High Reason

The Case of the Unwanted Receipt

The Case of the Unwanted Receipt

The pavement was wet, wet with the slush of melting snow mixed with road grease and various other unnameable substances that combined to smear the sidewalks of London. Entering the shop, Sherlock located John and went to him, standing silently by his side as he finished making his selection of two different flavors of granola bar.

"We need dental floss," Sherlock put in, but John replied, "I know, but they don't have it at the one-stop. We'll have to go to the real grocery for that."


Approaching the counter, John deposited his snack on the counter and nodded to the clerk, reaching into his pocket. His face froze. Cursing, he turned to Sherlock.

"I must have left my wallet at the flat," he said, exhaling through his nose. "Front me?"

"Certainly." Pulling out a note, Sherlock paid the clerk, who asked:

"Would you like a receipt?"


The machine sang as it is printed out the narrow paper, and tearing it off, the clerk handed it to Sherlock. "Have a good day.""Thanks," John replied, and they hurried out the door. As they passed a cylindrical bin, Sherlock crushed the receipt and tossed it in.

"Didn't you want that?" John asked, looking back over his shoulder as they hurried on. "Why did you ask for it if you didn't want it?"

"Habit, I suppose. You're supposed to get a receipt, aren't you?"

"If the purchase is small, they'll give you the option. Some people don't want extra scraps of paper they don't need."

"Myself included."

"But you asked for it!" John exclaimed. "That doesn't make sense."

Sherlock stopped short, and John almost bumped into him. "You're right," he said, but then shrugged. " But I always do it that way."

"Ask for a receipt and then throw it away?"

Sherlock nodded, and John felt a laugh rising in his throat. Swallowing it back, he addressed himself to the taller man. .

"Sherlock?" he said.


"You're interesting, you know that?"

The detective looked down with a small smile. "I'd hate to think I was boring."

"So you're trying to do this? Trying to do all these strange things so you're not like ordinary people?"

"Is that what you think?" Sherlock looked surprised. "No - I'm not trying to do anything. I don't do anything I don't feel like."

And John believed him.

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