This is a continuation of the story, Doctor Watson’s blog: A Kindle Abandoned, Chapter 1. You may wish to begin there and continue through the rest of the story before reading this, the fourth and final chapter.
I was waiting in breathless anticipation for the arrival of my old friend, Sherlock Holmes. My last patient having departed some half hour before, I had just about completed my charting for the day.
I must admit to a certain degree of distraction during the day, although nothing that would compromise my patients’ safety. Considering that the highest risk I had seen all day was a case of Onychomycosis (fungal toenail), the risk had been small.
My thoughts had kept returning to the events of the preceding evening. What could it all mean? It all seemed to tie together in some way, but what the precise solution was escaped me.
At that moment, my friend burst into the room. All vestiges of the doorman in whose guise I had encountered him last night were gone. He was his normal slim self, and the make-up that had given him those apparent injuries were gone, only his hawk-like features remaining.
“Of course…although I am not quite sure for what.”
“For the conclusion, of course! You have the Kindle?”
“I do. I shut it in that drawer. The deuced thing was simply too distracting to leave out. Should I bring my revolver?”
“I think not. What I have in my breast pocket should be sufficient. Would you mind if I use your computer? I appear to have left my cell phone in my car.”
I watched as his swift fingers sent a text message.
Msg:Pkg 411 8×100 1×2
“I say, Holmes, what was that?”
“Merely the next step in the plan. B8KRSTIR is a special address I have for Wiggins and his crew…it is short for Baker Street Irregulars. I have asked him to get the information on a package, and in exchange I will give him eight Amazon gift certificates for $100, and one for $200. He will distribute them as he sees fit, with the $200 going to the one who gets me the address to which the package is mailed.”
“Why, the Kindle, of course! I have called TrackItBack, and arranged to have it picked up here and returned to its owner. That was one reason I needed you on this case, Watson. I was afraid my Baker Street residence might be watched, and Wiggins prefers to keep a low profile. They should be picking it up at any moment. When they do, the Irregulars will watch the truck until the driver takes the package to post it. When they do, one of them will slip inside with the driver, observe the address given, and text that information back to me.”
“I see! Should we alert Lestrade?”
“I think we will not need the authority’s assistance in this case.”
At that moment, the Front Desk alerted me to the arrival of the courier. I turned over the Kindle, and we waited. Holmes paced furiously about the office. While it was clear to me that he had already projected an end, he was as anxious as I to see it arrive.
Fifteen minutes later, we were in a cab on the way to the address provided by Wiggins. It seemed that Holmes had not only left his cell phone in his car, he had forgotten the car somewhere as well. We pulled up to a security gate at an expensive mansion. Holmes overtipped the cabbie, and we approached the closed circuit camera.
“Sherlock Holmes. I believe I am expected.”
The gate buzzed and we stepped on to the path.
“Are you certain we should just walk up to the front door like this, Holmes? Might that not place the young lady in additional danger? And why did you say you were expected?”
Holmes walked briskly to the stoop. The door was opened for us by a most surprising personage.
He was approximately six feet tall, but the alternating black and white spikes formed by his hair made him fully seven. He lifted Holmes off the ground in a bear hug, and as I prepared to enter the fray in my friend’s defense, Holmes gestured me back.
“Watson, this gentleman is Erasto.”
“Eras…the name on the Kindle!”
“Precisely, although he may prefer that we address him as Edward J. Smith…or should we call you Captain?”
The faux-hawked Erasto set Holmes on the ground and laughed a surprisingly high-pitched laugh. He grabbed Holmes’ shoulders as though he was a long lost brother returned from war.
“Congratulations, darling! Surprised?”
This last came from a striking young woman, dressed in a cashmere robe.
“And that, Watson, is the young lady about whom you have been so concerned…my client.”
I must have looked confused, as she held out her hand and smiled knowingly.
“Dr. Watson, I presume? I knew Mr. Holmes would get here, but this is an unexpected pleasure.”
“May I say that the feeling is mutual? Holmes, what is this all about?”
“Sit, doctor, and I’ll explain.”
We all took seats, Erasto beaming and virtually unable to stay still with excitement. I noticed that the young lady was watching Erasto, rather than Holmes, and smiling just as broadly.
“As you can see, Watson, the lady is not in danger, nor did I ever think she was. There were several clear indications of this. First, she did not go to get her latte last evening, indicating that this was to be an out of the ordinary evening.”
“But I thought the abduction had prevented her?”
“Then why would she have already showered? Remember the bare footprints? It hardly seems likely that she would have come home, showered, and then gone back to continue her work at the Starbucks. And abduction may not be the correct word, since she left willingly.”
“I thought you had said she was unconscious?”
“No, Watson, you said that, and I agreed that it was a reasonable hypothesis. I said she was unresisting, and she was…because she had planned the entire affair. The fact that she answered the door still dripping from the shower shows that she had known her visitor.”
“She couldn’t have been certain who was at the door until she got there.”
“True, but she could identify him through the Judas Hole in the door. If it had been someone unknown to her, she simply would not have opened it. Once she had admitted the person, she would have had ample time to call for assistance if it was required. The scuff mark tells us that she was dressed when she was taking advantage of her unusual mode of conveyance. It would be an odd apartment indeed if there was no phone in the bedroom. Ergo, she knew and trusted her visitor.”
“But she was carried from the room!”
“True…I assume she had some pretty tale to tell to convince our male friend her to carry her?”
“I told him we were practicing–
“For the honeymoon, of course. Watson, these two are getting married tomorrow.”
“Excellent! You have even deduced the date!” She was still watching Erasto rather than Holmes as she said this.
“Well, that is the anniversary of the date the voyage began…what better day to begin your own joint journey through life.”
“You see? He is everything I said.” This last came from Erasto, and was directed to the young lady…who I now knew was his fiancée.
“Why, the Titanic, of course! The ship left Southampton on April 10th, 1912, bound for New York. Captain Edward J. Smith was in charge of the ill-fated vessel. The young woman is fascinated with the story, and has gone so far as to call her young man by the Captain’s name.”
“That explains the Celine Dion song on Erasto’s Kindle! ”
“Exactly…My Heart Will Go On. The oceanliner has been integral to this entire business. The Steiff bear? In 1912, those bears were sent to England to commemorate the Titanic’s voyage. Mourning Redemption features a woman whose parents had died on the trip.”
“So the teddy bear was…”
“An engagement gift.”
“The five Somalian shillings?”
“Erasto is from Somalia. I assume that’s where they met. The coins are probably symbolic of the time they have been together.”
“Five years: we met when I was on vacation with my parents in high school, and I always knew Erasto and I would one day be married.”
“Yes. I have just recently come to this country.”
“That was apparent from the greenish stain on the Kindle cover. It is from a substance generally called Khat, although our Somalian friend may know it as qaad or jaad. It contains the alkaloid cathinone, a stimulant. While illegal in Somalia for a few years, a scofflaw like our hack-installer here may know some ways to obtain it…or at least, be in the company of people who do.”
“Have you been using Khat, Edward?”
“No! It was at my going away party. One of the others must have spit on my case.”
“The substance is known for the peculiar green stains users leave as they expectorate.”
“Well, that seems to explain everything, Holmes.”
“Not quite. His shoes are from a vegan and vegetarian store called Pangaea. That was what told me of his dietary preference. His left-handedness could be deduced from his left shoeprint being deeper than the right when he was exiting the apartment. That indicated that he had shifted his beloved burden to his stronger side as he opened the door.”
“Oh, and you said his hair was blue! It’s black and white!”
“It was blue yesterday, as evident from the hair I found on the sofa. It was a good twelve inches long, and maintained its shape when bent. This told me that a stiffening agent had been used. Have you dyed it for the wedding?”
“Black and white seemed more formal.”
“Well, if the lady was in no danger, why did she engage your services?”
“The Captain here had given her an extravagant wedding present, and I assume she wanted to return the favor. Unless I am very much mistaken, I am that gift.”
She laughed lightly before replying. “You are correct, Mr. Holmes. Edward has been a fan of yours for some time, having become aware of your abilities in that computer espionage case you had solved in South Africa.”
“The Adventure of the Reluctant Hacker!”
“Yes, he showed me that’s what you called it in your blog, Doctor. I thought there would be no better gift I could give him than to have you solve a case, in which he had the starring role.”
“And I must say, I have had a most delightful time doing so. One more thing: in honor of the Titanic theme, I have brought the two of you a wedding present.”
At this, Holmes reached into his breast pocket and removed the object to which he had referred earlier. It was a small brightly colored cylinder with metal at each end, with a tiny white bow. I couldn’t quite see what it was as he handed it over with great panache.
“Holmes, what is that?”
“What else, Watson? Lifesavers…”
This concludes Doctor Watson’s blog: A Kindle Abandoned.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.