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The Personal Blog of Dr. John H. Watson
My name is Watson, Doctor John Watson. Pretty phony I know, being a godd*mn doctor and all, but it just sort of happened. I was a student in London and I went on to become a surgeon for the Army. Just recently I’ve been in Afghanistan with all those phony soldiers, fighting the godd*mn terrorists. I got shot though. Don’t be impressed. It wasn’t heroic, I mean, I wasn’t trying to save someone else and got shot in the act. No, in fact someone was trying to save me, what an idiot. I’m not worth risking your neck for. Anyway, I’m back in phony old London town.
I’ve been seeing a therapist since returning from that stupid War on Terror. It’s not for my own amusement or anything, it’s for all that “you’ve experienced traumatic events and seeing someone will help” cr*p. Basically, they want to be sure I can still perform on patients without going mad. The therapist said me keeping a blog would help deal with the “traumatic experiences”. What a laugh. Anyway, I’ll give it a try.
I’m broke, I don’t have a job, and my government paid lease on this flat is almost over. I’m in a bit of a quandary (thought I might try to sound all sophisticated, it means I’m f***ed).
I was walking along the beaten track in Hyde Park today, I’m telling you, that place is full of phonies, but anyway, I came across an old mate of mine from school, Stamford. He greeted me all chummy and phony like and asked if I wanted to get a pint. I hardly remembered the bloke but I had nothing better to do so I agreed.
“So how have you been John? I heard you were in the army a while, I see you’ve injured your leg. Such a shame so many young men died fighting the terrorists, such a shame,” the phony said, shaking his fat head and taking a drink from his mug.
“Yes,” I said, just to humor him. But I didn’t feel like being funny anymore so I shut up.
Stamford nodded slowly, but after a moment of what I expect he thought was mourning he brightened and asked, “What have you been up to John? I mean since you’ve gotten back from the War? I’ve been…” and he went on to give me his godd*mn biography since St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, quite a waste of my day. But then, as he took breath, I interrupted quickly, to save myself the trouble of listening to anymore.
“Actually I’ve been looking for lodgings. Trying to solve the problem of whether it’s possible to find comfortable rooms at a decent price,” I said.
“Are you really? It’s funny, you’re the second person to say that to me today! The other was a man I know by the name of Holmes. He says he’s found some rooms but he now needs to find someone with which to share them, a roommate, you know. Wouldn’t be interested at all would you?”
“Well who’d want me as a roommate?” I asked gloomily stating the truth.
“Well I’m not sure anyone would want him as a roommate either. I think you should meet him. He’s often in the labs at St. Bart’s. Come on.”
He began leading the way to the d*mn hospital and, as reluctant as I was ever to set foot in that building again I shrugged and went along; I had nothing better to do with my day.
We came upon the same old crappy entrance that I remember passing through every day of my miserable youth but entered into a much more modern lab than I ever worked in. It was a well-lit room with high-tech-looking equipment lined on the counter-tops and countless bottles littering every empty surface.
“Very different from our day,” I said, just to make conversation.
A pale man stood at one end of the room, bent over a beaker with a pipette in his hand, completely absorbed in his work. But as he heard our footsteps he looked up and exclaimed with excitement. I felt myself groan unintentionally and Stamford laughed at me; he must have realized how much I disliked people now. I almost felt embarrassed until I realized I didn’t give a f*** what anyone ever thought of me anymore.
The student was rushing across the floor to us crying, “I’ve found it! I’ve found it! I have found a re-agent which is precipitated by hemoglobin, and by nothing else.” He looked as if he had found a godd*mn gold mine or something. Who cared about hemoglobin bogus?
“A friend of mine, Dr. John Watson,” Stamford told the man, clearly being an idiot and forgetting to tell me his name.
“How are you?” he asked, gripping my hand with surprising strength. I nodded politely, wishing I was anywhere but in this d*mn place being introduced to a maniacal student. “Afghanistan or Iraq?” he asked suddenly.
I blinked. “How the-? What?”
The Sherlock fellow had started walking back to his lab setup but turned over his shoulder and repeated himself, “Afghanistan or Iraq?”
“Afghanistan but how-?” I was too shocked to finish my question. I looked at Stamford, the fat idiot had such a grin on his face all I wanted to do was smack it off his face.
“Can I borrow your phone Stamford? I have to send a text,” he said out of the godd*mn blue.
“Sorry,” the fat b****rd said, “It’s in my coat pocket.”
“Take mine,” I said, keeping my eyes on the man. As strange as he seemed, he was interesting. I pulled out my second-hand phone and reached out my arm not leaning on my cane to give it to him.
“Thank you,” he said, quickly typing something and handing it back to me within a matter of seconds. “How do you feel about the violin?”
“Sorry, what?” I responded, completely confused as to how this introduction had gotten here and where the h*ll the conversation was going.
“I play the violin when I’m thinking,” he explained, focused on his chemicals once again, he continued, “sometimes I don’t speak for days on end. Would that bother you? Potential flat-mates should know the worst about each other, don’t you think?”
Stamford, the great b****rd, stood beside me chuckling his little arse off and I kept myself from glaring at him as I asked, “You told him about me?” Though I knew there was no way he could have since we had been together since he had suggested I meet the man, but how could that awkward student know I was in Afghanistan?
“I didn’t say a word,” Stamford promised.
“Well who said anything about flat mates?”
The student spoke, “I did. I told Mike this morning that I was a difficult man to find a flat mate for and he comes back this afternoon with an old friend clearly home from the war; it really wasn’t a difficult leap.”
I turned back to the student, who was eyeing me with a strange expression. I can’t say I was enjoying myself. “How did you know about Afghanistan?”
“I’ve found a nice little place in central London that we should be able to afford together, we can meet there tomorrow morning. Sorry, I’ve got to run, I left my riding crop in the mortuary,” he said, completely ignoring my question as he put on his coat and walked towards the door.
“Are you serious? Is that it?”
“Is that what?” he asked, frowning.
I shook my head, perplexed by his casualness. “We’ve just met and we’re gonna go look at a flat together?”
He looked over at Stamford and back at me, confused, “That’s a problem?”
“Well first of all we don’t know a thing about each other, I don’t know where we’re meeting, I don’t even know your name!”
The man smirked. “You’re an army doctor, aren’t you?” I glared at him, I couldn’t help myself. What the h*ll was he playing at? “I know you’ve been invalided home from Afghanistan; I know you’ve got a brother who’s worried about you but you won’t go to him for help either because you don’t approve of him or because he’s an alcoholic, probably though because he’s just walked out on his wife; I know your therapist believes your limp is psychosomatic and they’re quite right, I’m afraid,” he took a breath and smiled, “That’s enough to be going on with, don’t you think?”
“No, it’s not. How do you know all this?” What was this man’s problem? He was insane. That could be the only explanation.
“Lord, what it must be like in your funny, little brains. So boring I would imagine. I didn’t know, I saw. It was easy to figure it out. The way you hold yourself suggests military; you were obviously trained here at Bart’s since you commented on how different it was since you were last here; you’re hands and face are tan but there isn’t any tan above your wrists so you obviously weren’t vacationing; your limp is horrid when you’re walking but you don’t ask for a chair when you’re just standing still as if you’ve forgotten about it, so it’s at least partly psychosomatic but you were still wounded in action,” he said, indicating my leg, “So, military doctor recently home from fighting, tanned, wounded in action, only conclusion: Afghanistan or Iraq.”
“How do you know I have a therapist?”
“You have a psychosomatic limp, why wouldn’t you have a therapist? May I see your phone again?”
I tried to resist giving it to him but was simply too interested. I took it out of my pocket once more and handed it over.
“Your brother,” he started, “the phone is expensive, new with an MP3 player but you’re looking for a flat share so you wouldn’t waste money on such an expensive gadget, it’s a gift then. There are deep scratches where keys and coins have been near it repeatedly over time and being a military person you take care of your things so it’s obviously had a previous owner. It’s easy next, you can figure that our already.” He held the back up to me. Harry Watson, from Clara xxx
“The engraving,” I said, though still confused.
“Harry Watson, a relative who’s given you his old phone. Couldn’t be your father, this is a young man’s phone, could be a cousin but you’re a war hero so not likely you’ve got a very large extended family so it must be from your brother. Now Clara, who’s Clara?” he said, getting more and more excited as he went yet still as somber as if he was going to a godd*mn funeral, “Three kisses says there’s a romantic attachment, expensive phone says wife. She must have given it to him quite recently; this model is less than a year old. Their marriage must be in trouble then, such a new phone and he’s just giving it away? He left her. If she had left him he would have kept it, people do for sentimental reasons, and I don’t quite understand it. But no, he didn’t want it anymore, he left her. He gave it to you saying that he wants you to stay in touch. You’re looking for cheap living yet you’re not going to your brother for help means you’ve got problems with him; maybe you liked his wife or maybe you don’t like his alcoholism.”
“How could you ever know about the drinking?” I asked, completely disturbed by the b****rd’s skill.
He grinned, “The power connection. There are tiny scuff marks all around it. Every night when he goes to plug it in his hands are shaking. You never see a somber mans phone with the marks and never a drunks without them.”
There was a long pause. “Fantastic!” I muttered, not being able to restrain myself. I was actually impressed. Though I tried not to seem impressed or amiable to anyone, let alone a complete, obviously disturbed stranger, it was…impressive is all I can think of calling it.
The man frowned, “Really?”
“Of course, I have never seen anything like that. It was incredible.”
“Hmm,” he said thoughtfully, “People normally just tell me to p*ss off.”
I laughed. I laughed for the first time in a year. I thoroughly laughed and felt my spirits lift, as cheesy as that sounds.
“Sorry, I really do have to run,” he said, frowning again.
“Right, okay, sorry,” I said, my opinion of this man was steadily increasing.
He walked out the door and I sighed but before I could turn to Stamford and voice my opinion of the man the door opened and the man was leaning over the side. “The name is Sherlock Holmes and the address is 221B Baker Street. Afternoon!” he said with a wink. Next moment he was gone. A smile grew on my face and I was beginning to feel a slight sense of optimism again.