The Letter Opener Experiment

November 3, 2012
By Claudia.VII BRONZE, N/A, California
Claudia.VII BRONZE, N/A, California
2 articles 0 photos 51 comments

Favorite Quote:
\"Let them eat cake.\" -Marie Antoinette.
\"Genius is born-- not paid.\" -Oscar Wilde.
\"Press the button, we\'ll do the rest.\" -George Eastman
\"If you\'re going through hell, keep on going.\" - Winston Churchill


“Mr. Holmes,” It takes three tries for my gloved hands to rap hard enough upon the door of the famed Holmes’ abode for anyone to hear me. My fingers are trembling so badly, whether because I am terrified or anxious to meet him, I don’t know. Eventually, the man himself comes to the door. I clear my throat as daintily as I can manage, “You wanted to speak to me?”

A man in his thirties with a cascade of shining curls and a sign of stubble set stubbornly on his jaw, opened the door with so little flourish and fanfare that I’d assume he wanted nothing to do with a fellow human, let alone a woman.

He didn’t speak, nor did he make any move to break the discourteous silence. He only… watched me with eyes so dark I’d assume they’d belong to a member of the Fae. Instead, it was the woman, I, who needed to “man up” and utter the first word, “You requested my services recently, and—“

“Oh,” His facial expression lifted upwards into a semblance of delight, “Seeing, by the looks of you, I’d observe I’d first met you on the iced bridge over the river Thames?”

“No.”

“My favorite club of a certain perverted notoriety, which I frequent often?”

“I’d never--!”

“Possibly my dear Watson’s bachelor party then?” He paused and clapped his hands together for effect, “As one of the cabaret, not a guest, obviously… You were an Italian, oho no, Spanish dancer! Ahem, you gave an immaculate performance by the way… in the bedroom.”

“Sir, I warn you that I will give you a total of three seconds to explain yourself before I take a dagger and slit your throat!” My fingers twitched, wanting to reach for the letter opener I’d tucked in my corset but then forcing myself to calm. Think of the children, starving on the streets, all of my siblings are under my care. They depend on me, and if that means dealing with this man…

“Ah, ah, and no. So I’d humble myself to wonder at if my powers of deduction have so deteriorated that I’d forgotten you were part of some macabre—!”

This is it, the blackout moment where my Spanish blood courses through my veins and I lose all control… Damn you Holmes.

I took the glove I held in my free hand and slapped it across his face. He didn’t even turn his cheek in shame. He only blinked, as if stunned I’d do such a thing as be offended at his atrocious lack of etiquette.

“That’s quite enough of your games, sir. I only came here asking for employment as your maid so I can avoid any such cabaret performances, Mr. Holmes. Mrs. Hudson, bless her soul, recommended you…of all people.”

He paused, looked quite serious, and cocked his head back and forth in thought. He then, with all theatricality lost from his voice, remarked, “Of course, miss, I’ll expect you tomorrow at approximately midnight, wearing the appropriate lacy garters and corset.”

His eyes flicked to my breasts, and I blushed for all the wrong reasons. I was wont to slap him again when he spoke, “You do realize that, as in most places, I’d consider a letter opener to be a very strange accessory for a woman’s, ahem…pride and joy.”

I gawked, wondering how on earth he knew I had a concealed letter opener, of all things.

He refused to let me have a single word more and remarked, quite seriously to my face, “You know, if you were to be a man at that very moment, I could have very well taken it as a threat and killed you. Even with you being a woman, I realize that your exact thoughts right now revolve around how the devil I’ve managed to read your mind.”

“Naturally.” I laughed to heal my wounded pride, “It wouldn’t take any intelligence to deduce that one. Just like it wouldn’t take any effort to say that I think that your thoughts right now revolve around becoming better acquainted with my letter opener. Now, sir, the job? Can I receive a direct answer or will I have to resort to asking if the good doctor behind your shoulder is in need of a maid?”

He paused, inhaled sharply, then turned to face away from me and speak to an unseen figure within the room, “Alright, Watson, I took the bet! I could hold a conversation with an unfascinating woman for a set amount of time without any ulterior motive, nor killing her as I constantly kill your dog, now may I carry out my newest experiment on you?”

The door is shut rudely on me, and I hear a heated conversation from behind the mahogany door. I shudder at the cold that quickly replaces the warmth of where Holmes once stood.

This time, it only takes me one try to knock on the door, and only half the time for it to swing open and reveal just the man I was looking for.

“Let’s start over. Mr. Holmes, you requested my services for an experiment of some sort? You know, the one you were about to perform on Watson and thus most likely kill him or his dog? Seeing as to the doctor’s completely dumbfounded reaction, I’m probably the first person to ever wish to volunteer. It means I’m probably mad or desperate, but we’ll deal with specifics later. The experiment, Mr. Holmes?”

A smile chock full of boyish enthusiasm and thing I could not place was instantly upon Mr. Holmes’ face. I had never felt so afraid as I did now.

“Watson, dear, you were wrong about this one. It seems my first impression was uncharacteristically flawed, she’s a woman actually worth my time! She’s a volunteer!”

I couldn’t resist a parting quip, “If I were a man, I would kill you for that insult.”

“Don’t overplay a hand, sweetheart, it just isn’t done in the circles of polite society. And yes, now I actually care about that sort of thing, simply for the sake of a true lady being in my male presence. By the way, you being hired at all was Watson’s idea, so if you have any problems, talk to him. I’ll pay you, you clean, this will be the basis of our relationship until the day every single one of your poverty-stricken siblings marries or gets a job.”

He leaned in close, and this time, I shivered for very different reasons when I felt his rough, unshaven skin against mine, “Just in case you cannot follow my brilliance, darling, I meant you as that aforementioned lady. You are a lady, right? Oh, but wait, I’m never wrong. Why? Deduce this, darling: I’m Sherlock Holmes.”

…hijo de puta…


The author's comments:
The year is 1891, imagine yourself in a tattered room, lodgings just fit for the middling ones of decent Victorian London society. You're seated on a plush armchair, head tilted slightly to the right after an exhausting round of cards. You peer through the suffocating darkness, darkness singlehandedly caused by a lone, smoking pipe, to see a silhouetted figure. Your mind is addled after the night's events, so you aren't quite sure where you are or who the man is. The haunting siren of a violin jogs your memory slightly, but then the man begins to speak. It all comes back at the sound of his voice; he had said those very words just this morning, "The game's afoot..."

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This article has 46 comments.


on Aug. 25 2013 at 9:47 pm
TheCapturedBat GOLD, Belen, New Mexico
12 articles 0 photos 88 comments

Favorite Quote:
If all else perished and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger.
-- Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights

You've done an amazing job capturing the feel of the movie. The dialogue was quite clever. I get the picture that you are quite fond of Sherlock Holmes as he was portrayed by Robert Downey.

on Aug. 5 2013 at 9:58 pm
Claudia.VII BRONZE, N/A, California
2 articles 0 photos 51 comments

Favorite Quote:
\"Let them eat cake.\" -Marie Antoinette.
\"Genius is born-- not paid.\" -Oscar Wilde.
\"Press the button, we\'ll do the rest.\" -George Eastman
\"If you\'re going through hell, keep on going.\" - Winston Churchill

Thank you! Your comment means a ton. :)

on Aug. 5 2013 at 5:01 pm
vegetariangirl, Hamilton, Ohio
0 articles 0 photos 92 comments

Favorite Quote:
Being normal is boring - Marilyn Monroe
You only live once -?
A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit -Richard Bach

I have never read any Sherlock homles book, I saw one of the movies. This story is great!!!

on Aug. 5 2013 at 2:13 pm
Carly_Elizabeth PLATINUM, Othello, Washington
39 articles 0 photos 131 comments

Favorite Quote:
"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it."
Roald Dahl

Ok I have to ask. What does the last part mean? "Hijo de puta" Any who, I simply adored this haha. I love Sherlock Holmes (all versions of it, especially Benedict Cumberbatch) so this was amazing. The female character was perfectly portrayed, desperate, but still won't put up with Sherlock's crap haha. Just one thing, when Sherlock is talking to Watson try adding something like "indicated Mr. Holmes to someone in another room." or something haha. Nut I really liked this. Great Job! :)

on Aug. 5 2013 at 11:31 am
Claudia.VII BRONZE, N/A, California
2 articles 0 photos 51 comments

Favorite Quote:
\"Let them eat cake.\" -Marie Antoinette.
\"Genius is born-- not paid.\" -Oscar Wilde.
\"Press the button, we\'ll do the rest.\" -George Eastman
\"If you\'re going through hell, keep on going.\" - Winston Churchill

By the by, I feel this comment might help any future commenters. This version of Sherlock Holmes was created on the movie version with Robert Downey (No, not Benedict Cumberbatch, sorry.) And not the book version written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I apologize for any confusion, but I think that might help with people critiquing the dialogue. Thank you again!

on Aug. 5 2013 at 11:27 am
Claudia.VII BRONZE, N/A, California
2 articles 0 photos 51 comments

Favorite Quote:
\"Let them eat cake.\" -Marie Antoinette.
\"Genius is born-- not paid.\" -Oscar Wilde.
\"Press the button, we\'ll do the rest.\" -George Eastman
\"If you\'re going through hell, keep on going.\" - Winston Churchill

Thank you! Your comment really helps keep me motivated. :)

on Aug. 5 2013 at 11:26 am
Claudia.VII BRONZE, N/A, California
2 articles 0 photos 51 comments

Favorite Quote:
\"Let them eat cake.\" -Marie Antoinette.
\"Genius is born-- not paid.\" -Oscar Wilde.
\"Press the button, we\'ll do the rest.\" -George Eastman
\"If you\'re going through hell, keep on going.\" - Winston Churchill

Alright, thank you very much for your honesty. I will have to work on all of this over time and your comment has helped me greatly. Thank you again, and have a great day.

MeganF SILVER said...
on Aug. 5 2013 at 9:14 am
MeganF SILVER, Hong Kong, Other
5 articles 0 photos 3 comments
You create a fantastic blend of description and dialog, I really admire that! :)

None0 BRONZE said...
on Aug. 5 2013 at 12:00 am
None0 BRONZE, Bellevue, Washington
2 articles 0 photos 96 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Believe in the ideal, not the idol." - Serra

I'm going to try keeping this short, since it's late and I'm going to be busy tomorrow. The first few paragraphs, the description feels a little lacking. Maybe from the lack of showing language, or just awkward sentence structure/transitions.   The rest of the piece feels very, very centered on the dialogue. Everything else feels fine, and the additional sentences excluding dialogue are inserted very smoothly. The dialogue itself though, feels a little clunky and somewhat childish. I think you're trying to rush the characterization too much. You're jamming a ton of implied information into the sentences, making them clunky and unrealistic for actual conversation. On top of that, you try way too hard to emphasize the characters' personalities, using much more extreme actions and words rather than using subtle implications over time (which I feel is a much better method).   There are some other less major things I could comment on, but the aforementioned are the most prominent.

on Aug. 4 2013 at 11:49 pm
WriteOrWrong BRONZE, Grosse Pointe, Michigan
3 articles 0 photos 105 comments

Favorite Quote:
Sometimes you just need to take a nap and get over it. -Maura Stuard

I was particularly intrigued by the description. I think the female character has a lot of potential. I think the story could me molded a bit to be more representative of the time period, the dialogue felt a bit misplaced (although certainly well-written.) it was very creative but a bit confusing. It may help to reread and try to think of what is really important for you to get across. I truly think this has a very fascinating premise though and I am interested in where it could go. Good job!

on Aug. 4 2013 at 9:01 pm
Claudia.VII BRONZE, N/A, California
2 articles 0 photos 51 comments

Favorite Quote:
\"Let them eat cake.\" -Marie Antoinette.
\"Genius is born-- not paid.\" -Oscar Wilde.
\"Press the button, we\'ll do the rest.\" -George Eastman
\"If you\'re going through hell, keep on going.\" - Winston Churchill

Thank you! :)

on Aug. 4 2013 at 8:58 pm
Claudia.VII BRONZE, N/A, California
2 articles 0 photos 51 comments

Favorite Quote:
\"Let them eat cake.\" -Marie Antoinette.
\"Genius is born-- not paid.\" -Oscar Wilde.
\"Press the button, we\'ll do the rest.\" -George Eastman
\"If you\'re going through hell, keep on going.\" - Winston Churchill

Thank you so much! It really means a lot to me. :)

Kati312 SILVER said...
on Aug. 1 2013 at 9:36 am
Kati312 SILVER, Parede, Other
8 articles 0 photos 19 comments
This is really amazing, I hope to see lot's more of your work, it is really captivating, I couldn't stop reading !

IMSteel BRONZE said...
on Mar. 4 2013 at 6:43 pm
IMSteel BRONZE, Wallhala, South Carolina
2 articles 0 photos 128 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Learn from Yesterday, live for Today, hope for Tomorrow" - Albert Einstein

"Brevity is the Soul of Wit" - The Which

Oh, I know this is probably a little much, but I have added a few more chapters to my story, The Voyages of the Waved Albatross, and I would be much abliged if you would look them over as you did the others.  They are still pending in moderation, so you may have to wait a while, but I really value your comments, you're one of the few that understand the way people think, but also love original, true writing.  I can't wait to see more of your writing posted on Teen Ink. 

on Jan. 14 2013 at 6:06 pm
KatelynnGilbert0 BRONZE, Palm Desert, California
3 articles 0 photos 58 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The only thing holding you back is yourself."

I love the puns and idea of Holmes and Watson being shaped in this way. You portrayed the famous pair very excellantly in my opinion. Keep up the good work and I hope to be reading more from you.

on Jan. 14 2013 at 1:23 pm
Claudia.VII BRONZE, N/A, California
2 articles 0 photos 51 comments

Favorite Quote:
\"Let them eat cake.\" -Marie Antoinette.
\"Genius is born-- not paid.\" -Oscar Wilde.
\"Press the button, we\'ll do the rest.\" -George Eastman
\"If you\'re going through hell, keep on going.\" - Winston Churchill

Interesting. I'll keep your comment under consideration, but as for "cheesy", I'm not sure what I'll do with it. Make a pizza?      - I kid. (Most probably proving your point about ze dialogue.) -   But in all seriousness, thanks for commenting and all the constructive criticism. It means a lot to me. :)

on Jan. 12 2013 at 1:43 pm
Apollo77 PLATINUM, Brunswick, Ohio
20 articles 0 photos 103 comments

Favorite Quote:
"All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”
"Madame, all stories, if continued far enough, end in death, and he is no true-story teller who would keep that from you."
-Ernest Hemingway

Interesting. I've never read sherlock holmes...so I can't tell you if you did well to the story, but it was entertaining. I did think the dialogue was a tad cheesy(but I usually think that victorian things are cheesy) some of the early allusions to the identity of the man and his friend don't fit just right and come across a little funny, but pretty good job

IMSteel BRONZE said...
on Jan. 11 2013 at 12:13 pm
IMSteel BRONZE, Wallhala, South Carolina
2 articles 0 photos 128 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Learn from Yesterday, live for Today, hope for Tomorrow" - Albert Einstein

"Brevity is the Soul of Wit" - The Which

Also, your writing captures a lot of what Doyl did in his books. 

on Jan. 10 2013 at 6:44 pm
Claudia.VII BRONZE, N/A, California
2 articles 0 photos 51 comments

Favorite Quote:
\"Let them eat cake.\" -Marie Antoinette.
\"Genius is born-- not paid.\" -Oscar Wilde.
\"Press the button, we\'ll do the rest.\" -George Eastman
\"If you\'re going through hell, keep on going.\" - Winston Churchill

Okay, I left a comment on your piece, "Marry me after my restraining order." Thanks for commenting and all!

on Jan. 6 2013 at 9:27 pm
In_Love_with_Writing GOLD, Easton, Pennsylvania
12 articles 0 photos 389 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Phillipians 4:13

Nice job! I really mean it! Can you comment and rate some of my stories? thanks!




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