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Friday, September 16, 2005

A Disagreeable Episode

I have been having the occasional problem with my upstairs neighbour.

I tend to work at all hours of the day and night, and so have generally evolved a tolerance to outside sound. But the man's music - he is some sort of insomniac violinist - reminds me of the time I lived next to Huntingdon Life Sciences when they got a new delivery of cats. He is - unusually for Los Angeles - a devoted smoker, although the substance he smokes can only be described as tobacco because tar does not come in a vaporous form. An LA SWAT team raided the building last week, in response to what was apparently this man doing target practice, in his apartment, at the walls!

Although he lives alone, he is frequently visited by another man who brings - from what I can see through my door's peephole - groceries, and stays over for extended periods. Now, in my day, Homer-sexuality was a question of gender representation in Greek philosophy. I was unaware of any other context or meaning, although occasionally the older members of our social world might make significant glances whenever someone was brought up in conversation. The person this most brings to mind was one of Evadne Licker's daughters, any mention of whom was always received with a dark, significant scowl by the elders who claimed that the girl "would probably end up making a name for yourself, and you know what that means". Tuppence, I think her name was.

However, I have attempted to keep myself to myself, and ignore the behaviour of this man. It is, of course, not for me to judge. I understand that the man is some sort of consultant for the police and with my stash currently so large I have to pretend it's one of the sofa cushions, I consider it unwise to invite scrutiny. And so it was only this morning that I finally encountered my neighbour Mr Sherlock Holmes and his "colleague and special friend" Dr Watson, who it seems is very shy around girls.

It would appear that Mr Holmes is some sort of stage magician, as he proceeded to quite perplex me with a number of observations and deductions I considered almost supernatural until they were explained to me:

'I perceive firstly, Miss Austen, that this morning you breakfasted on an iced dairy confectionery, most probably from Mr Benjamin and Mr Gerald's emporium.'
'Why, that is quite correct!' I said in wonder.
'Good Lord, Holmes!' Watson ejaculated. He apologised and went to get a cloth.
Holmes looked at me. 'It is a deduction of little skill,' he said dismissively. 'You still have a little smudge on your cheek.' I wiped it away self-consciously, blushing.
'And your chin. Oh, and your nose. And your eyebrow. And it's in your hair. And I daresay that's some of it on the wall, too.' His hawkish features narrowed as they studied me.
'I also perceive that you masturbate excessively.'
I understood not his turn of phrase. 'I'm sorry?' I asked in bewilderment.
'You pleasure yourself with your fingers, or some form of mechanical oscillating device.'
'No, still not with you I'm afraid.'
'Your house is open to Mrs Palm and her five daughters?'
'You're learning to play the pink piano?'
'No, sorry...'
'You frequently traverse the garden path to open the well-oiled gate?'
A blank look met his hard, emotionless face.
'When Jack and Jill went up the hill, you were able to amuse yourself for an hour?'
'Er, Jack...?'
'The front doorbell can summon help twenty-four hours a day?'
'No, sorry Mr Holmes...'
'It is important to be sure that the middle porridge is just right?'
'Sir, I quite believe that you are no longer speaking English!'
'You stir your tea with the index spoon?'
'I regret Mr Holmes that I cannot follow this line of observation.'
'When the Christmas decorations came out last year, you put the fairy on the tree-'
'Mr Holmes!' I exploded. I have never been so outraged. 'For shame!' I slapped the man as hard as I could.
His hooded eyes gleamed with the malignant satisfaction of a correct deduction.
'But how could you possibly know?' I was moved to ask.
'It is elementary, Miss Austen,' said the world's greatest detective. 'My room's directly above yours'. And as I believe the expression goes, you're a bit of a screamer.'


Spike said...


kyknoord said...

A most disagreeable episode indeed! Well handled, I might add.

St. Dickeybird said...

Heehee, "playing the pink piano!"
Love it!

CyberPete said...

Oh dear...

Jaclyn said...

Oh Jesus. The tears of laughter are blinding me.

"Stir your tea with the index spoon"

classic. and classy.