by Jeremy Strong
While all those bizarre shenanigans were going on beside the shores of Loch Ness, five hundred and fifty nine point one miles away (approximately) a troubled damsel in distress was pounding the knocker on a famous door in Baker Street, London, NW1. Mrs Hudson, the housekeeper, answered and the young lady rushed in, taking the stairs two at a time, sometimes three, (she had unusually long legs), until at the very top she tripped on the final step and crashed headlong into the lounge, where she finally came to a halt at the feet of the very man she had been seeking.
‘Sherlock Holmes!’ she cried.
‘Well deduced, young damsel. It is I, myself, none other. To what do we owe your discombobulation?’
The young lady examined her clothing, perplexed and vexed in equal measure. ‘I can’t see anything. Is my blouse untucked at the back?’
‘Do not distress yourself, Miss,’ Watson put in. ‘It is just Holmes’ way. You are evidently troubled. How may we help you? Has some dastardly duke stolen your inheritance? Has a vicious step-mother kidnapped your young swain and at this very moment is slowly disembowelling him in a locked tower? Or is your cat lost?’
‘No no!’ cried the damsel. ’None of that. My name is Kitty Sometimes and I have escaped from a dreadful plot. The moon fell in the sea but I think, though not sure, that she is now resting beside Loch Ness. The sea has no tides and all the plankton has died, or is dying, which signals the end of Life As We Know It. There’s something afoot with fireworks and digestive biscuits and only the great Sherlock Holmes can surely solve this strange and annoying mystery.’
Doctor Watson had staggered back several steps at each extraordinary sentence Kitty spoke and if she had uttered one more he would probably have fallen out of the window and into the street.
Even Holmes was agitated, but for different reasons. He leaped to his feet and grabbed his coat. ‘Watson!’ he shouted, ‘we must make for Loch Ness at once, before the world dies from plankton starvation! Quickly now, and bring Bradshaw!’
While Kitty looked around, imagining Bradshaw to be a dog, Watson seized the fat railway timetable and in no time at all they were heading for Kings Cross station. Holmes appeared deep in thought and at last he confided in his companion.
‘Something about this case troubles me, Watson. Nothing makes sense.’ Those were his last words until, five hundred and fifty nine miles later, they reached Loch Ness itself.
The great detective strode beside the famous Loch, heading for the glowing moonlight, the flaps of his deerstalker flying in the wind like pigs under full sail. Watson followed, with Kitty Sometimes clinging to his arm. They were met by a muttering, motley group, none of whom were able to agree with each other, or even themselves. The Writer couldn’t decide whether he was female or she was male. Scribble was more confused than ever and kept pushing a piece of paper under Minnaloushe’s nose, on which was written SO YOU’RE REALLY ME? OR AM I REALLY YOU? Egeria was sobbing beside a gorse bush whilst being plagued by midges and complaining that she hated, HATED being on dry land and her sister was a BITCH OF THE FIRST ORDER and generally mourning the demise of all the plankton.
The cheerleader was being unbelieveably cheerful and without realising it was coming ever closer to being murdered by everyone else, who couldn’t stand her cheery pom-pom manouevres. The German Chancellor had just heard that he had lost an election and was therefore not a chancellor any longer, whilst the tulip grower was fingering the local soil and complaining that tulips would never grow there. Mr Catch, the legendary fisherman seemed to have given up altogether and, finally, Frankie the dog was the only one enjoying a frolic in the cold water of the loch itself.
Into all this strode Sherlock Holmes. He planted his feet firmly apart, threw back his cape (where it landed with a light splosh in the water of the loch and floated away) and addressed the small crowd.
‘I have gathered you here…’ he began, only to be interrupted by The Writer.
‘We were already here,’ he/she intoned sourly. ‘You were the last to arrive.’
Holmes was unmoved. ‘You will listen, for I have much to say. I have followed this mystery since September 8th. It is now October 16th and it has finally become clear to me exactly what has happened. You – all of you here – are not what you seem. You are all impersonators. I can now unmask each and everyone of you and say that in fact you are none other than all the writers themselves! Yes! You thought you could hoodwink the world with your jokes about frenchie speaking fish, your changes of tense, your multiple personalities and plot-devices but I, Sherlock Holmes, have seen through it all. You are exposed for what you are, nothing but writers!
‘Aha!’ cried Frankie the dog. ‘But what about the moon under the sea? How will you get her back in the sky, eh?’
‘You cannot fool Sherlock Holmes,’ cried Holmes. ‘What kind of madness has come over you all? The moon NEVER FELL INTO THE SEA! Everyone knows that that is impossible for the moon has a diameter of 3476 miles, whilst the very deepest depth of the ocean is only 11 miles. That would leave, er, um – ‘ For a moment Holmes hesitated and Watson came to his rescue.
‘3465 miles’ he muttered.
‘Three thousand, four hundred and sixty five miles of moon STICKING OUT ON TOP! IDIOTS!’ Holmes bellowed. ‘What crazy fool would believe that!’
Holmes drew a deep breath and fixed Cynthia with a penetrating glare. ‘Get back up there, and don’t you dare come over with all that cheesy ‘I’m a depressive’ nonsense again! Besides, you’re far too big to go rolling about the Scottish countryside.’
Cynthia shrugged and soared back into the sky. ’Pah!’ she moaned. ‘You’re a nasty bit of old stilton, Sherlock!’
‘But what about the fireworks and Loch Ness?’ asked Scribble, for he could now speak, having given up his ridiculous pretence in the face of such extraordinarily astute interrogation.
‘You have had the fireworks already, and what fireworks they were – stunning, etymologically spectacular, but ultimately futile. They were not fireworks to be seen, but to be read. They were the very words that have written this story.’
‘And Loch Ness?’ demanded the tulip grower. ‘This soil is useless, the weather is permanently precipitous, the sky is full of midges – why Loch Ness?’
A smile crept onto Holmes’ face and his gaze slid across the company until it lit upon Mr Catch, the legendary fisherman. ‘It is my firm belief that Mr Catch is the man responsible for bringing you here, for I can now reveal that his real name is Mr McCatch and he is an undercover tourist officer for the Scottish Tourist Bureau. It was his plan to bring you here so that the whole world would read about Loch Ness and it’s monster and come and visit. But I can tell you, categorically, that not only is the Loch Ness monster a myth, but so is Loch Ness itself! Loch Ness doesn’t exist!’
‘But we can all see it!’ cried the assemblage.
Holmes smiled again. (He was getting very annoying with all this know-all smiley stuff.) ‘I can prove to you that you only think it is there,’ and he turned on his heel and walked straight into the loch. After several steps he disappeared, never to be seen again.
His gravestone read SHERLOCK HOLMES – DROWNED IN HIS OWN SMART-ARSEY-NESS. October 16th, 2011.
And all the writers went home, taking their fireworks with them. Only the digestive biscuits remained on that lonely, Cynthia-lit shore, along with a single pearl.
We would like to say a very BIG thank you to all of the authors and bloggers who have taken part in the Big Blog Story.
We’ve enjoyed reading it and hope you have too.
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