A Festivus on Baker Street
A Festivus on Baker Street
By Robert Perret
My friend Sherlock Holmes had been staring out the window at the street below for some time now. Knowing that he could drop into a ruminative silence for some time, I began leafing through a Glamour magazine that I found at hand. I became so engrossed I was startled when Holmes began to speak again.
“What. Is the deal. With dog carts? Have you ever seen a dog on a dog cart? I haven’t. The dogs run around the cart barking and yipping. If there were any animal that would stay on a cart it’s a cat. They should call it a cat cart.”
“Why am I even going to this thing?” I spat. “I mean, the Diogenes Club, Sherlock? The Diogenes Club? They don’t let guys like me into the Diogenes Club. They are going to stick me in the library again and you have to just sit there, Sherlock. You aren’t allowed to talk. You aren’t allowed to say anything! You just sit there and stare at a bunch of old guys who are staring at you and I don’t like it. They are judging me, Sherlock! They are judging me!”
The door of 221B burst open then and came Mycroft, spinning on his heels and then jumping back from us as if he was surprised to find us in our own flat. “Sherlock… John… How’s it, uh, Happy Festivus!” He made a clicking noise with his mouth before hunching over to dig through the ice box. “Hey, where’s my goose? I left a perfectly good goose in here last week.”
“Your goose took up the whole icebox,” Sherlock said. “It had to go!”
Mycroft sputtered. “Had to go? You didn’t throw it out, did you?”
“As a matter of fact I had The Woman over here the other night.” “The Woman, Sherlock?” I said, clutching a throw pillow for some reason.
“That’s right, the Oh Henry! Heiress graced our humble domicile.”
“I’m not sure I trust her, Sherlock,” I said. “She’s just out there swinging free and easy! You don’t want that kind of woman.”
“Maybe I do,” Sherlock replied. “She came over to see my instrument. Even for an heiress a violin like mine is a rare sight.”
“Don’t remind me,” I said.
“We get to talking, she sees a wine she likes on the rack, the goose is just sitting there waiting to be cooked.”
“Oh no, you ate it?” Mycroft asked.
“I ate it and it was fabulous,” Sherlock said.
“What about the leftover?”
“You know, the bones?”
“Yeah, the wish bone. You know, gotta break that wishbone.”
“I don’t think you are after the wishbone at all. I think you want this.” Holmes produced a large blue carbuncle from his pocket.
Mycroft whimpered and blinked. “That’s mine, Sherlock. You gotta give it back!”
“I literally wrote the book on crime and I’m thinking this is a case of finders keepers.”
“You can’t do that to me, Sherlock! Look, there’s a guy at the racetrack…”
“You are playing the ponies again?”
“It’s not playing if always win,” Mycroft said. “But a pledged that carbuncle as a wager.”
“This carbuncle? I happen to know for a fact that this carbuncle belongs to the Countess of Morcar.”
“She’ll never miss it, Sherlock. This is easy money, a sure thing. Just, whoop, hand the carbuncle over now, and wheep, pick it back up in a couple of hours alongside a couple thousand pounds.”
“What do you need a couple thousand pounds for, anyway.”
“I’m launching a fragrance.”
“It’s called The Beach. Let’s you smell like you just came back from a seaside holiday.”
There was a knock at the door and Mrs. Hudson entered. “Are you guys ready to go?”
“You don’t have to come to this, you know. Mycroft is the most eligible bachelor there.”
“I don’t need them to be sponge-worthy, I just need them to be rich, and potentially sickly. These downtown flats don’t buy themselves, you know.”
“Okay, okay, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.” As Sherlock shrugged Mycroft snatched the carbuncle from his hand.
“It’s a Festivus Miracle!” he cried with glee as the ran from the flat.
“Very nice,” Holmes said. “So you see what you did?”
“What?” Mrs. Hudson said, eating a cup of yogurt from the icebox.
“Let’s just go!”
It seemed that Mycroft had not arrived yet, but Sherlock was well known to Diogenes Club staff. We were led inside where a bunch of stern men sat around in leatherbound chairs looking silently at the aluminum Festivus pole. Mrs. Hudson, seemingly the only woman in the room, took the opportunity to begin dancing in a herky-jerky fashion that had caused me great alarm when I first saw it. If the club members had any reaction to her provocations it seemed to be slight annoyance.
“No soup for you!” shouted a man from the back room. “Dinner was served an hour ago.”
“I am afraid he is right, sir,” the Butler whispered consolingly. We were just about to begin the airing of grievances.
“Allow me,” Holmes said. He then spent the next 45 minutes rattling off not only his own grievance but those of all the members assembled as well. In fact, he deduced and revealed grievances the members themselves had been previously unaware of. But the time he was finished I had significant doubts that the Diogenes Club could, in fact, continue to operate as a cohesive organization.
Thankfully, Mycroft chose that moment to come bursting through the door. He was wearing a fur coat and swaggering in a way that made it painful clear his little manoeuvre had been a success. “Evening, boys,” he said, producing a box of cigars from his coat. He went to present them one at a time to those assembled but fumbled the whole box almost immediately. “Ah, well, I’ll get those later,” he said. “I’m ready for the Festivus feast.”
“The feast was two hours ago,” Holmes said. “There is nothing left now but the Feats of strength.”
“Giddyup!” Mycroft said, somehow rolling up the sleeves of his fur coat. He lunged forward to grapple Sherlock, who neatly stepped aside. The hapless butler found himself locked in Mycroft’s embrace. “If you think I won’t give Old Farthing a proper thrashing you’ve got another thing coming.”
As the two lurched around the room Holmes gave me a slight nod and we started to make for the door. I turned to look for Mrs. Hudson. She was sat upon the lap of a man with shock white hair.
“You run a mercantile? That is so interesting, Mr. Peterman.”
Knowing a lost cause when I saw it, I followed Holmes out into the street.
We quickly had to jump back when a carriage came clattering by.
“Did you see that?” Holmes said. “That cart was being driven by a dog.”
“There must have been a driver. You just didn’t see him.”
“I didn’t see him? I didn’t observe? I’m telling you that cart was driven by a dog. That was a dogcart.”