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Sherlock Holmes and the Grim Old Chair
Freelance sleuth and social disaster, Sherlock Holmes, upsets Dr John Watson.
It was late afternoon and the winter sun was giving up on London. London, and Londoners, were used to this, and both city and folk continued to live to death as greyness swept through the capital like a river of unadulterated misery. It washed over Baker Street. Baker Street was immovable.
At 221b, Sherlock sat with his back to the window. He was naked, except for his deerstalker, and every few seconds he pushed back hard with his legs, causing his chair to creak. The chair was unusual, like one of those wicker frame chairs, but this one had a thin, beige material stretched over it. Umbrella-like, but with a broader, skeletal quality to it.
The door swung open noisily, its handle hitting the wall and continuing its excavation into the battered plasterwork.
“What the bloody hell is that thing still doing here? I thought I told you to get rid of it!”
Sherlock looked up and, having failed to notice the bang from the door careering into the wall, was now surprised to see Watson stood in front of him.
“Yes? Is that it? I asked you a damned question!”
“You know very well why it’s still here. The case remains open.”
“What more can be gleaned from a chair made from human skin? You should have given it to the Yard when you discovered it.”
“The killer is at large and I need to make my deductions before the police are made aware. You know the pattern, Watson: the police learn of events and then the press gives the murderer a stage name. I detest stage names… They cloud everything.”
“You mean to tell me that you’ve kept this from the police? Lestrade will gut you… like a damned cat!”
Watson’s inelegant threat riled Sherlock enough to break the remainder of his concentration.
“Now, listen here, Watson. You know full-well that - wait, what did you say?”
“I said that he’ll gut you.” Watson wasn’t about to repeat the embarrassing ending.
“No, no, no. Human skin. How do you know it’s made from human skin? I’ve not told you that.”
“Oh, for God’s sake, Sherlock. I’m not a complete idiot. That bloody chair’s got more tattoos than a merchant seaman.”