A tall tale from 2008. It’s not real.
It had been some weeks since his last case had concluded, and Holmes was oddly quiet. When not fixated on an unsolved riddle, he was prone to long periods of quiet contemplation. It was not for me to try to shake him out of this reflective state. I’ll admit I rather enjoyed those quiet times when I could lose myself in books while he journeyed to the depths of his magnificent mind.
So it was that we spent one peaceful evening in front of the fire, me with a glass of port at my elbow and a book in hand, and the great detective sitting across from me, lost in thought. An hour passed in silence, and I felt my mind beginning to drift. It was then, quite unprompted, that he spoke.
“Yes, my old friend,” he said softly, a calm knowing smile on his face. “It was a truly awful piece of fish.”
I shook my head, dumbfounded. “But…”
Holmes held up his hand to silence me, smiling and nodding. “I know, I know. Let me explain how I just read your thoughts.”
I sat open mouthed as he began to speak.
“First, I saw you flicking through the Shakespeare tragedies, and a look of awe and reverence crossed your face. It was clear that you had been reading Hamlet, and you were confused by the sheer brilliance of the words. Then I saw you turn to look at the fire, your mind still lingering on literature, you no doubt thought: ‘what if I burned all of the books I didn’t understand?’
“Then, from your glance at the chimney, I deduced you were pondering just how much smoke it would take to make the chimney explode. You then looked down at your shoes, clearly thinking how the word ‘explode’ sounds a bit like ‘toes’ and that if you only had one toe, which one would you want to keep. That was when you glanced at me, knowing how I once lost a bit of my toe when I was nine and my father came at me with a carving knife in a drunken rage, and that I told you that story while standing on London Bridge watching a boat with exactly 25 tourists sailing underneath us.
“If you take four away from 25 and then divide it by 7 you get three, and it was three years ago I suggested we visit that restaurant in Oxford Street that reportedly serves the best roast beef in England. Your look at the grandfather clock only confirmed this point, and that was when I remembered that we didn’t actually go there in the end because it was shut and you were so hungry that I made you eat that bit of discarded cod I found in a dustbin.”
Holmes reclined slowly in his chair, and nodded softly once again. “Yes, my friend, it really was a truly awful piece of fish.”
I gulped. “Umm, actually….I was just thinking that I need a new watch.”
“OH WELL FUCK OFF THEN!!!!!!!!!!”
He didn’t say much after that. Though he did leap up at random points of the evening and slap me around the face and neck.