No, I have not been ignoring the poll responses on my profile - at least one of those is a WIP at this very moment, but I've been wanting to do this for quite some time after reading STUD recently for writing prompts so I went ahead and started.
From the private diary of Mr. Sherlock Holmes, Esq.
January 1, 1881
Another year has been in existence for nearly three minutes now. Another year, another day.
Another month to scramble for the rent on this hell-hovel Mrs. Dudley calls a boarding-house.
The woman truly is a miserable creature (though with a face like that, one cannot quite blame her) and seems to derive wicked pleasure only from seeing how often she can make others equally miserable.
Given her disposition and judging from the amount of bottle-clinking I can hear through the hole in the floorboards, I suspect it would be beneficial to my health and/or sanity to make myself scarce today…save for the fact that it is a holiday, blast it. The British Museum is not open; nothing is, as a matter of fact.
And brother dearest informed me if I were spotted within two blocks of Pall Mall before the holidays were over he should see me out of London permanently on the first ship bound for South America. No doubt he is placidly asleep in his snug chambers, disregarding the holiday either at home or at office as characteristically as he disregards my life's difficulties or the state of affairs in the East at the moment – as being mere nuisances to be dealt with during waking hours only. People are indeed nuisances (I could not agree with the sentiment more fully), yet I do wish he would bend that rule to exclude me from it at least occasionally.
However, for all his faults, keeping irregular hours is certainly a vice in which he does not indulge. Would that I could say the same for the party of four across the way – I believe I have now heard Auld Lang Syne in at least four differing languages and a Scottish dialect, all of them slurred with a thick tinge of something more crude than champagne.
Between the erstwhile barbershop quartet across the hall and Face-of-Death Dudley below stairs apparently breaking every mug within reach, I doubt I shall be visited by an indulgent Morpheus tonight. This morning. Whatever it is at this ungodly hour on this ridiculously celebratory holiday.
Such are the joys of being self-employed.
Or should the apposite term actually be self-unemployed? If Lestrade had not blundered into a dead end on that Marcher forgery last week (Note to self: make notes over Marcher's technique in duplicating capital T's, for that could be a unique method) I should be celebrating New Year's with the ragged derelicts inhabiting the shadows under the Tower Bridge.
As it is, I now have another joyous fourteen days to make payment for the requisite amount to the not-so-dear Mrs. Dudley or find lodgings elsewhere.
As if there even were a seedier and cheaper hole in the metropolis than this rat-trap.
Mycroft made it quite clear that he shall be accepting no more of what he calls 'leeching' and I call 'familial investment opportunities' from my person; ergo I am completely thrown back upon my own devices to procure the rest of my two week's rent or suffer the consequences.
Hence my sitting alone on New Year's with a cracked cup of tepid tea instead of a champagne flute. I believe I shall compose a short monograph upon the effects of various beverages on an alert and highly intelligent mind, together with a few observations on the variations of caffeine levels in relation to trained senses…
I really must speak to the old woman about repairing that hole in the roofing – I swear every hour I have to dump more melting snow out of that pan than falls upon the entire city block. The cold and wet I can stand, for mental detachment is always capable of besting any physical discomfort; but for the fact that clients tend to be skeptical of a man's abilities to stop an attempted murder when he cannot stop a hole in his own roof.
Not that I have to worry about the clientele issue at the moment, or that it looks likely I should at any point in the near future. Ars artis gratia is all well and good, and sounds idealistically alluring when starting a career such as mine – but all too soon the art of the business is drowned in the slough of necessity.
Why I am here scribbling these slightly disjointed thoughts, besides the obvious fact that sleeping is out of the question with the rowdies across the hall, escapes me at the moment; but this problem of rent is a knotty one indeed, and logic dictates that I should prepare myself for the inevitable.
It appears that the last shillings in my pocket will be going toward as many newspapers as I can purchase with the change, in search of 'To-Let' advertisements. Pity one cannot purchase merely the sections of a paper one wants; what I would not give to be able to choose only the agony column, criminal news, and the advertisements, and let the rest of that prattling clap-trap make some other poor fool happy instead of cluttering up my optic senses with useless information.
Though I doubt that any boarding-house in this city could be affordable on my unpredictable means, it nevertheless is my last resort. And if I am to continue –
Humanity. What poor pathetic creatures we are, to be so overtaken by an inanimate substance such as alcohol. I was just rudely interrupted by a banging upon my door. As the flimsy wood (more like varnished cardboard) will literally crash down onto the room's moulding carpeting if pushed hard enough (Mrs. Dudley's elephantine physique accidentally brushed up against the thing last week and nearly flattened me underneath it), I rushed to prevent another such happening.
Outside I found Mr. Tader's Scottish guest, completely off his head but very serious, asking if I were entertaining anyone during the holidays and if not, might he borrow my couch upon which to sleep the rest of the night since Tader threw him out a minute ago 'without a bottle or a word o' warnin''.
As I neither have a couch, nor harbour a desire to share rooms with a besotted Scot, I declined the offer and steered him in the direction of the stairs, knowing that if he were not awake enough to find a cab at the moment he certainly either would be after falling down them, or would not be in a position to care whether he could or not.
That is one reason I have never been tempted overmuch by alcohol – to be reduced to such a pathetically doltish state holds no attraction for me whatsoever; wrecking a brilliant mind as mine in such a manner would be the Unpardonable Sin.
Granted, I have other vices of my own with which to deal, but this is certainly not the time or place to do so. Mrs. Dudley enjoys peeping into my things.
I am seriously considering lacing the pages of my books with dendranthema oil to serve the crone a lesson. I wonder if she would be able to throw me out with hands swollen to twice their normal size? Actually that is a very frightening mental picture to be conjuring up before going to bed…
I appear to have been rambling pointlessly for the better part of a quarter-hour. Apparently my Scottish friend's absence sucked most of the vitality from the party across the way, and I've no doubt that the Dudley woman is well on her way to (I believe the medical term is) veisalgia by now. Perhaps now I might get a few hours of semi-silence before the boy comes with the milk.
I have made one New Year's resolution: that I will not spend another holiday in this den.
Though how I am going to accomplish getting out of the place will probably entail help from either Providence or a wiser man than I. I am not certain which entity I think the possibility of is more dubious...