Wonderpurr Gang membership was closed. I wasn’t in the market to feed another stray cat, much less adopt one. I’d maxed out past my usual ten. Ten seems to be my number. It fluxuates between 8 and 10, but whenever there is a vacancy…there is always someone on my porch ready to fill the opening.
Noah brought Elly to me this past spring. I didn’t realize she would be his last gift to me. He’d already brought me Candy the spring before. Noah had feline leukemia and passed shortly after.
Sad to say, Elly is FIV+. However I took her to my new vet who said she was sweet and wouldn’t pass the virus through fighting. After being vaccinated and spayed, I took her home where she was caged until healed. Meanwhile she had a reunion with Candy. Clearly they knew each other! And my other cats seemed interested in her, in a good way.
I did put Elly outside, and watched her run to the tree where I used to feed her along side Noah. But Noah wasn’t there…and she eventually returned to the door to come inside.
She’s been inside ever since.
Elly is gorgeous. She’s friendly. Best friends with Candy, and wants to be friends with Dori who is jealous that she has competition with HER BFF Candy.
Satiated by the delicious sammiches served by Mrs. Gray for tea, Fergus and I lay side by side on his cushy bed in front of a blazing hearth fire. ‘Life’s darkest moment,’ one publication called Sherlock Holmes’ death,” the dog told me. “One of the letters my master received was from a woman who called him a Brute! Still another woman Doyle met on the street struck him with her handbag. Twenty thousand furious readers cancelled their subscriptions to The Strand that published Sherlock Holmes. That nearly bankrupted the magazine. Londoners wore black to express their mourning. The Prince of Wales is still upset. The day the story broke of Holmes’ death, the headlines read, “Tragic Death of Mr. Sherlock,” as if he were flesh and blood–not print and imagination.”
“So I’m not the only one who thought he was real.” My ears still warmed with embarrassment that I’d never suspected Sherlock Holmes to be a fictional character.
“I dare say, the World suffers for heroes to pin their hopes and dreams on,” Fergus replied. “Although I am bewildered as to why the World would choose to make a hero out of such a narrow-minded, self-centered, barely likeable hoomon with an addictive personality.” The dog glanced over at me. “What made you so infatuated with him that you chose to emulate him?”
I flicked through my recall of what my Word of the Day calendar said ‘emulate’ meant before I replied, “He knows almost everything about pawfessional detecting. That’s impressive.”
“You’re his creator,” I told the dog. “Why did you make him like that?”
“I suppose that was my flaw as Doyle’s muse. I allowed him to focus too hard on Holmes using his eyes and brains to solve cases. It didn’t occur to me that he would become shallow in all other hoomon respects.”
“Well, you aren’t a hoomon,” I pointed out.
“This is true.”
“Thank Cod!” we said in unison…then laughed with newfound companionship.
“So, Fergus. The World is mad at your master for killing Sherlock.”
“Mad is simplifying their reaction,” he said with a sigh. “Doyle has been much maligned for doing him in. I advised my master not to kill him, but he felt he was justified in doing so. Said it was homicide in self-defense since if he had not killed Holmes, he felt certain that Holmes would have killed him.”
My ears flattened. “How so?”
“The public demand for Sherlock Holmes took my master by surprise. The money has been outstanding, affording us an extravagant lifestyle. But after some time my master’s health took a turn. I wasn’t surprised. For years he’s been churning out three thousand words a day, longhand, with barely a correction. I encouraged him to use the typewriter, but you know hoomons. Stubborn!”
“Indeed,” I agreed in order to maintain our camaraderie, although my mom writes on a computer and grumbles about using a pen to make a grocery list.
“Especially,” Fergus was saying, “when Doyle has been called the greatest short story writer since Edgar Allan Poe. Poe is Doyle’s hero. What pressure to be measured and compared against your hero.”
“I still don’t understand why Doyle killed Holmes if he was so popular.”
“Well, the way Doyle explained…rather, complained…it to me was… He continually felt the Sherlock Holmes stories were not turning out the way he’d envisioned them in his head. The words weren’t flowing quite the way he wanted them to. Yet, he spent so much time working on the stories that he sent them regardless to The Strand. And they published them without question. “The story is awful,” Doyle would say to me. “Certainly not my best work.” But our audience loved each and every story. More than anything else Doyle wrote. In fact, they demanded more of Holmes and less of Doyle’s other works. That pleased me no end, but it made Doyle grouchy. Jealous I dare tell you. It goes without saying that Moriarty wasn’t Sherlock Holmes’s greatest enemy. Arthur Conan Doyle was!”
I gasped. “His creator became his killer!”
“Exactly! I overheard him telling people he wanted to withdraw Holmes before the public turned weary of him. But that was never going to happen and everyone knew it. It was Doyle himself who turned weary of Sherlock Holmes. He even said to his mother a couple of years ago that he thought of slaying Holmes in order to concentrate on better things. His mother demanded he not follow through with such a plan, but you know how sons rarely heed their mother’s advice.”
We lay awhile thinking our own thoughts. It bothered me what Fergus said about Doyle growing weary of Holmes enough to kill him. What if my mom got bored writing my stories? Would she dare to…to… kill me?
Fergus turned to me with curious brown eyes. “You mentioned you have had four cases as a detective, and yet you are struggling rather than improving.”
I nodded, ashamed to put words to my failure.
“I dare say it’s because you’re trying to detect like a hoomon.”
“What do you mean?”
“When I came up with the idea for Sherlock Holmes, I created him with superior senses like my own. Holmes could see, smell, hear… Like me—a Beddlington Whippet cross. Holmes possessed senses far superior to other hoomons. But my master said such a man would be unbelievable. In fact, he went so far as to compare my vision for Holmes to a children’s story called The Brownie and the Princess by a woman named Louisa May Alcott. I don’t know what made the fur raise on my neck more. That he compared me to a children’s story, or to a woman author.”
Since my mom was a woman author, I refrained from making a comment. Instead I said, “So…you think I would be more successful as a detective if I detected like…a dog?”
Fergus shrugged. “Or a cat. It matters not. Hoomons are inferior compared to us four-leggeds. We have superior instincts and super senses. Super sight. Super smell. Super hearing. We are able to smell things about a suspect that hoomons cannot. Can see things in the dark that hoomons are blind to. It is my opinion that Sherlock Holmes would have been popular far into the future if Doyle had written him my way. Popular for at least ten more years, I would think. But no. My master insisted Holmes should approach mystery-solving by asking ‘What if?’ And then, after gathering data, by drawing conclusions based on logic and reason.” Fergus shook his head. “No wonder Doyle grew bored with Holmes. I can barely keep my eyes open just thinking about all the work my Master Detective had to put into solving cases when, if I’d had my way, he could have sniffed the trail of the suspect, and hid in the dark to watch the scoundrel incriminate himself.”
I felt pulled in two directions. I had so many questions to ask Fergus, but I was also exhausted from traveling one hundred and twenty three years into the past. I fought to keep my eyes open. Then I remembered something I had forgotten. Something I’d left in the driveway. Mosey!
“Excuse me. I appreciate everything you’ve shared with me, but I have to go now.” I got up to leave, but Fergus grabbed my tail.
“You can’t leave. I haven’t shared with you my secrets for becoming a Master Detective.”
“I—I left someone waiting outside. I forgot all about him.”
“Oh dear! Well, bring the chap inside. I will have Mrs. Gray fetch supper for him while he warms his paws by the fire.”
I scampered out the front door to where Mosey waited by the gate. Upon seeing my approach, he whimpered with relief, making me feel even worse for having forgotten him. I apologized profusely while I wheeled him up the walk and through the front doors into the house just as Fergus was coming back from ordering supper from Mrs. Gray.
I knew the moment Fergus and Mosey spotted each other there would be trouble. As Fergus froze with the fur raised on his neck, I felt Mosey pull hard enough to jerk from my grip. I grabbed his handlebar as menacing growls filled the hall.
“No, Mosey! No!” But what could I say to stop Fergus who abruptly lunged at my Ride and sunk his teeth into Mosey’s mesh hood.
I howled, hissed and screamed while Fergus and Mosey rolled around the hall, fighting to the death. I never knew Mosey was dog aggressive, but I guess hindsight is 20/20. How could I break them up without hurting my pal Mosey or making Fergus mad enough not to share with me his secrets of becoming a Master Detective? My ears were starting to hurt from the howls and shrieks. I had to do something.
So I did what cats do when they are upset and want to make their point.
I jumped onto an elaborately carved chair with delicate needlepoint padding, and sprayed.
The act of my feline aggression jerked Fergus’s attention to me long enough for Mosey to turn wheel and roll out the door. Not only did he roll, he zoomed! One minute he was there. The next he was gone. Not just gone down the street. Gone from the past.
I don’t recall how I ended up in front of the fireplace warming my whiskers. There’s a good chance that after I heard the dog’s shocking news—I fainted. I know. Not very Master Detective behavior. But ex-cuuuuuse me! I’d just learned my hero had been murdered.
“You’ve done more than just missed Sherlock Holmes,” the dog had told me. “Sherlock Holmes is dead. Doyle killed him!”
The dog introduced himself as Fergus. Or maybe Farkus. Or … Fairrr-gus. He had a thick accent that was hard for my Ameowican ears to understand. Plus, I was in shock.
Sherlock Holmes was dead! As tears burned my eyes, I turned my back on the dog. I didn’t want him to see me sob my little heart out.
What would Watson do when he heard this tragic news? Would he track down the scoundrel Doyle to seek revenge? Would he give up detecting, go back to doctoring? Or… would he be in the market for a new Master Detective partner… like me?
I felt the dog’s paw on my back, petting me softly. “Yur takin’ the news a bit hard, laddie.”
“I c-can’t believe he’s… gone!” I wiped my eyes with my floofy tail, resisting the urge to blow my nose cuz… gross. “How did it happen? During his last case?”
The dog shocked me by laughing. “Well, it would be his last case since he died, wouldn’t it?”
I felt a growl curl around my vocal cords. How could he be so blasé about Holmes’ death? Oh wait. That’s right. He lived with the murderer, Doyle. “Tell me, how did it happen?” I didn’t really want to hear the grisly details, but maybe there was a lesson in his death that I was meant to learn. Like… avoid men named Doyle.
Right then a stately grandfather clock chimed three. “I will tell you over tea. Would you care to freshen up first?”
While Fergus/Farkus/Fairrr-gus trotted off to fetch tea, I licked my paw to wash my whiskers and behind my ears. I purrsonally would have liked him to offer lunch, as I was hungry, but I was a guest in the murder’s home, so I would drink the damn tea while I heard the details of my heroes final hour.
“Tea is ready!” I heard the dog bark from down the hall. I left the warmth of the hearth to follow my nose toward the back of the house. Not only did I smell dog, but also aromas that made my tummy happy. Tea included noms!
I entered a bright, cheery room with windows overlooking the rear garden. There a middle-aged woman with gray hair and a white apron over her gray dress was arranging plates on top of a pristine white tablecloth. Fergus/Farkus/Fairrr-gus was already seated. As I took my place opposite him, Mrs. Gray poured tea into a fancy china cup.
“Shall I serve you, sir?” she asked.
Surprised that she was addressing me, I nodded, then watched as she placed tiny crustless, triangle-cut sammiches on my plate that matched the tea cup. I recognized one as egg, one as tuna, and another as cucumber. There were also scones with clotted cream. I thoroughly enjoyed nomming the egg and tuna sammiches, and licking up the clotted cream. I left the cucumbers for the dog to eat.
When I’d eaten my full, I asked Fergus, “How did it happen? What case was he working on?”
“The Final Problem,” the dog told me. “Holmes fell to his death while fighting his archenemy, Professor Moriarty. He went over the Reichenbach Falls.”
“I don’t understand. You said Doyle killed him.”
“Well, in spite of everyone’s entreaties that Sherlock Holmes brought enjoyment to millions of readers, Doyle believed the stories were hackwork, and that he was capable of writing more serious works. He’s been plotting to get rid of Holmes for a long time. It was during a trip to Switzerland that Doyle found the spot where Holmes would come to his end. Thus, in The Final Problem, published this past December, Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty plunged to their deaths at The Reichenbach Falls. I assure you there was no one more surprised than Doyle when twenty thousand readers cancelled their subscriptions to The Strand Magazine. The public is furious that Holmes is dead. But Doyle is happy to be freed from his medical career and from a fictional character that oppressed him and overshadowed what he considered his finer works. He just sailed for New York a week ago with his brother Innes to give talks in more than thirty cities.”
I stared so hard at the dog, I could see the pores in his black nose. “I must have hit my head when I fainted. I-I don’t understand what you’re saying. What is The Strand Magazine? What subscriptions? What hackwork? What fictional character?” My head was spinning so fast, I felt like Linda Blair in the Exorcist… without the pea soup barf.
“I understand,” the dog said after a moment. He licked a spot of cream from his whiskers. “I hate to destroy your illusions, lad, but Sherlock Holmes is a fictional character written by my master, Arthur Conan Doyle.”
In that instant…with those words…my reality crashed down around me. I knew about fictional characters. I was my writer mom’s mews. I help her write stories. Really good writers create characters that seem so real, they walk right off the page.
But… “This is impossible!” I growled. “He can’t be a fictional character. What about Dr. Watson? Does he know about this?”
The dog wolfed the cucumber sammiches, then said, “He’s a character too.”
I put my head in my paws and sobbed. Life as I knew it was over. “I suppose you’re going to tell me Sam Spade isn’t real either.”
“I have never heard of Sam Spade,” the dog replied. “Say! Would you like to see where I inspire my master to write novels?”
I followed him to a room with a big desk. As I peered closely at Doyle’s typewriter, pens, photographs and walls lined with books, I remembered the confusion I’d gone through to find Sherlock Holmes. “I tried to find 221B Baker Street,” I told Fergus. “I found a pub and a museum with his name on the front.”
The dog cocked his head. “How can that be? 221B Baker Street is fictional. It doesn’t exist. The numbers on Baker Street only go up to 100.”
That explained why I couldn’t find 221B in my time. I had to travel back to 1894 to find out it was fictional.
“I don’t mean to be rude,” Fergus said, “but why are you wearing the silly hat? Do all cats wear deerstalker hats in America?”
“No, but I’m not an ordinary cat. I’m a hardboiled detective with grit in my blood. I wear a trench coat like Sam Spade, and a deerstalker hat like Sherlock Holmes for inspurration.”
The dog crooked his head in question. “Holmes didn’t wear a hat. At least Doyle never specifically mentioned a deerstalker hat. But you look cute in it.”
I hung my head so low, my silly hat was in danger of falling to the ground. No 221B Baker Street. Sherlock Holmes was a fictional character in a book killed off by a writer named Doyle. And now I learn Holmes never wore a hat. My day was going from bad to worse.
“So, what do you think of our office?” Fergus asked. He trotted over to a cushy bed in front of the fireplace. “This is where I cogitate. Where I come up with ideas for Doyle to transcribe into mysteries. He can’t write a word without me. I’m his muse!”
My ears perked up. “I’m a mews too. My author mom can’t write a story without me.”
Fergus’ long pink tongue dangled happily from the side of his mouth. “I gave him the idea for the Sherlock Holmes stories.”
“You’re really good. I had no idea Holmes was a fictional character.”
“I’m very proud of the works, even though Doyle thought the mysteries obscured what he referred to as his higher work. He told anyone who would listen that he thought his position in lit-tra-chure would be a more commanding one if it wasn’t for Sherlock Holmes. Hackwork, he called my mysteries.”
“I don’t know what hackwork means, but I think they’re wonderpurr stories.”
Fergus grinned a toothy grin. “I am so happy to meet another writer’s muse. With Doyle out of the country, I hope you will accept my invitation to stay awhile. You mentioned you are also a detective? I’d love to discuss your cases.”
I shifted my paws uneasily. I hated to admit it but… “The reason why I came looking for Sherlock Holmes is to ask him to teach me to be a Master Detective like him. I’ve had only four cases, and… Well. It’s been a hard learning curve for me.”
“Then it’s settled. You will stay and keep me company while Doyle is off on his American tour, and I will share with you my secrets for becoming a Master Detective like Sherlock Homes.”
Previously on Sherlock Herms Master Detective – Part 1. Part 2.
I awoke to the sound of British accents, and found myself inside Mosey who had rolled into an alley for the night. Feeling a soft vibration beneath me, I realized he was still asleep, so I placed my chin on the tops of my paws to think.
I’d left Dori, Opie, Jack, and the rest of my W.A.D. team back in my attic office in order to find Sherlock Holmes and ask him to teach me to be a Master Detective like him. But I couldn’t find him, even when I typed 221B Baker Street, London, UK into Mosey’s control panel.
First I came to a restaurant named The Sherlock Holmes, and then Mosey took me to a museum wearing his name on Baker Street. The thing is, I couldn’t find 221B. Not even 221A! It’s like it disappeared.
I felt like a failure. But if I wanted to be a Master Detective I couldn’t give in to failure. I had to deduce like Holmes. What would he do if the address he wanted either seemed to have vanished… or didn’t exist in the first place?
I shook Mosey awake. “Let’s go investigate that museum.”
A crowd had gathered at the entrance with a guard at the door. He seemed like he knew stuff, so I asked him, “Where is the 221B address? I checked all the shops and it doesn’t exist.”
The guard laughed. “It’s a mystery even Holmes himself would struggle to solve.”
Clearly he didn’t know the answer either. I noticed those in line to enter the building had tickets. As I’d left my wallet in my other cat suit, I told Mosey “Sit! Stay!” and slipped between legs to enter the museum. There I wandered from room to room. If you have time, this is what I saw:
Clearly Sherlock Holmes didn’t live there. The place looked like everything I’d imagined 221B Baker Street to be, except there wasn’t the smells of a Master Detective in residence. No food aromas. No foul odors of cheap black shag tobacco clinging to his collection of pipes.
Maybe this place was a diversion so fans didn’t bother Holmes while he was solving cases. I could appreciate that. I would have probably been a better detective over the past year if I didn’t have Dori and my W.A.D. team bugging me while I tried to deduce clues.
Suddenly aware of the looks I was getting from the hoomons wandering the museum with me— probably thought I was the real Sherlock Holmes cuz I was wearing my deerstalker hat— I went to ask the guard where Sherlock Holmes really lived. I reassured him he could reveal the location to me because I was a detective like Holmes. After a good laugh, which I didn’t understand, the guard said, “The power of the imagination resides on the page, and in the address book of the imagination.”
Honestly, I’m so fweakin’ tired of cryptic messages. Why can’t hoomons say what they mean without dressing it up in mystery? Even us hard boiled detectives need a break every now and then.
Just when I was about to say that, a stranger interrupted us to ask where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle lived. Doyle! Realizing that was the name the lady at the pub had mentioned, I listened as the guard told the stranger that Doyle lived in several homes. One of them was at 12 Tennison Road in Croydon.
“Oh look!” a lady in the crowd squealed. “A kitty dressed like Sherlock Holmes! Isn’t he cuuute? Here kitty kitty kitty!”
My cover blown, I scampered back to Mosey where I typed the Tennison address into the control panel. After a moment the computer’s face appeared. It looked like a child from a Stephen King movie, peering at me through the sizzling screen. “Where exactly is your destination?”
“Sherlock Holmes’ house on Tennison Road.”
“There is no record in my data base for a Holmes on Tennison Road.”
“I’m pretty sure he’s there. I think he lives with a guy named Doyle.”
The computer screen flashed. Then after a minute it said, “I understand.”
I watched as the numbers on the screen scrolled backward. “Wait! Where are you taking me? I want to go to Tennison Road. Not—” I gulped hard as the whirling numbers stopped at the year 1894.
“I don’t understand,” I growled. “I wanted to go to Sherlock Holmes’ house. Not back in time.”
Too late! The date on the control panel stayed at 1894. Sighing to release tension, I unzipped the hood. Meanwhile Mosey rolled along the bricked street, lined with tall trees and big houses. Seemed like an affluent neighborhood, but I couldn’t picture my hero solving cases here.
Mosey rolled to a stop before a tall, double gate with the address reading Number 12. The dark bricked house had three stories with a balcony on the second floor overlooking the courtyard. I sniffed the air, but detected only fresh autumn breezes and doggy doo. Hmm.
“I’ll be right back,” I told Mosey, then slipped through the gate. The courtyard was small with sparse grass dotted with said doggy doo, and a paved walkway to the steps leading up to the red front door. I knocked, which set off an alarm. As the fur on my back bristled, I realized it wasn’t a mechanical alarm, but rather a dog barking.
“Who goes there?” a voice growled on the other side of the door.
“Excuse me,” I said in my most polite voice. “I’m looking for Number 12 Tennison Road.”
“State your business, or be gone!”
I swallowed hard. Where was the polite British hospitality when you needed it? “I’m looking for Sherlock Holmes. I was told he lives here with a guy named Doyle.”
The red door abruptly flung open to reveal a shaggy grey dog with a long pink tongue. “My master isn’t here. He’s sailed for New York.”
For a moment my throat wouldn’t work. I’d come so far and just missed him. Plus I was shocked. I’d never thought of Sherlock Holmes as being a dog person. Kinda always thought of him having a cat… that looked like me.
The dog’s gaze softened upon seeing my distress. “What business did you have with Doyle?”
“Doyle? No. I don’t want to see Doyle. I don’t even know who he is. I’m looking for Sherlock Holmes. I’ve come so far to see him. I can’t believe I just missed him.”
The dog shook his head. “Sorry. You’ve more than just missed Sherlock Holmes.”
Previously on Sherlock Herms Master Detective – Part 1.
Mosey shivered, then quivered. And then he shook like a wet dog, all the while bouncing around my office. As the nylon tunnel glowed in the attic’s shadowy darkness, I watched it grow bigger … or maybe I was shrinking. Either way, Mosey rolled toward it.
“Haalllp!” Dori screamed, still determined to say her lines. “He’s being eaten!” And then she was gone. And Opie and Jack were gone. So was my desk, my interrogation corner, my piggy bank and collection of trucker magazines.
My ears hurt from the wind-whooshing sound that surrounded me, and the dazzling button lights on the control panel captivated me unlike catnip or any feathery toy I’d ever played with. But I now knew better not to stare. I got yelled at the first time.
As Mosey rocked and rolled from side to side, then flipped upside down, then right-side up, I hunkered under my mint chip cushion to ride it out. I wasn’t afraid. I felt exhilarated! I was going to meet Sherlock Holmes who would hopefully teach me to be a Master Detective just like him.
I just hoped Dr. Watson didn’t get upset and think I was trying to replace him as Holmes’ sidekick… although I wouldn’t say ‘no’ if Holmes asked.
Eventually the sound around me changed from whooshing to sucking, kinda like I was being squeezed from a tube of Laxatone.
When Mosey stopped shaking I threw aside the cushion to see we were rolling along a smooth pavement with dark shops lining the otherwise empty street on either side. It was nighttime, and the air smelled damp and foreign with a lingering odor of stinky fish.
As Mosey rolled along I spied a sign that had me unzipping the hood and shouting “Stop!” As obedient as a faithful dog, Mosey screeched to a halt. Lights in the windows told me someone was inside. Possibly Sherlock Holmes, himself!
With my whiskers quivering, I started to climb out when Mosey abruptly rolled forward. “No, stop!” I told him. “This is the place.”
Mosey rolled forward again with a low growl. Not knowing What the Friskies was his problem, I jumped out and told him, “Sit. Stay!” Mosey whimpered in reply.
I knocked on the door, but when no one answered, I pawed it open. I know, brazen of me. But I’d come so far to meet my hero and I’m sure if I explained, Holmes would understand me barging in on him so late. I just hoped I didn’t catch him in his jammies. So embarrassing… though I was curious if his jammies had tiny magnifying glasses on them.
The moment I stepped inside I smelled the lingering odor of stinky fish, along with a sourness that I always associate with beer. I’d expected to find myself standing in the front hall of 221B Baker Street, but instead I was inside what us Ameowicans call a bar and the Brits call a pub.
“Sorry! We’re closed,” a woman said from behind the bar. “Come back tomorrow.”
I must have had a confoozed expression on my puss cuz she looked at me really hard. “Are you lost?”
I clearly was. “Isn’t this where Sherlock Holmes lives?”
She laughed. “No. This is Number 10 Northumberland Street. The Sherlock Holmes is a lounge; a restaurant. The place you want is on Baker Street across town. It’s a four minute walk to Charing Cross from here, then a seven minute ride with four stops to Baker Street Station. But the museum is closed for the night.”
Still confoozed, I gazed around the room, trying to collect my thoughts. Why would I want to walk to a place called Charing Cross? What museum?
“Are you hungry?” she asked, and when my tummy growled in reply, she said, “I have a few leftover scraps that I was planning to throw out.”
Oh joy. Garbage for dinner.
A moment later she returned with a newspaper upon which lay a few mushy peas sticking to a glop of cold oily fish. To make matters worse, instead of helping me pull out a chair to sit at a table, she placed it on the floor. “Enjoy!” she tossed over her shoulder as she returned behind the bar.
Eating the leftovers reminded me of my weeks on the road as a lost kitten in the Kentucky wilds. But I hadn’t eaten directly off the floor since I’d been rescued. Still, I was pretty starvy so I gobbled the cold fish, leaving the mushy peas for the garbage. Hunh! She hadn’t even provided me with a napkin to wipe my whiskers.
Oh! Here’s a fun fact for you Ameowicans. In the U.K. a table napkin is called a serviette cuz to the Brits a napkin means… um… uhhh. *nose and ears turn bright pink with embarrassment* Never mind.
When finished, I jumped onto the bar. “Excuse me. I’m from out of town. Could you explain to me why Sherlock Holmes’ name is on the sign out front, but he doesn’t live here?”
She smiled the kind of condescending smile parents give children. “I supposed we were named to capitalize on Doyle’s famous works.”
Curiouser and Curiouser…to quote Alice. Who was Doyle? What famous works?
I guess my confoozed expression confirmed I had no idea what she was talking about, because then she said, “Ah, Americans! So gullible. Okay, here’s the story. He eats here so often, we named the place after him.” She then pointed to a chair positioned at the corner of the bar. “That’s his chair.”
With my heart skipping beats like a crazed drummer, I scampered across the top of the bar to the sacred chair. I half expected to see a polished brass plaque reserving it for the famous detective in case he unexpectedly stopped in for a quick bite. It looked ordinary with a high back, but the seat was worn and when I placed my paw on it I swear a sizzle of the Master Detective’s warmth shot through my paw and up my arm, all the way into my brain!
For a moment I could almost feel the legendary sleuth’s thoughts inside my head, using facts and logic, and the power of intuition to solve his cases. Gosh!
With sincere reverence I bent to inhale the aroma of the wood. Oak, I deduced. To think my hero always sat his tail here while dining made me dizzy with excitement. I wondered what he usually ordered. Not cold oily fish on a soggy sheet of newspaper, I was certain. I also doubted he came here to eat muffins and tea.
I pictured him hunkered over a plate of fat geese or cold beef, drinking pots of strong coffee laced with brandy while smoking an incredible amount of tobacco in his pipe as he mulled over his latest thrill of the chase.
He probably ordered a hearty breakkie. Kidneys, kedgeree, ham and eggs… Maybe chicken curry. His spontaneous, workaholic schedule made eating regular meals impossible, so I imagined him ordering plenty of sandwiches. “Give me some cold beef and a glass of beer,” I could hear him saying. Or maybe he’d order tinned tongue and peaches. I recall reading in one of his historical documents that, while on the trail of a jewel thief, he’d cut a slice of beef from the joint upon the sideboard, sandwiched it between two rounds of bread and, thrusting this rude meal into his pocket, started off upon his expedition.
“Look, mog. It’s an hour after closing. I’m dead on my feet and want to go home. If you’re finished sniffing around, then you need to scat.”
I thanked her and returned to Mosey who began to roll along the street before my back paws were inside the carriage. “I’m sorry. You were right,” I told him. “That isn’t where Sherlock Holmes lives. It’s where he eats. The lady inside said we have to go to Charing Cross… whatever that is… and then—”
Mosey picked up speed, causing the dark shops on either side of us to blur. I zipped up the hood for safety. Soon, through the hood netting, I saw a sign that read Charing Cross, but Mosey zoomed right past it. Then, I swear not more than seconds later, he rolled up to another building with soft lighting in the windows.
“The Sherlock Holmes Museum,” I read out loud. “Souvenirs. Books. Antiques and Curios.” I sat back on my tail with a loud huff. “This can’t be right. He doesn’t live in a museum. Mosey, take me to 221B Baker Street.”
Mosey stayed put. So I got out to peer inside the window. I saw furniture and manny-kins dressed in old-fashioned clothing. More confoozed than I’d thought possible, I walked up and down the street reading the addresses. If my deductions were correct, the Museum was located at 234 Baker Street. I kept walking, looking for 221. I even crossed the street at one point to find 222 Baker Street – a London Quality Dry Cleaners and 220 Baker Street housed Holmes Grill that served Lebanese food. Clearly another place he often visited to eat.
I again crossed the street, expecting to see 221 – B or not to B, didn’t matter. But I found a bookstore at 222 Baker, and an Italian restaurant at 215. And an apartment building at 219.
221 wasn’t anywhere to be found!
I returned to Mosey, totally dejected. If I couldn’t detect something as simple as a fweakin’ famous address, then I should just go home. Give up my dream to be a detective like my hero. Be nothing more than an ordinary house cat.
As tears rolled down my whiskers, I zipped up the hood, and then pulled the mint chip cushion over my head.