Friday, March 22, 2013

"The Sundry Scribbler - Part 4"

                                              The Adventure of The Sundry Scribbler

                                                                        Part 4


                                                                Joseph Adorno

 We lay on the crumpled ruins on the ground floor for about an hour, before awakening with a loud and stern "Ahem".

 It was stout elderly woman dressed in a dark overcoat.

 "Mrs. Teague," Sexton Blake observed. "We must apologize for the mess we've m-,"

 "Mess! Mess! Another mess - the last mess! You can clean it all up yourselves!!" She tossed an envelope at him. "I quit - effective immediately!!" She stormed off. Blake reached for the envelope and removed a pince-nez from the pocket of his vest. It was caked with sawdust. He made an attempt to blow off the dust and read her notice.

 "That's unfortunate," he sighed. "She knew how to make Crab Rangoon the way I like it - that's the kind of experience that comes from a cook who travels abroad; she's the wife of a retired sea captain who lives in Jamaica." He began slapping dust off his shirt and pants. "Very well. Tinker, is it time for us to head off?"

 Tinker - that is, Mr. Blyth, though I'm not sure why he would let himself be regarded with a child's nickname - was in a daze, eventually settling his gaze at the ruins of a badly-beaten grandfather clock, its hands pointing at 6 and 2.

 "We do, sir. The gala is about to begin in an hour."

 "Excellent. We'll make a quick change of clothes at one of my spider-holes and then head off."

 Holmes coughed a cloud of dust. "Gala? Am I to believe that you are the 'expert' hired by the Rajah's court to manage security for the handover with the Sultan this evening?"

 Blake grinned. "That is correct. I initially took the job regardless of its social standing, but my interest has been piqued by the rumored involvement of my brothers, Henry and Nigel."

 "The Blakes," I gasped. "What a vile and ghastly pair!" I bit my lip when I realized who I was keeping company with.

 "It's alright, Doctor," assured Blake. "I'm sorry to say that I'm the ... black sheep of the family. But I also detected rumors that they're in league with Wu Ling and George Plummer of Scotland Yard."

 Holmes raised an eyebrow at the mention of that last name. Plummer is a Detective Sergeant - as corrupt as Inspector Lestrade was not, they had never crossed paths before (and it was possible that Plummer arranged to avoid doing so), but Holmes often wondered when the day would come when he would have to actually work with such a monster.

 He asked Blake a question. "You believe that this teaming of villains involves the trade of the Rajah's diamond mine for the Sultan's ruby mine?"

 "Yes. The Rajah of Pookajee holds a floating court - his ruby mines are exhausted, but his diamond mine is plentiful. The reverse is true for the Sultan of Lugash. The tradeoff has already been made, but the formal ceremony will involve the handover of 300 million pounds each in rubies and diamonds."

 Holmes paused. "The location of this handover gala was not advertised in great detail."

 Blake nodded. "Only 'in London'."

 "Yet, the danger of Plummer's rumored involvement infers that the underworld is well aware."

 "Unfortunately, the location chosen would have informed the underworld regardless."

 "A well-respected, luxury hotel in a neighborhood of ill refute."


 "The Jade Lotus."

 "You are the Master."

 "In Limehouse."

 "You are cordially invited to join us. As you once said, 'the game is afoot'."

To be continued...

Friday, March 15, 2013

"The Sundry Scribbler, part 3"

                                 The Adventure of The Sundry Scribbler


                                                   Joseph Adorno

                                                         Part 3

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! 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...

Thursday, March 7, 2013

"The Adventure of The Sundry Scribbler - Part 2"

                                The Adventure of The Sundry Scribbler

                                                           Part 2


                                                   Joseph Adorno

The door leading into 221A had been left ajar. Holmes and I, no strangers to eerie surroundings, had our wits about us.

"Stay sharp, Watson. I fear our neighbor has had a busy night."

We tiptoed quietly, making silent gestures to each other as a muted commentary on how remarkably uncanny was 221A's resemblance to 221B.

"I wonder if Mr. Blyth has his own Mrs. Hudson ready to take our coats."

He stifled a laugh. "This could actually be a grave matter." Then he stifled another laugh. "Let's head up the stairs."

Holmes abandoned his tiptoe and deliberately marched up in a military stomp - St. George awakening the dragon from his slumber, as he once explained to me. Upon approaching the familiar door to a familiar floor in lodgings that were familiar, yet so unfamiliar, he stopped and pointed toward it.

"Notice," he whispered. Another door ajar. Either Mr. Blyth does not believe in keys - or we are walking into a mousetrap."

"But Holmes, this visit was unannounced! He couldn't possibly - "

"You're right. But his friend could. Stay behind me, Watson."

He gingerly pushed the door open. From our perspective, it appeared as if we had not travelled anywhere. We were staring at Holmes' study. But it was not.

"Remember  221A at all costs, Watson. This could be a very dangerous game."

"Of course it is," replied a voice from behind, coming from behind a potted plant by the door. "But it is one for which only I was invited to play."

The man behind the voice slowly stood up to greet us, but only discreetly. he shook Holmes' hand. "It is an honor to have you and good doctor here."

"Ah. We must apologize for intruding."

Our host waved his hand at Holmes. "No, no. 'Quite all right, 'Quite all right. I think you're in for a show. Tinker has a new card to play this evening."  He then shifted his body into an attack stance and proceeded to enter the study. "Stay there," he advised.

I tried to protest, but Holmes held me back. "Easy, Watson. We are only spectators in the world's stage."

"But Holmes! Mr. Blyth is walking into a trap!"

He smiled. "Who said that was Mr. Blyth? No, no - Mr. Blyth is actually quite safe, for he designed this trap for gracious host, who is about to enter. that man is Sexton Blake."

To Be Continued...