The Clown, the Drug Ring, and the Wardrobe
Chapter VSherlock and the Watsons were all experiencing what was possibly the worst headache of their adult lives. They had left rather early from 221B, they had found out last minute from Sherlock that the Carnival was outside of the city and they wanted to make sure that they had time to speak to Pete Folley. Mr. Folley was the manager of the Carnival. It took them about an hour to actually find him and during that time they had to go through the crowds of shrieking children, the performers who Sherlock could not stop insulting (to their faces), and the occasional puddle of vomit from teenagers who thought they could handle “The Whirl-o-Vomit” after 3 servings of chips.
They had bumped into Mr. Folley when Sherlock began to reveal the ‘magic’ behind the magic acts. He had quickly let them into his business office, a trailer near the end of the park.
He nervously adjusted his swivel chair before placing his hands on his desk and matting down his comb over. “Wha’ can I do fer you?” He asked merrily.
The trio glanced at each other before getting to the questioning. They had decided that appearing as police officers or people remotely affiliated police was going to put the manager off, so they decided on a more appealing cover. John and Flo were just getting into character when they heard Sherlock speak.
One of the most vulnerable, human, and innocent voices came out of the man’s mouth, “Um, yeah, we write for the “Family Fun” column in Bart’s Travel Guide. Our supervisors told us that your carnival was worth writing about so…” he added an adorable shrug, “here we are!”
While Mr. Folley chuckled, the siblings took the opportunity to look at Sherlock and mouth “What the hell?” As soon as Mr. Folley’s attention was back on them Flo began to talk, “Yep, we’ve got the basic from your workers.”
“We were just hoping if you could just tell us about the clowns…” John said, getting right into what they had come to the carnival for.
“What about the clowns?” The man asked, his smile was still in place.
Sherlock chuckled and so Flo decided to join in. “You see, clowns are probably one of the things that most kids who go to carnivals are scared of.”
“Right above the actual rides.” John added cheerily.
They had scared the man, but after clarifying, he was back to his happy attitude, “O’ course, we ‘ave only three clowns a’ this carnival so kiddies shouldn’t fear!”
Sherlock began to act as though he was confused.
“Eh’ what’s wrong?” asked Folley with a tone of suspicion.
“Well you see, we were informed that there were four clowns in the carnival.”
Mr. Folley visibly stiffened.
“A mister Leonard Gaffen?” Sherlock continued.
The trio looked at the man’s reactions. He had a plastic smile and it appeared as though he was beginning to sweat a little. “Poor ol’ Leo died ye’terday.”
Sherlock and the siblings gasped collectively. “How awful!” Flo said faking tears.
“Yes, yes.” Mr. Folley said quickly, “It’s a rea’ shame.”
John then asked, “Was it an accident involving the circus?”
The manager stiffened yet again, “No, he’d been shot.”
“Thank you for your time, Mr. Folley.” Sherlock said dropping his performance.
The same thoughts were swirling in Sherlock and Flo’s heads. During the interview Mr. Folley had sweated and stiffened so many times that it was rather obvious that he was the one who pulled the trigger. It seemed simple enough until they thought of their original profile “professional… done this before”.
And ready to do it again, thought Flo. She knew she was not the only one to notice Mr. Folley’s constant gripping of something when they had mentioned the clowns. Unless he was rather happy to see them, which she doubted, the man was holding the murder weapon under the desk just in case.
“What do you think?” John asked to both of them, not knowing that they were past who was the murderer.
Flo and Sherlock spoke at the same time, “Definitely him.”
John rolled his eyes. It always frustrated him that Sherlock never seemed to elaborate on how he solved a case and now that his sister was in on it, it frustrated him even more. Florence saw her brother’s irritation, though, and decided to explain the matter with the gun. “So, that Folley man could have just shot our heads off if he wanted to?” He asked after she finished.
Sherlock nodded, “You would’ve put up a fight but yes that would be the end result.”
The Watsons were about to respond to the detectives comment when he continued, “There is something larger than murder here. The tobacco residue on his desk…”
Flo stopped the two men and turned to Sherlock with a raised eyebrow, “I’m sorry what?”
“If you must know, Florence. The analysis of tobacco ash happens to be a main article on my blog. Moving on… it was Cuban.”
John commented, “Looks like both Mr. Folley is and Mr. Gaffen was living above their supposed budget.”
“But they were both connected to the carnival…”
Flo began smiling when she understood what the detective was getting at, “So this carnival must be more than meets the eye.”