I admit I have hesitated in putting fountain pen to paper for this particular adventure of Holmes and myself. It is one of the hardest for my brain to comprehend. Spurious clues scattered, the leads mismatched, confusion at every turn—but I get ahead of myself.
Our story starts on a rainy evening in late October, and I was out strolling the shops in search of a new biscuit tin. I was attempting to locate one that looked old, but was actually new, as I needed the dust and wear to fit in with the rest of my kitchen-ing accoutrements, but my old biscuit tin expired after some horrid mouse made it its home, and the mouse followed suit, so I needed the insides to be fresh.
Of course, little of this is relevant. In the light of the fading streetlamps, I was out staring in shop windows and finding little for my efforts when I heard a scream. It was a scream that turned my blood to ice and my legs did quake from the sound.
This was surely a call that Sherlock would follow, without question. It took me a minute to unglue my shoes from the ground, and another to head off in the right direction.
I was able to locate the source of this scream at the nearest brothel, which I was familiar with for reasons I have written about in detail previously. The scream I heard was unlike the usual noises of the brothel, and upon my initial investigation, I thought it best to contact my friend, Sherlock Holmes.
It stopped raining by the time Sherlock barreled in, though he was quite damp and rather grumpy. I was unaware at this moment that part of Holmes’s attitude was due to mourning some pet mouse of his that died. I quite thought he was exaggerating his grief so that I would feel bad, but as they say, the joke was on him, because hearing that something has died is hardly a new thing for me after my time in Afghanistan. The limited emotions I feel are embarrassment, fear, loneliness, shame, and occasionally lust. You’re welcome, reader.
Anyway, Holmes shrugged off some of his fake mourning and was able to survey the scene in front of us. I explained that a couple of whores had found something scrawled into the wood paneling. I set it up so that the scantily clad girls with me were able to contribute something to the investigation by reading the words to Sherlock Holmes, but somehow (and I cannot recall how) this notion of mine was brushed off, and Sherlock read the words himself and deciphered the message. It said:
Mirror mirror on the wall,
Who’s the fairest of them all,
Is he big, is he tall, is he short, is he small
Is he a she or is she us all?
It didn’t make much sense to me, or to the whores, especially one as she noted loudly that she couldn’t read. Sherlock examined the shavings of wood around the message and noted that the words had been carved into the wall by a piece of wood. Wood on wood, very curious.
It was then that one of the girls winked at Sherlock Holmes and began a conversation about his socks and how she’d washed a pair he’d left behind, while the other girl was blathering on about how she wasn’t able to give good service, or find good service here—something like that, I wasn’t listening.
In all this cacophonous noise, Holmes deduced where this message meant to take us. He instructed me to follow him to a particular field, one US Cellular Field.
This was no field of wheat or corn, but a grand structure built off of some heavily trafficked roads that no one seemed interested in visiting. Upon our arrival, it appeared abandoned, dirty, and reeking of human fluids. It smelled like the washroom at a pub that hadn’t been cleaned in a very long time.
When Holmes and I stumble onto or are invited to a crime scene, most of the time the crime is easy to spot. On occasion we are so diligent in our efforts to walk onto the scene of the crime that we miss seeing the dead body and step all over it. This was not one of those times.
I shall describe to you what I saw, and I imagine you will note (just as I did) that these items seemed to have been plucked out of the heavens and dropped before us, a spread of mismatched evidence. Or was it? Before us was a chair that would fit perfectly with the décor of a front parlor or office, fixed with wheels and taut black leather. There was a spiraling trail of pellet food, meant only for a guinea pig. There was an advertisement poster on the wall, some woman by the name of Alanis Morissette was selling Jagged Little Pills. And down by our feet, where I was hoping a dead body would be, there was only an empty jug of a liquid called Hi-C.
With this lack of evidence, only littering sprung to mind as a possible crime. I thought of voicing this to Holmes, but he was busy testing the tape of the advertisement poster. He muttered that by his knowledge of tape decay, this was freshly taped within the last few hours.
As there was nothing much more to say, the two of us inhaled at the same exact moment. And though I could only claim to know that the air did seem strange, but I couldn’t explain why. Holmes held out his magnifying glass and spied many a fluorocarbon in the air. While we discussed air quality issues, it appeared that wind blew the dust off another corner of this field and uncovered one folded blue pantsuit.
Holmes scrambled over to get a better look at this unearthed clue, and he told me that it belonged to a woman. By the wear of the material it was clear to him it was someone who held office, but didn’t need to run for it.
Just then, we became aware that another presence was amongst us. Holmes and I turned and followed the length of shadow on the ground to Detective Lestrade.
A brief note: I find that Detective Lestrade appears in a great many of our tales. He is so engrained in some of these stories that were you to be an observer in real time of any of them, you may not know that it is Lestrade that is the leading detective in our tales. We often made no point to call him by name, or to explain why he was interested or linked to our cases, because he simply was. After all, when you interact with people day after bloody day, how often do you use their name, and especially their title and name? I thought so.
Lestrade explained that he’d been called in to work on this case as well, but wasn’t exactly sure what crime was committed. He didn’t consider it that serious, as he was splitting his attention between the evidence on the field and writing his own autobiography. Holmes spent his time studying the broken window above some boxed seats that were high atop a platform, and with a great spin and flourish Sherlock declared that the crime at hand was none other than voter fraud, which he then followed up with, “Seriously?”
Detective Lestrade nodded and left, no doubt to fill out some proper reports before investigating any further, so Holmes and I were left to solving this one on our own. Holmes turned to me and told me that the next step was to locate all the season ticket holders at this US Cellular Field.
We were able to find an entire list of season ticket holders and drudged through innocuous interviews for hours which I will skip over in this summary, and we finally came to the last names on the list. Gertrude and Enid Snoops, which I believe we saved for last because of how utterly boring the names sounded.
Gertrude and Enid Snoops quite reminded me of the tale of the old woman who lived in a shoe, probably because their residence was a giant boot. It smelled like feet, which was the nicest thing I could think to say about it. Of late, I have heard several people commenting how I am not nice, and I find that to be a blatant untruth. I am nice, I shout back, but they do not seem to care for my opinion on myself.
Sherlock confronted them on the broken window box, saying that it was broken from the inside out, and pursued a line of questioning on their voting habits.
Unfortunately, both Enid and Gertrude claimed that they don’t vote, as they just say no.
I was offered tea by Gertrude, and when I affirmed said offering, I was told to make it myself, which is a very not nice thing for someone to do, and I was clearly the nice one in that exchange. That tea was supposed to taste like jellybeans, but really it tasted like hot watery shit.
Enid took Holmes aside to tell him that she saw a man there at US Cellular Field recently, she said he was little, in the short sense of little, and was wearing a beret. He was awful looking, she said, ugly, with raccoon eyes of some sort.
This seemed like useful information, until Gertrude took both of us to explain that Enid was legally blind, so was she, they were both legally blind and so the information became less useful by the second.
I turned to voice my complaints to Holmes, but he was already out the door by the giant bootlaces and I had to jog after him the whole way to our next location.
I found him out in the gardens of Buckingham Palace, having tea with the Queen. Behind the Queen was a rather new guard who I thought had some sort of condition where he was surprised by everything. He was surprised of Sherlock being there, he was surprised I was there, he was surprised how we got in, that Holmes was sitting on the garden throne, and it was enough surprise for Holmes to listen to not directed at his greatness, so Holmes bellowed out, “Who are you?” to the guard.
The guard responded dutifully, “I’m guard number two.”
It appeared that the Queen was only interested in speaking with Sherlock, and when I did my best to make myself (nicely) known, the Queen told me she didn’t want to speak with me because I was ugly.
In going over the suspect’s description to the Queen of the ugly short man, it seemed that the only living description of these words was me. I was the suspect of note, and I was bothered at that, so I kicked a nearby shrub which accidentally turned out to be a dog.
As guard number two noted, each Queen takes up a cause, and the Queen explained that her cause was little dogs, little dogs and fatty hamburgers that weren’t really hamburgers, though she was hedgy on the issues of what they might actually contain.
Hedge? Gardens? I’m a genius.
The Queen offered some of this suspicious meat our way, and guard number two told us that we could decline this offer of burgers, but we would most likely be beheaded. So we stuffed our faces with mystery meat.
This talk of hamburgers made Sherlock bring me to a local establishment, this odd clown’s restaurant called McDonald’s. Unfortunately as we approached it, we learned that it was closed. So we could not go there.
In our redirection, we followed the maker of the blue pantsuit found at the scene of the crime to Sherman’s Pantsuits, a strange tailoring shop where two twin Germans yammered on about suits, as I recalled from my one visit years ago.
Years later and neither one had died yet, so Holmes and I were forced to listen to their insanity as they went on and on about how their pantsuits could last for four years or eight years, they whipped out massive catalogues and ledgers of every customer’s name, choice of pantsuit, years and years of fashion and nonsense, and they demanded that we guess the year the pantsuit in question was from, which I will point out that there was no reason we should have had to do this, other than to please their tiny, useless brains. I swear I’m a nice person, but this sort of tomfoolery is out of my niceness zone.
When we talked of a blue pantsuit, they claimed they were colorblind. So when one of the Sherman brothers detailed a black and white pantsuit they sold recently, it didn’t mean much because most of their colors had to be black, white, or grey. Still, Sherlock took notice. The Sherman brothers claimed it was a custom job meant for a man or a woman or a manly looking woman, they couldn’t remember the specifics.
One of the Sherman brothers began heartily chomping down on some chips that looked delectable, and the other brother claimed he made them himself, the first one claiming that there should be a place to get chips cut like that but there’s not.
This reminded Holmes of his intended trip to McDonald’s and so he returned to that location. But alas, it was not a McDonald’s we found, but a young girl’s pop-up chip stand, I believe her name was Wendy and Holmes was not interested in her at all.
We turned round the street yet again and found the proper McDonald’s, and though it continued to be closed, Sherlock forced his way in. This was not the first time I’d seen Holmes break his way through a locked door. In fact, it was quite normal to see either one of us forcing entry into 221B Baker Street when Sherlock had lost his keys or had thrown mine into the river as a punishment.
As we entered this McDonald’s, it was apparent that the establishment had been taken over by two starving orphans. They were huddled together for warmth near a basket for chips boiling in oil, surrounded by similar small toys that looked cheap, but seemed to amuse them.
Holmes strode up to them and asked them, “Have you ever voted?”
As orphans one and two began to stutter the response that they couldn’t, Holmes loudly clarified that it wasn’t the same question, it wasn’t whether or not they could vote, it was have they ever voted.
Child orphan one replied that she never had. Child orphan two started off on a long boring story about how a man came round with two curious drinks and told her to try both and see which she liked better, and she chose one and she was told it was a drink they were marketing calling Pepsi.
I quietly intoned to Holmes that a blind taste test wasn’t exactly voter fraud, and Holmes corrected me that it could be if child orphan two knew the outcome before choosing. Child orphan two whined that she wouldn’t knowingly choose this Pepsi drink.
Just then, Sherlock pushed his way past the orphans and demanded that we go back to US Cellular Field for he was going to solve the case. When we arrived back at the dreadfully smelly US Cellular Field, I asked Holmes if we should go over the clues. He replied with, “Nah, just give me a sec.”
I asked him if he wanted to sit down in the spinning office chair, as it was probably the only clean looking item in the place. Detective Lestrade appeared with a fellow detective to finish up on his paperwork for this most befuddling crime.
Holmes grabbed everyone’s attention when he said, “Everyone gather round while Sherlock Holmes solves an impossible case.”
Of course, Detective Lestrade ruined this attention grab when he asked Holmes if he could sign his autobiography. Holmes waved him off, saying that he’d do so when he was done.
Again Sherlock started, saying that in this case there was a very specific through line. As I was a promising deducer in my own right, I asked if it had something to do with the advertisement poster for Jagged Little Pills. Holmes affirmed my supposition, saying that of course it does, it all does, and that they’re all clues. Holmes told everyone to sit down, as this was probably going to go late.
What happened next, I can hardly explain myself. Holmes is the greatest at deduction, and his brilliant mind is impossible to chart. Therefore, in this documentation of our case, you will see that I have transcribed all of Sherlock’s words exactly to the letter. I have not included the outbursts of any of the other characters in this tale, including myself, as Sherlock’s words are the only interesting ones. What came next was precisely as follows.
Holmes said, “Now there has been a crime committed. Voter fraud. Apparently from the box apparently which was shattered through an act of voter fraud, apparently.
There is a poster on the wall, a wall unspecified, a poster of Alanis Morissette, this particular wall? Okay. Alanis Morissette. Yes, it is the plot to Star Wars.
There is only one, may I call it man who I could even consider such a heinous crime? If you would even call him a man? He works for a corporation. It’s not the Jelly-Belly, shut up. I’m not done. He works for a corporation, a fast food one.
One specifically McDonald’s. Yes! They don’t have Jelly-Bellys, what do they have? What does McDonald’s have? No, please. Will you please, a very specific thing they’re known for?
Burgers! Would you stop trying to—okay, Germans. Fine. Whatever. Star Wars, Star Wars, thank you. Will you let me! It’s a Cold War! Mhm, mhm. So listen!
The crime points at one man, one very specific man, specifically the Hamburglar.
Shut up! Shut up! That is not who did it. No! There was another one, there was another one, wasn’t there? The Hamburglar was working with someone, wasn’t he? Oh yes, yes he was.
Yes, very rare crime committed by two people. Voter fraud, sure whatever. Whatever. Who, who was he voting for and who was he running from? Perhaps a lady? Oh yes, a lady indeed, one in political office, who was dragged into political office, by marriage. Yes, all this time it would lead to one specific woman.
Let’s go over the facts. She was a woman known for wearing pantsuits and for champion-championing a thing. Or multiple things, whatever. It doesn’t matter. She was, dare I say, a First Lady? Yes, one that would wear pantsuits, very famous lady.
Not Tina Turner, shut up. During, what? Thank you, yes. Thank you.
It was a lady married to the President of these United States. Okay, I’m going to do one last thing. Is the Hamburglar here? You-he’s waiting in the car, okay.
In every single crime that I have solved, I have solved it in front of the person who has committed the crime. So if it wasn’t the Hamburglar then maybe he wasn’t the mastermind then maybe it was this First Lady. This Nancy…Nancy Reagan.”
As you can see, it was quite an impressive speech. Especially since, I’d never heard of any of these people, and as it turned out, it didn’t matter, since right then from behind Detective Lestrade came the unfortunate appearance of Moriarty.
Moriarty cackled with glee and told Sherlock Holmes that he’d set up this entire affair just to get at him. And as he laughed and laughed and detailed how the elements were stacked against Holmes in every way possible, and Sherlock said a few choice words to Moriarty, which I probably should not repeat, and though the Hamburglar and this Ms. Reagan did appear, it didn’t quite make it up to Sherlock.
In fact, I think this case put Sherlock Holmes into a horrible mood that lasted probably for the rest of his life. That or it was the mouse thing, which Moriarty also took credit for. But to end this tale on a lighter note, I managed to find a perfect biscuit tin for my kitchen, and then I went back over to the brothel so I could get a handful of hot biscuits, if you know what I mean.
Hot biscuits. For the tin. I’m a genius.