Part of me has always wondered if a vivisection of Holmes would yield any information of interest to medical science. Please understand I wish no harm to come to my friend and would never suggest such a thing actually take place but I would wager that there are some abnormalities in his brain but I couldn’t hazard a guess as to what they might be. Is his brain simply bigger? Is it more dense than you or I? And to know this is hereditary as well – Mycroft is equally adept (he would say more so) at observation and deduction as Sherlock. One area of the brain that is surely more developed in Sherlock is that of his olfactory sense. It isn’t that he is aware of more aromas but rather that he is more aware of the same aromas. I might say to him (and I have on occasion) “I think Mrs. Hudson has started a fire for us.” This is a simple enough sentiment and accurate enough for you and I however Holmes will take it a step further. “Yes,” he’ll say, “Oak.” or “Ash” or “the larch.” We both smelled the same smoke and yet his brain has connected it to type wherein mine’s journey ended with “smoke.” As you can tell the difference between leaves burning in the fall and pipe tobacco Holmes can distinguish between leaves and tobaccos. It isn’t that he smells more but rather differently. I believe this is because he has associated those smells with their antecedent though I cannot fathom how. Try as I might the only association I’ve been able to make in my own mind is that of yeast and sawdust to a brewery. This case might be the reason.
It was August 20th, 1883 and was the beginning of a trend that would continue for a few years to come; namely, my comrades from Afghanistan began to wed. As such I found myself attending, in different capacities, stag parties for people I knew to varying degree. The night before I attended the stag party of who I believe was an artillery man. (You’ll find that if you are a doctor and a soldier the other soldiers all make a point on knowing who you are making it an impossibility that you ever get to know who they are. This bloke evidently remembered me fondly and being polite I had not choice but to attend. This is how I, as well as Holmes, found myself inside a brewery that morning. I had awoken in the sawdust on the floor some few minutes before and had just dusted myself off when Holmes entered. (to this day I cannot smell sawdust nor fermenting yeast without remembering that day). The artillery man ( Evan was his name perhaps, I cannot remember and didn’t then either. We called the artillery men Wet Wick and Bullseye. The former because we once found him with a prostitute in a bathtub and the latter because he had been kicked in the head by a bull which had cause one eye to protrude from his head as if it could fall out at any moment.) It was Wet Wick who was getting married and he wanted to pub crawl for his stag party so pub crawl we did and, it seems we had actually crawled into this brewery the evening before either looking for one more pint or to seek out shelter to try and sleep off the effects of the ones we had already imbibed. Sherlock knew right away I had crawled through the adjacent field to get into the establishment.
Sherlock informed me that the doors of the brewery were locked. It had been closed for hours, and Sherlock had to break in to locate me. I couldn’t recall breaking in myself, but with my head as cloudy as it was, I couldn’t rightly stamp out the notion that I had done so. Or perhaps a barkeep had walked past in the middle of the night and thrust a lock upon the door after most of my compatriots had vanished into the dark. Neither of these stories seemed acceptable as an excuse to my best friend Sherlock Holmes, so I merely shrugged and moved on to something I thought he’d find more interesting, if only I could find it myself.
I rifled through my pockets under Sherlock’s sharp eye and rediscovered a sealed envelope that had been given to me some time earlier by an old gypsy man. I handed it over to Sherlock Holmes, as it was addressed to him, just as Sherlock Holmes had finished popping a salted peanut from a bowl atop the bar into his mouth to test its salinity.
It was a task performed frequently after our case of Mr. Peanut’s Madness, where Sherlock Holmes uncovered the scandal of a peanut shelling factory owner had been regularly dumping salt into the sea instead of onto peanuts due to…well, his madness, obviously. As a result there had been an abundance of unsalted peanuts that had been shipped to various parts of the country as well as abroad.
Holmes requested that I open the letter, and my fingers vibrated from sudden palpitations that I can only explain as nerves. I recalled a curse the old gypsy man had threatened to put on me if the message was not properly received and I hoped my opening it did not enact that curse. Also, I found that the waxy glue that held the envelope closed was rather tough to break.
Sherlock, in his ever-friendly manner mocked me in my moment of difficulty, reminding me that I was a surgeon and should be better with my hands. I eventually got the letter open and handed the envelope over to Sherlock. He balled up the paper envelope and chucked it over the bar, which landed on a pile of papers and empty bottles.
The letter read:
Dear Mr. Sherlock Holmes,
To your regards, this is surrounded by guards,
This place has a throne, but it’s not a place that’s all alone,
Uh…most rooms are filled with cups and chalices, it’s a place so famous, some call it a palaces
Sherlock Holmes called the hastily scribbled note the writing of a drunk five year old, and I concurred. A terrible attempt at intrigue, and yet another villain wishing to compete with the brilliant mind of Sherlock Holmes, and from the looks of it, they were already failing. And why was there a random “Uh…” written? That seems like an easy fix when scribing communication to the world’s greatest consulting detective.
Nevertheless, Holmes used this awful narration to lead him to Buckingham Palace, and by the note it was a place that some people supposedly call Buckingham Palaces, either because they were incredibly stupid, they couldn’t count, or they were simply illiterate.
Buckingham Palace was absolutely breathtaking, and in that very second I realized I had never once been inside. The sweeping artistry of architecture, the grand and ornate fixtures, the magnificent portraits of dead people that graced the walls. I was in awe. Holmes, in his usual way, was only interested in the crime that could have been committed in such close proximity to the Queen.
In our first few steps around this fantastic palace, we bumped into a mysterious man who wandered past us saying, “Right this way,” to the Queen, even though she was nowhere nearby. Upon finding us, the man greeted us as Sherlock Holmes and Mr. Watson.
This being yet another person amongst many in our adventures and travels who cannot comprehend and refuse to remember the simple and true fact that I am a doctor and the word doctor should precede my name whenever possible, as I have a title, and upon hearing it uttered, I feel a little better about myself next to the amazing and astounding Sherlock Holmes but no one, yes no one helps me on this front, so I shall forever be at the bottom of my own self-esteem and it seems that even being a doctor I cannot repair it, but I digress. This man who gestured for a Queen who was not there struck me as suspicious. He must have done the same for Holmes, as Holmes though it best to test him by positing that the Queen was missing.
Such a bold statement from Sherlock brought on profuse refusals from the man that she was not missing, and we later learned from Holmes’s pickpocket of a guard that an invitation illuminated the man’s actions, as he was only practicing his steps for a later gala.
While the man jabbered on, I allowed my gaze to drift over the crime scene, something I was certain Sherlock had catalogued from his first step into Buckingham Palace and perhaps a step previous: Banknotes, pence, and other currency was scattered along the floor in a lengthy, threading trail. I admit I had originally discarded this line of money as I thought, what with Buckingham Palace being such a fabulously rich place, they had left money out from the treasury as a charity for the poor to graze on. On the floor there was also a pair of blue pants with a gaping hole (aside from the regular amount of holes) cut out of them.
A short explanation: As this dictation of a tale is of the proper and English nature, that being out of London streets and the Greater British area, I would hope the reader understands that the word “pants” does not mean trousers, but a man’s underclothes, his unmentionables, his holder of a wet wick. Dare I write it? Underpants. Though a brief period of men’s fashion has come and gone, during this time it was normal for a man to have pockets in his pants and these were worn in lieu of his trousers or even outside them. It was a prevailing fashion choice for about a week and quickly went away, and I am forever grateful for this.
Aside from the blue underpants with a pocket cut out of them, there was also a single receptacle for rubbish that had been tipped over and all the pungent rubbish and garbage was strewn about in that small area. Quite a sight opposite the splendor and grandeur of Buckingham Palace. I voiced my distaste for the sight and smell of such trash and Sherlock acknowledged my distress, making a pointed jab at the one who held the occupation of groundskeeper and butler. I suspect he did this knowing full well who it was, as you’ll soon find out.
The mysterious man told us that he kept the grounds and was also the butler and he agreed that the place was a mess. I should have noticed that he was a butler/groundskeeper from the start, as aside from being mysterious, he was wearing a white buttoned shirt, a black suit jacket with tails, a cummerbund, and strapped to his back in a belted contraption was a variety of gardening tools.
What I found most distracting in his visage was that he had also engaged in Pants fashion, with the classy attire ending at the cummerbund and underneath, underwear. The pocket in his pants had burst open and as I marveled at this, Holmes grilled him on his whereabouts. By that, I mean Sherlock told the man he’d been dancing all night and the butler/groundskeeper agreed but as he explained, that wasn’t why his pants were ripped.
Holmes poked fun at the man’s occupation to catch him off guard, plucking tuppence out of the money trail and gleefully suggested it was a year’s salary.
I was unsure as to what crime we would be in pursuit of and Holmes explained that it had been a robbery. I was content with this response, as would be most others, but it appeared that the butler/groundskeeper thought otherwise as he said “Mm?” because it wasn’t as if a safe had been robbed or the Queen’s jewels stolen. He thought robbery was too big a word for the crime. (I should have thought that was a clue, as later words that were too big were all we needed).
Holmes gestured to a missing candlestick, the man said he had taken it out dancing with him the night before. I can only assume this man is sad and lonely and used the candlestick as his date. I imagine it was not immediately returned due to filthy acts done with it.
I bent over and noted the pants on the ground, finding their placement curious. (As Walt Whitman wrote: pants on the ground, pants on the ground, looking like a fool with your pants on the ground.) Holmes was far more interested in the manner with which I had squatted, a technique embedded in me from my military days when I often squatted to avoid enemy capture and because after a while, my legs would tire of standing.
Just then, a small child appeared with a large container slung around her neck like that a purveyor of tobacco might have had attractive women wear to sell their product, but this girl was the furthest thing from attractive, and no packs of fags were present, but leather wallets.
After yammering on about nothing at all, the dirty child scurried back into a hole in the wall that the butler/groundskeeper claimed was a duct for air vents, something meant for circulating air much like a window, though where the air was forced from, I cannot be sure. This scurrying though the walls the child did was her own squatting effort to evade capture.
Once everyone agreed they hated that child, Holmes solved the problem child by telling the butler/groundskeeper to place a grate over the holes, thus trapping the child so it could die in the walls. Then he yelled, “Sherlock Holmes!” and paraded around awaiting his applause.
As it wasn’t the crime meant to be solved, but rather a solution to the rights of a squatter, Sherlock Holmes moved back to the crime in question. It was clear to Sherlock (and less clear to me) that wearers of pants had exploding pockets due to their wallets being so full of cash, and then someone took the wallets and ran away. The butler/groundskeeper finally relented and admitted this was the crime Sherlock Holmes was meant to solve, for the man was a little upset after Holmes questioned his manhood and made fun of his pants, including his spare pair of pants. (As it turned out, the blue pair of pants on the floor also belonged to the man, quickly discarded post-explosion. A shame that the next pair of pants he put on also exploded.)
Holmes lamented that it was a robbery after all and he could have been in a brewery for the time allotted instead of dealing with such petty, insignificant people. The butler/groundskeeper informed us that he heard it was closed. This information we were already aware of, so we eliminated it from our memory and exited.
Holmes was intent on speaking with the trousers and pants authorities of Levi or Strauss. As Strauss had recently been snatched away by a giant mother eagle who thought his diminutive stature was that of her lost baby bird, and as he was being raised as her own, he was unavailable to speak to, and would be for some time after. His story does not end well, so I shall relate to you our meeting with General Levi.
General Levi received his honorary title after he was really nice to some military folk, giving them directions through town and offering them a bite to eat. It is also a title that people easily remember. Shocking.
As we walked through the storefront’s open door, we witnessed General Levi discussing button flies with his assistant Penelope. She was, like the earlier child, exceptionally ugly. Almost disturbingly so. Her fingers were bleeding from the amount of work she was required to do, and General Levi apologized, asking her to take a break and that she shouldn’t work so hard.
We were discovered by General Levi, as one would hope when conducting an investigation that one would notice your existence; however, General Levi was upset and asked that we should have knocked.
Sherlock Holmes is not a man who would wait around to knock, especially when a door is already open, and so in order to make up for our general lack of courtesy for the General, I stepped outside and knocked so that our actual conversation could continue. Holmes was bothered by Penelope’s presence and asked that she, her bleeding fingers, and six diseases be put in a corner somewhere. Penelope declared that Sherlock Holmes hates women, which I will not deny, and he rebuffed this notion, saying that he didn’t even know it was a woman.
Once Penelope was gone, Sherlock Holmes pointed out the dirt that was apparent atop of General Levi’s workstation, and General Levi confessed to be working on a pair of pants that were made of the four elements, and though he couldn’t recall all of the integral components, he was sure that water was difficult to sew, fire burns up, and something about sticks.
Sherlock examined the quality of the dirt upon the workstation and said that he could tell from its composition that it came from the palace grounds, due to the notes of red of Scottish dirt. General Levi admitted he was around the grounds to take pictures for publicity with his new pair of picture-taking pants, and though it was just a large camera shoved inside a pair of underpants, General Levi was confident it would bring in customers.
General Levi was baffled at our line of questioning, and I admit, so was I for a short time, but in order for us to leave, he handed us a collection of five rings and told us we’d need them. This unlocked a puzzle in my own mind, as I saw that Sherlock had come to him for a vital piece of evidence and could only retrieve it by bothering the man so much that he’d fork it over. Sherlock Holmes would never pay for something he could get for free after annoying someone for a length of time.
With the idea of dirt circling around my detoxicating mind, I informed Sherlock that we should head to the local dump to look for clues, and so we were off to the Dump Yard. There we discovered three idiots. One was digging a hole with a shovel, the other was throwing dirt in the hole, and the other was looking out of a broken telescope that seemed to be focused on a brothel across the street. (I actually know this brothel well as it is one of the many I frequent on a monthly basis to give free checkups to those poor women working therein.)
The Dump Yard had a large sign above it identifying it as Sanford’s Dump Yard, and when Sherlock asked which of them were Sanford, all three of them were deeply puzzled at the question and rapidly pointed to one another.
These three individuals were working hard at nothing it appeared and one pointed out a pile of wallets that he said they were turning back into dirt. Sherlock noted that it would take hundreds of years for something like that to occur but the leader of this seemingly mentally deficient trio spoke up again and said they had special dirt that decreased the time it took to break down almost anything. (Though I cannot speak to the voracity of his statements I can tell you that I had to throw away my shoes that evening as they smelled of vomit and had worn a hole in the sole despite having been new only a fortnight ago.)
Knowing we had just met these three I was surprised when Sherlock declared that he wanted to recap the case so far. In that moment I knew it was either because garbage dump three (I find that I almost wrote garbage park as in my memory it was sorted and set up much like a park would be with mounds of like items piled together forming a little concourse of sorts) – either because they were inconsequential or because of the opposite. After his brief recap he said he had three suspects all of whom had the word “Super” as a prefix to his or her name. He then suggested that with the amount of dirt we had found on everything the culprit might have been one “Super Mario.” This did not sit well with garbage master however and so Holmes suggested that it might be “Man, Super Man,” a person whom I haven’ t personally met but I have heard the prostitutes talk about during my visitations. If what they say is true he is another person whom I’d like to examine at some point and is in dire need of a few shots. The chief garbage inspector also rebuffed this suggestions. It was then that the third, telescope wielding, dump inhabitant began to wax on about how she could see all of Mars through the telescope. Holmes explained to her that it mars was a planet but nothing seemed to get through.
Holmes then asked us a question though I suppose it was aimed primarily at me. Did I know why General Levi couldn’t sew the four elements into a pair of pants? I did not know the answer but Holmes soon provided it – he lacked heart which, it so happens, is also one of the five things that combine to make Captain Planet – Holmes’s third suspect and the perpetrator of the crime.
The three human dumpsters cheered for us, and one of them wished that the suspects thus far could have been witness to this declaration. But as I’m sure Holmes was well aware, no prior suspects were needed as the culprit was already among us.
Suddenly, the ground beneath us began to tremble. The dumpy people looked around, and suddenly the brightest looking one who previously claimed he went to Cambridge ripped off his face (as it was a mask) and revealed himself to be Captain Planet.
Captain Planet’s nefarious plans were to cram the pockets of good British citizens so full of money so that they’d explode, thus releasing their cash back into the ground, as he claimed that this would return the currency from whence it came. How profitable a plan this was, I do not know, as it seems that Captain Planet would have had to supply the initial capital and only receive a modicum of pocket change back. Regardless, evil is evil.
Sherlock Holmes called on the talents of a woman by the name of Whoopi Goldberg. I imagine that this cool and collected woman had worked prior cases with Holmes, as upon her entrance (from the skin of the dumbest dumpster one) she mentioned the Acts of Sister One and Two, a most troublesome case I’m sure as it came about more than once. Holmes implored Whoopi to fetch Detective Lestrade and fetch Lestrade she did.
Upon his immediate and timely entrance, Detective Lestrade was so enthralled and delighted to be on the case, he kicked his leg up in the air and yelled “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Lestrade!” He wondered aloud why he had not been called up until then for any help, and Holmes reminded him that he was just a consulting detective.
Unfortunately while being handcuffed, Captain Planet was smart enough and wicked enough to recall at the last second his ability to “fly”. The word “fly” here means “to escape”. And escape he did, evading Lestrade’s capture and for the rest of us, our sense of closure.
To wrap things up, the last dumpster man (who pulled on his face to see if he was special like the others, and was the same plain nobody as before) was overjoyed in voicing his request that now the group of us could clean up the dump. Holmes as always had other plans. He wished to grab handfuls of rubbish and toss them out of Hansom cabs all about the city in order to infuriate Captain Planet from afar and perhaps draw him out one last time.
Of course, as the stupid dumper related to us, this action actually counted as cleaning up the dump. And so, in this story, it seems that sometimes all your answers lie in one big dump.