It was nights like this, when the wind made the air mercilessly cold that always got to Anthony the most. The starkness of the present contrasting with the warmth and glamour of days long past made the happy memories the most painful. Not painful like laying your testicles on a slab and hammering them flat with a meat tenderizer, but still inwardly unpleasant.
The numberless nights he spent at her side in the hospital because of something she took, something she didn’t take, or injuries she inflicted upon herself were barely glimmers in his mind. It was her smile, her sweet words, her touch that his mind dwelled upon. It was the wonderful nights of enchantment they spent. Back then, back when he was naïve he would never have suspected he would be here now in this bleak, lonely world.
The last words she gave him was in a text message: The time we were together I was high, none of it was real. I’m sorry if you got hurt, but I can’t be around guys like you who have ulterior motives… at least that’s what it would’ve said if she knew how to spell. Her careless grammar had always gotten on his nerves but since she was a good lay he knew better than to dwell upon it. But breaking up with him via a text message was not only a slap in the face, it was the words she chose that stung nearly as much as the time that a wasp got trapped in his pants and repeatedly stung the head of his penis. After all he had done to try to help her overcome her numerous issues he couldn’t understand how she could then accuse him of having selfish motivations for all he did. I mean sure he enjoyed getting laid, but the real reason he did what he did for her was because of his foolish love for her.
What made matters worse was that when he went to confront her he found that her apartment was completely gutted. Not a scrap was left behind. He knew that only one person could help him figure this whole thing out… Sherlock Holmes – the least expensive PI in the city.
“Who gives a shit?” Holmes said rudely to 28 year-old Anthony Riddell after the desperate man presented the case.
“Holmes!” Watson scolded.
“You want me to help you solve the mystery? Okay… she’s a crazy bitch. Crazy bitches do crazy things. Cold case closed.”
“But what if she’s in trouble?”
“Why would she be in trouble? She’s only been involved with virtually every drug dealer in the city, and a good part of the rest of the criminals. Piece of advice cake for you… this broad already caused you enough pain. Just forget about her and move on. If you pursue this it will only end up in more pain.”
“You’re probably right,” Anthony conceded. “But I’m afraid I can’t. She’s like my kryptonite.”
“Nope,” Sherlock said flatly.
“Kryptonite was superman’s weakness and dreadful for him to encounter, but he was certainly was not attracted to it. A better simile would be that she is to like fried food is to Watson,” Sherlock explained.
“Who’s Watson? Is he that man over there who looks annoyed about your comment?”
“I most certainly…” Watson began then stopped himself. “Don’t know whether or not to confirm that.”
“The bottom line is that I have an uncontainable attraction to this woman,” Anthony said.
“Of course you do; humans are most attracted to the ones that push us away.” Sherlock stood up from his comfy green chair and walked over to the cheap and uncomfortable chair that Anthony was in, then bent over and put his face uncomfortably close to Anthony’s face. “But you should also be aware… that the opposite is true.”
“Noted,” Anthony said trying to subtly move his face out of the proximity of Sherlock’s breath. “Now will you and your obese friend help me?”
“I’m not…” Watson angrily began before being cut off by Sherlock.
“Watson - it looks like we have a job.”
“So he is Watson!” Anthony gleefully exclaimed.
“Yes, fine detective work,” replied Sherlock sarcastically.
Her name was Marion Craven. She was five-foot-three. She had black hair, green eyes tanned skin and small but very nicely shaped titties. She was 29 years old. She had a tribal tattoo on her left wrist that concealed self-inflicted razor cuts. This is the information Holmes was given to work with. And it was more than he needed to create a mental image with which to rub off to.
Doctor Jonald Watson could not wrap his mind around why Sherlock had agreed to take this case. Personally he had little-to-no interest in tracking down some junky to deliver a message of love from a pathetic chump. But he decided to make the most of it by grabbing a breakfast burger along the way to the young man’s house.
Sherlock and Watson arrived at Anthony’s apartment in the England slums at ten past the hour. It was a wonder he could hear the team knocking over top of the sounds of stray dogs yapping and the local welfare folks screaming at their children.
“Would you boys like some tea and biscuits?” Anthony asked while escorting them into the foyer/kitchen/dining area. Actually most rooms in this tiny pad doubled or tripled for other rooms. Aside from a few pictures on the wall, antique swords on display and a cockroach or two, the apartment was fairly sparse, although the stained rugs and second-hand furniture made it feel more cluttered than it actually was.
“I think I’ll pass,” Watson replied, noticing the black mold on the baseboards.
“Sorry, I should’ve assumed you’re on a diet,” Anthony said politely.
“How would you like a smack in the face?” Watson shouted while raising a balled fist - which was not as threatening as he would have liked due to the mittens he was wearing.
“No thanks,” Anthony shrugged. “Tea for you Mr Holmes?”
“No please.” Sherlock answered while focussing on his dreary surroundings.
“Suit yourself, I can’t go more than a couple hours without some Earl Grey,” Anthony said heading into his tiny attached kitchen.
“Liar,” Sherlock shouted, stopping Anthony entirely in his tracks.
“You’ve engaged us under false pretences.”
“What’s that?” Anthony responded with a genuine expression.
“You told us that you wanted help finding a crazy bitch named Marion Craven but that’s not true is it? The real crazy bitch is not miss Craven, and dimmer minds might be surprised to learn that it is not your ex-wife either.” Sherlock said while looking towards Watson. “The crazy bitch is your sister, Rose.”
“Uh…” Anthony stuttered.
“Impressed?” Watson asked the lad.
“Confused,” he answered. “I just meant that I don’t know what the expression ‘false pretences’ means. But that was pretty clever deductioning.”
“Not really,” Sherlock said casually. “I can tell from the employee ID you left handing on that doorknob that you are an air traffic controller, and are therefore on a salary that should provide you with far better accommodations than this piss-hole, meaning you have recently gone through a bitter divorce. Bitter on her part anyway - or you wouldn’t still be displaying a wedding photo on your wall. Of course it’s the picture on top on this one that gives it away; the one with you and one of the bridesmaids on Kilimanjaro with the grammatically incorrect inscription, ‘Rose and I, 2010’. You are it should actually say: ‘Me and Rose’, 2010 - simple trick: take out the other person and consider the sentence to determine if you should be using ‘me’ or ‘I’.”
“But how did you…” Anthony started, but was immediately cut off by Holmes who had already deduced the question he was about to ask.
“Her facial features are more similar to your own than you are likely aware, telling me that she’s not a mere friend but your relation, and it’s placement on the wall suggests that you are displaying it out of duty, thus a stilted relationship.”
Anthony was stunned. He felt both invaded and impressed, but knew that there was as little point in trying to fool Sherlock as there was in trying to feed Watson - either would be pointless and expensive.
“You’re right; sort of.” Anthony admitted. “I hate my sister. She’s the one who drove me into Marion’s arms by turning my wife against me. It was as if she made it her mission to destroy my marriage. My own sister. She’s still friends with my ex-wife you know? When my sister had a baby my ex was invited to see the child and I wasn’t. What does that tell you?”
“It tells me that your sister is a crazy bitch,” Sherlock stated. “And you suspect she’s behind Marion’s disappearance don’t you?”
“What I think isn’t important; you’re the detective.”
“Quite right,” Sherlock agreed. “So shut up.”
“I beg your privilege?”
“I know everything I need to know about you; it’s the broad I need to investigate and she has never stepped foot in here.”
“Can’t say I’d blame her,” Watson said under his breath, but loud enough that everyone heard.
“Rude.” scowled Anthony.
“Rude indeed but accurate; where does she live?” Sherlock demanded.
“Are you serious?” Anthony asked, whipping his gaze from Sherlock to Watson and back. “You have her name. You have her information. You just determined my life story by looking at my surroundings; getting her address should be simple for you.”
“Yes but you’re forgetting one important thing,” Sherlock said flatly.
“I’m exceptionally lazy.”
“Not to mention pompos,” Anthony added.
“And a liar,” Watson said out the side of his mouth.
“And not particularly attractive,” Anthony additionally added.
“Piss off and make with the address!”