Behind 221b...

Behind 221B: Halloween

By Bob Madia

My good friend, Mr. Sherlock Holmes, stood at our bow window gazing complacently out at what had proved to be a warmish and dusky Halloween evening. The street below was quiet except for the laughter and taunts of numerous children, both street urchins and well off as they traveled from home to home in search of sugary delights. I was enjoying a small coal fire, as I attempted to involve myself in a new book of sea stories.

The bell below our flat rang enthusiastically and was followed by a stampede of footfalls upon the seventeen steps leading to our rooms after Mrs. Hudson allowed access.

"That will be a pirate, a ballerina and a ghost about to knock upon our door," my friend, the great detective said a moment before there came a knock at our door.

I rose from my seat and walked over to the door grabbing the bowl of Halloween treats purchased especially for this day. I assumed Holmes was possibly playing a "trick" on me as there was

no possible way he could have determined who would be at our door. He had amazing powers of observation but he couldn't see through walls, after all.

I opened the door and to my shock there stood diminutive versions of the characters he had anticipated.

"Trick or treat!" they shouted in unison.

I divided up a handful of treats and deposited them into their sacks. Each in turn thanked me and dashed back down the stairs to launch an assault on other residence.

"How on earth were you able to deduce the identities of those young scalawags?" I said as I closed the door to our rooms and returned to my seat and my collection of stories. Holmes had already taken his seat near the fire and had already placed his fingertips together with his eyes half-lidded.

"Simplicity itself, my dear fellow," he told me with a wry smile. "I used my hearing as the young 'uns climbed our steps and I was able to distinguish the distinct sounds of a pair of wispy ballet slippers and the clomp of a peg leg. I assume the peg leg was somehow fashioned to the child's actual leg and he was not in fact handicapped in any physical manner?"

"Correct," I said. "But what of the ghost?"

"Did you not hear the faint yet discernable sound of a 'Boo' as Mrs. Hudson opened the door?" my friend asked.

I admitted I hadn't.

Holmes shrugged.

"I heard it as distinctly as I hear you now, Watson," my friend continued.

"That is astounding," I said and smiled. "What a treat it is for me to sit in your presence and watch you perform this trick."

"More of a trick than you know, my dear Watson," he said with a grin.

"How so?" I asked.

"While I was at the window, I watched the three of them arrive at our doorstep," he said then began to fill his pipe.

He began to laugh and I smiled quietly to myself.

I had indeed been tricked; good and well.