From the writings of Stanley Hopkins, an Inspector at Scotland Yard, concerning the first two weeks after his promotion:

I've been promoted! That's right; I've finally made it to Inspector. Inspector Stanley Hopkins, to be precise. I hope I'm up to it.

I'm supposed to report to the Superintendent first thing in the morning, and he's going to pair me with another Inspector, to 'learn the ropes,' as they say.

I'm nervous, and excited, and even just as little proud. Nothing wrong with that, though. After all, I have managed to make it this far. So long as I don't let my head get too big, right?

I am a little worried, though. The Inspectors at Scotland Yard are said to be a tough bunch to work with. I wouldn't know; I've somehow managed to avoid the lot of them (tip number one for any new Constable, try to stay clear of the Inspectors). I've seen them around, sure, but I'm not sure any of them would even know who I am.

I did talk to one of them, once. Or rather, he talked to me. That is, to be honest, what actually happened was Inspector Gregson called me an idiot for telling a rather tall, thin figure and his doctor companion that yes, the Inspector was in his office.

Anyway, I suppose I should hope I'm not paired up with him. I wonder, though, if he'd actually remember me. Maybe not. I was, after all, just a lowly Constable at the time, and still pretty new on the job.

Well, the morning will certainly tell.

Day One

The meeting with the Superintendent went well, I think.

I mostly just stood there in front of the man's desk while he congratulated me on my promotion and told me what a huge responsibility being an Inspector was and how important it was and how it was not to be taken lightly and so on, and then he informed me that I was supposed to be paired with Inspector Lestrade, but that he had been unexpectedly called out. I was told I could wait for the Inspector in his office.

I had heard about Inspector Lestrade's office. It was allegedly the neatest, cleanest office in the Yard, even cleaner than the Superintendent's. Now that I've seen it for myself, I believe it.

The Inspector had a desk, two chairs (one for him and one for a visitor), a filing cabinet, maps on one wall, and a note-board on the other. No personal effects, and everything neat and in its proper place. Even the stack of papers on his desk was neat and organized.

I settled myself in the visitors' chair and waited for the Inspector to return.

An hour and a half later, I started getting restless. And a little bit worried. I shifted in my chair, but remained seated, even though it was starting to get uncomfortable. One thing you don't do is go snooping around the office of the man you're going to be spending the next two weeks with; especially when said person is an Inspector of Scotland Yard.

Eventually the man showed up.

At least, I had to assume it was Inspector Lestrade. I couldn't think of anyone else who would walk calmly into the Inspector's office, carefully close the door behind him, and then proceed to slump against said door, close his eyes, run a hand through dark hair, and let out an exasperated sigh.

I took a few seconds to study the Inspector, never really having seen him up close before, while he remained slumped against the wall.

He was small for someone who worked in Scotland Yard. There was, after all, a height requirement, and I wasn't entirely certain that the Inspector would pass. I couldn't really pinpoint his age, but he had to be older than me. He was smartly dressed, or had been before he had been called out for whatever purpose. Now he was a bit rumpled. Descriptions from the Strand found their way into my mind, but while there was a leanness about him, but the descriptions had been largely exaggerated.

I coughed, quietly, to let him know I was there, and his eyes flew open. He straightened up in an instant, and dark eyes studied me intently.

"Hopkins, is it?" He finally asked. I nodded. He straightened his tie as he headed for his desk. "That's right, you're the new Inspector. Have you been waiting long?"

I started to shake my head, and he raised an eyebrow at me from across his desk. "About two hours, sir." I admitted.

The Inspector grimaced. "Sorry about that. Got called out, and to be honest, I'd forgotten you were starting today."

It was not immensely reassuring to realize I had been so easily forgotten. Nor was watching him do paperwork while he proceeded to simultaneously deliver a lecture that apparently consisted of everything he thought I needed to know, from "Don't ever go anywhere without back-up, even if it means you're stuck standing outside knee-deep in snow for three hours straight" to "Don't drink on the job, but if you ever end up in the river, and rest assured you will before the year's out, the scent of garlic and cloves will cover up just about anything."

We didn't go out that day. Didn't leave his office. I tried not to feel let down; I'm sure there was a reason the day was divided between lecturing and paperwork.

And, of course, I suppose my first day as an Inspector could have gone much, much worse.

I was glad, though, to finally be heading home, even if my head was spinning from all the advice he had thrown at me during the day.

At least he hadn't laughed when I pulled out my notebook and started taking things down. The way he said everything, as if my life might depend on it someday, made me worry that I might forget something.


Disclaimer: Sherlock Holmes and the boys at Scotland Yard do not belong to me.