Sherlock Holmes is the singular and exceptional creation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This story is a work of fan fiction, written by a fan, for the pleasure of other fans and no harm is meant or intended by its creation.
Yes, it's the case that Holmes promised to tell Watson about at the end of 'The Adventure of Ex-President Murillo's Papers'.
And because Watson was too shocked to write this scandalous story down, we'll let Mr Holmes tell it in his own way.
The Curious Case of the Prestidigitator's Python
It was late and I was tired. The audience had been most trying, but had hardly presented me with much of a mental challenge. A costermonger, a seamstress, a governess and her two wards, a bailiff, a solicitor's clerk – all easily identifiable from certain tell-tale signs about their persons, and yet their astonishment at my pronouncement was as great as if I had produced a live elephant from out of thin air. Clearly, should I ever consider abandoning the life of a consulting detective, then a career on the stage beckoned.
Mr Brownlow was thrilled, naturally; the Magnificent Memphisto was earning his keep on a twice-daily basis, if making precious little headway in the case. The suspects were many – the jealous wife, the nervous assistant, the frustrated husband, and a whole host of other people who may or may not have had good cause for wishing the conjuror dead. All it needed was the application of a little serious thought and I would be free of this place.
Except tonight enlightenment would not come. My brain was fevered from the nervous tension and sheer exhaustion of the performance. I wished only to slip into my bed and into the arms of Morpheus in the expectation of a better and brighter day with the dawn.
With this in mind, I returned to my dressing room and began to peel off my stage clothes. I was down to my shirtsleeves when there came to my ear the faint creak of old hinges being turned and a silent step onto the wooden boards. I turned, in full anticipation of attack, and found not some club-wielding demon, but rather Mrs Webber, the Strong Woman of Stoke Poges, standing with her back to the door and regarding me with the look of hungry lioness. She had, I noticed, discarded her turquoise wig, although she still wore her stage dress of shot silk and green velvet.
"Mrs Webber, how may I help you?" said I.
"You retired early, young man," she purred, running her copious tongue over her full red lips. "Did you think I would not notice?"
Quite why she should think that important quite escaped me, but clearly she had something in mind and I held out a hope that it might be the very thing to finally solve this tangled mystery.
"Very observant of you, madam."
She grinned, cat-like, revealing the gaps in her yellow teeth.
"And you knew that I would come, didn't you, you naughty boy?"
There was that about her tone I did not like. It struck that either one or other of us had entirely misread the situation and thus we were taking at cross-purposes.
"Mrs Webber, I don't know –"
"Call me Carlotta, please," said she, pushing her ample body from the door and approaching with feline ease. "You can hardly continue to call me Mrs Webber under the circumstances. And what shall I call you, young Mr Holmes?"
I backed away from her advance and came up hard against the rear wall, making the pictures dangling from their nails rattle in their frames.
"Mr Holmes is perfectly adequate," said I. "Mrs Webber, I really think you should leave."
I had raised my hands to prevent her drawing any closer to my immediate proximity and had the misfortune to come up against her buxom chest, which strained against the bodice of dress like an overstuffed pillow. She grinned impishly at my unfortunate gesture, grabbed my hands and pressed them to her bosom, so that I could feel the pounding of her heart through the acres of flesh.
"I am a passionate woman," said she breathlessly, treating me to the overwhelming odour of cheap gin and Hobson's Curly Cut tobacco which I could detect on her breath. "I know you've been asking questions about me. You want me, don't you?"
"Mrs Webber," I protested in the strongest of terms, trying to wrest my hands from her grasp. "You mistake my interest."
Her lips quivered as she inhaled deeply. "Do not be afraid to give into those passions which lie between man and woman," said she. "I will be gentle with you."
Despite her fine words, her next action was to rip open my shirt, relieving me of several buttons in the process, which bounced across the floor like a shower of golden coins.
"Madam," said I. "I order you to desist. You have a husband."
"But I am still a woman, Mr Holmes," said she huskily, latching onto my bare chest to paw at me as if I was so much horseflesh in the Newmarket sales. "My husband is old and spent and you are young and vital."
That was not the description I should liked to have applied to Mr Webber, at least not to his face. As the resident strongman, as he claimed, the first man in Britain to bench-press 400 pounds, and other half of their double act, I would have thought a more dignified epithet for the gentleman was in order.
However, I was in a somewhat awkward situation. I was squarely trapped twixt Mrs Webber's bulk and the wall, with precious little space for escape either side in the narrow confines of my dressing room. As her attentions grew increasingly over-familiar, I sought a means of extricating myself that did not involve either unnecessarily hurting her feelings or succumbing to the unacceptable use of force, which in her case, I was not entirely sure would succeed.
"What if your husband should find us, madam?" I said vainly, hoping that she might yet see sense.
"He won't. He's drunk and already asleep. We shall not be disturbed."
To my very great consternation, in an instant she had hauled me over to the bed, threw me down and clambered swiftly on top of me, fairly crushing life and breath from my lungs beneath her considerable bulk. I was pinned, hopelessly at her mercy and wondering how on earth I had managed to end up in this undignified position.
Worse still, I had no idea how I was going to get out of it.
Yes, you are allowed to laugh at Holmes' predicament. Told you it was scandalous ;)
If, like Holmes, you too are wondering how this unfortunate situation came about, then onwards to Chapter One.
Reviews always welcome and greatly appreciated!