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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Case of the Long-Missing Case

I came down to breakfast one morning last week to discover the Great Detective with what appeared to be a stick of chalk shoved into his left nostril.

'Good Lord, Holmes!' I ejaculated. I stood, ashamed, looking like the eye witness of a hand grenade explosion in a mayonnaise factory, before nipping off to mop myself up. Holmes affected to not know what I was talking about, and continued to read the Times while wheezing around the chalk sticking out of his hooter. And so it was that I was given a little mystery of my own to solve, one that I was able to eventually get to the bottom of by using some keen deductions, intelligent insights, and reading the delivery docket I found on the table in the hall.

It seems that Holmes left behind some effects that had only just this morning been delivered from London. The chalk was all that remained of a 95-year old stash of cocaine which he'd left in a test tube and which over the years had effectively fossilised. Holmes had clearly given up on getting it into a vein and so was currently hoping that it would eventually dissolve up his nose. I heard him an hour ago trying it on the cheese grater in the kitchen and I would imagine from the ensuing strange twang and his foul mood that he didn't meet with success; and that I'm going to have to visit the Kitchen Store again tomorrow; and that we won't have cheese on toast for breakfast until I do so.

Another of the items recovered from Holmes' past is another of his accursed violins. This time it is a sleek piece of woodcraft by some designer called Rimbaldi. Frankly this instrument seems to have the devil in it as I've distinctly caught it glowing when the morning sun hits it at a certain angle, and if that wasn't eldritch enough, Holmes can actually get a tune out of it which makes it unique amongst all fiddles. Last night I went to my bed with the sounds of Holmes only halfway through his medley of great show tunes. The sound of the Master Detective slaughtering Hello Dolly is not something to hear on a full stomach, let me assure you.

However, since this violin arrived in the apartment, the place has been the focus of a remarkable amount of attention. Not only have we now made the acquaintance of our neighbour Miss Austen - who came to complain about the noise at four in the morning and was seen off when Holmes sneezed and shot her in the face with the chalk rod - but I keep running into young women in horrendous wigs and near-fetish gear hanging about the place. In recent days I have become sure it is the same woman, who is seemingly under the impression that eight different coloured versions of the same wig turn her into a veritable mistress of disguise. On a few occasions I've seen this woman in the company of a garishly dressed African American who I can only assume is her pimp.

My second-worst encounter with this wig-woman was last Tuesday when I came home from the grocery store, trudging laden up the stairs, only to look up as I was about to enter Holmes' quarters. The wretched woman was there, suspended from the ceiling by some gizmo tomfoolery. She looked at me. I looked at her. She looked at me again. 'Turned out nice again, hasn't it?' she said. 'Get out you harridan,' I replied.

I raised this with Holmes, explaining my suspicions that we were being targeted by some demented streetwalker. Holmes thought about it before speaking: 'Before you curse someone, Watson, you should walk a mile in their shoes.' Pausing only to reflect that walking a mile in that woman's shoes would results in broken ankles all round, I realised that this was simply Holmes indulging his foot fetish again. Another of the items recovered from the past were a pair of Irene Adler's stilettos, and I've caught him on more than one occasion doing things with them that put the 'cobblers' into 'shoes'. Literally.

The worst time with this woman was yesterday morning. I had had a disturbed night and spent much of it tossing fitfully in my bed. The clock had just struck six when I thought I heard a noise in the living room and so I went to investigate. I discovered that an interloper had nobbled Holmes - well, glued a stick to his head from which a pair of Manolo Blahniks dangled on a string causing him to run in tight circles, giggling, unaware of his surroundings. Which meant I was the only one to realise we had visitors: that wretched woman again, playing a tug-of-war with the Rimbaldi violin with two other women. From the curses they hurled at each other, I gathered these others were her mother and great-grandmother. Whatever the family link, they certainly fought like alleycats and ignored my presence utterly. Eventually the oldest figure beat the others to death with the violin and stepped back shrieking, "At last the Rimbaldi Death Machine is mine!" at which point she fell over the fire escape door and straight down eighty feet.

She had dropped the violin, in which I discovered that a secret compartment had been opened which revealed the true usage of this device. It is a form of automatic corkscrew, and I've been using it ever since that moment to get absolutely paralytic on Holmes' collection of 90-year-old fruit vodkas, hoping to drown out the sound of Miss Austen banging on the ceiling below.

Holmes is still running in circles, the precious shoes just out of reach. I'm leaving him like that for the moment, as thanks to the dynamo I attached to his ankles, he's currently powering the DVD player.

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