I had always considered myself smart, but this man was nuts. It hadn't been a week since I had moved in and a tall, dark haired man had barged into my flat, looking for something.
"Can I help you, sir?" I said through the crack I had opened in my door. I reached around where he couldn't see and dug through the table by the door to grab out my hardly used Mace can. I had just quit my job and had spent all day looking for a new one. I wasn't in the mood for visitors.
"Yes, you can let me in."
"And why would I do that?"
"Isn't it obvious?" he said and I crinkled my eyebrows.
I heard a whisper and opened the door a crack more to see another man whispering in the ear of the first. This man was a bit shorter than the dark haired one and had blonde hair as well. I recognized him almost immediately. In fact, I had just been reading the paper… and he was on the front page.
"I'm sorry ma'am. I'm here to inspect your new flat," the first said and gave me a facetious smile.
I paused for a moment, slightly unsure of what to do, but having a sort of gut feeling as to what I should do. "Of course," I said and opened the door. I held the Mace behind my back so as to keep it from their sight. They entered the room and John smiled regretfully. The other man made himself at home and wandered about my living room.
"I'm so sorry about him," he said. "Not used to common folk."
"Right," I said and grinned more or less.
"I suspect we won't be here long," he said and shook my hand. "John Watson."
"Of course. Addison-"
"Addison Lane, formerly of Dartmoor. Single, no children, no pets, although she'd like to have one. No current relationship and from the state of her shoes, no living relatives either." Where was he getting this from?
John pursed his lips and rolled his eyes in the other man's general direction.
"Thank you for understanding Addison," he said and followed him into the room. I closed the door slowly and turned over the thoughts in my head. John Watson was in my flat. I was no fool. This could only mean there was a case to be solved here and I wasn't sure that's what I wanted in my brand new flat.
"Erm, would you like to sit down?" I asked, trying to be hospitable.
"Yes, sure," said John. I offered him a seat on the couch and he sat gratefully. The tall one ignored the question altogether.
"Can I get you something to drink?" I asked him.
"Oh, no, it won't be long I'm sure." I nodded and stepped behind the couch, next to the wall, not knowing where I could set down the can of Mace without it looking out of place. I watched the man turn over several of the things on my desk and open my laptop. I decided it was best I kept the spray near me.
I watched him for a bit before he stood up straight and circled around himself. He sniffed at the air once. He looked at the table near the door then sniffed several more times. He approached me slowly and continued sniffing. Finally, his gaze landed on me when he was about two yards away.
"Were you actually planning on spraying us with Mace?" he asked and yanked my arm from behind my back. John sighed slowly and the man took note then softened his grip on my arm. The can of Mace was displayed in my hand. "How long have you had this?" he asked.
"I found it here," I said, remembering how I had found it.
I had been coming home from work three days prior. I had stopped at the market for a short time before returning home and I had a hard time opening the door. I don't know why I remembered that, but it seemed like it wasn't just that I was carrying groceries, it was that my key wasn't working very well. I had been unnerved by it and it had stuck with me for the rest of the week, not to mention the clatters I seemed to hear in my flat that almost scared me out of going in.
When I had finally gotten the door open, I put the groceries on the counter and spotted the can on the table. I thought it strange, but the landlady had said something about frequent visitors. I thought maybe it had been left there by her.
"Wednesday. I assumed Mrs. Hudson left it for me," I said, counting back the days in my head.
He stopped for a moment before he began to laugh.
"What's so funny?"
"John told me not everybody around here was dull-witted, but he was wrong."
"Are you saying I'm dull-witted?" I asked, becoming offended immediately. I realized that I had said something that was wrong and immediately suspected it was the part about Mrs. Hudson. I knew I had said everything else correctly.
I looked at John's face and he seemed to be both appalled and confused at Sherlock's behavior. I glanced at my doorjamb and got most of the information I needed. Then of course was the fact that Mrs. Hudson wouldn't come into my apartment without me knowing to drop off a can of Mace; that seemed a little counterintuitive. I looked at John again quickly, but he was an ordinary man; he wouldn't have put it there.
"It may have been implied-"
"Before you insult me again, I suggest you take your can of Mace and leave," I said. "Even though it obviously wouldn't help you at all if there were someone wanting to break into your flat," I took the can back roughly and shook it, "because it's not even Mace, is it?" I squeezed shaving cream into my hand, wondering what in the world could have made him want to put shaving cream into the can. True enough, I had no idea what his motive could be, but at least I had figured out what was really going on when I put my mind to it.
The man looked at me fiercely and I squinted back, noticing that he actually had some scruff around his chin. "Is that why you came back then?" I asked. "Because sometime while you were investigating my flat earlier this week, you left your shaving cream," my words didn't even make sense to me at that time, "and now you're coming to get it back? Perhaps there's more to this story?" I said out loud, although I was really just thinking. I looked at the can and found a couple of tabs down at the bottom. I pressed them and the bottom popped off to reveal my migraine prescription. "Are you serious?" I asked, several things now clicking into place. "You broke into my flat to get my migraine prescription and when I got home early, you forgot your Mace disguised shaving cream with secret compartment on my kitchen table? Why's it disguised I wonder?" I glanced at John's own unshaven face. "Perhaps because John keeps using yours when he runs out and you wanted it to stop, so you turned your already modified shaving cream can into a Mace can? Am I getting warm?" I asked, my rage working me up and getting the wheels in my brain to turn faster.
The man clenched his jaw tight and grabbed the can back from me. "Incredibly," he said angrily and turned immediately to John who was looking at me in awe.
"Off your pop," he said.
John stood up and the other walked to the door and opened it quickly. John walked to his side.
"What did I miss?" I asked, having fun with the turned tables at the moment.
The man paused at the door. "I wasn't investigating your flat. This was a test and that's my prescription," he said.
"Did I pass?" I asked, still maintaining power in the situation.
He eyed me for a moment, looking me up and down in a way that I normally would have felt very uncomfortable with. My sudden surge of intelligence however was causing me a bit of overconfidence. I was still inclined to feel a bit self-conscious though.
"B," he said.
"Well, that's not bad," I said.
"But it's not an A either," he remarked. The man held the door open for John who thanked him as he walked past. "Welcome to Baker Street, Addison," he said.
"Thank you, Mister…" I trailed off, trying to trick myself more than him. Was he really in my flat?
"Oh please," he said, rolling his eyes, "call me Sherlock. And get this lock changed, someone tried to break in on Tuesday," he said.
"Was that you too?" I asked. Even though he was closing the door, I saw him grin mischievously and disappear entirely from the doorframe, pulling the door closed behind him.
The most obvious question popped into my head. Why were they interested in me? But I could have slapped myself from ignorance. It was only a matter of time before they came. I had, after all, moved into 221C Baker Street.
Sherlock Holmes was my downstairs neighbor.