of someone undoubtedly falling to their death. And then there was a splat; the sound of someone undoubtedly dropping their cheese on toast on the carpet. Conchita our cleaner would give me merry hell for that when she gets back from her hols.

It was with a numb feeling that I turned to the opening fire escape door.

A shadow fell across the threshold.

It was-

[Cue freezeframe and end titles.]

1 comment:

Spike said...