I broke into children's television for him. And if that's not your definition of hell, then you're a braver man than I am.

I'm just saying, right? The last eighteen months have been pretty Sherlock-central for me. I mean, layers upon layers of story being gradually accumulated like dust in a fecking library and for what? A couple of weeks and it's all gone tumbling off a bleeding building. Don't even know if he got it all, for God's sake. There could be a whole little back-up plan just glossed over, unexplored, a couple of months of my life just tucked in some corner somewhere because he missed something.

How dare he jump off a fecking building when I still have treasures untold and glories undiscovered? I built it for him, around him, custom-fucking-purpose-built-and-tailored to him, nobody else is going to appreciate it like he would have.

Sad to relate, this is the thought I eventually fell asleep on, and this is the thought that has wakened me this morning.

And as has become customary, I reach up under the sheet and place a hand on the left side of my chest. And yeah, I'm still alive. Again. That keeps happening. I keeping waking up with a heartbeat and circulation and a functional respiratory system.

Cancer. Now there's a worthy adversary. Maybe I should take up smoking.

I swing a foot out of bed and kick over last night's tumbler. It chips, which is a pain in arse because it's really nice crystal and it's one of a set. And I know it's a pain in the arse, but I sit there looking at it, with the chip scattered on across the floor and the crack running through it and yeah, it's sad but I just can't, y'know… get into it.

Before I've really thought about it I bring my heel down on it.

And then I've got a fecking big chunk of lead crystal in my heel and that's a bit better. I get into that. I swear and hop about and clutch my foot over that. Then the numbness hits and I go to the bathroom to pull it out. And shower. And shave.

God fucked up, y'know. I mean, if we really are cast in his image then I understand; that is a pissed off man inflicting his misery on his underlings. I understand that. But if all we actually are is some shaved simian spinoff, then the gent made a serious mistake, no offence to him. A human being is just too high-maintenance. So much needs to be done to it. It all goes to shit so easily.

In fairness, I've been drinking a bit more than usual. Doing a bit of lying in bed.

But hey, that's natural. That's grief. It's going to be at least a year before I'm likely to see any sign whatsoever of the only person left alive who is of any interest to me. I mean, do you know what that's like?

No, of course you don't. You've got rock stars and stand-up comedians and, fucking Christ preserve us, loved ones to think of. Eejits… My point is, you lot will always have a distraction. That's my problem now, you see. Distractions. Something to do for the next year. Drinking and lying in bed are only going to take me so far. I'm not so far gone I don't know that. Sooner or later, I'm going to need something to do.

What did I used to do before Sherlock?

Seriously. It's like trying to think what life was like before mobile phones, or when Star Wars was still a big thing or the first time Take That existed. How the hell did I used to put my days in?

Standing in the kitchen, I perform the usual morning check. I think as clearly as I possibly can about steak and chips. If the thought does not immediately leave me vomiting into the sink, I can have breakfast. It also means I'm not nearly hungover enough and I really must do better tomorrow night.

Luckily for my liver, I am violently ill at the first half-remembered whiff of a caramelized onion.

Black coffee it is then. Can't say I'm too depressed about that. Black coffee and I have gotten to be good friends, this last week or so. We've usually fallen out by dinner time, but it's always there in the morning, waiting for me to come crawling back after another sordid night in the arms of Lady Liquor.

Oh, Jesus, I've gone mental…

This isn't even funny anymore. This doesn't even count as a holiday anymore. This is what finally drives me back to the computer. It's backed up a bit, if I'm honest. I just haven't been able to face it, you know?

The All-Request Lunch with Joe Public.

Oh, God, I'm going to be sick again…

No. Stop it, Jim. Swallow down, man, face this. There's bound to be something in all this dross to hold your attention for more than twenty seconds.

About sixty seconds later I realize there's really not.

The trial maybe wasn't the super-star-stellar idea it seemed like at the time. I had all the clients I could handle before, truth be told. I mean, truth, real actual truth be told, it was more of a showing-off kind of a thing.

Not a jealous thing.

Not a jealous thing, that's very important, I wasn't jealous, you must never believe that I was jealous and certainly not of that lanky twat, and all his press coverage, and all his high-profile stuff. If I wanted attention I could play the hero too, alright? This was never about attention. I wasn't jealous.

I wasn't.

Anyway, long story short, the old inbox is a bit full and it's pretty much all crap, crap and more crap.

Dear Mr Moriarty, steal my jewels.

Only if they're still attached to you, son. Next!

Dear Mr Moriarty, murder my ageing husband.

Why, because you're too lazy to ride him to death? Gold-digging whore, get off my computer this instant.

Assassinations, crap. Heists, crap. Political intrigues, crap on fecking toast, oh, God, no, don't think of toast, don't think of toast, don't think of solid food, stupid man. Crap on a stick, that's what political intrigues are.

This all ends with my head on the keyboard. With me groaning periodically because it's all I can do. Or because I've just thought, in all seriousness and without a hint of irony, that I might just try and get Jeremy Kyle on catch-up TV. That's happened twice already since that whole rooftop thing, and that's why there are currently two televisions here in the Batcave which are no longer functional. The first just has a shoe in the screen. Which is fair enough, that happens. It happens when I'm sick, or if I just feel like throwing a shoe, or any time I'm watching something and I need a slash and they won't put a fucking advert on.

The other one, I must admit, worries me slightly. Because I got a bit cruel with the other one. In my own defence, it wasn't Jeremy Kyle, it was Loose Women, but that still probably wasn't just cause to dismantle the entire television and lay its insides out in separate pieces on the bed like modern art.

Yeah, television, my state of mind? Not a good idea.

Why does he have to be dead?

I only wanted him to kill himself, I didn't actually want him to be dead. Should've gone with the original plan and just killed all his friends. I wanted to see if I could make him go all dark and nasty. Only I was talking to this comic book forger in New York while I was planning it and he goes:

"Oh, like The Killing Joke."

And I goes:

"Excuse me?"

And apparently the Joker already tried that.

Hence, children's television.

And yes, it was much more inventive and satisfying and it put the days in for a year and a half, but now he has to be dead. At least for a little while. I really didn't think this one through, did I? I mean, in terms of me and where I end up. Where I end up is sitting in front of my computer meandering through heap upon hideous, mind-bending, soul-destroying crap.

Dr Mr Moriarty, I'm fucking an MP and I can tell you things.

No, darling, you can't, you really can't, I knew it all before he did.

Dr Mr Moriarty, are you by any chance looking for an apprentice?

…Apprentice. I trace the IP address on that one. Not because I'm interested, not because it strikes me as a possible time-killer, no, God, Christ, I can't think of anything more disgusting. No, I'm just going to have the fucker shot, that's all…

Jesus, Sherlock, come back, all is forgiven. I won't even kill anybody, we'll just do cat-and-mouse. I promise. Well, maybe the occasional murder, but only enough to keep things fresh. Swear. Scout's honour. May God strike me down if I tell a lie, I can be a marginally better man, but only if you're here to drive me to it. There's no motivation anymore. I've got my territory all to myself but what good is it? It's no fun if you don't have to defend it from anybody. And let's face it, Sherlock, nobody else comes close. Nobody does it better.

Makes me feel sad for… well, mostly myself, actually.

Aw, God, I'm singing Carly Simon to myself in an empty house, man, what more convincing do you need?

I want a drink…

No, it's half-eleven in the morning, I don't want a drink. No. No. What I want to do is lift up my head, rub the keyboard imprint off my cheek, and look one last time at the last page of the Requests.

Dear Mr Moriarty – crap. Could you fix it for me to – crap. Need your assistance with – crap. Stand to make a fortune from – crap. I live next door to – crap. Most impossible mystery – crap. I need to – crap.

Fucking high-maintenance human body more trouble than it's worth.

But it's in the bathroom that I think back (can't help but think back; bathrooms are the single largest source of wasted time in human history, did you know that?) to what I was just going through there.

Something I might have glazed over there.


Back to the computer and into the deleted files and I have to go through all that crap trying to find it again but there it is and yeah, I was right. It was interesting. A possible diamond in a heap of shite.

I live next door to- it begins.

And goes on – a dead man. And I bet you know who it is.

Signed by somebody calling themselves, Captain Tuxedo. Of all the bloody pseudonyms to pick… But still, it triggers a thought in me. Which hasn't happened much, these couple of weeks. Just a quick little thought, but a nice one. One I haven't had in a while, too. One that makes me look at that brief little message from every angle, start to poke it about a bit, shake whatever I can out of it.

A quick little thought, and a tug in the old cardiac that I don't want getting out of hand just yet: