Saturday, 22 June 2013

'Hue and Cry' by Iain Pattison

Snarling, Doctor Watson stormed out of the offices of The Strand Magazine, derisive laughter echoing in his ears.

It was outrageous. How dare the man, he fumed; fighting the urge to return and punch the smirking editor’s nose.

The journalist’s words stung like angry bees. “You’ve had a good run, doc, but we’d look stupid publishing any more of your chronicles. This bizarre new direction Sherlock’s taken doesn’t exactly grip the punters.”
Thrusting the barely read pages back into Watson’s hands, he’d mocked: “These accounts are too dull for us. Why don’t you try them elsewhere … like Homes and Gardens!”

During the Hansom ride back to Baker Street, Watson harboured thoughts that would have broken his Hippocratic oath, if not his knuckles. But as the cab eventually pulled up outside 221b, he calmed, realising wearily that the magazine owner was right.

Since taking up his strange new hobby six months earlier, Holmes had lost interest in the baffling, glamorous, high-profile crimes that had made his name. And although the eccentric genius was still frantically busy, his forensic eye more tested and probing than ever, Sherlock’s exploits could now only in one sense be described as colourful.

There was nothing for it, Watson resolved. If he and Holmes were to avoid the poor house, the madness had to end. He’d have to demand that his companion abandon this folly. However, any possible stratagem for achieving this goal evaporated as a sudden scream shook him from his thoughts.

The wail of terror emanated from within, and bundling through the door he found Mrs Hudson, ashen faced and shrieking, pointing with trembling hands to the staircase carpet. Following her finger he gasped in apprehension.

A trail of droplets led up the gas-lit stairs, each tread soggy with an ominous splodge of viscous crimson. It didn’t take much imagination to grasp its meaning and Watson bolted up the sticky steps two at a time.
Pulling out his service revolver, he gulped at what horrors he might encounter. The sight that presented itself made him gag with revulsion. The apartment was bloody, every inch, every cranny splattered and criminally despoiled.

And standing in the middle of the mayhem, clutching a dripping vermilion roller, Sherlock Holmes - once master detective but now self-proclaimed Greatest Interior Designer In the World - beamed with opium-fuelled satisfaction.

“Behold, behold,” he proclaimed. “No longer an office in off-white, a living room in boring beige, but a study in scarlet.”

For a second Watson considered shooting his crazed friend. He now understood what it meant to see red.

Yet, Holmes appeared oblivious, dropping the roller and snatching up a bright yellow brush.

“There’s just time to give the porch one swift coat of canary before Inspector Lestrade pops round,” he announced breathlessly.

Groaning, the doctor realised he didn’t need to ask what glossy vandalism Sherlock intended for the hallway. He’d heard it dozens of times already.

“Lemon entry, my dear Watson. Lemon entry!”

4 comments:

  1. That was really funny and in a true spirit of Holmes and Watson. A Study in Scarlet will never be the same for me:)

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  2. The final quip sounds rather saucy. Or is that just me?

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  3. Hilarious - didn't see the end coming. Great story.

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