I as get older I find that I remember different things. It isn’t that I remember more things but rather that other things are remembered. This leads me to believe that memory is, rather than being selective, circumstantial. I remember things because of where I am and what I am doing and most assuredly forget other things as well. A fortnight ago I was walking home and caught the glimpse of what must have been a bar mitzvah through a window and remember a peculiarly elongated rabbi Sherlock and I had the chance to vindicate; a story I’m sure I have put to paper at one point or another. The night before, I happened upon a traveling circus and I recalled the visage of an evil carnival master who attempted to trap and steal my soul by way of a mirror maze when I was a young boy. This evening however I was reminded of another case that Sherlock and I solved, this one in the muggy swampland of the United States. I had been sitting in the parlor and was cold so I did two things that I regret for having done but am happy they stirred this memory within me. I lit a fire. This is sound and proper thing to do. I also put on a sweater. This is also a sound and proper thing to do when one is cold. The combination of the two proved to be too much; however, and I found myself sweating in my best wooly and had to have been for some time as it was soaked through. This reminded me, and you’ll soon see why, of that disgusting time spent in America’s South.
To begin with Sherlock found me in a coat factory owned by the Baron Burlington. A vast cement dungeon with the occasional hook, loom, and heavily discounted yet still expensive jacket. I cannot now bring to mind the reason I was there. I presume I thought I might be able to get a fair price on a new coat in a place as warm as this. (as Sherlock had recently destroyed mine whilst testing the flammability of certain birds-the coat was a fire blanket and extinguished too many birds to serve as a coat any longer) Or perhaps it was for a souvenir of this wondrous, though moist, environ. It might also have been the foreign aspect of the place. It is unlike anyplace I’ve been to in Britain and reminded me more of my time in Afghanistan than anywhere else and if there is one thing that reminds me of home it is a nice coat. Holmes suggested that the furs would complement my smooth skin that wasn’t very masculine and he feared people called me names behind my back because my skin was so nice.
It should be said that whilst abroad for Her Majesty I became friends with one Col. Tucker who was a barber back home and had more knowledge of skincare than anyone I have met save maybe Sherlock though the topic has not come up. He was a mans man as well and one could always find him in the company of one or more men regaling them with stories of bravery. I understand he was quite a listener as well as when men in the company began to miss their wives and betrothed back in England they would often seek him out and talk all night. Being a bachelor I was never in need of such an ear though if I had been it was good to know the Col. was there.
Holmes remarks reminded me of the time a few years hence when he had called upon me for yuletide festivities. I was visiting my Mother for holiday and he tagged along either to avoid Mycroft or to spite him, I know not which. Unbeknownst to me he had accompanied me because of a case he was working (he had not informed me as to not disturb my holiday). I arose one night to hear my mother screaming and ran down the staircase to the sitting area only to see Holmes, wearing clothes that belonged to my mother, corner by an emboldened, umbrella wielding Mrs. Watson. I knew right away that Holmes had disguised himself in order to hunt his prey however it took some convincing for my mother to relinquish her weapon. I mentioned to Holmes that I was reminded of that Christmas and he suggested that both I and my feeble Mother shouldn’t waste our memory on such frivolous things.
Sensing he truly didn’t want discuss Christmases past we moved quickly to the crime scene which was nearby. There in the Florida swamp we found little more than a fence. It looked as though it had been wrenched open and there was a sign above that said “Mousecurity” which I took to be an horrible pun on Mouse and Security. There was some thick wool attached to the jagged edge of on of the iron bars as if it had been snagged when whomever it was had forced his entry into the gated area. (Little did I know that the culprit was one who had allegedly forced his entry into many a swamp) Two security guards passed out nearby with what looked like half finished cocktails near their hands.
I fear that I had insulted Holmes somehow by bringing up Christmas at mothers. I say this because, knowing him as I do, he must have known, in that moment, surveying the scene, who the criminal was. Instead of arresting him immediately however Holmes decided to prolong the investigation either to teach me or to teach me a lesson, I know not which. Toward this aim he mentioned that the security guards had been tampering with something called “lasers” which I believe are something he read about whilst researching the culprit of the Case of the Elongated Rabbi. He then mentioned the sweater which I had also seen and I latched onto that quickly for fear of showing my ignorance about lasers. As he continued to spout out details about the crime I lauded him as at the genius that he his though, truth be known, I was still fixated on Christmas and getting back home to London.
As Holmes entertained himself watching me struggle to put things together we were greeted by a peculiar man with a mousey voice. He asked if we were there to discern who it was who had broken through security at this Magical Kingdom (read: swamp) and there it was, finally, someone had broken through security. The clues were all there and had I not been elsewhere in my mind I’m sure I would have put them together. This mouse went on about how people are supposed to enter through the main gate but as far as I could tell the closest thing to a gate were some trees nearby forming an arch.
With a promise from Holmes that we would buy a coat at the gift store we began our interviews. There are two things I’d like to make clear about the things that happened next. As I have already stated, there is no doubt in my mind that Holmes knew who the culprit was almost immediately and was only prolonging the investigation for my personal edification or his personal amusement. To this end I believe Holmes slipped me something in a drink – not enough to knock me out but enough to distort my senses. I will do my best to write down who we talked to and what we talked about by my mind is a jumble with too many names and bits of information to keep things straight and even the ones I feel I’m sure of I cannot truly believe as I was in such an altered state.
1: The aforementioned man with the mousey, falsetto voice.
2 & 3: A child and his mother. We first met the child who was exhibiting the symptoms of having eaten too much sugar. The precocious child also told us that he adjust finished eating an ungodly amount of Jello Pudding. This child had found a suitcase with the stuff in it. His mother then arrived, after having passed out in or near the restroom. Not feeling well she took her child and left to shower.
4: The Tunnel Keeper. This strange individual lived in tunnels which had been built into that swamp. Their exact purpose is still unknown to me but by his speech and behavior I gather that he was the guardian of a frozen severed head. (most likely used for some sordid purposes relating to the occult). He told us that everything had been taken off the air for them, leaving security in the dark, as it were. I didn’t know what that meant exactly, perhaps they had some sort of telepathic connection with this frozen head and that link had someone been severed taking their connection “off the air.” He also made a few unsavory comments about “The Jews”, comments which are best glossed over but are rumored, and unsubstantiated, to have originated with his employer.
5: A small orangish man interrupted our interview with this Tunnel Keeper to say that the picture pages were missing from his training manual. From him, we learned the Tunnel Keeper’s name was Bert, and little else.
At this point I was also wearing more clothing than I would need in November at home in London including sweaters and chaps. Sherlock kept providing me with more and varied clothing however and I felt as if I was a living/moving sauna. I wanted to take some of these items back to the sweater store where they were purchased but we kept getting sidetracked.
6: We encounter a ghoulish man named Leonard (pale and thin with arms that were too long for his body, wearing a top hat and pinstriped suit) in a grand home which he called “The Haunted Mansion.” Here he suggested we must be visiting because of the ghost dad but I suspect the real reason he was there was to sell us his 6 volume treaties on ghosts which he had quite unimaginatively name after himself: Leonard Part 1 through Leonard Part 6.
Indecently whenever I would complain about the my (substantial) burden with the weather Holmes would simply tell me to breathe deeply, I would but it only served to make me even more light headed. I mentioned that I may have asked for a drink from the wrong person and I think Sherlock took this to mean I was on the trail of our criminal however in reality I was referring to him. At some point I was delirious enough I shouted out “quellish” and then again “I just said quellish.” I think the outburst may have been caused by the ghost dad inhabiting the Mansion though I was in no state to properly discern such things. I continued, my faculties impaired, to tell Holmes that he was acting rude-ish and then rude-y. Holmes, being rather thick skinned, was unaffected by my quip until I once again mentioned Christmas these three years past. I believe that he would have ended things there if I hadn’t, once again, wounded his ego. And so, in pursuit of what Holmes said must have been a ghost, we followed more pudding drops to a statue of a man who hadn’t been born yet by the name of Walt Disney.
I have since this encounter researched this man as the name struck a chord with me when I heard it. At it turns out it was the same man who had shown Sherlock and I a well crafted and abhorrent statue of Abraham Lincoln which he had told us would talk and move but only sat and bled. I could find no official record of him aside from his entrance into the Paris World Expo which I had been to. I had vague recollections of an exhibit entitled “Tomorrowland” but it was much too fanciful for my taste and I did not view it.
7: Near the statue we encountered a janitor by the name of Armstrong, who was sweeping and muttering to himself about the children he encountered during the day one of which asked him “Hey Janitor, have you ever licked a salamander?” before running off. “Kids say the darnedest things” he exclaimed and though I haven’t the benefit of janitors experience I believed him.
8: A deranged retarded swamp child tap-danced past us and said nothing. It is best to ignore children.
I complained once again about the oppressive heat and Sherlock told me we couldn’t return anything because he had paid by check. I would have argued the logic of this but I am relatively certain I was suffering heat stroke.
9: In what was becoming a pattern the mousy voiced man appeared again. In retrospect he bore a strong resemblance to the aforementioned Mr. Disney but this line of thought was not pursued at the time. He was there, it seemed, only to ruminate on the statue and how, after being cleaned it was “A different world.”
10: Before we could discuss this idea further a precocious child ran by and asked Sherlock if he ever played the game “I Spy,” which is a game that I believe only sherlock knew as no-one else present seemed to have any air of recognition about them.
I began to see all kinds of colors at this point and simply looking at my sweater made my stomach turn. Though it sounds like a hideous awkward thing I believe the mouse man made another appearance and requested our presence at a dance party that evening. From here I cannot trust any of my memories thought the outcome is, having checked, factual. I hesitate to even put pen to paper to document my memory of it however history cannot be served by my silence. Suffice it to say I was suffering from both heat delirium and whatever I had been given in my drink earlier and things became strange to the point of incredulity. I say this because the next thing I remember is being at a dance party with Holmes. This is almost an impossibility as I was wearing too many clothes to properly dance, I haven’t danced since Afghanistan, Holmes doesn’t dance, there was no music and the movement I remember coming from the other dancers was slow, awkward movement that could barely be called dancing. In the middle of this we were offered a jelly called Jell-o which I recall being tasty and refreshing. Either from the head, the drink or perhaps the Jell-o i began to pass out. One of the guests suggest I was having a coronary but Holmes dismissed the idea.
11: While eating the Jell-O one of the guest mentioned having read that the gelatin treat was one Phylicia Rashad’s favorite food though once again, no one seemed to know what this person was talking about. This person went on to talk about a cat named Heathcliff who wasn’t owned by Disney but by someone else.
I hope you see what I mean here. My memory must be incomplete as these images become distorted, fast, and disjointed. Someday I must ask Holmes what he slipped me though I don’t really want to know. I you don’t believe me take our next visitor.
12: Fat man in a red sweater name Albert. He said little other than “hey, hey , hey.” He proceeded to eat the rest of the Jell-O that was there, as well as the table it was placed upon, and then left. One of the guests said he hoped whomever had created Fat Albert would go far to which another suggested he may go too far.
13: The Bad Lawyer. Have donned more sweaters for some reason we encountered a Lawyer. I’m not sure of his name and I say that he was a bad lawyer because he was leaking sealed court documents to the public. This means that he is either incompetent or nefarious, either way, he was bad. Holmes looked these over with some interest but I couldn’t have read anything had I wanted too, if not from the sweat in my eyes then from the chemical in my system.
14: The child arrived having once again escaped from his loose mother. He thought he had more information on the man with the briefcase but Holmes insisted on showing him the documents first, something that was inappropriate both because of the nature of the papers and because of their content.
15: The insufferable mouse had somehow found us and said that we should visit the barn where they stored Mr. Finn’s horses, a building they called the “Huck Stable.”
Though Holmes had begun to seem irritated and bored at this point, he insisted on hearing the rest of the story form the boy. He then told us he remembered what the man had said as he ran away and did, what I assumed at the time, was a decent impersonation of the man. I then felt the only way out of my predicament was through and requested Holmes find me some leather to wear as well, if I was going to die from heat and constriction I wanted to end it as soon as possible. This seemed to somehow satisfy Holmes and we returned to the scene of the crime.
We gathered the appropriate suspects and Holmes reminded us of all that had been done and that the culprit was, in fact, one Bill Cosby. Cosby himself had been there as well in the form of Leonard from the mansion. He revealed himself in every way possible and Holmes and I gave chase. Though my system had started to recover, after metabolizing most of the chemical and shedding some seaters, there was still some affect left. I say this because in interviews conducted after the fact both of Mr. Cosby and of those who knew him he sounded completely different, and much more like the child’s impersonation of him, then he did when he revealed himself. In the end he was released from custody and charges were dropped for breaking through security as other, more serious, charges were pending. Though I have never found one since I have, on occasion, desired one more taste of that frozen chocolate stick.
The Frozen Chocolate Stick was performed, and consequently written by: Matthew Tucker – Sherlock Holmes, Zach Scot – Watson, Kayla Tyson, Jordan Matthews and Stephen Kadwell – Baker Street Irregulars.