I believe it was the evening of July the 2nd when Holmes met me at a small pub. I had sent for him as I had been informed of an incident that I knew would intrigue him. I thought that by having him meet me at the pub I might surprise him with the news; however, Holmes was in no mood for instant intrigue, as he was mildly miffed at the altered state of his horse.
The poor animal had “barfed” the entire trip, mostly onto Sherlock Holmes’s perfectly shined shoes. How this had occurred, I cannot be sure. I’m afraid I barely know what it is that horses consume. Oats? That sounds right. Nevertheless, Holmes’s intellect and wit was as sharp as ever and his questions began to ring through the pub’s cramped quarters.
“Why have you brought me to this bar, Watson?” he asked.
Ignoring his use of the term ‘bar’ to describe the pub, and knowing that he meant it pejoratively as the establishment wasn’t to the standards which Holmes would expect in a pub, I explained that I had wanted a pint or two to settle my nerves before taking him to the scene of the crime. He was eager to get to there before too much evidence was corrupted and so my last pint was left to wither on the bar as we crossed the street to the synagogue where there had been a grizzly murder.
(The upside of this was that I hadn’t paid for that pint, or the one prior to it.)
I should like to take a moment here to explain that I am not intentionally leaving out the name of the synagogue and if I knew it I would give it to you forthwith. The truth of the matter is the name wasn’t anywhere on the building itself and no one inside mentioned it either. Though curious this didn’t have a bearing on the crime whatsoever. If you happen upon a synagogue that shares a street with a pub, this might very well be the same one in which Holmes and I now stood.
Knowing him as I do, I’d surmise that Holmes must have noticed much more than I did as we walked in the door. There was a tall, stout, slack-jawed man standing near what could only be described as an elongated body. There was a small trail of chalk leading away from the body which, for some reason, was outlined though we know not by whom. The body was adorned with both a Star of David and a gold cross on a necklace. A ladder was present as well. To my recollection, this is all the evidence there was. As you will also learn, Holmes gleaned much more from those woefully insufficient clues than I ever could. I myself didn’t even know where to begin. Holmes discerned that the deceased had been lighting the chandeliers and must have fallen or been pushed from that great height which would explain the state of the body. That’s when our spectator finally spoke.
“Are you finished yet?” It was evident from both his look and his accent that he wasn’t terribly educated.
“What?” Holmes snapped back.
“I’ve got to clean up,” he replied.
We would come to learn that this individual was Emmett, a custodian of the church and that the deceased had been the rabbi. This was only after Holmes tested Emmett by asking him if he, Emmett, was the rabbi. No doubt both the nature and substance of his response told Holmes a myriad of insightful things but to me they simply sounded stupid.
Holmes was quite amused by the appearance of Emmett, and declared that he looked like an otter, so he would call him Emmett Otter. I had neglected to give the man a close examination that before. As it turned out, Emmett was a rather hairy man with wild, shaggy eyebrows and scraggly facial hair that traveled down his face and back and ended in what would presumably be a tail. Emmett quickly informed us that his surname was indeed Otter, and my own deduction skills told me that this was either a quixotic coincidence, a masterful show of intuition by Sherlock Holmes, or Emmett the custodian was eager to agree to anything after immediately telling the world’s greatest consulting detective “no.”
At the behest of this bushy beast, we found our way to the secretary who was as helpful as she was beautiful, which is to say not at all. Her sole duty seemed to be to disappoint and obfuscate anyone wishing to obtain any information from her by sending them to offices on floors of the building I have no evidence actually existed. She seemed to genuinely believe what she was saying however, to my untrained eye at least, and Holmes was interested enough to suffer her company for an extremely long amount of time.
I must admit that due to my earlier imbibing, I was eager to tell Holmes exactly when I felt the first twinges of listlessness. The secretary scaled the depths of her hollow, bureaucratic heart and found her inner entertainer. She snatched my cane from my hand and begin to spin a plate on its tip. I was startled at first, but applauded and Holmes was more fascinated than impressed by the sudden, random turn of events.
Before I could gather myself, Emmett popped his head in and mumbled something that confirmed that rabbi had been lighting the candles and that he did so bimonthly or monthly depending on the speed at which the light burned. My head was spinning as fast as the plate on my cane.
As Sherlock Holmes conferred and confirmed with the crowd that the lights were indeed candles, and not some sort of magical burning bulb, I racked my useless brain for the next step in our investigation.
My thoughts soon turned to young boys. Not like that. I said, not like that.
I suggested to Holmes that we meet with some of the Baker Street Irregulars, who have been so helpful to us in the past. I seem to remember the boys being a rough and tumble group, but whip-smart, and incredibly loquacious at that.
When we finally did meet up, I wondered if perhaps Holmes had taken on a new bunch of informants, in substitution to the brighter boys I had interacted with in earlier adventures. These two lads seemed to be engaged in some base buffoonery geared toward self-amusement more than helping us with the case. I wasn’t able to comprehend them at all, and the fact that Holmes was willing to deal with them made me think that he must have had some of his injections recently and was looking for his own sort of entertainment that didn’t involve plate spinning.
Of the two, one had an unfortunate case of fists for hands and the other, the whinier of the two, had sold his eyeballs for reasons unknown other than perhaps poverty. They both fought constantly.
Amidst the cacophonous kerfuffle, one of them did mention a single stein that he had, or as the Germans would say, ein glas. The one with no eyes was able to read the bottom of the stein, a feat of which I could not understand, until the blind boy clarified that he could smell it, and then, I’m afraid I still could not understand.
Regardless of their ailments, Holmes paid the Irregulars and left them to continue their confusing quarrel and the fisted boy promptly began striking the eyeless once again. There was no need to delay our next move, for it was clear at the bottom of the glass that the maker’s mark began with an MC and we made our way to the McStudio.
Now as a Doctor, I should say that there should be no reason why a glassmaker should have an idiot son, nonetheless this one did. Perhaps the glassmaker himself was an idiot as well for when we called he was singing softly to himself, “I’m just a Scotsman cleaning glasses.” The oddity of this was compounded only by his accent, which was quite clearly that of a Yankee.
Holmes, in a grand experiment, proceeded to destroy most of this poor craftsman’s stock one of which didn’t break. The reason for this, according to the idiot son, was because of its sides were squared. (This wasn’t the case as Holmes took that very same glass back to Baker Street and months later proved that the squared edges only made it more vulnerable to bullets.)
This custom order had not been not done in person, but in a message delivered via telegram. A mysterious telegram that when read aloud, it was apparent that no “STOP” was included. The reigning theory here was that the gravity of the telegram was too great to end.
As no one at the glassmaker’s studio could inform us on the identity of the telegraphee, we hastened to the telegraph office to speak with the telegrapher.
During the trip, Holmes had what appeared to be an existential crisis of location questioning whether we were actually in Britain anymore at all. How I empathize. Often I look at the heinous acts we encounter and wonder the same thing. Where is the Britain of my youth? Alas, progress has its growing pains as well as the human animal.
At the telegraph office, as such with all of our recent adventures, we found another inept individual. This telegrapher could barely read due to a disastrous affliction which caused him to see letters transposed. His diseased mind did not falter when it came to filing, as he was able to retrieve the same telegram from its hidden location, and could even recall the visage of the enigmatic figure Holmes and I had been after. Having no time for a drawing or a short description, the expedient telegrapher was able to paint us a portrait of the man multiple times by repeatedly sticking his tongue out and holding up a V sign with his fingers, and Holmes, a noted scholar of religious iconology and symbology, was able to explain to me that this sign meant victory. This gesture clearly meant something to the telegrapher and, I dare say, to Holmes, alas, it meant little to me.
After these encounters, Holmes requested the presence of Emmett, the glassmaker, and the telegrapher at the synagogue that he might reveal the culprit of the crime. Once again my mind felt like a spinning plate and I feared that Holmes might, for the first time since our acquaintance, be incorrect in his reasoning, however; Holmes, in his astoundingly brilliant way, was clever enough to keep his voice and declaration to a near-silent query, so as to not startle the murderer who was listening nearby. How close he was, I would not know until later.
The crime had been committed by none other than one Albert Einstein, a name heretofore unknown to me.
As Holmes explained, this person, this Albert Einstein fancies himself a scientist and was nesting in the chandelier when the innocent rabbi stumbled upon him and became a part of that scientific process which accounted for the state of the body as well as the chalk which Holmes later explained to me he knew right away was that used by scientists because it was more brittle and dry than that used by schoolboys and the like.
Just then, like a theater phantom or a swooping hawk, this Albert Einstein appeared, flying down from the chandelier we had not thoroughly examined earlier. (it wasn’t noticed until later that in this same instant Emmett Otter also dissappeared as he must have been terrified by the sudden arrival of our new guest) He spoke with a thick European accent, a German one, Holmes was quick to deduce. Albert Einstein claimed his crime with great fervor and auspicious splendor, like the crime itself was some impressive discovery for science. True, the impossibly elongated body of the victim was something that stupefied many to come across our cases, but I detest the loss of human life and I say murder is no triumph to tout.
Near the end, Holmes seemed uninterested in most aspects of this crime, but the only leftover clue that spiked his interest lay around the rabbi’s neck. It appeared that Holmes was somewhat confounded by the placement of the necklaces on the body. Now I’m aware my good friend Holmes could speak for ages on the religious ties these necklaces hold, but with science and religion being so constantly at odds, Holmes was affixed to the belied nature of this loose end.
Holmes asked the Austrian what his reason was for leaving that on the body. The answer to which is the same for fish and mammals alike. It was shiny.
And thus concludes one of our more brief and difficult cases at least from the standpoint of this humble doctor. Holmes did manage, somehow, to catch the culprit but not without utilizing the mental gymnastics that only he is capable of. I will remember it always as the Case of the Elongated Rabbi.
The Case of the Elongated Rabbi was performed (and consequently written) by: Will Meinen – Sherlock Holmes, Kayla Tyson – Dr. John Watson, Matt Pina, Matthew Tucker, and Stephen Kadwell – Baker Street Irregulars