The Adventure of The Sundry Scribbler
I was well aware of who Sexton Blake was. Although I have never before included his name within these narratives, his exploits are often mentioned by Holmes as an example of what he accuses me of trying to do with my accounts of his cases. Whereas Holmes developed a fussy particularity in choosing his clients, Blake welcomed anything that came his way: lost cats, stolen dress pattern designs, no case big or small. But now, as a I stared at this man, now engaged in a combative form of martial art stance as he searched a study that had been decorated identical to ours, I began to wonder if I should consider if his all-inclusive workload implied he was mad.
"Holmes, would you care to..", I whispered.
"Of course, Watson," he whispered back. "Mister Blake is engaging in Tae Kwan Doe, a Korean style of self-defense attack, which he appears quite deft at. I wouldn't hesitate to infer - based on the facts presented - that his associate Mr. Blyth and 'Tinker' are the same man. Mr. Blake has ordered Mr. Blyth to prepare a trap for him in his house."
"That's madness, Holmes!"
He smiled. "Actually, that's ingenious, Watson! I'm well-read in Blake's exploits to deduce that he is a functioning paranoid - he is often in fear of his life and must be absolutely prepared whenever and wherever for the slightest chance that any of his enemies - some of whom are closer to him than Mr. Blyth, ironically - may strike when he lets up for a fraction of a second! I'm envious!"
Blake turned to face us after a long and dedicated search. "You may come in, Gentlemen. Feel free to sit anywhere you'd like. I was hoping you'd visit someday to appraise my decor." He began to settle down into an armchair.
Holmes stared at the chair as his eyes popped in horror. "Blake! The chair!!"
"What?" answered Blake. He turned his head back quick enough to catch his chair shift to his left on its own. I could not believe my own eyes, but the two brilliant men before me saw the same phantasm. Blake acted fast. He pressed and poked his fingers against the chair at various points for a half-minute before a low groan was uttered. The chair make a bizarre noise - as if a series of locks from within were being unbolted. A shape slumped out from behind the chair and lay in a crumpled heap.
Blake clapped at the crumpled heap. "Bravo, Tinker! That was very clever of you, but you've forgotten that this particular disguise leaves the occupant vulnerable to physical assault - in this case, on all the pressure points."
Holmes clapped in amusement and I joined in with the applause. 'Tinker', as Mr. Blyth lets himself be called, slowly stood up and bowed. And then he raised both of his arms and pounced at Blake like a hungry tiger and all hell broke loose. The two men wrestled together in a violent tango that ended with the pair colliding with a couch and somersaulting into the air...landing on a workbench displaying an active chemistry lab. There was a catastrophic crash, with broken wooden and splinters flying, bottles and beakers and vials of fiery chemicals spilling onto the floor, the chemicals themselves mixing together, coagulating into a boiling, bubbling mass that seeming to burn and dissolve into the surface...
"Stop fighting, you fools!!" Holmes shouted. "The floor is disintegrating!...run Watson!!"
A sinkhole appeared within the study and swallowed up the furniture, Blake, Tinker, Holmes and myself. We were helplessly riding the descent on the overturned couch as we crashed down onto the first floor - the maid's quarters...
To be continued...