All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
The Clown, the Drug Ring, and the Wardrobe
“Sherlock, can’t you leave me be this one time? I’ve actually got plans!” John fruitlessly pleaded to his flat mate who sat next to him in the cab. He had been living with Sherlock Holmes at 221B Baker Street for a few weeks now and it was obvious that this consulting detective had gotten a bit too comfortable. Sherlock would constantly do this, drag him away from anything he was doing or planning on doing so that he would have an appreciative audience during a case.
John had not complained much thus far; the cases that he was dragged into provided for incredible stories for his blog, but he was putting his foot down now. His younger sister, and quite honestly his favorite sister, Florence was moving back to the UK after studying and working in New York City. He and Florence had always been close, but when he pursued a career as a doctor and later joined the military to treat the soldiers in Afghanistan they lost touch. The occasional phone calls that they would share were nice, but he had wanted to see her again for some time. Now that she was moving to London, he intended to spend whatever time he had not promised to Sherlock with her. John had not explained that to Sherlock, though, not like he would care anyways.
“It’s a murder!” Sherlock shouted as though that fact was reason enough, “our recent cases, quite frankly, have been extremely dull.”
Dull?! Nearly being shot while on the search for a kidnapper is dull? John thought to himself.
Before John could voice these opinions to his companion they arrived at their destination. The rather old looking apartment building was swarming with Yarders. He could hear Sherlock groan slightly at the sight.
“We need to get in there before Lestrade’s idiots ruin the evidence.” With that Sherlock swiftly leapt out of the car.
John quickly joined him before grudgingly paying the cabbie for their ride. He was missing seeing his sister for this! The case had better be interesting or else he was going to punch that man.
Sherlock walked into the building. The first floor was crowded with the forensic team who gave him dirty looks as he passed by. From what Lestrade had told him, there had been a shooting in the study of a Mr. Leonard T. Gaffen, landlord of the complex.
The case was a breath of fresh air from the recent ones he had been dealing with; kidnappings and snobbish families losing their belongings. Thankfully he was not desperate enough to accept one of Mycroft’s unimpressive political cases. He held out for a good murder and that is what he got.
He continued walking with long strides towards Lestrade when he saw John catch up to him with an irritated look on his face. Watson had been giving him that look all through the cab ride. Yes, he knew that John had been going to meet someone when he informed him of the case. The fresh shave and carefully combed hair was a dead giveaway; but Sherlock assumed that the good doctor could wait for his date.
John sighed, “And this case is interesting why exactly?”
The detective opened his mouth but a greasy looking Anderson responded to John’s question, “It’s not really. Just a psychopathic girl who thought her rent was too high.”
Sherlock stopped abruptly and gave the head of forensics a fake smile, “Really, and how do you figure that?”
DI Lestrade, who Sherlock and John had originally been walking to, purposefully came between his employee and the duo.
“Sherlock, John. Hello-“ Lestrade attempted to greet them. Sherlock, however, was not in the mood for this. His hopes had been set high for this case and he wanted to know why a case that he had been called to had already been solved.
The detective chuckled, “Lestrade, you didn’t let Anderson come to a conclusion did you?”
“No, I did.” Sergeant Donovan said. She walked towards the small cluster that Anderson, Lestrade, John, and Sherlock had made.
John looked around him with a sort of sick look on his face as she and Anderson looked at the detective smugly.
“You see,” she began to explain, “This girl. She had originally reported the murder, and we assumed she was innocent. That was until we saw that she was the last person that Mr. Gaffen had called and that she had suspiciously just gotten off a flight from the US.”
The last fact reminded him of his little sister. He could not help but feel a slight paranoia as he heard it. “Um… Where is this girl again?”
Sally pointed at the ratty couch near the stairs to a slightly disgruntled young woman in a faded out band shirt and jeans with an oversized black bomber jacket.
“What the hell!” John had gone berserk and started running to the couch. His reaction surprised everyone in the building, including the handcuffed Florence Watson.
Florence had just gotten to her future flat to get settled when she was greeted by the unpleasant sight of her soon to be landlord with a bullet hole to his head. Thinking that she was doing the right thing, she called the police only to find out that they jumped to conclusions faster than her former-superiors at the cybercrimes sector ever did. That bloody woman, Donovan, had turned everyone against her in a matter of minutes. Flo had hoped that she could clear things up and call her brother to tell him that she could not make it. She never would have guessed that she would run into him at the crime scene. “John?” She asked in disbelief.
Her brother held one of her hands and pushed a bit of her wheat colored hairs away from her face, “What happened? You’re supposed to be at the café right now.”
“Wait, wait! You know her?” Lestrade asked trying to pull him away. He turned around to ask for assistance when he saw Sherlock with a small smile on his face. “Oi Holmes! Why are you smiling?”
Sherlock, who had also been asking how exactly his flat mate knew the suspect, began deducing her and came to the right conclusion in a matter of seconds.
“Don’t you see it?” Sherlock gave a small laugh, “You did ask for her name, no?”
Donovan nodded, “Yeah, it’s Florence Wat- oh.”
A silence fell in the room as they realized her relation to John.
That uncomfortable silence was broken by Florence who, unlike the other normal people in the room, stared at Sherlock with wide eyes, “How?”
Sherlock was more than happy to show off and began spitting out his observations, “It was quiet easy really. John’s protective nature towards her could be explained if she was either his date or a relative. Since she seems to be in her mid-twenties, the possibility of being his date was not valid according to her lipstick.”
“Her lipstick?” Anderson spoke out.
“Do shut up.” Sherlock said before continuing, “She’s reapplied it recently to go meet John, as he previously stated. But, notice the amount; enough to look presentable but not enough to attract male attention. And then there’s the family resemblance same blond hair, bone structure, same eyes…” He paused as he looked at them. There was something going on behind them, a look that suggested something that he knew was not shared by the siblings. “You’re deducing me, Ms. Watson.”
Her green eyes, that had turned cold and calculating as she deduced him, sparkled when she looked up. “Yes, yes I am.”
John’s grip on his sister’s hand loosened a bit. As a child, Flo had powerful observation skills. They worked wonders, along with her natural brilliance, in the classroom and in more “unconventional” situations. He knew he had not seen her in a while but her skill could not have turned into full-blown-Sherlock-deduction in that time.
Instead of staring in disbelief like the others in the room, Sherlock looked with interest at the girl. The fact that someone related to Watson could be even remotely like him was incredible; he had to see her ability himself. “What can you deduce about me, Ms. Watson?” He challenged.
She smirked. Challenging me, eh? She thought. Flo looked around at her audience: her brother, approximately 6 police officers, members of the forensic team, and the man who had challenged her. Well you’re in for a show.
She did not struggle at standing up and was not even a bit intimidated when Sherlock walked up to her, even though he was about 3 inches taller.
“M’kay,” She began slowly before her feet began pacing and the whirl wind of information came out of her mouth.
“Let’s start with the basics. From what I’ve heard your name is Sherlock, no middle name, Holmes. A consulting detective, it’s the only name I can think of for position in assisting the police force. A detective who just so happens to live with my brother, I can tell because you both have similar marks on your shoes that suggest this. This makes me wonder,” She tapped a foot lightly as she thought, “Why doesn’t Sherlock just live with his own brother if he’s looking for a place to live? But it’s obvious that you two don’t get along otherwise you might’ve answered his last 3 calls to your cell in your coat pocket. Back to my brother then,” Flo continued noticing she struck a slight nerve, “your attitude towards him and the way he reacts to it shows that you haven’t known each other long yet you treat him as though he has always been part of your life.”
She muttered, “An interesting relationship that I’ll ponder later… but he puts up with your eccentric habits like your experiments, the ones that involve nasty chemicals that can stain the inside of one’s coat while working on a desk. I’ll assume another eccentric habit is playing the violin at early hours. Your fingers; the light callouses on your fingertips match those found on a violinist and my brother has some awful bags under his eyes. ”
After finishing this explanation she turned to Sherlock who had a satisfied look on his face. Her deductions had a rather different effect on the others in the room.
The forensic team and lower police officers shamelessly stared at her while Donovan and Lestrade gaped a little. Her brother was caught between shock and pride. Though she approached the challenge with full intention to wow everyone in the room, she was now beginning to feel awkward under their judging gazes. “It really only works if I get a good look at someone.” She clarified.
At that comment Donovan groaned, “Great another freak! Just when I thought I was dealing with a normal murderer.”
“You’d better watch it. She’s my sister; not a freak, not a murderer!” John said defending her.
His sister, however, had dealt with idiots like Donovan before, and lucky for her she had. She observe Sergeant when Donovan was trying to convince the others that she had murdered Mr. Gaffen.
“Please have the courtesy to, at least, act like you respect me before I make everyone aware that you’re ‘scrubbing floors’ for co-workers. You did a great job at Anderson’s didn’t you?” She said. Flo looked over to Anderson who had an offended look on his face, “Didn’t she Anderson? Her knees show that she worked rather hard….”
John tried to contain his giggles; they were at a crime scene after all. “Y-you’re brilliant!”
“Yes she is,” Sherlock responded, “far too brilliant to actually be caught committing this crime.” He pointed at the pile of checkered suitcases that Anderson and his team were ravaging. “If you check the papers around the handles of the suitcases, you’ll see that she arrived at about quarter past one…”
“Giving her the perfect amount of time to drive here from the airport, kill Mr. Gaffen, and leave so she could come back later and act as though she just found the body.” Anderson interrupted, now driven to get the girl arrested for her implications about his relationship with Donovan.
“Yes you would come to that conclusion but what you forget is the jumper.” said Sherlock.
“The jumper? What’s that got to do with this?” Donovan was now speaking with the same purpose as Anderson.
Sherlock made his way to the smallest case, with red and blue checkers, and crouched down before putting on some gloves. He pulled out a stripped beige jumper by its sleeve that had been hanging out of one of the outer pockets, “You see this jumper, and it’s not a woman’s.”
“She could’ve just packed one of her boyfriend’s jumpers.” Anderson tried to reason earning him a loud laugh from Flo. She had never been very social in her life; both as a habit and because people around her never seemed to be able to carry out an intelligent conversation. So, having a boyfriend was not a possibility.
Anderson did not seem to get it, “Aren’t you in a relationship?”
“No” both Flo and Sherlock answered at the same time which John responded by raising his eyebrow at his flat mate. He just shrugged and continued to explain, “So it’s not her boyfriend and it’s not hers. It must be a gift for the other man in her life.” Everyone looked at John who shifted his weight uncomfortably and cleared his throat, “Thanks, Flo.”
“So if you see the receipt,” Sherlock said as he pulled out the paper from inside the jumper, “You’ll know that Ms. Watson bought the jumper at a local store that is about…” In just a few seconds he managed to do the math, “47 minutes from here, without traffic, at 3pm.”
Flo smiled and finished off Sherlock’s speech, “I was still driving when Mr. Gaffen was killed.”
Lestrade was at a loss for words for a moment, “Uh, well. We’re sorry Ms. Watson for-“
“Yes the misunderstanding. It’s fine just please get me out of these things.” She finished for him and held out her still bound wrists. Unfortunately, Donovan had the keys and roughly removed the cuffs from her wrists. When that was done, Sherlock sighed and threw a pair of gloves to each sibling. “Now let’s get to work shall we.”
The Watsons were just beginning to put on their gloves when Anderson spoke up, “Wait, wait, wait a minute! We just suspected her of murder and we’re letting her near evidence!”
“Don’t worry,” Sherlock said making his way to the stairs, “she won’t hold it against you.”
They entered the study a few minutes later. He may have only been a landlord, but where he was killed could only be described as regal. The walls were covered with lovely oil paintings that rested on a gorgeous deep blue wall paper. Even the shelves, that held what seemed like thousands of books were particularly elegant. The horrible sight that ruined the room was spread before them.
The plump Mr. Leonard Gaffen sat on his desk chair with his head knocked back and a single bullet hole between his now soulless eyes. John was almost too wrapped up in the sight to see his sister swallow, “Oh my, Flo, I didn’t even think. Let me get someone to take you-“
“It’s fine.” She answered half-heartedly, “I worked for cybercrimes and sometimes helped the local police with their crimes back in New York. I’ve seen enough.” She did not mean for her voice to carry a sad tone. Flo had not even met the man face to face but she could not help but feel sorry for him. Sherlock began to analyze the body with her brother and decided that she would better go into work mode.
“Now tell me, Ms. Watson.” Sherlock’s voice came from behind the chair, “What can you tell me about this crime?” He was still slightly impressed with the skills she had revealed downstairs and wanted to know if she could also apply it to scenes rather than people.
She walked further into the room and looked at the fatal gunshot wound, “The bullet hole is clean and precise…”
“Implying?” Sherlock asked. Flo knew that the man was trying to lead her. Being the girl she was, she was not going to let him treat her like he was all knowing.
“I don’t need you to lead me Mr. Holmes.” She stated firmly.
“Fine, then continue.”
“The attacker knew what they were doing. There aren’t any sights that the hand holding the gun was shaking…”
“and the gunman shot from a relatively short distance from the victim and didn’t flinch…”
“The attacker was a professional or had done this before,” she looked at the door that she and John had walked in, “There aren’t any sights of forced entry from what I saw so Mr. Gaffen obviously let whoever it was in with his own free will.”
Sherlock nodded satisfied with her answer until she commented. “I didn’t know he was a clown, though.”
John sighed, “Flo, respect for the dead please!”
“No, no see his face paler than the rest of his body, possibly after years of putting on the make-up. And around the nose, there are these little marks formed by the constant wearing of what could be a clown nose.”
The consulting detective’s eyes widened a bit as he scanned room and came to same conclusion as Flo. “Did you find anything peculiar in is wardrobe?” she asked.
“If you’re talking about a rainbow afro or size 25 clown shoes…NO!.” Lestrade answered sarcastically.
Without warning Sherlock walked up to the bookcase behind the body and began pushing it to the side, “That’s… because… you’re… looking… in the wrong place.” John and Flo ran to help Sherlock with the large bookcase and after a brief effort it was moved to reveal a rather zany wardrobe.
“Well, that’s… odd.” John said slowly still processing the contrast between the regal study room and the awfully tacky array of clothing behind the bookcase.
His sister and Sherlock were the first to enter. They grabbed the outfits and checked the tags only to see a neon smiley face. “All printed with the same symbol.” Flo remarked.
“Clown fetish and a professional assassin.” Sherlock muttered on his way out. Flo was the only one who expected the man to come back, “Did he just leave us?”
John sighed, “You’ll get used to it, now come on.”
When the Watson siblings left the crime scene, Sherlock was long gone. John assumed that the madman had gone back to their flat so he struggled to hail cab. It was not as hard as it normally was, though, since his sister was the one doing it.
They sat in the cab awkwardly facing each other. “So thank you for the jumper, again.” John began giving her a sad smile. It had just occurred to both of them that Flo had been thrown into John and Sherlock’s mystery solving world without as much as a proper reunion.
She grinned, “No problem, Johnny.”
“Although I would’ve preferred if the exchange didn’t occur at a crime scene, though.”
They laughed, filling what had once been an awkward silence.
“Yeah, I don’t think I’ll be able to get my luggage back so you can’t actually wear it until they process it.” Flo chuckled.
As soon as the conversation ended, the awkward silence returned. No normal pair of siblings would ever find themselves meeting at a crime scene.
“So,” the younger Watson attempted to keep the conversation going, “You two solve crimes together then? I never took you as a Scooby Doo detective type.”
John sighed and rubbed the back of his neck, “Yes, well neither did I but I needed to take my mind off…” He did not have to finish. Flo knew what the war did to soldiers and their families, cracked and broke them both physically and emotionally. The suspense she felt as she waited for some news on her brother’s wellbeing nagged at her for quite some time. She buried herself in her studies and work. It scared her to think that John would come back, a shell of his former self.
Now that she saw him, though, she was thankful for his luck. He looked somewhat normal, well except for the slight psychosomatic limp that she had noticed and decided not to point out when he walked into the crime scene.
“It’s been good for me. Solving cases and all.” John said. Flo saw the he looked to her for some sort of approval so she pats his back reassuringly, “I’m glad.”
Florence’s arrival at Baker Street was most definitely the grandest that John had ever seen. As soon as Mrs. Hudson caught sight of a female presence she took it upon herself to make tea and biscuits. Which both siblings almost chocked to death on when the landlady asked if they were a couple. They made sure to clarify their relationship. Poor Mrs. Hudson turned beat red when finding that out.
Flo took the time to look at the older woman. She was a widow but incredibly happy that her husband was executed; he never treated her right apparently. Mrs. Hudson was currently in a relationship with the manager of the deli next door; she constantly talked about how well managed it was. Flo could also tell that having another woman in the house was quite possible the best thing for her. Sherlock and John must have been a handful; she doubted Mrs. Hudson got out that often.
The siblings were able to escape the overly nice woman when John mentioned that they had a case. She ushered them upstairs at the very mention.
“Sorry if it’s messy, Sherlock likes to keep it this way.” John apologized as they entered the flat. Bohemian, the only way Flo could possibly explain it’s “style”. There were papers, clothing items, and books scattered everywhere; even on the walls things were held up by staples and knives. Flo tilted her head a bit when she saw Sherlock working diligently on John’s laptop and talking to a real human skull.
The Watson’s stood at the door for a few minutes before Sherlock noticed them. “Well where have you two been?”
Flo scoffed, “Trying to find where on earth you went off to after you left us at the crime scene.”
Sherlock shrugged eyes still glued to computer.
“So anything you’d care to tell us, Sherlock?” John asked grabbing his computer away from him and muttering something along the lines of ‘Once a week isn’t enough time in-between password changes’.
Sherlock hopped out of his chair and pulled a rainbow afro wig from a drawer.
“Did you get that from the crime scene?” Flo asked surprised. She had not seen in on him when they were checking the wardrobe and with the social skills she saw Sherlock display with the officers she was sure that they had not allowed for him to keep it.
The detective nodded, “Yes. I used it to track the shop where he had gotten the clown outfits and his choice in attire isn’t a fetish.”
“Well then that’s good.” John said sarcastically.
“Florence, John. The man was actually a clown. I recognized the thread used for the tags as one used in a complex of shops nearby and knowing that, was able to find The Gag And Drag Clown Shop...”
He stopped explaining to look at the Watson siblings who had begun giggling uncontrollably as soon as he had named the shop. “Gag...and…Drag!” Flo said before erupting in laughter. Sherlock was not remotely impressed with the younger Watson’s attitude, if anything he expected more from the girl who shared his gift. Sherlock could not help but feel the corners of his mouth twitch upwards at the sound of her ridiculously loud laugh, though. “Yes, it’s an odd name for a shop…”
John chuckled, “Odd, Sherlock?”
“John I’d expect more from you, being the older sibling.”
This caused John to stop his laugh and glare at Sherlock. A sight that Flo tried her best to refrain from laughing at, “Okay, so the ga-… clown shop. What’s its relevance?”
“They provide costumes exclusively to carnivals, and there’s only one that they provide to that Mr. Gaffen would have had access too.” Sherlock answered.
“So I’m guessing tomorrow we’ll be visiting the carnival?” John asked.
Sherlock smiled and nodded at his two companions.
Because Flo’s original lodging had been turned into a crime scene. Her brother decided to take upon himself to let her stay at Baker Street. When they told Mrs. Hudson that Flo was staying the night, the landlady made one of the best suppers in her career. She had taken a liking to John’s little sister and Flo was not complaining.
When the time came for the ‘normal’ people to go to sleep, John tried to be a gentleman and offered her to take his bed while he took the couch. However, after 2 yelling matches and 3 attempts at dragging her to a comfy bed, he gave up. Lying on the couch was not that bad until she realized she probably was not going to get any sleep.
“Damn it! Will you please turn that light off?” She whispered angrily at Sherlock. It was already past midnight and the man had been keeping her up with the only reading light that she could compare to the sun.
The detective looked up from his research and at the squinting Flo, “I’m preparing for tomorrow.”
“Don’t you sleep?” She said groaning.
“Not while I’m on a case and I don’t see why you do. I understand why John does, but you’re not normal like him.”
She immediately sat up, “Normal? He’s been through medical school, war, and survived a childhood in the screwed up Watson household! And you’re calling him normal?”
He knew that she admired her brother but this reaction was alien to him. Flo may have mentioned that Mycroft and his relationship was strained, but she had no idea how horrible it was. Seeing how wound up the younger Watson was getting, he tried to explain, “My comment was in no way purposely offending your brother. I understand that he has done heroic things but in the end he is still a normal person…”
Flo corrected him, “He’s an extraordinary normal person.”
“Yes. And you, though you are related to him have a skill that puts you above him. That was all that I was commenting on.” He finished. Sherlock noticed that she continued to eye him before she lied back down. The girl was similar to him because of her ability to deduce but their emotional responses could not be more different. “Fine, and just so you know I’m normally unable to fall asleep.” She said finally.
“I would think so. A nasty New York neighborhood and late night hacking…” Sherlock said casually glancing back down at his paperwork.
Flo’s eyes snapped up before a small smile appeared on her face, “What gave it away?”
“The scratches near the wheels of your suitcase. There was spit and sewer water embedded in each of them. And there was a splash of pepper spray on the handle.”
“And the hacking?”
“Though you worked at cybercrimes, your wrists have deeper marks that suggested more than the usual hours at work. Plus, your suitcase is out of your budget.”
The young Watson looked at the ground. She knew what he was implying, “I worked on domestic cases. I didn’t give out government secrets, Mr. Holmes. Though I did hack into British Government once, it was only an experiment…”
Sherlock smirked. An experiment. Yet another thing the two geniuses had in common.
“Though I do love this lovely conversation,” Flo began, “will you turn off the lamp!”
Sherlock did so. Even though his eyes could adjust to the dark quickly, he gave up on the papers and he reached for his violin. He placed the instrument under his chin as he made his way to the window. The detective looked back to see Flo glaring, “John has already informed me to not ‘wake the dead’ since you are lodging with us.”
Flo hesitated in closing her eyes, fearing that the worst violin screeching would just wake her up again. She was surprised to find that Sherlock’s violin playing was rather gentle and its soft melody lulled her to sleep.
Sherlock 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.”
Despite John and Flo’s constant pleading to just call the police to report that they had solved the murder. Sherlock just continued on plotting the infiltration of the mysterious carnival, which proved to be more necessary than originally thought. Even under the cover of night, they could see all the carnies in full costume covering the perimeter, armed with guns.
“Well you don’t see that every day.” Flo whispered to the men on either side of her as they crouched behind one of the carnival’s vans. It took them what seemed like forever to sneak into the plot of land only to have Sherlock lead them into Mr. Folley’s trailer/office.
John looked around the room and turned the blinds over so no one would see them, “Okay, what the hell are we doing here?”
“I think we’re solving a case,” Flo answered walking over to Sherlock who was now behind the manager’s desk opening what seemed like random drawers, “but I don’t see why we couldn’t have just taken a picture of the freaking clowns with the semi-automatic weapons and sent it to Lestrade!”
The consulting detective continued to ignore them. There were only two things that Sherlock needed to put the case to rest, with a gloved hand he had already found the murder weapon and put it in an evidence bag he “borrowed”. What he needed was the laptop that would explain what exactly was going on with the carnival. He came to the conclusion that Mr. Folley must run carnival operations on a secret laptop because of the protectiveness he seemed to have towards his desk. When they were interviewing him it was easy to see that he thought they were getting too close, he leaned to his left. Gaining a firm grip on the gun and protecting something. Mr. Folley could not possibly be stupid enough to keep anything illegal on the computer for the carnival cover.
It was not until his leg hit a lock that he knew where it was. He had unlocked the drawer and computer when he noticed the complex stream of numbers that began flooding the computer screen.
“Flo I need you to hack this for me.” He said turning the laptop towards her.
Flo glared at Sherlock as her brother began, “Look Sherlock, she worked for the cybercrimes unit yes. But you can’t just assume that she can do-“
“It’s child’s play. She’s hacked into the British Government, John.”
Flo held the bridge of her nose and sighed, “Damn.”
“What!?” John yelled.
“It was once!” She said leaving her brother’s side to walk over to the desk.
The older Watson looked at his sister with wide eyes, much like he had when they first reunited. Flo hated that look; it only reminded her how out of touch she was with her favorite sibling. He knew of her studies and job position, but it seemed like when it came to important things he had to be told by his flat mate. It was probably better that he knew, it is not like she was going to admit it to her protective brother under any normal circumstances. “Now move you git.” She said as she pushed Sherlock away from the computer earning her a small smile from John.
She began typing quickly. Sherlock noticed that while she typed, she made three peculiar faces: a similar scrunched up face, that John sometimes made, when she came across something rather difficult, bit her lip when she was close to cracking, and finally a smug toothy smile as she unlocked the computer’s secrets.
“Oh.” She said. The two men went to look over her shoulder and saw files that included details on the transportation of some incredibly illegal drugs.
Sherlock grinned, “A drug ring! I knew it; it was either that or gun smuggling.”
“Blimey! But why did Gaffen get killed?” John asked.
Flo began typing again, “Working on it. Here!”
They looked at the file. There was a list of people they assume were associated with the ring and when they left. Leonard Gaffen’s name was right on the bottom with the label snitch next to his name and date of death.
“So he was going to tell the police about the drug ring here at the carnival, only 35 minutes outside of London. For a hefty sum of money in exchange, no doubt.” Flo sighed.
John shrugged, “Well now that we’ve got this can we get-“ The sound of someone marching from outside made him seal his lips. They looked at each other and silently agreed that it was time to leave. Both Sherlock and John were on way to the door when the younger Watson signaled them to wait. She appeared to be closing the computer and reorganizing the files. Flo gave them silent thumbs up and they proceeded to the door.
Thankfully the trio had sneaked around the carney that had made the noise outside of the trailer, a polka dot and top hat wearing Mr. Folley, and were trying to walk in the shadows. It was relatively quiet outside except for the sounds of the operation going on behind the Ferris Wheel. The sight of the entertainers in full costume contrasted that of the dark operation. According to the files it was supposed to be a marijuana transport, not very interesting for Sherlock’s standards but interesting enough for him to push his luck by creeping slightly closer to one of the booths nearby. It seemed slightly unbelievable so he would have to seriously convince Donovan in order to get them over to the carnival. Perhaps he should have had Flo save the files…
They heard the crunch of boots on leaves, and it was not coming from Flo’s worker boots. John acted quickly and grabbed his sister’s hand to duck inside the “Dart and Balloon” game. Sherlock sat next to Flo just a few seconds later. Their backs were against the side of the booth’s counter. The younger Watson tried to keep her breathing as quiet as possible; Sherlock helped her by pressing his gloved hand against her mouth. She would have given him a dirty look but that was not her main priority. The footsteps were now pacing in front of the booth and it seemed as though they were only getting closer. John was looking up at the ceiling of the booth hoping that the carney would just give up. Sherlock tried to rationalize their position; they were not making any noise therefore whoever it was should lose suspicion quickly. This theory seemed to be correct when the footsteps were becoming softer and going to another direction.
The three of them relaxed slightly.
“DOO WEE OOOO-, DOO WEE DOOO-, DOOO WEEEE OOOO-, DOO DOO DOO, DOOO WEEE…“(Doctor Who theme song)
The two men heads snapped to look at Flo who was now cursing and fumbling with her phone. The carney knew they were there and ran into the booth. John looked up to be greeted by a familiar top hat. “I knew ye were here!” Mr. Folley yelled pointing the gun at his sister. Before he could shoot, Flo’s foot kicked his polka dotted pants causing him to double over in pain.
“RUN!” Sherlock said grabbing his two companion’s shoulders and making a run for it.
It did not take too long before the other members of the carnival found out and began chasing them through the lot. They ran for their lives as bullets whizzed through the air, nearly hitting them several times. It looked like a scene from a Pirate’s of the Caribbean movie except that these were clowns and that they were definitely going to try and kill them.
“Why the HELL did you bring your phone!” John yelled at his sister.
She gave him a sheepish look, “I needed it to-“
Sherlock commented sarcastically, “Kill us all, because that’s a rather fantastic plan Florence. Good job! Honestly, I’d expect better from a mind like yours.”
“Back off dammit! I’m the only one who’s going to yell at her!” John said purposefully running faster to look his flat mate seriously in the eye.
Flo breathed, “I needed it to call the police!”
“Police?” Sherlock and John asked in unison.
Flo nearly ran into her brother while trying to dodge a bullet before responding. “Yeah, I called when we were in the trailer!”
“How do they even know where to go?” John asked.
Sherlock thought back to her words. “You specifically said ‘the carnival, only 35 minutes outside of London’.”
They were losing ground so Flo just nodded as she sped up, her brother in tow.
“But that would mean, “ Sherlock continued, “they would have gotten here by-“
They ran straight to the official looking cars that had been near the end of the lot. The three of them turned around just in time to see the look of surprise on the carneys’ faces.
“Why’ve I got a blanket on?” Flo asked gesturing to the awful orange thing that the medics continued to drape over her. She sat on the bumper of an ambulance between her brother and Sherlock, looking at the scene around her.
The flashing lights of the police cars and other important vehicles were starting to give her a headache. After what seemed like forever, a majority of the carneys had been arrested and moved out of the plot of land. Now that they were gone, the rides and booths were just… there. It looked like a really lovely place when they visited, even though she knew something illegal was going on, and it just seemed kind of sad to see it all be brought down. Truth be told she was still somewhat of a child inside, sights like this had that kind of effect on her.
Lestrade walked up to the three of them and answered Flo’s question, “It’s for the photos. You’ll have to look like you’re in shock.”
“Well, that’s just stupid.” Flo responded scoffing. John and Sherlock smirked, remembering that her reaction was just the same as Sherlock’s when they solved the murderous cabbie case.
The DI shrugged, “Well, I don’t make these things up… We’d like to thank you again Florence for the call.” Lestrade nodded to the boys, they already knew he was not going to thank them publicly.
“I want my luggage back, Lestrade!” She yelled. As soon as he was out of earshot, though, Flo buried her hands and gave a loud sigh, “Damn, what am I going to do now?”
John turned to his sister and began patting her back reassuringly, even though he had no clue what she was so glum about. “What do you mean?”
She looked up to her brother then Sherlock. Count on the consulting detective to see her problem. “Go on, I’ll give you the honor of telling him.”
Sherlock looked at his colleague and began, “As we both know your sister’s original connection to Mr. Gaffen was that of a future tenant. The flat that she was planning on living in had been Mr. Gaffen’s property for about a year…”
“Just get to it!” Flo said impatiently.
Sherlock rolled his eyes, “His only income before owning the complex came from working at the carnival. So it is highly probable that the flat was bought with the money he got from the drug ring.”
John now saw that problem and hugged his sister, “Flo, it’s alright. You can just stay with us. Right Sherlock?”
“No, no,” Flo sighed, “I don’t want to be some bum.”
The detective leaned forward and turned his head to Flo, “How about we split the rent in thirds, then.”
Both Watsons were a bit shocked. John was sure Sherlock would have a problem with her living in 221B, it was not like the detective was very sentimental about family or very sociable for that matter. But, he looked completely serious. “I’m sure Mrs. Hudson would love to have another woman around. And it will allow for you to be easily accessible for any future cases.”
Flo smirked. She was not going to say no to that. An opportunity to solve and get her brain working was great, being able to do it with her brother and a man who could see things like her was just what she wanted. “Looks like I’ll be moving in then!”
They stood up. “Well, I think I burned off whatever I ate before in that lovely chase. Want to go have some dinner?” Flo asked as she stretched.
John chuckled, “It’s almost 3 am!”
“Oh John, I’m sure we can find a pub somewhere.” Sherlock suggested with a smile.
They had just passed the yellow police tape and heading to dinner when they heard a familiar voice from a sleek black car. “Dear Sherlock, this one signed up just as fast as her brother.”
Mycroft stepped out of the car, umbrella in hand with a smug smile on his face.
“What do you want Mycroft?” Flo and Sherlock asked at the same time. As soon as each realized that the other had asked the same thing, they gave confused looks to each other.
“You know him? What did you do to British Government?” Flo asked.
Sherlock stared Mycroft down, “He happens to be my arch enemy…”
Mycroft chuckled, “Ever so dramatic, brother.”
Flo nearly burst out laughing, “I’m sorry-“ She pointed between the Holmes brothers before noticing the resemblance, “Wow, now I see it! Jeez, this is just ridiculous.”
“Yes, I know it seems as though I got all the brains. Now, who did you come for Mycroft?” Sherlock said getting straight to the point.
Mycroft smiled as he walked towards the trio twirling his umbrella along the way, “I’ve been keeping tabs on our favorite little hacker since she entered the country. Finding that she had joined you in taking down this drug ring was just a plus.”
“I think a thank you is in order for that.” Flo said with a fake smile.
“Still as feisty as you were in interrogation.”
John cleared his throat, “I’m sorry, what? Interrogation?”
Flo opened her mouth to explain to her brother but gave up, “Alright, Mycroft, thank you very much for stopping by. Now how about you just saunter back into your car and leave us alone?”
“True. I should get going… politics. And I wouldn’t want to keep you from dinner.” Mycroft sauntered away, as expected. Sherlock was unimpressed with his brother; he should have at least kidnapped Flo like he did John as a heads up.
As the car drove away Flo huffed, “The man’s creepy as hell. He deserves for that damn umbrella to go where the sun doesn’t shine.”
Sherlock smirked, “Probably.”
“Come on, let’s go to that pub. You, Florence, are telling me any and all things that should surprise me about you!” John pointed at his sister playfully.