"Please Sally," John replies, as the bar maid pours him a pint. The beer is exchanged for money and John sits himself down on one of the stools at the bar. This was his usual Friday custom, after a week at the surgery, he would unwind at the local pub with a beer and Sally, the bar maid, whom he had become quite good friends with. If only she would stop batting her eyelids at him and realise she wasn't exactly John's type.
"How's work?" She asks.
"Someone came in thinking they had some deadly rash the other day, turns out they had failed to wash the ketchup from their arm properly." Sally giggles. "Honestly some people in this town!" John takes a slurp of his drink. "And you? How has your week been?"
"Not nearly as exciting," she says sarcastically. "Wednesday was horrible, with the football on and all. I wondered if I might see you there." She sounded disappointed.
"Me? No, I'm not much a football person." John and Sally pause their conversation as Sally serves another customer a gin and tonic.
"I tell you what has been happening though," she says as she fiddles with the old till. "Damn thing," she mutters. John waits patiently for her to continue. "There was a man here, asking a load of funny questions."
"What kind of questions?"
"About this man that went missing, and the people and area in general. He was a peculiar sort of bloke. Tall, dark hair and smartly dressed. Not bad looking if you ask me, although of course he is not my type," she adds in a fluster, flashing him an obvious smile. John pretends he didn't notice and smiles an innocent smile back. "I think we worked for the police, a detective or something. He has been here a few times now." John makes an 'mmm' noise, curious at this revelation.
John and Sally talk for the next half an hour, in between Sally serving drinks. A couple of times John helps her collect the empty glasses from tables.
"They should be paying you really," she would say.
As John brings back the fourth collection of empty glasses from one of the back rooms, Sally ushers him to her excitedly.
"He is here!"
"Who is here?"
"The detective I told you about, you just missed him! He has gone round the side." She points in the general direction he must have gone. "He didn't even speak to me which I think was very rude." She pouts as she washes up the empty glasses John bought back.
John and Sally continue to chat, mainly about the crime in the area and the kinds of trouble that can sometimes happen in the pub. Sally spoke of how once a man had smashed a glass action film style, and attempted to stab another man with it. He was so drunk however, that he fell straight to the floor when he stood up and the police were called.
"It was terrifying! I almost resigned my job! But my boss said - JohnJohnJohn!" Sally was suddenly nudging John hard in the arm and nodding her head towards the space behind John. John turned around to look in the direction he had been guided to. "THAT is the detective I was talking about."
As if he could hear Sally's whispers, the detective turns in the doorway and John could see the full profile of this man. He caught his breath. He was not like any detective John had ever seen. He was young and pale, his dark hair curled to the shape of his face. His cupid's bow of his lips deep and his cheekbones strong. The tailored suit he was wearing hugged him tightly, showing off his stick thin figure. And his eyes, they shined a bright blue as they looked John's way.
In fact they were fixed on John. The detective was staring at John just as John was staring at him. John wanted to drop his eyes and turn away, knowing how strange he must have looked, but he couldn't. He was hypnotised by this man and his enchanting characteristics.
There was a crash from behind John as Sally drops a glass, the noise snapping the pair of them out of their trance. Quickly the detective exits the pub, his long coat swooshing as he spins, John not taking his eyes off of him as he leaves.
"John?" John turns to face Sally once more, and, doing an impressive impression of a goldfish, and says a quick goodbye before charging out the door and down the footpath after the man that had enchanted him.
But he was nowhere to be seen. John looks both up and down the street but there was not sight of a man in his swooshing coat. Disappointment fills him up as he looks down at his shoes. John wasn't quite sure why he felt so gutted about not seeing this man again, but he was. Just the thought of it chewed him up inside.
Reluctantly, John turns and makes his way back to the bar, not lifting his eyes from the ground.
"Looking for me?" asks a deep voice from beside him. John looks up to see the detective leaning against the wall of the pub, one foot pressed against the stones.
"Um, yes, actually," John blushes, "I don't really know why. I'm sorry, this must seem really weird to you, I will just go and save us both the embarrassment."
"I'm Sherlock, Sherlock Holmes." The man holds out his gloved hand. John stands frozen for a moment before taking the hand in his and smiling.
"John Watson." The corner of Sherlock Holmes' mouth curls upwards in a shy smile.
"Hello John Watson."